2013 Wrap Up and Top 13 Books of ’13!

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Oh my goodness, we have made it through another year! Happy 2014 everyone!

So for 2013 my goal was to read 100 books. And I… fell short. BY 6 BOOKS!!!! Ugh. All that studying got in my way. But I accomplished my goals of school, so I guess I’ll accept that I only read 94 books (haha, only).

I read some awesome books this year, and quite a few awesome series (serieses? I know that’s wrong but it’s kinda cool.) I also read some not so awesome books (City of Fallen Angels, I’m looking at you). And I even read some books that I had to put down repeatedly because I would feel rage coming on (Beautiful Disaster, I’m side-eyeing the shit out of you). And yes, there were some books I started and simply could never finish, such as The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, which I conveniently lost my place in 1/4 of the way through. I also couldn’t finish City of Lost Souls, even on an audiobook, because I just could not handle Clary and Jace for one more second. Sorry Ms. Clare.

I picked 13 books/series that were my top favorites of the year. Yes I combined stand-alones and series because I really couldn’t decide on the books in the series that I included. They are in no order, they are just the ones that I loved the most.

  •  The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian). Oh I loved reading all about the life of Percy Jackson and his friends in this series. As I’ve said all year, Rick Riordan hooks me in from the beginning and when I finish I want more. And speaking of Rick Riordan series, the next title on my list is:
  • The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, and The House of Hades). These ones were slightly darker than the PJO series, and the wait between The Mark of Athena and The House of Hades was terrible. This series is not yet complete, we still have The Blood of Olympus to read soon. Oh booooy… Love these books.
  • The Darkest Minds Series by Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds, In Time, and Never Fade). This series was a wonderfully dark and addictive series that I can’t wait to read the final installment of and I hope that Ms. Bracken does another short story between Never Fade and the final (still untitled) book. Yes, I did think they were slightly creepy, but I did not mind it at all, I could not put the books down ever.
  • A Million Suns and Shades of Earth by Beth Revis. I started reading this trilogy in 2012, and loved the last two books in it so much. Yes, the cover change drove me nuts, but the content of the books, sci-fi fantasy, were perfect all the same.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Oh this book. This beautiful, painful book. The final bits of this book absolutely destroyed me and the whole thing was just so wonderful. If you’ve seen the movie with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, but haven’t read the book, please read the book. They left so much out in the movie and some of the parts they left out were so wonderful.
  • The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess). This series was everything The Mortal Instruments series wasn’t. It was much better written than TMI was, and the characters were so much more interesting. I loved reading about Will, Jem, Tess, Charlotte, and Henry and all the others. I also loved seeing the creations and backstories on many people, places, and things in TMI, and loved seeing ancestry of certain TMI characters. And while some may not have loved the ending, I really did.
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Oh this book, this lovely, wonderful book. I read this in December, so look for more about it in the December Wrap Up post, but this book was just so wonderful. I loved Cath and Wren and Reagan and Levi. It was so great. Now I have to read Eleanor and Park because Rowell has me hooked on her writing.
  • The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth (Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant). Yay dystopia! Tris was such a great character, and while the ending of this series may have been (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) painful, it was a great series and I sort of understand why Roth wrote the ending the way she did. READ THESE BOOKS BEFORE THE MOVIE COMES OUT! The movie will be great though, can’t wait to see it.
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy. Alien invasion, dis-trust of everyone, and some awesome characters made this book so great. I had no clue who to believe and who not to believe and was hooked through every sentence. I cannot wait for The Infinite Sea to come out, pre-ordered and everything. Although I can say I’m only slightly disappointed the second book won’t be titled “The 6th Wave”.
  • Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu (Legend, Prodigy, Champion). Wow this series was great. Everything about it from the covers to the type-color in each book for Day to the plot was awesome. Although dammit that ending! June, you should have set Day straight!!! ARGH! But the world was so cool and the characters were awesome, I’m so glad I picked the series up. Hopefully Ms. Lu will write something new in the next few years.
  • The Women of the Underworld Series by Kelley Armstrong (Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Broken, and No Humans Involved). Meera started me on this series this past summer and it has been so fun so far. I love that they have Elena,  female werewolf, as one of the main characters. All the women in these books are awesome, and some of them started as kind of wimpy and really grew in the books. I still have six more to go in this series, and I’m sure they’re all gonna be awesome!
  • The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing). This was a really cool trilogy to start me on Libba Bray books. Gemma was a great teen protagonist and this trilogy was dark and captivating and beautiful. I love historical fiction, so that excited me too. And the ending was really great for Anne, Gemma, and Felicity.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The first in the Lunar Chronicles, I read this in December, so again, I’ll get to review it more later. But it was a great read, I love fairy tale retellings. I also went straight to Books A Million and picked up Scarlet (on sale too!!!) after finishing this book. And I’ll be pre-ordering Cress and Winter too. It’s gonna be great.

So that’s my list of Top 13 of ’13. I’ll get to the December Wrap Up/January TBR post tomorrow. Hopefully.

January Wrapup/February TBR

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You know what my favorite part of the month is? The beginning, when everyone is posting their wrapup and TBR’s of the month past and new month. So here I am doing the same.

In the month of January I finished City of Ashes, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Divided in Death, Beautiful Lies, The Lady in the Tower, and The Scorch Trials. I also read, but haven’t finished, A Dance with Dragons and The Fiery Cross.

I loved all of the books I read this month. You can see what City of Ashes, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Divided in Death, and The Fiery Cross were about in my January TBR (along with links to their Goodreads pages). The Lady in the Tower is a book by Alison Weir focusing on the fall of Anne Boleyn and those in her circle. Anne Boleyn has always interested me, as she has interested many others with the story of her life and tragic fall. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner is the second in the Maze Runner series, where Thomas and the Gladers deal with many other terrible trials, because what they had to deal with in the first book was not enough. The only problem I had with the book Beautiful Lies was that I really was never sure what that book was exactly about. But I loved it so I didn’t mind too much. I’ll just re-read it one day.

February

Now for the February TBR List!

I’ll be continuing The Fiery Cross, the fifth book in the Outlander Series. I discussed this book in last month’s post. It’s still great, it’s just also really long.

I’ll be reading book three in the Mortal Instruments Series, City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare. City of Bones and City of Ashes were both wonderful, and just like last month I really couldn’t wait to start City of Glass, so I started it earlier this week, and it’s been great so far.

Continuing in the Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan, I’ll be reading book two, The Sea of Monsters. I absolutely loved The Lightning Thief and both started and finished it on January 1, devouring the entire book in a matter of hours. I expect to finish this one quickly too. Percy’s quests are wonderfully written and who doesn’t love PercyBeth?

I’m on to book nineteen in the In Death Series by J.D. Robb, Visions in Death. Eve and Roarke and Mavis and Peabody and all of the other recurring characters are wonderful and when I was reading Divided in Death it was like I was seeing old friends I hadn’t seen in a few months, as I hadn’t had time to read the series in a while. I can’t wait to see what happens to them all in this book. I will slowly but surely make my way through this huge and ever-growing series, enjoying every book.

I’m starting a new series this month by Deborah Harkness, the All Souls Trilogy, starting with the first book, A Discovery of Witches. I’ve heard lots of good reviews on it and bought the first book on Black Friday. I can’t wait to start this one.

So there we go. All the books to read! And this month I’m apparently only reading series books. Or at least that’s all on my TBR list. I also get kindle library books from both the Amazon Kindle Library and the Maryland e-library. And sometimes get books from the real library. Although now that class has started, I have a feeling I’ll be reading my microbiology textbook and lab book a little more than other books. But I do have my commute from campus in Germantown to home where I can read whatever I want, so that’ll help. Seeing as my commute home is TWO FREAKING HOURS, most of it by bus and Metro. Reading is the best way to pass it.

Keep reading guys. It’s a wonderful and important part of life. And frequent bookstores, dammit! They’re a wonderful place to pass time and too many of them are closing! Sorry. I don’t mean to yell, so I’ll stop now.

Goodreads links for this month’s books:

The Sea of Monsters

City of Glass

Visions in Death

A Discovery of Witches

The Fiery Cross

New Year, New Ideas

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What? Me? Writing? Yes, I’ve been AWOL for almost a year, I know. I’ve been focusing so much on school and so little on almost everything else. But I’m going to try this year to post once a month at the least. Post what? A wrap-up and TBR list of what I’ve read in one month and what I’ll be reading the next month. (By the way, focusing on school so much has paid off. Nothing lower than a B on any class I’ve taken in the past year! Nursing school is looking like a realistic goal!) I’ll start with this month, just what I’ll be reading in January, because I didn’t read too much until late December for last month (was fighting the finals beast).

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I’ll start with a series I haven’t read before, but have decided to start now (mostly because they’re my sister’s books and they’ve been loaned out to many others and have just returned home, and now she’s letting me borrow them. Thanks Chloe!), Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Starting of course with The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan. I’ve heard nothing but good over the years, so yay!

City of Ashes, a continuation of the Mortal Instruments series, by Cassandra Clare. I loved City of Bones (the first book in the series), and I loved it so much that I couldn’t wait to start the next one until January, so I started on Sunday and am already nearly done with this one.

Divided in Death, part of the In Death series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts). I have loved reading about Eve Dallas and all that happens in her and Roarke’s world. This is a series of mystery-thriller-romance books set in the future (this particular one takes place in 2059), Eve is a detective in New York City, married to Roarke. An awesome, badass, and stunning Irish billionaire. This is one of my favorite book series, and just as she does as Nora Roberts, J.D. Robb has written many, many, many books for it. I believe this is the 18th in the series that is maybe near 40 books now.

Beautiful Lies by Clare Clark. I haven’t heard too much about this novel, but my mother gave it to me to read after she read it, and it looks like it could be an interesting read. This is the only stand-alone novel I have to read this month.

And The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon. Another continuation, this is book five in a soon-to-be eight book series (and I think eight is the final, but I’m not sure). The Outlander series follows the story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser in 18th century Scotland. The first book, Outlander, starts a little before the horrible Battle of Culloden, with Claire being transported back to that time when she steps into a standing stone circle in near Inverness in the 1940’s, shortly after World War II. This follows their story throughout the years and the ages. In this book (Fiery Cross), Jamie and Claire are settled on Fraser’s Ridge in colonial North Carolina in 1771. As Claire is from the 20th century, she knows what is coming to that area, as she knew about the Jacobite Rebellion, and has warned Jamie as much as she can. I have read some of this book, I started working on it just before finals (when I needed a study break), and as all the others, it has sucked me in. I’m maybe a third of the way through, this one is a long one. The first four books in this series are Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn. After The Fiery Cross are A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in my own Heart’s Blood (out this autumn). Books five, six, and seven are probably the longest of this series, and I’m sure book eight will follow that suit. But they are so worth the read!

So those are the books I’m reading this month. I have a little more for January than I probably will for some other months, as classes don’t resume until the 28th of January for me (yes!). After this month lists will be shorter, at least until May, because I’ll be working on microbiology and human anatomy and physiology 1. And you have no idea how excited I am to leave the basic 100 level biology classes behind and start the heavy-duty stuff!

I did read a little last month, I read City of Bones, the first in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, which I could not put down even if I wanted to. Across the Universe by Beth Revis, which I started on December 29 and finished on December 30. Amazing book, although the way things would be spaced out on pages drove me a little nuts, not to mention the chapter that consisted of ONE SENTENCE, but other than that it was a good book. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella, who is one of my favorite chick-lit authors. So I was incredibly disappointed when the book made me so angry that I couldn’t even get halfway through it. The protagonist just annoyed me far too much. I also read Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). I loved Mindy Kaling before I read her book, and now I love her even more. I read many other books last year, but I can’t remember them all.

This isn’t the only thing I’ll be doing on this blog (hopefully). I’ll still (try) to do Bloggers Do It Better and a few other things. This will just be something I do to try and keep myself posting at least once a month. We’ll see how it works. And happy New Year everyone! May your 2013 be a wonderful year!

Links for this month’s books:

The Lightning Thief

City of Ashes

Divided in Death

Beautiful Lies

The Fiery Cross