Karen Cantwell

My Favorite Reads of 2011

I didn’t get a chance to read nearly as much as I would have liked to, but here are my favorite reads in 2011. These are not necessarily books that were published in 2011 – just books that I read this year and enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. And they are listed in no particular order! If you ever wondered what kind of books I find interesting, here’s a peek.

And feel free to post your favorite reads in the comments! I’m always up for great suggestions!

HAPPY NEW YEAR friends!
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Murder Passes the Buck by Deb Baker

Description:

When her neighbor is shot and killed, sixty-six-year-old widow Gertie Johnson seizes the opportunity to move on with her life by investigating his death. Gertie is abetted (and hindered) by her grandson Little Donny, man-hungry best friend Cora Mae, and word-of-the-day challenger, Kitty. It doesn’t help that the death has been ruled an accident by the sheriff of this backwoods community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Or that Sheriff Blaze Johnson happens to be Gertie’s son.

Whether it’s interrogating neighbors, spying, or impersonating the FBI—not to mention staying one step ahead of Blaze—Gertie will do whatever it takes to solve the case, even when the killer takes aim at her.

Why I enjoyed this book:

Gertie Johnson and her cohorts are just plain fun. This is the kind of series where you immediately want to start the next book when you finish because you love the characters so much.
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The Righteous by Michael Wallace

Description:

When a brutal murder shocks the polygamist enclave of Blister Creek, Utah, church elders call in Jacob Christianson, a medical student and the favored son of a church elder. Jacob must solve the murder while protecting his young sister Eliza from marriage to one of three old men jostling for power within the church hierarchy.

Jacob discovers that the murdered woman has been killed in accordance with secret blood oaths taken within the polygamist temple. Together with his sister, he uncovers a plot to overthrow the church leadership, with murders that reach beyond the community and into the “gentile” world. The Righteous is a heart-pounding suspense-thriller with a depth that will haunt the reader long after the last page is turned.

Why I enjoyed this book:

It’s a fast-paced mystery/thriller with a unique premise. The author knows how to grip the reader from the first page and keep you hanging on to the very end. I’ve already started the second book in this series, and Michael Wallace’s talent proves consistent.
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My Planet or Yours? by LC Evans

Description:

Nora Bryant is a single Earth woman out to ban men from her life after a recent breakup. Triskam is a strikingly handsome extraterrestrial, who crash lands near her remote Arizona home. Add to this mix, a couple of misguided thugs looking for a gold rush, an overly friendly, not-so-guard dog, and a communications device that thinks it’s a nanny, and you have My Planet or Yours?, a delightful new romantic comedy by LC Evans, author of the Kindle bestseller, We Interrupt This Date.

Why I enjoyed this book:

Triskan the sexy alien. He’s funny AND good looking. Can you ask for more? My Planet or Yours is very simply and delight to read.
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Bossypants by Tina Fey

Description:

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

Why I enjoyed this book:

Tina Fey makes me laugh. And I think she’d be perfect as Barbara Marr in the movie version of Take the Monkeys and Run. (smile)
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Under Witch Aura by Maria E. Schneider

Description:

There’s an ill wind blowing in Santa Fe, and it’s touching every witch Adriel knows, including White Feather, who is far more important to Adriel than just any warlock. In search of answers, she delves into ancient magic, a family secret and dangerous religious rituals. Whoever is manipulating the elements appears to be after the ultimate goal: forbidden power over life and death.

Adriel will go to the ends of the earth to keep those she loves safe, but if she lures the enemy away, will she be able to save herself? Her only hope is to use earth magic to hide from the very air she breathes as she hunts down an unseen and untenable evil.
About the Author

Why I enjoyed this book:

I really enjoyed the magic in this book as well as the characters, and the romance aspect wraps it all up into one neat package. I judge a book by my willingness to put it down or my desire to get back to it when I’m doing other things – this book was one I would have read in one sitting if I’d had the time!
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Naked in Death by JD Robb

Description:

In the very first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Eve Dallas gets involved with Roarke, a suspect in her latest murder case. But passion and seduction have rules all their own.

Why I enjoyed this book:

I’m late to this party, since this first book in Robb’s series was first published in 1995, but I’m so glad I discovered it now. Quite grisly and a little graphic, the intensity of the writing and story kept me engrossed the entire time.
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Devil Moon by Dana Taylor

Description:

Welcome to the mystical town of Beaver Cove, Arkansas where country ghosts offer homey advice and the moon makes lovers of total strangers!

Maddie Harris left Boston in humiliation. She hopes the job as assistant principal in a small Arkansas town will keep her too busy to notice the hole where her heart used to be. Phil Wilcox, divorced former NFL star, returns to his hometown as the new football coach. He hopes to repair the tattered relationship with his eleven-year-old daughter, despite his thorny ex-wife. Maddie is neat and color coordinated; Phil takes “casual” to its limits. Neither is seeking romance, but a mischievous moon and a friendly spirit have other ideas.

Why I enjoyed this book:

GREAT characters! This is a delicious romance with a hint of paranormal. A delightful story with vivid, fun, and interesting characters that I was rooting for constantly.
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Dead to Writes by Cathy Wiley

Description:

Cassandra Ellis is a soon-to-be published author, days away from achieving her lifetime goal. But before she can celebrate, before she can even have her first book signing, she’s brought in to Baltimore City Police Headquarters for questioning in connection to a real-life murder.

It seems she’s the last person to see the victim alive, since she had just met with the former arsonist to conduct research for her next book. Most damning, her day planner was found next to the body.

When another of her subject matter experts is killed– again right after meeting with her– Cassie decides to investigate things herself, rather than leaving it in the hands of the police. Although she’d love to get her hands on the homicide detective assigned to the cases.

Using all the tools available to her, including her research skills, her knowledge of murder and murderers, and… psychic parrots, she tries to solve the case before another friend is killed. Along the way, she finds out that murder in real life is different than murder on the page.

Why I enjoyed this book:

Cassie Ellis is an absolutely LOVEABLE character. I had a blast riding along while she bumbled her way through solving the crime.
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So there you have it! What were some of your favorite reads of 2011?

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2 Comments

  1. Janice Arnold

    I received a kindle touch for Christmas—I have enjoyed reading “Citizen Insane”, “”Take the Monkey’s and Run” and “The Chronicles of Marr-nia”!! Karen Cantwell is a great writer and so easy to connect with!!!

  2. Thank you SO much, Janice! It is always a joy to know that people are enjoying my books – you just made my New Year’s Eve! 🙂 Best wishes – Karen