Top Ten Books of 2013

It’s that time of year, when everyone under the sun is putting out their year end lists. So of course I have to join in the fun! (Hint: print this list and hand it out to everyone who will be buying you presents for easy shopping reference.)

All of these books were released in 2013 with the exception of one, and are in no particular order.

Byrne After Reading’s Top Ten Books of 2013

1) Heart of Obsidian Nalini Singh – Kaleb Krychek has been searching for Sahara Kyriakus for seven years. When he finds her, he finds a woman so broken he might not be able to put her back together. This was the story Singh fans had been waiting for, and ho boy, did she deliver. I read Obsidian twice the weekend I received it, and I read it again a few weeks ago. You want an irredeemable hero? Meet Kaleb. (My VBC review is here.)

2) Maya’s Notebook Isabel Allende – 19 year old Maya’s been sent to the bottom of the world to escape the trouble she’s gotten herself into and finds herself, her history, and her grandfather. Allende’s tale of discovery and redemption was the bolstering read I needed in a sea of uninspiring literary fiction this year. (Byrne After Reading review.)

3) After Hours Cara McKenna – Erin’s taken a job on the locked floor of a mental hospital to be closer to her sister. She’s got enough to handle as it is, so her attraction to Kelly is unwanted. The two of them get tangled up anyway. After Hours was gritty and real, the soft fantasy you’ve come to expect from a lot of romance missing here. You almost felt like you were intruding on their lives. I cannot recommend this book enough, and I can’t wait for McKenna’s next release. (Byrne After Reading review.)

4) Dweller on the Threshold Rinda Elliott – Beri’s on the hunt for the creature stealing souls around Jacksonville. With the help of her spirit guides and a dead sexy Minoan warrior, she just might find the thing in time to save her sister. One of the most original urban fantasies I’ve read in some time, Dweller also has the distinction of making me think a guy with long hair was hot. Because Nikolos is hot. (VBC revew.)

5) The Uninvited Liz Jensen – Hesketh Lock’s affinity for spotting behavioral patterns sends him to investigate an act of industrial sabotage in Taiwan at a time when random acts of violence committed by children are on the rise. The two phenomena are seemingly unrelated…until an incident close to home forces him to admit that maybe there are forces at work he can’t understand. The Uninvited scared me almost as much as The Rapture. Jensen has a talent for apocalyptic tales that are beyond your wildest dreams yet are just plausible enough to happen. (Byrne After Reading review.)

6) Enon Paul Harding – A tale of grief and the havoc it brings, Enon was a welcome surprise in that aforementioned sea of literary fiction for the year. Charlie’s descent into addiction following the death of his daughter held my attention to the very last word. (Byrne After Reading review.)

7) Beyond Pain Kit Rocha – Six might have settled in to Sector Four, but that doesn’t mean she’s let her guard down. The only time she peeks over the walls she’s built around herself is when Bren’s around. On their third trip into the rough and sinful post-apocalyptic world they’ve created, Kit Rocha’s hit their stride with Pain, featuring a broken heroine who knows exactly how strong she can be if only someone would take a chance on her. (Byrne After Reading review.)

8) Theory of Attraction Delphine Dryden – Cami knows Ivan’s routine almost as well as he does. Knowing his routine means she gets to drool over him every morning when he leaves for his run. When he comes to her for help on how to behave at an important fundraiser, she agrees. What she doesn’t count on is his need for control and routine extends to the bedroom. Attraction was released in 2012, but after I read this for the second time this year, I went on a Delphine Dryden binge, buying most of her backlist. This book put her on my (very short) autobuy list, and I haven’t regretted it.

9) American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics Dan SavageSavage’s latest is a wealth of conversation starters. From gay rights to gay marriage to the Catholic church and Washington’s Death with Dignity law, there’s no shortage of controversy…and every word is worth reading. (Byrne After Reading review.)

10) Price of a Kiss Linda Kage – I read a lot of New Adult romances this year, and a number of them were excellent, but Kiss stood out. Reese is starting over in a new town after she receives violent threats from her ex-boyfriend. Starting over means avoiding her bone-meltingly hot classmate, Mason, and the forest-fire igniting chemistry they share. From a writer’s standpoint, this book is one I hold up as an excellent example of voice and sexual tension. Reese sounded like a hormone-addled twenty-something, and the connection between her and Mason was a live, sparking thing. (Byrne After Reading review.)

I can’t even begin to tell you the number of books released this year I didn’t get around to. My to be read pile is out of control. Seriously. And now you get to add to it! What’s the best book you read this year?

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