Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Top 11 Favorite Reads in 2012

I had another lean year in reading.  Not in quality, but in quantity.  My goal for the year originated at 100 books and then I dropped it to 70 in October...and here I am at around 50 again this year.  Why the top 11?  Well, I just finished The Hobbit and it had to be added, of course.  Some of these books I did not get around to reviewing so I will do a mini-review here on those titles.  The others I will provide a link to my review along with a line or two about why they made the list.

The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner--Gortner continues to be one of my favorite authors of historical fiction.  He is so good at writing strong female characters, yet still shows their vulnerable sides.  He just "gets" women...that we are multifaceted, not one dimensional. (my review)

Breed by Chase Novak--This one made Stephen King's top 10 list of the year and I completely agree.  I could not put this one down.  It continued to shock and horrify right up to the very end. (my review)

The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot--An entertaining and well-researched historical novel, this book was a joy to read and an amazing debut novel. (my review)

The Passage by Justin Cronin--This one took my love for scary creatures and Dystopian scenarios to a new level.  I can't wait to read The Twelve. (my review)

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel--Mini-Review:  Let's write a book about Thomas Cromwell and make him interesting and likable.  Was that what Mantel was thinking when she decided to write this book?  She must have been.  I really should have written a more profound review of this book, but I just do not have time.  Let me just say that Mantel writes historical fiction that draws the reader in.  You are there as Anne Boleyn flirts and manipulates (please don't take this as a negative judgement of her) and as Henry VIII gives and takes away his favor.  I think what Mantel captured the best was just what a snake pit the Tudor court really was.  I can't wait to read Bring Up the Bodies.

The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin--What a whirlwind of a book! Adventure, mystery and yes, even love.  I'm not much for a love story, but this one took my breath away.  This book really was the whole package.  A must-read, for sure. (my review)

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle--zombie/vampires, Dystopian, the Amish, oh my! This one came out of left field.  Just goes to show...a book doesn't have to have a big publisher behind it to be awesome. (my review)

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau--Another novel that depicts the perilous aspects of Henry VIII's court.  The Crown seamlessly incorporates many historical figures and is a very interesting book to read.  This one is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction.  Can't wait for the next book, The Chalice. (my review)

Bleak House by Charles Dickens--Mini-Review:  Another one I didn't get around to reviewing and should have devoted more time to.  It is such a wonderful book.  I mean, who does it better than Dickens?  I love his way of introducing the human condition and his clever choices of names for his characters.  Most of all, Dickens was just a damn good story teller.  I don't think any books written in the 19th century hold my interest more than those of Dickens.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub--A favorite aspect of horror novels for me is creepiness.  This book delivers a ton of the creepy.  Can't believe it took me so long to read it. (my review)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien--Mini-Review: Another book that deserves more justice, but no time so just a few thoughts.  This was actually a reread for me.  I read it when I was a girl.  What a difference 30 something years makes.  This is such a wonderful adventure, which I remember, but reading it at this age made me really appreciate it more and appreciate the genius of Tolkien's writing.  It also brought me back to Middle-Earth.  I've been missing it.  It has been about 10 years since I read The Lord of the Rings.  A reread will be in order for it someday, I think.  On a side note, I did see the film, "The Hobbit" and it was so great.  I will be seeing it again when it comes to the discount theater.  I got so nostalgic, I watched the entire LOTR trilogy the following weekend!

So, what were your favorites this year?



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  1. I loved Wolf Hall and The Passage. You have to read the second in each trilogy in 2013. I keep meaning to read more dickens, it's been years but I just keep putting it off. Maybe next year :)

  2. I am determined to read The Passage this year. I also just finished Breed...holy crap, right?! And a lot of people are saying The Hallowed Ones is good. I also want to catch up on all Peter Straub's books. So much to read! Great list!

  3. I can't wait to read The Queen's Vow this year. I was a little disenchanted by The Sister Queens, though, sadly.

  4. Really enjoy seeing what people put on their Top Ten lists! Sad to say that I have yet to read any of the Lord of the Rings series, but they're on my list! Here's to a great 2013 for us both!

  5. I love The Hobbit, but haven't read it since I was a wee lad. I wonder what I would think of it now.

    I had The Passage on my Best of List last year, I think. I need to read the second book.

    I know you love The Breed, I really tried my hardest but I gave up on it around the time the kids ran away from home. It just seemed to be focused on sex way too much for me.

    Loved the list, and I must add a few to my wishlist.

  6. Great list - several are on my TBR pile. I really enjoyed Wolf Hall and look forward to reading the sequel in 2013.

    The Hobbit I also reread this year, and found it quite enjoyable. But why are there no females in that book? I swear, even the ponies were all male.

  7. I only read 55 books this year, but really, Gage is my priority no matter how much I want to dive into the next book. Hopefully both of us will see more great books this year, although from the looks of it you read some chunksters. I have The Passage and need to set aside some time to read it.

  8. This list really does showcase the variety of genres you embrace!

  9. Funny that you should mention King's reading list. I've found a couple of fantastic authors that way. Adding "Breed" by Chase Novak as well as "The Hallowed Ones" by Laura Bickle. Both look like my kind of books. :)

  10. Terrific list ... *adding to the TBR pile*
    I hope my books will make your Best of List next year! :)

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