Best Reads of 2013

I have not kept track of the books I read this year. My Books I’ve Read page is empty for this year. That doesn’t mean I have not read anything – far from it. I just didn’t record any of them. I am also not sure I even remember most of them.

I have to figure – if I can’t remember a book, than it probably doesn’t belong on the Best Reads of 2013 list. No, the hard part about not writing the list down is that sometimes I am not sure if I read a book this year or last year, i. e. this past January or last December.

Up until today, I wasn’t sure I wanted to write a Best Reads of 2013 list. Than I saw John‘s list and I am sure now. I will do it, list or no list.

I only listed five books. I think this list could have been bigger, if only I’d gotten around to reading some of the books I meant to read: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, Andromeda’s Choice by William C. Dietz, Shadows by Robin McKinley, The Human Division by John Scalzi, Sword-Bound by Jennifer Roberson, and many, many more.

1) River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay. I wrote a blog post about it. All I have to say is, this is hands-down, one of the best fantasy books I’ve read this year. One of the best!!!!!! The ending left me disappointed, but it makes sense in the story, and there truly aren’t many other ways it could have ended. It’s hard to beat.

2) Drown by Junot Diaz. This is one the few non-fantasy/non-science fiction books I’ve read this year. It is a collection of stories, mostly connected, but some not. The title story, Drown, is very intense. This one did it for me. It packs a wallop in few words. The whole collection is very strong, and showed me in ways I’d not seen before, the power of a short story. I even used this book for a teaser Tuesday.

3) Written in Red by Anne Bishop. I am a big fan of Anne Bishop, and when she came out with a new urban fantasy, of course I had to read it. She did urban fantasy her own, in her own style. So the usual is that humans are in charge and others (werewolves, vampires, fae, whatever) are trying to make a place for themselves. Here it is the other way. The others are in charge and humans are trying to make a place for themselves. It’s not as horror-like as it sounds, though it could have gone that way.

4) Touch & Geaux by Abigail Roux. This is the latest in a funny, high-action romance. Ty and Zane are in New Orleans, where Zane learns some deep dark secrets and almost breaks up with Ty. He also almost asks Ty to marry him. But then Ty is recalled back into the armed forces! Ty goes, but not before outing them both at work. I’ve read that scene over and over and over. In fact, I’ve managed a couple of rereads of the whole book, it was so good.

5) The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir. This is one of the few non-fiction I read this year. I feel like I actually understand the War of the Roses now. It was clear, concise and interesting. Okay, so it is actually the first book I ever read on the War of the Roses, just articles and bits and pieces about it in other books. Even so. It’s a good book. I learned a lot.


F is for Fan Girl

I am a fan. I am a fan of lots of things – Beyonce, The Gates, Spiderman. Nail Polish.

But I only go fan-girl crazy for some books, some characters. You know. When you countdown to the release date, read all the excerpts, all the snippets, and then get it the day it comes out? (Or when the library gets it when pockets are lean.)

Than, you spend all night reading and are completely, utterly exhausted in the morning because you got no sleep. Also, you cannot wait for next year, because the book was so short you finished it in one reading.

So you reread and reread, over and over again for at least a week. Maybe more.

Yeah, there are books I like that way. There aren’t that many, maybe have a dozen. In no particular order, they include:

  1. Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
  2. Black Jewel series by Anne Bishop
  3. Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold
  4. In Death series by JD Robb aka Nora Roberts
  5. Mercy Thompson series by  Patricia Briggs
  6. World of the Lupi series by Eileen Wilks

What do you go fan-girl over?

Book Review · reading

Book Review: Armed & Dangerous by Abigail Roux

Blurb from Goodreads:

Left alone in Baltimore after his unpredictable lover bails, Special Agent Zane Garrett takes his frustration out on everything in his path until he is ordered to Chicago to back up an undercover operative. When he gets there, though, he finds himself face to face with his wayward partner, Special Agent Ty Grady. They have to deal with the uncertainty lingering between them while they work to retrieve their intended mark, a retired hit man and CIA wet-works operative named Julian Cross.

Ty, once a marine and now an FBI hotshot, has a penchant for being unpredictable, a trait Zane can vouch for. Zane is a man who once lived for his job but has come to realize his heartbreaking past doesn’t have to overshadow his future. They’re partners, friends, lovers, and the go-to team for unusual cases. With Cross and his innocuous boyfriend, Cameron Jacobs, in tow, Ty and Zane must navigate the obstacles of a cross-country trek, including TSA pat-downs, blizzards, their uncooperative prisoners, CIA kill teams, a desperate lack of sleep or caffeine, and each other. Ty and Zane are determined to get Julian Cross to DC in one piece, but it’s starting to look like it might be the last thing they do.

I’ve been reading this series for a long time, since Cut & Run came out, and I loved this one.

Julian Cross and Cameron from Warrior’s Cross are in this book and that is a crossover I never saw coming. But you don’t have to have read to appreciate them in this book.

All the others in the series were written by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban. This one was written by just Abigail Roux. I wasn’t sure what to expect without the collaboration, but it was good. Truthfully, I don’t think it made much of a difference. Armed & Dangerous felt a little smoother than the previous books. I don’t know if that’s because there was just one writer or something else.

What I loved: We finally learn a lot more about Ty. What makes him tick, why he is always fidgeting, what happened to him in the marines.

Oddly, we learn about it from Nick, Ty’s best friend. In the last book Nick did something he shouldn’t have and they haven’t spoken since. But they still got each other’s backs. 😀

I wanted to hate Nick for what he did, but I don’t and I even forgive him. Zane forgives him, too, which is amazing. He seethed for almost the whole book whenever Nick was mentioned. IMHO, Nick deserves his own story.

So. At the end of the last book Ty left and the reunion in this book was pretty good. The drama over Ty leaving didn’t last long. Just as well.

By the end, their relationship is in a good place, stronger than in any of the other books. They both admit they love each other and they move in together. They are not open about their relationship at work, which should be interesting.

Ty’s and Zane’s boss is betrayed by an old friend. So the drama there is pretty interesting. As a result, they end up running and ditching anything traceable. Phone, car, car gps, watch.

Also, the book is just plain hilarious. The descriptions, the banter between them, everything. I really love the banter between them. It was always one of the best parts from the very beginning.

I am really looking forward to the next book. We still don’t know much about Zane’s family and history. Here is hoping the next book will fix that.

Plus, maybe Ty’s father will find out his son is gay. Not sure how the man will react to that, but judging from the past book, I don’t expect it will be fun.

General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Armed & Dangerous

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Zane had to fight back a jangle of nerves. He had to believe that the CIA agents after them wouldn’t hurt anyone unless they were in the path of Julian Cross. Deuce would be fine. He hoped.

– Armed & Dangerous by Abigail Roux