These are my top 10 reads of the year and as always, most of them are historical fiction, but I loved them all and would recommend them to anyone!
Theophilus by Lewis Ben Smith is the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts is addressed to in the Bible and not much is known about him. The author, however, did a magnificent job in taking this character and building this story around him that coincides with the biblical narrative.
A Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King: This book mainly centers on the life of Marcus Gavius Apicius whose recipes were written down, but according to the author's notes, no cookbook survived but some of his recipes did survive in the writings of other historical figures. Apicius was a very wealthy Roman citizen whose passion for cooking and good food sees him spend a great deal of money to buy a slave named Thrasius to be his cook. His dream is to be the gastronomic advisor to Caesar himself.
Regarding Tiberius by Helena Mithrtdates Kleopatra is the novelization of a series of ancient scrolls recently discovered in the ruins of famed Roman commander Scipio Africanus' seaside villa (near Naples, Italy). Written in the First Century by a young woman of Persian and Ethiopian ancestry, Helena Mithridates Kleopatra, they comprise an account of how her life and destiny were forever altered by her chance meeting with Tiberius, the son of a prominent Roman senator.
Infinte by Jeremy Robinson- Earth is no longer habitable and a crew of 50 scientists and engineers aboard a spacecraft head to a new planet that will hopefully be hospitable. After ten years in a failed cryogenic bed--body asleep, mind awake--William Chanokh's torture comes to an end as the fog clears, the hatch opens, and his friend and fellow hacker, Tom, greets him...by stabbing a screwdriver into his heart.
This is one of my favorite authors, and this book was awesome!
Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar- quickly becoming a favorite author. This one takes the character of Lydia from the Book of Acts in the Bible and tells her story while staying true to the biblical account.
Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady- I just discovered this author this year when I read his book, Haven. I enjoyed it so much that I got this one, which is a coming of age story about vampires, and enjoyed it even more. He will also be writing a sequel to it. Lots of fun.
The Last Child by Jon Hart- I loved this coming of age, mystery!
Don't get me wrong though...this book is dark, but the characterization is excellent, especially of the main character, Johnny. This kid carries a heavy burden, with his twin sister having disappeared a year before, his father leaving, and his mother- who is a ghost of her former self. A sequel is supposed to be out next year, and I am looking forward to it!
Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette - Set during the time of the Great Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and follows a slave girl, Kiya, who escapes the bonds of slavery and joins the Hebrews as they flee.
The whole 3 book series was excellent!
Puzzle Master by T.J. McKenna: It' s the year 2022 and all religion has been banned and every sort of vice is condoned. Enter a history professor, Cephas, who not only loves puzzles, but is known as the Cult Hunter...famous for breaking the codes that leads the government to track down "hidden Christians". Now in order to stop them once and for all, Cephas is given the chance to go back in time to prove, once and for all, that Jesus was not the Messiah and did not come back from the dead.
Mysterious Kemet by S.R. Anand- is a collection of 5 novelettes set during the times of Imhotep, Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Intef the Third, and Ankhtifi. Tempered in the fire of greed, revenge, lust, and ambition, this collection tells the following five riveting tales from Ancient Egypt.
I think this is the first time I had a collection as one of my top 10, but I really enjoyed this one!
My honorable mention is one that I have read before, and re-read this year, but I can't say enough about this series. The Voice in the Wind series by Francine Rivers will always be in the top 10 books of all time for me. I always come away a changed person from reading it. It is Christian fiction and many people would find it "preachy", but it comes with my highest recommendation!
So that's it! Hope everyone has a fantastic New Year full of new discoveries in books and authors!
First book for 16 Tasks- Square 2- Bon Om Touk- Taking place on the Sea
We have all heard of Odysseus' journey and the fanciful tales he brought back while being away for 20 years after the War of Troy. We have heard the stories from Odysseus' point of view, now the H Team brings us the stories from the point of view of those that he told the tales about. Through Penelope, we find out how she ruled singularly as a Queen, through Telemachus, we learn what it was like to grow up without a father and King, we learn the stories behind the Kyklops and Sirens and the witch Circe as well as Calypso.
I have loved reading the past stories that the H Team has cooked up and couldn't wait to read what they have developed for Odysseus. Seven different stories and points of view woven seamlessly together to tell of Odysseus from the other side. To me, this was an ingenious way of getting to know the real Odysseus, as he was known as a trickster. In this context, the gods and goddesses still existed, however, some of the mythology was dispelled. I enjoyed reading every different story on their own and couldn't wait to see who would give me insight into Odysseus next. The themes of Odysseus' tales stayed true, pride, oath, service, gratitude, survival and perseverance are still strong subjects throughout each tale. While I appreciated each story, there were several that stuck out for me. Penelope and Telemachus' tales were those of survival. I was impressed with Penelope's cunning and skill to stop her people from attacking her home in the absence of a king and her ingenuity to make money for her land. Telemachus was an interesting character for me, I felt his pain at his father's departure and wanted him to grow into a leader as much as Penelope did. Circe's tale also entranced me. Instead of a witch who trapped Odysseus on an island, Circe has been banished to the island with her handmaids and has been making do on her women-led island. When Odysseus arrives, he is a problematic for the women and uses them at his will. Overall, I was amazed at how Odysseus' story changed from the point of view of the other characters and how I was still entranced by the amazing journey and stories that have been created.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
I was left feeling somewhat unsatisfied.
Josephine Tey is investigating the notorious Finchley Baby Farmers episode, interviewing people she knew and trying to get an insight into this terrible crime in order to write a fiction book. Suddenly one of the seamstresses at Motley dies horribly and there has to be an investigation, the past and present collide and relationships are messy.
Several of the people involved need to talk better to each other.
It's interesting but somehow I felt like the relationships overshadowed the mystery, I have no issues with the relationships but I felt that the sometimes intruded on the murder mystery in ways that made it more complicated than it really needed to be.
It could be argued that the baby-farmers were monsters and some of what is done is monstrous but it doesn't really fit into any of my free slots (it does fill Darkest London, Amateur sleuth, Terrifying women and murder most foul but I've used those) so Raven it is.