Top 5 Books of 2013

It has been a great year of books and I’m counting down the top 5 in 5 different categories from the list of books I’ve read this year leading up to my most anticipated reads of 2014 on New Year’s Day.

5. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves

I loved this book. It focused on a different Raven Boy that we didn’t get to know as much in the last book and the pacing/writing was consistently awesome with the last book as well. I was afraid that it would ruin the momentum of the first book because the first book felt like it could stand on its on rather than have three additional books following after it. I do think Stiefvater has a plan and I really want to continue to be on the hunt for Glendower with the gang.

4. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling)

jk-rowling-the-cuckoos-calling

It was a surprise for everyone to hear that J.K. Rowling secretly wrote and published a mystery novel. This was my first post-Harry Potter I’ve read from her and it shows readers that you can’t keep this kick ass writer in a box. It’s a fresh take on the mystery with characters you want to get to know. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read all year.

3. Game by Barry Lyga

Game

Me: “Hey. Don’t leave just yet. I’m almost done this book and I’m too scared to be alone.”

Brother: “You’re so weird. It’s a book. If it scares you, close it.”

Some people just don’t the power of words. Barry Lyga knows the power of words and wrote the most scary sequel in his I Hunt Killers series. He’s so powerful that he got this scared reader excited for Book 3.

2. Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas 

mother mother

Zailckas knows how to write. She wrote this book in two perspectives – both from Violet and her 10 year old brother – to tell the story of a monster of a mother. I’d be mad for not having this on my list.

1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab/Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

viciousfangirl

Is it a cop out to have 2 books as your #1  thus making it a top 6? No. I tried guys but both of these books kicked butt in 2 completely different ways. One is Adult. One is Young Adult. One is about the super powered and the murky grey between good and evil. The other is about a young woman who’s a freshman in college trying to figure out her place as a writer, sister, daughter and individual. One was about my love about all things superheroes/villains and the other was basically who I was and still kind of am while in University. It helps that they’re both magnificent writers and I hope to read more of their stuff.

Those are my Top 5 reads. What are yours?

A. A. Omer

Top 5 Surprises of 2013

It has been a great year of books and I’m counting down the top 5 in 5 different categories from the list of books I’ve read this year leading up to my most anticipated reads of 2014 on New Year’s Day.

5. Another Little Piece

another little piece

I don’t normally read a book before reading the synopsis of what it’s all about but the synopsis for this book was so sparse that I went in blind. What came of that was a surprising read where I couldn’t predict what would happen next and had me guessing what type of story it was throughout. Definitely one of the most surprising reads of 2013.

4. The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves

I loved The Raven Boys so I wasn’t surprised that The Dream Thieves would be just as good. I was surprised how much of Ronan’s character got fleshed out in the book as being one of the primary focuses along with the surprising reveals. This series thus far has been a lot of fun for readers to guess what Stiefvater has planned.

3. How To Lead A Life of Crime

How to Lead a Life of Crime

It was surprising how good this stand alone was but it was more shocking that it was pushed a lot more than it was. I think this was one of Penguin’s best young adult books and missed opportunity for a larger marketing campaign. I don’t believe in “boy books” and “girl books” but it’s a book that I would recommend boys that don’t read as much but want to get into reading (Like my brothers).

2. Linked

linked

It’s rare to see a positive female relation as the main subject in a young adult book let alone a sibling relationship. Female best friends and siblings are usually relationships that aren’t developed much, take a back seat to romance (*cough* love triangles *cough*) or are presented negatively (i.e. the frenemy). To have a story that was primarily about sisters with a romance that was 0.002% important to the story was a great surprise and I’m so happy to have read this book. I have a younger sister and my closest friends are girls so I would love to see more of those relationships.

1. Fangirl

fangirl

I was so incredible surprised by this book. I expected that it would be good given that I was already a fan of Attachments and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell but I was surprised at how much I saw myself in the character of Cath. Outside of her Fanfiction writing, I was that girl during my first year of post-secondary trying to reconcile high school and being an “adult” as well as having my family as a foundation/anchor. I already talked about this over at The Toast in a piece I wrote so I won’t blab on but this is why Fangirl is my number one surprise of 2013.

We all have that book(s) that surprised us. What was yours?

A. A. Omer

Top 5 Badass Female Characters of 2013

It has been a great year of books and I’m counting down the top 5 in 5 different categories from the list of books I’ve read this year leading up to my most anticipated reads of 2014 on New Year’s Day.

There’s more than one way to be a badass than just being able to physically kick ass and these fictional women  exemplify that. 

5. Blue (THE DREAM THIEVES by MAGGIE STIEFVATER)

The Dream Thieves

She’s the sole girl in the search for Glendower and she holds her own against the Raven Boys. Whether it’s not taking any shit, working at a part time job to save some cash or brilliantly interrogating her mother’s potential suitors, Blue is a real badass. It’s no surprise given that she was raised my an awesome single mom with the help of her psychic female friends and relatives. Our love for Blue is amplified in this sequel.

4. Delilah Dirk (DELILAH DIRK & THE TURKISH LIEUTENANT by TONY CLIFF)

Delila

The title character of this wonderful graphic novel, it’s no surprise that Delilah makes the list. She’s an adventurer who takes on the calm, quiet life and tea loving Turkish Lieutenant, Selim, on the ride of his life. She’s a great swordsman, she can escape from any prison and has a flying boat. A FLYING BOAT. She’s the Doctor Who of this story which makes us love her more.

3. Aurora West (BATTLING BOY by PAUL POPE)

battleing boy

Despite the fact that she’s barely in this graphic novel, Aurora West made a huge impact and I’m twice as excited for her own graphic novel coming out in 2014. With her superhero father killed, Aurora deals with the loss and tries to take on the mantle of Acropolis’ hero. I can’t wait to read more of her.

2. Cath (FANGIRL by RAINBOW ROWELL)

fangirl

Cath is in her first year of college and deals with A LOT. Her father, a single dad, has a mental illness. Her twin and best friend wants space to be her own person. She’s living away from home and is required to be more out there as a person who would rather write her fanfiction. She has a creative writing Professor who wants her to write original content and doesn’t see her fanfiction – the one thing SHE feels she’s good at – as original. Cath is a normal college freshman who deals with difficult real life stuff and triumphing over them makes her a badass.

1. Violet (MOTHER, MOTHER by KOREN ZAILCKAS)

mother mother

Having survived a stint in the asylum and the abusive living situation at home, Violet gets out of it through the simplest of solutions: communication. Violet may not be an expert swordsman or grew up with a family of psychics but she was a hero in her own right. She took on a monster that was someone who was supposed to be her biggest protector. She’s a badass through and through.

Who were your picks for badass female characters?

A. A. Omer

Top 5 Antagonists of 2013

It has been a great year of books and I’m counting down the top 5 in 5 different categories from the list of books I’ve read this year leading up to my most anticipated reads of 2014 on New Year’s Day.

5. Eli/Victor/Serena (VICIOUS by V. E. SCHWAB)

vicious

They’ve all been antagonists in one or another in Vicious but what made them really stand out was the complexity behind the individuals that we normally see as “bad”. What Schwab does really well is given them motivations that we see in real life like warping religion to fit your needs and justifications. They’re not bad the entire time which makes them the baddies that you sometimes want to root for which is why Eli, Victor and Serena share the 5th spot on the list.

4. Billy Dent (GAME by BARRY LYGA)

Game

I have never been so scared while reading a book and that was mostly due to Game’s resident psychopath, Billy Dent. When he’s not scarring his son for life by teaching him the ways of being a serial killer, he’s off freaking the crap out of readers doing what he does best *shivers*. I’m both terrified and excited to see more of Dent in the next book and secretly praying that there’s no way for literary characters to escape from the page…

3. Eleanor’s Step-Father: Richie (ELEANOR & PARK by RAINBOW ROWELL)

Eleanor & Park

Nothing is scarier than real life monsters which the next three antagonists very much are. Eleanor & Park was such a beautiful story that dealt with a lot of real life issues including abuse and the star asshole is none other than Eleanor’s step-father, Richie. Without giving too much away, Richie makes home life for Eleanor, her siblings and mother really hard through abuse whether physical or psychological. Throw in poverty and it makes for a really difficult situation to get out of.

2. Josephine (Mother, Mother by Koren Kailckas)

mother mother

Mothers are usually the most important figures in our lives and what they do often shapes who we are. That’s a scary thought if your mother is the most destructive person in your life. Josephine is a narcissist who does everything she can to have control and attention. This leads to a daughter who runs away, another daughter who lands in a psych ward, a 10 year old son who’s been psychologically warped and a husband who uses alcohol to drown it all. Josephine is the snake in the garden that you don’t know exists until it strikes.

1. Most of the Town of Pagford (THE CASUAL VACANCY by J. K. ROWLING)

casual

Nothing pisses me off more than middle class ignorance in regards to those living in poverty or broken homes. The Town of Pagford is filled with people who want to get rid of the addiction clinic and have the Fields (a low income housing development next door) be dealt with financially by Yarvil (the big city nearby). Reasons such as “if you don’t want to continue doing drugs, just stop” or “you’re in your situation because you’re lazy” made me one to reach into there and shake some sense into these people. Unfortunately, this is thinking that we often see and why social programs get cut. It’s always easy to be judgemental of a situation you’ve never been in. Town of Pagford has the utmost honour of being the number antagonists I’ve read this year.

Who made your blood boil this year in books? Did they get in the heroes way or were they often not doing the right thing?

A. A. Omer

Top 5 Eye Catching Covers of 2013

It has been a great year of books and I’m counting down the top 5 in 5 different categories from the list of books I’ve read this year leading up to my most anticipated reads of 2014 on New Year’s Day.

5. Outcast

outcast

This was a great example of having the cover decide whether or not you’ll read a book and even more so when it’s an ebook. I don’t like ebooks and I try to avoid reading online as much as I can so when I say that this cover was the main reason I purchased this book, that’s a big deal. Great job on making the 5th spot on the list!

4. The Brokenhearted

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Described as Cinder meets The Dark Knight, this cover had sold this Batman fan into picking it up. The font, the black/pink coloring and the metal heart illuminating the page. Thumbs up to our 4th cover on the list.

3. Linked

linked

Whenever a book has real people on the cover it tends to look like an editorial spread that you find in magazines. 90% of the time, I don’t pick up those books. This cover made it to the list because of the great use of effect that separates it from the magazine covers.

2. Unravel Me

Unravel Me

Shatter Me won last year for the best cover of the year and Unravel Me almost did the same. These covers look gorgeous and after seeing the third and final book, Ignite Me, I’d me surprised if it didn’t make next year’s list. GORGEOUS.

1. Vicious

vicious

 

Victo Ngai’s illustration for V.E. Schwab’s Vicious is spectacular and stunning just like the story. I honestly have nothing else to say so I think I’ll let it speak for itself.

What was your eye catching cover of 2013?

A. A. Omer