It was so hard to choose my favorite books from all of the books I reviewed during the year. I decided the books that make this list will be books that impressed me, surprised me, or surpassed my expectations. Here are the books that made the list, and a little bit about the book or why I chose it. To read the full review of each book click on the title.
The Golem And The Jinni
This book was a surprise and delight to read. It is a combination of fantasy, historical fiction, and folklore. All three are some my favorite genres to read, and were expertly combined to make it seem believable. I was immediately lost in this world and did not put this book down. It was an original tale that pulls you in with the beauty of the writing. It is not simply a fantasy story. It explores moral issues, relationships, and immigration.
The Jedi Doth Return
I actually reviewed the whole trilogy this year, and loved them all. I think The Jedi Doth Return ended up being my favorite of them, although each book has something wonderful and unique about it. Star Wars fans should not worry how the story is represented. I thought these books enhanced the world we know and love. I recommend this book to all my friends and family because I know they will love the humor.
Johannes Cabal: Necromancer
This is the first book in the Johannes Cabal series. It is an amusing take on the classic tale of making a deal with the devil. The wit and humor alone makes this book worth reading, but the characters and plot are also phenomenal. There is the perfect balance of setting up the series and characters, and having them progress and keep you interested.
Simple Thai Food
I knew I would find some recipes I would like when I agreed to review this book, but I had no idea it would become one of my favorite cookbooks. I even have some of the page numbers to my favorite recipes from this book memorized because I use them so often. This cookbook is a must for any fan of Thai food that wants to try making it themselves.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is the first book in an awesome trilogy. The dark satire of this story entranced me. It might be a little too dark and depressing for some people, but I loved it! It had some great life messages without beating you over the head with it. It was also a great fantasy story. It also has some great literary references included, which I appreciated.
This is a fictional account of Hild when she was a young girl and served as the king's seer. It was the first book in a series, and I cannot wait to read the next book. I was captivated by Hild's tale. I liked the adventure and intrigue of the story, and the way Hild knew what would happen in the future. I thought it was a clever way to portray a seer.
Dracula is one of my all time favorite books, and since I reviewed it this year, it just has to be included in my favorite books reviewed this year. This is a book I return to again and again. I love the building tension, and the classic tale of the vampire. I really like the intimate view of the characters the epistolary form gives the reader. We experience the confusion and horror with them. This edition has some great artwork that helps evoke the horror and beauty of this tale. It is a book not to be missed.
Eating On The Wild Side
I thought this was a fascinating look at fruits and vegetables, and how the nutrition has slowly been bred out of our food. It was an interesting journey through the history of common foods we eat today. Robinson also discusses which food has the most nutrients, and how to eat them. I really liked that for each section she includes a recipe, so you can actually try some of the tips she provides in the book.
The Painted Girls
I found this story to be a very compelling historical fiction book. I liked how quickly I was pulled into the van Goethem sister's tale. Their story is told from the two older sister's perspectives, and each has a distinct compelling voice. I had no idea how I would come to feel for these sisters. I really liked Buchanan's writing style. It was an entrancing book.
The Shadow Queen
This was one of my favorite historical fiction books this year. Gulland makes the characters so compelling you will not be able to put the book down. There are some major historical events in this book, but also everyday events for the characters. It was a beautifully written tale that fans of historical fiction should not miss.
I really liked reading about the events in Abigail Adams' life in her own words, or in the words of her sisters: Mary Cranch and Elizabeth Shaw. It brought their story to life, and provided a very intimate view of historical events. I really liked the new perspective I gained of some historical events and figures from this book.
I had heard great things about this book, but was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it. I liked the blending of the genres of science fiction and medical mystery. They worked very well together. The plot keeps you interested, and you will want to keep reading it. I was very intrigued by this story, and am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.
Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us
This book is about the rise of processed food companies, and the connection they have to the growing obesity epidemic. It is about how these foods are made, the shift towards eating huge quantities of this food, and how the process has changed over the years. It is also about how your brain reacts to the key ingredients: salt, sugar, and fat. I also really liked that this was about providing information to consumers and not vilifying the companies that make processed food.
The Legend Of Sigurd And Gudrun
Part of this book is the legend of Sigurd, and part of it is the notes Tolkien compiled for his Norse Mythology class that he taught. I really enjoyed this version of The Legend Of Sigurd, it was a tale that was easy to engage in, and was fun to read. I also liked learning Tolkien's thoughts about the poem, and what parts of the myth had been left out. Tolkien fans and fans of Viking Sagas will enjoy reading this book.
I found this graphic novel series this year, and I knew by the description I would love it or loath it. Fortunately, the humor is amazing! It is a great twist on the mystery genre. It is not all jokes and fun, there are serious points as well. The story keeps you interested as it progresses. I have enjoyed reading and reviewing this series so far, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series because it is awesome.
Among The Hidden
I read and reviewed this with the Bookworms. I had read it years ago, but enjoyed reading and discussing it with my niece and nephew. It is a great book to introduce young readers to the dystopian genre. The writing is layered allowing for different levels of understanding, so adults and young readers can enjoy reading this book.
I started reviewing movies based on books this year, and this was one of my favorites I have reviewed so far. I knew I would like it, but I was blown away by how well done this mini-series was. The writing and acting bring to life the story of John Adams. They relied heavily on the biography by David McCullough for this series. The last episode in the series was my favorite part, although it was all incredible.