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.”
Book Cover: The French Promise
  • 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 Girl Under the Olive Tree
  • 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.”
Cover of Fractured by Dawn Barker
  • 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.”
The Night Rainbow
  • The Son-in-Law by Charity Norman: “Norman is now firmly on my “highly recommended” list; the way she takes hold of a difficult issue and brings it alive so it can’t be ignored is admirable.” The Son-in-Law
  • 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.”
What the Ground Can't Hold
  • 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.”
Traces of Absence
  • Walking on Trampolines: “a beautifully bittersweet novel that pulled at my heartstrings…”
Walking on Trampolines
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.


Picture of Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

0 Responses

  1. Congratulations on your 130 books! For me too, it was the first year I counted, and I fear I won’t be able to read as many next year. But, as you said, the problem then is selecting the ones that impressed most.

  2. Have loved visiting your blog this year! The world has too many books! Of your list, I’ve read The Yearning & House For All Seasons. I need more time!

  3. What a great list! I see a bunch here that I need to track down in the coming year. The Husband’s Secret is going to be a book group read for me in a couple of months — can’t wait! Happy New Year!

  4. How wonderful to receive a mention… And on new years day. A very good omen, I say! Thank you Monique for your ongoing support of authors, particulalry Australian women authors. Reviewers really are quite amazing with the amount of reading they do. far more than a writer manages, in my case at least. Hope to improve on that this year.

  5. Hi Monique,

    Thanks so much for including Fractured on your list! I’ve also read How to Be A Good Wife and House For All Seasons and really enjoyed them, and The Husband’s Secret is one I keep meaning to read.

    It was great to meet you in 2013 and hope our paths cross again in 2014!


  6. Wow i’ve only read 2 out of those. I really need to find time to read more. 🙂 Thanks for the list Monique. Hope you have a fantastic New Year and hopefully I’ll see you again. 🙂 xx

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