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Well this year was a strange one for me, about the time my kid flew the nest for warmer climes. I just stopped reading! Not completely stopped but from 5 books a week to 2 in a month.
When I went back to see what I loved, I realized that I loved whole series much more that single books. I don’t think these will surprise anyone as I raved about them, but just to remind anyone that hasn’t read these books, they are all very good, to great.
Lucinda Brant. I have read 5 of the 6 books she has published. They are more in the romance genre, but they are really well written and her research is more than solid.
Robert McCammon, is another author that was new to me. Jeanne recommendations figured in 2 of my favorite finds this year.
Imogen Robertson, is another Jeanne recommended author, she in fact sent me the first book in the Westerman and Crowther series. Thanks Jeanne you have great taste in books.
The next author is Caro Peacock, I stumble onto these and I am so glad I did. Talk about being drawn into a series, she really puts you on the streets of London.
These are the American titles.
Honorable mention goes to, our Angus, Jeri Westerson, Nancy Bilyeau, and Elizabeth Loupas.
Coming in May from Caro Peacock The Path of the Wicked, in January Tim Ashby’s Time Fall, also in January Ruth Downie’s Semper Fidelis and in February Carol Carr’s India Black and The Shadows of Anarchy. I am sure these will figure into my 2013 best list. Also I believe Elizabeth Chadwick’s first book in her series about Eleanor of Aquitaine will be out this summer, and Diana Gabaldon’s Written in my Own Heart’s Blood is supposed to be out in the fall, but I am not holding my breath.
So here is to 2013!
Last Edited on: 12/18/12 10:30 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
A few standouts for me:
India Black by Carole Carr
Honorable Mention to the entire Hugh de Singleton series by Mel Starr and Revenger by Rory Clements
I spent the last quarter of the year reading only series books to catch up on a few. Looking back over it, those books were really low on the list of favorites for the year. So while I feel quite accomplished in being caught on those, I don't feel like I read very many truly good books this year. Like Jerelyn, real life took over this year with the kitchen remodel and the Wedding of the Century so I will probably finish the year with only about 35 or 36 books, compared to 53 last year and over 80 the year before. I hope to be back up around the 50 mark again on 2013. That's a good balanced number for me. I hope to get better at reading what I want to read, not what I feel like I HAVE to read....like series that I'm not interested in any more but I still feel like I have to finish them!
Books I absolutely loved:
Books I really, really liked:
Books I really liked:
Series that I read and highly recommend:
Last Edited on: 1/14/13 1:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Love this topic! I’ve read 60 books this year and was reading at a great pace until December came along. I haven’t finished a single book this month. I read lots of contemporary fiction and nonfiction as well as historical fiction but I’ll only list favorite HFs here.
Top Shelf (5 stars)
The Sand-Reckoner by Gillian Bradshaw
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Moloka’I by Alan Brennert
The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax
Doc by Mary Doria Russell
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Second Shelf (4+ stars)
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Anatomy of a Murder by Imogen Robertson
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Iron Branch by Kelby Ouchley
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Bound by Sally Gunning
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Devil’s Den by Timothy Ashby
A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley
I want to tackle some heavy weights in 2013 – all of the Lymond chronicles and Rutherford’s Princes of Ireland and Rebels of Ireland to get ready for our trip to Ireland next summer.
Letty and others have certainly turned me onto some great series too. Letty recommended the Hugh de Singleton series to me by Mel starr (which I really get a kick out of) and Ruth Downies's series as well as Will Thomas' (but I think I read those last year).
Some standouts in my mind are;
Doc (of course) by Mary Doria Russell
The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau
Warlord (of course) by Angus
The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman
Invisible Bridge by Orringer
Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (recommended by Letty)
Solitary House (aka Tom-All-Alone's) by Lynn Shepherd (recommended by hro)
Mariana by Susanna Kearsley (not really one of my genres but I loved it)
The Yard by Alex Grecian
As far as series go:
Imogen Robertson's, of course
Ann Parker's (recommended by Kelly P)
Cora Harrison's Burren Mysteries
C S Harris
The Black Country by Alex Grecian in 6/2013
What Darkness Brings by C S Harris in 3/2013
A Fatal Likeness by Lynn Shepherd in 8/2013
The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau in 3/2013
Grail Knight by Angus in 8/2013
Actually, there have been many books that I've enjoyed this past year - hard to narrow it down in a list!
I think I've had a good reading year this year - both in terms of how much I read & the quality & caliber therein.
Last Edited on: 12/18/12 4:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
This year I have had the pleasure of reading more really great books than I can recall in a long time. Some of my top picks are:
Best of the Best
Doc by Russell
Moloka'i by Brennert
The Assyrian by Guild
Devil's Den by Ashby
Boudica: Dreaming the Hound by Scott
Really Really Good
Exit the Actress by Parmar
The Blood Star by Guild
The Demon's Parchment by Westerson
Khan: Empire of Silver by Iggulden
The Crispin Guest series by Westerson
The India Black series by Carr
The Boudica "Dreaming" series by Scott
The Assyrian books by Guild
I had a pretty good reading year, too. I had some stretches of brain candy, but a lot of really good books.
Absolutely the best of the best:
Pawn in Frankincense, The Ringed Castle, Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett
Blood Feud by Rosemary Sutcliff
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Crystal Cave, Hollow Hills, Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart
The Brothers of Gwynedd by Edith Pargeter
The Morning Gift by Diana Norman
The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick
Fire Along the Sky, Queen of Swords by Sara Donati
Hood, Scarlet, Tuck by Stephen Lawhead
Serpent in the Thorns, Demon Parchment, Blood Lance by Jeri Westerson
Looks like I need to move Doc up on my reading list.
Some of my favorites
-All of Melvin Starr's Hugh de Singleton books
-Iron Ties by Ann Parker
-India Black by Carol Carr
-Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
-Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dree
-To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick
-Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson
-Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergen (YA, time travel)
-Mr Churchill's Secretary
Lots more to read for 2013
@Deb, so glad you enjoyed The Tennis Partner. I enjoyed it almost as much as Cutting for Stone.
@Kelly, what's the dif between outstanding and wonderful? LOL.
I had a number of 5-star reads this year, but only a few in the HF category:
Other awesome reads in other categories that I would highly recommend are:
Last Edited on: 12/19/12 7:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Wow....a few titles just keep popping up on so many lists.....I'm moving Molokai up on my TBR!
In looking over my list, I see that I read a lot more than I thought outside of HF this year. Haven't decided if that's good or bad, though. I think what it means is that I didn't like most of what I read for the HF Challenge.
In HF, I loved:
--Sunflowers by Sheramy Brundrick
--The Physician and Shaman by Noah Gordon
Far and away the best books otherwise that I read this year are:
--Little Bee by Chris Cleave
--Room by Emma Donoghue
--Surviving the Killing Fields by Haing Nor (NF about the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia)
--Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (SciFi which I NEVER read but did for my IRL book group and just adored this little book)
--Fifth Avenue, 5AM by Sam Wasson (NF about how Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly character in Breakfast at Tiffany's heralded the advent of today's modern career woman)
I'm another one who places Doc and Moloka'i at the very top of my favorites. Others I really enoyed are:
Death of Kings (I can never get enough of Uhtred)
Patrick, Son of Ireland (I've yet to read a book by Lawhead that I didn't enjoy)
Needle in the Blood (changed my mind about Bishop Odo)
City of Promise
The Forest Laird
Between Shades of Gray
First Man in Rome (Kelly insisted I would like this, and in spite of the confusing Roman names, I did )
Favorite series I continue to read and always enjoy: Valerie Anand's Bridges Over Time, Winston Graham's Poldark, Cornwell's Sharpe's series and the Morland Dynasty books by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. I read 3 or 4 of these every year, so I should finish the series in about 2018. Good Grief!
Last Edited on: 12/19/12 2:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
I think the most stand out read for me this year was Omamori by Richard McGill, plus the first five of the Angelique books that I got through. The rest are more in the honorable mention four star category:
The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock
The Rich are Different Susan Howatch
Crown of Desire Marjorie deBoer (don't let that cover scare you)
The Glitter and the Gold by Michael Dyne
The Magnificent Ambersons Booth Tarkington
The Flower Reader Elizabeth Loupas
Her Highness the Traitor Susan Higginbotham
Yankee Stranger Elswyth Thane
Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
High marks in the romance reading, Jo Goodman's western romances (Never Love a Lawman, Marry Me and The Last Renegade), as well as Kaki Warner's Blood Sky trilogy and Lorraine Heath's westerns.
The Sea of Love Sorcha Mac-something or other
The House on the Fjord Rosalind Laker
To Seduce an Earl Lori Brighton (1860s setting and they find a storage room with the sword of Csar Nicholas II !!!)
Shadow Queen Rebecca Dean
My favorites of 2012:
The Snow Child
To add a twist to the thread - books I hated in 2012:
Outlander (ducking quickly)
Great to see all the good recommendtions! Glad to see that so many of you enjoyed Moloka'i by Brennert as much as I did last year. I put these on my TBR for next year: Doc by Mary Doria Russell, The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau, The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax, and Invisible Bridge by Orringer, most of which I have. For series, I am reading three Imogen Robertson books recommended by Jeanne.
My best HF reads (5 star rating):
The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: A Novel by Louise Erdrich, The Zoo Keeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman, Mudbound by Hilary Jordan, and Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery #1) by Susan Ellen McNeal.
Many of my HF reads were 4 stars but I had a number of fantasy that rated 5 stars, too, a contempory and a classic or two. If anyone is interested I will share those as well.
Last Edited on: 12/20/12 2:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 25
The past couple of months have been a bust as far as reading goes, I got too overwhelmed with personal problems to get half as much read as I usually do. Looking forward to getting more read in 2013!
Books I absolutely loved:
Books I really, really liked:
Books I liked:
Series that I read and recommend:
Best reads HF:
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
Katherine by Anya Seton
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson
The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot
The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau
The Technologists by Matthew Pearl
The Forest Laird by Jack Whyte
The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen
The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
Wilderness by Lance Weller
Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal
Non HF Best Reads:
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
The Street Sweeper by Eliot Perlman
Last Edited on: 12/24/12 6:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
FYI....at REK's most excellent suggestion, this thread has been added to our Table of Contents under "Other Useful Stuff". So in July when you are thinking "What was the name of that book that everyone loved last year?" And "Doc" just won't pop into your head...you'll have quick access to the lists! Thanks, REK!
Well, I only managed to read 21 books this year (less than half of my previous lowest year). There were only a few 5 star books in the list - Pride and Prejudice, The Crystal Cave, and the Fire and Ice series books I read this year by George R.R. Martin.
Hmm, looks like Doc is a book I need to look for at the library next time!
My top reads for 2012:
The Genghis series by Iggulden (my son and I were enthralled)
Why Read Moby Dick - Nathaniel Philbrick
Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri (I love her writing)
Death of Kings - Cornwell
5-star reads (Top-notch! These are books I would re-read):
4.5-star reads (Really, really liked):
4-star reads (Liked a lot):
Last Edited on: 4/11/13 2:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 3