Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best Reads of 2013: Scarlet's List

Only my friends would stage a photo shoot while we wait in the emergency room (photo from way back)

I love lists, and end-of-the-year round ups are no exception! I've asked a few of my friends to play along and join me in sharing lists of the best things they've read this year. All of this, of course, is a lead in to my own best reads of the year. Enjoy Scarlet's list below!
As we approach the end of 2013, I am ready to admit that I have had a dreadfully light reading year. I’m not sure what happened since I didn’t have as many obligations as years past, but I read fewer books this year than in 2012 and 2011. Disappointing! The silver lining is that out of the books I did read, there were some spectacular gems! Books that have jumped onto my all time favorites list and books that I have recommended to anyone who will listen.  Not all were written in 2013, but they’re all pretty current. I don’t get to the backlist titles as often as I would like. (Never enough time!)
I can’t do a ranked list because that is just impossible so instead I’ll give my recommendations for several different categories.

Books That Made Me Cry:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern- I read this while on vacation in Jamaica at the beginning of the year and when I finished it, just days after starting, all I could say was “Wow!” This book was like nothing I had ever read and the beauty of the words and the world created within in it was so magical. I can no longer drive past an ordinary circus without feeling sadness that it’s not black and white.

Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole- Prior to my dream come true vacation to Scotland back in October, I picked up this book solely because it takes place on the island of Skye. Eight hours later I finished it, with tears in my tired eyes, and a heart warm from the love story so beautifully told. I could not put this book down and the US Open was on so, for anyone who knows me, it was a big deal for me to concentrate more on a book than on tennis. This book is a gem and could easily be a bestseller so read it and spread the word! It’s told entirely in letters and takes place in the early 20th century, telling the story between a young poet in Scotland and the American who writes her a fan letter.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell- Without giving too much of the plot away, I was really worried for the main characters of this book until I had turned the last page. This is the sincere story of two high schoolers who share a bus seat and end up with a beautiful connection.
WTF Books:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- I loved loved loved this book! It’s evil and has terrible characters, twists and turns, and a mystery that was like nothing I have read before. The only thing I will love more than this book will be the David Fincher adaptation starring Ben Affleck. Hot damn  will that be good!

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight- The perfect book to read after Gone Girl because of the mystery element and style of storytelling. Reconstructing Amelia stands well on its own, too, though. A mom begins to piece together the mystery of her daughter’s sudden death after receiving a tip that it was not a suicide. I loved how the story was told from multiple angles and even included text messages and Facebook posts.

In For The Series:

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1) by Lenore Appelhans- I was at work one day at the bookstore when Lenore came in to sign her book so I bought it because I like to support YA authors! Plus, she was super nice and we connected on twitter later that day. She runs a fantastic YA review blog and clearly knows what she is doing because she wrote a great book! This is a book about a part of the afterlife where the dead spend their days watching their memories to pass the time until one of them goes missing and Felicia, the main character, finds out that there is way more going on in this world between worlds.

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham- I love Lauren Graham! Have you listened to the podcast Serena and I do? Go ahead, check it out: Friday Night Dinner (link!) Lauren Graham is awesome because she seems like she is such a fun person and that characteristic comes through in all of her work, including her first novel. I really enjoyed this book and found myself giggling several times as I read. I love how the story takes place in the ‘90s because of the added struggles of answering machines, fax machines, and pay phones. Supposedly LG is working on a second book with the same main character. I don’t think it’s a sequel, but a standalone within the same world. I can’t wait!

Tandem (Many-Worlds #1) by Anna Jarzab- All Unquiet Things, the debut book by this author, is an  amazingly gorgeous and intricate book that is one of my favorite YA books out there. Tandem is also a great story with an original plot about parallel worlds and a main character who is kidnapped and forced to impersonate the missing princess who is the alternate version of herself. (Note: for an amazing book about Stockholm Syndrome, you have to read Stolen by Lucy Christopher. INCREDIBLE book!)

Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West- Another cool book about an interesting world where everyone has super powers within a compound and the main character has to decide to stay there with her mom, or to move with her dad to a town of ‘norms’. What makes the choice completely fascinating is that Addison can see the future when faced with two potential outcomes.

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater- If you haven’t read The Raven Boys, you need to go NOW and catch up. Number two in the cycle (out of four) is told from Ronan’s point of view, which is a little unpredictable, a lot dangerous, and partly told while in a dream state. Crazy, right? This book, like all of Stiefvater’s is exquisitely written and filled to the brim with beautiful lines.

So, that’s it really. Unfortunately, my ‘currently reading’ list is way too long and not getting shorter so I don’t get to talk about how much I love Game of Thrones, even though it’s taking me forever to get through the book (it’s because I keep daydreaming about Jon Snow), how much I’m not sure about The Bone Season (but have been told the end is awesome), and how I still haven’t finished a few series I was fully into (Matched, Cahill Witch Chronicles, Unearthly, Under the Never Sky, just to name a few!)

Here’s to 2014 and more reading! (Hopefully!)

1 comment:

  1. do you read pet/animal memoir type books? I have written 2, one about my horses, one about my mules and finishing one about our dogs.
    Rose Miller