The Best Books of 2013

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, trying to determine how I would narrow all the books I’ve read this year into my favorites. I’m going to challenge myself and limit the number to five, otherwise this list would go on forever.

My Favorite Books Published in 2013

This is not by order of my affection

 World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)Siege and StormIn the Shadow of Blackbirds

World After by Susan Ee-I loved this book so much because Ee’s writing is evocative, lush and just heartbreaking. Every scene between Raffe and Penryn was absolutely perfect. This book impacted me to my core as did Angelfall.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo-Bardugo knows how to weave a story that is gripping and rich in world-building without any information dump. I love her cast of characters.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters- Winters about broke my heart with this story. I was nearly traumatized but I loved it so deeply. I had to sit my husband down to tell him in detail about the characters and story. Not only that it gave me an interest in this time period.

 In the AfterThese Broken StarsThe Bone Season

In the After by Demitria Lunetta- While reading this I actually had a few nightmares. This rarely happens to me but Lunetta’s writing and depiction of how it would feel to be alone and in fear really crept into my mind.

These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman– I immediately knew I wanted to read this based on the cover. I feared that the cover would betray me as so many of the lovely ones do. Turns out the content of the book was able to exceed the beautiful cover. I loved this story start to finish.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon- Shannon created such an in-depth world that quickly mesmerized me. Warden’s character was incredibly interesting and I needed to read more to find out about him. Paige was a main character I could stand behind.

Ok, that’s 6 books. I couldn’t narrow it down any further than that.

Favorites that don’t release until early 2014:

 The Winner's Curse Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski- This book. I instantly fell in love with Rutkoski’s writing style, characters and this story swept me off my feet. It was everything and more I wanted it to be. So. Much. Love.

Cress by Marissa Meyer- Meyer’s story gets better with each book. I absolutely adore her characters and she is capable of creating unique personalities and dialog.

Closer to the new year I’ll be posting my Blogger Resolutions.

Best of 2013 Giveaway Hop-International

bestof2013

December 18 marks my one year anniversary of book blogging. I’d say I jumped in on an amazing year of books with some of my favorites releasing. I had to join this giveaway hop to share with you, my readers, some of my favorites along with the chance to win one. This is an international giveaway and you can request and earlier book in the series if you would like to. I’ve selected all of my 5 star reviews for books that released in 2013. Click on the title to read my review.

  World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)These Broken StarsThe Bone SeasonScarlet by Marissa Meyer
World After by Susan Ee, These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

 In the Shadow of BlackbirdsCrown of MidnightNot a Drop to DrinkThe Burning Sky
In the Shadow of Catbirds by Cat Winters, Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis, The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

 The Dream ThievesSiege and Storm
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Review of Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and StormSiege and Storm (The Grisha #2)
By: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co

Thank you Jennifer for lending me your copy!

This is the sequel to Shadow and Bone. The following review might contain spoilers if you have not read the first book. Read my review of Shadow and Bone here.

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

The Story:
Siege and Storm picks up shortly after Shadow and Bone left off. It took me no time at all to be completely immersed back into the story. I expected that like a lot of second books there would be a good amount of reading before any of the action or story progression occurred, but Bardugo wasted no time.

The entire book had me captivated and I would even say that this was a stronger story (maybe) than Shadow and Bone. Both books are perfect examples of an expansive and creative world populated with diverse characters. I am impressed and surprised with the turns the story has taken.

The Characters:
Bardugo really explored Alina and Mal’s character growth in the way they are dealing with their roles and identities alone and with each other. Bardugo does a beautiful job balancing her character’s desires and responsibilities and showing the reader the pain and agony associated with not wanting what your future might hold. It was an emotional journey watching Alina accept herself as the Sun Summoner and realizing that she is not normal and will never be the Alina of before.

Bardugo introduces a new character, Sturmhond, who adds a touch of humor. I immediately loved his character and think he added a great dynamic to the overall story. I can’t think of any character from Shadow and Bone that was not accounted for in this latest installment. All continue to have depth and unique personalities.

Romance is a factor but not really in the forefront of this book. I was happy to see how realistically Bardugo represented Mal and Alina and the issues they would be dealing with in their situation. The Darkling has an important role, of course, but he is spoken of more than actually present.

I have to commend Bardugo on creating characters with such depth and personality that I worry about them and sincerely fear for their fates. My concern is not exclusive to only the main characters.

Final Thoughts:
I fell in love with Shadow and Bone so I had almost unrealistic expectations for this follow up and yet Siege and Storm met all of my expectations and even exceeded them. I will read anything Bardugo writes and she remains one of the best fantasy writers out there.

Extras:
I had the opportunity to meet Leigh Bardugo, check out the recap of the event here.
Read my review for Shadow and Bone here.
Siege and Storm Book Trailer:

Book Trailer for Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm (Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo is one of my most anticipated books of 2013. The trailer makes me even more excited, June needs to get here faster.
Book Trailer:

Summary (via Goodreads):
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Cover Reveal for Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and StormToday i09 revealed the cover for Siege and Storm the second of the Grisha series. The cover is perfect and goes so well with the cover of Shadow and Bone. I can’t wait until June to get my hands on it!

Summary via Goodreads
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Check out the cover reveal on oi9

Read my review of book one: Shadow and Bone