Top Reads in 2012


It is well into 2013, isn’t it?  Since I didn’t post much in the past twelve months, it is time to get caught up, don’t you think?

Before I make the list, let me warn you, it’s quite long.  The reason being that I read a lot of books in 2012.  And apparently many of them were very good books.  Eleven are fiction, nine non-fiction. That balance always makes me smile 🙂

The only book to make a five-star rating, which means ‘it was amazing’, was truly my favorite read.  So much so that I re-read it in 2013.  It’s non-fiction and life-impacting.  All I can say is, you should read it too.

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You AreOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just ordered this today from CBD. Can’t wait to read it! I read the first chapter already. So excited!

This book was better than I expected, better than all the reviews, just the best! If you have not read it, you should. But beware, you may never be the same after reading it. That’s all I’m going to say. Excellent!

Re-read March 2013. Still excellent. Got more out of it this time, and actually doing my gratitude journal now.

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The rest of the books were a four-star rating which means ‘really liked it’, alphabetically listed by author, fiction first, then non-fiction.

FICTION and HISTORICAL FICTION

A Light to My Path (Refiners Fire #3)A Light to My Path by Lynn Austin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful, public library book. Third in Refiner’s Fire series. This from the point of view of the slaves. Squeaky clean, well written, Biblical, love the thread of faith throughout, God is central. Eye opening to see from the slaves’ perspective.

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A Woman's PlaceA Woman’s Place by Lynn Austin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent book! Loved the characters, the story, the history, and the faith aspect.

Four women from different walks of life work together building ships during WWII.

Well done! Borrowed from the library. Highly recommend! One of her best. Didn’t want it to end. Characters were so real.

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A Little Princess; Being The Whole Story Of Sara Crewe Now Told For The First TimeA Little Princess; Being The Whole Story Of Sara Crewe Now Told For The First Time by Frances Hodgson Burnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an awesome book!!! I bought it for $1 at a used book store, paperback edition, falling apart now that I’ve read it, but oh, so very worth the read! Excellent!
I had read Sarah Crewe as a child, but never A Little Princess. Love them both. Definitely a timeless classic. Speaks to one’s character, or lack thereof. Do give it a try. Well worth reading.

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The Secret GardenThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

FABULOUS!

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Crooked HouseCrooked House by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.
Excellent, of course. Chief (Scotland Yard)’s son wants to marry the grand-daughter of one murdered. Helps solve the crime per his father and his intended.

Different POV. And a twist (of course).

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Storm in the Village (Chronicles of Fairacre, #3)Storm in the Village by Miss Read
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.
Third in series.
Excellent, of course. Possible housing development and personal ‘storms’.

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Village School (Chronicles of Fairacre, #1)Village School by Miss Read
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.
Wonderful account of village school life by headmistress. Clean!

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If You Lived HereIf You Lived Here by Dana Sachs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is fabulous! I love the dual point of view, and the interweaving of the issues of these two women who become friends. It’s a great read, and a great way to see situations from more than one perspective.

Awesome writing! Novel about a Vietnamese American woman and an American woman adopting a Vietnamese child. AWESOME!

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Lark Rise to Candleford: A TrilogyLark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy by Flora Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.
Memoirs of hamlet life, and village life as employed in the Candleford Post Office. Laura is the name she gave her character in the book.

The story is about the joys and sorrows of hamlet life, that being in poverty and not owning land, in the 1880s and 1890s (England). Most girls went into service in their young teens, and the boys stayed home and worked on the land for wages. (The girls sent wages home.)

Village life had vastly different priorities. Villagers looked down on those from the hamlet as smelly and untouchable. And then there were the gentry, the squire and his lady, who were responsible for both village and hamlet.

Wonderfully written. Beautifully done. Interesting and thoughtful and of course squeaky clean. Love the BBC production too, though it does not stick to the book.

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A Hundred FlowersA Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.
1957 China

Beautifully woven story, many levels in multiple directions. Tao fell from Kapok tree, his dad in prison for writing a poetical letter which his grandpa wrote. Mother is an herbalist, Auntie gardens, 15 yr. old girl comes for help to deliver and raise her baby, the product of rape by step-father.

The only part that saddened me was their lack of belief in Almighty Creator God. Characters and story are fabulous. Moving story. Lots of growth on many levels. Not a lot of conversation — that’s good writing!

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Freedom's StandFreedom’s Stand by Jeanette Windle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just ordered this book from CBD. Can’t wait to read it! Have heard great reviews.

At long last — I begin to read with great anticipation.

Finished this a couple of weeks ago. Wonderful. The thing that stands out in my mind as far as the culture goes, is getting inside the mindset of what it feels like to be a ‘burqa’ rather than an individual female. Also how very young the girls are married by arrangement between men. They have no say, and many no opportunity for education. There world is confined to the compound and the burqa. I can’t imagine what that’s like.

The interweaving of the Gospel of Isa Masih, the transformation of Jamil’s thinking from his former beliefs to God’s Words, is masterful.

There just aren’t adequate words to describe Jeanette’s writing. You just need to read it for yourself. Looking forward to the next book, Jeanette!

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NON-FICTION

In the Presence of My EnemiesIn the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.

New Tribes missionaries in the Philippines kidnapped by Jihad Muslims for ransom. Husband killed in rescue. Over one year on the run with captors. Three children were removed to States.

Excellent testimony of faith.

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A Reporter's LifeA Reporter’s Life by Walter Cronkite
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well written. It’s very interesting to me to learn about history in this past century from the journalist’s point of view, and to learn Cronkite’s personal views on what he reported without expressing his own view (for the most part). Well worth the read.

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Words of Power, Echoes of Praise: Prayers from the Psalms, Book IIWords of Power, Echoes of Praise: Prayers from the Psalms, Book II by Lynnda Ell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My copy. EXCELLENT!

I’ve read the first entry three times. It’s so good, I can’t get enough of it!
Wonderful book! A definite reread. I really like the way Lynnda writes.

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If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and LiberationIf I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister’s Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation by Janine Latus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy. 362.8292 L358i
Excellent. Memoir on domestic violence, written by her sister. She’s an excellent writer, this being her first book. She teaches writing.

Lots of the ‘story’ I didn’t like, but it is well told. It’s different because it’s about her POV but the end is about her sister (her murder). The issue of the author’s abuse is never resolved. Divorce,er. Resolution, no. Dealing with her sister’s murder doesn’t resolve her own issues. Has she written another book? The story should continue 🙂

Lots of language and ‘adult’ material. And inappropriate sexual abuse. All part of the story.

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Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard WayBittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.
Is Shauna Bill Hybel’s daughter? Almost devotional, without the Scripture. Short chapters on an incident or topic. Nice format, readable, but part way through I wanted to quit because I thought her pod was without God as center. You have to/must read the entire book to ‘get’ that.

Some chapters were very moving. And overall a very good read. No spoilers. Just read it.

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The Ditchdigger's Daughters: A Black Family's Astonishing Success StoryThe Ditchdigger’s Daughters: A Black Family’s Astonishing Success Story by Yvonne S. Thornton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.
Very good book. Interesting, second half especially.

Five daughters raised to become doctors — two did, one dentist, one nurse, one court stenographer, all successful. Put through college by forming a band — The Thornettes.

Yvonne, the author, is a OB/GYN and perinatal Dr. Married to a doctor too.

Strong characters and principles. (Listened to her other book on NPR.)

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Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSoft Spots: A Marine’s Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by Clint Van Winkle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.
U.S. Marine — Iraq — PTSD

Excellent.

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When the War Never Ends: The Voices of Military Members with PTSD and Their FamiliesWhen the War Never Ends: The Voices of Military Members with PTSD and Their Families by Leah Wizelman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy.
U.S. Canada Germany Australia
Excellent! Learned a lot.

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