When USA TODAY asked me to list my top 5 favourite reads of 2011, I had a momentary panic.
I read so many great books this year, how to choose only 5?
After much teeth-gnashing, I did it. Then again, these books were stand-outs for me so when I really put my thinking cap on, it wasn't so difficult to choose after all.
So here are my top 5:
1. How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal
(lush, evocative, made me cry & I rarely cry with books!).
2. Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (never want to put the book down, love the characters, the humor, the warmth).
3. The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs (realistic, character-driven, tugged on my heartstrings. And made me bawl.).
4. Dancing Backwards in High Heels by Christine Darcas (fascinating real-life dilemma any woman could identify with, thoroughly enjoyed it).
5. Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter (exotic locale, well-developed characters, sizzling tension).
You can see other author recommendations on the USA TODAY Happily Ever After blog.