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Top 13 of 2013

Narrowing down the nearly 300 books I’ve read this past year into just the top 13 wasn’t an easy task.

Of course, I read a few that were complete garbage or that I just didn’t click with and abandoned halfway through, so those few are easy to weed out. And I cut off any that weren’t actually published in 2013… even if it hurt my heart a little to do it. But I just loved so many! When I first thought to do a top 13 of 2013 I thought it would be super easy then I had a list of like 20 books and that’s when it got hard.
I tried to order them but I’m not 100% set on the numbering… I love them all so much. It’s just hard to decide.
I also didn’t give a blurb or full review on any of them because I don’t want this to take up thirty pages- I’ve reviewed a few of them in previous posts though.
Anyway, without further ado, I present to you my favorite 13 books of the past year.
Most of these fall in to the Paranormal/Fantasy genre and that is because many of the new adult/contemp romances I’ve read this year were published in 2011/12.

            13. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

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This was a great read. It had me on edge almost the entire time and I loved it! If you haven’t had a chance to pick this one up yet I highly suggest it.

          12. American Girl on Saturn by Nikki Godwin

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This is a completely cute and totally charming love story. I can’t get over how much I liked it. I expected it to be a bit silly and it was but in a really good way.

            11. Taking Back Forever by Amanda Karen Hooper

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This was book 2 in the Kindrily Series, so if you haven’t picked up book 1 (Grasping at Eternity) yet, you really should. It’s a terrific series. The next installment should come out sometime around April… I hope.

           10. The Crescent Chronicles (Focus & Found) By Alyssa Rose Ivy

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Yes, I’m counting this as one because it’s book 2 and 3 of the same amazing series! I’m always scared when I get to the last book of a series I really love because I’ve been disappointed on more than one occasion, but this was not a disappointment. The spinoff series Empire Chronicles is on my list to read, but I haven’t made time for it just yet.

           9. Through Glass by Rebecca Ethington

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            This book completely surprised me. I didn’t know what to expect really and I wasn’t at all disappointed!

           8. Sentinel by Jennifer Armentrout

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            Sentinel was the perfect end to the Covenant Series. I couldn’t have imagined it more perfect. I don’t even know what else to say!

            7. Fable by Chanda Hahn

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            The Unfortunate Fairy Tale Series is so good I don’t even know what to do with myself. It’s one of those that after I read the book I need time to adjust back to reality because I’ve been so into the world created by Chanda Hahn.

            6. Rush by Eve Silver

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            This is a wonderful start to The Game series. I can’t wait to read the next one, that cliff hanger of an ending killed me and I’m dying waiting to know what happens! DYING.

            5. Imdalind Series (Eyes of Ember &Scorched Treachery) by Rebecca Ethington

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            Yep. This is another two for the price of one. These books just keep getting better and better. I was hooked with the first one and then read Eyes of Ember and was floored so when I picked up Scorched Treachery I didn’t think it would live up. It totally did!

4. Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

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            I am a huge Jessica Sorensen fan so I picked up this book the moment it was released and I thought it was a completely wonderful continuation of the love story. That said I think she should have stopped with Ella and Micha after this one, I just didn’t love the third. But read this one for sure!

            3. Darkness Fades by Jessica Sorensen

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            Like I said, I’m a fan… so of course she makes my list twice near the top. This was probably my most anticipated book of the year. Every delay broke my heart but when it was finally released I loved it. It was better than I expected and I was expecting greatness.

           2. Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol

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            Read the review. I loved this. Loved, loved, loved. This is going to be such a great series I reckon it’ll rival The Premonition Series for a top spot in my heart.

  1. King Hall by Scarlett Dawn

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King Hall is my favorite book of the year. (And King Cave was even better! But since it won’t technically be released until tomorrow, it can’t go on my 2013 list because tomorrow is 2014.) Anyway this book had everything I love in a book. This series and me equals true love.

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Through Glass

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I read the Imdalind series by Rebecca Ethington a while back and loved it! (Sidenote I cannot wait for the next one to come out!)

So, when she announced Soul of Flame was being delayed I was heartbroken and did was any fan would do. I reread the series. When I got to the end of Scorched Treachery–much to quickly I might add, but I can’t help it, when I love something I have trouble making it last and not devouring it all at once- I noticed that there was a sample of Through Glass.

I had seen the cover and read the description before but had so many other books on my list and when I didn’t, I had honestly forgotten I was interested. So Thank Heavens I reread The Imdalind Series, right, or I might have never been reminded of this gem.
Let me tell you. I loved loved LOVED this book.

It started off so sweet I could puke. Especially since I knew it only pages until this sweet love story changed into something a bit darker. The author did such a terrific job pulling me in and making me fall for these characters at the start that by the time the world went dark my heart was breaking right along with theirs.
Lex. At the start I could totally relate to her at eighteen. I was pretty much in the same shoes, in love with one of my best friends who had friend-zoned me and then later let me know he was in love with me. Because of that, I felt an immediate kinship to Alexis and couldn’t help but root for her from the start. You have to cheer for the heroine that reminds you of yourself… Duh! You really get to see her change from a scared little girl into someone much stronger and willing to fight. (I don’t want to say much more or give to many details because I really don’t want to spoil any part of this.)Cohen. He’s sweet and loving and I like him a lot. I am so, so glad we got to read a short bit from his POV, but I wish we had seen more, so hopefully in the next installments we’ll get to hear more from Cohen. He was such an easy character to love. I can’t stand when it takes a long time to warm up to the story’s hero, and that was soooo not the case here. I think it was love at first page for me and Cohen though.
The suspense drove me crazy in the best possible way! There were constantly new surprised or something unexpected happening and it made turning each page so much fun.
If you’re a fan of the Imdalind Series, I am sure you will love this. While the stories aren’t too similar, it’s still the same wonderful character development and writing style. I would recommend this book to anyone who would listen to me.

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Under Different Stars

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Did I love this book? Abso-freaking-lutly!
I am a huge fan of Amy A Bartol. The Premonition Series was the first paranormal romance I read and to say it got me hooked would be an understatement. Going in, I knew I would love it, I seriously doubt that this lady could put out anything I wouldn’t love.

Here is the blurb from for the book:

All she wants is a home, but can she find one…UNDER DIFFERENT STARS

Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

Kricket. I love her. She’s feisty and snarky and sweet and vulnerable. She fights for herself because no one’s ever fought for her before. She knows if she wants out of this mess, she’ll have to get out alone. But she doesn’t count for falling for her kidnapper.
Mrs. Bartol does an amazing job of creating strong female main characters that still relatable and very likable. I was worried that Kricket wouldn’t compare to Evie but she did, I love them both.
Trey is the good soldier who always does what he’s told putting his own happiness second to his duty. In that sense, he reminded me a bit of Reed, but Trey isn’t just a carbon copy of Reed, he’s very much his own character.
He’s brave and has a bit of humor, though maybe he takes him self a bit seriously he loosens up throughout the novel. We get to see a bit of his romantic side, which I loved. Loved, loved. I’m sure we’ll get more of the sweet romantic Trey in the sequel.
My favorites! Jax and Wayra. Totally lovable, awesome guys. For me, they kind of stole the book. They’re a bit more laid back than Trey, but the three make a great team. These two are funny and sweet and though I can’t wait to read more of Kricket and Trey’s story, I’m really excited to know more about these two!
Amy A Bartol also writes an amazing villain. I think one of the most wonderful things about how she writes her villains is that they have a human side. They aren’t all evil. Kyon is a messed up guy and I disliked him from the start. However, even though misguided and selfish, he cares for Kricket and wants to help her. Even though I didn’t want to, I found myself sympathizing with him ever so slightly. (Never going to be on Team Kyon or anything, but I can’t help but feel a little something for him.)
The word flow is wonderful, the book reads in such a way that make it near impossible to put down. The story is unique and not was I was expecting, but I was amazed at how quickly I fell in love with not only the characters but the world.
Seriously, if The Premonition Series was my husband, Under Different Stars would be the sexy gardener I can’t get enough of… or maybe we’d have a weird sister-wives type arrangement. Ok, that was all very weird of me to say, but I just want to express how much i love this book and how excited I am for the series to continue!

Any fan of The Premonition Series will love this book. Honestly, any fan of reading in general should love this book. In short. Read it. You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s a great excerpt from the book! Get a taste before you go purchase it- you definitely want to purchase it :]

Water swirls around me as I open my eyes. I shiver, realizing I’m in Trey’s arms. He’s standing chest deep in crystal blue water with Wayra pacing on the bank only steps away. Clutching Trey closer to me, my cheek remains on his shoulder. Watching a bead of water slip down his powerful neck, I hear Jax say, “She’s waking up.”

Trey, cupping his hand in the water, pours some of it over my hair. It drips down the sides of my face, cooling me. “Let’s get her out. I’ll get the visor and we can check her vitals.”

As Trey wades out of the pond with me in his arms, I try to lift my head from his shoulder. It makes me dizzy so I lay it back. It’s then I notice that I’m only in my bra and underwear. A blush creeps into my cheeks as I hug Trey tighter to me. Wayra meets us on the bank, draping a blanket over us. Trey sits down with me on his lap. He leans against a tree trunk holding me securely to his chest. Peeking at his face, he seems angry as he smoothes my hair back from my face.

Hurrying over with the visor that looks like grandma goggles, Trey sets them on my eyes. Everything is green as I gaze around at the water in front of us. Flashing green lights and readouts occupy the peripherals of the glasses, but the information is running faster than I can possibly read it.

“Ho!” Jax exclaims next to me.

Immediately, Trey’s arms tighten on me as he barks out, “What? How bad is it?”

“Naw, it’s not bad…it’s just…Kricket…” Jax breathes, like he’s in awe. “Look at this brain activity…it’s massive.”

“What do you mean?” Trey asks with relief in his tone.

Jax grins. “She’s lighting everything up. Look at her frontal lobe…it’s off the charts.”

“What does that mean? Is she healthy?” Trey growls.

Jax nods enthusiastically. “She’s healthy! We didn’t fry her with heat stroke, that’s for sure. Or, if we did, she’s got more brain activity than anyone I’ve ever seen to compensate for it,” he replies, sounding seriously geeked about it.

“Those things aren’t broken, are they?” Trey asks speculatively.

“No…here.” Jax pulls them off my face. “Wayra, come here.”

Wayra walks over and Jax puts the glasses on his eyes. “See! He’s normal, well, normal for him. See how it doesn’t light up in these areas?” he points out to Trey.

“Yes.”

“Now watch this,” he says, taking the glasses off of Wayra, he places them back on my face. “See? It’s like Christmas in Chicago with all those lights,” Jax says proudly.

“So that means she’s smart?”

Jax beams. “Yeah, she’s smart! She’s brilliant! There’s no telling what she can do.”

“If she’s so smart, why did she run until she almost popped? Why didn’t she just tell us she needed to rest?” Wayra asks derisively.

“Personality flaw,” Trey replies. “She’s going to show us that she’s not weak.”

“She’s sitting right here,” I murmur, pulling the glasses off my face and handing them to Jax.

Here are the purchase links! (So, seriously, go buy your copy!:])

Barnes And Noble
Apple iBookstore
Kobo
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy
Amazon France
Amazon Canada
Amazon Japan
Amazon Spain
Amazon Brazil
Smashwords

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website/blog
Facebook
GoodReads
Twitter
Amazon
Pinterest

AmyBartol
AUTHOR BIO:

 I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re  real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.

 

BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY:

  • 1st place: KINDLE FIRE + ebook of Under Different Stars

  • 2nd place: Kindle Cover + $50 Amazon Gift Card

  • 3rd place: $50 Amazon Gift Card

 a Rafflecopter giveaway 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cc2e0c26

GIVEAWAY CONDITIONS:

  • Giveaway administered by Amy A. Bartol

  • Winners will be notified via email and if winner does not respond within 5 days another winner will be selected

  • Amazon ships most Kindle e-readers worldwide, however, it is up to the participant to ensure the country they reside in is listed as one of the countries Amazon ships to. If a winner is selected and Amazon does not ship to their country, another winner will be selected.

Before entering this giveaway please check:To ship Kindle Fire outside the U.S. view important information specific to your country.

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White Girl Problems!

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Why did the white girl cross the road… uhhh never mind.
When a severely drunk, and slightly drugged, Finley Roze slipped into a hospital bed, she never imagined it would start her on a path to meeting the man of her dreams.
Mostly because she didn’t believe in the man of her dreams, what seventeen year old even thinks of that?
But when Aiden Sorenson turns out to be Mr. Right everything else ends up being wrong, including Finley’s family history.
Finley is exactly what she appears to be, callous, selfish, shallow, and completely friggen unlucky and everything changes when she meets him.
But Aiden isn’t what he seems.
And when Finley discovers just WHAT he is, she is not as impressed as she should be.
She’s scared.
But sometimes the problem with meeting Prince Charming is letting yourself be open to the possibility of True Love
Don’t miss this True Love Story, AKA a fairytale romance.
Just don’t tell Finley.
You will want to check out this season’s most sarcastically romantic YA read!!
(Blurb from Amazon)
Let me gush over how adorable this cover is! It’s one of my favorites… possibly ever! #loveit #ithinkthisbookreviewrequireshashtags #WhiteGirlProblems :]
Can Tara Brown write a book I don’t enjoy? My guess is no, because I have yet to pick up something by this amazing author and not enjoy it start to finish!
White Girl Problems is a very 21st century fairy tale.
From her Ugg boots to her need to instagram everything, Finley is about as “white girl” as anyone can get. I love Finley. I love that she’s immature and silly and real. She doesn’t change over night and she has flaws that are still apparent at the end of the novel, but she’s working on herself and she’s growing up and she’s maturing.
Aiden is your classic prince charming with a twist… he doesn’t always say or do the right thing… in fact, he seems to mess up quite a lot- don’t worry, he always makes up for it and it’s never intentional.  He’s trying to work out his love for Finley and his family issues and he always has good intentions. He’s a great character and totally book boyfriend worthy!
Hattie and Jess are wonderful characters as well that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. What can I say? I relate to the girl who spends too much time locked in her room on computers… though I never played WOW. And what’s not to love about a feisty old lady? Especially when she’s a better parent/role model for Finely than anyone else has ever been.
White Girl Problems is one of my favorite reads of the year!
I had a smile on my face more often than not because it was just such a fun book to devour… and I did devour it!
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King Cave Review

OH MY GOD! KING FREAKING CAVE!

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Ahh King Cave.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely… Just kidding…. Kind of.
If I could write sonnets, there’s a very good chance I would write some for this book because that’s how in love with it I am.                                                                                                     .

 I began reading my copy in the evening. I started off telling myself I’ll only read a couple chapters tonight and pick it up again tomorrow. Psh! Yeah, right! At 3:30 my husband had to get up for work and told me I was crazy for still reading. (Whatever, if it’s ok for him to stay up all night playing a new video game, it’s ok for me to stay up all night reading ;])

Book two of the Forever Evermore series begins right where King Hall left off, in the middle of an attack. Pearl and Jack have just lost their mates and passed out while Ezra and Lily do what they can to defend themselves and the lives of their best friends. Everyone is able to pull it together to get themselves and as many other Mys people as they can to the safety of King Cave.
Once they arrive at King Cave the pace of the book slows down a bit, but we aren’t left feeling bored for even a moment. Between awkward moments with the kings and elders, trying to avoid while also preparing for a war, and a budding romance I wasn’t bored for even a paragraph.
Scarlett Dawn has some of the wittiest, most hilarious, swoon worthy (and a million other adjectives) dialogue and characters ever. I love it all. LOVE.

I love Lily and in this book she’s really grown into her role as Shifter Prodigy and seems more confident in herself and the decisions she makes.
Now, on to my favorite.
Ezra, duh! I was fool, such a fool. I ended King Hall thinking there was no way to love Ezra more and I could not be more wrong.
Really, Mrs. Dawn, are you trying to put all boyfriends/husbands out there to shame? 
Ezra really opens up and makes himself vulnerable in a way that wasn’t expected and was completely swoon-worthy. But I promise, he didn’t go all soft on us, he still just a cocky and snarky and completely bad ass as ever.
I could go on all day about Ezra, but for the sake of time I won’t. Instead I’ll go on to one of my new favorites, his daddy. In King Hall, I thought Cahal seemed stiff and snobby and of course scary but we get to know him much better in King Cave and he’s become one of my favorite characters. He’s still tough and scary but you see throughout most of the book that he loves his family and will do nearly anything for his son. And I like to think that despite his best efforts, Lily is kind of growing on him.

There were quiet a few surprises in King Cave and some were really awesome others were very upsetting—like yank my hair out want to throw my phone (which is what I read on) across the room upsetting! But I loved where the story went and the direction that Mrs. Dawn has taken. It’s new and interesting and definitely makes me anxious for the next one.

Please be warned, I cried almost as much as I laughed. Part of that is because I’m kind of a crybaby and I cry at sweet things and sad things, but it’s also because this book has completely heart-wrenching moments.

In short, King Cave has it all.
Kick-ass heroin? Check.
Hot, snarky vamp? Check.
Kinky shifter sex? Check.
Laugh out loud, romantic and heart wrenching scenes? Check, check, and check.

So the big question is why haven’t you preordered you’re copy yet? Go do it now! And then, set aside an entire day that you can devote to reading King Cave because you won’t want to put it down for even a second!

Now excuse me while I read my copy… again. :]

Here are the preorder links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble