My Top 10 Reads of 2013

Hello everyone!  It’s kind of that time of year when we reflect on what as happened over the last 365 days.  I thought maybe it was time to think about which books I enjoyed most this year.  And I think maybe some of them will surprise you.  I decided which titles to include by going through the 115 books I’ve read this year and thinking about which ones seemed to resonate with me.  Those were the ones I felt confident I would recommend to someone based on just hearing the title alone.  Once I had it narrowed down to 16 books, I had to decide on only 10.  Now, the book at 10 is no less impressive than the book at 1.  Each is great for its own reason, and I hope you’ll give all of them a chance.

10. The Diviners by Libba Bray

Released: September 18, 2012

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: First of all, I was incredibly wary going into this because it dealt with the 1920s, even though I love Bray’s writing style.  And she won me over.  This was an incredibly funny and creepy read.  It’s a mammoth of a book, but it’s definitely worth the time.  I loved the combination of historical fiction and paranormal mystery.  There is a plethora of interesting characters, creepy moments that will make you wish you’d read it with the lights on, and enough humor to give it a lighter feel.

9. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Released: July 3, 2012

I originally gave it: 4 Roses

Why?: This pick was almost more about nostalgia than anything else.  While it wasn’t a perfect read, it stayed with me long after I finished the book.  I mean, I grew up with Peter Pan.  The fact that this was a story about the fierce Tiger Lily but told by Tinkerbell was really all I needed to know.  I was sold.  It’s such an interesting way to tell the story, and it quickly won me over.  This was by far the most interesting narrative of this year.

8. Elegy (Hereafter, #3) by Tara Hudson

Released: June 4, 2013

I originally gave it: 4 Roses

Why?: When I went back through my list, this one stuck out to me.  I think it’s because I’ve come to admire Amelia.  She’s gutsy and spunky while still maintaining this feminine, calm air.  I thought this finale to the series was very fitting of her and her story.  It was hard to read at times because of the emotion it evoked, but it stuck with me long after I finished.  Plus, the character development was fantastic.  I have a weakness for that.  And anyway, who doesn’t love finishing a series?  Loose ends = tied.

7. The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test, #2.5) by Aimee Carter

Released: July 31, 2012

I originally gave it: 4 Roses

Why?: It’s never been a secret that I love this series.  It’s definitely one of my favorites.  (Hmm…perhaps an upcoming top ten list?)  Anyway, I had been feeling a little disappointed with the 2nd book in the series when I decided to read this.  And this was just amazing.  It contains 5 novellas about the characters we have come to know and love before they entered the series.  Really, this could be labeled as #0.5 and it would be fine.  There are no series spoilers and it’s just good old fashioned Greek god politics and scandals.  Who doesn’t love that?

6. For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1) by Diana Peterfreund

Released: June 12, 2012

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: I remember being really surprised by this book.  It wasn’t that I thought it would be bad, but I had never read anything by this author before.  But my God, did she go into detail.  Painstaking detail.  As the reader, you are completely taken into the world she creates.  I noted that she even included nursery rhymes that fit this world, which is a detail I rarely see.  It shows that she immersed herself in that world as she wrote and I was so taken with it.  It was a very, very lovely read and I can’t wait to start the sequel.

5. Taken (Taken, #1) by Erin Bowman

Released: April 16, 2013

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: Because of the nature of the story, most of it is completely mysterious when you start the story.  And that absolutely works in its favor.  I didn’t know anything about what was going to happen.  All I knew was that I liked Gray and I wanted to see what happened to him.  The plot had a lot of twists and a lot of action in it.  It was gripping.  I sincerely think this would be a great book for boys too.  It reads like an action-adventure tale, and Gray is a great lead.

4. Golden by Jessi Kirby

Released: May 14, 2013

I originally gave it: 4 Roses

Why?: I didn’t read this too terribly long ago, but I still feel moved by it.  I think there’s so much to learn from it, no matter your age.  Even though the perspective is completely Parker’s, there are almost two narratives as she reads the journal she finds.  I was pulled in by the mystery as to what happened to the town’s golden couple, but I stayed for the emotion.  There is really a lot of depth here that I still can’t completely comprehend.  I immediately wanted to reread it once I finished.

3. In The Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Released: April 2, 2013

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: I love historical fictions, and I almost completely missed this one.  My prejudice for the 1920s almost made me skip this novel set in 1918.  I’m so glad I read it. This is a time period I admittedly know very little about. But Mary Shelley sees all of the chaos.  World War I.  The Spanish Influenza.  American propaganda. There’s so much stuff about life in this time that I had no idea.  Sure, I’ve read in history class about all of these things, but it never felt real until I read this.  Then toss in a little paranormal element and this was a winner.

2. Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2) by Katie McGarry

Released: May 28, 2013

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: I’ve gushed about this book for months.  To say that I loved it would be an understatement.  I connected with every aspect of this story.  I felt for Beth and how she felt divided between two different lives.  I felt for Ryan and how he dealt with parents who expected too much from him.  Plus, it didn’t hurt that I’m very familiar with baseball, which is Ryan’s main sport.  I thought everything about this book was pure gold.  The love story was amazing and now, I’m afraid Katie McGarry can’t top herself.  But if anyone can write a better love story, it’s her.

1. With All My Soul (Soul Screamers, #7) by Rachel Vincent

Released: March 26, 2013

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: I had a love-hate relationship with this book before I even opened the cover.  I wanted to read about some of my favorite characters, but I didn’t want their story to be over.  My love won out.  And I cried when I finished this.  Kaylee is admirable and strong.  She does things I only wish I could do…and I’m not talking about her paranormal abilities.  Her story is so cleverly written that I rarely see twists coming before they happen.  This finale was one of the most amazing finales I’ve ever read.  While I was sad to see their story end, I was so glad I had read it.

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