Final Reads of 2011

Time to slip in a few last minute book reviews before 2012 arrives...

I've been trying to cram in a few last titles, so let's see what I liked and what I didn't...

The Favored Queen by Carolly Erickson

As you probably know, I'm a big fan of the Tudor period in fiction, and Erickson is a leading writer of the period, so I was anxious to read her latest fiction (she also writes nonfiction), which focuses on Henry VIII's third (and perhaps favorite) wife, Jane Seymour. This chronicles Jane's rise from lady in waiting to Catherine of Aragon (the first wife), through Anne Boleyn (number two) to her own ascension as queen. I enjoyed this title, but most of it was focused on the first two marriages and Jane's peripheral participation... her own courtship and marriage to Henry was a very small portion of the book, and I would liked to have known more about that particular time period. Still, a well researched, entertaining read of one of my favorite time periods!

A Welcome Grave by Michael Koryta

I have always been a fan of Koryta's original works - the ongoing story of Lincoln Perry, an Ohio-based private investigator (his horror/fantasy stuff, not so much). This is a Perry novel I've not read, and takes Lincoln back into the life of his ex-fiancee, onto a money trail, as the witness to a suicide (in Brown County, Indiana!), and into an ever-tightening web of confusion, lies and devious behavior. Riveting! I listened to the audio version, expertly narrated by the yummy-voiced Scott Brick.

Little Black Dress by Susan McBride

I read this book a week or so ago, and seemed to get bogged down in the reading of it. It wasn't bad or anything, I just... I honestly can't remember what it was about, can't remember a single character or plot unless I go back and read the back cover. That's never good. :-( It was... fine, but for me, unmemorable. Probably just the wrong book at the wrong time...

ttyl by Lauren Myracle

I've always meant to read this young adult novel by leading YA writer Myracle (especially since it's often challenged and censored). Told entirely in instant messages (it was written several years ago, I'm sure now it would be texts), this is the story of three high school girls struggling through their year as their friendship goes through ups and downs, boys, challenges and eventually come out the other side. A different kind of YA novel!

Mozart's Last Aria by Matt Rees

I admit it, it was the cover that caught my eye, but I then thought it sounded like an intriguing story. Everyone knows Mozart died at the young age of 36 and buried in a pauper's grave, but how did it come about? In this novel, his sister Nannerl travels to Vienna to investigate the death of her brother...was it poisoning? Was it plague? Was it do with his being a Mason? This is an interesting historical novel with a mystery twist, and I really enjoyed learning a bit more about this time period in somewhere other than England. I find myself listening to Mozart with a brand new ear too... a really interesting novel!

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