Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A baker's dozen: Thirteen great books

I was a reader long before I became a writer. I love books, all kinds of books, in all their various forms. I read lots of them. There are all manner of best and worst lists at year's end and I'd like to add my tuppence to the mix. These are the best of the books I read this year. This list is by no means complete,but these are thirteen that come to mind when I'm asked to recommend a story.

13. A Perfect Victim by Patricia Dunsenbury.  The Bayou and New Orleans is the perfect setting for this richly layered book. Great  descriptions, unfolding secrets and danger lurking at every turn make this is the perfect read for mystery lovers.

12. Just One of the Guys by Kristen Higgens.  Maybe because it was set in Upstate New York, or maybe it was the great characters, but I adored this friends to lovers romance. A must for fans of sweet romance.

11. The Bone Garden by Tess Garrison. You can't beat Garrison for a fast-paced thriller. This one, set in 19th century Boston, won't disappoint.

10. Defending Jacob by William Landay.  The premise of this book is intriguing--What would you do if  your teenage son was accused of murder?  It sticks the landing and gets my vote for best ending of the year.

9. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.  A harrowing tale about the Holocaust.  I read this book earlier in the year and the characters of Sarah and her brother still haunt me.

8. Saxon's Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion. I read one of Geoff's short stories a few years back and have been a fan of his writing ever since. The lush and sensual description alone makes this a must read. And it's a terrific story, too.  A mix of suspense, magical realism, and myth that will keep you turning the pages.

7. Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. The sun washed hills of Tuscany, a perfectionist heroine and a hero who always plays the villain makes this funny romance the perfect escape read.

6. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. This is by far the most original book I read this year. Hannah Payne wakes up after her chroming. She's been tinted red for her crime. If you loved Margaret Atwood's Handmaiden's Tale, you must read this book.

5. The Cove by Ron Rash. This was the first Ron Rash book I've read and it will certainly not be my last. The lyrical writing alone makes it worth the read. The tragic love story makes it one of my year's best.

4. Gone Girl by Gillain Flynn. I'll admit I didn't like the ending, but this book still flies high on my best list. It's one of those  books you have to keep reading when you should be working or showering or sleeping-- a page turner that keeps you guessing, with lots of surprising twists and turns.

3. The Girl With No Shadow by JoAnne Harris. If you loved Chocolat, you must read this wonderful sequel, replete with romance and fairy tales. It's delicious.

2. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Everyone should read the wonderful story of Harold, who goes off to mail a letter and ends up on a Pilgrimage. Part humor and part pathos, it's a story that will travel with you for a very long time.

1. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. The writing is haunting and beautifully descriptive. The characters are complex and memorable. This wonderful and heart-wrenching book gets my vote for book of the year and it may well go on my best of all time list.

Well, that's it. I hope next year is full of books as wonderful as these. What are your top reads of the year?

No comments:

Post a Comment