Nov 29, 2013

Favourite Books of 2013

So I've been thinking back over the books I've read this year and which are my favourites. And I thought I'd make a list - partly to share the joy and partly to get recommendations in the comments for my 2014 reading. 

I'm going to start with the single title books, and look at my favourite category reads in another post. The books below weren't neccesarily published in 2013, I just got around to reading them this year.

So, in no particular order, here are my top 5 favourite books I read in 2013:

Captive of Sin, by Anna Campbell
Can you say intensity? This book gripped me from the start and didn't let me go. Gideon is a fabulous hero who had me sighing. 

Arabella, by Georgette Heyer
I'm slowly making my way through all of Heyer's Regencies, and this is definitely one of my favourites so far. Arabella was a fun heroine to be with, and Mr Beaumaris was so adorable in his journey to becoming a hero.

Emma, by Jane Austen
This one is a bit of a cheat, because I've read it before, many, many times. But this year I watched the mini-series staring Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller, then read the book again with those faces in mind. It's the most enjoyment I've had reading Emma since before 1996 when the two movies came out and the faces in my head changed from the ones I'd created.

Demonosity, by Amanda Ashby
This YA was so much fun and so beautifully layered with emotion that I wanted to read it again as soon as I'd finished.

Dream Lake, by Lisa Kleypas
I read this on the recommendation of MJ Scott, and I loved it. Great heroine, an emotionally damaged hero, a sick grandmother and a ghost, all set on an island in Washington State. What's not to love? 

So, what about you? What were your favourite single title reads of 2013? I'm looking for suggestions for my Christmas wishlist. :)


  1. Books! One of my favouritest things, Rachel, so great topic! I've read lots a great books this year... too many to list but four that I've finished very recently and so are still fresh in my mind...

    Burning Lies by Helene Young
    Birdsville by Hugh McEwan (extra layer of enjoyment and understanding of the isolation of this town since we visited there this year)
    and The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer.

    I haven't read some that you've listed so I have additions for my wishlist too! But I have got Anna Campbell's fabulous Captive Of Sin on my keeper shelf... might be time for a re-visit! (happy sigh)

    1. Sharon, I think I included The Grand Sophy on last year's list - I adored it.
      Burning Lies - I've heard such great things about that book. Helene is great, isn't she?
      Birdsville - interesting. Might check that one out.

      I know what you mean about mentioning the recent ones - I'm sure I've left a heap off and will remember tomorrow. Maybe this will be a growing list. :)

  2. I mostly do eBooks (so I don't disturb the hubby with the lights on) and there are soooo many fabulous eBook authors out there. Some of my favourites are Nicky Charles' series with her hot and sexy werewolf hero's, don't worry Rachel not too much blood involved!

    1. Riahannon, I love my kindle, but I do read more paper than e - the kindle still strains my eyes a bit if they're already stressed (which they often are after being on a computer all day). I can't wait till technology catches up. :)

      I haven't heard of the Nicky Charles books - thanks for the tip!

  3. Mr surprise fave was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion this year. Love it! Read it just after I broke my arm, and it cheered my up no end. A slightly off-beat romance, very unusual, good fun to read.

    1. Malvina, I heard about The Rosie Project somewhere else as well and thought it sounded interesting. Thanks for the suggestion - it sounds like one I'll need to grab!

    2. Ooh, my book group have chosen The Rosie Project as one of our books for next year. I'm looking forward to it all the more now. :-)

    3. Sounds great, doesn't it? I think I saw a review of it on the USA Today romance blog.

  4. Fab topic, Rach! Glad you're reading Georgette Heyer. I loved Arabella too. And I keep meaning to read a Lisa Kleypas.

    I've read some beauties this year. At the top of my list would be the Sookie Stackhouse series. I'm afraid I'm rather late to that particular party.
    Faking It by Jennifer Crusie (no more needs to be said)
    Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (brilliant!)
    Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins (my first book by her but it won't be my last).

    As for the classics -- not romance -- I read The Inheritors by William Golding. Not an easy read, but one that's stayed with me.

    Also, Untamed by Anna Cowan kind of blew me away. It's not a perfect book by any means, but it was incredibly powerful.

    1. Ah, Jennifer Crusie and Loretta Chase - sublime choices!

      I keep meaning to read a Kristen Higgens, so maybe Somebody to Love will be my first one.

      Oooh, I have a copy of Untamed from the conference. Must dig it out and add to the TBR pile.

  5. Rachel

    I love talking books and I have read some great ones this year so in no particular order

    A Rake's Midnight Kiss Anna Campbell
    London's Last True Scoundrel Christina Brooke
    Darkening Skies Bronwyn Parry
    Kiss of Steel Bec McMaster
    Heart of Iron Bec McMaster
    Half Moon Bay Helene Young
    Close to Home Susanne Ferrell
    The Patrician Joan Kayse
    Allegience Sworn Kyie Griffin
    Secret Reflection Jennifer Brassell
    Heart of Obsidian Nalini Singh

    I better stop LOL I could keep going

    Have Fun

    1. Helen, what a delicious list! I don't think I've read any of those books (though I've read other books by some of the authors). Will definitely be coming back to this list in 2014. Thanks!!

  6. My favorite 2013 books I read:
    True by Erin McCarthy - a New Adult
    Sweet by Erin McCarthy - New Adult
    Fast Forward by Juliet Madison
    The London Deception by Addison Fox
    The Cowboy Next Door by Marin Thomas
    Twins Under the Christmas Tree by Marin Thomas
    How to Get Over Your Ex by Nikki Logan
    My Double Life by Joanne Rock
    A Baby Between Friends by Kathe DeNosky
    Midnight Special by Tawny Weber

    1. Tammy, I only just read How to Get Over Your Ex and thought it was brilliant! Definitely one of the best categories I read this year.

    2. Tammy, another gorgeous list! I love a nice long list like that, full of so many treats. :)

      You've named a few of my favourite authors there, but again, I don't think I've read anything on your list. Must work my way through it! Starting with Nikki Logan's How To Get Over Your Ex - after two recommendations, I'm really looking forward to it. Plus, it's already on my TBR pile!

  7. Errr.. you know there are only 5 books here instead of 10 right, Rach? :-)

    Anyway, people here have named some of my favs. Read The Rosie Project and thought it was great. A real find for me this year was Sandra Antonelli's A basic Renovation and I read my first ever NA - Welcome to Sugartown by Carmen Jenner. Whoa! Great dialogue and banter, dirty/hawt sex scenes but really hard and dark at time too - very powerful voice!
    I was also lucky enough to mentor Avril Tremayne in the SYTYCW2013 comp and her KISS entry Here Comes The Bridesmaid was A. MA. ZING! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll get bought cos it sure as hell deserves to!

    1. Lol, Amy, you're right! Will go and edit that now. Thanks. :)

      Another vote for The Rosie Project. Very cool.

      A Basic Renovation, you say? I have that on my kindle and am very much looking forward to it! Love that you voted for it here.

      Interesting on Welcome to Sugartown - will keep an eye out for it.

      Fingers crossed for your mentee! I'll grab a copy when she sells. :)

  8. Oh, how lovely you picked one of mine, Rachel! Thank you so much! And Helen, you did to. Big mwah!

    So glad you're enjoying the Heyers, R. I find the Jewish scene in The Grand Sophy sadly spoiled the rest of the book for me, but I think they're lovely characters.

    Nice to see Helene's Burning Lies getting lots of attention too. I think she's just getting better and better!

    I'll have to put some thought into my best of 2013. One think I can say - I've read less romance than I think I ever have. Mysteries seem to have become my reading of choice lately although romance is making a late comeback toward the end of the year.

    1. Anna, you know I love Gideon - he's such a fabulous hero!

      Yes, it's a shame about those scenes in The Grand Sophy. I still loved the book, but it's made me more wary when I start one of her books now.

      Very cool about Helene getting mentions all over the place! As a Great Big Fraidy Cat, I can't read a whole one of her books, but I love her writing, and even used an excerpt from one in the writing workshop I gave in Freo. She's fabulous.

      Interesting about the mysteries. I usually do better with them on TV, where I'm not as emotionally involved, than in books. (See earlier comment about GBFC.)

  9. Rachel, what fun, making a list. A couple for me off the top of my head are
    "Burning LIes" by Helen Young. She does a wonderful sense of place and building menace - just right for a thriller.
    Anna Campbell's "A Rake's Midnight Kiss" and Christina Brooke's "London's Last True Scoundrel" - two quite different historicals but each fantastic reading.
    Sarah Morgan's "Sleighbells in the Snow" which was so deliciously lush and Christmassy I just sank into it
    ."To Darkness and To Death" - another brilliant mystery by Julia Spencer Fleming with the most marvellous ongoing romance arching through the series. A note though, Rachel, if you put this on the list definitely start with the first book 'In the Bleak Midwinter' and follow Russ and Clare through the series.
    Hope you get plenty of great books for Christmas!

    1. Anne, isn't Burning Lies the bee's knees? And thank you so much for mentioning Rake! I loved Christina's scoundrel too - smiled the whole way through that one.

    2. Annie, what a lovely bunch of suggestions!

      I've been eying off Sleighbells in the Snow - so this might be the final nudge to jump over and buy a copy.

      Anna Campbell and Christina Brooke do fabulous Regencies, and I haven't read either of the ones you suggested, so they're definitely on the 2014 list.

      Helene is fabulous - so great to see her getting all this recommendation love!

      Interesting about the Julia Spencer Fleming, but it sounds a little dark for me. Maybe I should try to read scary - I seem to be missing out on all these fabulous books!

    3. Rachel

      I have just read Sleigh Bells in the Snow awesome story it is magical go get it you won't be sorry I loved it :)

      Have Fun

    4. Thanks for the extra recommendation, Helen. Looks like it's a must-read!

  10. Great topic, Rachel. Now I just have to remember what I read this year!!! I just finished Helene Young's Border Watch (yes I'm behind, very behind) and I loved it. Also Neil Gaiman's Stardust was a lovely read. The Light Between the Oceans was fantastic. I've read lots of category books, including yours, Rachel. Hmm, what else have I read this year?!?! I'll have to go and look at my bookshelves...

  11. Jenn, I love love the movie of Stardust and have been meaning to read the book. Thanks for the suggestion!

    And another vote for the fabulous Helene Young. :)

    I read a couple of reviews of The Light Between the Oceans and thought it sounded interesting.

    Oh, yes, category reads are another whole post!

  12. I just went to my Goodreads page and pulled the last single title books I gave top ratings:

    No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean - just finished it today and loved it so much! (It came out on Tuesday)

    Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis - Book #4 of her Animal Magnetism series, but can stand alone. If you like humor, animals and hot guys you'll like this book. ;)

    The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins - Another author who does humor and animal filled small town romance so well.

    The Spinster's Secret by Emily Larkin - A regency spinster who secretly writes risqué stories for the newspaper, partly from her imagination and from a secret diary she finds.

    The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley - We've watched Daniel grow up during this series, but this book can totally stand alone. Daniel is an inventor and the h is a fake spiritualist.

    The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins - The h is a pastry chef in her family's bakery and the descriptions alone will have you gaining weight. LOL And I totally have a soft spot for the H, Ethan. *sigh*

    Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis - I love Jill's Lucky Harbor series and she usually puts out books in sets of three so you can read this and not be lost at all. A pastry chef and a hot fireman. His dog Kevin is also a star. Many funny m parts.

    Marcy Shuler

    1. Marcy, it seems like we have similar taste! I've read books from both those Jill Shalvis series and loved them.

      Emily Larkin is one of my favourite authors - her Regencies as Emily May were fabulous. (And she used to be a LoveCat!) I've been meaning to buy The Spinster's Secret, and you've just reminded me.

      The Sarah MacLean and Jennifer Ashley books I haven't read, so I'll pop them on my Christmas wish list. Thanks!

  13. Rachel, you are so kind to put me in such wonderful company! I've had a strange reading year and have been randomly picking up books that I wouldn't normally read. One was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (though I think it would have too much suspense for your liking). I'm currently reading Countering his Claim and am adoring it. Your characters never cease to surprise and amaze me!

    1. Amanda, I wasn't being kind, I was being truthful. Though there are worse things to be called than kind, so I'll accept it. :)

      I've heard about Gone Girl, but it might be safer for me to miss it. Thanks for the tip.

      Oh, you're so sweet for mentioning Luke & Della. Thank you!

  14. Hi Rachel,

    Interesting list. Stand-out single titles for me this year were:

    Burning Lies AND Half Moon Bay by Helene Young
    Time's Echo by Pamela Hartshorne
    Lunch in Paris: A Love Story With Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
    Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell

    1. Oooh, more suggestions! Lovely!

      I've heard you mention your love of Jill Mansell's books before, Claire, so I might need to give them a go. The others sound good too - I'll keep an eye out for them. Thanks!

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