When the year winds down, we should all feel obligated to tout our favorite reads (woot! woot!), to show appreciation to the authors and books that kept us wildly entertained through 2012.

How do I keep track of all I read? Easily, with GoodReads. I encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already tried it.

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Friend me and/or fan me there! 

You can build your own shelves (without wood, allen wrenches or confusing directions from Ikea) to categorize your reads. Mark books you want to read and discover new reads similar to what you’ve already enjoyed. You can also see what your friends are reading and how they’ve rated books.

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And while I loved Stephen King’s latest, 11/22/63, and other best-selling titles like Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and Laura Moriarty’s THE CHAPERONE this year, it’s especially important to me to share the works of lesser-known indie authors, like Kathleen Kaska.

murderatthearlingtonKaska’s Sydney Lockhart mystery series from Salvo Press features a plucky 1950′s heroine, an independent woman in an age where her dismissal of the domestic lifestyle makes her a loner. Sydney is a journalist in her 20′s dead-set on building a successful career, and while reporting about the famous Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Sydney finds herself entangled in a murder-mystery and her unconventional ways make her a suspect. Eager to clear her name, Sydney strives to solve the case despite roadblocks from local authorities. Her wealthy, spoiled cousin Ruth becomes her unlikely side-kick, providing ample comedic opportunities. The two ladies do not mesh personality-wise yet somehow they complement each other. There’s also a little romance tossed in with a local detective who deems Sydney clumsy yet irresistibly charming. Moreover, the mystery keeps you guessing until the very end, reminiscent of Agatha Christie. (Kaska is a Christie fan and expert, having penned a Christie trivia book.)

After MURDER AT THE ARLINGTON, I dove right onto MURDER AT THE LUTHER…and now I’m ready for the newly-released MURDER AT THE GALVEZ.

So now I want to hear from you!

What lesser-known books knocked your socks off this year?