So, another year has passed and it’s been another good one here at Judging Covers. A number of talented new reviewers have joined the team, meaning we’ve been able to share even more book reviews than we did last year. It seems like a good time to thank all of the authors, publishers, and PRs that have worked with us throughout 2012, and an even bigger thank you to our readers – your comments, emails and positive feedback mean a lot. We are a few days away from the second birthday of Judging Covers and the site only continues to grow because of your regular visits to the site. You are great.
Last year we posted our Books of the Year 2011, and a few of our reviewers have shared their favourites again. These aren’t necessarily books that were published during 2012 – simply the books that we most enjoyed reading this year. What would be your Book of the Year?
Diary of a Mummy Misfit – Amanda Egan
Donna: “Diary of a Mummy Misfit is the debut novel by Brit-lit writer Amanda Egan. It is a fast paced and easy-to-read book which I found I was unable to put down, partly due to being written in brilliant diary format, as each of Libby’s entries leaves you thirsting for more. It is a book I identified completely with and I found it a hilarious insight into the world of a prep school parent, and also reflective of many other school gates. I myself have always been a Mummy Misfit, and proud!
An excellent read, highly recommended and well worth five stars. I am thankful that it introduced me to Egan’s work. Her ironic wit and observational humour is second to none!”
Read our full Diary of a Mummy Misfit review
The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
Emily: “My favourite book of 2012 was The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. In her debut novel, Ivey conjures up the eerily magical character of Faina, the snow child, set in the beautifully mysterious landscape of Alaska. The hardships of homesteading and the heartache of a reluctantly childless couple are tactfully dealt with, and the novel manages to balance brutal reality with suggestions of fantasy in a way that made it almost impossible for me to put this book down.”
Read our full The Snow Child review
The Rose Petal Beach – Dorothy Koomson
Nikki: “I read a few fantastic books this year but none that I raced through quite as quickly as The Rose Petal Beach. The story begins as Tamia Challey’s husband is arrested, accused of a horrible crime by someone very close to the family. Tamia’s world is turned upside down, and her emotional breakdown as she tries to cope with the truth about her husband is extremely well-written. The book is so full of twists and turns that I couldn’t put it down – I found myself doubting every character, but the climax of the story revealed secrets I’d never even considered.”
Read our full The Rose Petal Beach review
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Lindsay: “I delved into this beauty on holiday this year and couldn’t put it down for two solid days. The incredible story of love and magic set in an enchanted circus touring the world for decades, The Night Circus is utterly captivating.
If you thought Harry Potter was as magical as the world of fiction could get, think again – Erin Morgenstern’s rich descriptions, beautiful writing and incredible dreamlike world will have you turning your back in on the boy wizard in an instant.”
The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp – Eva Rice
Beth: “I have read at least ten books this year that could have been my favourite – it’s been a really good year for fantastic reads. However, I think my absolute favourite was The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice. After falling in love with Rice’s style reading The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, I was over the moon when Tara came my way. The story follows country girl Tara Jupp as she’s whisked away to the bright lights of 1960s London to become a superstar songstress. Part coming-of-age novel, part homage to the swinging sixties, this novel kept me captivated from the first page.
Tara is infectiously likeable and the novel flows seamlessly, as if she’s simply having a conversation with you. I love this period of history and Rice’s style and characters make it even more enjoyable. Read it, you’ll love it!”
The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling
I never expected to be so hooked by a tale of a parish council by-election!”
Dead Man Walking – Helen Prejean
Ruth: “Helen Prejean describes her work as a spiritual advisor and friend to two death row inmates. While advocating strongly for the abolition of the death penalty, she remains compassionate towards those who disagree with her.
Dead Man Walking made a bigger impact on me than any other book I’ve read in a long time. Whatever side of the argument you’re on, I highly recommend this book.”
The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker
Sarah H.: “I love it when a book can genuinely surprise me and leave me wishing it never ended. This one fit both of those criteria, and did so exceptionally well, and as a result makes it into my Top 3 – if not my first – best books of 2012. The Age of Miracles is quietly shocking, steadily convincing and exceptionally tender. Characters are dynamic and interesting, each choosing their own way of dealing with their altered reality so that it’s almost impossible not to identify with a least one of them. To tackle such a huge catastrophe in such a gentle way is both genius and unnerving; and undeniably different to any tales from a similar genre. It’s unorthodox, but it works – the expected end of the world coming not with a bang but with a drawn out, beautifully expressed whimper.”
Happy new year, everyone! Have a wonderful 2013.