Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 13 of 2013

Although I didn't reach my reading goal challenge this year I still managed to read a lot of good books. I'm cheating because most people post a top 10 year in books, but I think it is more fun to keep up with the years. So here are my Top 13 of 2013:

Ally Carter has never disappointed me in her writing! This year she published this book and also the last book in the Gallagher Girl series which I sadly haven't been able to read yet. The Heist Society series has been one of my favorites since the beginning. I've said it before, but it reminds me of The Ocean's Eleven movies but with teenagers instead of adults! Check out my review of Perfect Scoundrels.


I know, I know, this is two books. But I couldn't pick which one I liked more for this so you get two choices. There will be several more of these doubles. When I find an author I like I tend to read all that they have written, especially if they have the same characters in them throughout. And I'm a series fan! I'm of the opinion that you cannot go wrong reading a Karen Witemeyer book! These two books are my favorites of hers that I have read so far. Here are my reviews: Short-Straw Bride and Stealing the Preacher. The Short-Straw Bride introduces the Archer family men. Karen Witemeyer adds humor, romance and a bit of suspense to her novels that make the pages fly by.


I almost didn't request this book when I saw it on Booksneeze. The cover just didn't grab me, and yes, yes I am all about judging a book by it's cover! I found the story endearing and entertaining. Check out my review: Dear Mr. Knightley


First it is hard to pass up a book written in a California setting since I was born and raised in CA. Second, when I saw so many bloggers reviewing this book I knew I wanted to read it. Thirdly, it languished on my Kindle for far too long after I bought it! And last, I loved it! Check out my review here: A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California


I was part of the cover reveal tour for this book and then was on the tour for reviewing it. I love the cover. There is also a color cover, but this one captures the story so much my opinion! The story is sweet even though the main character is haunted by a ghost. Any book with the name Joy in it catches my attention since that is my youngest daughter's name! I'm looking forward to the next book! Here is my review: Haunting Joy


Mash-Ups always amuse me and this one didn't fail! Mix the dialog of William Shakespeare and Star Wars and the reader is in for a real treat! I loved it and what a fun way to read a Shakespeare play! Check out my review and watch the book trailer video that I posted with it! William Shakespeare's Star Wars


I'm not usually a fan of Amish novels, but this past year I have read several. My favorite being this series by Amanda Flower. I guess I find murder and mayhem in an Amish community interesting. Actually I am definitely a mystery fan and when you add in a characters faith it does make for an interesting read. Amanda Flower also published a children's book this year(Andi Unexpected), which I also really enjoyed. Check out my review of A Plain Disappearance


This is the second book in The Guardians of Justice series. I found it a lot more suspenseful than the first in the series. It definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. Here is my review of Trapped


I'm a little late to the show on this one. I was seeing the series all over the blogs so decided I needed to get my hands on them. My youngest daughter read Divergent first and told me I must read. With the movie coming out in March of 2014 and watching the trailers for that I definitely moved it to the top of my TBR pile. I really enjoyed it! Sadly I haven't had a chance to get to the next two, but hope to remedy that in 2014. Here is my review of Divergent


Brandilyn Collins writes a story that could be pulled from the front pages of a newspaper today. Domestic terrorism, and a woman trying to keep herself and her mother safe. Had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning. Here is my review of Dark Justice


The first two books in the Eyes of E'veria were wonderful novels by Serena Chase. A cross between fantasy/fairy tale/romance these two stories kept me turning the pages quickly. Psst, the next book is going to have pirates in it!! Just sayin'! Check out my reviews: The Ryn and The Remedy


If you are a fan of suspense then you definitely need to pick these books up. The first one is Submerged which I read in 2012. Each one gets better than the one before it! As I've said before, I am a suspense/mystery fan and this series is absolutely one of my favorites. Here are my reviews: Shattered and Stranded


See I told you there would be lots of doubles! I can't help it if these authors write such awesome books! Even though I was late to the Julie Lessman fan club I think I have more than made up for missing the boat when A Passion Most Pure came on the scene(by reading so many of her books and reviewing them on my blog that I won several contests she was holding, including winning a Kindle Fire!). The Heart of San Francisco series is a departure from the O'Connor family in The Daughter's of Boston series and the Winds of Change series. But definitely not a departure from the drama/angst/romance/passion that Julie Lessman is  known for in those series. The Heart of San Francisco series is about the McClare family. They have captured my heart for sure! Even though Julie Lessman is a self-proclaimed CDQ(caffeinated drama queen) and I am a self-proclaimed DB(drama baby), I have found that Julie's books make me laugh, make me cry, make me mad enough at the characters that I want to throw the book across the room, and always always they point the way to a deeper faith in Jesus Christ who passionately desires a relationship with each one of us. Check out my blog for reviews of Julie's books, and here are the links to Love At Any Cost and Dare to Love Again

Now for 3 books on my list of favorites:

Invisible was on my Top 12 of 2012 list last year. But it was released in 2013 so I felt it needed to be in this post. If you haven't read any of Ginny Yttrup's books they are a must. They are so poignant and thought-provoking and beautiful. Here is my review of Invisible

I have read an ARC copy of Cress this year, but the actual book doesn't become published until February of 2014. It will definitely be on my Top 14 of 2014! Isn't the cover beautiful? I loved the story and look forward to the next book in this wonderful series!

This book makes me the proudest of all of the books I have read EVER! This was written by my mom! I practically grew up hearing stories of Lonesome(a stray dog) but they were really developed when my mom would make up a story at the end of her Joyful Cubs class each Wednesday evening to keep the kiddo's quiet until their parents picked them up. Each week she would forget what she had told about Lonesome the week before so she would ask the kids what happened and those kids knew every detail! Years ago my mom wrote the story down for her grandchildren. We have always told her she should publish her story. This year she self-published Lonesome! This is the second book she has published, but it is the one that her family has always encouraged her to write down and get it into a book.

There you have it folks! My Top 13 of 2013 and a few extras just for the record! I love reading and I look forward to seeing what books catch my fancy in 2014. If you have a Top 10 or 13 list share the link in the comments section and I'll go check it out! Happy New Year to you all and may 2014 be filled with blessings, love, happiness and faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ(without whom I am nothing).


  1. Lovin' so many of these titles you shared, Julie. Katherine's debut was gorgeous, Dani is a favorite writer and of course, I thought Trapped was Irene's best to date. Anxious to read Ally's books, too!

    1. Oh I really like Ally Carter's books! The Gallagher Girl ones are fun! Girl spy's! Can't go wrong there! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Top 13!

  2. JULES!!! Love you, LOVE you, girlfriend and can't thank you enough for double-faving me, you sweet thing!! I have heard a LOT about Katherine's book, so I will have to check that out although I am not a big Jane Austen fan ... STILL ... I trust you and your taste, so going on my TBR!!!

    Hugs and more hugs,

    1. Julie! What?! Not a Jane Austen fan? Seriously?! Eeep! I still love you, and if you ever do get to read Katherine's book I hope you enjoy it. There are definitely quotes from Jane Austen books throughout though ;) I loved the way the whole book was in the form of letters, it was interesting. Thanks for all of your entertaining books and for putting up with me when I have to message you and complain about one of your characters behaving badly!!!

  3. Super honored to be on your list. Thrilled you enjoyed Shattered and Stranded. Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you as well Dani! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Looking forward to your next book!

  4. How wonderful to see Haunting Joy on your list! I love Lena's stories, and I had great fun in editing and promoting a couple of them this past year. :) The Ryn made my list, too; I cannot wait to read Cress, and that is so wonderful about your mom's book!!

    Happy New Year, Julie!


    1. I too enjoyed both of Lena's books that I read this year. Happy New Year to you and your family! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. SO many books I need to check out.

    I'm reading Dear Mr. Knightley now and I LOVE it.

    1. Dear Mr. Knightley was one of those "surprise" books that I didn't think I would like, but ended up loving. So glad that you are loving it as well! I had lots of great reads in 2013 and some that I didn't even get to so will hopefully be on my list for 2014. Thanks for stopping by Juju! I sure enjoy your blog :)