Good Reads of 2012

For those who have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I took part in the Goodreads book challenge throughout 2012. (Here’s part 1 if you didn’t see any!) I have pledged 40 books again for the 2013 challenge. I found this number to be comfortable and not over the top so I went for it again, but I intend to exceed it. I promised at the end of the final part that I would write some reviews of my favourite and worst reads from last year, so here it is!

My reads of 2012 included a huge variety of books. Books, like Harry Potter, which were a re-read I will not be reviewing because everyone knows these books. They deserve mention (which I have done in my previous blogs) but even though I love them I won’t be reviewing them today. I hope you understand. Click on the book titles for the link where you can read each book’s synopsis for yourself.

The Hunger Games Trilogy: Having seen towards the end of 2011 how so many people had read these books and hadn’t been able to put them down, I decided to give them a crack. I was rather pleased when I managed to find all three books in a 3 for £5 promotion at The Works. I love a good bargain, me! I have to say I really enjoyed these books. They were well written and had cliff hangers. I knew that the movie was coming out so wanted to get them read pronto, but they were very easy reads. I wanted to re read them pretty much straight away, but couldn’t get them to count twice in the challenge so I didn’t. Maybe I’ll add them to the 2013 challenge! I won’t write what these books were about because chances are you’ll already know. But if you’ve seen and enjoyed the movie, please read the books – there’s more detail and seem a little more grown up.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: I was really excited to receive this book as a gift at the start of the year. I’d read the blurb and reviews and the idea behind the story intrigued me.

“On the eve of her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice. All at once her cheerful, can-do mother tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes perilous. Anything can be revealed at any meal.”

I really enjoyed the idea of the story and it was well written. But as I got towards the end of the book it began to get a little weird. I started to find myself saying “what?” as I read and flicking back through pages to make sure I hadn’t read wrong. My Mum was reading it at the same time as me and had the same opinion. In fact we had to summarise to each other afterwards to make sure we’d both understood correctly. I’m still not sure we did. Such a shame.

Happy Accidents: This book is the autobiography of actress Jane Lynch. It spans from childhood to Glee and was a joy to read. It was a wonderful insight to an actress who features in so many of my favourite movies and tv shows portraying characters so different from her self.

Me Before You: I don’t like Chick Lit. I think this book is the closest I could get to Chick Lit without wanting to remove my skin afterwards. The story is set in the UK and the characters aren’t insipid or brain-dead. They are well written and well-rounded. I had seen it recommended by a few people over the months and wanted to see what the fuss was about. This book was an easy read and was emotive and satisfying. If you want a book to read on the beach the I’d say this was a good one. Not too hard but engrossing enough.

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: This was one of my favourite reads of the year. Written by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess, this is a memoir through her childhood to pretty much present day. It’s laugh out loud hilarious in parts, darn weird in others and just bloody entertaining. So much so that I had to immediately find her blog and Twitter and I still read them today. If you’re not easily offended and find the fun side of weirdness then I’d say you have to read it. Just be warned if you read it on public transport you’ll get funny looks because you’ll be laughing so much….

Room: This book showed up in one of the Kindle daily deals for 99p. I read the synopsis and downloaded it. Months later I started reading it, forgetting what it was about but trusting my initial judgement. I was so glad that I went into this book blind. It meant I was thrust into the story as the author intended it. Not knowing the environment I was entering and having to take each bit of new information as I was fed it – piecing the story together and creating a bigger picture as I read. The pay off in this heart-wrenching book was worth the work at the start. I was gripped from the get go. Another of my favourites from the year, and a definite recommend for your 2013 list.

House of Leaves: I like weird books. And when I heard about this book (a 700 page tome with appendices, footnotes and a cult following. Pages with codes, colours and sometimes you have to turn the book upside down or use a mirror to read it) I HAD to have it. This book was an effort to read. Lots of people have given up because they couldn’t handle it. But I managed to complete this book in a little over a week. I didn’t want to put it down – despite it’s weight! There are 3 stories going through it. Codes and clues. Pictures and letters. It was my kinda book. And I loved it. Shelved in the horror section of the bookshop, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it definitely was my blend of Earl Grey.

So those were my highlights and low lights of the year. There were plenty more that I enjoyed so please take a look at my Goodreads page and flick through the books. You might find a gem! Also keep your eyes peeled for my future posts of my 2013 challenge reads, and feel free to send me your recommendations or blog posts!

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