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Archive for January, 2012

1. The Book of Human Skin – Michelle Lovric (2010)

I could not put this book down. I love historical fiction especially if it is somewhat dark as this one is. Set in the 19th Century, this is a novel about the Fasan family of Venice and the convent Santa Catalina in Arequipa, Peru. I reviewed this book in more detail in a previous blog post but it was certainly my favourite novel of all the ones that I read in 2011.

2. The Wideacre Trilogy – Philippa Gregory (1987-1990)

After over 20 years, it was time to re-read these favourites and they still remain three of my favourite Philippa Gregory novels. The Wideacre Trilogy comprises three novels – Wideacre, The Favoured Child and Meridon. I reread Wideacre and The Favoured Child in 2011 and will be rereading Meridon soon. Set in 18th Century England, the trilogy follows the saga of the Lacey family, set in motion by the ambitions of Beatrice Lacey who wants nothing more than to be Squire of Wideacre, her family estate. However, due to her gender and the laws of entail, this is not possible and so begins Beatrice’s scheme to plot her father’s death and manipulate her brother in order to control the estate.  The saga continues through the coming of age of Julia and Richard, heirs to Widecare, in the sequel The Favoured Child and through the story of Meridon, the Romany girl in the final novel in the series.

3. The Stormchasers – Jenna Blum (2010)

The Stormchasers explores the reconciliation between estranged twin siblings Karena and Charles and their confrontation of a terrible secret from their past. Charles suffers from bipolar disorder and the storms that he chases mirror his inner turmoil. I gave a more in depth review of this novel in a previous blog post, however, though not a beach book, definitely my favourite read from the summer of 2011.

4. Life of Pi – Yann Martel (2002)

Extraordinary novel about a young East Indian boy trapped on a life boat with an adult Bengal tiger, a zebra with a broken leg, a hyena and an orangutan. Thoroughly enjoyable and I liked the fact that it was not a predictable read but kept you turning the pages.

5. Once… –  James Herbert (2001)

The protagonist of the story, Thom, returns to his childhood home after suffering a stroke. Shortly after he discovers the faery world, which he, as he eventually discovers, is descended from on his father’s side. In true fairy tale fashion, enter the wicked witch, who plots against Thom. Thom has to figure out why all these strange and dangerous things are happening to him and fight against the forces of evil. A modern, erotic fairy tale for adults, this novel is different from Herbert’s previous straight horror works (such as the Rats Trilogy), however it still has grisly details that we expect from this author.

6. The Sinner – Tess Gerritsen (2004)

This is the third Tess Gerritsen novel I have read, the other two being The Keepsake  and The Apprentice.  I would recommend these books to fans of gruesome forensic thrillers. Featuring the characters of Medical Examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, this book did not disappoint.

7. The Darkangel Trilogy – Meredith Ann Pierce (1982 – 1989)

I first read the first book in the trilogy, The Darkangel, as a teenager and was kind of mesmerized by it. Back then it was a book that stuck in my mind. These books can be quite hard to come by and I read The Gathering of Gargoyles  years later when I found it and the Darkangel in a used bookstore. I found all three novels in one volume a few years ago and was finally able to finish the trilogy with The Pearl of the Soul of the World. These are books that get a young adult interested in the fantasy genre.

8. Flashforward – Robert J. Sawyer (2000)

A scientific experiment causes the consciousness of all humans to flashforward into the future 21 years for two minutes, before coming back to the present day. This book certainly makes you think about what would happen if you could glimpse into the future and within it we see the characters struggling to come to terms with this knowledge.

9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling (2005)

Finally read book six in the Harry Potter series this year and once again Rowling delivered. I enjoy the detail that she puts into the world of Harry Potter. Looking forward to reading book seven soon and perhaps should not read them so far apart next time.

10. Birdman – Mo Hayder (2000)

Debut crime thriller set in London featuring the character DI Jack Caffery as sets out on the trail of a serial killer. A good thriller should keep you on the edge of your seat and this one certainly did. I am looking forward to reading more of her work.

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