My Favorite Books of 2013

This past reading year wasn’t quite as terrific as

2012 but I still found some great books. Take a

look and see if some of these might float your boat  😉

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Through the Ever Night#1.   Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi from HarperCollins, January 2013

It’s been months since Aria learned of her mother’s death.

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It’s a moment they’ve been longing for with countless expectations. And it’s a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first. Then it slips away. The Tides don’t take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry’s control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

My review of Through the Ever Night

Cover of Snow#2.   Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman from Ballantine Books, February 2013

Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide.

The first few hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.

Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from Brendan’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . . and its darkest secrets hidden.

My review of Cover of Snow

Not a Drop to Drink#3.   Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis from Katherine Tegen Books, September 2013

Fans of classic frontier survival stories as well as readers of dystopian literature will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold.

Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, the nighttime threats, and the gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it. . . .

Review coming soon.

The Testing#4.   The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2013

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.

Review coming soon.

The Whisper of Legends#5.   The Whisper of Legends by Barbara Fradkin from Dundurn Press, April 2013

When his teenage daughter goes missing on a summer wilderness canoe trip to the Nahanni River, Inspector Michael Green is forced into unfamiliar territory. Unable to mobilize the local RCMP, he enlists the help of his long-time friend, Staff Sergeant Brian Sullivan, to accompany him to the Northwest Territories to look for themselves.

Green is terrified. The park has 30,000 square kilometres of wilderness and 600 grizzlies. Even worse, Green soon discovers his daughter lied to him. The trip was organized not by a reputable tour company but by her new boyfriend, Scott, a graduate geology student. When clues about Scott’s past begin to drift in, Green, Sullivan, and two guides head into the wilderness. After the body of one of the group turns up at the bottom of a cliff, they begin to realize just what is at stake.

My review of The Whisper of Legends

Hereafter 1#6.   Hereafter by C.K. Crigger from Amber Quill Press, November 2012, and Books in Motion, June 2013

Border Patrol agent Lily Turnbow is fighting a terrorist for her life when everything around her dissolves into a maelstrom of light and thunder. Awakening one hundred years in the future, she finds a ruined world in which bands of mutants are at war with normal humans, and discovers she is as changed as her surroundings.

Resurrected into a society only now beginning to recover from the Event that almost wiped out humanity, Lily has become a Cross-up, acquiring magical powers she never had before. Driven by a bewildering set of circumstances, she uses these powers for the good of the O’Quinn clan, a sword-and-horse society, that has, against their better judgment, taken her in.

But with few exceptions, these people are not as appreciative of her help as one might expect. Even after killing one of her “own kind”-the serial killer Philip Barnes, a Cross-up known in this time as Screenmaster-the O’Quinns view her with fear and suspicion. With the exception of O’Quinn cousin Nate Quick, who is her most vocal advocate, the clan can’t wait to get rid of her. Sent before the clan elders, Lily’s alternatives are banishment into a lonely, friendless world where no one trusts anybody, or death.

But Lily isn’t willing to die-again.

My review of Hereafter

The Children and the Blood#7.   The Children and the Blood by Megan Joel Peterson from CreateSpace, February 2013

A forgotten life.

A secret war.

Eight years ago, an exploding gas main killed Ashley’s family and left her with a childhood she can’t remember. Eight years later, the forgotten past is behind her and life on her isolated farm is all she knows.

Until that past comes looking for her.

Until men with superhuman powers hunt her down in the night, determined to take everything she loves away from her again.

My review of The Children and the Blood

Second Watch#8.   Second Watch by J. A. Jance from William Morrow, September 2013

Getting old is hell. J. P. Beaumont is finally taking some time off to have knee-replacement surgery. But instead of taking his mind off work, the operation plunges him into one of the most perplexing and mind-blowing mysteries he’s ever faced.

A series of dreams takes him back to his early days on the force with the Seattle PD, and then even earlier, to his days in Vietnam, reminding him of people and events he hasn’t thought about in years. Are they just drug-induced hallucinations? Beaumont isn’t so sure. When tugging on those threads from long ago leads to present-day murders, Beau’s suspicions are confirmed. Some bodies from the second watch just won’t stay buried.

A masterful demonstration of J. A. Jance’s superb craftsmanship, Second Watch is a thought-provoking novel that is also a poignant look at one of the most painful and divisive moments in our history—Vietnam—and a reminder of the staggering cost of war and the debts we owe to those who served then . . . and those who do now.

My review of Second Watch

In the Woods#9.   In the Woods by Tana French from Viking, May 2007, and Penguin Audio, November 2007

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Review coming soon.

Sins of the Angels#10. Sins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin from Ace, October 2011

When homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis is assigned a new partner in Aramael, a Guardian Angel who doubles as a hit man, they have only one thing in common: a fallen angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse. Now they have no choice but to work together-relentlessly, fearlessly, intimately. Because only they can stop the rogue angel from ushering in the end of days.

My review of Sins of the Angels

World of Ash Granger#11. World of Ash by Shauna Granger from Shauna Granger, December 2013

There are two inherent truths in the world: life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.

The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive.

That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan, with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life – if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies.

My review of World of Ash

Terra#12. Terra by Gretchen Powell from Hopewell Media, November 2012

A broken and desolate Earth. A young girl struggling to survive. A lost boy with a powerful secret.

A discovery that will change everything.

In the distant wake of a plague that has decimated the Earth’s population, humanity is split in two: The rich and powerful live in skycities that float overhead, while those who remain on the ground have gathered in settlements strewn across a dying planet. Eighteen-year-old Terra Rhodon is a terrestrial–a denizen of the barren groundworld–who makes her living as a scav. Long abandoned by her father, her caregivers gone, Terra supports herself and her younger brother, Mica, by scouring the earth for discarded scraps and metals to recycle for profit. One day, while on a routine scavenging run, she discovers something that shocks her home settlement of Genesis X-16. When the value of her discovery is revealed, Terra’s world is turned upside down.

Terra suddenly finds herself asking questions no one will answer. Her search for the truth leads her to Adam–a beguiling skydweller unlike any she has ever met. But Adam has secrets and a quest of his own. With him by her side, the world Terra thought she knew begins to unravel. Soon her discoveries unearth a terrifying conspiracy that has the potential to shatter everything–a revelation that will test the bonds of loyalty, family, and love.

My review of Terra

Dead Living#13. Dead Living by Glenn Bullion from Permuted Press, January 2013

It didn’t take long for the world to die. And it didn’t take long, either, for the dead to rise.

Born on the day everything ended, a world filled with the walking dead is the only one that Aaron knows. Kept in seclusion, his family teaches him the basics. How to read and write. How to survive.

Then Aaron makes a shocking discovery. The undead, who desire nothing but flesh, ignore him. It’s as if he’s invisible to them.

The survivors of the old suburb of Lexington call a high school their home. They live day to day, without any of the luxuries mankind used to enjoy. Samantha is a product of the new world. Alone, cold, looking out only for herself. She and the other residents of Lexington feel their hope dwindling. They need change. They need someone who can face the corpses. They need someone who can live in a city of the dead.

They need Aaron.

My review of Dead Living

Murder by Syllabub#14. Murder by Syllabub by Kathleen Delaney from Camel Press, July 2013

A ghost in Colonial dress has been wreaking havoc at an old plantation house in Virginia. The house is owned by Elizabeth Smithwood, the best friend of Ellen McKenzie’s Aunt Mary. Mary is determined to fly to the rescue, and Ellen has no choice but to leave her real estate business and new husband to accompany her. Who else will keep the old girl out of trouble? When Ellen and Aunt Mary arrive, they find that Elizabeth’s “house” comprises three sprawling buildings containing all manner of secret entrances and passages, not to mention slave cabins. But who owns what and who owned whom? After Monty-the so-called ghost and stepson of Elizabeth’s dead husband-turns up dead in Elizabeth’s house, suspicion falls on her. Especially when the cause of death is a poisoned glass of syllabub taken from a batch of the sweet, creamy after-dinner drink sitting in Elizabeth’s refrigerator. Monty had enemies to spare. Why was he roaming the old house? What was he searching for? To find the truth, Ellen and her Aunt Mary will have to do much more than rummage through stacks of old crates; they will have to expose two hundred years of grudges and vendettas. The spirits they disturb are far deadlier than the one who brought them to Virginia.

My review of Murder by Syllabub

No Angel#15. No Angel by Helen Keeble from HarperTeen, October 2013

Rafael Angelos just got handed the greatest gift any teenage boy could ever dream of. Upon arriving at his new boarding school for his senior year, he discovered that he is the only male student there. But Raffi’s about to learn that St. Mary’s is actually a hub for demons—and that he was summoned to the school by someone expecting him to save the day. Raffi knows he’s no angel—but it’s pretty hard to deny that there’s some higher plan at work when he wakes up one morning to discover he’s sprouted wings and a glowing circle around his head. . . .

My review of No Angel

Six Months Later#16. Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards from Sourcebooks Fire, October 2013

She Has Everything She Ever Wanted. But Not Her Memory…

When Chloe fell asleep in study hall, it was the middle of May. When she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can’t remember the last six months of her life.

Before, she’d been a mediocre student. Now, she’s on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he’s her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won’t speak to her.

What happened to her? Remembering the truth could be more dangerous than she knows…

My review of Six Months Later

The Reluctant Reaper#17. The Reluctant Reaper by Gina X. Grant from Pocket Star, June 2013

Life for Kirsty d’Arc might not be perfect, but it’s far from hellish. She likes her job, has a great BFF, and truly admires Conrad, her boss. But when she dives in front of a lunatic’s blade to save him from certain death, she finds out Conrad isn’t so admirable after all. In fact, he’s traded her soul to the Devil! 

While her body lies comatose on the Mortal Coil, Kirsty’s spirit is dragged straight to Hell…which is not quite the fire-and-brimstone abyss she’d expected. In fact, the place is quirky, wacky, and not without charm. Desperate to reunite body and soul before her time runs out, she seeks out allies, earning the friendship of a powerful drag demon, a psychic server, and, most importantly, Hell’s civil servant. But what of her growing attraction to Dante, the sexy Reaper with a flair for romantic language—can she forgive him for scything her soul?

Stuck in the netherworld, Kirsty vows she’ll do everything on her postmortem bucket list, starting with getting her life back and ensuring that Conrad has Hell to pay!

My review of The Reluctant Reaper

Fatal Descent#18. Fatal Descent by Beth Groundwater from Midnight Ink, June 2013

Mandy Tanner and her fiancé Rob are leading an offseason rafting-climbing trip in Utah’s remote Canyonlands. Experienced guides, Mandy and Rob know they have to keep their cool after one of their group, Alex Anderson, appears to have become bear bait. Walled off from the outside world with eleven shell-shocked clients and miles of Colorado River whitewater ahead, Mandy’s nerves threaten to unravel when she learns that Alex’s death was not the work of a homicidal grizzly. Whether it was a crime of passion or the random act of a psychopath, Mandy fears that if they don’t root out the river rat among them, another camper will be running the rapids in a body bag.

Review coming soon.

In the After#19. In the After by Demitria Lunetta from HarperTeen, June 2013

In what seems like an instant, Amy Harris’s life is changed forever. They arrive and quickly begin killing off humanity one by one. No one knows how they got here—and even worse, no one knows how to stop Them.

Marooned in a high-security house, Amy manages to stay alive—and even rescues “Baby,” a toddler she finds in an abandoned supermarket. For years they escape death, forging a bond as strong as sisters, until they are finally rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living on a former government research compound.

On the surface, New Hope is the happy ending Amy was looking for. She’s even started falling for Rice, a handsome researcher she’s become close with at the facility. But then she makes a shocking discovery. And staying in New Hope could mean losing her freedom . . . or her life.

With pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate, In the After is an action-packed dystopian page-turner that will keep fans guessing until each secret is revealed and every lie is uncovered.

My review of In the After

An Old Betrayal#20. An Old Betrayal by Charles Finch from Minotaur Books, November 2013

On a spring morning in London, 1875, Charles Lenox agrees to take time away from his busy schedule as a Member of Parliament to meet an old protégé’s client at Charing Cross.  But when their cryptic encounter seems to lead, days later, to the murder of an innocuous country squire, this fast favor draws Lenox inexorably back into his old profession.

Soon he realizes that, far from concluding the murderer’s business, this body is only the first step in a cruel plan, many years in the plotting.  Where will he strike next?  The answer, Lenox learns with slowly dawning horror, may be at the very heart of England’s monarchy.

Ranging from the slums of London to the city’s corridors of power, the newest Charles Lenox novel bears all of this series’ customary wit, charm, and trickery—a compulsive escape to a different time.

My review of An Old Betrayal

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What were some of your favorites in 2013?

Advertisements