Top 10 Books I Read in 2013

Okay, I’m breaking my rule of no blogging until I’m done with my vacation, but I wanted to share with you the top ten books I read in 2013. I was surprised to discover I read over 60 (I assumed it was closer to 40, maybe 50). And I was even more surprised as I scrolled through the titles how many outstanding stories I experienced. It was difficult for me to narrow it down to ten.

But, I did! So here we go…

10. The Selection by Kiera Cass

10507293I had very low expectations for this book, but within the first chapter, my low expectations were shattered. The Selection is light, fanciful and truly entertaining. Give it a try!

Read my full review here.

9. Champion by Marie Lu

14290364 Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this final book in the Legend series. It was a fitting ending to an outstanding story. I highly, highly recommend it to one and all!

Read my full review here.

8. Just One Day & Just One Year by Gayle Forman

1284211512842134Okay, I’m cheating on this one. But it’s hard to separate these two books because they go hand-in-hand, and they’re equally amazing. They’re moving, eye-opening, and one hundred percent entertaining.

Read my full reviews here and here.

7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

11870085This was the first book I read in 2013, and it stuck with me throughout the whole year. Now, normally I’m not into stories about cancer and sickness and whatnot. They’re just too sad. But this is a special story everyone should read. Plus, the movie is coming out in 2014, and you know my rule of thumb: read the book before you see the movie. So go read it!

Read more about The Fault in Our Stars here.

6. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

17237214Two Boys Kissing is more than a story about two boys kissing. It’s a story about love. And life. And appreciating love and life. It’s a story that has the power to change minds–hearts–lives.

Read my full review here.

5. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

7315573I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction, but this one was awesome! Fall of Giants kept me hooked from page one all the way to page 960! I’m planning on diving into its sequel, Winter of the World, early in the new year.

Read my full review here.

4. Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer


13206760Okay, okay! I’m cheating again. But, you know what? This is my blog and I can do what I want, so there! 😉 I just finished these first two books in the Lunar Chronicles, and I’m in love! In fact, I’ve been dealing with a massive book hangover the past few days because I can’t get over them. So. Good.

I’ll  be doing full reviews for these books soon, so check back later for my complete feedback. Or, better yet, take my word for it, and go read them. You won’t be able to put them down.

3.  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

18335634There aren’t many books, let alone series, that I want to read more than once. But The Infernal Devices is one of them. This prequel series to Clare’s Mortal Instruments shares the same fun, rip-roaring action and smart humor, but it feels richer and more endearing. And by the last page of its final book, Clockwork Princess, I was crying (and I’m not a crier) and wishing a thousand times it wasn’t over.

Read more about Clockwork Princess here.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905Few books have touched my heart–my soul–the way Fangirl did. If you’re looking for a story that’s a perfect combination of funny and serious, and has a dash of fantasy to it, this is it!

Read my full review here.

1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

16101128I can’t believe I’m saying this, but of all the books I read in 2013, this aliens-take-over-the-world tale was my favorite. And, trust me, I’m not a fan of alien stories. But The 5th Wave was crazy good. It was addicting, terrifying and action-packed. And it made me truly believe an alien invasion could actually happen. I’m counting down the days to the release of its sequel, The Infinite Sea, due out in May 2014.

Read my full review here.

Well, that’s it, folks! I’m so excited for 2014 and all the great books I’m sure to read. I already have a nice lineup set to go, starting with Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

Happy New Year!

Summer Reads – Part 2

Tis the season for reading! And I read lots and lots and lots…And lots! So, let’s get to the second part of my summer reads.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up

This is a book that I kept seeing everywhere (blogs, library, bookstores, Facebook), so I knew I’d have to read it someday. Well, “someday” came in late June.

Now, I can’t say that Why We Broke Up was one of my FAVORITES, but it definitely kept me interested. The entire story is written like a breakup note from Min Green to her ex-boyfriend, Ed Slaterton. Each chapter begins with an illustration of an item (movie tickets, books, a toy truck), and is followed by an explanation as to how that item contributed to their breakup.

I’d recommend this book if you enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower or Where Things Come Back or Invincible Summer (or similar stories that revolve around realistic, poignant human drama). My only complaint (and it’s a very weak one) would be that Why We Broke Up weighed about a hundred pounds (not because it was like a Ken Follett book–a zillion pages long–but because the paper itself was thick and glossy). I know, I know. You’re rolling your eyes and yelling at me to go buy an e-reader. Well, I don’t want to. Ha! And I’ll tell you why in another post someday 😉

Jen’s Rating:

3 Star

For a full synopsis, click here.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

I had very low expectations for this book. I don’t know why (it’s not like I had read any reviews, or honestly, even the synopsis). I only decided to read it because I’d seen it on so many bookshelves (you have to admit, it’s a memorable cover). Within the first chapter, my low expectations were shattered. I LOVED The Selection! It was The Bachelor meets Cinderella meets Les Misérables meets The Hunger Games (without the killing…Well, maybe there’s a little killing). It was one of those books I couldn’t put down. In fact, I ended up reading the whole thing within a 24-hour period. The second I finished the last page, I eagerly reserved its sequel (below) at the library.

The Selection is light, fanciful and truly entertaining. Give it a try!

Jen’s Rating:

4 Star

For a full synopsis, click here.

The Elite by Kiera Cass

After reading The Selection, I excitedly leapt into its sequel. And boo-hoo, was I disappointed 😦 . I was expecting to feel the same magic of The Selection, but The Elite felt like the author just pushed “replay”. I didn’t feel like anything happened–mostly just the protagonist, America, begging the ever patient Prince Maxon to give her “more time”. There were a few “attacks” by the northern and southern rebels that gave the rather dull plot a boost, but even those were a bit of a snooze (and, again, similar to the “attacks” that happened in The Selection).

I’m hoping and praying the third book in the series, The One–due out May 6th, 2014–will deliver the same enchantment that The Selection did.
Jen’s Rating:

3 Star

For a full synopsis, click here.

Falls of Giants by Ken Follett

Some of you may have already read my review of Fall of Giants in the Book of the Month section for August. If not, here it is!
Let me start out by saying I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction. But this one was awesome! Fall of Giants kept me hooked from page one all the way to page 960! Yes, like Follet’s other epic reads, most notably The Pillars of the Earth, this tale was a doozy. But I couldn’t put it down! In fact, I unthinkingly started it right before I was set to leave for a week-long beach vacation. Since I don’t own a tablet or e-book reader, I made the difficult decision to leave the two-ton book behind and take a couple of others that were lighter and easier to transport. Well, as I was walking out the front door to head to the airport, I realized I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving Fall of Giants at home–I swear, it was looking at me like a sad puppy whimpering, “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me!”. So, I hastily stuffed it in my bag and shouldered the extra weight. And I don’t regret my decision at all. Well, except for accidentally getting sand and saltwater all over it…Then again, I spilled coffee on it a week later too, so…Poor “puppy”.

Jen’s Rating:

5 Star

For a full synopsis, click here.

Stay tuned. I’ll be posting the third and final part of my summer reads soon!