New research from the US suggests that reading a novel stimulates the brain for days. Well, that affirms my choice to read as much as I can in between working, freelance writing and PR, marriage, and raising four teenagers. Somehow, I have managed to read more than 130 books this year. It’s the first time I’ve kept track, so I have no idea how that compares to other years, but I’m confident my brain has been well and truly stimulated in 2013. More than 40 were read as part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013, others read “just because”; Write Note Reviews has continued to be a growing voice on the Australian book blogging scene.
This year, Write Note Reviews has changed its look, thanks to a platform change from Weebly to WordPress … and includes three regular memes – Teaser Tuesday (courtesy of shouldbereading), Winning Wednesday and Sunday Shout-Out (both my own memes). The first two are self-explanatory, but the third was developed as a way to acknowledge the many unsolicited books I receive from publishers that I cannot review. Did I mention I have added dozens more books to my bookshelves this year?
So, of all the books I’ve read in 2013, which were my favourites? Choosing books was hard because I had to consider, do I choose the best or my favourite? My Top 10 reflects books which have connected with me, whether it’s due to their masterful writing, or because the plot resonated strongly. I see books like a good wine – what you feel is good is relative to your own taste and frame of reference. We may not see books in the same way, but the way they speak to each of us is what makes them so wonderful.
Here goes, in no particular order (if you want to read my reviews, click on the images):
- The French Promise by Fiona McIntosh: “This book confirms McIntosh as one of my must-read authors in the historical/contemporary adventure romance genre.”
- The Girl Under the Olive Tree by Leah Fleming: “Fleming is gifted at creating a sense of place – she took me with her on Penny’s travels and plonked me right in the middle of the action. Beautifully done.”
- The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty: “A brilliant read, one that I’ll come back to again.”
- Fractured by Dawn Barker: “Fractured is a complex, brave and compassionate novel that left me saddened and thoughtful for a long time after I’d finished.”
- The Yearning by Kate Belle: “…a surprisingly beautiful book about first love and experiences that can colour a person’s life irrevocably.”
- The Night Rainbow by Claire King: “Charming and original, The Night Rainbow captivated me from start to finish.”
- What the Ground Can’t Hold by Shady Cosgrove: “Cosgrove delivers a story that’s filled with warmth and ice – there are as many heart-warming moments, teary moments and sad moments as there are haunting and chilling moments.”
- Traces of Absence by Susan Holoubek: “It resonated with me on a number of levels and left me feeling that I’d read something really special.”
- Walking on Trampolines: “a beautifully bittersweet novel that pulled at my heartstrings…”
It was hard to narrow down my favourites to 10 (it probably would have been easier to come up with a list of books I didn’t like). Here are a two more I would recommend highly, but in reality, there are so many I loved and I had to narrow the list somehow.
That’s it. A hard job done! I’m looking forward to reviewing many more books in 2014 and taking part in The Australian Women Writers Challenge again (you can sign up here). I’m also looking forward to getting to know my fellow book bloggers more, interviewing more authors … while still doing my freelance and part-time work, being a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend …
Stay tuned for reviews of The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen, Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes, Police by Jo Nesbo and The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed. Oh, and my romance book pack giveaway is here – make sure you enter because it closes on January 6.