Dec 17, 2012

Year in Review: Top Ten Favorite Books

When I started this year, I decided I wanted to conquer 52 books. But that was before we bought a house, moved, got pregnant, had a difficult pregnancy, gave birth, and became a stay-at-home mom to a handful of a newborn. So the big question, did I succeed?

Of course I did! Well, technically I'm still reading book 52, but I have this in the bag. I have until the 31st, so I got this no problem. But I will definitely not be taking on 52 books next year. I would have to be crazy to do that. As Addie becomes more active, there's no way. But I'm not here to talk about my 2013 Reading Challenge. You'll have to wait to hear about the magic number I chose for next year until another post.

This is all about my favorite books of this year. And I have plenty to chose from. I did read 52 books this year. But after going through the books I read this year and writing down the titles of my favorites, I found that I had eleven. Therefore, you get a bonus book! So without further ado...

#11: The Pact - Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is a wonderful writer. I have read several things from her and she never disappoints. Her writing puts you into the story and into the lives with these characters.

Chris and Emily have been inseparable since they were little. It was no surprise to anyone that they started dating. It was a surprise when they form a suicide pact. The only problem: Emily was the only one who ends up dead. Chris is falling to pieces over the loss of Emily, but now his future is in question when he becomes central to the investigation. He was the only one that witnessed her dead and evidence is coming to light that make everyone question this suicide pact. What really happened that November night that resulted in the tragic end of a young life?

#10: Magnolia Wednesdays - Wendy Wax
I picked up this book on sale and really had no idea what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was a little slow to start, but as I got farther into the book the more I started to enjoy this book. The characters were flawed and easy to relate to. I enjoy reading about a main character that is not perfect.

Vivien Gray had a pretty good life going for her. Well until she was shot in the butt during a report, which spread via youtube quickly. Pretty soon she found herself out of a job and pregnant at forty. Her life was completely turned upside. She finally finds a job writing a column about suburban life, leading her back to her hometown of Atlanta. At first she does nothing but judge this world, which included her sister, but over time she finds herself seeing a side of this life she hadn't seen before. And even more she finds herself connecting with her sister.

#9: The Bedford Boys - Alex Kershaw
Being a history major, I enjoy reading books on history. Even more my favorite era of history is during World War II, so I enjoy books like this one. I had previously read books by this author and I had enjoyed it. It is an easy, quick read.

The town of Bedford sent most of their boys to war after they had joined the National Guard before the war in order to get together and earn an extra dollar a month. But when the country went to war, the Bedford boys were sent off. They were the first sent in on D-Day, some suspected because they were young and had never seen combat, making them unaware what they were walking into. On that day, very few of those Bedford Boys walked away. And those that did, felt felt incredible survivor's guilt and the town was left shattered.

#8: The Wife's Tale - Lori Lansens
I didn't think I would like this book. I bought this book on sale, but I wasn't completely convinced I would enjoy it. I was mistaken. I started out hating the character because she was weak and let things happen to her instead of taking charge of her life, but as the book went on she found a strength she didn't know she had and grew confident in who she is.

Mary Gooch and her husband is about to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary when her husband leaves her. Mary battles obesity and had always let things happen to her and has never fought for anything. She just drifts through her life. But then she decides to look for her husband. She finds herself in California, looking for her husband at his mother and ailing stepfather's house. He isn't there but she decides to stay and wait for her. Along the way she is robbed and loses her passport (she's from Canada) and all her money. Over the time she's spent in California, she learns who she is and what she really wants out of life.

#7: The Longest Winter - Alex Kershaw
Alex Kershaw makes the list again! His books are truly easy to read and a quick read. Again this book is a history book and right up my alley of topics.

This book was about an intelligence platoon that faced a major German campaign at the Battle of the Bulge. Their job was to be unseen, collecting information from the enemy. But these eighteen men were asked to hold the line at Lanzerath. The fighting was hard and fierce, and they were finding themselves cut off and running out of ammunition. They held on as long as possible, delaying the German breaking through the lines before they were taken prisoners and taken to a POW camp, where they would spend the rest of the war. It would be over thirty years before they were recognized for what they did during the Battle of the Bulge.

#6: There's a Cake in my Future - Kim Gruenenfelder
I think I tend to dread books by unknown authors because it's really just spinning the wheel. You never know if the book is actually going to be decent or not. Actually even with authors I know about, there is always a risk that book could be a dud. The three main characters were interesting and people you actually would want to be friends with in real life.

During her bridal shower, Nic decides she wants to do a "cake pull," but she rigs it so certain charms will go to exactly who she wants. Nic wants the shovel for herself, which symbolizes hard work. For Mel, she wants her to get the engagement charm, so something can happen with her long-term relationship. Seena, she wants to receive the red hot chili pepper, which symbolizes a hot romance because she's been in love with her best friend, Scott, for as long as she could remember. But things were array at the shower and nobody ends up with the charms Nic planned. Things start coming true for all the other women who were at the shower, so the three friends begin to wonder if there is more to this "cake pull" then just a silly shower game.

#5: The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy - Nora Roberts
I always enjoy Nora Roberts books. She's an interesting and fast read. This trilogy is no different. I love the characters she creates and I always find that I don't want to leave the worlds she creates.

In this series, three brothers who work together to open (or re-open) an old inn. Along the way they find romance and love, sometimes in the most unexpected place.

P.S. I have only read the first two, but I'm excited about reading the third one. The above link will take you to the first book, click here to check out the second book.

#4: Lady in Waiting - Susan Meissner
This was one of the last books that I read and will definitely be a book I will read again. The author combined fiction with historical fiction, which made this two separate stories. It added a different touch and an enjoyable one at that.

Jane is a modern woman who is finding herself separated from her husband, unsure of how to fix something when she has no idea what went wrong. She discovers a ring in a box of things she bought for her antique store. What's so special about this ring is that it has her name in it. She starts a journey to discover where this ring came from and who it belonged it. Along the way she discovers what she really wants and that she is more in control of her than she thought she was.

In addition, the book follows the story of Lucy Day who was a dressmaker for Jane Grey. Lucy befriends Jane despite their different classes. Lucy watched Jane's life turn upside time and time again by forces outside her control. It wasn't until it was too late that Jane, just like the modern day Jane, discovers that she has control over her life.

#3: The Lost Recipe of Happiness - Barbara O'Neal
I had read another book by Barbara O'Neal and loved it. This one was not quite as good as the other I read, but I still loved it. She has other books and I'm looking forward to reading all of them. She's a good writer and I love the characters she recreates.

Elena is a chef, and suddenly without warning she finds herself fired. Luckily she finds herself being offered a job almost immediately by the owner of the restaurant she used to work for. The only problem with this offer is that it takes her closer to her hometown from which she ran away from after an accident and tried her best never to look back. She battles all those men that doubt her, her attachment to the owner of the resturant and his fourteen-year-old, and her past in which she carries many scars and ghosts.

#2: Still Missing - Chevy Stevens
This book pulled me through. It was frightening, sickening, sad, and impossible to put down. The characters are deep and well-written. I found this book thrilling, exciting, and addicting.

Annie is a successful realtor and very content with her life. But one afternoon she was doing a house showing, which was slow when a man drives up wanting to see the house. She's excited about finally getting to show the house, hoping to sell it to this well-put together and clean-cut man. But suddenly things go awful when he shoves a gun into her back and forces her into his van. She finds herself in a sealed cabin, completely trapped with no idea where she is. Over the next year she faces nightmare she had only ever seen in movies and read in books. Through sessions in therapy, all is revealed what happened to her and how she escaped. But things aren't as resolved as she might have thought. She may not be trapped in the cabin in the woods anymore, but she's certainly not free.

#1: In the Garden Trilogy - Nora Roberts
This trilogy was the first books I read of the year, and I loved them. In fact I liked it so much so that I have wanted to reread these books. I have read a lot of Nora Roberts series and this is definitely my favorite of the bunch. It is surrounded by three women who lean on each other and their lives deal with flowers. They are all easy, quick reads and I enjoyed them quite a bit. And therefore my favorites of 2012.

Click here to check out Black Rose and Red Lily.

Come back tomorrow of day two of Year in Review. Tomorrow is all about food and which of 2012 recipes are my favorites.

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