Thursday, 23 January 2014

My Best of 2013

2013 was a fantastic year. I had planned to write a LOT more reviews, but that unfortunately didn't happen, resulting in the rather dry few months I had at the end of the year. Apologies.

Like my 'Best of 2012' post last year, this is a round-up of the best books I read in 2013. I've had a LOT of favourites this year and so it was excruciatingly difficult in trying to decide what should and couldn't make the list. The following are listed in their order of review. I hope this inspires you to add a few books to your TBR list!

1. Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox (2012) (reviewed 14-1-2013, Grade A)
Just as Tiffany Reisz was my favourite new-to-me author of 2012 and as Gail Carriger held that title in 2011, Ruthie Knox was my favourite new author of 2013. I ended up reading four of her novels (Ride With Me, Along Came Trouble, Flirting With Diaster and Making it Last) but Ride With Me easily topped the list. Lexie needs a cycling partner for the TransAm cycling route across America, but once prospective partners find out she's a woman, they can't backtrack fast enough. Tom is tricked into becoming 'Alex's' cycling partner by his sister and it doesn't bode for an easy partnership. Their first ten minutes is plagued by a puncture - cue a very memorable scene involving some very hot tongue action!

 2. The Prince // The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz (2012 // 2013) (reviewed 3-4-2013, Grade A // 12-8-2013, Grade A+) (The Original Sinners series: (prequel) Seven Day Loan, (1) The Siren, (2) The Angel, (3) The Prince, (4) The Mistress)
The Prince sees Nora riding off to Kentucky with her best friend Wesley, while Soren ends up spending quality time with Kingsley ... Wesley takes this opportunity to try and persuade Nora that a future with him would provide her with everything she could ever want. Nora doesn't realise that Soren is protecting her from darker forces that leads to ...
The explosive conclusion to Tiffany Reisz's The Original Sinners: The Red Years. Nora plays Sheherazade to her captor and literally tells stories for her life. Her kidnapping devastates the lives of those closest to her and some of the truths we've been waiting for finally come to light. Nora will be back as Eleanor in May with the release of The Saint, book five in The Original Sinners series, but the first book in the prequel series, The White Years. One of my most anticipated books of 2014!

3. Like This, For Ever by Sharon Bolton (2013) (reviewed 6-6-2013, Grade A) (Lacey Flint series: (1) Now You See Me, (1.5) If Snow Hadn't Fallen, (2) Dead Scared, (3) Like This, For Ever)
Sharon Bolton is the only crime author on my automatic-read list and she's managed it through her haunting prose, loveable yet aggravating characters and frightening ability to frighten the hell out of me! For the third time, police officer Lacey Flint has been plunged into a murder case she'd rather not be attached to. Memories of the Jack the Ripper murders and her undercover assignment in Cambridge still plague her brain - not to mention the sexy Mark Joesbury who isn't letting her bury her head in the sand quietly. As young boys go missing across London and Lacey's perceptive young neighbour acquires a deep-rooted fascination with the case as young boys are prone to do, Lacey finds herself falling ever-deeper into trouble ... again. Book four, A Dark and Twisted Tide is my other most anticipated book of 2014!

4. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter (2012) (reviewed 5-8-2013, Grade A)
One of few YA novels I read this year and by far my favourite Gena Showalter novel. She's always been on the warm end of the spectrum for me and so this exceeded my expectations. This was a fun mix of the children's classic novel with zombies, teenage angst and buckets of sexual tension. Fingers crossed that book two, Through the Zombie Glass (when I get round to reading it!) delivers too.

5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (2011) (reviewed 26-8-2013, Grade A)
The second YA novel to make this list, The Name of the Star seems to be your regular YA novel - until the ghosts make their appearance. Rory is a Yankee who has recently moved to London just as a host of Jack-the-Ripper style murders have shocked the country. As luck would have it, her new school is on the site of where the original murders took place. This was terrifically haunting and fun, but I should have just treated it as a standalone and not read book two. In my opinion, The Madness Underneath (review coming soon) didn't live up to book one.

6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937) (reviewed 29-8-2013, Grade A+)
I've raved and raved about this book pretty much every time I have a conversation with anyone about books. So far, four out of six in my family have read it, so pretty good going! If you're only going to read one classic in 2014, make it The Hobbit. It might be a children's book, but like any literary masterpiece, once you're knee-deep in the characters, adventures, laughs and tears, you'll be asking yourself why on earth you hadn't read it as a child. While you're at it, catch up with the first two parts of the screen adaptations; part three will be released in December this year. The films might shake-up the books and add new twists for cinematic thrills, but I love them in their own special way.

7. You Had Me at Hello (2012) (reviewed 2-9-2013, Grade A)
I've said on many an occasion that I don't like to read chick lit and this is one of my few exceptions. Rachel is a courtroom reporter in Sheffield and on hearing that her best friend from uni, Ben, was seen in town, accidentally 'bumps' into him outside the library. It's been ten years and while Rachel is no longer in a relationship with Rhys, the guy she was with whilst at uni, Ben is now married and starting a new life up North with his wife, Olivia. As their reunion dredges up old memories, can they remain just friends?

8. Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann (2003) (reviewed 19-9-2013, Grade A) (Troubleshooters series: (1) The Unsung Hero, (2) The Defiant Hero, (3) Over the Edge, (4) Out of Control, (5) Into the Night, (6) Gone Too Far

2013 saw me reading five books of Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series and I've loved every last one of them. I picked Gone Too Far because it's the novel where my favourite couple finally get together after five books of almost-unbearable sexual tension and drama. Sam Starrett is a Navy SEAL and unfortunately for him, often on Alyssa Locke's bad books. The pair have a complicated history, often trying to pretend that nothing has or ever will happen between them. Once they accept that they were clearly made for each other - in the midst of an investigation into the disappearance of Sam's daughter - they both finally get the happy ending they deserve.

9. Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt (2013) (reviewed 23-9-2013, Grade A) (Maiden Lane series: (1) Wicked Intentions, (2) Notorious Pleasures, (3) Scandalous Desires, (4) Thief of Shadows, (5) Lord of Darkness
The fifth book in Hoyt's Maiden Lane series, this is by far my favourite. It's got Hoyt's trademark scorching sex scenes, a charismatic and mysterious hero and a heroine who won't stop until she's got all the answers. It makes for an entertaining read and reveals a lot of answers about the elusive Ghost of St. Giles that we've been waiting for. Also, the cover is just pure cover porn and I love the series bait dangled for book six, Duke of Midnight.

10. Timeless by Gail Carriger (2012) (reviewed 26-9-2013, Grade A+) (Parasol Protectorate series: (1) Soulless, (2) Changeless, (3) Blameless, (4) Heartless, (5) Timeless)
The sweet, funny, devastatingly perfect ending to the Parasol Protectorate series. We see Alexia, Lady Maccon nee Tarrabotti off to Egypt, addressing a summons from Queen Matakara, Vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive. In tow are her husband Conall, best friend Ivy Tunstell and Ivy's theatre troupe who are the Maccon's cover story, but provide wonderful entertainment along the way. In the name of scientific discovery, Alexia is curious to find out more about the 'God breaker's plague' that hangs over Egypt - a force even more powerful than her own talents as a soulless.

Honourable Mentions that had to (painfully) miss the list:
- Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts
- Etiquette for the End of the World by Jeanne Martinet
- About a Girl by Lindsey Kelk
- The Class Ceiling by Kerry Fisher
- Public Secrets by Nora Roberts
- Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

What about you? What were you favourite reads of 2013?


  1. Am very happy to be an honourable mention! I will aspire to making the top ten next time! Thank you.

    1. You're welcome, Kerry! I read the manuscript for The Class Ceiling while I was interning at HarperCollins UK during the summer, and loved it! Can't wait to read your future works

    2. Wow! What a fabulous internship...are you going into publishing? You must have been working with Helen Bolton...she's really lovely. Good luck with everything. (And thanks again..!)