Dot Scribbles's Favourite Reads of 2012

I have read some great books this year so I have decided to do a list of all of those which I rated as 5/5. The majority have been published this year but there are some older ones too! I have included a little description and if you want to read my review then simply click on the book title. I have bought a few people books for Christmas so this list may give you a little bit of inspiration if you are stuck or you may just add them to your own TBR pile!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Hodder)-They say that the cure for love will  make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live hundreds of years suffocated by a lie.
There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. Even kill for it. Then at last they found the cure. 

Belle by Lesley Pearse (Penguin)-She witnessed a murder- and now her life is in danger...
Fifteen year-old bell, though raised in a London brothel, is an innocent. But when she witnesses one of the girls brutally strangled by a client, she is cast into a cruel, heartless world. Snatched from the streets and sold into prostitution, she is made a courtesan in New Orleans. At the mercy of desperate men who crave her beauty and will do anything to keep her, Belle dreams of home, family and freedom appear futile.
Are Belle's courage and spirit strong enough to help her escape? And what will await her at the end of the long, dangerous journey home?

The Darker Side of Love by Jessica Ruston (Headline)-Lies: we all tell them. To protect those we love, to disguise failure, to hide disappointment. To mask betrayal or deceit. But what happens when they start to catch up with us? When our lives begin to be shaped by the lies of others?
The late 'noughties'. A global recession looms. A group of old friends, all leading outwardly successful, interesting lives. All in apparently loving, secure relationships. Yet all, in some way, lying to those closest to them, concealing secret worries, jealousies or desires. This group of friends is about to discover that the truth won't stay buried forever.
Welcome to the darker side of love.

Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews (Sphere)-What if you had always dreamed of something more...?
Nell McNamara has a happy life: her boyfriend Olly adores her, their four-year-old daughter Petal is the centre of their world and Nell has a steady job in the local chip shop. When the chippy needs a makeover, Nell jumps at the chance to unleash the creativity fizzing inside her.
Inspired by what she can achieve- and encouraged by the very best friends that a girl can have- Nell is determined to try something new. Waving goodbye to the chip shop, she starts up a new business making her own line of must-have handbags, which are soon flying off the shelves.
It seems Nell's dreams are finally coming true, but her success doesn't come without a price. Before too long, Nell has to ask herself if it's really possible to have it all...

The Boy In the River by Richard Hoskins (Pan Macmillan)-On 21 September 2001, the mutilated torso of a small child was found floating beside London's Tower Bridge, one tide away from being swept into the North Sea.
Unable to identify the victim, the Murder Squad turned to Richard Hoskins, a young professor of theology with a profound understanding of African tribal ritual and religion. , whose own past was scarred by a heartbreaking tragedy. Thus began a journey into the tangled undergrowth of one of the most notorious murder cases of recent years; a case which would reveal the horrific truth that innocent children are being ritually sacrificed in our capital city.
Insightful and grippingly written, The Boy in the River is an inside account of a series of extraordinary criminal investigations and a compelling personal quest into the dark heart of humanity. 

A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell (Headline)-It's been a while, but Lara Carson's back in Bath and lives are set to change as a result. Because Lara left her family and boyfriend Flynn eighteen years ago without a word to anyone. Why has no one heard from her since? Her childhood best friend Evie is thrilled Lara's back and able to share her happiness. Evie's about to walk down the aisle with her dream man, Joel, or so she thinks... Then there's Flynn Erksine, even more attractive now and stunned to see Lara again. The spark between them is as strong as ever, but how's Flynn going to react when he discovers the secret she's been keeping from him? Oh yes, there's a lot of catching up to be done...

White Wedding by Milly Johnson (Simon & Schuster)-They met on the search for the wedding dress of their dreams. But will they find more than they bargained for? 
Heir to a chocolate dynasty, Bel is in the midst of planning her perfect wedding to Richard, the love of her life, when disaster strikes and everything she held dear starts to fall apart.
Ice-cream parlour owner Violet is engaged to Glyn though she fell out of love with him long ago. But, unhappy though she is, somehow she can't quite shake her childhood dream of a big fairy-tale wedding with all the trimmings.
All three women are brought together at the White Wedding bridal shop, on the search for the perfect dress for their big day. Its owner Freya guarantees that her gowns will bring them happiness though maybe not in quite the way they expected...

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (Headline)-Shortly after Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont timewalk to London, 1590, they discover that the past may not provide a safe haven after all. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy Matthew Roydibm the vampire falls back into step with a group of radicals known as the School of Night who share dangerous ideas about God, science and man. Many of his friends are unruly daemons- the creative minds of the age who walk the fine line between genius and madness- including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot. Matthew himself is expected to continue to spy for Queen Elizabeth, which puts him in close contact with London's cut-throat underworld.
Together, Matthew and Diana scour the bookstalls and alchemical laboratories of London where they follow the elusive trail of Ashmole 782- and search for the witch who will teach Diana to control her powers.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Transworld)-My name is August. I won't describe to you what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
Ten-year-old August Pullman wants to be ordinary. He does ordinary things. He eats ice-cream. He plays on his X-Box. He feels ordinary inside. But Auggie is far from ordinary. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, he has been home-schooled by his parents his entire life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now Auggie's parents are sending him to a real school. Can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them underneath it all?
Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches, Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to be read in one sitting, to pass on to others, and to remember long after the final page.

The Greatest Love Story of All Time by Lucy Robinson (Penguin)-It's Fran's thirtieth birthday and things are good. She's bluffed her way into a very Posh Job and her outlandishly handsome and talented boyfriend Michael is escorting her to the Ritz with a bulge the shape of a ring box in his pocket.
But something has gone very wrong. Very wrong. By the end of the evening Fran is howling in bed with a bottle of cheap brandy and one of Michael's old socks.
In her quest to figure out why her life has suddenly gone down the pan, Fran comes up with a fail safe plan: live like a badger, stalk a stranger called Nellie and cancel her beloved Gin Thursdays in favour of drinking gin every night. But then Fran's friends force a very different plan on her and it's nowhere near as fun. How could eight dates possibly make her feel better?
But eventually she agrees. And so begins the greatest love story of all time...

Dearest Rose by Rowan Coleman (Arrow)-'You are a remarkable woman and you deserve all the happiness, contentment and love in the world. I, for one, know that I have never met anyone quite like you.'
When Rose Pritchard turns up on the doorstep of a Cumbrian B&B, it is her last resort. She and her seven-year-old daughter Maddie have come to the village of Millthwaitein search of the person who once offered Rose hope.
Almost immediately Rose wonders if she's made a terrible mistake- if she's chasing a dream- but she knows in her heart that she cannot go back. She's been given a second chance- at life, and love- but will she have the courage to take it?

Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (Headline)- When Archway Young Offenders Institution is closed down, a notebook is found in one of the rooms.
'I have to start by saying that this isn't an apology. I'm not sorry. I'm not.'
This is that notebook.
'They say I'm evil and everyone believes it. Including you. But you don't know.'
It's pages reveal the dark and troubled mind of Emily Koll, Archway's most notorious inmate.
'Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever shake off my mistakes or if I'll just carry them round with me forever like a bunch of red balloons.'

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph)- Helen Walsh doesn't believe in fear- it's just a thing invented by man to get all the money and good  jobs- and yet she's sinking . Her work as a private investigator has dried up, her flat has been repossessed and now some old demons have resurfaced.
Not least in the form of her charming but dodgy ex-boyfriend Jay Parker, who shows up with a missing person case/ Money is tight- so tight Helen's had to move back with her elderly parents- and Jay is awash with cash. The missing person is Wayne Diffney, the 'wacky one' from boyband Laddz.
He's vanished from his house in Mercy Close and it's vital that he's found- Laddz have a sell-out comeback gig in five days time.
Things ended messily with Jay. And she's never going back there. Besides she has a new boyfriend now, the very sexy detective Artie Devlin and it's all going well, even though his ex-wife isn't quite 'ex' enough and his teenage son hates her. But the reappearance of Jay is stirring up all kinds of stuff she thought she'd left behind.
Playing by her own rules, Helen is drawn into a dark and glamorous world, where her worst enemy is her own head and where increasingly she feels connected to Wayne, a man she's never even met. 

The Fall by Claire McGowan (Headline)-What would you do if the man you love was accused of murder?
Bad things never happen to Charlotte. She's living the life she's always wanted and about to marry wealthy banker, Dan. But Dan's hiding a secret, and after he's arrested for the viscous killing of a nightclub owner, Charlotte's future is shattered.
Then she opens her door to Keisha,  an angry and frustrated stranger with a story to tell. But what Keisha knows threatens everyone she loves and puts her own life in danger.
DC Matthew Hegarty is finding it difficult to ignore his growing doubts as well as the beautiful and vulnerable Charlotte. Can he really risk it all for what's right?
Three stories. One truth. They all need to brace themselves for the fall.

Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid (Penguin)-"They tried to make me go to my sister's funeral today. In the end I had to give in... I'd been walking in her shadow for sixteen years and I liked its cool darkness. It was a good place to hide."
Rebecca's twin sister Hephzibah was beautiful and daring. She was the one who always wanted more. The one who wouldn't listen. Now she's gone. Rebecca is alone.
While there were two of them, they stayed silent about their home life. But Rebecca, who knows the truth about how her twin died, suddenly finds herself keeping too many secrets. Hephzibah dreamt of escape, but failed. Could Rebecca be the one to find freedom?
Original and unforgettable, Black Heart Blue is not just Rebecca and Hephzibah's story. It is a story about all of us: a story about the lies we want to believe, the truth we sometimes can't accept, and having the courage to discover the difference.

The Light Behind the Window by Lucinda Riley (Pan Macmillan)-The Present
Emilie de la Martinieres has always fought against her aristocratic background, but after the death of her glamorous, distant mother, she finds herself alone in the world and sole inheritor of her grand childhood home in the South of France. An old notebook of poems leads her in search of the mysterious and beautiful Sophia, whose tragic love affair changed the course of her family history. As Emilie unravels the story, she too embarks on her own journey of discovery, realising that the chateau may provide clues to her own difficult past and finally unlock the future.
The Past
London 1943. A young office clerk, Constance Carruthers is drafted in the SOE, arriving in occupied Paris during the climax of the conflict. Separated from her contact in her very first hours in France, she stumbles in to the heart of a wealthy family who are caught up in a deadly game of secrets and lies. Forced to surrender her identity and all ties to her homeland and her beloved husband, Constance finds herself drawn into a complex web of deception, the repercussions of which will affect generations to come. 

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson (Transworld)- Memories define us.
So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?
Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love- all forgotten overnight?
And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.
Welcome to Christine's life.

With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews (Sphere)-Can the imperfect family really have the perfect Christmas?
Juliet Joyce adores Christmas. She loves the presents, the tree, the turkey, the tinsel...just everything! Already the festive season is upon her, which is just as well as this Christmas things are just starting to get a little out of hand.
Her son Tom is out of work and bringing home a slew of unsuitable partners; pregnant daughter Chloe and her little boy have moved back in; Juliet's father, Frank, is getting over a heartbreak of his own and Rita, her eccentric mother, is behaving more erratically each day. And has the chaos got too much for Juliet's husband Rick?
With the big day fast approaching. Juliet hopes that she can stop everything spiralling out of control, because the only thing she wants is her family all around her and her home to be filled... With Love at Christmas.

You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane (Avon)-'Think of the great duos of history. We're just like them.'
'You mean like Kylie and Jason? Torvill and Dean? Sonny and Cher?'
'I think you've missed the point Rachel.'
Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel.
It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart. It's been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.
They'd been partners in crime and the best of friends. But it's clear that life has moved on. Ben is married. Rachel is not.
Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she's never been able to mend. 


Kim said...

Some fantastic books there, Dot. Thanks for all your great reviews and looking forward to many more in 2013. Merry Christmas x

Nikki-ann said...

A great choice of books :) I loved Wonder and truely believe it should be added to school's reading lists.

Anonymous said...

I love this 2012 wrap up! Lots of new-to-me books to add to my tbr list. Happy New Year!

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