2013 Wrap-Up: My favorite books this year
Crazy fact of the day: I read 64 NEW books in 2013. That doesn't include the books that I re-read, and there were at least five of those. I guess if I have to have an addiction, reading isn't a bad one to claim. Anyway, as I was scrolling through my kindle list this afternoon, a few of the books really stood out. Books that still stuck with me, even through plus/minus 70 competitors. If they stuck with me, they might stick with you, too!
*Note: I've included the links to each book's Amazon page. This is not necessarily an endorsement of Kindle as your reading platform or Amazon as your bookstore, it's just the one I use. You should be able to find these books at Barnes & Noble or the bookstore of your choice.
Interrupt, by Jeff Carlson Apocalypse averting science fiction, Interrupt is the story of the world facing a reversion to prehistoric days. Solar storms are destroying electronics and scrambling Homo sapiens brain, leaving only the most basic instincts and personality. Protected from the storms by advanced military technology and living in bunkers deep within a mountain, a group of survivors struggles to find answers that will save humanity.
Admittedly there are a few issues with the book, namely a pending war with China that is never fully integrated into the plot, but this was an exciting thriller, fun to read and thought-provoking. I enjoyed every minute.
Cold Steel, by Kate Elliott This is the third and final installment in The Spiritwalker Trilogy, a unique cross-genre steampunk fantasy adventure. After being forced to marry a cold mage, traveling the spirit realm, living in the foreign city of Expedition, and saving her cousin (and herself) from the Wild Hunt, Cat Barahal is now faced with the daunting task of navigating Europan politics while rescuing her husband from her father. I loved this book. It was a fantastic conclusion to Cat's adventures, but still left her enough room to get into to trouble down the road.
You have to start with the first one, though, Cold Magic.
Blood Trade, by Faith Hunter This is the seventh (I think) book in the Jane Yellowrock series, which I adore. If you like gritty urban fantasy with kick-butt (but imperfect) female heroines, you have to give this series a try. In Blood Trade, Jane travels to Natchez, Mississippi to help the master of the city defend against the Naturaleza, rogue vampires that believe humans are nothing more than cattle to be hunted. What she doesn't know could kill her, and her entire team.
If you're not already reading Jane Yellowrock, start with Skinwalker.
How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything, by Mike Berners-Lee If you're curious to know what I used to do for a living, read this book. It's a good primer on carbon accounting, and provides an interesting perspective on the impacts of our purchasing and lifestyle decisions.
Infected, by Scott Sigler CREEPY. And fantastic. A present day science fiction thriller that kept me up at night...for many reasons. The CDC is investigating a strange disease that turns people into murderous, ultimately suicidal, raving lunatics, and results in the inexplicably rapid decomposition of their corpse. What do they have in common? A complex bioengineered parasite beyond known science.
I just discovered there's a sequel. Looks like I have a new book for 2014!
Heart of Obsidian, by Nalini Singh I love, love, love the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh. I've read every single book at least twice, some three or even four times. The series incorporates elements of paranormal romance, science-fiction, and urban/contemporary fantasy into a sweeping sociopolitical epic. Each novel tells the story of one couple coming together during a period of revolution and war.
Heart of Obsidian is about Kaleb Krycheck, a Psy Councilor and one of the most powerful telekinetics in the world. He's a man you want to hate, an anti-hero who you can't help but fall in love with. After years of searching, he finally finds his long-lost only friend, Sahara Kyriakus, and kidnaps her to save her. Together, they take a side in the Psy civil war, and deepen the growing bond between the changelings and Psy renegades. A great installment to the series, Heart of Obsidian not only has a fantastic romance, but advances the overarching story arc of the series, leaving me craving more!
The first book in the Psy-Changeling series is Slave to Sensation, bringing together Lucas Hunter and Sascha Duncan, and sowing the seeds for the Psy revolution.
Legends of Muirwood Trilogy, by Jeff Wheeler The Legends Muirwood Trilogy is a wonderful fantasy adventure set in Muirwood Abbey, a center of learning for the nobility and magically talented. Lia is a kitchen servant who wishes for nothing more than to study at the Abbey, to learn how to read and write and to become a Maston - a user of magic and (essentially) a knight of the realm. When injured squire Colvin is dropped at the door of the kitchen, Lia chooses to hide him from the authorities, and in so doing sets herself on a path to discover her heritage, and her destiny. I think one reviewer said it best, The Legends of Muirwood is "Star Wars meets King Aurthur." Very enjoyable.
So there you go, seven book recommendations from 64 read this year. If you've read any of them, leave a comment and let me know what you thought! If you haven't, I hope you pick one up to read in 2014. Nothing beats a good book!