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So, it’s that time of year.  Everywhere you turn, there is a best of list in the air.  Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, it will be paired with a “Worst Of” list.  They do go together, right?   So, what better way to re-introduce my book blog (complete with a switch from Blogger to WordPress) than to talk about the best books I read this year.

These aren’t, necessarily, books that were first published in 2012.  These are my favorites that I read, for the first time, in 2012.

howHell on Wheels — Julie Walker

When I received a preview copy of this book, I was already fully into my obsession with Sons of Anarchy.  Yeah, this book is NOTHING like that show. About the only thing it has in common with SoA is that both groups pretend to do automotive work as their primary vocation.

This series starter, however, is every bit as addictive as anything I read this year.  I talk a little bit about the book here, and about why, once I picked up this series, I couldn’t put it down.

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Red, White, and Blood — Christopher Farnsworth

So, I am anxiously awaiting the next entry into the Cade Chronicles. No, they aren’t called that, but they should be! While it is always hard for a series to re-create the magic that made you fall in love, this book was close to perfection for me. It hit all the right notes, the pages flew by, the characters never bored me and the action never stopped. It was scary. It was a great addition to a great series.

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Heads in Beds — Jacob Tomsky

There won’t always be a non-fiction book on the list, but when there is, you can bet that it reads like fiction. Who doesn’t love a tell all book? We love them from celebs, we love them from chefs, and now we can love them from the hotel industry! The first thing people think when they see this title is that the book will be full of gross things you NEVER WANT TO HEAR if you stay in hotels. Relax. This isn’t a book about bedbugs. It’s more about the people behind the scenes, and how things work. It’s hilarious and, sometimes, you want to shake everyone involved (including the author!) When you can get that kind of investment from a reader, you know you’ve done a good job.

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ebook version

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original print version

To Love a Dark Lord — Anne Stuart

No longer available in print, this book came as a suggestion from my book twin. She obviously knows her stuff, because I couldn’t have loved this book any more. It truly had everything: tortured alpha hero, overly heroic beta hero, innocent (somewhat) heroine, tortured secondary heroine…agony, despair, love….it was all in there. If you like your books dark and romantic, you will not waste any time getting your hands on this book. I loved everything about it.

City of Ghosts — Stacia Kane

cogAnother series pointed in my direction this year. This book was not new in 2012, but it did make my realize how deep addiction can go. The main character’s addiction in the book, and my addiction to the series. There are many (MANY) urban fantasy series, and I like a lot of them. But, this is the one I think is truly done the best. The world building is tremendous. The characters are some of the best in any genre. You can not read these books and come away unmarked. When Kane cuts her characters, the readers bleed. There is no better example of this than the events in City of Ghosts. If I had to pick one favorite from the year, it would be this one.

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The Trinity Game — Sean Chercover

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book. Sure, you read the blurb, but I was not prepared for the whirlwind it took me on. I didn’t want to do anything else until I finished reading it. Truly, from the very first page, I was hooked. You want to know everything about the characters, their past, and just what in the hell is going on. The characters think they know, but they don’t. YOU think you know, but you don’t. I have been, literally, telling everyone I know who even has a passing interest in thrillers/mystery/adventure(?) books to pick this up. In some cases, I have purchased copies for their kindles just to make sure they had no choice took my advice. SO much love for this one.

Honorable Mentions:

Born to Darkness — Suzanne Brockmann. Like most people, I was a little sad to hear she was leaving the Troubleshooters series temporarily. But this was a great entry into a new series.

City of Lost Souls — Cassandra Clare This series just keeps rolling along, and it hasn’t hit a misstep yet. While I prefer her historical series, The Infernal Devices, you simply cannot deny the magic of The Mortal Instruments.

Gun Games — Faye Kellerman Kellerman has created one of my favorite fiction characters, the mostly bad, sometimes good, assassin Christopher Donatti Whitman (or Whitman Donatti, if you prefer.) This book deals mostly with Chris’ son, Gabriel, and Kellerman’s series characters, Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. It was a fantastic addition to the series.

Taken — Robert Crais This series has been going for a long time, but you wouldn’t know it by this book. There are some series I wish would come to an end. I hope this one never does.

Seconds Away — Harlan Coben  It is true that I will read anything Coben writes, but that doesn’t mean I have to rave about it! I’m not a huge fan of YA lit (a few notable authors aside) but this is as engaging as his adult books, specifically as his Myron Bolitar series, to which I’m addicted.

The Bourne Identity — Robert Ludlum  I’ve read the book half a dozen times, but I’d never listened to it until this year. If you’ve read the book, listening is an entirely new experience. Scott Brick is AMAZING.

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