I don’t normally review or star books. As an author myself, this is just a choice I’ve made because publishing is such a fickle, prickly business for both writers and reviewers. I read purely for enjoyment and escape and prefer to focus only on the best of the best.
I choose TEN favorite reads each year. To each of them, and only them, I give five stars on Goodreads. That simply means relative to all the books I read that year, those books occupied the top ten slots. Without this system, I might have given any of this year’s books less than five stars or last year’s eleventh (and higher) books five stars, so first caveat is there’s no comparison between years.
But here are the ten that impressed me the most of the 84 books I read in 2013, listed in reverse order of my reading:
1. Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith (Science fiction meets Outlander. I loved the epic-ness of the story, partly due to its very long length, but mostly due to the amazing world-building and the lizard-guy hero.)
2. The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers (Such beautiful writing and because of and despite the unlikely premise, it flowed with all sorts of emotional loveliness.)
3. Tangled by Emma Chase (Drew—the character who voices what most men are probably thinking and yet we still loved him BECAUSE he was so real—eye-rolling but noble.)
4. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (An award-winning YA from a few years back, the heroine giving the hero the finger in the restaurant at the beginning sold me on this one at the get go. The rest did not disappoint.)
5. After Hours by Cara McKenna (Loved the big, scary hero who knew what he wanted at the very beginning.)
6. Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend by Cassie Mae (Funny, sweet, humble and poignant—my favorite type of YA story.)
7. Painted Faces by L. H. Cosway (Never in a million years thought I’d love a book about a man-whore, cross-dresser. The witty heroine was a huge factor in this one.)
8. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (Captivating writing style and an unforgettable hero. The title of the book is clever too.)
9. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (I love shipwrecked—or planewrecked in this case—stories and this one did not disappoint. Throw in a May – December romance and some adventure and I was sold.)
10. Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox (Cross-country bicycling with a grouchy, wounded bear of a man and slowly falling in love…sigh…loved it.)
I’ll end by stating this was an extremely difficult choice and there were many others that were strong contenders, so I’ll give them Honorable Mention (no particular order): Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren, Run to You by Charlotte Stein, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Beautiful Bad Man by Ellen O’Connell, Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare and Escorted by Claire Kent. One of this group I had to unstar because in re-evaluating my top ten list, I had eleven. They were ALL so good! And there were other fabulous ones I didn’t even mention.
2013 was an amazing year for reading!
Happy New Year and happy reading in 2014!