Best of 2013: Books

2013 has been the year of books for me. I have always been an obsessed reader, but when I created and took on my own challenge to read 100 books, I realized that while I would have to stay dedicated, it was actually possible. I think in a year’s cycle I would normally read about 80 books, so if I worked a little harder, 20 extra isn’t that much more. It is challenging to find new, interesting material all the time. With my book challenge, I promised to explore books I haven’t read yet, discover authors I haven’t tried yet, and look into genres I’m sure I wouldn’t love.

Here is my list of the best books I read so far in 2013 

*These are all books I read for the first time this year, not necessarily brought out within 2013.

The Indigo Spell – Richelle Mead (2013)

Book three in the Bloodlines trilogy. I read the first two and anxiously waited for this one’s release. It was as good as I hoped it would be. Bloodlines is mostly about Sydney Sage, an Alchemist that had been taught to hate vampires, is forced to live with them to do her job. It puts a new twist on the vampire/human romance, because she really hates vampires. Her love story with Adrian keeps me glued to the pages. The latest book in the series, the Fiery Heart, has just been released, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

The Witness – Nora Roberts (2012)

Nora Roberts have written enough books to create her own universe. With over two hundred books her universe has good and bad parts. The Witness falls into the part which is equivalent to the Maldives – it is beautiful and brilliantly written. Elizabeth Fitch’s life goes horribly wrong the one night she chooses to defy her mother. She witnesses Mafia murders and is forced into witness protection. Her mother deserts her, and after the murder of the two Marshalls she trusted, she knows she must escape her name or die. Years later, Elizabeth has turned into Abigail Lowry, a brilliant computer hacker. She meets Brooks Gleason and has to decide whether she will hide forever, or come forward and imprison Ilya Volkov for his crimes.

The book is suspenseful and emotional. I pitied Elizabeth Fitch, a true pawn in her mother’s master plan. Nora Roberts spins a tale that keeps you up at night that haunts you until you finish it. This is one of the books I would really recommend to her new readers.

The Villa – Nora Roberts (2002)

Another brilliant book by Ms. Roberts, the Villa is about Sophia Giambelli and the Giambelli-MacMillan wine empire she will inherit one day. When it becomes obvious that someone is out to get her and her family, Sophia realizes she is in great danger and must be careful with her trust. Her love interest with Tyler MacMillan becomes intense, and together they must field the danger directed at their heritage.

The Villa is superb with its superb description of details, and an interesting mix of strong and weak female characters.  I am so glad I stumbled upon this book. It is a fantastic read and I would recommend it to everyone.

Veronica Roth – Divergent (2011)

Instead of being another Hunger Games knock-off, Divergent and the two other books in the series is original. Set in Dystopian Chicago, society is divided into factions – traits that represents the good in society. Beatrice, of Abnegation, is the main protagonist and Divergent follows her story how she changed factions to become Dauntless, what it means to be Divergent and how she witnessed the demise of her world.

Veronica Roth – Allegiant (2013)

This is the last book in the Divergent series. It is better than Insurgent,  and I enjoyed it more. Tris and her boyfriend Four help lead the resistance against Jeanine Matthews and the Er Finally,

Honorable mentions

*These are books I have read for a second time and enjoyed it more this time around (or books that simply didn’t make the first 5)

  1. Eat, Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
  2. Insurgent – Veronica Roth (2012)
  3. Carnal Innocence – Nora Roberts (1991)
  4. The Mystery of Mercy Close – Marian Keyes (2012)

Book Review: Carnal Innocence (Nora Roberts)

Book: 67/100

CI

Violinist Caroline Waverly heads to the town Innocence, a town in Mississippi, to recover from the emotional breakdown she had when the years of stress and her manager/lover’s betrayal became too much for her.

She meets Tucker Longstreet sitting at her pond one afternoon. He seems laid back and content to be a trust fund baby, but she soon learns that looks can be deceiving. Tucker is deeply involved with his family’s farm and financial issues, and carries the additional weight of keeping an eye over his alcoholic brother Max and eternal flirt of a sister, Josie.

Caroline’s peaceful recovery is disturbed when she finds a woman in her pond who has been brutally murdered. The woman, Edda Lou Hatinger, had publicly accused Tucker of making her pregnant days before her death. Tucker immediately becomes the suspect. Tucker has to deal with Edda’s father as well – a religious, abusive nut who is intent on killing Tucker for his alleged crime.

As more and more bodies start to turn up, all linked to Tucker even in the most distant of ways, the Longstreets come under the spotlight. Caroline must deal with her attraction to him and even though she is 100% sure he didn’t kill the women, she knows that it is definitely someone in Innocence. Will their love survive and who is behind the murders?

Rating: 8/10

If there was a book for the worst names for books ever, Carnal Innocence would be first in there. What a stupid name for an excellent book! The name is accurate as you real further – the town Innocence certainly has an obsession with lusty business. The name, while better than the other titles books have received (I’m looking at you, Katie Fford), will discourage a new reader immediately. That is just bad, since the book is extremely well written, and you will not expect the murderer EVER. If you can read past the title, you will find a book full of the trademarks of Nora Roberts – incredible imagination and description, strong characters, a murderous villain, a good love story and a lot of suspense.