Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read in 2013

This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is "Top Ten Books I Read in 2013" you know, just to keep things easy. I didn't read a TON of books that were actually published in 2013, so I'm going to include a couple that I've only read part of but not finished. They'll be at the bottom.

Here goes nothing!

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I can't recommend anything by Rainbow Rowell enough. Such beautiful writing!

2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
This was such a sweet, touching story. It's not an all-time fave, but I'm glad I read it.

3. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This was like a YA version of my favourite show, Criminal Minds, so for that alone I'm a fan. But I was also totally into the premise, and can't wait for #2 to learn more about the characters!

4. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I enjoyed this book - it wasn't uber deep, and was full of things I didn't quite buy, but the character development was good and the story was cute and entertaining. It was a quick read, too, so good if you're looking for a light afternoon of reading!

5. Agent 21: Codebreaker by Chris Ryan
I liked this best out of the Agent 21 series so far. Less plot holes and inconsistencies, set in London (my FAVE place in the whole world) and smacked of my favourite British espionage TV show, Spooks (aka MI-5). Pageturner, edge-of-your-seat thriller.

6. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
 I didn't like this as much as the first book in the series, The Name of the Star, but it was still an enjoyable read, and I'll definitely be first in line for The Shadow Cabinet.

7. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

To be totally honest, this book would have been higher up on the list if it weren't for the (vague spoiler alert) dog incident. If that had happened earlier in the story, I would have DNFed it. Gratuitous animal violence that doesn't even advance the plot? NOT COOL, ROBYN. Not cool.
Also? Why on EARTH change from the original title and cover (above right), both of which were much, much better? I really don't understand people sometimes.

That's only seven,  because I only got back into reading in June and only got into YA books around the same time and have been playing catch-up. So here are a couple other 2013 releases I've started and enjoyed so far.

1. Night Film by Marisha Pessl

This I read about 100 pages of and it has me intrigued but also vaguely confused and possibly a little bit creeped out. So we'll see how it progresses - I like the writing so far, and it certainly has done a good job of ramping up the suspense so far!

2. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I started this a couple of days before Christmas and got about 150 pages into it in a day. I decided to set it aside until after Christmas, though, because it's so well-written and draws me into Theo's experiences so expertly that it was just too much around the holidays. But I'd say that's more of a reason to read it than not - writing that good is worth the pain, right?

3. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

I'm becoming a huge fan of this author. I loved Silver Linings Playbook, and from the beginning of this book I'm going to be just as blown away. I love that he tackles weighty topics (like mental illness, loss and suicide) but that he manages to do so with a sort of cock-eyed optimism that leaves the reader actually feeling better, not worse. It's a rare gift, and one I value immensely in my reading materials.

So that's it, my best books of the year! Did you read any of these? What books did you love in 2013? Share in the comments!


  1. Rainbow Rowell is a favourite author this year, I didn't get to her this year but loved Attachments last year.

    1. Isn't she amazing? I'm always overwhelmed by emotion but unable to stop reading with her books! I'm saving Attachments because I don't want to have no more Rowell on the shelf, but I've read the first couple of chapters and loved it so far. Can't wait for Landline!

  2. Thanks for visiting my Christmas Book Haul.

    I have quite a few of the books on your list, which I've to catch up with for various reasons. But now, you've added more for my Wish List. Thank goodness for Amazon vouchers. :D

    "The Rosie Project" sounds like an old-fashioned rom-com film, whilst I loved "Silver Linings Playbook" (both the film and the book), so "Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock" is a bit of a no brainer.

    Thanks for introducing more books to me. Have a Happy New Year.

    New Twitter and Blog follower.

    1. I know, right? The only down side (well, depending how you look at it) of the book community is that my wish list grows by about a mile a week!

      The Rosie Project was rom-com-ish, but with a bit of a twist, which I liked. Mostly I enjoyed the characters, which is important for me. I'm hoping Simsion will keep writing, because I think he'll just get better! Matthew Quick is fantastic. I love the simplicity of his writing, masking a depth of human experience that sticks with me after I finish the book. Great writing.

      I hope you have a happy new year as well, and thank you for stopping by! Followed you and heading over to your top ten post now!

  3. None of these is on my list, but Fangirl is on the top of my TBR list for 2014 :)
    Happy New Year! :D
    Top 10 Books I Read in 2013! :)
    One Million Pages

    1. Word to the wise - don't start Fangirl until you've got a chunk of time to read uninterrupted, because you won't be able to put it down!

      Happy New Year to you as well!

  4. Ooh great list! So many books I need to read :) I'm particularly excited about reading This Song Will Save Your Life and Fangirl. Heard so many good things about them.

    1. This Song Will Save Your Life was cute, definitely entertaining. But Fangirl.... now that book was something special! I'm a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell. If you haven't read Eleanor & Park yet, I'd recommend that one as well!

  5. Fangirl is on my list too, without a doubt on of my favorites this year. This Song Will Save Your Life is on my to read list, heard a lot of things about it so really looking forward to it :)

    1. I went with just 2013 releases for this post, which is why TSWSYL made it. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely a sweet story, with an interesting main character. It just wasn't mind blowing. Just so you go into it with reasonable expectations! That said, though, some bloggers LOVED it. So it could go either way for ya!

      Heading over to check out yours now, and thanks for stopping by! :)

    2. Ah I see, I tend to try and not listen too much to other peoples views on books because I have big expectations and it almost never lives up. Last time I read something purely on how much people raved about it was the Trylle series and I really didn't like it all that much haha.

      & you are welcome, and thank you :)

    3. thought I replied but obviously not haha. Was just going to say that I try not to read into others expectations too much as the last time I went purely on recommendation alone it was with Trylle series, bought all 3 thinking I would like it and ended up being disappointed.

      you a welcome & thank you :)

    4. I haven't heard of the Trylle series, but I'll be sure to avoid it! Yeah, I find that personal preference really plays a huge role in reading. What one person loves another will think is boring or ridiculous... so I try not to push my opinions on people or make them feel like they shouldn't like things that I didn't. For every book out there, there are readers who love it. Which is how it should be.

      Oh, and sorry about that - I have moderation set up on my comments because that way I get an email whenever there's a new comment so I won't miss any! It does mean it won't show up right away, though. Which can be annoying for you guys!

      Also love your blog (followed it) and will be sure to keep an eye on your reviews! :)

    5. oh now, please don't avoid it just because I don't like it. It might be one of those series that you end up liking. Completely agree with you , there are a lot of books that I'm in love with that others don't share the same enthusiasm for.

      that's fine, I'm having a spazz night so just assumed it didn't send when I posted it :)

      thank you, I toke nearly a year out for personal reason's and I'm just trying to get back on track with it, I'm really not that good yet. Hopefully I don't have to take time away next year.
      & I've followed you too :).

    6. Well from what I can tell you've got great taste. Plus I hadn't heard of it and my TBR list is longer than Santa's naughty list as it is!

      As you can probably tell, my book blog has been pretty on-and-off too. Whenever I got busy or stopped having fun I'd take a break. I feel like it's healthy to do that - as much as blogging is great, it's gotta be fun, y'know? Besides, it's not like we're paid to do it, and we've all got real life to deal with. (As much as we'd prefer to spend our time lost in a book!) For what it's worth, I think you're doing a great job as a book blogger - so I hope you keep with it!

    7. why thank you , I think you have great taste too, but it would be silly to purposely avoid it on my opinion :). haha I hear you, I have 400+ books on my TBR on goodreads and its just growing all the time

      I know exactly what you mean, what I found hard at the start was reading a book because I felt like I should review it, and getting stressed when I couldn't get it in on time, it become less fun for me and more of a chore, but since coming back I've tried to not take it as serious.
      I'd love to get lost in a book 24/7 but I have a toddler that demands attention :P.

      Thank you, you are very sweet, its nice to know at least one person thinks I'm doing a good job. I think you are too, I really like your reviews :)

    8. Oh man, I'm pretty sure Goodreads cringes and hides whenever I log in - I have about three times that on my TBR list! And adding more every day....

      Yeah, I hate it when I feel like I'm doing homework. That's not what I want from book blogging. Though free books are great, I'll very rarely accept review copies because then I feel like I have to read them and subsequently don't want to anymore. Even if they're great. If I get books for myself, I only have myself to answer to. And even though I like reading the "it" books that everyone's talking about so I know what's what, I also think it's good for bloggers to read less popular books. How else are we going to discover hidden gems if we all read the same thing? So I try to mix it up a bit. This year has been a lot of YA because I just discovered the genre. I'm planning to do more of a variety of books in the coming year.

      I'm sure lots of people are fans - how could they not be? :) I say keep it up, and just write what you'd want to read. Also can I just take a moment to say that I'm amazed that you manage to find time to not only read but to maintain a blog as well? I'm not a mum, but from the mums I know, that's not an easy thing to do. I'm pretty convinced that all parents are superheroes!

    9. Well goodreads is there for that reason so why not use it to its full advantage? ;). I've only been properly using it for a year or two so I'm dreading to see where my TBR list will be in a few years.

      couldn't agree more with you, that's why I like reading series a few years if not a lot of years after they first come out so that I can read them in my own time and the majority of people have already been there and done that. It feels more special to me if I'm discovering it on my own time. YA has always had a big hold on my heart. It's all I really read right now but plan on reading at least 30 books from different genre's next year.

      haha I'm not a superhero, although it's not the first time someone has called me that. I do most of my book blogging at night, while she sleeps and my partner is out working (he's a doorman so works nights). The trick I found that works best, is writing up the review or post in general at night and putting it on a schedule for the next day. If I tried to do it through the day I would get nothing done. Unfortunately I still read a lot more than I get to review haha

    10. Yeah, I have to cull the list every once in awhile though. I add every book I hear about or run across that I find even remotely interesting, and looking back a few months later I can't even remember half the books I added!

      So true! I actually ended up reading the Harry Potter series after the first couple of movies came out (I'm in my 30s now, so I was a bit old for the series when it was published - man I wish they'd been around when I was a kid) and it felt like that. Like I was discovering this whole world that I wanted to just live in forever. The Fault In Our Stars was like that too - it's the book that got me reading again post-university burnout and that also got me into YA books, which I'm so grateful for!

      Sounds like you've got a system that works for you. I'm also jealous that you read faster than you blog - I always have the opposite problem! On the plus side if you take notes as you read you'll have backup books to discuss if you ever don't have time to read enough. Whenever I get ahead I stockpile reviews for those down times!

    11. Same, although I do read a portion of my TBR list every year so sometimes a book isn't on there for too long.

      Ah, the Harry Potter series, those books. Nothing compares to them in my eyes. I'm only 24 so the 5th book came out while I was in high school, and at the time I wasn't a reader at all because I've always had this complex about reading in public and after so many teachers trying to force me to read upfront in class, it made me stay clear of books. Until I finally decided to give them a shot, they (along with another series) made me the reader I am today :). I am a full believer though that you are never too old to read them or YA ;) (maybe its just something I tell myself to justify it as I get older haha)

      Yeah, it seems to work. I've only started doing it and it works so much better than trying to fit a review while I get a few minuets to myself haha. You would think its a good thing but the 7 books I have yet to review since come back to blogging says different.
      I've just started taking notes ever like 10 chapters, so that when I go to write the review a few days after I'm not left scratching my head as to what happened.

    12. I generally read a few from the TBR pile, but not nearly as many as I add, and not as many as new books!

      I think it's wonderful that you found books that made you love reading. I don't think there should be any rules about reading. I think you should read what you enjoy - whether it's Dostoyevsky or Goodnight Moon. Whatever. I'll be re-reading the Harry Potters for the rest of my life. And YA.

      Yeah, without notes I'd be lost. I suppose you can always skip reviewing books you don't have something you really want to say about. Just review the ones you really liked or didn't like? Man, there are some books I just struggle so hard to review. Actually, nevermind, that's pretty much all of them!

    13. Same, but I'm trying to add more books to the list as and when I get them so I know I have more of a chance or reading them, you know?

      yeah, I feel the same way :). I don't think there should be a limit, read what makes you happy. Everyone is different after all.

      Yeah I'm going to do it like that from now on, some of the ones I'm due to review though I really liked so in the next few days going to do drafts of like 3 of them to get them at the way haha.
      I know how you feel, the only time I don't find it hard is when the book annoyed me so much that I could go on forever. I had that with a book last year haha.

    14. Man, it's so hard, though! I have all these intentions to read books I've had kicking around for YEARS, but then I discover a new book or one I've been waiting for is released and I'm like, "Oh, SHINY!" And that's about all it takes.

      I'm so glad I don't abide by the rules, because I would have missed out on so much if I didn't read YA/kids books. Harry Potter! The Fault In Our Stars! Eleanor & Park! Fangirl!

      I actually find it harder to review a book when I didn't like it most of the time. Well, unless it was SO bad. I guess it's because I have a lot of respect for the time and effort that goes into writing a book, and I know that the author has poured countless hours (sometimes years) into writing it. So I have a hard time tearing it apart, even if I didn't think the end product stacks up. I'm also super aware that by putting my opinions on the internet, I'm making it possible for the author to see it, or even just for other readers to be affected (in whatever small way) by my own personal views. Yeah, I'm a tiny blog and the chances are small, but you never know. And I hate the idea of making someone feel bad, you know?

    15. haha I know you how feel, I'm very much like a magpie in the book store :P

      Those books are enough reason for anyone to ignore the rules if I do say so myself.

      no, I agree, I have been known to be overly critical in the past but I try and save most of the bad comments about a book to talking to my partner, even though he has no idea what I'm talking about. There is only one book that I know I completely ripped in to , but it was such an awful book, and yes in a way I feel bad for it because like you said blood, sweat and tears has gone in to the book by the author, but I'm not the only one who feels that way.

  6. YES! This Song Will Save Your Life was fantastic - it was like THIS close to making my top 10 list. Have you read Leila Sales others? Mostly Good Girls is one of my all time favorites.

    1. Haha! I was just talking about that one - I enjoyed it, but it mostly made the list because I didn't read a ton of books released in 2013! Otherwise I think it would have been more top 15-20. I haven't read her other books, but I'll check that one out now that you've recommended it! Thanks for stopping by, and heading over to check out your list now! :)

  7. I loved Fangirl and included it on my list as well. I haven't read any of the others, but several are on my TBR list. I'm happy to see that you enjoyed them.

    Here is my TTT: http://jacquesbooknook.blogspot.com/2013/12/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-books-i-read-in.html

    1. Yeah, Fangirl kinda snuck up on me. Love Rowell's writing, so I knew it'd be well written, but I didn't expect to love the story or characters anywhere near as much as I did. Amazing.

  8. GREAT POST....thanks for sharing.

    I need to read FanGirl and GoldFinch.

    Happy New Year!! Nice blog...I have never visited. Going to take a look around.

    Happy New Year!!

    Silver’s Reviews

    Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Stop by to see what some authors do about New Year's Resolutions.

    Author Resolutions

    1. Yeah, both of those are worth checking out for sure!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I'm reading The Naturals in January for a book club that I'm a part of, and I'm so happy to see that you loved it so much! I've also recently started watching Criminal Minds so YESSSS.

    Happy New Year!

    1. OMG Criminal Minds. SO GOOD. I'd recommend starting with the first season and watching through, because it's all amazing and you get to see the characters evolve. Though whatever you do, DON'T watch them all marathon-style, particularly if you're on painkillers. I made that mistake after having back surgery and it ended up with me checking all closets and possible hiding places repeatedly and showering with my eyes open. Which stings, in case you're wondering. The Naturals was pretty good - not as good as Criminal Minds, of course, but good enough to be intriguing. Also if you're interested in reading CM-type books, you could check out Mindhunter by John Douglas. Jack Crawford from The Silence of the Lambs was based on him, and I believe he also started the profiling unit at the FBI and inspired some of the episodes of CM. It's not for the faint of heart, but it was gripping to read!

  10. I also fell in love with Rainbow Rowell this year! For the first time in a long time, I am EAGERLY awaiting an author's next release..I cannot wait for Landline! I am also really intrigued by Naturals...I really love Criminal Minds!! And I just got Night Film for Christmas so hopefully I can start in on that soon! happy new year!

    1. Me too! I hadn't read any of her books before this year. Honestly I mostly picked up Eleanor & Park because I loved the cover. I thought it would be entertaining, but I was in NO WAY prepared for all the feels. Have been rationing out her books - waited a few months before reading Fangirl and am holding Attachments back for when I just can't wait any longer. I'm right there with you - can't wait for Landline!

      I was just chatting to Amber (comment up above this one) about CM. It is my all-time fave show. I was recommending that she check out Mindhunter by John Douglas, he was sort of the original profiler and inspired a lot of fictional ones. He went after a lot of the most notorious killers and I think he pretty much started the profiling unit. Really good read (though definitely on the creepy side, since it's true stories and they're as horrifying as CM, if not more so).
      Night Film has a bit of a dark/creepy edge to it as well. I've only read a little bit, so I'm not sure where the plot will go, but there is a sinister undertone to the story that will likely appeal to CM fans! If you get through it before I do, let me know what you think!

  11. About to start The Goldfinch - glad to see it on so many 'Best of 2013' lists!

    1. Yeah, it's definitely well written. The plot doesn't always move quickly, but it doesn't drag either. You really get into the main character's head. Not really happy book though, so make sure you're in the mental space for it when you dive in!

  12. Fangirl was one of my favorites as well!

    I have considered reading The Naturals several times, but I always seem to have something else I HAVE to read first. Hopefully I can get to it in 2014.

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT! New GFC Follower :)

    1. The great thing about The Naturals is that it's a super fast read. Two days tops. It's a good one to have on the TBR stack in case you're ever at a loose end!

      Thanks and followed you back! :)

  13. Great haul! Lots of amazing books on your list - This Song Will Save Your Life made my list too. I really want to read Fangirl, I've heard so many amazing things. Great picks :) My TTT.

    1. Oh you should definitely give Fangirl a try! Rowell's writing is amazing and her books tend to be so much better than you'd think from the blurbs. I don't know why, but her blurbs are so "meh" and her books are so amazing. So don't judge this one by its write-up, cover or title. It's so, so much more!

      Thanks for stopping by - heading over to yours now!


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