I am so excited to have my friend Angela from Library Girl Reads and Reviews guest posting today. I asked Angela to share her favorite reads of 2013, and I’ll be sharing mine on her blog later this week. Thank you so much Angela!

 

36 books. That is how many I’ve read this year. A far cry from my 61 book total in 2011 but better than last year when I only hit 26. Having two very active kids who only nap once a day (if I’m lucky!) means reading time has been drastically reduced in the past few years. These days I’m definitely going for quality over quantity and I’ll actually put a book down if I’m not enjoying it. Here are my top five picks from the books I’ve read this year:

 

The Persnickety Princess

 

Omens: A Cainsville Novel by Kelley Armstrong – Olivia Taylor Jones lives a very privileged life until she receives the news that she is adopted. Upon discovering that her birth parents are convicted serial killers, Olivia flees to Cainsville, searching for the truth about her parents and her past. Why I loved it: Armstrong wastes no time in putting events into motion and throwing Olivia off balance. The action drew me deeply into the story and I can’t wait to learn more about these characters and this world. This is the first novel in a new series by Armstrong, one of my favorite authors, and, despite initial reservations based on the description, this series is now on my “must read” list.

 

Chasing Invisible by Karen Pokras Toz – Julia Alexander is a small town girl who enjoys her privacy. When she begins dating Chase, a musician, in college she never imagines what it would hold for their futures if he became a star. How much attention can Julia handle and what will she do to regain control of her life? Why I loved it: I connected with Julia instantly and understood her desire for privacy. Pokras Toz covers a large time frame in Julia’s life and does so realistically with a clear timeline of events.

 

The Persnickety Princess by Falcon Storm – Described as a “lower level chapter book” by the publisher, The Persnickety Princess is a fun book for children and parents alike. Princess Lavendender sets herself up to be rescued by a prince but only the most proper of rescuing will do. Will Princess Lavender ever be satisfied with her rescue? Or will she finally discover that things are not always the way they appear on the surface? Why I loved it: The Persnickety Princess kept me smiling and laughing through the whole story. There are certainly lessons to be learned here but they are presented in such a fun manner that they are easy to absorb. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series, Natalie the Not-So-Nasty.

 

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – The Waverly women of Bascom, North Carolina have gifts passed down from generation to generation. Their yard contains a magical garden with an apple tree which imparts knowledge if you eat the fruit. Claire Waverly inherited her grandmother’s gift for cooking with these plants and has turned it into a comfortable catering business. Her life is turned a bit upside down when her sister, Sydney, returns home after ten years with a daughter and clearly running from something. Can the sisters heal old wounds and teach each other to move forward with love? Why I loved it: I have no idea why it took me so long to discover Sarah Addison Allen’s books but I have loved every one of them that I’ve read. Her characters are easy to relate to and their struggles are understandable. The magical elements of the books are painted in a completely realistic way and make me want to believe that such gifts exist in the world that we live in.

 

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #7) – Mercedes Thompson’s Native American heritage allows her to shift into coyote form but her shifting is different than that of her werewolf husband Adam. Adam is the Alpha of the local pack and shares a mate bond with Mercy. When Adam and the entire pack go missing, Mercy can feel Adam’s anger and pain. It is up to her to figure out who has the pack and how to rescue them. This means asking for help from some unlikely allies. Why I loved it: The Mercy Thompson series is definitely on my “must read” list. With each book, Briggs takes the reader deeper into her world. The characters reveal a bit more of their secrets and grow stronger emotionally. Alliances are always tentative and the political landscape is constantly shifting for those who are not human. This gives a tension to each story that only eases briefly when the current crisis is resolved.

 

Angela DonnerAngela Donner is a librarian turned stay at home mom who  blogs about  books and more at Library Girl Reads and Reviews. You can also follow Library Girl Reads and Reviews on Facebook and on Twitter @LibraryGirlRead