Sunday, December 30, 2012

My favorite books *** 2012 Edition

A few days ago I confessed my love for books and reading. Today I thought I'd share some of the best books I read this year.
First of all, let me start by saying that, when I'm reading a good book, I carry it with me everywhere and I sneak in pages whenever I can. I'll cook dinner with a book in my hands. I'll read in the car while waiting to drive thru at Starbucks. And, I'll stay up way later than I should just to finish a chapter. I had a Nook and got an iPad for Christmas (yippee!) but I do still read actual books. Sometimes I'm cheap and don't want to pay for a book, so I'll take it out of the town library. (We're super lucky to have an awesome library in my town.) I like Gia to see me reading, too. Actions speak louder than words, right?
I read a variety of genres. I love chick lit, literary fiction, suspense, memoirs... I'm not huge into supernatural and fantasy, but I like fluffy supernatural stuff like Twilight. As you know I did the impossible and read 52 books this year! (I"m still so excited about this milestone!!) So, here are the highlights of my book reading year.
1. Best Chick Lit Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Emily Giffin has been one of my favorite authors since 2006 when I discovered Something Borrowed and Something Blue. I met her not long after Something Blue was released and now we're friends on FB :) Her books are what I call chick lit with a brain. They're fun to read but they also have well-drawn characters in difficult, real-life situations. This was one of her best.

2. Best Memoir The End of Normal by Stephanie Madoff Mack
I knew only the basics of Bernie Madoff's story and I didn't know what to expect from this book when I picked it up at the library. I was pleasantly surprised.  It is beautifully written -- Madoff-Mack really digs deep and tells a poignant tale. She is honest and forthright with the vast majority of the details surrounding Bernie Madoff's downfall and her husband Mark's eventual suicide. Regardless of their wealth, or Stephanie's own well-to-do upbringing, these people suffered at the hands of one of the nation's most notorious criminals and he ended up destroying their lives. It's heartbreaking at times and but definitely worth the read.

3. Best Literary Fiction  The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard
I'd never read anything by Joyce Maynard before this book. The story is captivating from the beginning and I really found myself caring about the characters and thinking about them when I wasn't reading the book. This is a beautifully written story about love, family and redemption.

4. Best Young Adult  Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
This is absolutely young adult fiction at its best. The story follows friends dealing with the aftermath of a tragedy at their boarding school. Hubbard nails the boarding school setting and the feelings you feel when you're an insecure high-schooler dealing with grown up issues. 

5. Best Trilogy Peaches Trilogy by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Also meant for young adults, the Peaches books are heartwarming tales of three young girls struggling to grow up. I read the first book in this trilogy (Peaches) because it was a Free Friday Nook selection and I was hooked.  I couldn't wait to find out what happened to the three girls, and I happily paid for the other 2 books in the series. 

6. Other Notables  The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Wiener, Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

7. Duds (aka don't waste your time)  London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave, Skinnydipping by Bethenny Frankel, Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin
And my favorite book(s) of the year
Very Valentine and Brava Valentine  by Adriana Trigiani. The 3rd installment, Ciao Valentine, is coming in 2013 and I can't wait! Trigiani's characters are so well-drawn they seem like friends, and the settings come alive thanks to her perfect descriptions. 
So tell me, what did you read in 2012 that you LOVED? I'm looking for some good ones to read in 2013!

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