Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish with a different theme every week.
I love writing these posts! I look forward to them every year. You can see my lists for 2011 and 2012 if you’d like. :) I made this list from all the books I gave 5 stars so that’s why there are 11 instead of only 10. To me, a 5 star rating is the kind of book that you close and go “Wow” and then make it your mission in life to have everyone you know read it. All of these books fit that bill. And I know I have two books in a series on this list (Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight), but it’s not often that I like all the books in a series at a 5 star level, so I included both of them.
2013 New Releases
Why I loved it: I’m convinced that Kasie West is a genius. I loved the plot and all the twists and turns. Addie has to pick between two different futures and the novel tells you what happens in both in alternating chapters. But Kasie West doesn’t just tell two completely different versions of the future – she intertwines them in very clever ways. I couldn’t put this book down all the way until the perfect, heart-wrenching ending.
Why I loved it: This is how a series should end. You should be glued to the pages and so invested about what is going to happen next to these characters. There should be a twist that shocks you so much you feel like whacking your sleeping husband with your kindle so you have SOMEONE to tell at 3 a.m. even if he has no idea what you are talking about. There should also be some melodrama that makes you roll your eyes but you care about the characters so much that you keep reading anyway.
Why I loved it: This is another book that I loved because the ending really just blew me away. It was so beautiful and tragic and epic. It has all the best things of a high fantasy novel. Plus there are attractive pirates. One of my favorite things about the first book was the beautiful imagery. And we get more of it in this book. A dragon in the cold sea. A sailing ship that flies. I love this unique world and how alive it is. I want to save it just as much as Alina.
Why I loved it: This has one of the best dual POVs that I’ve ever read. Each voice was very distinct and I never wondered once who was telling me the story. Vane had this snarky sarcasm that I loved. Vane has this endearing honesty about how some of his romantic moves just plain don’t work out, like they would in real life. Audra is a warrior and very serious with a lot of guilt and responsibility that she carries around that made it easy for met to relate to her. And their romance just worked.
Why I loved it: John Steinbeck has completely mastered the art of showing instead of telling. Nothing is a joy to read more than a story you figure out on your own. Plus I loved how he said things. I think I highlighted half of this book. I did not expect to like this book as much as I did especially since I had started it as a teen and put it down because I just didn’t get it. I’m glad I waited to read it as an adult. I loved everything about it – the characters, the setting, the Cain and Abel retelling – just all of it.
Why I loved it: I loved the writing. It was simple, charming, and witty – an interesting contrast to the much deeper story going on. The last line about how we can’t escape from the past points out that even though as Americans we say that anyone can achieve wealth, happiness and equality, the truth is we keep getting sucked into the rules of the past. I don’t know how I made it through high school without reading this classic, but I’m so glad I get to come back to books like this and read them as an adult.
Why I loved it: Shannon Hale continues to amaze me at her ability to have a different style in each of her books. I was pleasantly surprised by this book – it was not the light and fluffy read I thought it would be, but I could still see it appealing to kids. It was a beautifully written book about bravery and friendship with the lightest touch of magic that I loved. Princess Academy is just plain beautiful writing. The tone was bittersweet and slightly formal, which I loved. At the same time, it felt very much like a young girl narrating. I can see why this was a Newbery Honor book. I really don’t know how she managed to do that.
Why I loved it: Daughter of Smoke & Bone was hands down the best angel and demons mythology book that I’ve ever read. I loved how this fantasy was set in our world, but it still kept a magical feeling because she set it in such unique and beautiful places, like Prague. I could tell this was a book that the author put her heart and soul into. The back story of the characters and their world was intricate. The characters felt real. I haven’t read anything this creative and full of rich details since Harry Potter.
Why I loved it: It’s rare that I love a second book as much as the first and this was one of them. It had the beautiful, intelligent writing of the first book. My favorite thing about excellent writing like this is all the theories that I can come up with of why things happen. Why characters do things, new developments in the world magic and things that are hinted at that haven’t happened yet. It’s so much fun!! Even though this wasn’t a romance, I loved the theme of this book too. It did an excellent job showing how pointless war is.
Why I loved it: This is storytelling at its best. Right from page one, the circus is brought to life by talking to you, the reader, as if you were actually there. Nothing in this story was random – not even the objects on the desk. Everything meant something in this complex story and it was a joy to watch it all come together in such great ways. The dialogue is funny and witty which reminded me of Downton Abbey since they are set in similar time periods. I absolutely loved the writing. There is such gorgeous and vivid imagery.
Why I loved it: The story was more grown up in this second installment of the Princess Academy. Palace of Stone deals with more issues that usually involve adults like marriage and revolution. What made this revolution story unique was that it was started by a girl who could see both sides. Most of the revolution stories I’ve read have been about the little guys trying to overthrow those in power like Les Miserables and The Hunger Games. It was interesting to wonder how she was going to work this revolution out with one foot in each world.
What were your favorite reads this year?