Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2013

“Top Ten Tuesday” is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is the Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2013.

As always, these books are listed in no particular order.

1) Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Rarely have I had the pleasure of reading a book that is as lively and energetic as Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait! Filled with a cast of characters as colourful and vibrant as the book’s cover and a romantic lead that gave Marcus Flutie a run for his money when it came to competing for my affections, this was one novel I couldn’t put down for an instant. I particularly enjoyed the positive female friendship that Benway portrays between Audrey and Victoria, a rare treat in the young adult genre. Intelligent, witty, and a whole lot of fun, Audrey, Wait! had everything I look for in a young adult contemporary novel and more!

2) I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Easily the most enjoyable of Kinsella’s standalone novels, I’ve Got Your Number was a pleasant surprise for me after having been less-than-enthused with Kinsella’s other standalone work. A quirky tale about the joys and dangers of technology, Poppy and Sam’s story will be one I remember for some time to come.

Β» Read my complete review Here.

3) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Set against the backdrop of 1999 and the madness that was Y2K, Attachments is the story of the unlikely romance that blossoms between a journalist and movie reviewer and the man given the unenviable task of reading her emails as a part of his job as the newspaper’s internet security officer. Charmingly reminiscent of the great Nora Ephron romantic comedies of the past, like When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail, Rowell’s first novel solidified her place on my auto-buy list and is a story I will re-visit for years to come. Smart, witty, effervescent and undeniably romantic, Attachments sweeps you back to a time in the past from which you never wish to return.

4) How To Dance With A Duke by Manda Collins

Who knew that one little dance card could have the power to change six lives forever? The first novel in the Ugly Duckling series, Manda Collins’ How To Dance With A Duke centres around the romance between Miss Cecily Hurston, a stubborn, intelligent Egyptologist and all-around bluestocking, and Lucas Dalton, the Duke who can’t seem to keep his mind (or hands) off of her. Embroiled in a mystery that will entangled both of their lives and interests in unimaginable ways, Cecily will soon be a wallflower and ugly duckling no longer. With witty dialogue, palpable sexual tension and scenes that will set your book’s pages alight, this was one of the most enjoyable historical romance novels I’ve read in recent memory.

5) Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson’s courageous, unflinching examination of one’s girl struggle against grief and anorexia in the wake of her friend’s death was easily one of the most powerful novels I’ve read thus far this year. Merciless in its raw, unfiltered first-person narrative style yet in a lyrical prose that is hauntingly beautiful, this character-driven novel allows you a glimpse into the mind of one girl battling against a disorder she is either unwilling, or unable, to escape from. Having suffered from disordered eating for as long as I can remember, this novel touched me personally in a way that very few novels are able to. I doubt I will ever forget Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls.

6) The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar

A contemporary novel with a little touch of magic and a whole lot of heart, Lindsay Ribar’s debut novel is one that I will recommend to friends again and again.

Β» Read my complete review Here.

7) The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Sharon Cameron’s The Dark Unwinding was the first book I read in 2013, and I still find myself thinking of it regularly six months later. Set against the haunting, gothic backdrop of Victorian England, Cameron’s debut novel follows protagonist Katharine Tulman as she is sent to visit her eccentric uncle with the express purpose of attesting to his rumoured insanity in order to protect and preserve the family’s estate and inheritance. Once there, however, Katherine is exposed to a world unlike any she could have ever imagined. Complete with a cast of characters as compelling and interesting as they are varied and a romantic hero who is as mercurial and mysterious as he is generous and captivating, The Dark Unwinding had me riveted until the very last page.

8) Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

You can never go wrong with David Sedaris. Although perhaps not as witty or engaging as When You Are Engulfed in Flames or Naked, Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls was one of my most highly anticipated releases in 2013 and I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed. Whether he’s relating his one-man recycling campaign in the sleepy English countryside in which he now resides or haunting local taxidermy shops for the ideal Valentine’s Day present, Sedaris consistently delights and entertains in a way that only he can.

9) Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

There are few authors whose work typify summer more for me than Jessi Kirby. Having read In Honour last summer and fallen head-over-heels in love with Honor, Rusty, and Kirby’s unique ability to touch upon universal topics like love, loss and identity in an accessible, eminently moving way, I was desperate to read anything else that Kirby had authored. A touching story of one girl’s struggle to come to terms with the death of her mother after moving back to the sleepy beach town where her parents first met, Moonglass had everything I’ve now come to expect from a Jessi Kirby novel. While I didn’t love it as much as In Honour, I still find Kirby’s contemporary novels far more moving and evocative than 95% of the other novels in the young adult contemporary genre. Now a staple on my auto-buy list, I have high hopes for Golden, which I have every intention of reading this summer.

10) In Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

What is there left to say about a book that has already garnered near-universal praise and has become one of the most highly-acclaimed novels in the young adult genre? Documenting the lives of a group of ordinary Lithuanian citizens suffering under the cruel NKVD regime in Soviet labour camps during World War II, Ruta Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray is a historical fiction masterpiece that simultaneously breaks one heart and instills one with a sense of hope in the resilience of the human spirit. This is one novel that should be a staple on required and voluntary reading lists alike.

Honourable Mention: The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole, which I devoured in its entirety earlier this year. Undeniably sexy and set in a fully-realized world populated by vampires, lykae, fey, phantoms, sorceresses, assassins, and almost anything else you could ever imagine, I couldn’t stop until I had read every single book in Cole’s much-beloved paranormal romance series.

42 Responses

    1. Oh my goodness, thank you so much! πŸ™‚ It took quite a bit of fiddling around in Photoshop before I wound up with a layout for Top Ten Tuesday that I could live with, let me tell you! πŸ˜›

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed Attachments as well! It reminded me of some of favourite films growing up. There was something so comforting and familiar about it, yet with Rowell’s own unique twist added to it. I thought the ’90’s setting was a particularly interesting touch! It made me feel quite nostalgic.

    1. I see that you included Also Known As on your Top Ten Tuesday list! Given how much I adored Audrey, Wait!, I’m now really looking forward to reading AKA as I have high hopes that I’ll enjoy it just as much as its predecessor.

      Thank you so much for stopping by the blog and taking the time to comment! πŸ™‚ I really appreciate it.

  1. I started The Dark Unwinding, but sadly I had to give it back to the library. I’m glad you liked it, though! Maybe I’ll check it back out. Between Shades of Gray was a very emotional book for me. Happy reading!

    1. Oh, I hate when that happens! I’ve had more than my fair share of library fines because of overdue books that I started and didn’t have the heart to return unfinished πŸ˜› Hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to finish reading The Dark Unwinding soon and I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    1. Oh wow, thank you! There are so many books on my own TBR list that were featured on other people’s Top Ten Tuesday lists this week. It’s a little overwhelming because I want to read them all immediately and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day! πŸ˜‰

  2. I recently bought Attachments and am so excited to finally dig in and read it! Laurie Halse Anderson is amazing and David Sedaris is absolutely hilarious. I’ve only read the first couple of books in the Immortals After Dark series, but I totally agree with you, they’re awesome. Great list!!

    1. I really hope you enjoy Attachments! I couldn’t put it down for a second when I read it earlier this year.

      Thanks for stopping by the blog and taking the time to comment! πŸ˜€

  3. Your list is quite different from the other lists that I’ve seen around! You read a lot more adult than I do, but one that is your favorite that I’d like to read is Attachments! Of course, Rainbow Rowell is just getting buzzed up in the blogosphere these days. And your recent review of The Art of Wishing has got me CONVINCED that I need to pick this book up! I read Moonglass two years ago and I can definitely see why it’s a favorite. BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY. <3 So, so good. Fantastic list you have here, Jen! Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    1. I do try to intersperse my reading list with a few adult titles as it can be a nice change of pace πŸ™‚

      I’m can’t wait to hear your thoughts on The Art of Wishing once you’ve read it!

    1. *Nods* Definitely! πŸ™‚

      I spotted Eleanor & Park and Wonder on your Top Ten Tuesday list, both of which I currently have on my own TBR list. Now I’m looking even more forward to reading them!

    1. I can’t wait to hear what you thought your Moonglass and Between Shades of Gray once you’ve read them! πŸ™‚

    1. I found that was happening a lot to me as well. Looking at everyone else’s Top Ten Tuesday lists yesterday certainly added some additional heft to my TBR list! πŸ˜›

  4. Oh man, I’d only read two of these until I got to that last line. Also, they were all 4 star books for me, which is awesome! Glad to see Attachments here, because I’m obviously a bit obsessed with Rainbow Rowell’s writing, but I’m SAVING it, because I don’t want there to be no more Rainbow Rowell books for me to read until 2014.

    1. Hooray! Looks like we like a lot of the same sort of books, which means I can rely even more heavily on your reviews to know what books might work for me πŸ˜€

      I completely understand where you’re coming from re: Rainbow Rowell. I’ve been holding off reading Eleanor & Park for precisely the same reason! I want to make the wait until Fangirl seem a little less long by holding off on reading Eleanor & Park for a little while longer.

    1. I would have to agree! I know I saw at least one of her books on nearly every Top Ten Tuesday list I perused today πŸ˜€ It’s certainly a well-deserved honour.

  5. After reading Eleanor & Park I became a big fan of Rowell’s writing and I hadn’t heard of Attachments so I am happy to see it on this list, I have to get that one! I bought Audrey, Wait! recently for super cheap at my book store and I can’t wait to finally read it, I have seen so many people praise that novel!

    1. I can’t wait to read Eleanor & Park! The only reason I’ve put it off this long is to make the wait until the release of Fangirl seem a little less unbearable. Given all the glowing reviews I’ve seen for it lately, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to wait, though.

      I picked up Audrey, Wait! for sale as well at our local Chapters πŸ™‚ It was a complete surprise as I knew almost nothing about it beforehand and had only ever seen it reviewed once before. It’s truly a shame that it isn’t given all the attention and praise it undoubtedly deserves as it’s an absolutely wonderful novel.

    1. Oddly enough, Wintergirls was actually the first novel I had read by Laurie Halse Anderson. I can remember Speak making the rounds when I was in school but I never took the time to read it for whatever reason. I’ll certainly be looking into Anderson’s backlist now as Wintergirls was nothing short of a life-changing experience for me.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! πŸ™‚

  6. Ooh, yay! I’m happy to see Moonglass on this list! I just finished Golden sometime last week, and I’ve heard that Moonglass is actually better in a lot of areas, which is exciting. I do want to read The Dark Unwinding, alsoβ€”I have heard promising things about it from pretty much everyone.

    1. Have you read Jessi Kirby’s In Honor? I enjoyed it far more than Moonglass and cannot recommend it highly enough. It was easily one of the best novels I read last year!

      My only warning in regards to The Dark Unwinding would be to ignore the classification of it as ‘Steampunk’ as I think that’s terribly misleading. While there are a couple of instances of it within the novel, I would place it firmly in the ‘Historical Fiction’ genre as I think that’s where Cameron’s writing truly excels. It was an absolutely lovely novel, though. The Gothic atmosphere was rendered so adeptly that I was occasionally reminded of Charlotte BrontΓ«’s Jane Eyre as I read it.

    1. It was certainly a no-brainer given how deeply I was moved by it. Thanks for stopping by the blog! πŸ™‚

  7. I read Ruta Sepetys Out of the Easy earlier this year and fell in love with it. I’ll definitely have to try Between Shades of Grey when I can! And I’m glad to see Robin Benway on your list. I read Audrey, Wait a while back and really liked it. Great choices!

    On an unrelated note, I really love your blog layout! Wonderful name too. πŸ™‚

    1. I really need to read Out of the Easy, particularly given how much I adored Between Shades of Grey! Sepetys has a really special knack for historical fiction and I can think of few young adult authors who are able to write about similar topics in such an easy, accessible yet eminently moving way.

      Audrey, Wait! was a really pleasant surprise as I had heard almost nothing about it beforehand. I happened upon it on the sale table at my local bookstore one day and thought it sounded like a bit of fun. It’s truly a shame that Robin Benway isn’t given more recognition as Audrey, Wait! was really something special. Now I can’t wait to read her other novels as I’m sure they’ll be just as good!

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment about my layout and title! I spent quite awhile mulling over a blog name before finally settling on this one. It’s a surprising amount of pressure to choose something you can only hope will stand the test of time and that you won’t become tired of later on down the line!

  8. Ok, so…I have not read any of these yet, BUT! the fact that I have them on my wishlist and/or TBR pile says we’re awesome. **high five**

    Attachments HAS to be read ASAP though! I’ve had it on my shelf for waaaay too long.

    1. We do seem to have quite a bit of overlap in our lists, in that many of your choices for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday are on my TBR list as well πŸ™‚ Hopefully that similar taste will mean you’ll enjoy Attachments just as much as I did. I can’t wait to hear what you thought about it!

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚

      I totally agree – The basic premise for Audrey, Wait! is so simple and yet so inventive all at the same time. Benway’s creative take on something as benign as the demise of a high school romance was nothing short of ingenuous.

    1. How To Dance With A Duke is easily one of the best and most enjoyable historical fiction novels I’ve read in recent memory. I absolutely love Collins’ heroines, particularly Cecily, and the bond between the three ‘Ugly Ducklings’ (Cecily, Juliet & Madeline) was a pleasure to read about.

      Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments was absolutely fantastic and I can’t praise it highly enough. I’m eager to read Eleanor & Park next but have been putting it off in order to make the wait until Fangirl seem a little less interminable. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to put it off, though. Seeing it as a staple on many people’s Top Ten Tuesday lists this week has made me all the more eager to read it.

      Anyway, I really hope you enjoy both How To Dance With A Duke and Attachments! πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

  9. Aaah I love Sophie Kinsella! I haven’t read that one, yet, though! Definitely adding it to my list. I also just got Audrey, Wait! for my birthday and have heard nothing but great things about it since (It’s weird how I hadn’t noticed it before – selective attention paying I guess lol)

    1. Audrey, Wait! is woefully underrated! It has always made me sad that it’s largely overlooked and under appreciated as it’s one of the smartest and most fun young adult novels I’ve read in quite some time. I really hope you enjoy it too! πŸ™‚

  10. Loved Audrey, Wait! and Attachments! Also, thanks for reminding me about David’s new book. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it like his other books.

    1. I really hope you enjoy Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls! As I said, I wasn’t as enamoured with it as I had been with Sedaris’ past body of work, but it was still a lot of fun and there were a couple of anecdotes I particularly enjoyed πŸ™‚

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Hi! I’mΒ Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!