Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2013: Amy W’s Picks

My name is Amy and I am a read-aholic. Seriously, I read a wide range of genres and I will read it any way I can get it (e-reader, traditional book, audio book, etc).  Here are some pleasant discoveries from my year of reading. I hope you can include some of these books in your 2014 reading list. Enjoy!

crossingThe Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
This first in the Dr Ruth Galloway mystery series has everything including a sassy, smart  female protagonist, a mysterious atmosphere, a colorful cast of characters, history and mythology. Dr Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist—to put it more directly, she is a bone expert. Her quiet academic world gets turned upside down when she is asked to examine bones at a local archaeological dig. Bones? At an archaeological dig? Big deal! Well it is a big deal when a local girl has been missing for nearly ten years and Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson is committed to closing the case and putting her family at ease. To complicate matters, another girl goes missing. This is a fun page, intelligent page turner that will send you running to the next book in the series.

victorianInside the Victorian Home : a Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England by Judith Flanders
This book is delightful! It is one of those books you want to tell people about constantly but worry that they will roll their eyes after the sixth or seventh Victorian life fun fact. But it is packed with interesting tidbits at every turn of the page and you cannot help but be aghast at some of the details. Artfully constructed, Judith Flanders moves room by room through the Victorian home describing not only the practical uses of the room, but also closely examining Victorian society in its most intimate setting. This book is well written and supported by diaries and journals. So if you often find yourself at a loss for something interesting to say at a party, read this book and you will be the life of the party.

financialThe Financial Lives of Poets by Jess Walter
If you enjoyed the show “Breaking Bad,” you would probably enjoy this book about Matt Prior, a nice guy saddled with debt after following his ill-conceived dream. He is struggling to support his family and his marriage is falling apart. So one night at the 7 Eleven he falls in with some real losers in an attempt to keep his home out of foreclosure. Hijinx ensue, more bad decisions are made. You never stop rooting for Matt in this funny, fast-paced and heartwarming book.

wolfWolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Today’s scandals have nothing on Henry VIII and his henchman Thomas Cromwell. Wolf Hall takes place from the point of view of Englishman, Thomas Cromwell.  Cromwell was the son of a drunken blacksmith and rose from those humble beginnings to be the king’s right-hand man. This book is a challenging read everyone seems to be named Thomas, John, Henry, Harry, William, Mary or Anne. But it is very worthwhile to read this award-winning book, a historical look at the complexities of power that still rings true today.

attachAttachments by Rainbow Rowell
Alright, this was not my favorite book this year but this is one of my favorite contemporary authors and I am dedicated to reading anything she writes. My colleagues will have raved about a couple of her YA books published this year (Fangirl and Eleanor and Park) and I agree. Written for adults, this book is fun too! And the dialogue is witty and the characters are likeable. Lincoln O’Neill is kind of at a standstill and he takes a really boring, go nowhere night job monitoring email at a local newspaper. Things start to look brighter when he falls in love; unfortunately, he falls in love with Beth while reading her hilarious and honest email exchanges with her best friend and co-worker, Jennifer. Oh, and Beth does not know he exists and he knows the intimate details of her life which would be kind of creepy. Earlier I used the phrase “funny, fast-paced and heartwarming book”, it applies here also!

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