Top 10 List: Abigail’s Paranormal Picks for 2011

January 14, 2011 Uncategorized 18

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You can read all the previous Top 10 Lists HERE

Abigail’s Paranormal Picks for 2011

There are a lot of paranormal titles coming out in 2011 (around 600 so far that I know of).  I’ll be lucky if I get to read half that many (realistically I’m shooting for 200).  But there are a handful that I’ve been rabidly waiting for.  I’m going to omit the titles already released so far this year (Secrets of the Demon by Diana Rowland and Taken By The Other by Jess Haines would have made this list otherwise) and list my Top 10 Paranormal Picks for 2011.  Julia will be posting her Top 10 List tomorrow.
#10 Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
May 3, 2011
Shift (Shade, #2)
Description:

Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.
Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.
As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.

I was blown away by SHADE last year (read my review) calling it “a character driven ghost story with all the emotional resonance and bittersweet romance to make this impressive YA debut a must read for book lovers of all ages.”  I’ve been looking forward to the sequel ever since.  The cover may be disappointing, but I’m betting the story is going to be anything but.
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March 15, 2011
Description:

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.
When Violet Ambrose’s morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who’ve been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. She is reluctantly pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret…but her relationship and possibly her life as well.

THE BODY FINDER was another surprise read from last year (read my review) and earned a perfect 5/5 rating from me: “The love story here is tender and sweet, the threat pulsepounding and terrifying, and the supernatural elements utterly believable.  The Body Finder surprised me in the best possible way; it didn’t exceed my expectations, it shattered them.”  After a debut like that, this follow up has a lot to live up to. 
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Description:

They’re here, and they’re real…werewolves, vampires, mages, and other creatures of the night. For New York P.I. Shiarra Waynest, taking care of Others business started out as a way to stay solvent. But now business is getting very, very complicated…
Shiarra’s relationship with sexy werewolf Chaz may be somewhat unconventional. Still, after a few bumps, Shia is finally ready to get serious. That means meeting family–or in this case, bringing Chaz’s entire werewolf pack along for a rollicking full-moon weekend in the Catskills.
Soon after they arrive, threatening notes appear, warning Chaz to go home. Then their cabin is ransacked. Shia starts digging to find out whether it’s the work of upstart teenaged werewolves or something more sinister. Yet as rumors about her vampire connections arouse the pack’s hostility, Shia has to contend with other dangers. Not just from an adversary about to make his fatal intentions known, but from a threat that’s even closer than she knows…

This will be the second release for Jess this year in her H&W; Investigations series (read my review of HBTO & TBTO) which means I’m twice as happy. “Pure fun.  That’s was Jess gave us with HUNTED BY THE OTHERS and that’s what’s she’s delivers in the follow up, TAKEN BY THE OTHERS. Well, that and nonstop action, some of the best romantic tension in urban fantasy, and a heroine who just gets better with every book.” Is it any wonder I’m dying to read the next one? And the one after that? And the one after that…?
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#7 Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
July 12, 2011
Wolfsbane (Nightshade, #2)
Description:

Betrayal, loss, pain, fear. How many trials can love endure and still survive?
Alpha wolf Calla Tor forges an alliance with her masters’ enemies and tries to rescue her pack from imprisonment in Vail

Apart from the fact that NIGHHTSHADE had one of the coolest book campaigns ever, and award winning cover art, the story itself was killer (read my review)! “I ended staying up all night completely consumed by this bewitching novel that reads like a combination between Richelle Meade’s Vampire Academy series and the Underworld movies.” The cliffhanger ending in NIGHTSHADE was infamous (and the teeniest bit cruel), but it served it’s purpose as I’m already franticly trying to get a copy of WOLFSBANE.
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#6 The Hour of Dust and Ashes by Kelly Gay
August 30, 2011
Description: N/A
A bit of a wait still for this one (hence no description), the Charlie Madigan series is so good I don’t really need one (read my review of book #1, and review of book #2).  I recently even named Hank my favorite new UF hero and this is the first time we actually get to see him on the cover! “Strong characters, a believable world, and solid romantic tension.  That’s what I want in an urban fantasy and that’s what Kelly continues to deliver in her gritty, creative, and infinitely readable Charlie Madigan series. THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS was excellent and THE DARKEST EDGE OF DAWN is even better.” What that means for THE HOUR OF DUST AND ASHES? …I can’t wait to find out.
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#5 Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
July 12, 2011
Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)
Description:

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater
In Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

“I can count on one hand the number of books that I have physically clasped to my chest upon finishing. As if by that action I could keep that feeling in my heart forever.  SHIVER is now one of those books.” Yeah, I loved that book beyond words (read my review).   And then she followed it up with LINGER, “SHIVER touched my soul and LINGER reminded me why. The timeless and pure love story between Sam and Grace beats through every page of LINGER. Romantic, tragic, and hopeful in turn. LINGER is the kind of story that, well, lingers with a deliciously bittersweet ache.” (read my review). FOREVER is the concluding book in the The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy and I honesty it will end up being one of my all time favorite series in any genre.
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#4 River Marked by Patricia Briggs
March 1, 2011
Description:

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.
An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…

It really doesn’t get better than Mercy Thompson. Many series lost steam after a few books, but with five books so far, this series has only gotten better. This was the series responsible for getting me hooked on UF and it’s still the one I measure all other books against.  “Everything I’ve loved about the previous books are here again [in SILVER BORNE].  Mercy is just plain cool.  She is laid back, resilient, tough without being pushy, and brave enough to risk her life for those she loves.  I know RIVER MARKED doesn’t need my hype, but it’s getting it anyway.
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#3 Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield
March 1, 2011
Aftertime
Okay, so I know I already reviewed this one, but AFTERTIME rocked my face off, which is actually a really apt description since zombies do literally eat peoples faces in this book.  If you like zombies, read this book.  If you don’t like zombies, read this book. “It’s shocking, and heartbreaking, and so beyond words awesome that my love for zombies has reached an all new high…AFTERTIME is hands down the best zombie book I’ve read all year.  Hide your wife, hide your kids, and hide your husbands ‘cause they eating everybody out here.  Seriously.” (read my review).  Go. Buy. Read.
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#2 Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
June 2011
Description:

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.
So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .

As much as I love Mercy Thompson, after reading MAGIC BLEEDS, I officially dubbed Kate Daniels the perfect urban fantasy heroine. “Ilona and Gordon have done what few authors have done before: They’ve taken a beloved series, ripped its guts out, nearly destroyed its main character, and given their fans something infinitely precious: a series that, instead of slowing down, has just been given its second wind. Kate Daniels is better than ever.”  I was tempted to name this my #1 pick for 2011, but first or second, a new Kate Daniels book is not to be missed.
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#1 Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
January 18, 2011
Shadowfever (Fever, #5) 
Description:

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.
What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh — a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.
In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves. Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?
From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world… or destroy it.

I’m not alone in naming the final book in Karen Marie Moning’s MacKayla Lane/Fever series, SHADOWFEVER, my top pick for 2011, and with good reason. “…Near perfect urban fantasy (and yes, it is more urban fantasy than paranormal romance). A chilling mystery, a darkly seductive enigmatic love interest with questionable character, in a terrifying yet alluring world full of both scary and seductive fey. I am dying to devour the other books in the Fever series and be devoured in return.”  After four books, I still feel that way.  I’m sad to see this series end, but I know it’s going to go out with a bang bigger than any of us could have predicted.
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Honorable mentions:

There are a handful of other titles slated for release this year that either don’t have titles or covers, but that doesn’t mean I want them any less:

  • UNTITLED DOWNSIDE #4 by Stacia Kane
  • MY LIFE AS A WHITETRASH ZOMBIE by Diana Rowland
  • IF I DIE (Soul Screamers #5) by Rachel Vincent
  • BLOOD BOUND by Rachel Vincent
  • UNTITLED VAMPIRE EMPIRE #2 by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith

18 Responses to “Top 10 List: Abigail’s Paranormal Picks for 2011”

  1. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    Spinecraker – Trust me, it wasn't easy :)

    Avery – a lot of great series are ending in 2011 too, FOREVER, DARKEST MERCY, SHADOWFEVER…A good year, but it'll be sad for 2012.

    Jess – That was an easy call. I love the H&W; Investigation series!

  2. Awesomesauce Book Club

    Awesome picks!! Those would be some of mine too. Shift, River Marked, Desires of the Dead, and Forever. I just recieved Nightshade so I might be adding Wolsbane.

  3. Anonymous

    Hi, Abigail! I was wondering if you've had the chance to start on Shadowfever yet. I finally got started on it and I expected to finish it in one sitting (like I did all the others!) but I don't want it to end so I am reading it a couple of chapters at a time LOL – anyway, looking forward to what you think about it! – A Nocturnal Bookworm

  4. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    Nocturnal Bookworm – No, I haven't started it yet & it's killing me! I'm part of a book tour for it and my copy isn't here yet…Hopefully today or tomorrow :) My review is scheduled for Jan 31st along with a giveaway.

  5. Wings

    i am just getting into Mercy Thompson and the Fever series myself…mercy thompson took a little while to warm up for me but now i love it! must get the next few books so i can be ready for rivermarked…is it the last one?

  6. Portugal

    I have loved this series since page 1! Where else can you get a story located in whimsical, magic filled Ireland with a main character that breaks out of every stereo-type imaginable!?! It was a great change to read a book that you couldn't see what was going to happen next! Amazing depth of characters, twists and surprises!