Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Books of 2013

The New Top Ten Tuesday Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I have another post planned for wrapping up 2013, but I thought I would share my best of and participate in the Top Ten Tuesday topic. The books are listed in no particular order.

Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan. So, about two years ago (maybe 3), Heather from Capricious Reader wanted to read one of Brennan's books as a buddy read. It never happened. But, I often ask Memory for book recommendations when I do my Bookcloseouts splurge (now called Book Outlet) before Christmas. She recommended this series and now I have all four. I loved it! I love a good combination of fantasy, in this instance fairies, and historical fiction. This was done right and I am so glad I read it.
I remember when I read Libba Bray for the first time. It was back in the very early days of my blog and I had just started receiving review copies. That is how I read this entire trilogy of Gemma Doyle. Then she went the standalone route for a while and now she is back with a new trilogy! I love Libba Bray and this was no exception. Strangely enough it is another book that mixes fantasy and historical fiction. Set in the 1920's it talks about spiritualism, jazz clubs, race issues, and adds some believable fantasy to the era. I can't wait for book 2 in August.
Fabulous book and so well done! It is a pretty book even if you don't like the story. I think I would probably keep it even if it had been a dud for me because it is designed so fantastically. In a way a bit out of my normal reading range; but not too much because, in many ways, horror isn't too far removed from fantasy. This was a page-turner for sure and I am so glad I splurged and randomly bought a copy after I started hearing the buzz around the web.
 Levithan Wakes and its first sequel, Caliban's War, blew my socks off. Let's illustrate for you... At the beginning of the year Carl hosted a read-along of Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path. He posted that if you bought Levithan Wakes it would come with a free copy of The Dragon's Path. So, I bought the e-book and then got a notification that the audio of Levithan Wakes was really cheap because I had bought the e-book. So... I got the audio, too. What happened? I didn't end up reading The Dragon's Path because I decided I was going to glance at Levithan Wakes and see what it was like... I ended up trading back and forth between audio and the e-copy, did the same thing with Caliban's War, and only didn't do the same with book 3 because I was waiting for the audio. I also own all of the books in print...
Why did I wait so long to read McKillip? I loved this book!! I also didn't read anything else by her this year... 2013 was just a bad reading year... I love good fantasy and you can tell just by this one book that everything you read by her is going to be good fantasy. I cannot wait to get to some of the other books I have by her on my TBR in 2014 and then start collecting more from her. Also, all of the covers to her books are gorgeous!
Okay, let's face facts... If you know me at all, this book is not my typical read at all. I just saw it around the blogosphere, was having a bad reading year, and decided to take a chance on it. If I read YA it is usually fantasy. And the 80's are not exactly historical fiction yet. Not to mention it is basically a romance and a coming of age book. Seriously, as I am writing this I am baffled that I read it. But, read it I did and I really liked it so there is that. Eleanor and Park are such well-written characters. I loved the addition of music and comic books. I liked all the topics the book discussed and think that this book should be read in school just because of the wide-spread media buzz surrounding bullying.
In 2013 I joined Audible. (A year later, I am obsessed and increased my membership for 2014.) I was having a bad day when I was trying to decide on my first listen and wanted something fun. This entirely fit the bill. I collect John Scalzi and then never read him... Are we surprised? I love science fiction and this makes fun of a big franchise which I loved the idea of right when I heard the book was coming out. It took me a bit longer than I would have liked to get around to it, but I am so happy I did. I even read another John Scalzi in 2013, Fuzzy Nation, and loved that one, too.
So, I got this book from NetGalley and wound up just reading it on my laptop. This never happens! I just got caught up in the story and didn't want to interrupt myself to change it to my e-reader. I have been meaning to read Kate Atkinson for ages and this was my introduction. There is something to be said for unreliable narrators. And this is my first top read over the years that had one. I think it breaks the book away from the norm and gives it that originality that sometimes lacks from best-sellers. As long as it is done right anyway. Kate Atkinson does it right. I plan to get a print copy of this and reread it.
 A few of my trusted blogging friends loved this book, so I of course had to check it out for myself. Another outside my norm young adult book makes the list... Interesting! But, in any case, fabulous book. I read it back in February and it raised my own questions and thoughts. Frankie Parsons was written well and I enjoyed his moments with his mother. You can't help feeling bad for the whole family and want to save them all. A wonderfully written book.
I remember sitting in a parking lot reading this while the guy was shopping in a store I hate... I made him park under a street light so I could see! First, the book takes place in Prague... I am not sure I have read many books set in Prague. The main character, Sarah, stumbles into a fantastic story. There is a bit of romance, but there is also a 400-year-old Dwarf, some special magic, a young musical genius, and a connection with a U.S. senator that wants everything forgotten. Not to mention Beethoven and his music is wrapped up in everything. It was an entertaining page-tuner and I can't wait to get around to reading the sequel.

Bonus Non-Fiction Favourites:
I know one thing... 2013 was the year of getting around to authors... I have wanted to read Mary Roach FOREVER! People go on about how fabulous she is and then I never read her. This was a match made in heaven. I love how Mary Roach writes and I also loved the narrator for this audiobook. I want to explore both of them more in 2014. You wouldn't think an exploration of the uses of human cadavers would be interesting; but Mary Roach writes in a style that make it very approachable. I am just disappointed that the narrator changes for her other audiobooks.
This was a wonderful exploration of the life of a midwife in the 1950s. I enjoy books set in England that explore the social and class situation. It is sad that it really wasn't that long ago that this was occurring. It was very eye-opening about just what it was like for all these women popping out child after child. And it was told from the viewpoint of a midwife which is not a typical viewpoint for books. I am looking forward to reading more from Worth as I have both of the sequels.

I need to read more non-fiction in 2014...

15 comments:

  1. So many books we both loved this year (especially The 10p.m. Question!)! I really want to get to Caliban's War, too, which I hope to do in 2014. :) For some reason I didn't know our reading interests aligned as much as they do. I should lurk around you next year and feed you recs! :')

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  2. First off, LOVE YOUR BLOG! Super cute design! Secondly, Eleanor and Park = love. I wanted to read Night Film but got overwhelmed in the middle of my semester and had to return it. Hoping to get to it next year!
    Happy New Year!
    Jennifer @ A Librarian's Library--My TTT!

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  3. I thought Life After Life was one of my bests as well. So creative! I read it in one go, could not put it down.

    And I agree on the fabulous work of Patricia McKillip. Such glorious books! You'll enjoy reading more of her in 2014, I'm sure.

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  4. Great picks! I'm so excited to finally read Libba Bray. I know I'll also read A Great and Terrible Beauty this year, too, since it's been on my stacks for an embarrassingly long time!

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  5. I'm so glad to see E&P made your list too! :)
    I don't remember hearing about the Kate de Goldi book but love that cover. I'm intrigued!

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  6. aw I loved The Midwife so much when I read it a few years ago and I've enjoyed the show, too.

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  7. I wanted to like Life After Life so much but alas...I finally just grew bored with the story and then let down at the end. :( I do have Night Film to look forward to but I'm kind of scared!!! King is the only horror I've read. Will it give me nightmares? Or is it just intense?

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  8. I've read a few of these -- and loved them too. I really need to read Rowell.

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  9. I've only read one of those books...and looking at the bright side, that means that there are a hell of a lot of awesome books out there just waiting for me to crack them open! Hope your 2014 reading is spectacular, Kelly!!! Hope EVERYTHING about your 2014 is spectacular!!!!!!

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  10. I'm still trying to get to "The Diviners". I love Libba Bray, too! "Stiff" is sitting on top of my tbr. It's my next non-fiction, can't wait. I love McKillip, too but haven't read her for several years now. Her covers are always gorgeous! Love that one!

    For someone who had an off reading year, you certainly read some winners!

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  11. Stiff has been on my (audio) wish-list for ever. Maybe 2014 will be the year. I've just added Levithan Wakes to my wish-list as well. I've read only one sci-fi in 2013, shame on me!

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  12. The only one I've read is Life After Life, and I loved it. Will have to keep some of the others on your list in mind in the new year.

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  13. Several of the books on your list are books I am looking forward to reading--and have on hand if I ever can manage to get to them. It's exciting to see them on your list: City of Dark Magic, The Diviners, Life After Life, and Midnight Never Come in particular. I am glad you and my husband encouraged me to read Night Film when I did. It was so good!

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  14. I'm reading City of Dark Magic now. Just started it, but think I'm really going to like it! I have to buy Life After Life, I guess; I've had it out from the library twice and didn't get into it either time. I really want to read The Diviners too (loved Beauty Queens) and Red Shirts, too.

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  15. Wow, interesting and varied list of books. Night Film has been on my radar since it came out because it just sounds so good. And like you I've seen and loved the way the book is put together. Need to grab a copy for myself.

    I love McKillip but am about 3 books behind on her work. I always buy them the moment they come out.

    Not surprised that you got that hooked on Leviathan Wakes. It was indeed that kind of book. So excited that we are about to embark on Abaddon's Gate together.

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