Friday, 3 January 2014

Susana's 2013 Best Reads

Since 2014 has just started, I think this is the right time for some sort of reading balance regarding the year that has passed.
In the previous year I read 170 stories. Of course some of them were shorts....
Amongst those books, i found some favorites ;)
So here they are!

Please note that these are books that I read in 2013, not books that were released in the previous year.

World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)

                                                                 World After
Honestly I don't know what more I can say about this book!
Without a doubt my favorite in the year that's passed.

In The Forests of Serre
                                      In the Forests of Serre by Patricia A. Mckillip

I read that this book is a retelling of the Russian legend "The Firebird".
Not being acquainted with that legend, I'm afraid I cannot make comparisons. I can however try to express, how much I loved this book!

The little I can say about this story, (for which I just can't find the proper words) is that the author is a master craft in her genius.

I think I may have mentioned this _ on another review on some other book by this author_, but for me, McKillip's writing style is the only kind of poetry that I truly enjoy.
The words are just beautifully chosen, and they fit perfectly, just like pieces in a puzzle...

All the books that I've read by this author have been exquisite, not only by the stories they tell, but also, by the words that are chosen to do it.

In this one, the author creates a magnificent tapestry of words, dreams, and sadness, interwoven with magical beings and very earthly wishes. In it, we have princes who have lost their hearts, a wizard blinded by his wishes, a princess who's not ready to give up, an evil witch who likes to make broth out of people's marrows, and a firebird of incomparable beauty... and power..

A treat for all of those who don't mind being held captive for a few hours in a enthralling tale.

And keeping with the tradition, the cover of this book, is just beautiful. And so faithful to the characters and all the elements in the book. The artist's work is truly amazing. I haven't seen this kind of perfection in many other book covers...

Estrada Vermelha, Estrada de Sangue

                                                 Blood Red Road by Moira Young
I  wasn't sure if i would be able to read this book, because of its famous writing style...
In the end, I ended up reading it in two voices: the translated one, that helped getting me into the story, and the original one, that I ended up enjoying.

A post apocalyptic adventure, with likeable characters, and very fast paced. What more could I ask?
Well, maybe that, instead of a trilogy, it had only been written as a stand alone book. You see, I've already read the second one, and I honestly didn't enjoy it all that much.
Love triangle with an insane guy in the middle of it...

Here's the review I wrote at the time I read it:
I really liked this story. It had one of the strongest female characters that I've ever read about... imagine a badass, short-tempered Katniss... and you'll get a picture of what Saba is like...

Regarding the story, maybe I'm just being picky, but I felt that as a dystopia (post-apocalyptic one) it needed more background information. It feels a little vague...
What happened to the world? Why the name "wreckers"? Why the figure of the King? Why did the Tontons need him? And why choose the "Sun King" figure?

 But as an adventure story, it certainly delivered. Most of the times, the book is intense and action packed.

Taking place in the future, this has a somewhat "Mad Max" meets "Hunger Games" meets "Gladiator" feeling to it.
The visual of the wastelands, the population is barely surviving, due to the inclement weather.
It is in this situation, that a family lives. Twins, Saba and Lugh, their younger sister, Emmi, and their father. The kids mother died giving birth to Emmi, and for this, Saba hasn't forgiven her younger sister.

This is a book with strong (sometimes stubborn...) female characters. Take Saba, for instance. She has this twisted notion of herself, that she has to come second to Lugh. She says that "he's her sun". She doesn't think she's worth anything besides being Lugh's twin.

So when she starts out, she's hard and a sometimes mean character to her sister. So I have to say, that I thought it was very well done, the development that she undergoes as a human being. As a friend, as a sister, and as someone who does has a heart.

Jack... smart-ass Jack, who hides some mysteries, well he provided just the right amount of amusing and intense moments to the book... just like Saba, the author created a very interesting character. I just loved their interactions...

I don't want to give any more spoilers, so I will just say, that if you like strong female characters, with kick-ass action, and a romance  in which the couple is trying to drive the other one insane, this is for you. (If you don't mind the different writing..)

I’m sorry, I says.
Fer what? he says.
Fer always bein … you know … so—
Ungrateful? he says.
Yeah, I says.
I guess so.
Rude? Pig-headed? Violent?
I ain’t violent!
Oh yes, you are. Very. But I like that in a woman.
I laugh. Yer crazy, I says.
I was fine till I met you, he says.

The only thing I didn't especially like in this story, was the (SPOILER ) "heartstone" detail. A stone, that in this book  can indicates his keepers hearts desires, by getting warmer.... O_0
I had no problems with the worms. More a sci-fi scenario, but I thought it was well developed. But the stone thing, not so much....o.O

The famous writing, well, at the beginning it seemed that I wasn't going to have any problems with it.
But after a while I got a little tired of it, so I started with the translated version in my language.

In it, the originality of the writing was practically ignored, but at times it did get easier to read.
But, yeah, I admit, other times, I kind of missed it... so, yes, undecided much, I know!

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)

                                                      Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

A story that made me laugh like an idiot...
I honesty wasn't expecting much of this, having already been traumatized by books of the same genre..*cough immortals*
But this one proved to be a great surprise!
Yes, it is funny. The main character doesn't take herself too seriously, and she is capable of saying the most unexpected things at the most inconvenient times.

Or maybe they were staring at me as I tried to discreetly wipe sweat from between my breasts without appearing to get to second base with myself. Hard to say.

Of Beast and Beauty

                                                          Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
Great writing and a fantastic twist to one of the most beloved fairy tales!
From my review:

"Of Beast and beauty" is a magical dark tale, where appearances can be deceiving, and where there's more danger to roses than their thorns...

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, #1)Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts, #2)Home (Downside Ghosts, #3.6)

                                            Stacia Kane "Unholy Ghosts" series 

Yes, series, as in I love all the books that Stacia Kane has written featuring Chess and Terrible!
Great world building and amazing characters make this series one of my top three favorites. Of course it's a kind of bittersweet joy when I read these books, because they just break my heart.

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Here's the review I wrote once I finished the book...
I know! O_O It seems that I'm five years old....

Loved the story, and all the new characters! Wolf, Scarlet, Thorne....and did I mention <b>Wolf?</b> ;)
Cinder and Iko, continue to be great as well!

Soooo, can I have the next one... like now?


Oh, this is going to be a loooooong wait! :(


This is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

With an unforgettable voice, the author tells us a story of monsters and of horror. But in it, not all monsters are zombies and the cruellest acts can come from the people that should keep us safe.

I woke up and the last piece of my heart disappeared.
I opened my eyes and I felt it go.

Urban Shaman  (Walker Papers, #1)                  Mountain Echoes (Walker Papers, #8)

                                                Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy

Another series that I started reading this year, and which is bound to leave me sad once it's finished.
I just love Joanne and her intense _although at times confusing _ shaman world.

From my review of Urban Shaman:

I wasn't sure where that badge was. I remembered they'd given me one when I graduated from the police academy, but my best guess was that it was in my sock drawer. Or possibly in the glove
compartment of my car. Or maybe in the junk drawer in the kitchen. I slunk out while the debate about whether I was really a cop heated up.

Her boss doesn't know what to do with her... well he would've liked to see her fired... and then again, maybe not...

"Jesus," Morrison said in mystified horror, "don't tell me you're crying."
"It's my contacts," I snarled.
"Thank God. You never struck me as the weepy sort."

 She's just got a new best friend, and when she goes to sleep, most of the times she ends up having long conversations with a Coyote, her spiritual guide.

Coyote smiled. I didn't know dogs could smile. "I'm not a dog," he said(..)

                                                           From Mountain Echoes:

Action packed intense, riveting, ( flying MUSTANGS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! AND I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT HORSES, BUT JOANNE'S "PETITE"!) emotional, (yeah, it made me cry! o.O) romantic (Morrison, YAY!!!) funny (Joanne's drives her spirit animals insane)!!

Roses and Black Glass: a dark Cinderella tale

                                                    Roses and Black Glass by Lani Lennore

I loved this book! It was intense, dark and unforgettable!

“Looks like one of the corpses is walking again,” she said flatly to herself.
A warm, admiring smile formed slowly on his lips, but she stood firm, unfazed by his actions of fondness.
“Who are you?” she asked. “You’re trespassing.”
“I’m just a curious fellow,” he informed her, taking a few steps closer.
“Well, Mr. Curious, I think you’ve wandered off in the wrong direction. Unless of course you have an appointment with the scalpel,” she said, holding up the shiny metal instrument that had been in her hand.

See? This is how love stories are written!
How could he resist? He's so bored, he doesn't even care if the girl vaguely resembles a Reaper...

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)

                                                           Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

Kami, Jared and Angela.... oh and Angela's brother... do I need to say more? lol
Of course I loved it!

                    Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)              Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)

Under the Never Sky and Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

A series that I've loved since day one! Can I just say, how I can't wait to get my hands on the third volume?

From my review of "Under The Never World"

Now that I've finished this tale, I feel like re-reading it once again...

From my review of "Through The Ever Night":

I think this one was even better than the first one!! It started kind of slow, but <b>OH MY GOD</b> then in the last chapters it become so intense and riveting and....I DON'T KNOW!! 
My heart is pounding like a maniac in my chest! And I feel like crying and laughing at the same time!! o.O

Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, #1)

                                                        Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

From my review:

Told in a magical prose, Cobweb Bride is an magnificent tale that will appeal to fans of Patricia A. Mckillip works as well as Juliet Marillier "Heart's Blood".

Set in a imaginary world in Seventeen century Renaissance, "Cobweb Bride" starts with an earth shattering premise:

Looking for his Bride, Death makes an ultimatum: No one will die, until she is found...

Chimes at Midnight (October Daye, #7)
Chimes At Midnight by Seanan Mcguire

From my review:

Honestly this is one of those cases where i get all: OH, THIS WAS SO GOOD!! (both "fangirling" while simultaneously caps-lock(ing) A LOT!
Yes, I have a big stupid smile on my face...and I'm trying not to resort to a vast number of gifs!!

Mistress of the Wind

Mistress of the Wind by Michelle Diener

Author Michelle Diener takes this re-telling to another level. 
She doesn't restrict herself to East of the Sun, West of the moon retelling. 
Instead we are also given parts reminiscent of Psyche's quest. Which just allowed for a much more richer story. I loved reading about the Norse mythology.

And yours?
Which were your favorite reads in 2013?

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