You guys, I’m not gonna lie. Summing up my favorite books at the end of the year is one of my absolute favorite parts of being a blogger. I always force myself to stick to a top ten – and then shove in a bunch of honorable mentions at the bottom. That isn’t cheating, right? Right!
Okay, so…counting down more or less in order, here are my favorites of the books I read in 2013!
(Keeping in mind this includes everything I read, not just what was actually published this year…)
10. The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber Goodreads / Amazon
I definitely won’t be bringing up this title as an “awesome read!” or something I really enjoyed. Man though, it is so intense and all-consuming! I read it in just a couple of days because I couldn’t put it down. It chronicles the life of Charlie Cullen, and the subsequent investigation of the estimated 300 murders he committed as a nurse in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It is impossible not to get chills at how horrifying it was watching him get away with it time and time again. Seriously – if you like mystery novels, try dipping your toes into true crime with this one.
9. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield Goodreads / Amazon
I really tried to read a lot more non-fiction this year, so I’m excited that these first two titles made the cut! If you haven’t heard of Chris Hadfield, you have some seriously awesome YouTube and Twitter browsing in your future. (Also, you’re welcome.) This book is just as awesome as you’d expect it to be – no matter how boring the life of an astronaut actually is (and wow, is it boring! Turns out you have to spend decades doing intense research and stuff before they let you walk in space.)
8. The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber Goodreads / Amazon
There are few things I love more than a good romantic historical mystery series, and this one was by far one of my favorite discoveries of the year. I absolutely can’t wait to see what happens next! If you’re a fan of the genre, this is definitely one to follow. If you aren’t a fan of the genre (yet), then you and I need to have a talk.
7. Truly by Ruthie Knox Goodreads
This is currently available to read for free on Wattpad (although I can’t vouch for how long it’ll stay that way), and it’ll actually be published later in 2014. I can’t rave about this book enough – seriously. Two people meet, clash, decide to get along and then fall in love over a very short time and it just so completely works. They talk, they argue, they deal with awkward things. The dialogue is wonderful and the evolution of their relationship is wonderful and…it’s just all wonderful, okay? (If you don’t want to deal with Wattpad, I also enjoyed her novella Big Boy.)
6. Longbourn by Jo Baker. Goodreads / Amazon
Like a lot of other readers, I was hesitant about this one. Needlessly, as it turns out. This book was excellent on every single level – and it is nothing like you’re probably thinking. Mr. Darcy only shows up once or twice in passing, and compared to the rest of his family, Mr. Bennet actually plays the biggest role in the story. It isn’t an excuse to write another P&P knock off or sequel – it truly is about the lives of the Longbourn servants and it is incredibly engrossing! I can’t recommend it enough. (I’m currently doing my best to make my mama read it.)
5. The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright by Tessa Dare. Goodreads / Amazon
I used to have this incredibly dimwitted idea that novellas were in some way substandard. When I’m wrong, I’m wrong! I have already read this twice this year, and just talking about it makes me want to pick it up again. By far the best historical romance I picked up this year, I can’t rave about the characters in this enough. Their slow journey to happiness was filled with both hilarity and poignancy – and it all fit nicely into 100 pages! (Also, the ebook is 99 cents. Seriously.)
4. Down London Road by Samantha Young Goodreads / Amazon
This series is fantastic, and I’ve absolutely adored all three of the books I’ve read so far. Even though I did manage to snag a copy of the upcoming 2014 release, I can’t stop thinking about this one. It is such an emotional read and I got so incredibly invested in the characters – the payoff at the end was incredible. Did I cry? Maybe. (Yes.)
3. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley Goodreads / Amazon
If you’re a fantasy and/or paranormal fan, I’m not sure how you could not love this book. It was one of the first books I read this year, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. The worldbuilding is incredible, and the characterization is fascinating! Seriously, don’t spoil yourself with too many details. Just pick it up and enjoy the ride. (And join me in my impatient wait for the sequel!)
2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Goodreads / Amazon
Reading this was absolutely one of my favorite experiences of 2013. It was so fun and enjoyable and just…perfect. It resonated with me in so many levels. A girl goes to college and meets a boy – sounds pretty basic, right? WELL IT ISN’T. She is a total nerd for this book’s version of the Harry Potter series and she’s a prominent fanfiction writer and just…seriously. This book is everything I love about being nerdy and loving books. It has earned a permanent place on my shelves of cherished books.
1. Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Goodreads / Amazon
Talk about perfect! This book is absolutely incredible. The writing is indescribably lovely, and the characters are so real and charming and confused and unsure and wonderful. I have never read a more moving love story or a more beautiful coming of age narrative. It is easily one of my top ten favorite books of all time.
Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux / Searching For Someday by Jennifer Probst / The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell / How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid /Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson / Escorted by Claire Kent