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.

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison – 2 stars (out of 5)

The Silent Wife

*I received a copy of this title from NetGalley for review*

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.

I was pretty excited to start reading The Silent Wife, mostly because it was being called this Summer’s Gone Girl. I feel like that comparison was a great disservice to this book. Sure, there are some parallels, but they are actually really different. The tone. The characters. The pace. I’m not going to go into any more comparisons. I’m just going to say that I loved Gone Girl and this was not Gone Girl. But it shouldn’t have to be.

It took me a month to read this book. That’s basically unheard of for me. I usually finish a book in about 2-3 days. Sometimes less if things like work don’t get in the way. The pace was incredibly slow. A lot of the time was spent relaying the past and going into great detail of daily routine. I’m not a big fan of such minute detail, so my attention wandered.

We also find out in the opening pages – in the synopsis even – that Jodi kills Todd. I’ve read books like this before, knowing the ending before the story even starts, and they’re not usually my favorite. I like to be surprised and there weren’t really any surprises in this book.

The characters, all of them, were also very unlikable. I’ve read some other reviews that debate whether a character has to be likable to enjoy a book. For me, I want to have an emotional connection with them – at least just one of them. But I can also appreciate a good villain. If the characters are unlikable, the reader should at least like to dislike them. For those most part I felt Todd and Jodi were just very broken, very sad people.

I did, however, find Todd to be at times very interesting. He was kind of despicable human being and had zero self-awareness about it. Listening to him explain away his behavior as normal with no need to apologize for anything was kind of fascinating. I even found that when his death finally comes, I’m a little sorry for it. I wish he had an opportunity for redemption. But even if he did, I’m sure he wouldn’t have found a need to take it.

Overall, The Silent Wife was just ok for me. The writing was solid, the attention to detail was impeccable, but it just wasn’t the book I wanted it to be. I would recommend it to people who enjoy in depth character studies and caution them to ignore the comparisons to other books.

Monday’s Minutes

MM

Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post where I share what I’m reading and what I’m reading next.

WHAT I’M READING

The Hallowed Ones (The Hallowed Ones, #1)

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

So far I’m a little disappointed with The Hallowed Ones. The pace is a little slow. The creepy parts thus far could be a little creepier. But, it’s still an intriguing mixture of genres: vampire horror and Amish fiction. I’m hoping the pace speeds up a bit and that it reaches it’s potential.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

The Silent Wife  The Fault in Our Stars  An Untamed Heart

I’m still trying to read The Silent Wife. I really want to finish it since I got it from NetGalley, but it’s been hard. I’m about 100 pages in and not interested enough in it to keep my attention from wandering to something else, like The Hallowed Ones. The Fault in Our Stars has finally become available as an e-book at my library. I’ve heard great things about this book and am eager to start it. An Untamed Heart is another NetGalley I was approved for.

Resist (Breathe, #2)

I’m also looking forward to reading Resist, the sequel and conclusion of Breathe, that comes out tomorrow.

What are you reading?

Monday’s Minutes

Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post where I share what I’m reading and what I’m reading next.

WHAT I’M READING

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2) by Leigh Bardugo

I just finished Shadow and Bone and really liked it. It’s another one of those books where you read the description and think, “eh.” But I’ve read so many blogs where people raved about it so I thought I’d give it a try. I think a full review is in order. As soon as I finished it I started Siege and Storm. I’m only a couple chapters in and so far so good.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

I started this book a couple weeks ago and haven’t made it past the first chapter. It’s a review copy so I really need to get to it. I’m hoping it gets better as it goes along.

What are you reading?