Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My top 12 reads of 2013!

Okay, so, here we are. Last day of 2013. Time to choose ten books that I shall call my top ten reads of 2013. Altogether this year I have read 237 books, including short stories and fanfiction stories.
I haven't written reviews for a lot of these books, so I won't be posting reviews with the titles, but maybe I will tell you why I love it.

Okay, so there are 12 books, but that's about half of what I started with...

12. Seduction and Snacks by Tara Sivec (Chocolate Lovers, #1)

Description; Claire is a twenty-something, single mom that grudgingly helps her best friend sell sex toys while she attempts to make enough money to start her own business to give her foul-mouthed, but extremely loveable (when he's asleep) toddler a better life.

When Carter, the one-night-stand from her past that changed her life forever, shows up in her hometown bar without any recollection of her besides her unique chocolate scent, Claire will make it a point that he remembers her this time.

With Carter's undisguised shock at suddenly finding out he has a four-year-old son and Claire's panic that her stretch marks and slim to none bedroom experience will send the man of her dreams heading for the hills, the pair will do whatever they can to get their happily ever after.

Warning: contains explicit sex, profanity and enough sarcasm to choke a horse.

Why I love it: This book is hilarious, I couldn't put it down and I could not stop laughing. I bought the sequel straight away, though I have yet to read it I can't wait to!

11. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Description: I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Why I love it: I love books that make me feel, and this book did that a heck of a lot. It made me cry so much. And I fell slightly in love with it. It is a much loved book, not just by me. (Plus, I also maybe have a thing for names. I don't cut them from newspapers, but I do look at them a lot, plus I research names for my books and stories most of the time.)
I also felt like I could relate to the character and their feelings a little. 

10. With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent (Soul Screamers, #7)

Description: What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...

After not really surviving her junior year (does "undead" count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.

But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has..

Why I love it: I only started reading this series about two years ago when my mum picked up the second one for cheap, but I instantly fell in love with it, as I have with so many other series. This book was the final one in the series, and though it was so sad to see it all end - I know I can reread it, but it's never the same - it was a great last installment, I think.

9. Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman 

Note: Though this book is not actually considered part of a series, there will be a follow on novel next year. 

Description: This is the explosively page-turning new novel for teenagers from the author of the award-winning "Noughts and Crosses" sequence. You're about to receive your A-level results and then a future of university and journalism awaits. But the day they're due to arrive your old girlfriend Melanie turns up unexpectedly ...with a baby ...You assume Melanie's helping a friend, until she nips out to buy some essentials, leaving you literally holding the baby ...Malorie's dramatic new novel will keep you on the edge of your seat right to the final page.

Why I love it: This book had been on my to-read list for years, practically since I started reading again, but I didn't get around to it until earlier this year. So, whilst I should have been sleeping or preparing to go on holiday...I was reading this. And I don't regret one second of it! I loved the characters, how easy it was to read, even with some of the heavy subjects... The fact that - though this sounds horrible - the characters actually had real life problems, rather than silly little things to worry about. All around a great book.

8. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Description: A long, hot summer...

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.

But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

Why I love it: The first Sarah Dessen book I read in 2012, Someone Like You, was merely an okay experience, but I knew I wanted to read something else by Sarah. So, I picked up this book...and didn't put it down. And I cried and smiled and I just fell in love with the whole thing. It felt real to me, and it made me feel, and I... loved it.

7. Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls by Katherine Larsen & Lynn Zubernis

Description: Once upon a time not long ago, two responsible college professors, Lynn the psychologist and Kathy the literary scholar, fell in love with the television show Supernatural and turned their oh-so-practical lives upside down. Plunging headlong into the hidden realms of fandom, they scoured the Internet for pictures of stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki and secretly penned racy fan fiction. And then they hit the road—crisscrossing the country, racking up frequent flyer miles with alarming ease, standing in convention lines at 4 A.M.

They had white-knuckled encounters with overly zealous security guards one year and smiling invitations to the Supernatural set the next. Actors stripping in their trailers, fangirls sneaking onto film sets; drunken confessions, squeals of joy, tears of despair; wallets emptied and responsibilities left behind; intrigue and ecstasy and crushing disappointment—it’s all here.

And yet even as they reveled in their fandom, the authors were asking themselves whether it’s okay to be a fan, especially for grown women with careers and kids. “Crazystalkerchicks”—that’s what they heard from Supernatural crew members, security guards, airport immigration officials, even sometimes their fellow fans. But what Kathy and Lynn found was that most fans were very much like themselves: smart, capable women looking for something of their own that engages their brains and their libidos.
Fangasm pulls back the curtain on the secret worlds of fans and famous alike, revealing Supernatural behind the scenes and discovering just how much the cast and crew know about what the fans are up to. Anyone who’s been tempted to throw off the constraints of respectability and indulge a secret passion—or hit the road with a best friend—will want to come along.

Why I love it: Because, as a fangirl myself, it helped me. It helped me accept a little bit more of who I am. It showed me that not all fangirls, me included, are doomed to be crazy. Not all of us are teen girls. Not all of us are even female. It taught me not to be ashamed. Yeah, there are idiots out there who believe all fangirls are silly and immature, but we're not. I also loved the way in which it was written, the way everything was explained. I can't wait to read these girls' other books.

6. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Description: Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

Why I love it: John Green is one of my favourite authors, I have read a number of his works and enjoyed each and every one. He always has something good to say, and something silly to say, and he writes it all so well. Looking for Alaska was no different. It made me laugh, and it made me cry. Such is the power of John Green.

5. Ally Carter

There is no description here, and no cover. This year I read about 90% of Ally Carter's published works, I read the rest of them last year. This spot is for all of those books combined. The Gallagher Girls series, The Heist Society series, and the Cheating at Solitaire series. 

Why I love them: The writing, the stories. There's always something new. Something to make me laugh and/or cry. I love a good heist book, and a good spy book, though I am into more YA heist and spy books. I also love books about writers, because usually, I can relate. 

4. Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter

Description: It's the mid-1990s, and fifteen year-old Guernsey schoolgirls, Renée and Flo, are not really meant to be friends. Thoughtful, introspective and studious Flo couldn't be more different to ambitious, extroverted and sexually curious Renée. But Renée and Flo are united by loneliness and their dysfunctional families, and an intense bond is formed. Although there are obstacles to their friendship (namely Flo's jealous ex-best friend and Renée's growing infatuation with Flo's brother), fifteen is an age where anything can happen, where life stretches out before you, and when every betrayal feels like the end of the world. For Renée and Flo it is the time of their lives.

With graphic content and some scenes of a sexual nature, PAPER AEROPLANES is a gritty, poignant, often laugh-out-loud funny and powerful novel. It is an unforgettable snapshot of small-town adolescence and the heart-stopping power of female friendship.

Why I love it: It made me feel nostalgic, even though the year it was based was the year I was born. There was just something so British about it, and I'm British...so... It was another one of those make you laugh, make you cry novels that I just can't seem to get enough of.

3. Bloodlines and The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

Another one with no cover or description. This series, Vampire Academy, and it's spin off series, Bloodlines...are amazing. I can't get enough of them. Romance, alive and not so alive vampires, magic, adventure. They are the perfect series. And the characters, well, most of them, are so darn loveable. An all around perfect series. To me anyway. 

2. Karina Halle

Yes, another one with just an author name. I have read more than half of Karina Halle's published works this year and every single one has gotten 5 stars from me. There's scary, sexy, emotional. Wonderful characters. In the space of about two books, Karina Halle became a favourite author. Now I have read at least one book in all three of her series and I can't wait to read more next year!

1. Painted Faces by L. H. Cosway

Description: Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love.. 

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night. 

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime. 

Why I love it: This book was so different from anything I have ever read before. It not only has a beautiful cover, but a beautiful inside too. I feel that if I say anything about this book I will ruin everything about it and it's...indescribableness. This is a book I will read over and over and over again, whilst looking for more books by L. H. Cosway.

I shall leave you with part of the Dedication:
"For all the men who are women and the women who are men, the men who are men and the women who are women. And those of you who are a little bit of both... You colour my world"


So, there you have it folks, my top...12 from 2013. What are yours?

Also, Happy New Year!

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