Really Ravishing Review (My Soul To Save)

literati_rain66 Wednesday, January 26, 2011 ,
My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers Book 2)Review of My Soul To Save, by Rachel Vincent. 

Quickie: Delightful. I had forgotten how much I liked this series.

Full: Kaylee Cavanaugh is a bean sidhe, or banshee as you may know them. Whatever the spelling (and bean sidhe is the correct one, props Rachel) their purpose is the same: to guide the souls of the dead safely to the next world. The other option is for a female bean side to catch the soul as it leaves the body and hold it, allowing a male bean sidhe to return the soul to the body, but only for a price.

Kaylee, her boyfriend Nash, and his undead Reaper brother Tod uncover a nasty deal between the biggest entertainment empire and demons. Rising teen stars are literally selling their souls for fame, fortune, and success. Tod becomes invested in uncovering the identity of the demon making the deals, and Kaylee & Nash can't let him do it alone. Kaylee couldn't live with herself if she allowed those souls to be tortured eternally without even trying to help. And Nash, well, he's in it for Kaylee.

Stopping the trafficking of souls is hard, but it's even harder when your father sets and enforces a strict curfew, sets up mandatory family dinners, and tries to make up for years of lost time all at once. How are you supposed to track down demon scum when your papa takes your keys?

I love Rachel's writing. I've said it before, and I'm saying it again. It rocks my fuzzy socks off. I love how detailed Kaylee's world is, how no question about it goes unanswered. Everything feels very complete.

Kaylee has made some wonderful progress personally, and I was glad to see it. She's taking bean sidhe lessons from Harmony Hudson (I love that name), Nash's mom, to harness her wail and make it work for her, rather than the other way around

The Netherworld was completely creepy and cool and I loved getting glimpses of it. As nervous as it made me having Kaylee there, I wanted her to stay longer so I could see more of the wonders it held. Okay, yeah, so she almost died.... but maybe later?

All in all, I loved the book. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

4 out of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #23

literati_rain66 Sunday, January 23, 2011
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

Well, this is going to be an annoyingly big post, because I've been completely lazy and haven't done an IMM post since around Christmas. I have a big problem remembering what day of the week it is. Also, my hubby volunteered to display my books for me, but then got all shy when the time came. Make sure you give him some comment love and let him know that he did a good job. (Even if his football game distracted him) ;-)

These past few weeks I've gotten:

From Catie (Thanks Catie!!) over at Book Bound:
Matched, by Ally Condie (signed)
The Lost Saint, by Bree Despain (signed)
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner (signed)
Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (signed)
Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick

From Sandy (Thanks Sandy!!) over at Scribing Shadows:
We Hear The Dead, by Dianna K. Salerni

From my hubby for my birthday:
Going Bovine, by Libba Bray
Police Procedure & Invenstigation: A Guide For Writers, by Lee Lofland
Forensics: A Guide For Writers, by D. P. Lyle, M.D.

From my hubby for Christmas:
Last Sacrifice, by Richelle Mead
Matched, by Ally Condie

Won a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate From Angela over at Reading Angel:
The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of Dust City, by Robert Paul Weston
ARC of Pushing Past the Night: A Memoir, by Mario Calabresi
ARC of Red Moon Rising, by Peter Moore
ARC of Death Cloud, by Andrew Lane
ARC of After The Golden Age, by Carrie Vaughn
Pieta, by William Zink
ARC of Witches on the Road Tonight, by Sheri Holman
ARC of A Lonely Death, by Charles Todd

For Review (Not pictured because I had them in a separate pile and forgot to have him display them for me):
Kevin's Point of View, by Del Shannon
Zan-Gah, by Allan Richard Shickman
Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country, by Allan Richard Shickman

What did you get?

Really Ravishing Review (Kevin's Point of View)

literati_rain66 Wednesday, January 19, 2011 ,
Kevin's Point of ViewReview of Kevin's Point of View, by Del Shannon. (Awesome last name, by the way)

Quickie: A fun middle grade adventure. Perfect for a boy (or girl) needing an escape from the world for a bit.

Full: Kevin Tobin has lost his father. Kevin is only twelve years old and the loss of his father has left him lost and wandering, trying to make sense of his father's death and life without him. It's too much, too fast for poor Kevin, so he utilizes the only weapon he has- his imagination. He escapes his reality by creating multiple personas, usually a superhero or ship captain or some other very capable person. With these personas he can take on the world. The problem is that sometimes the world doesn't need to be taken on, and this lands him in trouble... or the front lawn when he jumps out of the bathroom window naked. His mother is at a loss and his sister is a typical older sister, involved in her own life and disinterested in her dorky little brother.

Kevin's whole world changes when a strange package arrive at his door, addressed to him- sort of. The address was marred and the original writing isn't complete, but the postman assumed it was meant for Kevin. Inside this mysterious box is something even more mysterious: a remote-like device with blinking lights and "Influxitron" lettered on the side. Being a twelve year old boy with a big imagination, Kevin of course hits one of the buttons... and blows a hole through his bedroom wall. He calls his best friend Tony over and thus starts their adventure.

The boys are intercepted on their way to camp by men in black vans, who apparently have no problem hurting even killing two children if need be. With the help of Kevin's alternate personalities, Tony, and a few extra folks, Kevin must keep the Influxitron out of the hands of the wrong people, discover its purpose, and of course, not die.

What a cute story. Kevin was adorable and funny and I wish I could have seen him when he was being Captain Disaster.

The story of the Influxitron was interesting and sinister and a wonderful element to the story. Kevin was cute, but the mystery of the Influxitron was what kept me reading. I wish I could talk more about the Influxitron itself, but I won't spoil you.  It was very cool, and definitely something to think about. Also, very powerful and definitely scary.

The ending has a delightful twist that I highly doubt you will expect. There is a convenient opening for a sequel, and I hope there is one. I wouldn't mind spending more time with the Tobin family and seeing more of the Influxitron and its mysteries.

Lots of action and plenty of adventure, I especially recommend this book to younger readers. Particularly boys, but girls will love it too.

4 out of 5 stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Eternal Kiss of Darkness)

literati_rain66 Monday, January 17, 2011 ,
Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World, Book 2) Review of Eternal Kiss of Darkness, by Jeaniene Frost.

Quickie: Such a sweet, romantic story, even if one of the characters is a creepy old guy.

Full: I've always kind of liked Mencheres. Call me crazy, but he's cool in that creepy-old-dude-with-too-much-power-for-his-own-good kind of way. He's always been one of the most interesting and mysterious characters in the Night Huntress world, and I was really glad to get a insiders look at him.

Mencheres is old. Really, really old. He claims to be older than dirt, and in his case, it's nearly true. He's a Master Vampire and has an unprecedented amount of power. (You learn this in the Cat and Bones books, but you really get a taste for the vastness of his power in Eternal Kiss of Darkness.) Being so old and living through so much has made Mencheres tired. His visions of the future have dried up and all he sees is darkness looming. His centuries-old war with Radjedef, another powerful vamp has been rekindled and Mencheres knows this will be their final battle.

Mencheres has something sinister planned to thwart Radjedef, when in walks Kira, gun drawn. Kira is a human, who chances upon Mencheres and a group of ghouls as they are tearing Mencheres to bits. Kira calls the police, but before they get there, Kira is fatally wounded by the ghouls. Mencheres is touched by her bravery- a human saving his life. He swoops her up and flies her away before the police can see them and takes her back to one of his houses to heal her. He plans to heal her body, erase her memory of him and his kind, and return to normal. But things don't go exactly according to plan.

Suddenly Mencheres and Kira find themselves on the run from Radjedef and his powerful allies, and amidst all the terror and confusion, they might even find love.

I'll say it outright- I love Jeaniene's books. The romances are always slow and passionate but not excessive or obnoxious.

Mencheres has always fascinated me, and I wanted to know his history. I got that wish fulfilled in Eternal Kiss of Darkness. (yay!) Melissa Marr has said that you never really know the full story until you see it from multiple points of view, and that point is proven here. In the Night Huntress novels we see Mencheres as Cat sees him- old, intimidating, and cold. But that's just how one person views him, and it's completely different from how Kira sees him, which is guarded, but gentle and good and loving.

Kira. Loved her! She was smart, funny, and able to kick serious butt without being manly. She was a woman and not afraid to say so. I can't help but love heroines like her!

4 out of 5 stars.

Absolutely Arbitrary Aardvark (The Boys Next Door)

literati_rain66 Friday, January 14, 2011 ,
The Boys Next Door (Simon Romantic Comedies)Review of The Boys Next Door, by Jennifer Echols. 

(Confession: This has nothing to do with aardvarks. I was at a loss for an appropriate alliteration. So sue me.) (And thank you Maria for helping me with the Absolutely Arbitrary part.) (Yes, all I came up with was Aardvark.)

Quickie: Cute, light romantic comedy, but too superficial for me.

Full: Lori is trying to break free. She's been a tomboy all of her life, surrounded by her brother's three guy friends, wearing their hand-me-downs, and working with them at the marina. She wakeboards with them, has secret handshakes and knows every little thing about all of them. But to the boys, she's just Lori, McGillicuddy's little sister. (McGillicuddy is Lori and Bill's (her brother) last name. But everyone calls Bill McGillicuddy because it's more fun) She's not a girl, not a real one anyway. Not the kind with voluptuous chests and giggles and mascara.

Lori is tired of being the tag-a-long little sister, she's ready to be noticed as an available female. In particular, she wants Sean to notice her. She chooses tops that best display her cleavage, she attempts impractical shoes and accessories, and even tries out mascara. She giggles and flirts and takes an extra long time chewing her chicken salad sandwich in hopes that Sean will happen by and be swept away by her feminine charms... except it doesn't really work that way.

Adam, Sean's younger brother is Lori's best friend. They grew up together, they're next door neighbors, and he looks almost exactly like Sean. But he's not Sean and he's not what Lori has her sights set on. Besides, Adam has a girlfriend and come on, he's Adam.

Except that one night at a party Adam and Lori discover Sean making out with Adam's girlfriend.... Uh ohhh!! Punches abound and the brothers are pitted against each other.

Lori sees this as a golden opportunity. Adam wants his girlfriend back, right? And Lori wants Sean to see that she's girlfriend material. So what could be more brilliant than making Sean notice Lori and making Adam's girlfriend jealous at the sane time?! Lori convinces Adam to be her fake boyfriend, so they can rub their adoration in Sean and Rachel's (Adam's ex) faces. Ha! Take that!

When I was reading this, I loved it. As I neared the end, I loved it less. The writing was fun and bouncy and definitely how a teen would be thinking. I laughed a lot and enjoyed it. But the story itself was predictable (which is, well, predictable, since it's a romantic comedy) and a bit too shallow for my tastes. I remember the days when I thought that looks really were everything. It's a phase nearly every teen goes through. I thought that if only I had the perfect outfit, the perfect makeup, the perfect hair, the perfect skin, teeth, nails, backpack, and so on that I could be noticed. I identified with Lori and her quest to become the epitome of feminine perfection. But I've got news for you- it's just not possible, nor is it what matters.

Maybe I'm just too old for this book, but the schemes Lori came up with made my stomach flop. I remember girls in my school doing that sort of thing, I probably did it too. But it seems so stupid. Playing games with people's lives and hearts seems like such a dangerous thing to do. Too dangerous.

Her affections for Sean also had me yelling at her in my mind. How could she like him?? What on earth did she see in him? I understand that you're supposed to be rooting for "the other guy" but I thought that Sean should have at least a few good qualities. To me, he was just a bit fat meanie head and Lori was pretty stupid to think he was The One For Her.

I did enjoy the writing and the humor, but the story just wasn't up to par. I wanted something more- some deeper connection between the characters.

I do plan to read more of Echols, I know many readers who enjoy her work. But this particular book wasn't a big splash for me.

3 1/2 stars out of 5.

Really Ravishing Review (Darkest Mercy)

literati_rain66 Thursday, January 13, 2011 ,
Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely)
Review of Darkest Mercy, by Melissa Marr.

Warning: This is a biased review. I adore Melissa and all her books. Also, there are spoilers from the previous 4 books. You've been warned. Please read Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity and Radiant Shadows before you read this review, unless of course you don't mind being spoiled. In which case... carry on.

Quickie: The ultimate ending. Dark, delicious, heart-wrenching and lovely.

Full: As most all of you know, I'm a huge, huge fan of Melissa's. I had the honor and privilege of reading an ARC of Darkest Mercy and I'm here to review it for you.

I actually read this book months ago, but it's taken me this long to get up the nerve to write about it. It was breath-taking. The title and cover are exquisite and the story is phenomenal. It releases February 22nd, so mark your calendars!!

Excerpt from the top of the ARC: In the thrilling conclusion to Wicked Lovely, love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts and engulf Aislinn, Keenan, Seth, Donia, and Niall. In the final conflict, some will win... and some will lose everything.

Bananach has been busy. She's been sticking her talons into everyone's business, directing and manipulating their lives to coincide with her machinations. War is coming. There is no doubt. Keenan is missing and Aislinn has been thrust solo into her rule of the Summer Court. Irial was stabbed by Bananach and infused with poison. He is unresponsive. Niall is a mess, his temper unchecked and spiraling out of control. All of this... and a war is coming. Sides must be chosen, alliances must be formed. But how can they when there is so much unrest and mistrust?

Darkest Mercy was amazing. Truly amazing. Like many endings, it was fraught with sadness, but also with hope. It left me in tears but with a light heart. The romantic issues between Seth, Aislinn, Keenan, and Donia are resolved. Some folks may not love how it was resolved, but I thought it was perfect and I think it's for the best. Honestly, the fact that Melissa stays true to her character's personality is part of the reason I love these books so much. Sometimes they act stupidly, or in unflattering ways. But it's real, it's honest, it's believable and genuine. I love how Melissa challenges the "good person / bad person" storyline. In her books, the people are just people. There are some people who do more bad than good, and vice versa. But other than Bananach -I cannot think of a good deed to her name- everyone is multi-dimensional and partly good, partly not as good. I think it's fantastic. In real life, even the people who are exceptionally "good" still have ugly parts to them. It's just how it is, and I love how Melissa recognizes that.

I hope you read Melissa's books. She's a fantastic author and inspiring person.

5 out of 5 fangirly stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Matched)

literati_rain66 Monday, January 10, 2011 , ,
MatchedReview of Matched,  by Ally Condie. 

Quickie: A thoughtful, beautifully written new dystopian.

Full: Cassia is beside herself with excitement; her Match Banquet is tonight! She gets to wear a special gown and eat special food and she'll find out who her Match is. The Society has paired her and her peers off with the perfect person for them each, based on data and numbers and statistics. It's an infallible system. Or is it? A fluke on her microcard filled with information about her match causes her to see people -and her world- in an entirely different light.

Cassia is also upset about her grandfather's impending death. He's reached the age limit for the Society; eighty years old. Studies have shown that quality of life declines after your eightieth birthday, so to spare everyone that misery the Society schedules everyone's life to end on that day.

The Society has ultimate say in every aspect of your life. They give you food that is calculated to be exactly what your body needs to live, no more, no less. You cannot share your food, you must eat it when and where they say. You wear the same clothes as everybody else, you partake in activities only with the Society's permission. Literally everything from your birth to your death is planned out to perfection.

Of all the things that saddened and worried me in Matched, the "Hundreds" were the worst. The Society decided a while back that really people only needed a hundred of everything- a hundred songs, a hundred poems, a hundred histories. If something didn't make it into the cut, it was destroyed. Books, music... entire libraries and collections simply incinerated forever. Lost. I just about cried.

Cassia is content with her world. She's safe, she's happy... but that fluke on her microcard still bothers her. Why was it there? It must be a mistake... right? Through the fluke and her grandfather's death, Cassia's eyes are opened and she's no longer sure that her world is what it seems.

I thoroughly enjoyed Matched. There was a lot of build up and hype about it in the blogging world, and I feel that it was justified. It's one of those books that sticks with you and you find yourself reflecting on it at the oddest moments.

I've heard some people say that the felt the story was slow, or they couldn't get into it until the second half. That wasn't the case for me. The writing pulled me in instantly. It was beautiful and fluid and I was happy to be carried along by it. While it's true that the action didn't really pick up until the second half, the world building and emotional aspect of the first half was important and interesting.

Matched is a perfect candidate for a book club or classroom discussion. In my opinion, it's the closest a dystopian YA has come to what our future really might hold for us. No, I don't believe it will actually go that far, but it's fascinating to look at our culture and lives and see how this sort of world could come about. The really scary thing is that I can see the logic behind it all, I can see the allure. But it's absolutely terrifying.

Kudos, Condie. I thought Matched was great.

4 out of 5 stars.

Only One Opinion (Aeroplane Child)

literati_rain66 Saturday, January 8, 2011 ,
Review of the children's book Aeroplane Child, by Larry Don Cornell Sr.

Toddler Reaction: He liked the bright, colorful drawings, but he quickly lost interest in the text. The words didn't make a lot of sense to him and it was obvious he wasn't listening to the story. After his initial exclamation of "Airplane!" when he saw the cover, he got bored and found something else to do.

Mommy Reaction: I was looking forward to reading Aeroplane Child with my son, since he loves to watch his daddy fly RC airplanes. Sadly though, I was not impressed with this book. The marker drawings were cute and bright, but the words were a jumble. A lot of the times it seemed as though the author thought of every rhyming word he could and put them all in one sentence, whether or not they made sense. I had a hard time following any real story line, as the rhyming words overpowered anything else that could have been there. It's also important to me that a children's book have correct spelling, punctuation,  and proper grammar, which this book did not. I'm afraid that I can't say I loved this book, but I will post some quotes for you so that you can make up your own mind about it.

"The aeroplane child is precis and it is nice to heist the slice of sky. And by and by you can't get to high. The air thermos takes you to the next levels just like bevels in the gravels in the pebbles to up hovels and revels to get your shovels and travels away for your troubles." Page 29, Aeroplane Child

"As the aeroplane child is perched on a cloud. Looking like the clouds is endowed and proud in their white color. Loud with thunder and shroud with light. That the crowd is all over the child gourd for the rest of the day. Proud and cloud goes up into a loud place." Page 35, Aeroplane Child

"The flying machine that streams to the dreams and reams to the breams that cream the regimes on the team behind the scene gleams to the hems and the airstream by the beams of gravity Weems the air machine back to the dream." Page 37, Aeroplane Child

Really Ravishing Review (Last Sacrifice)

literati_rain66 Monday, January 3, 2011 ,
Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Book 6)Review of Last Sacrifice, by Richelle Mead. 

WARNING: Spoilers for the Vampire Academy books 1-5!!! Don't read this review unless you've read the first 5 books! 

Quickie: Perfect.

Full: Really. It was perfect. Or as perfect as it could be. Last Sacrifice was one of the most satisfying conclusions to a series that I've ever read.

Rose Hathaway is in jail for the murder of Queen Tatiana, the ruler of the entire Moroi world. Rose is set to go to trial soon, and if convicted, she'll be executed. And there is no doubt in anyone's mind that she is guilty. After all, she was openly hostile with the Queen and all the evidence points to her. The only people not cheering for Rose's death are her friends, Lissa, Christian, Adrien, Dimitri, Tasha, her Alchemist friend Sydney, a few guardians she's befriended, and of course her parents. That sounds like a good number... but when you're looking at the entire Moroi population.... the numbers really aren't good.

An opportunity presents itself to Rose, and she soon finds herself on the run... from everyone. Not only is she running from the guardians -who have been instructed to shoot on sight- but from the human police as well. She's had to leave all her friends and her parents behind at Court to try to find new evidence to clear Rose's name, and it's killing her. She's only running, hiding, not helping and doing something active. For a girl like Rose, it's just another form of torture.

Adding to the torture is the fact that her accomplice in this whole escapade is - you guessed it- Dimitri. Her old flame. The man who loved her, the man who made her skin tingle and her heart race. The man who almost killed her when he was turned Strigoi. After he was brought back and healed by Lissa, Dimitri told Rose he didn't want to see her again. Ouch. It's been rocky and strange, but Rose moved on. What else could she do? Dimitri refused to see her. Rose has been with Adrian for some time, but Adrian had to stay back at Court. So the only option for a traveling companion is Dimitri.

Quickly, Rose and Dimitri fall back into their comfortable pattern. When fights break out, they've got each other's back. They know immediately what the other is thinking and what the other will do. They're back in sync. And maybe even... back in love? No. That can't be. Rose is with Adrian, and Dimitri made his feelings clear. He doesn't want Rose.

Armed with a scrap of paper from Tatiana, their wits, and Rose's friend Sydney's special Alchemist knowledge, they must dig up enough evidence to clear Rose's name, solidify Lissa's standing on the Council, and hopefully not die.

Perfect isn't a word I throw around lightly, not for books. I have fierce love for many, many books. But as I closed the cover of Last Sacrifice and mulled over the whole thing, only one word came to mind- Perfect. It was everything I hoped for and more. The clock was ticking and things were happening and I couldn't put it down. I dreamed that I was on the run with Rose and Dimitri. (It was a pretty intense dream, let me tell you!)

The characters that I've grown to love through the series I loved even more as I read Last Sacrifice. It was a pleasure to get to spend more time with them all.

5 out of 5 stars.

Literati's Literary Loves (The Highlights of 2010)

literati_rain66 Saturday, January 1, 2011
Yesterday I posted the list of all the books I read in 2010, and a blogger friend of mine, Unfinished Person, asked if I was going to post my favorites. What a good idea! So I've gone through and pulled out my favorites. What were some of your favorites this year? Tell me in a comment!

Glass Houses - Rachel Caine. This was a favorite because it started me on the entire Morganville series.  I was pleasantly creeped out and it was just a great read.

The Splendor Falls - Rosemary Clement-Moore. I loved this one. I'm a sucker for mysteries involving history- especially small town-kept under wraps-ghost story history. 

Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead. Heh. This is one that I actually put off for quite some time, because I have a bit of a rebellious streak and it seemed like everyone was reading it. Well, as it turns out, there was a reason that everyone was reading it... it was great! 

Pride - Rachel Vincent. This book made me so angry! (In a good way) The characters whom I loved were getting such unfair treatment! I was outraged. I had to keep putting it down, but then I had to pick it up almost immediately because I just had to know how things were going to work out. 

Skin Game - Ava Gray. This one sticks out because a good friend of mine, Tiger Holland, gave this to me. Ava Gray is a pen name for Anne Aguirre, and this book was fabulous. Thank you to Tiger for getting me started on Ava Gray/Anne Aguirre!!

First Drop of Crimson - Jeaniene Frost. I love Jeaniene's books. Plain and simple.

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein. My sister got this for me for my birthday. It made me cry. Such a sweet story. It's told from the dog's point of view, and you see everything that happens to his human and his family through their loyal companion's eyes. 

Fire - Kristin Cashore. Do you ever just feel passionate about a book? I felt passionate about Fire. I was blown away by it. It was actually original and so very well written. *happy reader sighs*

The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong. I devoured this book. And all the rest of them. Easy reads, sure, but I love the "secret agency who is up to no good" story, and this didn't disappoint. 

Magic Bleeds - Ilona Andrews. All I have to say about this one (and readers will understand) is.... FINALLLY!!

Son of the Shadows - Juliet Marillier. I read the first of this series about 8 years ago and loved it. I've been meaning to read Son of the Shadows ever since, but it always got upstaged by a library book or something. I finally read it though, and it was fantastic. I bough the next one, and I plan to read it this year. 

White Cat - Holly Black. This one is memorable not only because it was an outstanding story, but I loved it so much that I named my own white cat Lila. (And I'm absolutely itching to read Red Glove!!!)

Stork ARC - Wendy Delsol. This book is (so far) the only ARC I've actually requested. I was browsing the Candlewick catalogue and the description caught my eye. Loved the story, and loved getting to interview Wendy as well! (Thanks Wendy!) 

Prophecy of the Sisters - Michelle Zink. Mmm. Again with the creepy history element that I love. Plus, the evil sister? Totally awesome.

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver. Ah. Yes, this one. It's one of those books that makes you stop and really think about life, your choices, and the impact of every single choice you make. It was exactly what I needed to read right then. 

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins. How can this not go on the list? It was the hottest topic on the blogosphere for months! I had mine pre-ordered long before it crossed most peoples' minds, and when it arrived at my door I took pictures. (Yep, I'm a geek) I say again, it was the only way it could end, and it was perfect.

Alpha - Rachel Vincent. *Nerd squee* Amazing, amazing, amazing! Talk about an excellent end to an excellent series. I want to write like Rachel!

First Grave on the Right ARC- Darynda Jones. This one makes the list because it was an unexpectedly good find. The humor was right up my alley. 

Bayou Moon - Ilona Andrews. Does Ilona Andrews ever not deliver?? Bayou Moon defies words. Just read it.

Darkest Mercy ARC - Melissa Marr. Flibbidyjibber. *speechless* So. Good. 

Strings Attached ARC - Judy Blundell. Another unexpectedly good find. Again, I loved the history, the mystery, and the "holy cow what's she going to do next!" feel.

Last Sacrifice - Richelle Mead. Perfect. My full review on this will be posted later this week. But this one absolutely makes the list. It was all I could have asked for.

So, what made your list? What books stood out for you? Looking back over my list, I realize that many great series ended in 2010. And they all went out with a bang. Kudos, authors. You made my reading year a fantastic one. What's in store for 2011? I don't know, but I know it will be good!