12 Best Reads of 2012

Quite a few of my friends have asked me for a “best of” list of books that I read in 2012 and I am happy to oblige!  This year I finally met my 2+ year goal of reading 150 books in a year, I actually surpassed it by quite a few even!  I know many read more than that but I’m quite thrilled with finally meeting a goal!  Ha!

Now for the books – my reading preferences are all over the board so I apologize in advance for it.  I won’t review the plots as some see any info as spoilers, if you want to know what the book is about you can read the synopsis from the link!

The Secret Keeper  by Kate Morton
I had read The House at Riverton series (why are they called a series anyway?) and while I liked them, they weren’t ones that I would rush out to tell the world about.  However, I didn’t dislike them so I picked up the latest novel by Kate Morton and became enraptured.  Some was predictable, some was not and all of it was enjoyable.  This book took me a little over a day to read and I didn’t want to put it down!  I look forward to more from this author.

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
This book was recommended to me by a few different people and I had plopped it on my “want to read” list.  When looking for a new book to read I decided I liked the cover and the premise and went with it (because I’m sometimes shallow like that).  I really wasn’t expecting to like it much to be honest, but I hoped to be entertained.  This ended up being one of the biggest surprise hits for me this year!   If you like survival-esque stories, I highly recommend this book!

Four Against the Wilderness by Elmo Wortman
Continuing with the survival theme… When I was a kid, I fell in love with this made-for-tv movie called “Anything to Survive” and in later years, I would often think of the movie.  I decided that I wanted to see it again this year and in my quest to find the movie I found out that it was based on a true story and a book that the father wrote of their tale.  While ordering the movie, I also ordered the book.  I loved reading the true story behind the movie that captured my attention for so many years and it wasn’t remotely a let down at all, in fact, like in most things, the book was better than the movie.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
It seems that everyone has recommended this book to me since its release but I kept putting it off.  It just didn’t “grab” me and say read me.  However, I eventually got to it as the to-read pile waned and I am so glad that I did!  This is a beautifully written novel and I couldn’t put it down.  Lisa has since released two novels but IMHO neither compare to the first.

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf
I read this book just a a mere few weeks before the tragedy at Newton and it made this book ever more haunting and will be one of the books that stick with me for a long time.   It’s another book that I couldn’t put down.

Seduction and Snacks by Tara Sivec
Oh god, this book had me laughing almost from the first line.  I was sending out some of the quotes from it to my friends and we were all laughing about it.  This may be one of the funniest books I’ve read for females and I’d equate it to a softer, funnier version of something Tucker Max would write.  Definitely read this if you are in the mood for something light and funny… and you aren’t a prude.

The Long Walk by Stephen King
Yet another old book that had been recommended to me a few times that I finally gave in to.  I’ve not met many King books I didn’t like so in preparation for my upcoming trip to Maine I decided to read this one.  It is haunting, beautiful and awful at the same time.  I see this as a more well written version of The Hunger Games.

The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March
I got this book from Amazon Vine, not expecting it to be much but the cover was pretty (I’ve mentioned I can be shallow right?).  I imagined it to be a great beach/summer read and being set in Maine was a huge bonus.  It was NOT a light and fluffy read, rather it was the opposite but I still loved it just the same.   Be prepared to have some tissues nearby but for smiles as well.  Your emotions will be all over for this one!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This is another tear jerker and I adored it.  I’m not spoiling anything but that it’s a heart-wrenching book that you will hate to love but you’ll recommend it all the same.

The Rest of Forever by M. Elaine Moore
This book was recommended on an Outer Banks Forum that I read (I adore the Outer Banks) and I was hesitant at first given that it does have a bit more religion than I like in my books.  I went ahead and kept with it though since I adore the Outer Banks and am glad I did.  Pick this one up if you love the Outer Banks or just modern romances.

The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe
This may go down as my favorite beachy read of the year, along with the rest of the books in the series.  The setting is magical and I love how the sea turtles are intertwined with the novel.  If you are looking for a series of beach books to get lost in, these are where you want to go.  SO good.

The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain
I adore Diane Chamberlain and her latest release did not disappoint, in fact it may be one of my favorites of hers to date.  I adored the relationship between the father and daughter in this novel and it brought back memories of me and my Dad growing up.  Make sure you have time reserved for this book, you won’t want to put it down.

What were YOUR favorite reads of 2012?

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Books You Should Read | Outlander Series

I can’t recall when I finally picked up the Outlander series and began reading it, but I want to say in was 2000 or so. A friend whom is also an avid reader had told me about the series and it piqued my interest as I’ve always loved time travel novels.  I think it all goes back to my love affair with Christopher Pike so I’ve always loved anything with a touch of fantasy in it.  I remember going into Walden Bookstores and having a dickens of a time locating this novel because I was under the assumption it was a romance but it was filed with sci-fi.  I don’t miss those days of scouring book shelfs trying to find a novel (or waiting to get the next in a series ordered in to your store!).  Thank god for Amazon and Kindle.  I digress.  When I picked this book up (and the next 2 in the series) I was a bit intimidated by their immense size.  This is NOT a small book by any means.  I am a fairly fast reader but I even was a bit overwhelmed by the mass of this book.  However I quickly found out that the pace is so fast you never feel like this book is dragging.

Outlander is the first novel of the series and sets up the framework quite nicely but I also feel it could easily be a stand alone novel.  Her later novels in the series do leave you hanging a bit at the end but I’ve always loved how this novel finishes and doesn’t leave one completely in the dark.  The series is currently up to 7 books and the next will be released next year (which I am anxiously awaiting for as the last ending was a cliffhanger).  If you start this series, make sure you have time eked out in your reading schedule because I almost promise you that you will not want to stop at one.

This series follows Jamie, a Scottish Highlander from the 1700’s and Claire, a time traveler from the 1940’s.  I will try not to spoil too much for you (a HUGE pet peeve of mine when reading online reviews) but I will say there are a few other people that the story involves as the series progresses.  When someone told me what this book was about I kind of rolled my eyes thinking it’d be too over the top but I must say this is one of the best written fantasies I’ve ever read.  The time travel in this book is completely believable and makes sense in a way.  Since I love history, I also enjoy how Gabaldon intertwines history with Jamie and Claire.  It’s hard to describe but trust me when I say it’s well done and you’ll feel like you were there alongside them for much of the major events.

If you like Outlander, you also may want to check out Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John series which is a series of novels about a minor character from the Outlander series (none but The Scottish Prisoner involve Jamie but he is referenced here and there).  These novels are MUCH quicker reads than their Outlander brothers.  I also would recommend Sara Donati’s Into the Wilderness series as well.  There are a few minor characters that are in the Wilderness and Outlander novels and they have a lot of similar elements (I believe the authors are friends).  This series just wrapped up last year and I was so sad to see it go.  That being said, it’s one of my favorite endings of a series ever.

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Reading Like a Fiend

I am a *huge* reader, have been since I was a child.  I honestly can’t remember the last time that I was not beginning, in the middle of or ending a book.  Even before I could read words I remember carrying around picture books and even some non picture books and leafing through them before I fell asleep.  I remember a whole world opening to me though when I learned to read and I found out what the words were in “The Monster at the End of This Book” (no, no one read to be before bed, that’s another story for another day).  It’s a rare night that I don’t at least read ONE page of a book prior to falling asleep.  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that both of my parents read a lot so I grew up thinking reading was essential to life.

Two years ago, I decided for my 30th birthday to buy myself a Kindle.  I had been kicking around the idea but I just did not like the design of the original release.  However after seeing a friend’s Kindle while on vacation, I decided that I would LOVE the new one and preordered it immediately upon returning home.  I really was worried that I would not like it compared to my real books and that I would find it lacking but the idea of being able to download the next book in a series on a whim rather than waiting around for a) it to be delivered or b) it to be in stock at the local bookstore is what sold me in.  I like instant gratification and too often I would think of a book I’d love to read but have to wait days or weeks to get my hands on it.

It was love at first read.

Now I am proud to be a Kindle owner (I now have the Kindle Keyboard which I purchased last year) and I have been known to rebuy books that I own already in paperback because I love reading on the Kindle that much.  It’s SO easy to hold.  I toss the sucker in a Ziplock bag and can take it to the beach, pool or read it in my tub.  I have a cover that has a light attached to it for easy night reading.

My newest found love that has to do with reading is Goodreads.  Are you a member? if so, we should be friends.  I have a problem sometimes remembering if I’ve read a book or sometimes I forget details from a book and it’s driving me crazy.  I’ve been keeping track of books I’ve read since 2008 on here and it’s been fun to not only see how much I read in a year (130 or so, give or take) but to also read reviews and see what my friends are reading.  It’s kind of like Facebook for readers.

I doubt that I’ll ever have any sort of theme here but I think I’d like to share books and book reviews here from time to time.  I read just about everything depending on my mood.  I do tend to stay away from fantasy and sci-fi though (I’m one of those that have not read Harry Potter yet) but it doesn’t mean that I won’t rule it out.  Of course I’m always game for a recommendation so hit me up if you’ve got one!

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