Sunday, January 5

Best and Favorite Reads of 2013

Beginning of the year means that everyone is looking back at the reading year that just ended and making their list of Best and/or Favorite Reads. Ames and I are no exception :) I enjoy doing this post with Ames, just to see what books we have in and not in common. It's just interesting to see how we've gone in different direction with our readings and where we intersect :)

Hope you guys enjoy this post! And let us know what you think of our picks!!

Contemporary romance


Ames:  After starting a Kristen Ashley glom in November 2012, I could not get off the contemporary romance train.  I didn't read a lot of CR before that, I think because I was devouring contemporary M/M.  But I definitely noticed the majority of my reading this past year was contemporary romance.  And a lot less M/M to be honest.  But that's ok.  I love Samantha Young's writing and even though I wasn't too fond of the heroine, Jo, of Down London Road in previous books, Young is such a strong writer that I couldn't help but like her and enjoy the heck out of Jo's book.  And Julie James, I think it's safe to say she may always be in my top picks for any year.  LOL

Nath: Love Irresistibly almost made it onto my list, Ames! It was definitively an enjoyable book, but was missing a bit of omfph that would have made it a wowzer.


Nath: Contemporary romance is one of my favorite reading genres and that means I read a lot of it :) Unfortunately, I felt underwhelmed by it in 2013. I think a lot of it has to do with the small-town romances over-saturation ^_^; I've enjoyed a lot of small-town romances, but after a while, it's just too much and I felt I wanted something else this year. I admit my two picks didn't really jump to my mind as Best and Favorites, but Can't Stop Believing is the only contemporary romance I gave an A grade to and The Chocolate Touch, I really enjoyed for the intensity and Paris setting and will definitively be a re-read :)

Ames:  It's funny that you felt underwhelmed by the CR lot this year, and yet I couldn't get enough!  LOL  Maybe it was all the self-published titles I read?

Nath: Oh, I couldn't get enough either, Ames... However, I just wasn't wowed. Ms Thomas' Harmony series are usually winners for me and Can't Stop Believing wasn't an exception, but her style is so quiet, gentle. What I wanted was a punch in the face wow and I didn't get it this year :( And one of the reasons for that is that most books being released nowadays are re-hashes, they don't feel new... Sigh.

Category romance


Nath: While reading The One that Got Away, I knew it would be making this list. It was such an intense romance between Evie and Logan and I looooved it :) Seems like the feeling I'm looking when I'm reading category romance, because I had the same feeling for last year's favorite, Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry... In any case, The One that Got Away has set the bar for me for the Harlequin KISS line and very few have come close.

Ames:  How did I miss this one?

Nath: LOL, dunno my friend because I did review it :P

Romantic Suspense/Mystery/Cosy Mystery


Nath: There's a reason why I call Ms Rose the "Queen of Romantic Suspense"... because she delivers! Once again, she has written my favorite RS read of the year :) Fans have been waiting for Stevie and Clay's book for years and it was really good! I also think it closes the Baltimore chapter and I wonder where Ms Rose will take us next :)

A lot of RS nowadays are about military men and women and I seriously wish authors would go back to writing about cops and agents like Ms Rose. They'd have more chance to make my Best and Favorite Reads list :P

Ames:  I was so caught up in contemporary romances, I didn't read any romantic suspense!  No Karen Rose!  :(  Not even a re-read of Count to Ten.  *gasp*  I have to fix that pronto!

Nath: Seriously, not even a re-read of Count to Ten?! I was in a reading slump at the end of 2013 and I almost re-read all of Ms Rose's backlist! I can understand not reading other RS because there isn't that many out there, but no Karen Rose! Tsk, tsk! I'm actually so envious of you Ames, because you have so many of hers to glom on! LOL.

Paranormal romance


Ames:  This is a no brainer.  I didn't read a lot of PNR this year and the ones I did read were re-reads or from auto-buy authors like Ms. Singh here. I'm not so good with finding clues and hints so I kind of wasn't making guesses as to who the Ghost was.  But with that said, I wasn't blown away or shocked by who it was.  Go figure.

Nath: I think it's because there was so much speculation going around and unless Ms Singh chose to introduce a new character, it was kind of obvious ^_^;


Nath: Well, Heart of Obsidian made it on my list as well. I think it says it all right? LOL. While Heart of Obsidian was the Ghost's book, I didn't have many expectations. I actually think the reveal was a bit anti-climatic! However, I really enjoyed Kaleb and Sahara's romance and thought it was interesting to have a Psy-Psy couple :)

As for A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses, well it was my surprise of the year I think. Truthfully, I wasn't expecting much because I was a bit disappointed with Ms Harper's last couple of releases... but A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses just turned out to be a delightful read!

Urban Fantasy/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Steampunk


Ames:  The Iron Duke is not a 2013 release but I only just got around to reading this past year.  And let me say, I love Rhys.  LOVE HIM.  Him and Mia together are one of my favorite couples ever.  

And the Last Hour of Gann, with all the buzz on this book I had to read it.  And I really enjoyed it.  It's something very different but it really brought me down.  LOL  But still good.


Nath: Loved, loved, loved Written in Red! I just enjoyed everything about this book, but especially the feel... the sense of community that the characters and setting displayed which was very reminiscent of Shadalor's Lady which is another of my favorite book by Ms Bishop. I just can't wait to read the next book!

I've grown to love the Mercedes Thompson series and Frost Burned was another solid installment, although a bit disappointing after the epic ending of Fair Game. What I really appreciated in this book is that it wasn't about Adam and Mercy's relationship, but more focused on the pack and politics.

Ames:  It's kind of much you love Written in Red but you never really brought it up with me.  Or maybe you did but I didn't pay attention because it was UF?  And as for Frost Burned...*sigh* I'm so far behind in that series that I actually want to re-read it the earlier books to catch up.  I did re-read the first two books but even now that feels so long ago.

Nath: LOL, I'm pretty sure I brought it up with you, Ames, because I brought it up with everyone! However, I probably didn't push it with you because it is an UF. However, you should seriously give it a try. Ideally, end of February since Murder of Crows come out in March. *wink, wink*

By the way, I don't think you're that behind in the Mercy Thompson series. IIRC, you did read Silver Borne, so you're only missing River Marked... and Fair Game since you have to read the epic ending to know a bit what's going on in Frost Burned. See, only 2 books behind, not bad :P

Historical romance
Ames: Another non-2013 release, but I didn't read a lot of historical romance this year.  I'm really not lying when I say I read a lot of contemporaries!  LOL  But I thought this one with the pretending to be someone else and the back and forth banter was too cute.


Nath: As I mentioned earlier, I'm really a contemporary romance reader :) However, what do you do when you run out of contemporary romance to read? Well you switch to historical romance LOL. Unfortunately, I don't think 2013 was a good year for historical romance... and not just because the number of books released is down, but just the readership's reception to them. I think readers are just a bit over-saturated... I know that's how I felt and as such, I didn't read as many historical romance books as previous years. One though that caught my eyes and later, my heart, was Love and Other Scandals. It was just such a great, fun and refreshing read! Definitively my favorite historical romance of the year :)

Young Adult


Ames:  My YA reading was down this past year, but what I did read was top quality.  Rowena and I buddy reviewed The Reece Malcolm List and that one was just awesome-sauce.

Proxy was mentioned on Goodreads somewhere (before I quit) and it was an interesting concept and the ending totally blew me away.  I can't wait for the sequel.

Letters to Nowhere was recommended to me by Nath and I'm so glad I read it.  The gymnastics aspect to it just made this so awesome.

Nath: The Reece Malcolm List is on my TBR pile. Definitively going to have to pick it up at some point. As for Proxy, I've never heard of it... Not even from you! Or I don't remember! Need to go check it out!


Nath: I was intrigued by Pivot Point's blurb and once I read it, was just blown away. I loved it, it was just sooo good! Definitively hit the right note for me :) And it wasn't just the characters or story, but the writing as well! Ms West is definitively in the running for Best New-to-Me author :P

New Adult


Ames:  New Adult is a genre I really jumped on the bandwagon whole-heartedly.  LOL  Yes it's drama-y and angsty but sometimes it really really works.  And here's two perfect examples.  Into the Deep ends on a cliffhanger though.  Ugh.  But I loved that story.  Fangirl made me cry.  Always a great reaction to a book.  It means it has its hooks in you!

Nath: Drama-y and angsty are the two reasons I actually avoid most New Adult books unless it comes high recommended! LOL. I read and enjoyed Fangirl and I did think of picking it, but I feel there was something missing... However, I really enjoyed the college and grown-up atmosphere of the book. Nice change from high school characters!


Nath: LOL, Ames and I have been going back and forth about what genre Letters to Nowhere is :) We usually categorize it as YA/NA :P Well for this post, it is NA for me. As I mentioned earlier, I haven't jumped on the bandwagon for this new genre yet, but I gotta say, Letters to Nowhere was one of my favorite reads this year. I loved Karen, Jordan, their romance and the gymnastic background of the book. If there are more NA books like this one, well bring them on!

Ames:  I say YA because Karen isn't over 18 yet.  LOL

Nath: But she doesn't go to regular high school and is more mature for her age because of her life as an athlete, so really... :P

Ames:  I'm not going to argue with you on this one.  haha



Ames:  Vanity Fare was one of my first reads of 2013 and I thought it was cute.  It was a bit unexpected for me considering the heroine is divorced and that can sometimes not be a good combination...with bitterness and what not.  However with Vanity Fare, this was not the case.

Mr. Penumbra's was a magical book for me.  It's about a guy working the night shift at a bookstore and the patrons that came in are very unusual.  This felt like a fantasy novel but when I closed the book, the magic was all in the words and the mystery surrounding the patrons and technology.  Yes, technology.  I still think about this one.

Loved Don in The Rosie Project.  And Rosie too.  And go read my review for The Girl You Left Behind.  This book really had it all.


Nath: I'm not a big fiction reader, but I definitively enjoyed The Rosie Project :) Obviously, I wasn't the only one :P You gotta love a man like Don looking and finding love!



Ames:  I loved Love Lessons.  It was just too cute.  And Try...was very sexy.  I liked it, liked the characters but this ended on a cliff-hanger, so I can't wait for the sequel.


Nath: So Love Lessons was my only m/m read of the year, but had it not been, it would still have made this list :) It was a great book, such a great romance between Walter and Kelly... and seriously, who wouldn't be rooting for them?!


Ames:  Holly from Book Binge recommended Beauty and the Billionaire and I'm so glad I read it.  The hero is a virgin and the whole dynamic between him and Gretchen was too hot.  Lauren Dane is one of my favorite authors and Cake was a fun, sexy read about two artists.  It was hot too!


Nath: Two very different novellas, but two great ones :) Snow-Kissed was just so angsty and you could really feel for Kurt and Kai. Also, what is a better romance than a husband loving his wife and wanting to win her back? As for Brazen,  it was just so nice to read from Nick's POV... also, I'm just not ready to accept that this series is over :P

Favorite Read of 2013


Ames:  I had a hard time picking my favourite read for 2013.  There were a few books I re-read obsessively but they weren't 2013 releases.  LOL  But in the end, Heart of Obsidian was the only book I read this year that I gave an A+ to.


Nath: For me, choosing Written in Red as my favorite read of 2013 wasn't a hard decision. It was actually such an easy pick, given how many times I've re-read and recommended Written in Red :) Simply loved it!


And those were our Best and Favorite Reads of 2013! Stay tuned because we have one final post coming up to recap our 2013 reading year!


Hilcia said...

Fantastic list ladies! We share a couple of books in our favorites' list, and I loved a couple of the books in you both included in yours. Agree on Heart of Obsidian and Written in Red!

Although these didn't make it to my list, t really enjoyed The Rosie Project, Love Irresistibly, and The One that Got Away. In my TBR, still, Can't Stop Believing… Boooo…

And, Ames, I'm so happy that you loved The Iron Duke! I loved, loved that book!

Happy 2014 ladies!

Rowena said...

Great post you guys!

I was nodding along to a lot of what the two of you guys were saying in this post. I read a lot more of the books that Ames read but there are a few books on Nath's list that I'm putting on my list to check out.

I can't wait to see what you guys read this year. The possibilities are endless.

I loved Julie James, the Amy Spalding book and I want to read Letters to Nowhere. I mean, it made both of your lists so I know it's going to be good.

Nath, you should definitely read more NA this year, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them. To see if you like them as much as I do.

Oh, and if Karen isn't over 18 yet, then I'd say YA too. =P

OMG, Fangirl...I liked that book, so much. I wasn't prepared for how much I was going to like Cather. She was such a well written character and I loved her love interest too. I can't wait for more Into the Deep. Do you know when the next book comes out?

Okay, let me shut up before I completely take over your comments section. =)

But again, lovely post ladies!

Kailana said...

I missed Written in Red until the 'Best of Posts' started and then I ordered it. Just waiting for it to arrive in the mail. :)

Kris said...

Great post ladies!!!
i have read a few on your list but have added many others to mine, thanks!!
Totally loved Written in Red and Heart of Obsidian.
I have to check out Love Lessons and Pivot Point. I totally missed that there was a new Karen Rose, so I am headed to go find that one too.
Thanks for all the great recommendations <3

Brie said...

We have some book in common, ladies!

I think Nath should read The Reece Malcolm List right now so she understand just how much fun it is ;-)

I agree that Love Irresistibly was good, but not as good as James' other books. Maybe it's time to start a new series? (Unpopular opinion, I know)

Great list!

nath said...

Hilcia - Thanks Hils! So glad we agree on Heart of Obsidian and Written in Red! :)

I think you didn't read a lot of contemporary romance this year, right? In any case, I think you're going to enjoy Can't Stop Believing. Simply because it was so poignant! I can't wait to read her next release!

Happy 2014 to you as well!

Rowena - I'm glad you're adding some of my picks to your reading list, Wena!

I'm curious to see what 2014 has in store for us :) I hope it'll be good :)

I think you're going to enjoy Letters to Nowhere a lot, Wena! I'm actually surprised you didn't get to it earlier. Is it because it's self-published?

LOL, I doubt I would love NA as much as you two, Wena. I know myself pretty much... although I wouldn't mind about reading older characters than 16-17 y.o.

Fangirl was good, but I don't know... something was missing for me.

Kailana - Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Kailana :) However, now I'm afraid that we've all hyped it up too much ^_^;

Kris - Hi there! Long time no see! Happy New Year!

Watch Your Back is actually coming out in North America this February, so technically, you haven't missed it yet, Kris :P

I would love to hear your thoughts on Pivot Point and Love Lessons!

Brie - We actually managed to agree on some books, Brie?! LOL.

Okay, I will, I'm adding The Reece Malcolm List onto my TBR pile :)

As long as Ms James keeps it big city, I wouldn't mind her starting a new series :P

Anonymous said...

Great list! I loved Written in Red and Frost Burned, but haven't read any of the others! I did buy some of the others just haven't read,

So fun to read these lists. Thanks for writing this.

Leslie said...

I've read quite a few of these but also see some that I've missed. Thanks for putting this great list together ladies!

nath said...

Jan - I'm glad you agree with my choice of Written in Red and Frost Burned :)

Leslie - No problem Les! It was our pleasure, really :P