Top 10 of 13

Another reading year is done, and while I failed to finish the one challenge I participated in, the year wasn’t a total bust. I had more slumps than I care for, and made up for it, and ended up burning out again. For me this wasn’t so much a good year for BUYING books, but I did get many new books for free. This was a particularly good year for me book club wise. While I didn’t read every book that was selected, or get to attend every meeting, I did read a good chunk of the book club selections.

So I’m now doing something that I find difficult, and compiling my list of the best 10 books I read this year.

10. Dash and Lily’s book of dares.

I read this book club pick super early because I honestly was dreading reading a christmas book, even at christmas time. But for all my trepidation, I finished it quickly and loved it. I told the girls in book club that it was a perfect mix of how I feel during the holidays. I get excited about the presents (only now it’s imagining my niece’s and nephew’s faces when they get the presents) and seeing all the decorations, but by the time Christmas is here, I’m tired of it and just want it to be over because it’s rammed in our faces from August till after new years. But this book made Christmas magic and I couldn’t put it down.

9, The Song of Achillies.

Another Surprise hit for the year. I went into this one with trepidation as well, but for completely different reasons. I thought that the battle would be boring and dragged out, but it was somehow made into something…not fun, but painless? Entertaining? I don’t know what word I’m looking for here, But it was something I was not expecting.

8. The graveyard book.

When I read this book, I think because it is Gaiman I put it on a pedistal I was expecting it to be good. And it was by no means perfect, but it did completley surpass “good” and went straight into “wonderful”. I Looked back on this book and even the flaws make it unputdownable.

7. Sharp Objects.

When I picked up this book, I knew the hype surrounding it, and Flynn. I was expecting it to be like any other over hyped book and be merely “meh”. But I underestimated it. I was even more pleasantly surprised by Flynn herself. Lady can write grit like a man, and she looks all innocent. She is the example of the “it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for” stigma/stereotype. The book for me was not exactly chilling. More haunting. read it, then replace Camille’s family with your own. Think of your family members acting like Camille’s you will see what I mean.

6. Warm Bodies.

When A lady who has panic attacks just imaging what death is like. thinking about her panic attacks due to thinking what death will be like, tells you to pick up a zombie book and says it’s a good story, trust her. This book takes zobies and doesn’t make them cuddly or even poke fun at them, but it does make them a little less horrifying.

5. Legacy of the clockwork key.

I think the internet has proven that what fandoms have in common is that people LOVE a strong heroine. This book gives people just that, and it does so in a time when women were thought of as weak and had to get married, work as a servent, or become a prostitute. But not only that, this book takes a quickly-losing-it’s-appeal concept and making it a bit exiting again. I like steampunk as much as the next person, but I think that bandwagon has too many passengers, and this book makes it fun again.

4. And then there were none.

I think this book was almost perfect. There is a reason Christie was the queen of mystery in her day and a reason her book sold and still continue to sell like hotcakes. And while this book’s end was ultimatly what keeps it from perfection, one little tweak and it would have achieved a perfection status, it was one of the greats for me.

3. The Madman’s Daughter.

I thought sharp Objects was haunting. This book however is downright scary. It’s not a book I would classify as horror per se, but Shepherd has a way of making her imagry nightmare inducing. And if that is what the re-telling is like, it just shows what the source material has in store for a reader.

2. The Snow child.

This book. Again a book club pick, and again a book I went into nervously, and almost didn’t read because the start was depressing. But It was surprisingly delightful. it’s a case of when the author writes an emotion, you can feel it right along with the character. It takes the everyday hurt and pain of losing a child and turns it into hope. And it reminds you that children are capable of more than you think.

1. Hollow Earth.

What can I say about this book. I really do become an unashamed fangirl when it comes to John Barrowman. Probably wors after meeting him, and him saying I have a wonderful smile, but I really can say that my first 2013 read was a great one, even with all the flaws. The flaws are what made me love it, and let’s face it, if it was perfect, it would be boring. And we can’t have that.

Over all, my year of reading had some greats, and as I look at my new nook (I upgraded from a color to an HD for my birthday) and look at all the reading challenges I want to take part in, and compile my 2014 list, I’m hopeful that I have another great reading year and fall madly in love with more books.

Freud’s Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman

Title: Freud’s Mistress
Author: Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman
Length: 357 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Book club giveaway

What it’s About: (from Goodreads, because I’m failing at putting it in my own words) Minna Bernays is an overeducated woman with limited options. Fired yet again for speaking her mind, she finds herself out on the street and out of options. In 1895 Vienna, even though the city is aswirl with avant-garde artists and writers and revolutionary are still very few options for women besides marriage. And settling is not something Minna has ever done.

Out of desperation, Minna turns to her older sister, Martha, for help. But Martha has her own problems — six young children, a host of physical ailments, a household run with military precision, and an absent, overworked, disinterested husband who happens to be Sigmund Freud. Freud is a struggling professor, all but shunned by his peers and under attack for his theories, most of which center around sexual impulses, urges, and perversions. While Martha is shocked and repulsed by her husband’s “pornographic” work, Minna is fascinated.

Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, an avid reader, stunning. But while she and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.

The Good: The thing I loved about this book is the fact that there supposedly was a real affair between Minna and Freud. It wasn’t just a story line that was made up. It hasn’t been proven, but there is evidence that it happened. I found Minna to be very engaging, and I loved that she went against expectations of women in that time period. Especially when she said she didn’t take a husband by choice. She was engaged, but after her fiancé died, she decided to just not marry. She wasn’t so much outspoken, but she had a gumption about her.

The Bad: I absolutely hated Martha. Not because she was useless, but that is part of it. The thing I hated was the fact that despite having all these servants (i.e. people she paid to be a governess to the children), Martha treated Minna as a servant, and counted on Minna to take care of the children. I get it. I help my sister, and my sister-in-law with their kids a lot of the time, but they don’t just assume I’ll act as a parent for them. Every Mother needs a break, but Martha took it to extremes at times, even at one point, writing in a letter to her sick sister that it was “only fair” that she (Minna) cut her stay at a hospital short, so she could look after her nieces and nephews.

Final Thoughts: I went into this book with a lot of nervousness. I simply can’t imagine being attracted to any of my brother-in-laws. I can certainly appriciate that they are handsome men, but being attracted to them to the point of sleeping with them is just not something I’m able to fathom. That said, I was surprised to get as engrossed in this book as much as I did, despite the trepidation. I can’t wait to meet with the ladies in book club to discuss it and get their views on it.

The Mortal Instruments City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title: The Mortal Instruments City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Length: 485
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: Curiosity

What it’s About: After going to a club and witnessing three teens, Jace, Isabelle, and Alec, kill a demon, she learns that they are shadow hunters. She also learns that she is a shadow hunter, but her mom, having fled that world, has had Clary’s memories erased since the age of two in the hopes that Clary would never know the life of Shadow hunting and down worlders and demons. However, after spending time with Jace, and learning more about the shadow hunting world, it is up to Clary to find the mortal cup and stop Valentine’s plans.

The Good: This book was definitely different from the usual YA that is out there. It had vampires and werewolves, but it had other supernatural beings that I, at least< haven't seen in a lot of YA. I would have liked to see more of them.

The Bad: Where to start? Despite having a strong start, the book went down hill fast. The downhill point for me was when Simon got turned into a rat. Then it got worse. I downright hated Jace. He was to much of a smart ass, and he got on my nerves. He was so insincere with everything. Some parts of the book were too drawn out, and there were some parts that were unnecessary. The book seemed to drag on. And while Some characters I hated, there were some that I felt didn't need to be in the book at all, and some that were so overshadowed that it made me wonder why put them in at all?

Final Thoughts: I was so happy when I reached the halfway mark. I very rarely look forward to a book's ending like I looked forward to this one. I was counting down how many pages I had left. If you haven't read the book, do yourself a favor and skip it. The movie was SO MUCH BETTER.