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Topic: ***What is your book of the month/year 2012?***

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Subject: ***What is your book of the month/year 2012?***
Date Posted: 1/1/2012 10:11 AM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
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Post here and share your favorite book of the month during 2012 and/or your favorite read from 2012.  The book can be from any genre or any year.  No requirements and no limits.  Just come in and share your love for great books!

Conversation about the books mentioned are welcome here, also.  wink

 Chris started this last year and I had so much fun that I decided to open a new thread this year myself.  Welcome aboard, all!  I'll try to keep the table updated, so it's easier to find people's "list" portions of the post.  If I haven't added you to the list and you'd like to be added, please PM with what page you are on and I'll add you. 

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 6
Jennifer Janelle C. Becki Jeanne
Deb B. Valerie P. Debra R. Page 13
Tammy W. Chris H.  Wendy R. Jerry T.
Wendy Mary  Jo-Anne S.
Vivian Q. Tempie S.  
Cindy M. Anna S.  Louieg
Bonnie S. Kelly E.  Heather F.
Regina Cele D.  Holly
Sara M. Ashley C.  Kristin K.
Kathleen K. Zwieg F.  Rhonda
Gina S. PhoenixFalls  Kathleen K.
Chris O. Barbara B.  Matt C.
Sheila M. sevenspiders  Tammy H.
Heather F. Jenny R.  Deborah T.
Nan Z. Marla R.  Dw
Melissa V. Ann Marie C.  Denise F.
Lynn N. Nancy L.  
Jane C. Carole C.  
Matt C. Alysia D.  
Jaime M. Debbie B.  
Pamela S. R E K.  
Margaret T.    


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January: The One-Straw RevolutionMasanobu Fukuoka
Mr. Fukuoka left his job as an agricultural inspector to pursue the natural means for farming.  He grows his crops without pesticides, without herbicides, and without fertilizers.  Somehow his yield is as large or sometimes larger than his neighbors using all these modern conveniences; in fact, a few years when their crops are ravaged by insects or weeds, his crops are fine.  Part science, part philosophy.  I'd recommend this to anyone interested in gardening, self-sustainability, or a simpler outlook on life.

February: Ragnorak: The End of the Gods - A. S. Byatt
I read a lot of good books this month, but I'm going to have to go with Ragnorak for the fave.  The author rewrites the Norse myths, as read by a little girl during wartime.  The descriptions are so detailed that they can be overwhelming, but they are absolutely gorgeous!  The way the girl thought reminded me a lot of myself at the same age.  I was amazed at how easily I was thrown back into that frame of mind.  Absolutely loved this!

March: Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex - Judith Levine
I think more parents specifically and adults in general all need to read this book.  The author takes on statistics like "50% of teens are sexually active" and tells the reader what the question actually was: "Have you had sex between 1-10 times within the past year?".  I'm not sure about others, but if a teen has only had sex once in the past year, I don't really consider that "active".  Maybe a mistake or an experiment, but not "active".  We teach abstinence-only, while other countries teach more comprehensive sex ed, yet the average age of a teen having sex is the same.  It may not change your mind, but it will certainly make you think.

April: Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals: The Hidden Epidemic of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - Ian Osborn
While the some of the information in this book is outdated, due to its publishing date of 1998, it's a fascinating read.  It's a compassionate look at OCD and those who suffer from it.  It provides information on medication that may help, therapy, and also techniques that have helped many people with OCD overcome their compulsions.

May: Looking Glass Wars - Frank Beddor
I reread Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass last month.  And one of my friends happened to remember the title of this series.  I loved this interpretation of what "real" Wonderland along with Alyss, the Red Queen, and so many of the memorable and familiar figures.  This book reminded me of being a child, when play time adventures were so vivid that I remembered them like they actually happened.  I loved it!  And I look forward to reading the rest in the series.

June: The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I like to reread this one every so often.  I love this book.  It brings reminds me of how I used to look at things as a child.  It reminds me to look at the world in wonder and love.  To look at myself and see who I am, and it challenges me to become who I want to be.

July: Before I Wake - Rachel Vincent
This 6th book tore me apart.  Kaylee has had to deal with a lot since the realization that she's a Baen Sidhe.  Drama with her boyfriend, her father coming back into her life, demons, and even living incarnations of nightmares.  I've gotten to know so many great characters throughout this series and I just couldn't couldn't believe Vincent did what she did with some of the characters.  I'm eagerly awaiting the conclusion in the final novel that comes out in 2013!

August: Goddesses and the Divine Feminine - Rosemary Ruether
While she notes the similarities between many different goddesses and expressions of the Divine Feminine, she does not fall into the trap (that many of these books do) of calling them all one Goddess. She also explains what was going on during history to explain how goddesses or the divine feminine fell into disuse. What parts I was already familiar with were accurate, so I feel confident in recommending this to anybody who is curious.

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Probably the only athiest book I'll ever need to read. Dawkins is clear and concise in his arguments about why god doesn't exist (and don't give him the 'I don't believe in a man in the sky with a white beard', you know what he means), why religion is bad, and a host of other topics that concern atheism.

 September: The Sacrament of Doubt - Paul Toscano
This book is a collection of talks and letters by the author, who is a former member of the LDS church.  Many of his essays use LDS doctrine as well as referencing the Bible and other Christian literature.  "The Plea for Pluralism" will interest anybody who is religious and cares about education in the classroom.  "A Study in Anger" may interest those who have had doubt and strong feelings accompanying it.  Even though, "Heritage and Faith and the Bread of Life" addresses the LDS Church specifically in the essay, it could just as easily be bent toward any religion.  This collection really made me think and I'd recommend it.

October: Joan of Arc, By Herself and Witness by Regine Pernoud
Pernoud creates a vivid portrait of this amazing young woman using both Joan's own testimony and that of those who knew her during her life.  I've read many books on Joan of Arc, but this book gave me a more personal view of Joan than I've read in any other.

November: Banshee: The Irish Death Messenger by Patricia Lysaught
Even though I am from an Irish family, I knew very little about the Banshee other than that she was scary.  I later learned that she foretold death.  In this book, Lysaught gathers information from all around Ireland using archives and questionairres to give readers an extensive look at the tradition of the death messenger.

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The Invisible Bridge by Orringer - a sprawling and absorbing novel focused on a Hungarian Jewish architecture student who travels to Paris, falls in love, and gets caught up in the nightmarish realities of World War II


The Space Between Us by Umrigar -  set in India, this novel portrays both the bonds and gaps between a wealthy, Parsi woman and her illiterate, impoverished servant; some beautiful writing, well-developed characters, and vivid descriptions of Bombay; heart-breaking and poignant


Death of Kings by Cornwell - the sixth and most recent installment in the Saxon Tales, featuring Uhtred; hanging out with Uhtred is always a fun and engaging experience (as long as you stay on his good side); he's fierce, resourceful, smart, and irreverent; now King Alfred lies on his death bed and Uhtred once again finds himself grudgingly pledging his services to hold the embattled kingdom together

The Second Duchess by Loupas - inspired by Browning's poem, Loupas pens a fascinating portrayal of Barbara of Austria who marries Duke Alfonso d'Este amidst swirling rumors that he murdered his first wife, Lucrezia de Medici; a wonderful combination of historical fiction, mystery, and gothic elements

The Last Queen by Gortner - a wonderful if heart-wrenching story of Juana of Castile, the third child of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand; was she really mad as alleged by her ambitious husband or was she yet another royal woman used and abused by men in power


Doc by Russell (audio) - LOVED this book. Russell brings Doc Holliday and Dodge City in the 1870s to life with her brilliant writing, vivid descriptions, historical details, and an enthralling story. She seamlessly blends fictional characters with a fine cast of historical figures -- in addition to Doc, we get to know his companion Kate, Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp, Bat Masterson, and some other minor figures. Surprisingly, there is little gunslinging but a whole lot of heart and wit. The reader of the audio version, Mark Bramhall, is perfect. Did I mention that I LOVED this book?

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by Gortner - fascinating fictional portrait of this notorious woman, married to a king who flaunts his long-time mistress, living in a realm of violent religious turmoil, and trying to preserve the kingdom for her sons

His Majesty's Dragon by Novik (audio) - never thought I'd be interested in a book (much less a series) about dragons who talk and fly and fight in the Napoleonic Wars but this is an engaging, delightful first-in-series book that introduces us to the intelligent, sensitive dragon, Temeraire, and his gallant handler, Captain Laurence; this is just lots of fun, though I was hoping Richard Sharpe would put in an appearance. (Note: the audio version I listened to is from Audible and read by Simon Vance, one of my favorite narrators; the audio version in the PBS data base is an abridged version from Random House and is read by someone else.)


Someone Knows My Name by Hill  - a heart-wrenching, poignant, and compelling novel that follows the life of Aminata Diallo born in West Africa in 1745; kidnapped by slavers when she is 11, Aminata takes us on a journey largely filled with hardship, brutality, and despair throughout which she shows tremendous courage, resilience, intelligence, and determination; excellent historical details

The Devil's Den by Ashby - a page-turning historical thriller set in the 1920s during the corrupt and vice-ridden Harding administration and the ascendancy of a manipulative and scheming J. Edgar Hoover; enter earnest and honest investigator, Seth Armitage, assigned to solve the murder of a Civil War veteran; fascinating historical details, absorbing plot, interesting characters (including a cameo of Charles Lindbergh); highly recommended

Honorable Mention: Throne of Jade and Black Power War by Novik (unabridged audio versions read by Simon Vance); The Crown by Bilyeau; Caleb's Crossing by Brooks


The Agony and the Ecstasy by Stone - a long but thoroughly engaging "biographical novel" about Michelangelo; highly recommended -- especially when traveling in Florence and Rome!

The Tennis Partner by Verghese - a touching, eloquent, and riveting account of the friendship between the author, who is a doctor and whose marriage is unraveling, and his intern, a recovering drug addict

Honorable Mention: One Last Thing Before I Go by Tropper


The Stolen Crown by Higginbotham - alternately narrated by Katherine (Elizabeth Woodville's sister) and her husband, Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, this book provides engaging perspectives on the cast of characters, divided loyalties, and convoluted events during the Wars of the Roses; worth reading...even if you are a Ricardian

Elizabeth I by George - a meticulously-researched and long (700 pp) book beginning 30 years after Elizabeth has been crowned; parts are a bit long-winded (I was ready to order Essex' execution many, many pages before Elizabeth did away with him!); enjoyed the dual, and dueling, first-person narratives of Elizabeth and her cousin, Lettice Knollys; excellent historical fiction, especially if you are interested in the Tudors

Code Name Verity by Wein - a compelling historical fiction book labeled YA, but don't let that stop you from reading it; it is primarily the story of a friendship between two young British women during WWII; one is a pilot; one is a spy; the spy has been captured in Nazi-occupied France and is writing a confession of her wartime activities in exchange for a stay of execution; the story will capture your attention and the characters will capture your heart

Honorable Mention: Still Life With Murder by Ryan


Gillespie and I by Harris - a well-written, compelling, and rather eerie novel; the narrator, an elderly woman, recounts the story of her relationship with the artist Gillespie and his family in Scotland in the 1880s and the tragedy that strikes them. The less you know about the book, the better -- so don't read reviews -- just read the book!

Honorable Mention: Murder in a Mill Town, Death on Beacon Hill, Murder on Black Friday, Murder in the North End, A Bucket of Ashes -- all in P.B. Ryan's Gilded Age Mystery series


Bring Up the Bodies by Mantel  -  if you liked Wolf Hall, you'll want to read this terrific sequel; if you didn't like WH, don't bother. Mantel does an incredible job of capturing the tenor of the times with a great deal of droll wit -- I find her writing enthralling, though not necessarily easy.

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Galloway -   a short, well-written, thought-provoking novel that follows the lives of 3 people trying to survive in a city besieged by snipers; a book that sticks with you

Honorable Mention: Rules of Civility by Towles


The Gods of Gotham by Faye - an impressive, fascinating, and compelling historical thriller set in a sordid, gritty Manhattan in 1845 when New York formed its first police force

Half Broke Horses by Walls - a wonderful "true-life novel" in which the author tells the story of her grandmother, a no-nonsense, hard-working, resourceful, and unconventional woman born at the turn of the 20th century; the audio version, read by the author, is terrific

The House at Tyneford by Solomons - perhaps a bit predictable and romantic but a thoroughly enjoyable and evocative story of a young Jewish Austrian woman who reluctantly leaves her well-to-do family in 1938 to become a maid at an English estate; her answer to a friend's question about Freud and sex is most entertaining: "It's all about id and ego and superego. I think he puts his id, or is it his ego, into your superego and then you both experience sublimation."

Honorable Mention: Blood Lance by Westerson; The Child From the Sea by Goudge


The Street Sweeper by Perlman -- almost gave up on this 600+ page book, but glad I didn't; a sprawling novel with a number of entertwining stories that eventually all come together -- some mesmerizing, others less so; lots of historical details, specifically about the Holocaust and, to a lesser extent, about the Civil Rights movement. I'd recommend it -- though it does require patience and the writing is a bit uneven.

Honorable Mention: Silver Lies by Parker


My Losing Season by Conroy (audio) --  a wonderful memoir by the author of The Great Santini and Prince of Tides, ostensibly about his last season playing college basketball, but of course about so much more -- about humiliation, loss, pain, survival, pride, resilience, etc; I loved it.

My Name is Mary Sutter by Oliveira -- set during the Civil War, the story centers around a skilled and persistent mid-wife who wants to be a surgeon; captures the brutality and grittiness of war and medical practice at the time; well-researched, well-written, and generally compelling

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January -Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. This was new to me author I look forward to reading more of the series.

February - Dog on It  by Spencer Quinn. A great start to the series looking forward to reading more.

March - The Bone House by Brian Freeman. Another great thriller from one of my favorite authors.

April - Plum Island by Nelson DeMille. Another great book from this author,

May -  The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. A great story teller looking forward to more Mickey Haller adventures.

June -  Red-Headed Step Child by Jaye Wells. Another new to me author, a great start to the series I will read more of her books.

July -  The American by Andrew Britton. A great start to the series looking forward to reading more by this author.

August -  Ok reading month for me nothing really stands out. Hopefully next month will be better.

September - Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben. Another great book from one my favorite authors. This is the first book in Myron Bolitar series.

October -  Appaloosa by Robert B Paker.  Great book from this author I will be reading more in this series.

November - The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen.  I finally dug this book out from the bottom of my TBR pile. She is a great author I will be reading more.

December -


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I love this thread!  - Here's to good reading for everyone!

January - The Walk by Richard Paul Evans was a winner this month.  As always his books grab you right from the beginning.  The main character must deal with a tragedy and decides to walk away from it all - literally.  He begins a long journey from Washington to Florida and meets many people along the way.  This is just the first book of a series (5 in all-I think) and I can't wait to read the second book.

February Life's Golden Ticket by Brendan Burchard.  This book was very moving for me, I was crying in many parts of it.  It is a very dream-like book which is usually not my style but I just could not put this book down.   It reminded me alot of The Five People You Meet In Heaven. 

March Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult.  Clearly Picoult does her research about wolves and it shines though in this book.  I found reading about the wolf families and how they interact and survive was fascinating.  She mixes in a story about the right-to-die issue - a very complex topic.  While this is the best book I read in March, I don't think it was Picoult's best book.  The "secrets" that a few of the character's keep are not that big a deal IMO.  I think she has written better books. 

April Miles to Go  by Richard Paul Evans.    This is the second book in his series and it was fantastic!  I got to the last chapter and really can't wait for the next book (it comes out next month!)  The book continues the journey of Alan and his desire/need to walk from Washington to Key West and all the people he meets along the way.  Everyone has a story and their impact on Alan (or even his impact on them!) 

May Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek. I was unexpected surprised by this book.  Ellie has to face real adult problems at such a young age while her mother battles mental illness and her father can no longer handle the situation.  I was drawn in to the book very quickly and had such empathy for Ellie. 

June - Jesus, My father, the CIA and Me  - by Ian Morgan Cron.  An interesting read.  Family struggles with a father dealing with alcholism and it plays a big part in the story.  Father works for CIA or at least that is what we are lead to believe since there is no real proof other than photographs of him with famous people. 

July - The Unwanted by Kien Nguyen.  Hands down this has got to be the best book I have read all year!  The story/memoir takes place in Vietnam just before the fall of the city.  Kien and his family are left behind and face incredible struggles to survive.  Poverty, forced work camps and strict government rules are jsut a few of what this family faces.  This young boy and his family endured so much under the Communist rein and while the mother may not be "likeable" at times, does everything she can to keep her family together and help them make it out of Vietnam.  This is a book that I can't stop thinking about and probably won't for some time. 

August John 3:16 by Nancy Moser.  I really didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book.  I have never read a Christian Fiction book and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this.  It was a quick read and one I had a hard time putting down.  Several characters have their lives cross with each other.  They all feel their lives have been touched by God in some way by the end of the book.  It wasn't too preachy either.  I will definitely read another of Moser's books.

September Against All Odds by Senator Scott Brown. Being from Massachusetts I am a fan of Senator Browns and finally got around to reading this.  I really enjoyed it as it wasn't all about politics.  It was about Scott growing up and the problems he and his family faced. 

October - Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Ok this was one weird book and just when I thought it couldn't get any weirder it did.  A reporter goes back to her home town to report on 2 recent murders.  She stays with her family who in my opinion are the weirdest of the bunch.  Once I was into the book I had to finish so that I knew what happened.  

November -The Nazi Officer's Wife by Edith Beer. I enjoyed reading this book much more than I epected.  It was about Edith's survival during the reign of Hitler.  She did everything she could to help her family and herself. 

December - Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez.  I really thought I would dislike this book and was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  A true story about an American woman that traveled over to Afghanistan.  she ends up setting up a beauty school for women but it must be done in secrecy as it is against the law for a woman to own a business among many other laws. 

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I loved doing this last year.



No question - top spot goes to The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon in audio. Haunting. I'm still thinking about it.


Top spot goes to The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen


Two first rate books this month: Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir and Headstone by Ken Bruen.

At the bottom (very bottom) this month: Talking With My Mouth Full by Gail Simmons and Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. I was very much looking forward to reading these books and they were both major disappointments.


I read and listened to 12 books this month.

Standout in audio was The Innocent by TaylorStevens. I thought it was as good as the first.

I've taken a break from reading mystery books to focus on reading books about diet, health, sustainable agriculture and organic farming. Standouts this month were The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather, Still Life With Chickens by Catherine Goldhammer and Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole. Loved all three books which gave me lots of food for thought.

No bottoms this month!









Book of the Year

2012 Reading Challenge:  42/100

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January: In print:   A Horse in the Ladies Room  by Mary Lou Fuller

           In audio:  The Bonesetter's Daughter   by Amy Tan

February: In print:  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

                  In audio:  The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

March:    In print:  See You a Hundred Years by Logan Ward

            In audio: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

April:   In print:  Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

               In audio:  Very Valentine by Adriana Trigianni narrated by Cassandra Campbell

May:    In audio:  Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo read by Sean Runnette

June:    In audio:  The Lottery by Patricia Wood narrated by Paul Michael

July:     In print:  The Beans of Egypt Maine by Carolyn Chute 

          In audio:  The Life of Pi by Yann Martell narrated by Jeff Woodman

August:  In print: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

                       In audioSh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

                                'Tis by Frank McCourt

September: In print: The Funeral Makers by Cathie Pelletier

               In audio: The Snow Child by Eowny Ivey & read by Debra Monk

                                                          Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

October:  In print:  Once Upon a Time on the Banks by Cathie Pelletier

            In audio:  The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle & read by Lily Rabe

November:  In print: Lunch with Buddha by Roland Merullo

                         Crazy Ladies by Michael Lee West

               In audio: Eventide

December:  In audio:  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn & read by J Whelan & K Heyborne


BOOKS OF THE YEAR: I suppose in print books I would choose Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, and my umpteeth rereads of The Funeral Makers by Cathie Pelletier and Once Upon a Time on the Banks by Cathie Pelletier. 

There is no way I could choose one from among some of the awesome audios I listened to this year.  For example: The Bonesetter's Daughter read & narrated by Amy Tan,  Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo read by Sean Runnette,
The Lottery by Patricia Wood narrated by Paul Michael, The Life of Pi by Yann Martell narrated by Jeff Woodman.  There are a actually a few others that I would have slipped into this #1 spot.

Yet, if my future fortunes depended upon me picking just one audio, I think I would lean towards The Lottery.  That book had so damn much heart!  But then, so did most of the audios on my list for the year. 

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Monthly bests of 2012:

January:  Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. Great novel about what ordinary Germans did to survive during WW2. Very compelling reading.

February:  Something About You by Julie James. Not terrific, but this month was a dud for reading.

March:  Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner.  A rather good Western romance.

April:  Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I watched the movie first and was intrigued by the premise.  Since I had the book sitting on my shelf, I decided to read it while the movie details were fresh in my mind.  (Book was better, of course!)  Such a haunting, thought provoking story.  I could not get it out of my head for days, and I wanted to tell everyone about it.

May:  Copper Sun by Sharon Draper.  Moving tale of slavery, meant for young adults.  

June:  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  This book should have been titled Marriage Implosion.  Awesome thriller and convoluted tale that kept me up at night!

July:  The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  This book was so good.  I loved the characters and rooted for them.  Loved the flowers and their meanings interspersed throughout the book.  Lovely.

August:  Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.  Hilarious!

September:  Dirty Secret by Jessie Sholl.  Fascinating look at life with a hoarder.

October:  The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  Fascinating and twisty.  Written from two points of view:  one a woman during WW2 and her daughter.  Kept me guessing.

November:  Indiscretion by Charles Dubow.  Entirely about an exramarital affair and its aftermath.  Sad, but compulsively readable.

December:  It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas.  Pure, romantic fluff, but I enjoyed it.  Don't know how I missed it when it came out.

Best of the year:  The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  What a terrific book.  Let's Pretend This Never Happened is a great runner-up.  It was hysterical!

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January: All of my January books were 3-star reads, so there were no huge standouts.  If I had to pick one it would be Dear Everybody by Michael Kimball.  It stood out only because the premise was something new.  The book is a series of letters the main character writes prior to his suicide.  It is not nearly as morbid as it sounds!

February: I only read 2 books this month thanks to grad school.  Of the two, I choose Game of Thrones book 1 as my pick this month.  Having already watched the HBO series, I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy the book as much knowing all the "twists" already.  However, I really enoyed all 700+ pages of this book!  Too bad I won't have time to read the second one before the next season starts on HBO.

March: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

April: This month's pick was Heft by Liz Moore.  One of those books that I can't really explain why I liked it, but I did and it stuck with me.

May: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

June: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

July: I'm picking two books this month, because I really liked both and they are VERY different!  The first was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  I didn't have high hopes for this book because I really didn't like Everything is Illuminated.  While Extremely Loud wasn't perfect, it really stuck with me after I had finished reading it.  My second choice was Let's Pretend this Never happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (the Blogess).  This book was hysterically funny!

August: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

September: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

October: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

November: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

December: Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano

Book of the Year: The Fault in our Stars by John Green


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I enjoyed doing this in 2011, am back for 2012 ;D

January:    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

February:    The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander,   Hearts and Bones by Margaret Lawrence (book one in series)

March: Liquid Smoke  - A Noah Braddock Mystery by Jeff Shelby  -  number 3 in the series.

April: The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry

May:  Julian's House by Judith Hawkes

June:  Survival In Auschwitz by Primo Levi

July:  Double Indemnity  by James M. Cain

August:  The Up and Comer by Howard Roughan

September The Hallie Lawrence Story by Joyce Walter;    Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

October:  Simple Justice (Benjamin Justice, Bk 1) by John Morgan Wilson;     L. A. Requiem (Elvis Cole, Bk 8) by Robert Crais

November: Deviant Ways by Chris Mooney ;    This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski & Barbara Vedder

December: Hound of the Baskervilles (Aladdin Classics) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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January:  The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy and Dark Places  by Gillian Flynn. 

                          I also enjoyed The Restorer by Amanda Stevens, and The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon.

February:   The Crying Tree by Naseem RakhaThe Boy in the Striped  Pajamas  by John Boyne

                               I discovered Joe R. Lansdale this month and read 2 that I really enjoyed : The Bottoms and A Fine Dark Line.

March:   The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch  and  Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn

April:     Labor Day by Joyce Maynard  and  The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

May:      Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls  and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

June:     Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  A truly amazing, inspiring book!  Same Kind of Different as Me by Denver Moore/Ron Hall. 

                           The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

July:      Still Alice by Lisa Genova  and  Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin

August:    The Sweet By and By by Todd Johnson  and  The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew

September: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn  and Mudbound by Hillary Jordan and  Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

October:  The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, Bk 1)  by Craig Johnson

November:  Iron House by John Hart

December: A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Bk 1) by Charles Todd



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My picks of the month/ year

January: Best--The Sisters Brothers A quick and fun story of the old west

Worst--The Case of the Tough-Talking Turkey (Casebook of Dr. McKenzie, Bk 2) I found Dr. McKenzie pompous and annoying.


February: Best--Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese-American Family

Worst--100 Years: 100 Stories Sorry, I like George Burns, but I think these stories would have been funnier coming from the horse's mouth 


March:For March, I've already had a couple of good books, but I'm pretty sure my best will be Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever.
I'm also going to recommend Bald in the Land of Big Hair : A True Story 


April:My favorite book from a series was Harrowing Hats (Renaissance Faire, Bk 4). I love this whole series.

My favorite stand alone was Defiant Rose, a fun romance filled with circus folk and society ladies.

My least favories were A Dog's Purpose I'm sorry. I know some of you loved this book, but it was just ok for me.
Add to that the excessive use of the word "instinctively" and I just couldn't enjoy it.

Also Dr. Nightingale Races the Outlaw Colt (Deirdre Quinn Nightingale, Bk 9). Now, maybe I've missed something
by jumping in at book 9. Maybe there are things I should know about the characters that would make a difference, but
I just cannot stand the Doc's boyfriend. Why an independent, intelligent woman would stay with such a nasty,
abusive creep is beyond me. 


May:  Best:   Anna Finch and the Hired Gun (Women of the West, Bk 2)   and   Table For Five

          Worst:  Stay at Home Dead









Book of the Year:

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January - Giants in the Earth - Rolvaag

February - Death of Kings - Bernard Cornwell, honorable mention to The Hunger Games - Collins

March - Believing the Lie - Elizabeth George and Packing for Mars - Mary Roach

April -  Why Read Moby Dick – Nathaniel Philbrick

May - Genghis, Birth of An Empire - Iggulden (Excellent!)

June - Tender at the Bone - Ruth Reichl

July - Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri

August - Storms, Ice and Whales – van der Does

September - Lord of the Bow - Iggulden - I am totally hooked on this series

October - The Power of One - Courtenay

November - Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury

December - Conqueror - Iggulden


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Monthly bests of 2012:

January: BEST I Love You Like a Tomato   Author: Marie Giordano   mainly because it was such a Hidden Gem of a book

Honorable Mention

Mrs. Kimble  Author: Jennifer Haigh

The Love Goddess' Cooking School  Author: Melissa Senate

WORST See my review The First Love Cookie Club  Author: Lori Wilde

February: BEST  The First Day of the Rest of My Life  Author: Cathy Lamb

*******Honorable Mention is A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell, Bk 2)
Author: Laurie R. King with 4.5 stars but not as life affirming or moving as the Cathy Lamb book

and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Author: Aimee Bender    4 stars because I well I expected a different logical ending

WORST  see my review Midwives  Author: Chris Bohjalian

March: BEST  Moloka'i  Author: Alan Brennert

*******Honorable Mention is

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, Bk 1)   Author: Jasper Fforde

A Dog's Purpose  Author: W. Bruce Cameron

WORST  Bloodroot  Author: Amy Greene

April: BEST    Still Missing   Author: Chevy Stevens 

which ties with   Jane Bites Back   Author: Michael Thomas Ford

WORST I just didnt care for it, and it took me forever to read  The Samurai's Garden    Author: Gail Tsukiyama


May: BEST 

The Bird House: A Novel  Author: Kelly Simmons

11/22/63 Author: Stephen King (642 pages)

Honolulu  Author: Alan Brennert

WORST  The Blackberry Bush   Author: David Housholder

June: BEST  The Violets of March Author: Sarah Jio

WORST None, they were all decent cozy reads, where none of the books are expected to be 5 star quality.

July: BEST   The Art of Paper Collage  Author: Susan Pickering Rothamel


August: BEST  Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart  Author: Beth Pattillo


September: BEST  The Kitchen House
Author: Kathleen Grissom


October: BEST  Good Enough to Eat  Author: Stacey Ballis


November: BEST  Nearly Departed in Deadwood (Deadwood, Bk 1) Author: Ann Charles


December: BEST  Time of My Life
Author: Allison Winn Scotch



March: BEST  Moloka'i  Author: Alan Brennert


and worst is by far:

WORST  The Blackberry Bush   Author: David Housholder

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January:  The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton

February: TIE:  The Fault in Our Stars    AND   Looking for Alaska by John Green

March:  Blueprints for Building Better Girls  by Elissa Schappell

April:   Smut by Alan Bennett

May: A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash

June: The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney

July: The Pursuit of Other Interests by Jim Kokoris 

August: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

September:  TIE:  The Unlikely Pilgramage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce AND Bear Down, Bear North by Melissa Moustakis

October: Dog Stars by Peter Heller AND The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian

November: Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman  

December: Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Best of the year:  TIE:  Fault in our Stars AND Girlchild

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January: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

February: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

March:  Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

April:  Dark Places by Gillian Flynn










Book of the Year:  

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January:   Tami Hoag....Down the Darkest Road   and  Nicholas Sparks....The Best of Me.  Both of these books were excellent.

February:  Kristen Hannah....Home Front   and  Kathleen Grissom.....(The Kitchen House.  Thanks to everyone who recommended this book).

March:      Lisa Gardner....Catch Me       and Miracle Cure....Harlan Coben

April:         J.A. Jance....Left for Dead    and Emma Cane....A Town Called Valentine (I hope this one is the start of a series).

May:          Allison Brennan......Silenced  and  Sophie Gunn....Sweet Kiss of Summer

June:         David Baldacci....The Innocent...John Hart...Down River...and....Karen Rose...No One Left To Tell   (what a great month all A+++ books)

July:           Andrew Gross....15 Seconds  AAA++  and  Meg Gardiner.....Ransom River

August:       Karen Robards.....The Last Victim  and Chelsea Cain......Kill You Twice

September:    Beverly Barton.....Don't Say A Word and Stuart Woods.......Severe Clear

October:        Iris Johansen.....Sleep No More and James Patterson....NYPD Red

November:    David Baldacci....The Forgotten

December:     Joy Fielding....Shadow Creek ...... Michael Palmer.....Political Suicide and Allison Brennan....Stalked

Best of the year:  The Kitchen House

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I'm in for 2012.

January: Hidden Places by Lynn Austin. My first (I think) Christian Fiction and I really enjoyed it, not too preachy, a touching story. Takes place during the depression. Will read more by this author. Forever In Texas by Jodi Thomas.  When you are in the mood to read a western romance, her books do not fail me. Always a good story. The Beach House by James Patterson. Audiobook. Good mystery and good narrator. Believe it or not, I believe this is my first Patterson book.

Feb: The King of Lies by John Hart. Mystery/contemporary. An Edgar Award nominee and it deserved it. Flood Tide by Clive Cussler, the audio version. Loved Bruce Greenwood as the narrator.

Mar: Night Road by Kristin Hannah and The Ladies of Garrison Gardens by Louise Shaffer. This is bk 2 of 2 and is as good if not better than bk 1 which is The Three Miss Margarets. which I read a couple of months ago.

Apr: Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson. This is Book 3 in this contemporary mystery series about a Sheriff in Montana and has been my favorite so far. The Sweet Gum Tree    by Katherine Allred. This was on my WL for a long time, well worth the wait. A sweet romance. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I'm sure that alot of you have read this. A biography and memoir about a family that is certainly different. I loved it and I don't like memoirs.

May: Breaking The Silence by Diane Chamberlain. Good solid mystery with a good twist at the ending. Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz. A new paranormal series. I have always enjoyed her books and this one does not disappoint.

June: Before I Say Goodbye by Mary Higgins Clark the  audio version.  Enjoyed this mystery alot.  Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. I can't say enough good things about this book.  If you were raised in the South you will love this  book.  Great womans fiction. 

July: A Gentle Rain by Deborah Smith. Beautifully written tender and touching story.  Contemporary romance. Promise Me Book 8 in Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series.  I continue to enjoy this mystery series. 

Aug: Quicksilver by Amanda Quick. This is bk 11 in her Arcane Series. Not the best of the bunch, but the best read for this month.

Sept: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio. Did not want it to end. Contemporary, some mystery, romance and made me want to go to Washington State. A paranormal Riley's Journey by P. L. Parker.

 Oct: Until Proven Guilty by J.A. Jance. This is Bk 1. A excellent mystery and I will be reading more in this series.  The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry (Cotton Malone Bk 2), mystery thriller. Loved, loved it. His books always make you think, I wonder if it is true.

Nov: Up Country by Nelson Demille. Audio Book. Loved  the narrator (Ken Howard). Mystery/thriller that kept me on the treadmill. Loved it.

Dec: Outlaw by Angus Donald. This is book 1 and is a fantastic read. Can't say enough good about it.

My book of the year is Outlaw by Angus Donald. A beautifully written book.


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January - Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell (1957) - collection of essays on society and philosophy spanning 1899 to 1954.  Brilliant and clearly written, and well ahead of his time in social consciousness and civil liberties.

February - American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (1991) - Possibly not the most disturbing horror i've read, but certainly the goriest.  Oddly constructed, but somehow it all fit, and I loved the book.

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January:  Best:  11/22/63 by Stephen King...one of his best


February:  Best:  In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming - first in a cozy mystery series, centering around a female priest and the local police chief - currently reading the 5th book of the series and it hasn't disappointed yet!


March:  Best:  All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming - the fifth in the series and the best one yet!

Worst:  Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles - unbelieveable young adult novel...not worth your time...I'm not even sure why I continue to read this genre...it's rare that I find a good one.


April:  Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward


May:  Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard


June: Wool by Hugh Howie 

Worst:  Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning - couldn't even finish this one








Best of the year: 

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I'm in.   I will post here.

January:   Historical fiction:  Gallows Thief by Bernard Cromwell   Romance: Virgin  River series (13 of them)  SciFi:  Autumn by David Moody   

February:  Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors    The Blessing of the Animals by Katrina Kittle   Autumn:  The City by David Moody  Open Season by Linda Howard

March: The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham      Autumn:  Disintegration by David Moody   Dragon House by John Shors    Rewriting Mondays by Jodi Thomas

April:      The Heart of the Continent by Nancy Cato    The Mule Tamer by John Horst    The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

May:   Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner   Left Neglected by Lisa Genova    My Own Country A Doctor's Story  by Abraham Verghese  10*    Autumn:  The Human Condition by David Moody

June:    Bride of the High Country by Kaki Warner       State of Wonder by Ann Patchett best book of the year so far!    Paradise Park by Allegra Goodman

July:       Piece of my Heart:  the stories of 26 Women who served in Vietnam by Keith Walker      

August:      Home Before Morning by Lynda Van Devanter        Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand      

September:     Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult  4*       Navarro by Ralph Compton

October:   The Reformed  Vampire Support Group and The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks 

November:  School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister             The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman                 The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Packard       Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner    The Dark Side of Heaven by Tamar Myers  

December:       Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro  

Best of the year:

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January: 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson   “Can the animal horrors of war be wallpapered over? Or buried beneath the hollyhocks of an English garden? The private terrors of two Polish survivors, Silvana and Janusz, who want only to bury their pasts in the comforting conformities of English life, are slowly exposed in this narrative.” I had to copy this blurb from the book cover because I could not sum up the book better than this. Silvana and her son Aureck are reunited with Janusz after the war and the book begins, but the story goes back and forth from war time to the present. This was a heartbreaking novel and I hung onto every word! 

February: The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst    I really liked this book, partly because of the story line, but mainly because of the author’s style of writing.  The main character is an author by the name of Octavia Frost.  She decides to rewrite the endings of most of her novels and call the book The Nobodies Album.  But the day she turns in the manuscript, her son Milo is accused of murdering his girlfriend.  Octavia flies to be with him and the rest of the novel deals with their troubled relationship from the past and the present day trauma of the murder charge. “But isn’t that the point, to write something that will last after the book has been put back on the shelf? Read my story, walk through those woods, and when you get to the other side, you may not even realize that you’re carrying something out that you didn’t have when you went in.”

March:  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand  Without a doubt, one of the best books I have read in a long time.  I admire the research Ms. Hillenbrand did to bring Louie's story to print.  I most of all I admire Louie and all vets who have sacrificed so much for this country.  This book will stay with me for a long, long time.

April:  Night Stalks the Mansion by Constance Westbie and Harold Cameron  This was a true story centered around the Cameron family and a haunted mansion that they lived in for 2 years.  It was free on my Kindle, which made it all the better.  Great story!

May:  I only read 5 books in May and none of them stand out.  If I had to choose, I would have to say The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain was the most interesting. 

June: Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante   Jennifer White was once a brilliant orthopedic surgeon. Now her mind is shriveling at an alarming pace, as the effects of Alzheimer’s sets in. The book is written from Jennifer’s perspective in short paragraphs. At first, I didn’t think I was going to like it, it seemed too choppy. But as the story line unfolded, I became more involved in the story and less interested in how it was presented.  Great book! 

July: Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee This was a fun, quick read about a man who is killed in a freak accident and comes back as his wife Emily’s dog, Einstein.  Obviously not believable, but a good story. The best of the 5 I read this month, but definitely not in the running for favorite of the year.

August: I read 5 books in August and 3 of them were outstanding, at least IMHO.  I won't go into detail, but they were all non-fiction and were about special bonds with animals.  In no particular order: Love, Life and Elephants by Dame Daphne Sheldrick---------------The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony-------------The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts.





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January:  Every Last One by Anna Quidlen, 2nd The Fiery Cross

February: City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin 

March:  Secret Daughter by Gowda

April:  Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

May: Breaking the Silence by D. Chamberlain and The Kitchen House by Grissom

June: The Mercy of Thin Air by Domingue

July: It has to be a tie between Redeeming Love and Shadow of the Wind

August: safe to make a call on 8/6 that my best will be Still Alice

September: Why the Sky is Blue; 2nd Emory's Gift

October:Echo in the Bone and I enjoyed Garden of Shadows by VC Andrews

November: Jane by April Lindner, I really liked this but I didn't read much this month.

 December: I didn't finish anything worth mentioning


Don't think I can pick a best for the year, if I put it here on this list I really liked it!

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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami



  • The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
  • The Fault in our Stars by John Green


The Snow Child  Author: Eowyn Ivey



Mudbound by Hillary Jord



Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain



Divergent by Veronica Roth



A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd
Author: Patrick Ness




The Art of Fielding
Author: Chad Harbach


Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel
Author: Carol Rifka Brunt



Ready Player One: A Novel -  Ernest Cline - #1, followed closely by:


The Absent One -  Jussi Adler-Olsen

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend. Matthew Green -  Matthew Green

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - Kate DiCamillo



The Dog Stars
Author: Peter Heller


Enclave (Razorland, Bk 1)
Author: Ann Aguirre



The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman - 5 stars

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple - 5 stars



Ready Player One: A Novel -  Ernest Cline

I read a lot of books this year that made my 5-star list but this one stood out the most.  It had so much going on - intrigue, friendships, mystery.  It had a fantastic plot, wonderful characters that I really loved, and the writer created a world that was both frightening and hopeful.  The 80s references made it a lot of fun, even though I didn't really get a lot of them!  It's probably the only book from this year that will be on my keeper shelf.

Still, even though this one edged out ahead, I read a lot of fabulous books this year!  

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