Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top Ten Books of 2013

It's that time of year, and since all the cool kids are doing it, I'm making my own list of "Best Books of 2013" based on my Goodreads & Booklikes rankings.

So here's my Top Ten, culled from my five star rankings. They're in no particular order and believe me, it wasn't easy narrowing this list down!

1. The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater--The writing is poetic, one of my favorite characters is a hitman, and Blue still doesn't know which boy she'll kill with a kiss. Read The Raven Boys, then read The Dream Thieves and you can suffer with the rest of us waiting for the next book.

2. Her Hesitant Heart--Carla Kelly--It's got everything Kelly fans could desire: tons of angst (have your hankies ready), love, and most importantly, ordinary people being good.

3. A Dangerous Fiction--Barbara Rogan--It's cliched to say "I couldn't put it down!", but that's how I felt about A Dangerous Fiction. Rogan brings an insider's keen view, pulling the reader into the New York publishing milieu with all of its jealousies, intrigue, excitement and larger-than-life personalities.

4. It Happened One Midnight--Julie Anne Long--Just delightful. The writing sparkles, the characters shine, the continuing saga of the Eversea & Redmond families captivates.

5. The Golem and the Jinni--Helene Wecker--Dear Alachua County Library District--Thank you for not sending the overdue book police after me. I loved this debut novel and had to finish it. I promise, I'll drop it off tomorrow.Sincerely, A satisfied scofflaw.

6. River of Stars--Guy Gavriel Kay--Best epic fantasy I've read in years, and one of Guy Gavriel Kay's best novels. I hadn't read G.G. Kay for a while but the reviews of River of Stars were so glowing that I gave this one a try, and it was a good choice.

7.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane--Neil Gaiman--There are authors who are good, and entertaining, and then there are authors who are in the master class. Neil Gaiman is one of those authors.

8. The Turncoat--Donna Thorland--The characters in The Turncoat are complex and well-drawn, including the villains. The research and writing will delight fans of historical fiction, and I'm eagerly looking forward to Thorland's next novel for more of this fresh look at the founding of the American nation.

9. Dangerous Women--George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, eds. Wonderful anthology bringing together some of the best genre writers in the business, from the fields of mystery and suspense, science fiction, horror, fantasy and romance. Each story is a separate treat to be savored.

10. Ashes of Honor--Seanan McGuire--If Ms. McGuire chose to stop writing October Daye stories today, I'd be satisfied. This sixth book brought much of Toby's personal life to a great place, and kept the pages turning with a storyline that revealed much, and didn't leave people's lives dangling.

So that's my top ten, picked from my five star reviews of 2013. There were many 4.5 star reviews that almost made the list, and if you'd like to follow what I'm reading, you can catch my reviews at Goodreads and on occasion at Booklikes, Shelfari and LibraryThing.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Parasite (Parasitology, #1)Parasite by Mira Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cue the grainy black and white movie of the serious looking lady in a lab coat saying, "There are some things man was not meant to know..." or, better yet, bring on Igor and some wild-haired Dr. Frankenstein ("That's 'FRAHNK-en-shteen') eyeing the skies for lightning. Now you've set the tone for Parasite by Mira Grant.

It's the kind of medical/sf thriller that scares the bejeezus out of you because it all sounds way too plausible. Bring on Veridian Dynamics, or its equivalent, convincing us our lives will be so much better if we allow them into our home, or in the case of Parasite's SymboGen Corporation, allow them into our bodies. They'll cure what ails us with modified tapeworms! What could go wrong?

This is the first book in a series, and I look forward to staying up past my bedtime and being terrified by the next Mira Grant Parasitology thriller.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review--The Republic of Thieves

The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3)The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was a long time coming, but well worth waiting for. We've had hints about Sabetha over the last two books, and now we get to meet her in all her glory. Sabetha's relationship to Locke Lamora helped mold the man he is today, and it's a relationship full of twists, turns and romance, but the course of true love is never an easy one.

Part of what I like about Locke and Sabetha is they understand choices have consequences. Too often in romantic fiction characters make decisions based on what's best for them and for their needs, but those aren't always the best decisions.

I won't go into the plot, because it's complicated, and frankly, I wouldn't recommend this doorstop of a tome to anyone who hasn't read the first two books. What I would recommend is that you read The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies. Then you'll be banging on the bookstore doors to get your hands on The Republic of Thieves.

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