Monday, December 10, 2012

My 20 Best Books of 2012

20 Best Books of 2012
This year as most is a genre smorgasbord from contemporary to historical, from factual to fantasy and one non-fiction in this years group. So without further ado, let’s get to it. Number one means the best of the best, after that they’re in alphabetical order.
Click the links for the full review.


Overseas, by Beatriz Williams is the best book I’ve read in 2012 and perhaps the best book I’ve read in a very long time. It’s epic, it’s historical, it’s contemporary, it’s fantasy, it has some of the most memorable characters ever and remember this is a debut. It’s simply amazing and I’m thrilled that it will be my March featured read at B& General Fiction forum.
Catch Me, by Lisa Gardner is again featured here and again has another top pick. This novel features her protagonist D D Warren who’s just returned from maternity leave to face a case involving child predators. Lisa’s unnaturally expert at bringing the most heinous of criminals and this one is no different.
Edge of Black, is the second in the new Samantha Owens series by amazing storyteller and thriller writer JT Ellison. Samantha Owens, if you’re familiar with JT’s writing was a co-star in her Taylor Jackson series. She’s suffered a great loss and she’s picking up her life and starting over. In this novel Sam’s living in Washington DC, starting a new job and is caught in the middle of what looks like a terrorist attack, but looks can be deceiving.
Ember’s Kiss, by Deborah Cooke is #8 in her bestselling dragon shape-shifter series starring the oh so macho Pyr, only this dragon doesn’t really know about his heritage and thinks he’s more monster than man, who needs his mate and his brother Pyr to show him who he really is. If you know me you know how much I love this series, in fact anything by this wonderful author who’s way with words and worlds is in a class by herself.
home front, by Kristin Hannah is an incredibly hard story to read, but a necessary one. It deals with not only the soldiers “over there” but the realities they face when they come home. It’s touching, it’s dramatic, it’s a must read and a keeper for your shelves.
Illuminations, by Mary Sharratt is about a real historical figure, who’s just this year finally been canonized in May of 2012 and was raised in October 2012 to Doctor of the Church, it’s about Hildegard von Bingen who was an anchorage (click the link for more information). Mary has wowed me before with her historical research and what results in her novels. Whether you’re a lover of historical fiction or just great fiction this one will appeal.
King Of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence is the second in his fantasy trilogy featuring Jorg, the anti-hero, the very noir-ist of protagonists. Jorg has matured since we first met him in Prince of Thorns, he’s a King now and he’ll defend his throne any way he has to. (The review is courtesy of RT Reviews Magazine August 2012 edition)
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks was a very refreshing change for me. The premise is quite unique as his protagonist is the imaginary friend of an autistic boy who’s job it is to be there for him in whatever way is needed. It’s a read that will appeal to a multitude of fans and genres. I’m pleased to announce that Matthew and his wonderful novel will be featured for the monthly read at B& General Fiction forum in June 2013.
One Breath Away, by Heather Gudenkauf was a terrifyingly realist crime drama that will bring memories of Columbine and Virginia Tech and the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting. In a fictional Iowa town on the last day of school before spring break terror is about to unfold in a K-12 school building when a gunman holds the entire population inside the walls hostage.
One Good Friend Deserves Another, by Lisa Verge Higgins is a testament to what being a friend really means, when this group of 4 cemented their friendship 15 years ago they made a pact. These 4 friends are as different from one another as dark and light but they have something special that shows through those differences. Friendship. Lisa is not a stranger to my B& forum, she was with us in 2012 when we read and discussed her previous novel, The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship and will be with us in May of 2013 when we will read together her upcoming March release Friendship Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.( review is courtesy of RT Reviews magazine)
One Mountain Away, by Emilie Richards is all about forgiveness, redemption and hope. It’s also about loss and it reminds we mere mortals that we never know what lies ahead so if we have regrets we should take care of them. I also loved that the protagonist was a woman of a “certain age”, I love seeing an older, mature star of a story. This is the first of Emilie’s newest series entitled “The Goddess Anonyms Series” Emilie was our guest for the month of September at B& when we read and discussed this novel as a group.
Paris in Love by Eloisa James is a novelty for me, it’s a non-fiction. A memoir of the year award winning, #1 NY Times Bestselling author and Professor of English Literature packed up her entire family and moved to Paris for an entire year, she fascinated and entertained her fans on FaceBook for the entire year with snippets of what was happening, the humorous, the sensitive, the sad, the happy and finally turned her experience into a book. Paris in Love is a 2012 Goodreads finalist.
Scorched, by Laura Griffin is #6 in her Tracers series, this time it stars forensic anthropologist Kelsey Quinn and her ex, Navy Seal Gage Brewer. It’s a web of intrigue of suspense and of ever loving terror which Laura is an expert at, it involves murder and mayhem and a huge who done it. It definitely needs to go on your read list.
Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness was definitely one of my most awaited reads of the year after the monumental first in the trilogy A Discovery of Witches from last year. It did not disappoint. It’s as epic as ever, it takes us to 16th Century Elizabethan England where we knock elbows with all the name droppers of the time, where witch Diana and her forbidden vampire spouse Matthew go so Diana can be taught the art of her craft and to search for the alchemic tomb known as Ashmole 782.
The Book of Lost Fragrances, by MJ Rose who’s another of my favorite go to authors. Her newest in her loosely related series in this novel she takes us to France where perfumer Jac L’Etoile’s fragrance heritage can be traced back centuries perhaps all the way to the very first fragrance factory built by Marc Anthony for Cleopatra, she’s also haunted by glimpses of past lives. MJ mixes genres with mystery, romance, historical and a bit of non-fictional facts as well. If you’re a fan of any of these, this might be right up your alley. It was my pleasure to have met MJ in person last summer when she visited as part of the Atria Mystery Bus Tour.
The Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, by Kristina McMorris is a culturally beautiful piece of Americana and yet nothing this country has to be proud about. It’s a WWII piece involving the not so happily ever after of a Japanese American man and a Caucasian woman. What they went through for the sake of their love, what they gained and especially what they lost. It’s a look at the dirty little secrets of our nations history that they never taught when I was in school, that should never be forgotten and told often. I am lucky to have Kristina with us the entire month of January when B& General Fiction forum discusses this wonderfully worded novel.
The Dog Who Danced, by Susan Wilson is an especially uplifting novel about the power of unconditional love given to us by our pets and one pet in particular that had a knack for dancing. No matter who you are, where you are in your life or what age you will find something to love about this story. Susan was my guest in November at the B& General Fiction forum when we read this very inspiring novel.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy, by Margot Livesey is one of those novels that would have never crossed my path if not for the cover having inspired me to look inside where I found a work of recent historical fiction. Gemma Hardy was an orphan from the 50’s in Scotland where she went through some life trauma because of her status. The author tells a brilliant story of neglect, hardship and success. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming with characters who’re quirky to very realistic.
The Other Woman by Hank Phillipi Ryan is the first of Hank’s brand new series starring girl investigative reporter Jane Ryland. Jane’s been recently fired from the TV news because of not revealing her source of a particular story. She’s landed on her feet at the newspaper where she’s given the mundane assignment of interviewing a candidate’s wife. Well Jane smells a story and boy does she get one. Kudos to Hank for this fast paced new novel. Hank was my guest in October when the B& General Fiction forum read this amazing new novel.
The Reckoning by Alma Katsu was a novel that my editor at LibraryJournal thought I might like, yeah she was right. I loved it. This is the second in Alma’s Taker trilogy and I was beamed right up into the plot, the characters and the amazing storytelling of this very talented fantasy author. The characters are very un-hero, very dark, very sensual, a very adult novel. But this adult can’t wait to get her hands on book three of the trilogy. (The review is courtesy of LibraryJournal)

Well that’s my list for the best of 2012, I hope you enjoyed one or more of the selections. I’d love to compare notes. Bring on 2013 which I’m sure will be a bumper crop of glorious new titles to pick from for next year.
Happy New Year everyone!!!!


  1. Wow! Thanks, Deb, for including my book on your list. What an honour - and what wonderful company. You always manage to add to my TBR pile...!


    1. Deb, how could one of your novels not end up on my list, with your storytelling magic it just couldn't happen.

  2. I haven't read a one of these, though I think I may like a few of them. I haven't even started to think of my list yet, I have a feeling it's going to be about as long though.

    1. hmm, Ryan guess you'd better get busy.
      I hope you finally kicked that bug and are feeling better.
      I hope to e-see your smiling face at one of my featured monthly reads.
      Happy Holidays my friend.

  3. Alma, The Reckoning was such an amazing novel. It gave a whole new light to the term noir hero. And I can't wait to see where you take us in book three.

  4. I always run out of time to do this at the end of the year. I try to do it when it's blog birthday time. :) But this is an amazing list! There are a few here I do want. :) Thanks!

    1. Thank you Melissa for commenting.
      Happy New Year!!


  5. Wonderful list...! After reading this, I have undoubtedly added some books to my read list. Now all I have to do is find more time to read. :)

    1. Thank you for the kind words and I hope you enjoy the ones you wish to read.