Heather's Favorite Reads of 2013

2013 was not exactly a banner year for me reading-wise. Or anything else-wise for that matter. However, there were several stand outs for me this year. There were some new stories from favorite authors that I felt certain to love. And there were some surprise new-to-me authors who blew me away with the power of their storytelling. Here are some of my favorite books from 2013:

 

Firebird by Susanna Kearsley – Twining the past with the present, Ms. Kearsley paints a vivid picture of love and loss and love regained.

 

The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas – Ms. Thomas excels at the unconventional, going far beyond standard Regency fare. The Luckiest Lady in London is no exception with its less than beautiful heroine and the hero who decides she is worth pursuing.

 

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews – Just when I believe the Kate Daniels series has peaked, that the next book cannot possibly surpass he last, Ilona and Gordon raise the bar and deliver a story that takes my breath away. In Magic Rises the stakes are higher, the villains scarier, and the emotional impact greater than any Kate Daniels book that has preceded it.

 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – Don‘t let the Young Adult designation fool you. This is a story of misfits to which readers of any age (and especially those of us in our late 30s/early 40s) may relate and enjoy. As Eleanor, with her unsettled home life, and Park, who has the perfect family, bond over punk rock and being targeted by school bullies, the reader falls in love with them as well. At the end my heart soared and I felt a strong desire to blast The Ramones for all the world to hear.

 

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton – What a delight! This story of neighbors who go from nemeses to friends to lovers is fresh and funny.

 

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews – While brief, this novella instantly draws the reader into a brand new alternate universe. Sparks fly between the hero and heroine instantly as they reluctantly unite to fight a threat to their neighborhood. While the story is complete, at its conclusion I longed for more.

 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – An unorthodox love story, Me Before You demonstrates the beauty and fragility of life through the eyes of a caregiver to a quadriplegic.

 

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs – Mercy Thompson’s return was well worth the two year wait. The race to save Adam kept me on the edge of my seat and reading long past my bedtime.

 

The Double Cross by Carla Kelly – The characterization and sense of place are so strong in this novel that at times I forgot that I was not actually living in 1780s New Mexico territory.

 

Of course, this year brought clunkers as well, some of them from authors previously enjoyed. Here are my Biggest Disappointments this year:

 

Possession by JR Ward – Jim’s incessant whining and pining over that twit Cissy got on my last nerve. The “hero and heroine’ were barely given any page time and lacked the chemistry of the series’ other pairings. The twist at the end felt like a desperate attempt to retain readers.

 

Macrieve by Kresley Cole – This pains me, but I didn’t love it. Macrieve was a terrible character and was awful to the heroine for the majority of the book. He vomited after having sex with her, for heaven’s sake.

 

Iced by Karen Marie Moning – Just what on earth was this mess? Dani was an annoying narrator, the worldbuilding was shoddy and the storyline weak. I was underwhelmed.

 

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts – The magick just was not there for me. This felt like a mashup of every other series the author has ever written. It wasn’t bad, just a retread.

 

May 2014 bring us all great reads and new authors to glom! Cheers!