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Vampire Book Club’s Best Books of 2011

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VBC Best Books of 2011It’s that time again. I spent far too much time attempting to whittle down the 100+ books reviewed on VBC this year to the absolute best. So, as those Amazon and B&N gift cards start rolling in, just use this list as your shopping guide. I personally promise the extreme awesomeness of all the novels listed below.

Also, at the very end you’ll see the VBC Readers’ Choice winner (which allowed me to leave it off the main list). That book pick won by a large margin. Given its ties to the Alpha Showdown, I’m not surprised. At all.

BODY OF SIN (OTHERKIN #4)
Author: Eve Silver

Body of Sin a harrowing journey of self-sacrifice, transformation and love set to the backdrop of Egyptian mythology. The plot is gripping, the characters are endearing and the writing offers powerful visuals. Those who have read the earlier Otherkin novels may think they’ve picked a favorite character. You’re wrong. It is impossible not to be drawn to Lokan. Even in his confusion about who and what he is, he always has his priorities straight with Dana and Bryn at the top.

Also, you can read this one as a standalone, though I highly suggest reading the prior three novels.

Get more: VBC review of Body of Sin and a letter from Lokan
Purchase: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon

BLOOD RIGHTS (House of Comarré #1)
Author: Kristen Painter

Kristen Painter has taken the familiar — vampires, crazy nobility, outcast mentality — and has given us something entirely new in her House of Comarré series. The tension between her hero and heroine is palpable and its intensity brings to mind Chicagoland Vampires’ Ethan and Merit.

Polarizing characters, murder, magic and the need for independence bring Blood Rights to another level. Expect this one to grab hold, pull you to the edge of your seat and leave you, jaw agape, begging for more.

Get more: VBC review of Blood Rights and its sequel Flesh and Blood
Purchase: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon

PALE DEMON (The Hollows #9)
Author: Kim Harrison

Rachel, Jenks, Ivy and Trent go on a road trip… yes, Pale Demon offers up the supernatural version of the Great American Road Trip. It’s funny and poignant with crazy plot twists and plenty of action.

Pale Demon is impressive in that nine books in Rachel Morgan has grown a crazy amount and we love her all the more. The plot twists were perfectly placed and the darkness always balanced with just the right amount of pixy swearing to lighten the mood. Sometimes longer series lose their relevance and core connection, but Pale Demon does just the opposite. If nothing else, it further invigorates the series and characters. We have no clue where Harrison will take the series next but we’re already dying for more.

Get more: Read the VBC spoiler-free review of Pale Demon
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon

Hounded by Kevin HearneTHE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES – HOUNDED, HEXED AND HAMMERED (rapid release)
Author: Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan is a 2,100 year-old druid. He’s mortal, but by learning magic and making nice with a goddess or two, he’s managed to avoid death. He has fused iron to his aura protecting him from all but the biggest and baddest fae and gods. He can still die, which is why he’s spent centuries staying away from an old Irish love god. He has an ancient item that could help bring about war, and he’d sure like to keep it in his possession. But what happens when the gods start taking up sides and place Atticus, his dog, the local werewolves and his new life in Tempe, Arizona, in the middle? Bloody battles, colluding with potential enemies and working with and against witches to stay alive.

Hounded offers fresh twists on magic and mythology that demand attention and will leave you grinning.

Get more: VBC review of Hounded and Hexed
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon

BLOOD OF THE WICKED (Dark Mission #1)
Author: Karina Cooper

A beautiful blend of darkness, love and acceptance, Blood of the Wicked goes to the top of my paranormal romance recommendations list. The writing is bone-deep with honesty and the action scenes crackle with tension and fury. Urban fantasy fans, if you’ve been avoiding paranormal romance, now’s the time to put a toe in. You will love this book.

Get more: VBC review of Blood of the Wicked
Purchase: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon

THE TAKER (Taker #1)
Author: Alma Katsu

Elements of magic, alchemy and immortality are at play in The Taker, but at its core it’s the story of a girl who learned too late that you can’t make someone love you back. Lanny’s tale is entrancing. At times this book reads much more like a historical than a paranormal, but I sank into this book. Prepare to be attached to every character, and have conflicting emotions about them all — especially Lanny, Adair and Jonathan. Love them. Hate them. Pity them.

The Taker was surprisingly dark and twisted, and yet beautiful and hopeful. It’s a journey, and you should take it.

Get more: VBC review of The Taker
Purchase: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon

The Renfield Syndrome by JA SaareTHE RENFIELD SYNDROME (Rhiannon’s Law #2)
Author: J.A. Saare

The Renfield Syndrome’s plot takes one crushing turn after another, each more surprising than the last. I never knew what was coming next, but continued to get my hopes up on Rhiannon’s behalf. The plot was clever and new. I can’t call it refreshing, because it’s very dark, but The Renfield Syndrome took me over. Captured by a heroine I love forced to grow amid terrible circumstances, I found myself increasingly involved with the plot.

Get more: VBC review of The Renfield Syndrome and its predecessor Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between
Purchase: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon

ENCLAVE (Razorland #1)
Author: Ann Aguirre

This book deserves to be on the list if only for the elegant way Ann Aguirre handled a girl seeing sunlight for the first time. Beautifully wrought tale of survival, questioning authority and how one choice can change your world.

It’s a harsh world, filled with sadness and shock. But the tale of Deuce and Fade’s survival, their relationship and their fight to stay human is utterly gripping. I read Enclave in a single sitting. Finished, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read it again or start counting the days until the next one. Love the characters, love the plot, love the sense of hope in desolation.

I should add that this isn’t a zombie book. Zombies may act as a catalyst for plot points, but Enclave is a dystopian novel.

Get more: VBC review of Enclave
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon

THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE (Night Huntress #5)
Author: Jeaniene Frost

With This Side of the Grave you may expect a curious encounter with a ghoul queen, an exciting reaction to new powers for Cat, lots of the undead, a bit of family drama and requisite time with Cat, Bones, Vlad and Mencheres. In other words, drama, mayhem and vampires. All the things you’ve come to love from Night Huntress novels.

Get more: VBC reviews of both 2011 Night Huntress books This Side of the Grave and One Grave at a Time and an interview with Jeaniene Frost
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon

THE IRON QUEEN (Iron Fey #3) and THE IRON KNIGHT (Iron Fey #4)
Author: Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen was the final book in Meghan Chase’s story, and it isn’t quite what you expect. And, honestly, that’s a great thing. I thought I knew how her story would end. I was wrong, but Julie Kagawa’s surprising moves in The Iron Queen are poignant and fitting for Meghan. She gives us what we need to close out this epic tale.

The Iron Knight by Julie KagawaBut Prince Ash’s story wasn’t over, and so Kagawa gave us his story in The Iron Knight. It was rousing and touching. It offered the great honesty we see in truly epic tales. Julie Kagawa made sure we’d see Ash’s soul. We’d understand him. And love him all the more for it. She also made me like Puck much more, which is a feat in and of itself. The quest takes on a heady nature toward the end, and once I hit two-thirds in, I was unable to put the book down.

Get more: VBC reviews of The Iron Knight and The Iron Queen
Purchase: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon

BLOOD BOUND (Unbound #1)
Author: Rachel Vincent

Blood Bound promises love with complications, breaking-and-entering, mystery and some kickass action sequences. Rachel Vincent contemplates the truth of promises and how one might exploit those oaths while simultaneously creating a fantastically unique new world. Fans of Jeaniene Frost and Carolyn Crane novels should pick up Blood Bound.

Get more: VBC review of Blood Bound
Purchase: Book Depository, Harlequin, B&N or Amazon

DIVERGENT (Divergent #1)
Author: Veronica Roth

Divergent isn’t about boy-meets-girl. It’s about a girl meeting herself, finally, accepting herself. And, as a subplot to that, there might be some awesome kissing. With a hot guy. The romance angle of the story helps to drive our understanding of Tris — both her past and who she wants to be.

Divergent gives us shining moments of strong character and will and showcases the link between bravery and selflessness. It will shock you with betrayals no one could see coming, and it will balance it with raw vulnerability and love.

Get more: VBC review of Divergent
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon

THE PRESIDENT’S VAMPIRE (Nathaniel Cade #2)
Author: Chris Farnsworth

It was easy to get swept up into the fast-paced story of espionage and a decades-long mission coming to a head. If you appreciate a good mystery, a brilliant take on the vampire and stellar writing, The President’s Vampire is a must.

Get more: VBC review of The President’s Vampire
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon

A BRUSH OF DARKNESS (Abby Sinclair #1)
Author: Allison Pang

Allison Pang strikes the perfect balance between a dark, edgy plot and laugh-out-loud moments. Readers will be shocked by a heavy emotional blow one moment and uplifted by snappy one-liners the next. It’s a hard thing to do well, and makes A Brush of Darkness a must for fans of Jeaniene Frost and Kim Harrison.

Get more: VBC review of A Brush of Darkness
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana RowlandMY LIFE AS A WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE (White Trash Zombie #1)
Author: Diana Rowland

Diana Rowland manages to make becoming a zombie a soul-searching event. The book is still filled with snarky dialogue and dark humor, but at its core its about a woman reinventing herself – with a big push from the undead.

Equally gross and heartwarming, disgusting and riveting, My Life as a White Trash Zombie is a clever read. If you like to see a flawed heroine pull herself back up, and can handle visceral imagery, it’s a brilliant book.

Get more: VBC review of My Life as a White Trash Zombie
Purchase: Book Depository, B&N or Amazon

VBC READERS’ CHOICE SELECTION: SHADOWFEVER (Fever #5)
Author: Karen Marie Moning

We’d all waited so long to find out just what Barrons was, who killed Mac’s sister and if our world could be saved from the crashing of the walls between the worlds. Shadowfever delivered there with stacks of twists to boot.

Shadowfever is intense. It’s not just that the stakes are high in this final book in the Fever series — Mac’s trying to save the world. And it’s not just many of the character’s all-or-nothing outlook. Each chapter of Shadowfever ratchets up the stakes. Just when you think you have an answer and something starts to go our way, it gets worse. There is nary a moment when readers will not be gripping the book thinking either “no way,” “oh my God” or “what?!”

Get more: Read the VBC review of Shadowfever and see Barrons take the Alpha Showdown 2011 title (and don’t miss out on the related reward)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon

Now, for your reward for reading to the end: a giveaway! Three winners will get their choice of one book featured on our Best Books of 2011 list. Open internationally. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to be entered. Contest ends at Nov. 30.


One Night More by Mandy Baxter

38 Responses to “Vampire Book Club’s Best Books of 2011”

  1. Barbara A. says:

    I would like to have The Renfield Syndrome! Thanks!

  2. Tamara says:

    I’ve read most of those (excuse me while I daydream)and I’d love to have a chance to check the others out. Hopefully, soon.
    Vacation, this is your hint. Just saying.

  3. Tanisha says:

    I would love Hounded by Kearne. Thanks!

  4. Katherine says:

    I would like blood rights :)

  5. Lexi says:

    If Shadowfever had not made the VBC readers choice I would have been shocked. A good list, still a few on there in my TBR list I need to get around to!

  6. Na S. says:

    The Taker by Alma Katsu please.

  7. ML says:

    Pale Demon :)

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  8. kingraham321 says:

    I’d like to check out the “Druid Chronicles” please and thank you. I’ve read a lot of the books you recommend; you do such a great job of reviewing! (Not being a kiss-ass, just saying!) Now be a good little vampire and pick me!

  9. shannonB. says:

    Love your list…read a lot of these and several I would love to read. I seriously think my favorite book this year was The Renfield Syndrome. Of course I loved Shadowfever and several others, but I could not put down TRS. I would chose Hounded if I won!

  10. Jean S. says:

    Lots of good books on this list. My To-Be-Read pile is so huge! Tough choice to choose just one from this list, but I would choose A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang since I’ve heard so many good things about it.

  11. latisha depoortere says:

    Thank you so much great list my pick would be DIVERGENT heard so much about it would love to read it ! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  12. DeeF. says:

    So many choices, all great! If I have to pick just one, I would choose Blood Rights because you compared it to Chicagoland Vampires which I am enjoying tremendously. Thanks for the chance to win.

  13. DeeF. says:

    I follow VBC by email.

  14. Would love to get the Iron Queen :) Nice givaway

  15. Adriana C says:

    I have read only 6 of this books, I need to add some to my list.
    thanks!

  16. Amanda T says:

    I would like White Trash Zombie

  17. anya says:

    I really loved THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE! Books are crazy expensive here in the Philippines!
    Love your list!

  18. Sara says:

    Tough choice, but I think I would pick Blood Rights.

  19. Kristen Heyl says:

    I would love Pale Demon by Kim Harrison. I follow VBC via email.

  20. miki says:

    thanks you for this giveaway- i would choose blood bound or one of the iron fey serie

  21. Wilma says:

    This is a great giveaway, I choose the “Blood Bound” series book.

  22. Melliane says:

    thanks for this great giveaway!

  23. Helen says:

    Pale Demon

  24. Pam says:

    Thanks for such a great giveaway! It was a difficult decision having to choose just one. :)

  25. Katie says:

    I would really love to get alot of those books…. some i have but most i dont…if i had to pick one I guess it would be Blood Bound!

  26. Charli says:

    Thx for the giveaway. The Renfield Syndrome pls.

  27. Maria M says:

    As always great selection of books I am most interest to THE IRON QUEEN (Iron Fey #3) and THE IRON KNIGHT (Iron Fey #4):)

  28. Renee says:

    Is all they above an option?

  29. Great list of books. I would love to read either Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent (I love her first series) or Body of Sin by Eve Siler (sounds interesting).
    Thank you!

  30. Heather says:

    Love this site and always look forward to the “Best of” lists. I don’t know what I’d read without them!! Thank you

  31. Gryvon says:

    I would love Hexed by Kevin Hearne. I devoured Hounded. It was so good.

  32. Karla says:

    I would love to win Blood Bound or Enclave. They sound amazing.

  33. Carly says:

    a brush of darkness sounds like a good one to own (only because I already have shadowfever:)

  34. DeAnna says:

    I would love to win A BRUSH OF DARKNESS (Abby Sinclair #1)
    Author: Allison Pang

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  35. Lisa R. says:

    Thanks VBC! My book is in the mail. Woot! cant wait :)

  36. Joanna says:

    Thanks for helping to keep my library filled;)

  37. Nicole Miller says:

    I have read and enjoyed many of those books but by far my favorite is Shadowfever!!! The whole series is just amazing and I can’t wait for Dani’s book ICED.

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