Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bel's UN-Top 10 of 2013

It's been a strange year where I went through some annoying reading funks, read in spurts, couldn't keep up and then didn't know what to read next. That gave me the mistaken impression that I hadn't read much at all. Thank goodness that's not the case! Now the problem is narrowing down the list. Yeah ... not a freaking chance!

My mind drifts back to this one every now and then. It’s surprisingly sweet and funny considering that we’re dealing with young kids with cancer. In this case, Megan is in denial, while Dawson, the enigmatic patient creates memorable moments for everyone at the hospital. It’s precious and one of my early favorites from the year.

Oh. My. God.  I read this book start to finish in the car on the way to Texas for spring break. Quite a few times I had to wipe away tears but nothing prepared me for the waterworks I had by the end. And this wasn’t just a one-off cry. I was seriously affected by this one for days. I don’t care what category a book falls under, when a book makes you feel all the feels that you can’t shake off for days, then that’s some damn good storytelling!

This one just caught me off guard. The premise sounds absurd but then who in college hasn’t done absurd things? This was an unusual love story that was awkward, sweet and hot in one go. Yes, I’ve re-read this one a few times, including a few chapters here and there multiple times. This one is my go-to if I want something to get my pulse moving.

I remember clearly coming across this Nick Burd gem when I had to run my kids to the library. I just love those moments when something is right in front of you and you just go for it. In this case, I noticed the cover, liked the title and grabbed it. I'm so glad I did! It's a brilliant story about searching for something more and wanting to belong that speaks to anyone. So Nick Burd, what else are you working on?

This was the perfect book for me – full of snark, humor and mischief. While the story initially focused on Emmy and Justin, it really turned out to be an ensemble one. Worlds collide when all these misfits in rehab are forced to work as a team. I think this would make a pretty fantastic movie (well, you know, so long as they leave the story as is). Throw in a pig and how can this not be awesome?

The final in the Angel Burn series had me holding my breath all the way through because of all the heart pounding tension. And I thought L.A. Weatherly ended it perfectly.

There are plenty of kick-ass female characters but Celaena has them all beat. She’s intelligent, strong but also damaged. She has done some pretty atrocious things in her past. Her strengths and flaws make her a formidable opponent. Her chemistry with Chaol sizzles. This is one of my favorite series. I was thrilled to meet Sarah J Maas earlier in the year to let her know that I thoroughly enjoyed the broom closet scene. We had a good chuckle about that one ;-)

Ohhh! This is one of the most delightful stories I have ever read. I just ADORE this. Young or old, anyone will enjoy the beginnings of falling in love – the funny feeling in your tummy, the stolen glances, that awkward silence mid-conversation on the phone, the eagerness for the weekend to be over so you can see your crush at school. I have raved and raved about this one to many people and even bought it as a Christmas gift for my colleague who comes from Omaha where this is set. There should be a section on the bookshelf titled “Warm Fuzzies” where this should be at the head of the pack.

This book is simply enchanting – from the setting to the mystical, it cast its magic on me. It has a lovely romantic feel about it despite being set during war time. There is one scene that takes place over the water that is one of the most seductive I have ever read.

Okay, no one really wants to read a story about a teacher involved with a student. This book however flipped the taboo subject on its head by addressing it from the student’s point of view.  It was uneasy reading for sure especially as the outcome drew nearer. I thought Amanda Grace was brilliant with But I LoveHim. With this follow-up she’s proven that she’s a genius.

I know, I know that I'm "cheating" here but I'll take any opportunity to give a shout out to the authors and their books that have won me over.

I am slowly making my way through Jessica Sorensen's catalog. This will take me a while as she has many, many books and apparently never sleeps. The Secret of Ella and Micha was my first intro to her and I was hooked. She also released Breaking Nova this year. Aside from her romances, I've also started her Fallen Star series. I can always rely on her for some intriguing entanglements and also plenty of emotional wreckage to go with it.

My daughter reads a lot and suggested I try this one. I thought, why not, seemed like something I could finish up in a day. Wow, was I in for a surprise! By page 17 I was a mess. I had to put it down every few chapters so I could have a good cry. My daughter apologized profusely for asking me to read a book that set off this deluge of tears. Don’t get me wrong. I love this book about a 5th grade girl with Asperger's who’s trying to understand the world around her after the death of her older brother. I urge anyone to read this – it is written so eloquently and with such compassion. Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming but honestly is one of the most endearing stories I have ever read.

Oh Amy Lane! She is my and Nat’s BFF. Don’t worry – Ms. Lane is quite aware of this and she still let's us talk to her.  This is my second favorite of the entire series. And I just want to thank Amy for providing me with more wonderful fictional boyfriends in Colin and Jeff.

It’s no secret that I’m in love with this series. I cannot wait until Empower comes out because I just have to know that my Violet and Lincoln will be okay.

Well there you have it, my UN-Top 10 of 2013 as it turns out. In hindsight this has been a very busy but satisfying year and I'm looking forward to 2014!

~ Bel


  1. Awesome choices! Some I've read and some I haven't, but you make them all sound wonderful!!
    Ninja Girl

  2. Great list! I loved Foreplay too!!

    My Top 10 Adult/NA Books and YA Books of 2013

  3. Thanks Ninja Girl! Eva, Foreplay was excellent! I can't believe how much I loved it. Thanks for stopping by. Happy New Year! ~ Bel