2013 Year in Review


So I started out 2013 with a goal to read 25 books. I kept adding 10 to my goal and finally stopped extending it when I got to 85. I ended up reading 169 books (though there’s still a few days left so this number could go up by one or two). I thought I’d call attention to some of my favorites – and my not so favorites.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR – MYSTERY/SUSPENSE: LINWOOD BARCLAY

Never Look Away  No Time for Goodbye  The Accident

Linwood Barclay is not a new author, but I just discovered him this year. So far I’ve only read the above 3 books, but they were all consistently good. It’s not just great mystery. He writes really great, relatable characters, too.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR – ROMANCE: KRISTAN HIGGINS

The Next Best Thing   The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)   All I Ever Wanted   Just One of the Guys

I read Just One of the Guys early in the year because it was a free nook book and I enjoyed it. I recently just went on a Kristan Higgins splurge and read every book that she has published. They all pretty closely follow the same outline, but I love them all. I love her character development – particularly her “flashback” style of writing -, her quirky secondary characters, and that it’s romance without being erotic.

FAVORITE RETURNING AUTHOR: RAINBOW ROWELL

Fangirl

Ok, I’m going to share a very unpopular opinion. I did not love Eleanor and Park. It was only just ok for me. But I still love you Rainbow Rowell! And she gave me another excellent book to read this year in Fangirl. Cath and Levi. Sigh.

FAVORITE COUPLE (ADULT): MARTIN RILKE & IVY THAXTON RILKE

The Passing Bells (Passing Bells, #1)

I don’t think I can ever say enough how much I love Martin Rilke.  He and Ivy were my favorite characters in The Passing Bells and I absolutely loved them together.

FAVORITE COUPLE (YA): DAEMON & KATY

Onyx (Lux, #2)

Of course this has to be Daemon and Katy from Lux. They’re sarcastic and adorable.

BEST CHARACTER GROWTH: JOHN TOMASETTI

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)

Tomasetti of the Kate Burkholder series starts off as a barely functioning alcoholic and prescription drug addict that’s just hanging on to his job and recovering from the murder of his wife and daughters. Throughout the series he sobers up (more or less), returns to being the agent he once was, and becomes the stable one in his relationship with Kate.

FAVORITE CAST OF CHARACTERS: THE RAVEN BOYS

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Blue. I love the interactions between this group. What really draws me into this series is the characters. I wish I would’ve come up with them.

BEST FREE BOOK: BACK ON MURDER

Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery, #1)

I discovered The Roland March series by J. Mark Bertrand because the first in the series was a free nook book at Barnes and Noble (you can get it for FREE here). Bertrand is a solid writer and I gave all three books in this series 4 stars.

FAVORITE NEW SERIES (YA): LUX

Obsidian (Lux, #1)  Onyx (Lux, #2) Opal (Lux, #3)  Origin (Lux, #4)

I’ve probably mentioned Jennifer Armentrout and her Lux series in this blog more than any other author or series. I love the writing, the characters, the banter, the mysteries, and the action.

FAVORITE NEW SERIES (ADULT): THE KATE BURKHOLDER SERIES

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)  Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder, #2)  Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder, #3)  Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder, #4)  Long Lost (Kate Burkholder #4.5)Her Last Breath (Kate Burkholder, #5)

I have to say that part of me loves this series because it’s based in Holmes County, Ohio – not far from where I grew up. But I also love the characters and the mystery.

LIVED UP TO THE HYPE: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

The Fault in Our Stars

I did not believe that The Fault in our Stars would make me cry. I was wrong. But it was also sarcastic and funny and wonderful.

DIDN’T LIVE UP TO THE HYPE: THE SILENT WIFE

The Silent Wife

I kept reading things about how this was this summer’s Gone Girl. It was not. It took me about a month to finally finish it.

MOST DISAPPOINTING SEQUEL: THE ELITE

The Elite (The Selection, #2)

This book actually made me angry. I really enjoyed the first book, but this one was just horrible. America becomes unbearably annoying. Aspen is a doormat. Maxon is a dick. And the rebel subplot… Here’s hoping the end of the series makes up for this book.

MOST DISAPPOINTING END OF A SERIES – RUNNER-UP: REQUIEM

Requiem (Delirium, #3)

Ugh. This story went so down hill for me in this book. The love triangle in Requiem‘s is the reason I hate them. And though Lena’s choice is obvious, she never actually “picks” him. And half the book was given to Hanna’s POV, who I could not care less about (seriously – I can’t even tell how much I DON’T care about Hanna). I felt like the end was left open for future books instead of concluding the story of Lena. It turned into an obvious and poorly done social commentary on how we need to love.

MOST DISAPPOINTING END OF A SERIES: ALLEGIANT

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

I was soooo disappointed by this book. I didn’t think it was possible for an ending to disappoint me more than Requiem did, but this one really took the cake. While Allegiant wraps things up in a way Requiem does not, I was still more disappointed with it because I loved this series so much and was so, so expecting it to be amazing. It wasn’t just the fact that I didn’t agree with the ending. It was just poorly done.

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR – RUNNER UP: UNRAVEL ME

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

I loved the first book in this series and this one got even better. And even though I hate to admit it, the love triangle in this book actually works. I don’t feel like there’s a clear choice for Juliette and I get that she has feelings for both of them because I have feelings for both of them. Just when I’ve decided I’m Team Warner, she runs into Adam and I suddenly feel conflicted. Because of course I’m Team Adam. But then there’s Warner…

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR: THE NIGHT CIRCUS

The Night Circus

This wasn’t at all what I was expecting it to be. It’s super descriptive which I don’t usually like, but it was done so beautifully in this book that I loved it. The emotional connection I felt to these characters were greater than any others I’ve read this year.

Top Ten Tuesday: Covers I Wish I Could Redesign

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Covers I Wish I could Redesign. This has no bearing on the actual story – some of these are books I actually really love, but the covers are just bad.

 Elemental (Elemental, #0.5)1. Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer. He kind of looks like creepy EuroTrash.

Runner

2. Runner by Patrick Lee. It’s such a clichéd cover. And it doesn’t really fit with the book.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)  The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)

3 & 4. The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves and by Maggie Stiefvater. I really enjoyed these books, but the covers are horrible.

Gone Girl

5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s such a simple cover for such a dynamic book.

6-10 belong to my 2 least favorite types of covers: Extreme Close-ups and Couples Coupling

  Requiem (Delirium, #3)  Before I Fall  Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4)  Frigid (Frigid, #1)  Opal (Lux, #3)

6. Requiem by Lauren Oliver

7. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (does she NOT have a book cover that isn’t an extreme close-up?)

8. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

9. Frigid by J. Lynn

10. Opal by Jennifer Armentrout

Top Ten Tuesday: Best/Worst Series Enders

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish is the Best/Worst Series Enders. I was going to split this in half, but all the series enders that stood out to me were bad ones, so I decided to go with all Worst Series Enders. And there’s only 9.

The Worst:

Requiem (Delirium, #3)
1. Requiem – the end to the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)

2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – the end to the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson.

Monsters (Ashes Trilogy, #3)

3. Monsters – the end to the Ashes trilogy by Ilsa Bick

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6)

4. Last Sacrifice – the end to the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

The Savage Grace (The Dark Divine, #3)

5. The Savage Grace – the end to the Dark Divine series by Bree Despain

Rapture (Fallen, #4)

6. Rapture – the end of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

7. Breaking Dawn – the end to the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.

As Sure as the Dawn (Mark of the Lion, #3)

8. As Sure as the Dawn – the end to the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers

Reached (Matched, #3)

9. Reached – the end to the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie