Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Favorite Reads of 2013

I know, I know, everyone else was doing these lists the last few days of December.  But I have to be different, so here are the books I enjoyed the most that I read for the first time in 2013.  Yes, the links will take you to my full review.

I've divided my list into three categories, Mystery, Non-Mystery, and Middle Grade.

Speaking of which, if you are looking for my monthly summary for December, it will be up on Sunday night.  I'm holding my review of the last book of the year for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, so I'll post the summary after the review is up.

Each category is listed in the order in which I read the books and has no bearing on placement of any kind.

Mr. Monk Gets Even by Lee Goldberg - Lee's last tie in novel to the show Monk was great.  He wrapped things up so well for all he'd done for the characters.  If no one had picked up the series, I would have been satisfied.  (Although the new novels are great, too.)  If you loved the show, you really do need to read these books.

Suspect by Robert Crais - I'm not a dog person and one of the main characters here is a dog.  Yet I couldn't put it down.  Yes, the plot was great, but the characters were just awesome, and I wanted to see them hit reach their happy ending.  If you like dogs and good stories, you must read this book.

The TexasTwist by John Vorhaus - A third novel about con men, but this time they might be the suckers themselves.  Can they wiggle out of the con someone is trying to pull on them?  The plot was so complex yet unfolded so logically that it was easy to follow.  I had no clue where it was going until it got there, but I loved being along for the ride.

Revenge on Route 66 by Kris Neri - When it comes to wacky caper mysteries, it's hard to top Kris Neri's Tracy Eaton series.  This one had wacky characters (one named Mark Baker) and a very good mystery combined with a road trip.  Come on, what's not to love?

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan - Another book with an intricately layered plot.  There was so much going on, I could guess very little until it all unfolded at the end.  Couple that with some great characters, and you've got another winner.

Secondhand Stiff by Sue Ann Jaffarian - It's really hard to go wrong with an Odelia book.  This one featured her mom, and she added some great humor and some touching character moments for an added depth.  But really, all the books in this series are great.

Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz - A thriller with very real characters.  Once again, you care about the outcome.  Yet the writing is so compelling you hate to rush ahead and miss the beauty of the words.  If you aren't reading Gregg, you really do need to start now.

All That is Necessary by Jennie Coughlin - While this book has crime as a backdrop, it's the fall out of that crime 20 years later that is compelling.  The characters just pull you in and keep you turning pages as you hope they will find a way to work through what is happening in the town.

Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story by Joni Eareckson Tada and Ken Tada - The story of the struggle that has been their marriage and the ultimate triumph is moving and will challenge and encourage you no matter what you are struggling with right now yourself.

Middle Grade:
Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs - A fun adventure set at a camp for future spies (but you probably got that from the title) where the main character is getting death threats that aren't just another exercise.  Fast paced and such fun that kids will love it as much as I did.

Once Upon the End by James Riley - Thus ends his trilogy of fractured fairy tales, but it goes out with a bang you will absolutely love.  Read them in order to truly appreciate what happens to our heroes here.

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher - A chance conversation at a book signing lead to me getting an ARC of this book, and I'm very glad it did.  The main characters are very interesting, and the plot was all over the place - in an awesome way.  Good luck putting all the pieces into place before the characters do no matter what age you are.

Exile by Shannon Messenger - A chance encounter at a different book signing and here I am buying and loving this author's books.  She's created a wonderful fantasy realm that I love to visit.  Okay, so the characters help as well.  You'll get lost in this world.

Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson - This was a discovery made via Amazon's Vine Program, and I'm very grateful.  The mix of characters, pirate adventure, and humor was so much fun.  I am counting down the days until I can get my hands on the sequel.


  1. I've only read one book in the Monk series, but loved it so plan on reading more. I was so upset when they took the show off the air. I love Monk.
    LOL out loud!!

    1. Monk was a great show, and the books are a fun continuation. They really capture the spirit of the show while delving more into the characters. I love them.

  2. I haven't read a lot of current mystery books, so loved your list for new finds - which made my reading pile grow even more!

    Tanya Patrice

    1. Glad I could help grow the to be read pile. That's why I love doing this.