Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 13 of 2013

The time has come, my friends, for us to look back on our year of reading and acknowledge the books that we considered "the best of the best." These are my top thirteen picks of 2013.

*Just a warning: I did cheat when it came to comprising this list, simply because I read or completed so many amazing series this past year and could not pick just one book out of the 3+ that made up the story.

13. Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik. This contemporary retelling of Pride & Prejudice was sweet, sugary and downright adorable. I absolutely adored all of the characters and it has definitely earned a spot on my 'favorite contemporary reads of all-time' list.

12. Beautiful Creatures quartet by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Admittedly, a few of the books in this series were a tad slow and a bit hard to get into, but I really enjoyed this quartet overall. Ethan Wate has become one of my literary crushes and I quite liked the dark, paranormal aspect of these books, despite all of the romance. I definitely plan on reading the spin-off series, Dangerous Creatures when it comes out.

11. The Scorch Trials + The Death Cure (Maze Runner #2-3) by James Dashner. When I started the first book in this trilogy, The Maze Runner, back in 2012, I was quickly put-off by the weird language and crazy plot—there were so many twists and turns! However, I am very, very glad that I continued reading because, had I not, I never would have discovered how fantastic a book it really was, and wouldn't have picked up/read the final two books in 2013. This series does have a lot of mixed reviews (surrounding the final book in particular), but I really enjoyed myself while reading and have recommended this series to quite a few people since completion.

Suffice to say, I am extremely excited for the movie (and Dylan O'Brien as Thomas).

10. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. One of my goals this year was to read more Science Fiction books; hence The 5th Wave. Despite the BookTube/Goodreads review controversy, I absolutely adored the main character's sarcastic and cynical sense of humor, as well as the dual-chapter perspectives. The alien invasion, though a classic Sci Fi idea, was so complex that I was guessing what would happen and who was working for whom until the very end. I am definitely looking forward to reading more!

9. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. Paralleling the talents of John Green and Rainbow Rowell, Robyn Schneider writes a book that takes an extremely real look at love, high school, tragedy and how we define ourselves.

8. Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis. Another series labeled 'Science Fiction' that I would have probably missed out on had I not made that goal. These books were AMAZING, in a word. The plot is one that revolves around a pretty classic Sci Fi idea; a spaceship loaded with frozen humans en route to a new planet, and takes things like love, betrayal, family and friendship to a new level. Despite the fact that this book presents itself as a story revolving around the relationship between Elder, the leader of the ship, and one of the (un)frozen passengers, the romance does not take away from the action and suspense, but rather adds to it. I thoroughly enjoyed this series.

7. Shatter Me + Destroy Me + Unravel Me (Shatter Me #1-2) by Tahereh Mafi. Helloooo, gorgeous covers! Tahereh Mafi's ability to create amazing, complex characters is inspiring. Seriously. Even though I definitely have my favorites (Warner), I am so sucked into the story that I have a hard time picking and choosing between the people that are telling it. Mafi blends Science Fiction and the paranormal well, and though the romance between two of the characters can get a tad annoying, I am always on the edge of my seat (or floor/bed; whatever) because I generally have absolutely no idea what is going on.

6. The Knife of Never Letting Go + The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #1-2) by Patrick Ness. Let's be honest: I picked the first book up because bits of the inside writing were so visually pleasing and ended up staying for the amazing story. Even though I only managed to make it through two of the three Chaos Walking books during 2013, I am so very much in love with this story that I could not not give it a spot on this list. Todd and Viola are such beautiful characters and I cannot wait to see how their story ends. For now, however, the first two books will remain a favorite of the year.

5. House of Hades by Rick Riordan (Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan. This book and its place on my list does not really require much of an explanation. It was amazing, I love Rick Riordan, and THE PERCABETH FEELS! are really all that is needed.

4. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Go ahead. Tell me off for not having read this book sooner... Truthfully, I had heard over and over again how heartbreaking and raw this story was and I was terrified of the FEELS! I would undoubtedly experience while reading. However: I made it one of my 2013 reading goals to cross this book off of my TBR and finally (finally) managed to discover what exactly I had been missing out on. This book was, indeed, a very emotional and sincere read and I absolutely loved it.

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Always a fan of circus books, I picked this darling up after hearing a bunch of great reviews (and experiencing a bit of CoverLOVE!) and was immediately entranced. This story is so completely beautiful and magical, instantly sweeping me away by the alluring idea of a circus that is only open at night, and the many tricks and wonders it could hide around dark corners. I am still in awe of this book, seven months later.

2. Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare. Obviously this one would make the list. The third book in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy, Clockwork Princess was the perfect end to a perfect story. I do not know if it is because I read this series before Clare's The Mortal Instruments or because the characters are just so much deeper and... more, but I have always preferred these books to TMI. I was saddened to be saying goodbye to Will, Jem, Tessa and everyone in the London Institute, but Cassandra Clare ended the books in such a way that I was able to receive the proper amount of closure, while still being able to imagine my own ending to the Shadowhunter's lives.

1. The Darkest Minds + Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #1-2) by Alexandra Bracken. And the number one spot goes to books one and two in Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds trilogy! I remember seeing The Darkest Minds in the store and thinking that it looked really intimidating, with its black and orange colors. It took several visits before I finally bought the book and only a few chapters for me to fall in love. Ruby is an amazing female lead; very strong and independent and—like in the Across the Universe trilogy—the romance in this book, though a big part of the plot, never takes away from the action/darker aspects of the story. I love Liam and Chubs and Vida and all the other characters, and constantly find my heart being ripped out of my chest by the things that happen in these two books, even months later. I look forward to discovering how this story ends.

Honorable Mentions:

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth
Seven Minutes in Heaven (The Lying Game #6) by Sara Shepard
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Which were your favorite reads of 2013? Any books in particular you are looking forward to in the next year?

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