My books of 2012 – Part Nine: Fiction

Part One – Biography/Autobiography

Part Two – Non-fiction

Part Three – Historical Fiction

Part Four – Young Adult Fantasy

Part Five – Murder Mystery

Part Six – Fantasy

Part Seven – Young Adult

Part Eight – Classics

The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling

13497818“A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN …

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?” – GoodReads

Winner of a 2012 GoodReads Choice Award

4 stars

I love JK Rowling. I love Harry Potter. This is not Harry Potter. This is a very ordinary town. It is still a great story.

 

And that’s the end of 2012. Now on to some great books in 2013! If you have suggestions, please leave me a comment.

My books of 2012 – Part Eight: Classics

Part One – Biography/Autobiography

Part Two – Non-fiction

Part Three – Historical Fiction

Part Four – Young Adult Fantasy

Part Five – Murder Mystery

Part Six – Fantasy

Part Seven – Young Adult

The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling

77270“Run with them. Or fear them–

Bagheera the Panther: A silken shadow of boldness and cunning.

Kaa the Python: A thirty foot battering ram driven by a cool, hungry mind.

Baloo the Bear: who keeps the lore and the Law, and teaches the Secret Words.

Rikki the Mongoose: The young protector who sings as he slays.

Akela and Raksha the Wolves: Demon warriors of the Free People.

Shere Khan the Tiger: The dreaded enemy of all.

And Mowgli the Man-cub: The orphan baby raised by the wolves, taught by Baloo, trained by Bagheera and Kaa. The sorcerer who knows the ways of the jungle and speaks the language of the wild…” – GoodReads

2 stars

At 80 pages this took me far too long to get through. I did not like the story, the writing, pretty much everything about this book. 2 stars is a pretty generous rating.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

24213“Weary of her storybook, one “without pictures or conversations,” the young and imaginitive[sic] Alice follows a hasty hare underground — to come face-to-face with some of the strangest adventures and most fantastic characters in all of literature. The Ugly Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the weeping Mock Turtle, the diabolical Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat — each more eccentric than the last — could only have come from that master of sublime nonsense, Lewis Carroll. In penning this brilliant burlesque of children’s literature, this farcical satire of rigid Victorian society, this arresting parody of the fears, anxieties, and complexities of growing up, Carroll was one of the few adult writers to enter successfully the children’s world of make-believe, where the impossible becomes possible, the unreal, real, and where the heights of adventure are limited only by the depths of imagination.” – GoodReads

3 stars

I liked it, but not as much as I liked the Tim Burton movie version. Maybe I just don’t like classic children books.

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

5297“Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”” – GoodReads

4 stars

This was a really good read. Not always easy, but worth it in the end. The story is strange and original.

My books of 2012 – Part Seven: Young Adult

Part One – Biography/Autobiography

Part Two – Non-fiction

Part Three – Historical Fiction

Part Four – Young Adult Fantasy

Part Five – Murder Mystery

Part Six – Fantasy

The Wrath of Gods – Anthony Horowitz

13167082“When it comes to mixing it up with the Gods, woe be to the man (or woman) who makes them angry. Here is a collection of five stories that demonstrates just how angry those Gods can get. From creative re-tellings of the Greek stories Pandora’s Box, The Judgment of Paris, and Narcissus and Echo, to less familiar but equally cautionary Viking story ofThe Stolen Hammer of Thor, and the Inuit legend of The Ten Fingers of Sedna, one thing is clear—it never pays to mess with the Gods!” – GoodReads

3 stars

I loved Anthony Horowitz as a teen. He writes great horror stories, and the episode he wrote for Midsomer Murders is one of my favorites. In light of this, this book was a disappointment. The stories were too short, not fleshed out enough and just generally meh.

Scars – Cheryl Rainfield

7531478“Kendra, fifteen, hasn’t felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can’t remember the most important detail– her abuser’s identity. Frightened, Kendra believes someone is always watching and following her, leaving menacing messages only she understands. If she lets her guard down even for a minute, it could cost Kendra her life. To relieve the pressure, Kendra cuts; aside from her brilliantly expressive artwork, it’s her only way of coping. Since her own mother is too self-absorbed to hear her cries for help, Kendra finds support in others instead: from her therapist and her art teacher, from Sandy, the close family friend who encourages her artwork, and from Meghan, the classmate who’s becoming a friend and maybe more. But the truth about Kendra’s abuse is just waiting to explode, with startling unforeseen consequences. Scars is the unforgettable story of one girl’s frightening path to the truth.” – GoodReads

4 stars

I can’t say I enjoyed this story as it’s on such a sad topic but it was a good read and it moved me.

My books of 2012 – Part Six: Fantasy

Part One – Biography/Autobiography

Part Two – Non-fiction

Part Three – Historical Fiction

Part Four – Young Adult Fantasy

Part Five – Murder Mystery

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) – George R.R. Martin

10664113“The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.

On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all…” – GoodReads

4 stars
I really like the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but these books keep getting longer and longer. This one took some work to get through. It’s worth it, but not always easy.

Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

7981206“With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows…” – GoodReads

3 stars
I’ve enjoyed reading the Sookie Stackhouse books, and watching True Blood but the books seem to be more and more focussed on the TV series, with scenes that are not really necessary for the plot but would look great on TV told in a lot of detail.

Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters Trilogy #1) – Juliet Marillier

13928“Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…” – GoodReads

5 stars

This was a great recommendation from a friend, a beautiful retelling of a classic tale. It’s a story of great strength but also sadness.

My books of 2012 – Part Five: Murder mystery

Part One – Biography/Autobiography

Part Two – Non-fiction

Part Three – Historical Fiction

Part Four – Young Adult Fantasy

The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle

33161“From “A Scandal in Bohemia,” in which Sherlock Holmes is famously outwitted by a woman, the captivating Irene Adler, to “The Five Orange Pips,” in which the master detective is pitted against the Ku Klux Klan, to “The Final Problem,” in which Holmes and his archenemy, Professor Moriarty, face each other in a showdown at the Reichenbach Falls, the stories that appear in The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmesbear witness to the flowering of author Arthur Conan Doyle’s genius. “The plain fact,” the celebrated mystery writer Vincent Starrett asserted, “is that Sherlock Holmes is still a more commanding figure in the world than most of the warriors and statesmen in whose present existence we are invited to believe.”” – GoodReads

3 stars

A Study In Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) – Arthur Conan Doyle

102868“”A Study in Scarlet” is the first published story of one of the most famous literary detectives of all time, Sherlock Holmes. Here Dr. Watson, who has just returned from a war in Afghanistan, meets Sherlock Holmes for the first time when they become flat-mates at the famous 221 B Baker Street. In “A Study in Scarlet” Sherlock Holmes investigates a murder at Lauriston Gardens as Dr. Watson tags along with Holmes while narratively detailing his amazing deductive abilities.” – GoodReads

4 stars

The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) – Arthur Conan Doyle

608474“Yellow fog is swirling through the streets of London, and Sherlock Holmes himself is sitting in a cocaine-induced haze until the arrival of a distressed and beautiful young lady forces the great detective into action. Each year following the strange disappearance of her father, Miss Morstan has received a present of a rare and lustrous pearl. Now, on the day she is summoned to meet her anonymous benefactor, she consults Holmes and Watson.” – GoodReads

3 stars

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes #5) – Arthur Conan Doyle

8921“Holmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville families home warns the descendants of that ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the power of evil is exalted. Now, the most recent Baskerville, Sir Charles, is dead and the footprints of a giant hound have been found near his body. Will the new heir meet the same fate?” – GoodReads

4 stars

The Return of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle

194366“A duke’s young son, heir to a vast fortune, suddenly disappears from boarding school, and when Holmes and Watson take on the case to find him, they instead find themselves with a murder on their hands in The Priory School In Black Peter, a retired sea captain with few friends and many enemies is discovered dead in his cabin, with few clues as to the culprit. Holmes meets his match when he crosses paths with Charles Augustus Milverton, notorious for his dastardly blackmail of society women with a past. And in The Six Napoleons, a bizarre act of vandalism piques Holmes’s interest. Does someone bear a grudge towards the Emperor, and if so, why?” – GoodReads

4 stars

I like the Sherlock Holmes stories. They feel slow though, probably because they were written so long ago.

The Secret Adversary – Agatha Christie

49596“Agatha Christie’s popular detective team Tommy and Tuppence make their first appearance in this novel, in which the duo is hired to find a woman who disappeared with sensitive government documents but soon find themselves drawn into a complicated web of intrigue, intelligence agents, dubious identities, missing government papers, false clues, and danger.” – GoodReads

4 stars

 

I remember liking this story, but I don’t remember the story now. I don’t know what that tells you…