I thought a good starting point for my blog would be to take a look back at some of the highlights – and lowlights – of my reading experience in 2013. Be they bad, good, or great, here are just some of the reads that stood out.
Book: The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction (Time Travel), Historical Romance
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Quick Thoughts: I loved this book. Nicholas Falcott, Marquess of Blackdown, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern day London – 200 years after he is almost killed on a battlefield in Spain. He is greeted by the Guild, a secret society that “catches” time travelers and conditions them for their new lives; there is no going back, or so he’s told. Meanwhile, back in 1815, Julia Percy is coping with the death of her grandfather and trying to protect the family secret: how to manipulate time. While this book is about time travel, it isn’t bogged down with the science of it. There’s also a love story that gives it a bit of a romance vibe, but not excessively. Otherwise, it’s historical fiction-meets-fantasy. I could not put it down. Bottom line: I’m IMPATIENTLY waiting for the sequel.
Book: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Series: The Bone Season #1
Genres: Fantasy, YA, Paranormal
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Quick Thoughts: For me, this book just didn’t live up to the hype. The story takes place in 2059 and follows Paige Mahoney through Scion London as she uses her clairvoyance to break into people’s minds. When Paige is captured for using her powers, she is imprisoned in Oxford under the control of supernatural creatures called the Rephaim. Paige must harness her powers under the watch of Warden, her disconcerting Rephaite keeper, if she is to have any chance at freedom. The Bone Season is an ambitious debut novel with a gripping plot – if you can get past the information overload. It’s both grueling and fascinating at the same time. Bottom line: I enjoyed it, but I probably won’t be racing to pick up the next installment.
Book: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
Series: The Checquy Files #1
Genres: Fantasy (Urban Fantasy), Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Quick Thoughts: The Rook was easily one of my favorite reads of 2013. Suspenseful, humorous, and downright bizarre, The Rook chronicles the very new life of Myfanwy Thomas after she wakes up in a park with no recollection of who she is. With instructions written by her former self to guide her, Myfanwy learns to navigate her life as an endangered member of a supernatural guild known as the Checquy. Some parts had me tensing in anticipation, while others had me laughing out loud. The Rook doesn’t take its supernatural elements too seriously; the absurdity just grows, but it works. Bottom line: it’s a fun read! I’m looking forward to the sequel.
Book: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent Trilogy
Genres: YA, Science Fiction (Dystopia)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Quick Thoughts: To say that this book was a huge disappointment would be an understatement. In the final installment of the Divergent Trilogy, Tris Prior is ready to face the world beyond the fence. When her discoveries change everything she thought she knew and believed, her relationships and convictions are put to the test. While many readers of the series have harped on the ending in particular, I found the entire book to be lacking. Allegiant completely deviates from the first two installments, the dual perspectives are confusing, and the plot is simply sloppy. For me, this was a very unsatisfying end to a series that I really enjoyed. I could really go on forever, but I won’t.
Bottom line: If you’ve read the first two books but haven’t gotten around to Allegiant yet, then read it and decide for yourself. If you haven’t started the series, read at your own risk.
Book: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
Quick Thoughts: This was one of the best historical fiction novels I’ve read in awhile. Carrie McClelland travels to Slains Castle in Scotland to do research for her novel about the attempted Jacobite invasion of 1708. While writing about one of her ancestors, Sophia, Carrie discovers that she might be dealing with ancestral memory. The Winter Sea’s take on time travel is refreshing, the historical aspect is thoroughly researched, the characters are endearing, and the love stories are genuine. Bottom line: if you like historical fiction with a touch of mystery and romance, you should read this. I can’t believe I waited until 2013 to pick it up!