According to Goodreads, I’ve read about 120 books this year! To be honest, I expected the number to be a bit higher, but I suppose reading an average of 10 books a months is a lot. (wink!) Here is a list of the books I read this year that made a strong impression on me. If you can only get through one book a month, I would select these. Although not all of them were published in 2013, I would highly recommend each of the books below. Of course, I could go on and on about the many good books I read this year, but here are some of the best:
1. Helter Skelter: ”Helter Skelter” was an emotionally charged story that kept me up nights while I was reading it. There were so many aspects to the story that I imagine all readers would have very strong feelings about the events described. What made this book so interesting was that it was written by Vincent Bugliosi, the attorney tasked with prosecuting the Tate-LaBianca murderers. The crimes committed by Manson and his “family” were so unnerving and senseless that there just isn’t any way for normal people to comprehend why these murders occurred, but if you dare to try, I highly recommend this book. Full blog here.
2. A House In The Sky: I was never more astonished with how someone survives captivity than while reading Amanda Lindhout’s terrifying experience of being held captive for 15 months in Somalia as told in her memoir, ”A House In The Sky”. Her positive and resilient spirit allowed her to survive the situation by focusing on the good things she encountered each day. This was the best memoir I read this year and was surprisingly uplifting. Full blog here.
3. Sister: William Shakespeare’s words, “fear it, my dear sister”, were never more true than in “Sister”. This was a book I could not put down! The voice of the narrator, Beatrice, was magnetic, which made the mysterious death of her sister Tess extremely compelling. The pace and writing were excellent. Full blog here.
4. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time: When young Christopher found his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled by a garden fork, he was prompted to investigate the murder, write a book, and do several others things he normally wouldn’t do. In a humorous way, the author presents themes of love, patience and trust, all of which are difficult for autistic Christopher to understand. This was a light read that would entertain anyone with a sense of humor and a compassionate heart. Full blog here.
5. The Promise of Stardust: “The Promise Of Stardust” mixed medicine, law, and love to create a deep tale of love and loss. My opinion of whether a woman should be kept on life support so she could give birth changed throughout the book due to the author’s fantastic storytelling. This was an amazing novel and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a serious love story set against an equally serious topic. Full blog here.
6. The Borrower: The adventure in “The Borrower” revolved around a spontaneous road trip when librarian Lucy Hull inadvertently drives ten-year old Ian around the country when he runs away from home. The novel had so much heart to it that I can’t even describe all of it! This was a fantastic, quirky story that I was so glad I read, and wish I had read sooner. Full blog here.
7. A Hundred Summers: “A Hundred Summers” was a spectacular and complex love story that flashed back and forth between the present of 1938, and the past of 1932. Lily found herself spending the summer in the small town of Seaview with her former best friend Budgie, and Budgie’s husband Nick (who was also Lily’s former fiancé). The well written story had unexpected twists that made this an excellent story. Full blog here.
8. Parlor Games: Based on a true story, “Parlor Games” stole my heart from the very first page. The first person perspective provided an intimate view of the heroine at the center of “Parlor Games.” Whether calling herself May, Pauline, the Baroness, or any other name, May’s conniving character was completely engaging! Full blog here.
9. The Year of Fog: “The Year Of Fog” began when young Emma disappeared at the beach on a foggy day while in the care of her father’s fiance, Abbey. I was really immersed in the story the entire time I was reading it. The writing was excellent, and anyone seeking a mystery with heart would appreciate this story. Full blog here.
10. The Hypnotist’s Love Story: “The Hypnotist’s Love Story” was spectacular! The plot was simple: Ellen and Patrick are Dating-Patrick is being stalked-Ellen wants to meet the stalker- Ellen doesn’t know she already has. I stayed up later to finish reading this because I could not put it down. This was a fast past thrilling love story that was so original! Full blog here.
11. The Songs of Willow Frost: This was a fantastic book that examined love in a variety of aspects through the heartbreaking story of Willow. Packed with events, every story line had a purpose and culminated in a great overall story. I can’t think of one thing I didn’t like about this book! Full blog here.
12.Life of Pi: Quite simply, “Life of Pi” was a novel I wish I had read sooner. I was stunned with the amazing writing and the author’s ability to make being adrift in a life boat with a tiger for several weeks continuously enjoyable. Ultimately, the journey was amazing and the author managed to get me right into the boat with Pi. Full blog here.
Books that JUST missed the list:
1. The Impersonator: Murder collided with proper society as “The Impersonator” attempted to swindle the inheritance away from a scheming family by pretending to be their long lost cousin. I loved the characters and the setting, who were all perfect for this mystery! Full blog here.
2. From Notting Hill To Love …Actually: This was a delightful romantic comedy! Anyone who enjoys Sophie Kinsella’s books and heroine Rebecca Bloomwood, would also love Scarlett and McNamara’s writing. I’ve since bought every book she has written. The novel was a light read, but the strong writing and engaging plot made it very enjoyable. Full blog here.
3. Drowning Ruth: The author put in place events that collided together in a thought-provoking way. With themes of duty and love cloaked in secrecy, the truthful characters told a tale that was gripping. Full blog here.
4. Escape from Camp 14: A frightening and emotional journey through one man’s life at, and escape from, a North Korean political prison camp. Full blog here.