Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My 2012 Recommended Reading List!

     2012 is not quite over, but the coming weeks will be busy, and I won't finish reading any more novels this month, so I'm going to go ahead and answer what you all have been wondering: "What novels did Linda read and like best this year?"

     Yes, it's time for "Linda's Favorite Novels of 2012"!!!!  Now, please note that these are novels/books I read during 2012, not ones that were necessarily published in 2012. I don't know why I feel that is important to mention, but there you go. My reading taste also varies widely, so hopefully, whether you love romance or non-fiction, you'll find something on my list to add to your "Can't Wait To Read This!" list.

     I need to add an aside. I have so many talented friends who are authors, and whose books I love and adore.  I would have loved to include each and every book I read by these talented authors, but then my blog would have turned into a novel itself. Plus, its very hard to choose favorites from all that talent, so rest assured dear Friends Who Are Authors, your books are very special to me as well! 

     And so, without further ado! (And in  no particular order. These all received 5/5 star ratings from me.)

Linda's Favorite Novels of 2012!

1.   "A Dangerous Inheritance"  by Alison Weir  (Historical Fiction) -  England's Tower of London was the terrifying last stop for generations of English political prisoners. A Dangerous Inheritance weaves together the lives and fates of four of its youngest and most blameless: Lady Katherine Grey, Lady Jane's younger sister; Kate Plantagenet, an English princess who lived nearly a century before her; and Edward and Richard, the boy princes imprisoned by their ruthless uncle, Richard III, never to be heard from again. Across the years, these four young royals shared the same small rooms in their dark prison, as all four shared the unfortunate role of being perceived as threats to the reigning monarch.

2.  "The Last Queen" by C.W. Gortner -  (Historical Fiction) Juana of Castile, the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country’s throne, has been for centuries an enigmatic figure shrouded in lurid myth. Was she the bereft widow of legend who was driven mad by her loss, or has history misjudged a woman who was ahead of her time? In his stunning new novel, C. W. Gortner challenges the myths about Queen Juana, unraveling the mystery surrounding her to reveal a brave, determined woman we can only now begin to fully understand.  

3.  "Mercury: An intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury" by Lesley-Ann Jones (Biography)- As lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury’s unmatched skills as a songwriter and flamboyant showmanship made him a superstar, and Queen a household name. But few people ever really glimpsed the man behind the glittering faÇade.      Mercury was the first major rock star to die from AIDS. Now, twenty years after his death, those closest to him are finally opening up about this pivotal figure in rock n’ roll. 

4. "The Inn at Rose Harbor" by Debbie Macomber (Romance) - Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.  

5. "Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13" by Jim Lovell (Non-Fiction) - The full story of the moon shot that almost ended in catastrophe has never been told, but now Lovell and coauthor Jeffrey Kluger bring it to vivid life. What begins as a smooth flight is transformed into a hair-raising voyage from the moment Lovell calls out, "Houston, we've got a problem."  

6. "Best Enemies" by Jane Heller (Fiction) - Book publicist Amy Sherman tripped over it when she caught her fiancé horizontally attached to her best friend, the impossibly tall, inexcusably blonde, and insufferably gorgeous Tara Messer, who added insult to injury by marrying the cad right out from under her.  After four years of therapy, Amy's finally back on track-until she has to publicize the hottest new book of the season by "the next Martha Stewart." Nightmares do come true. It's the dreaded Tara who's the author, and why shouldn't she write a bestseller about perfection? She's the perfect woman enjoying the perfect life with the perfect man. Who'd ever guess she's living the perfect lie? 

7.  "Victoria R.I." by Elizabeth Longford (Biography) -  In this biography, Lady Longford, long recognized as an authority on the subject, gives a full account of Queen Victoria's life and provides her unique assessment of the monarch. Victoria ascended the throne in 1837 on the death of her uncle, William IV. In 1840, she married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

8. "'Til Death Do Us Part" (Bailey Weggins Mystery #3)  by Kate White- (Fiction/Mystery) - In Bailey's latest outing, she takes the plunge into a world of domestic divas and deadly nuptial doings. When she gets a call from Ashley Hanes on a frigid night, Bailey expects to be hit up for fashion show tickets. Instead Ashley reveals that two bridesmaids from Peyton Cross's wedding have recently died in freak accidents...and Ashley is terrified she's next.  

9.  "Bring Up the Bodies" Wolf Hall #2 by Hilary Mantel (Historical Fiction) - The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn.  

10. "703: How I Lost More than a Quarter Ton and Gained My Life" by Nancy Makin (Non Fiction) - Nancy Makin weighed an astounding 703 pounds in May 2000. She was forty-five years old and had diabetes and heart disease. Thanks in equal parts to shame and logistics, she'd been homebound for a dozen years. But all that changed after a gift from her sister: a computer. A technophobe, Nancy ignored it for months, until finally boredom and curiosity pushed her into cyberspace. And there, in a chat room, she found the friendliness, the support, and even the love she'd been missing for so long. Nobody flinched when Nancy spoke up; people treated her with the same respect accorded to everybody else. Thanks to these emotional connections, Nancy's life was transformed. 

11. "A Body to Die For" (Bailey Weggins Mystery #2) by Kate White (Fiction/Mystery) - Bailey thinks a weekend at a friend's country inn and spa sounds like the perfect pick-me-up after her recent brush with death. Unfortunately, the publicity that follows Bailey's discovery of a dead body in a mud wrap won't be a selling point for the healthful qualities of her friend's otherwise delightfully elegant Massachusetts resort.

12. "Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell is This?" by Marion Meade (Biography) - with an afterward by Marion Meade.  

13. "The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History" by Molly Caldwell Crosby (Non-Fiction) - The American Plague reveals the true story of yellow fever, recounting Memphis, Tennessee's near-destruction and resurrection from the epidemic-and the four men who changed medical history with their battle against an invisible foe that remains a threat to this very day.

14. "Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife" by Irene Spencer (Non-Fiction) -  Irene Spencer did as she felt God commanded in becoming the second wife to her brother-in-law Verlan LeBaron. When the government raided their community-the Mormon village of Short Creek, Arizona-seeking to enforce the penalties for practicing polygamy, Irene and her family fled to Verlan's family ranch in Mexico. Here they lived in squalor and desolate conditions with Verlan's six brothers, one sister, and numerous wives and children. This appalling and astonishing tale has captured the attention of readers around the world. Irene's inspirational story reveals how far religion can be stretched and abused and how one woman and her children found their way out, into truth and redemption.

15. "I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down" by Jennifer Hudson (Non-Fiction) - Soulful and sultry, Jennifer Hudson wowed the world with her powerful voice in American Idol's third season, and then took Hollywood by storm with a star turn in Dreamgirls that won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. But before we knew her as an American Idol standout, Jennifer was singing in her church choir in the South side of Chicago. This uplifting memoir tells the story of Jennifer's meteoric rise from American Idol to Dreamgirls to her amazing weight loss on the mega blockbuster Weight Watchers diet plan. 

16.  "Nefertiti" by Michelle Moran (Historical Fiction) - Love, betrayal, political unrest, plague, and religious conflict—Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid detail. Fast-paced and historically accurate, it is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history.

17. "The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York" by Deborah Blum (Non-Fiction) -  Deborah Blum, writing with the high style and skill for suspense that is characteristic of the very best mystery fiction, shares the untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. In The Poisoner's Handbook Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime.

Happy Reading in 2013!!!!


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