Okay, so I hesitate to do this because some of the best books I read last year did not hold 2011 copyrights, like Markus Zusak's The Book Thief--which now sits comfy-cozy at the top of my favorites pile--and Steven James' THE ROOK and THE KNIGHT, or Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, or Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder.Then there are books I wanted to read, but didn't get to or didn't finish reading that would probably end up on my favorites list like J. Mark Bertrand's PATTERN OF WOUNDS, or Camy Tang's PROTECTION FOR HIRE, or Lis Wiehl's HEART OF ICE, or Sandra Byrd's TO DIE FOR, or Jeanette Windle's FREEDOM'S STAND.
And of course, I never want to hurt anyone by NOT mentioning their book. Anywhoooo...without further ado, here are my 2011 Favorites (NOT in any particular order!):
Wind and Shadow - The desolate world of Mikuhr is home to a proud people now on the verge of distinction. Conflict explodes when apprentice priest Kiel Caldwell arrives to investigate rumors of new spiritual revelation, but he is kidnapped by a demon-possessed telepath who thinks he might be a predicted messiah. And when Kiel's loose-cannon military brother Kinnor arrives to investigate, a local leader with revenge on her mind threatens to bring ruin on them all. It's up to returning Mikuhran diplomat Wind Haworth to head off a confl ict that could have spiritual, political, and military repercussions-but no one has foreseen the consequences of introducing the Mikuhran Wind Haworth to the Federate military Sentinel Kinnor Caldwell.
Bob Hamer's Targets Down: A Novel - Targets Down is the follow-up to retired FBI agent Bob Hamer's Enemies Among Us, which Publishers Weekly hailed as "a page-turning roller coaster that feels like Jack Bauer’s 24 without sailing over the top."
When an FBI wife is critically wounded and two people are found dead on a mountain pass, special agent Matt Hogan is tasked with identifying those responsible. The undercover assignment takes him into the shadow world of Russian organized crime, neo-Nazis, and the sex-slave industry. Matt's cover is almost blown twice—once by accident, once by incompetence within the FBI ranks—making violence appear to be his only solution. As he confronts evil, Hogan relies not only on the strength of his wife's faith but his own quest to find God. He also finds terror and terrorism on this heart-pounding journey.
William Boykin & Tom Morrissey's Kiloton Threat: A Novel - Taken from what could be tomorrow's headlines, Kiloton Threat is a novel that explores the frightening potential of nuclear weapons in the Middle East today. Out of the house churches of rural Iran, a Christian masquerading as a Muslim gains the confidence of a high-ranking leader in the Iranian nuclear program and opens his eyes to Christianity. The man’s newfound faith stirs his desire to flee to the West, taking with him intelligence that would allow Coalition forces to neutralize his nation's devastating capabilities. But no one in such a position could ever escape unnoticed.
Enter Blake Kershaw, a highly trained U.S. Special Forces officer who has already made extraordinary sacrifices for his country that include faking death and losing his true identity. His mission to infiltrate Iran and extract the high-value defector strains the relationship with the woman he loves— one of the few people on earth who knows his real story. With even more intensity, it shows the price that must sometimes be paid when political correctness fails and a man has to stand up for what is right.
James L. Rubart's The Chair: A Novel - If you were given an ancient-looking chair and told Jesus Christ made it, would you believe it?
When an elderly lady shows up in Corin Roscoe’s antiques store and gives him a chair she claims was built by Christ he scoffs. But when a young boy is miraculously healed after sitting in the chair, he stops laughing and starts to wonder: Could this chair heal the person whose life I destroyed twelve years ago?
As word spreads of the boy’s healing, a mega-church pastor is determined to manipulate Corin into turning over the chair. But the mysterious woman who gave him the piece insinuates it is Corin’s destiny to guard the chair above everything else. But why? Desperate, he turns to the one person he can trust, a college history professor who knows more about the legend of the chair than he reveals.
Searching for truth about the artifact and the unexplained phenomena surrounding it, Corin soon realizes he isn’t the only one willing to do almost anything to possess the power that seems to surround to the chair.
Forbidden (The Books of Mortals)(Yay! Ted went back to his fantasy roots!) - New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker teams with Tosca Lee to create this gripping thriller set in a desolate future.
Many years have passed since civilization's brush with apocalypse. The world's greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace... and fear. But a terrible secret has been closely guarded for centuries: Every single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity.
Tracy Higley's Pompeii: City on Fire: A Novel-
Pompeii, a city that's many things to many people. For Cato, it's the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato's sister, he must oust the man from power to save her.
For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold into a gladiator troupe. Her anger fuels her to fight well, hoping to win the arena crowds and reveal her gender at the perfect time. Perhaps then she will win true freedom.
But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy Ariella and Cato, who are thrown together in the battle to survive. As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, leaving the city lost to the world.
Marie Lu's Legend - What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Joel Rosenberg's The Tehran Initiative - The world is on the brink of disaster and the clock is ticking. Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah—known as “the Twelfth Imam”—has just arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam’s spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second holocaust and the annihilation of Israel. The White House fears Jerusalem will strike first, launching a preemptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities that could cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames, oil prices to skyrocket, and the global economy to collapse. With the stakes high and few viable options left, the president of the United States orders CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to track down and sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike.
Torrent: A Novel (River of Time Series)-
Lis Wiehl's Waking Hours (The East Salem Trilogy)(*with a side note...if I didn't know this was the first on a series, it probably would not make my top ten list...the ending felt lacking and did not tie up much) -
Welcome to East Salem. A deceptively sleepy town where ancient supernatural forces are being awakened.
A local high-school girl is found murdered in a park amid horse farms and wealthy homes of northern Westchester County, New York. The shocking manner of her death confounds the town and intrigues forensic psychiatrist Dani Harris, who is determined to unravel the mystery. All the suspects are teenagers who were at a party with the girl-yet none remembers what happened. Could one of them be a vicious killer? Or is something more sinister afoot-something tied to an ancient evil?