2012 – Best Books

Can you guys believe it is already time to pick the best books of 2012?I’ve picked five books for you in each of five categories – other than audio, where I just couldn’t cut one more out, so there are six. The books are my favorite/the books that have most stuck with me in each category. Books listed in the audiobook category are notable for their content as well as their presentation.

A bit about my process: it is books reviewed in 2012, not necessarily those read in 2012, which are eligible for inclusion here. I’ve been reading books for 2013 for more than a month and it would make no sense to have a book out in February of 2013 on my ‘best of 2012’ list. In addition, I want to make sure that 2012 books I read at the end of 2011 are not penalized because I read them early; this is the same way I structure my ‘picks of the month’ in my monthly wrap-ups.

Without further ado, out of the 187 books I reviewed this year, here are my 26 favorite (please see the end of this post for ways to find additional favorites):


The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney, narrated by Dan Stevens – published in audio by Penguin Audio, published in print by Putnam Books, both imprints of Penguin

The Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma, narrated by James Langton – published in audio by Simon Audio, published in print by Atria Books, both imprints of Simon & Schuster

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks, narrated by  Matthew Brown – published in audio by Macmillan Audio, published in print by St. Martin’s Press, both imprints of Macmillan

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy, narrated by John Keating, Barrie Kreinik, Allyson Johnson, and Adam Lazarre White – published in audio by AudioGO, published in print by Doubleday Books, an imprint of Random House

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, narrated by Lorna Raver, Mark Bramhall, and Nick Sullivan – published in audio by Harper Audio, published in print by William Morrow Books, both imprints of HarperCollins

Astray by Emma Donoghue, narrated by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham – published in audio by Hachette Audio, published in print by Little, Brown and Company, both imprints of Hachette



Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver – published by Harper Books, an imprint of HarperCollins

Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub – published by Riverhead books, an imprint of Penguin

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon – published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro – published by Algonquin Books, an imprint of Workman Publishing

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer – published by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan


Speculative Fiction and Mystery/Thriller

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – published by Crown Books, an imprint of Random House

Redshirts by John Scalzi– published by Tor, an imprint of Macmillan

White Horse by Alex Adams – published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books, an imprint of Macmillan

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker – published by Random House

Shadow of Night (sequel to A Discovery of Witches, consider this a vote for the series so far) by Deborah Harkness – published by Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin


Historical Fiction

In Need of a Good Wife by Kelly O’Connor McNees – published by Berkley Trade, an imprint of Penguin

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau – published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

The Queen’s Vow by C.W. Gortner – published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye – published by Amy Einhorn/Putnam Books, an imprint of Penguin

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian – published by Doubleday Books, an imprint of Random House



Double Time: How I Survived – and Mostly Thrived – Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins by Jane Roper – published by St. Martins, an imprint of Macmillan

Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite: The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan – published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago by Gary Krist – published by Crown Books, an imprint of Random House

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson – published by Basic Books

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy published by Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin


For more of my favorite books of 2012, please see my Books I Love in 2012 board on Pinterest. You may also want to follow my Books I Love in 2013 Pinterest board to find the best books of 2013. For ongoing favorite books, I also have the following boards:

What were your favorite books of 2012?

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2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Books make seriously awesome gifts, but you’ve got to give the right ones. Giving hardcore science fiction to someone who only reads historical romance may not go over very well. If you’re totally at a loss of what  books to give this year, I’m here to help. I’m going to skew this towards newer books, so you can be reasonably confident that your gift receiver won’t already have it, but I may make some additional suggestions as well. If it is a book I have reviewed, the title will link to the review. Hopefully everyone you need to buy for is represented here in one way or another.

Continue reading 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

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Thanksgiving: The Magic of Food

We all know that food can be magical, can almost transport you at times. Thanksgiving is, of course, about more than food, but some of you may, at some point on Thursday, want to be transported away from your friends and family. Luckily for you, books are just as magical and able to transport you as food. Put books and food together and, voila!

Over on the SheKnows Book Lounge I have listed five delicious novels about the magic of food. Perfect reading for those moments tomorrow when you need for your mind, at least, to escape from the Thanksgiving hubbub around you.

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Addicting Series – The Results

On Tuesday I asked you all to recommend some addicting series, and boy did you come through! By Thursday afternoon we had 49 comments (including a few replies of mine) for a total of 48 series recommendations. The most-mentioned series by far was “Outlander” which I am reading now, with seven mentions, followed by a handful of series which were mentioned 4 times. Apologies if any are mis-cataloged here, but I was going off either what people said or a very cursory Google search. Historical mysteries are listed with historical fiction. Without further ado, here they are:

Mystery/Crime fiction

  • M.C. Beaton – Hamish Macbeth series
  • Lee Child – Jack Reacher series (2 mentions)
  • Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes
  • Janet Evanovich – Stephanie Plum series (2 mentions)
  • Tess Gerritsen – Rizzoli and Isles
  • Sue Grafton – Kinsey Milhone series (2 mentions)
  • Martha Grimes – Richard Jury series
  • Charlaine Harris – Harper Connelly series
  • Arnaldur Indridason – Reykjavik murder mystery series
  • P.D. James – Adam Digliesh series
  • Faye Kellerman – Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus (2 mentions)
  • Laurie R. King – Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series
  • Stieg Larsson – The Millennium Trilogy
  • Jeff Lindsay – Dexter series
  • J.D. Robb – Eve Dallas/In Death series (2 mentions)
  • Dorothy L. Sayers – Lord Peter Wimsey series (3 mentions)
  • Alexander McCall Smith – Number 1 Ladies’ Detectives Agency series
  • Jacqueline Winspear – Maisie Dobbs series (2 mentions)

Historical Fiction

  • Sarah Donati – Into the Wilderness series
  • Ariana Franklin – Mistress of the Art of Death mystery series
  • Margaret Frazer – Sister Frevisse mystery series
  • Diana Gabaldon – Outlander series (7 mentions)
  • Sandra Gulland – Josephine trilogy
  • Patrick O’Brian – Jack Aubrey series (3 mentions)
  • Ellis Peters – Brother Cadfael mystery series (2 mentions)
  • Deanna Raybourn – Lady Julia Grey mystery series (2 mentions)
  • Penny Vincenzi – No Angel

Speculative Fiction: Dystopian/Science Fiction/Paranormal/Fantasy

  • Ilona Andrews – Kate Daniels series
  • Libba Bray – The Gemma Doyle series (YA)
  • Patricia Briggs – Mercedes Thompson series
  • Jim Butcher – Harry Dresden series (4 mentions)
  • Cassandra Clare – Mortal Instruments series (YA)
  • Jasper Fforde – Thursday Next series
  • Jeaniene Frost – Night Huntress series
  • Charlaine Harris – Sookie Stackhouse series (4 mentions)
  • Kim Harrison – The Hollows series
  • Robert Jordan – Wheel of Time series (2 mentions)
  • Stephen King – The Dark Tower series
  • John Marsdon – Tomorrow series (YA, 4 mentions)
  • George R.R. Martins – A Song of Fire and Ice
  • Lisa McMann – Wake series
  • Karen Marie Moning – MacKayla Lane series (3 mentions)

General/Christian Fiction

  • Jan Karon – The Mitford Years series
  • Sophie Kinsella – Shopaholic series
  • Debbie Macomber – Cedar Cove series
  • Brendan O’Carroll – The Mammy series
  • Francine Rivers – The Mark of the Lion trilogy
  • Ann B. Ross – Miss Julia (Christian fiction)

The One In Which I Pester You About The Book Blogs Search Engine Again

It is that time of year! BBAW is drawing to a close and I am obligated (by the promise of cupcakes and unicorn rides) to mention to you the Book Blogs Search Engine, created by the fabulous Fyrefly.

So here’s the deal, Fyrefly created a custom Google search engine that only searches book blogs: aka, the Book Blogs Search Engine. It is a great resource and there are over 1200 blogs in it already (if you like to add links to other reviews to your reviews, this is a good way to find them). However, if you are newer to book blogging, you may not be in here, and that makes the rest of us sad, because we want to be able to find your thoughts too.

But even if you aren’t in it now, you can be in it very, very soon!

All you have to do is go to Fyrefly’s post explaining the whole thing and check the table to see if your blog is listed. If you aren’t there, just leave a comment for Fyrefly and let her know your url and that you would like to be added – easy peasey!

If you do add yourself and your blog allows javascript (aka, you aren’t a .wordpress.com blog), please consider adding the Book Blogs Search Engine to your blog for other people to use as well (yes, that is it there at the bottom of my left sidebar).

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