Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Favorite Reads of 2011

Novels, short stories, novellas...  I’ve read a lot of great stuff this year and I thought I'd share a few of my favorite reads with you.

#1 Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs

Southern Gods was my most favorite read this year. It's listed under horror, but I found it to be one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Every word is written with a purpose, and every description is a perfect view inside the mind of World War II veteran Bull Ingram and his search for Ramblin' John Hastur. Southern Gods reads like a classic and should be treated as such.

#2 Frank Sinatra in a Blender by Matthew J. McBride

Another one of my favorites... Frank Sinatra in a Blender is the book I pick up whenever I'm home sick thanks to the Lupus meds. I've read it close to a dozen times since its release and I still can't find the perfect words to review it. It's a fast and entertaining read that always puts a smile on my face. And regardless of what my friends might think... I've got a not-so-secret crush on Nick Valentine, the St. Louis private detective with the pill-popping, liquor drinking, chainsaw playing bad side. Fuckin' brilliant!

#3 Beautiful, Naked & Dead and Out There Bad by Josh Stallings

Probably should have listed them as 3 and 4, but... my blog, my rules. So we've got Moses McGuire, the total badass bouncer boy from Los Angeles meeting women, getting lap dances, falling in love, fighting bad guys, and laying down his own style of justice in both books. You can read my reviews below.

Beautiful, Naked & Dead
Out There Bad

#4 Shotgun Gravy (Atlanta Burns Novella #1) by Chuck Wendig

Atlanta Burns might be in high school, but her scarred past and her ability to instill justice makes her the perfect person to hire when some kids decide it's time to take down the bullies. Shotgun Gravy might be a dark tale, but it showcases the reality of bullying in today's world. And the punches being thrown are laced with the perfect cast of characters, vulgarity, and humor. It'll leave you wanting more... a lot more.

#5 Double Dead by Chuck Wendig

Coburn isn’t your normal vampire… he’s a vampire awaking after a deep sleep and finding himself living in a world that is now taken over by zombies. Not many humans have survived this zombie apocalypse, and now Coburn finds himself a protector of the only food source available to him, and saving the life of a little dog he names Creampuff.

#6 Shogun Honey by Thomas Pluck

I sat down to read submissions for Shotgun Honey one night and announced my activity on Twitter with a typo... Shogun Honey. Thomas Pluck was quick to respond with a tweet that ended up as the first line to this perfectly crafted, samurai genre short story. With this, Mr. Pluck proves that there really are no limits to finding inspiration. Absolutely breathtaking. You can read Shogun Honey... HERE.

#7 FIX by Stephen Blackmoore

According to Mr. Blackmoore this is the first vampire story he has ever written, and it happens to be one of my favorites. There's something about the main character, Lillian that gets under your skin. You can't help but want to know more about her, “The Deal” that she's made that has put her where she is, and the people that seem to be holding all the cards and keeping Lillian on the streets. Oh, and when she takes a bite out of Brady's heart... well, you can't help but cheer her on and want more of the story. Always wanting more... that's me. You can read FIX... HERE!

#8 All the Young Warriors by Anthony Neil Smith

Nothing like the other novels I've read by Mr. Smith, All the Young Warriors is a dark tale about two college kids turned Somali terrorists and their journey into Hell. Mr. Smith doesn’t hide the brutality that is waiting in the war-torn landscape of Somalia, and he doesn’t hide the torture that is inflicted all in the name of Allah. Instead, he sets a steady and suspenseful pace and forces you to see all of it without leaving the comfort of your home. Heart wrenching and devastatingly real, this book will leave you breathless.

#9 Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bills

Incredibly dark and violent, you won’t find another collection of short stories to match its brutality, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find another author that can deliver such astonishing descriptions of crime in the southern backwoods. In Crimes of Southern Indiana every story bleeds of heartbreak; not one happy ending in sight.

#10 Dig Two Graves by Eric Beetner

It's hard not to like the main character, Val. Especially after he tells you about his time in prison. In Dig Two Graves by Eric Beetner, Val is an ex-con seeking justice when the bank robbery he's perfectly planned goes south. Unable to walk away, Vals quest for revenge, his hot temper, and his outright stubbornness has him living on borrowed time. Honestly, with all that Val learned in prison, I'm surprised he didn't start a BJ101 course for those of us wanting to perfect the art. Hey, it's never too late to learn, right? Plenty of wrong choices abound in this novella... making it perfectly entertaining.


nigel p bird said...

I popped over to say Happy New Year and you end up giving me this present. Those on the list that I know, I agree with. The one's I don't, well they've been on my wanted list and this has probably tipped my balance into buying (Frank Bill only comes out here as a kindle release in 2012).
And keep up the Lupus meds battle, girl.


Sabrina E. Ogden said...

Love you, Nigel!