#8 Grave Consequences by Lisa T. Bergren
No "sagging middle" for this series! I adored the intrigue surrounding this Grand Tour, along with the romance. The one thing I especially appreciated about this second book was the journey. I loved the places the characters visit and how each different spot challenges them. This leg of their trip seemed more exotic and exciting than the first or last, at least for me. You can read my full review HERE.
#7 Mistaken by Karen Barnett
I wish I had this one in paperback - just look at that cover! And the story inside is similarly colorful and mysterious, a gem of a historical romantic suspense that takes place during an interesting era (Prohibition) and in a region of the world that I love (the Pacific Northwest). You can read my full review HERE.
#6 The Ryn by Serena Chase
An epic debut! I loved the characters and the author's creativity in telling their story. It doesn't get much better than a well-written and unique fairy-tale retelling! You can read my full review HERE.
#5 A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron
Cameron's debut, The Dark Unwinding, made my favorites list last year, and its sequel was quite satisfying! Definitely enthralling and wonderfully engaging - clever historical fiction for the YA crowd, creatively told. You can read my full review HERE.
#4 Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter
A refreshing contemporary romance for any time of the year! The descriptions and emotions are highly engaging, and the take-away message tied in with the title is wonderful. (I love a complex story with a simple, easy-to-remember but profound take-away.) You can read my full review HERE.
#3 Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
I greatly enjoyed Cinder, the tale of a Cinderella cyborg, but I enjoyed Scarlet's story even more. This series is addictive, and this particular story had me racing through the author's thrilling and terrifying fantasy world. You can read my snack size review HERE. (Note that there is some more intense violence in this second installment of "The Lunar Chronicles" series.)
#2 Songstone by Lena Goldfinch
I fell in love with Lena's work when reading The Language of Souls last winter, and many of you know that my love for that story led to me becoming a beta reader for Lena, which eventually led to a business partnership that has been one of the biggest blessings of 2013 for me. I had the pleasure of beta-reading and editing this story, and I adored it both times through. The location. The atmosphere. The struggle for identity and a future. And of course, Pono (the hero). The deeper points are so poignantly told, and the story is so heartfelt and beautifully imagined. This is my favorite of Lena's books so far, although I have loved each one!
#1 Recalled by Cambria Hebert
And here it is - the surprise of the year for me. I found Recalled for $.99 on Amazon during one of my all-too-frequent Kindle shopping sprees. The cover looked interesting, and the premise had potential, so I thought it couldn't hurt to give it a chance for that price. It certainly didn't hurt! Instead, the story proved to be a jewel in the rough, an indie book that, while having some rough edges (a few grammatical errors and swear words), glowed brightly - so much so that I promptly re-read it for the Contentment Reading Challenge only a few months later. Recalled is the story of a boy who loses everything, but has the chance to gain even more than he had - but only if he "escorts" a certain girl to her death. It's a story about difficult decisions, constant close calls, and rare revelations. It's a story to keep you up at night and leave you moved by its portrayal of love. It's perhaps not a story for everyone, but I, for one, am so happy to have come across it! You can read more of my thoughts after re-reading the book HERE.
I found these reads to be enjoyable and thought-provoking, and I hope you'll find them to be the same for you if you pick them up sometime (or if you've already done so). You can find more of my thoughts on books on Goodreads and Shelfari - I'd love to connect with you there! And of course I hope to continue to share book reviews and other bookish posts here.
Please feel free to share you favorite reads of 2013!
Happy New Year's Eve!