Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Obligatory 2013 Round Up Post

Photo Credit: Colm Britton via Flickr Creative Commons

Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a happy and safe celebration last night, and that if you are having a quiet day today, you have a great book to curl up with.

My post today offers some highlights of my 2013 reading. I never claim to offer "best of" advice, because there are so many wonderful books that I haven't gotten to yet.  But I can offer some personal highlights and suggestions.

Favorite Series Continue...
Kim Harrison's Ever After came out in late January and appears to have been my first new-book kindle purchase of 2013. After a couple of books that seemed a little slow in the series, I think it has taken a turn for the AMAZING. I really liked Ever After and need to go pre-order Undead Pool, out late next month.

I totally dig Coreene Callahan's Fury series about dragon shifters. Fury of Seduction was a late 2012 release that I read in 2013, and Fury of Desire came out in October of 2013.  Good stuff.

Chloe Neill's House Rules and Biting Bad.  Unff. Love this series. Wild Things is due out in a few short weeks, and there is a novella coming out on January 7 if you need an appetizer.

JR Ward's highly anticipated Lover at Last. I did enjoy this installment, as much for the setup of the Band of Brothers arcs as the possibly somewhat overhyped, possibly somewhat anti-climatic  m/m romance. Although, I might need to go re-read Qhuinn's induction scene.

Meljean Brook's Guardian Demon. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I haven't read this yet. In a backward sort of way, this is a compliment - it's one of those books that I want to really savor, so I've been waiting for a perfect moment, a quiet weekend. Perhaps it says something about my 2013 that I'm still waiting for that. I do love this series and looking forward so much to this book that I haven't wanted it to end... I know, I'm weird.

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews - the latest in the Kate Daniels saga. Very nice addition. I liked the change of venue and the introduction of a charming, attractive, charismatic, profoundly evil villain.

Nalini Singh's Heart of Obsidian. I loved this story. Loved it. Definitely one of my top reads of 2013. Possibly THE top read. Fantastic.

Crooked Hearts, by Patricia Gaffney. This was a digital re-release of an older title. I found it really adorable - set in the west, about two con artists.  I have a weakness for con artists (and jewel thieves), it seems.  Go figure.

The Kadin, by Bertrice Small. I still want to do a harem/sheik feature. I'm having trouble with the Nike part of blogging: Just Do It. I'm so glad I re-read this book, though. I read it when it first came out and loved it then, and I think it truly holds up. It's more of a biography or a "saga" than a romance by stricter standards though; there is no single focal relationship and it's not exactly an HEA.  It's really, really good though.

I feel like I've been reading a lot of Regency historicals but they aren't really standing out to me, with the exception of Anna Cowan's Untamed. Another top read of the year, for sure.

This isn't a category I read heavily in this year, but I did keep up with a few favorites -- Victoria Dahl, Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Nora Roberts (Boonsboro Inn series), and Lisa Kleypas. Not a letdown in the bunch.

New Stars
Alexa Egan - I received both of the books in her Imnada series of cursed Regency werewolves with Napoleonic PTSD from a publicist (and managed to read the second one first).  I think it's a series to watch, with great characters and tremendous worldbuilding; Egan combines familiar tropes with dark and surprising twists. I really enjoyed them.

Laura Kaye - Kaye seems to have burst onto the scene in late 2011. She now has no less than 12 titles published in less than three years, with at least three different publishers, including Avon and Entangled. I read the first in her Avon series, Hard As It Gets, and while it was not without flaws, I think Kaye's writing and the series premise fits nicely into the hot special-ops romantic suspense subgenre and will do very well.

Anna Cowan - I'm not sure I need to say more about this new star. Much has been said at Dear Author, Radish Reviews, and many others (but those were my favorites). I liked this book a lot and my advice is: read it, don't overthink it. But that's kind of my philosophy at all times, heh.

Alexis Hall - Hall's m/m romance, Glitterland, was definitely a bit of a venture beyond my personal comfort zone.  To some extent, that fact in itself made the experience a bit of fresh air for me. I don't read a lot of m/m, but what stood out about this book was not the fact that it was a gay romance, but that it was the story of a hero struggling with a mental illness, who achieves, if not exactly a happily-ever-after, a distinct ray of hope. Which can be everything. I loved how this arc was written, though it was brutal reading at times.

Mary Ann Rivers - I've been enjoying her essays at Wonkomance like crazy. Had some mixed feelings about her big debut with novella The Story Guy, but overall looking forward to some full-length work from her.

Late to the Party
I finally glommed onto Darynda Jones' Charley Davidson series and pretty much didn't come up for air the entire time. It's the best part about being late to a party. Love it!

This year, I read Jeaniene Frost's two books in her spinoff Night Prince series, about Vlad and Leila. As I have suspected, I'm going to need to dive into that whole Cat and Bones thing, aren't I? (That was rhetorical. Yeah. I am.)

I was SO THRILLED to find a new series debut from Devon Monk. I absolutely LOVED Hell Bent. Loved it. LOVED. IT.

Similarly, Jocelyn Drake of Dark Days fame has started a new series that I'm pretty into, The Asylum Tales. It's a taut, grown-up Harry Potter-esque world of warlocks, witches, a few dozen paranormal races, and a serious imbalance of power. Loving it. I've been a little worried about the momentum for this series because Drake's home page has said this for a long time:
After placing six different stories in the hands of readers in 2012, I am looking to lay low in 2013.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t be busy this year.  Dead Man’s Deal (Asylum Tales #2) will hit the shelves on May 7, continuing Gage’s fight against the Ivory Towers.  Leading up to the release, I will also be running contests on Goodreads.  Keep an eye on my blog for regular updates on all the fun coming this spring.
After a bit of digging, I found this from mid-December:
I'm currently hard at work on the third book and my fingers are crossed that I'll be able to get it released in 2014. 
So, my fingers are crossed for that too.  And  Angel's Ink is going for $1.99 for Kindle, Kobo, and Nooks, so if you're an e-reader, there's no reason not to give this series a try!

The End
My standout reads for 2013 then are:
  • Heart of Obsidian - Nalini Singh
  • Unbroken - Anna Cowan
  • Ever After - Kim Harrison
  • Shadow's Curse - Alexa Egan
  • The Kadin - Bertrice Small (not a 2013 release, sorry)
  • Hell Bent - Devon Monk
With apologies to Meljean Brook for not getting to Guardian Demon yet *shameface* .

Here's to good reading in 2014!


Brie said...

Unlike you, I read Guardian Demon 3 times.... I so wish I could read it again for the first time, so you hold on to it for as long as you can. If I had any restraint, I would have done the same.

Great list!

Nicola O. said...

It's a weird little quirk. I waited over a year to read Diana Gabaldon's latest. Clearly I need to MAKE the time for this book. Maybe I can find a hermitage or something to rent for a weekend.

Pamela said...

Great wrap-up post! It's daunting to see how many great books I didn't even get close to reading. Anna Cowan was definitely on my standout list for the year, too. I thought Crooked Hearts was fun & quirky, but flawed.

Nicola O. said...

Thanks Pamela! I know what you're saying about flaws (I think) but I enjoyed it anyway.


  © Blogger template Coozie by 2008

Back to TOP