Caroline’s Top Reads of 2013

1483293_10201261455993754_1572058602_nHello readers, I hope that you have all had a great year in 2013 and have had a chance to bury your head in many a good book this year. It has been a great first year for Tina and myself at A Reader’s Review Blog and we have made many online friends with authors and readers alike, as well as have a steady growth in followers. Thanks, guys. I hope that you all have a fantastic Christmas and a very Happy New Year! x

I would like to take you on a journey through my favourite reads of this year. Initially I was going to pick ten but soon realised that there have been more than ten to leave an impact on me. However, some of them are part of the same series and so I have given the whole series a mention. In all there  are about 14/15 titles and they are in no particular order. (It would be impossible for me to number them!) Most genres are covered, including paranormal, fantasy, dystopian sci-fi, romance, comedy, thriller and horror. Romance is a theme that runs through many of them quite strongly.

Please click on titles for our full review and blurb!

Romantic comedy

the-debt-the-doormat_1Well, I had to begin with a rom-com. I absolutely LOVED The Debt & the Doormat by Laura Bernard. The comedy elements to this great book reminded me that of the style of Helen Fielding’s ‘Bridget Jones’ and Miranda Hart’s ‘Miranda’! With a fantastic love story making up the focus of the novel there are so many other aspects to this book, with various family members and work colleagues providing sub plots and more comedy. It is also very heart-warming. A perfect read for anyone who loves a great chick-lit! I am over the moon to hear that there will be a sequel next Spring!

Romantic paranormal

Unscathed

Unscathed is a collaboration by two of my favourite authors, Tim O’Rourke and C.J. Pinard. Initially a contemporary romance, this story is sweet and heart-warming, with two young people falling for each other. However, Unscathed is unique. As you read on there becomes a paranormal element that raises it’s ugly head at times and causes some trouble between our two young lovebirds. I enjoyed the unpredictability of this story and in many of the author’s solo books too. They both provide the element of surprise!

Paranormal/Fantasy

Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter #1)I’m going to have to begin this genre with possibly my favourite book since the beginning of A Reader’s Review Blog. Tim O’Rourke’s Vampire Seeker’ is the ultimate action/adventure, fantasy/paranormal and sci-fi all rolled into one for me! From a vampire seeker in London, following a possible Jack the Ripper copycat in 2012, to a cowgirl in the Wild West in 1888, Samantha Carter is a brilliant heroine. With plenty of action and gore, as with all of Tim’s stories, this is a thrilling, rollercoaster-like quick read with a little sexual tension too! Now signed to Little Brown/Piatkus publishing, the hard copy will be released in January 2014. However, it is available as an e-book for the Kindle at Amazon.

Now, if one is to mention Tim O’Rourke it is impossible to not bring up his Keira Hudson series. Keira is a young policewoman and is taken out of her comfort zone when she goes to work at The Ragged Cove, where there have been people going missing and some turning up dead. It isn’t too long before the reader is opened up to a fantastic world of vampires, Lycanthrope and follow Keira on a journey like no other. Again, Tim’s writing is complete with punchy lines, high impact action scenes, comedy and romance. The Keira Hudson series is followed by many and Tim will soon be writing his third series under the Keira Hudson title! Please click on the links below to read all of our reviews thus far on the Keira adventure.

Vampire Shift (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 1), Vampire Shift – The Graphic Novel (Volume One) (Keira Hudson Series One) –  illustrated by Craig Twyman, Vampire Wake (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 2), Vampire Hunt (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 3), Vampire Breed (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 4), Wolf House (Potter’s Story) (Kiera Hudson Series 1 Book 4.5) – novella, Vampire Hollows (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 5), Dead Flesh (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1), Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1.5) – novella, Dead Angels (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 2), Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 3), Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 4), Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 5) and Dead Water (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 6).

Control (The Soul of Voodoo, #1)With Control (The Soul of Voodoo #1) by M.C. Lavocat we begin to go a little darker into the paranormal. In many ways the first part of Control can appear to be a romantic love triangle situation but as the reader gets sucked in too, by the spell, we realise that it is so much more; where lives are at stake, time is not as it seems and people’s destiny’s are affected! There is nothing we can do to prevent it – or so it seems – but we have to find a way! A curse, a spell, voodoo even is considered when darker events take place and the ‘control’ or lack of it goes to a complete extreme. This is a must-read for those that love dark, paranormal horror, mixed with comedy and romance!

The Mating (Law of the Lycans, #1)Earlier this year Tina and myself focused on a Werewolf theme. During this time I read two fantastic books that I have been longing to read the sequels to. The first, Nicky Charles ‘The Mating (Law of the Lycans #1)’, was recommended by a follower of our blog. I was grateful for the recommendation as The Mating was gripping from the beginning. It is a romantic suspense and the tension is apparent almost immediately as the main character, Elise, is mated to an Alpha of a neighbouring pack. However, this was not her choice.

Cursed: A Werewolf's TaleThe second of my werewolf stories is Cursed (A Werewolf’s Tale #1), also known as ‘Frostbite’, by David Wellington. Cursed concentrates on the survival of a werewolf who finds herself lone in an Arctic forest, where a pack of others is trying to track her down. It is rather a chilling paranormal which includes some ferocious and horrific attacks, making this a bit of a horror too. It is gripping and the Arctic setting fits in nicely with the characters as they seem too cold to air any romance. It is a case of can they learn to live separately or must they try to eliminate the other in order to survive?

BorealAndJohnGreySeason1Box-v5_mediumBoreal & John Grey (Complete Series One) by Chrystalla Thoma is one of the best paranormal/urban fantasy series I have ever read. There is definitely something for everyone with this magical story of the human world having Gates appear from another world, where it brings Shades, snakes, dragons, dwarves and goblins, not to mention sexy elves! The story itself is complete with action and adventure, mystery and romance. And what’s more is that you can purchase all 5 books under the one title.

Horror

on-the-lips-of-children_1One of the most chilling stories I have read is Mark Matthews On the Lips of Children! This is definitely one to read under the covers as we follow the horrific ordeal as a marathon runner and his family are held captive by some scavengers. Mark Matthews’ writing is so clear, the reader doesn’t miss a thing – even though they may wish they had at times. For the taste of the heebie jeebies and a good scare this one is highly recommended!

TatterdemonTatterdemon by Steve Vernon was our Halloween Horror. There is so much going on in this book, but at the same time it’s enough to handle. Tatterdemon focuses on a cursed town of 300 years, where now some of the townsfolk turn on each other. This horror holds it all, from witches, ghosts, zombies and killer scarecrows and complete with resurrections, spells and voodoo. It is a little crazy as well as being a fantastic fearsome horror!

Horror/Dystopian Sci-fi

Stilts ResizedStilts (Tessa Dark trilogy #1) is the latest book released from author Tim O’Rourke. It is also Tim’s first dystopian. I was so curious to read this one as it completely different from anything else I have ever read. Stilts is a story of survival. The only place that remains save is the prison that Tessa has been serving time in. However, outside the prison the world is not how she remembers it and the only living creatures outside appear to be similar to melting zombies, ‘scorchers’! It won’t be too long before the prison supplies run out and so the only hope they have is for some to leave the prison to bring back supplies. To prevent the scorchers from touching and melting them they find a way to travel with the use of stilts. With a romantic story running parallel with the survival story this proves to be a brilliant read.

And my last genre, but certainly not least is ………………..

…………….. Thriller

16150880[1]Although an avid reader of romance and the paranormal, I do love to read a great thriller. And my following thriller favourites really stood out to me this year. One of my first reads of 2013 was A Presence in Russell County (The Organization Book 1) by S.J. Sprague. In a County where police corruption is high, Samantha Biggers finds herself in a vulnerable situation. After chatting online to a guy for two years she leans on him for support. He is an ex-military man who is part of The Organization. An organization targeting corrupt law enforcement officers. Once The Organization are involved, Samantha’s safety is a priority as well as bringing down the corrupt officers.Mulberry_WEB.sm I do love this series as not only is there the crimes and the thrills but there is also romance amongst the main characters. Later this year I also read the sequel, Mulberry (The Organization Book 2). Mulberry again has a great crime story involving corrupt police and continues with the romance surrounding Samantha. The main difference being that Samantha is now a member of The Organization! I do like the characters and the whole idea of The Organization. The Organization can deal with these corrupt officers swiftly through the justice system. This is definitely a series to look out for. And Jesse Butterfly (The Organization Book 3) will be released in early Spring 2014!

17617578[1]-001Now for this little treat, Tina and myself both reviewed Addicted by JoAnn DeLazzari for Blue Star Books. Set in a Colombian jungle, journalist Nikki Bradley is trying to find sufficient evidence to bring down a high and mighty drug trafficking operation. However, when she gets captured by these organised criminals the tension mounts as they have the potential to do with her as they please. One of her captors, King, although fearsome and rugged, he does prevent the others from harming her and the intensity and passion grows between them. Nikki desires him in ways she knows she shouldn’t. The chemistry and tension between these characters, as well as the setting in the jungle, reminds me of ‘Romancing the Stone’ and/or ‘Crocodile Dundee’ – although perhaps more adult-based. A very sensuous read. Hmmmm, I will certainly have to read this one again!

The Hourglass Killer Trilogy - All 3 BooksAnd finally, but again, certainly not the least, I have The Hourglass Killer Trilogy by LR Potter. Consisting of three books: Dwindling Sands, Shifting Sands and Cascading Sands. I am glad that I read the whole trilogy together as each story combines together perfectly with the following one. This one is a dark crime thriller, concentrating on Tess Champion, a female detective who has been subjected to a violent sexual crime. However, when she returns to work, she and her partner are faced with the murder of a woman who has been seriously sexually harmed in similar ways that she has. Is she being paranoid, or could there be a connection between this case and her own? Each step of this trilogy is quite adult-based, especially given the crimes committed. The reader is also aware of how each step of the case affects Tess and the people around her. However dark it gets, once you are gripped you really can’t put this book down!

And so as we move on into 2014 I am looking forward to reading some more great reads by some great authors. Where possible I am hoping to follow the series’ I have begun as well as begin some new ones.

I hope that I have intrigued you enough to take a peek at our full reviews. (Reviews can be seen by clicking on the titles). And if you are really keen we also have the links to Amazon UK and Amazon US.

If you have any great reads of this year that you would like to share with us, please feel free to comment below! We’d love to hear some of your favourites 🙂

Be sure to keep a look out for Tina’s Top Reads of 2013, coming shortly. And again, we both wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Caroline 🙂

About Caroline Barker

I am a happily engaged mother of three and I absolutely love to read and write. Therefore, I am setting up a book blog in the hope to influence some readers out there!

7 thoughts on “Caroline’s Top Reads of 2013

  1. What a fabulous selection of books, Caroline. I love this time of year, and reading everyone’s favourites. Not read The Debt and the Doormat, but I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s on my list! Congrats on a successful first blog year!

    • Thanks, Helena. It feels like Tina and myself have been blogging longer than the year as we have reviewed quite a lot! I’m sure you’ll like The Debt and the Doormat. It would be great to hear your thoughts once you’ve read it. Have a lovely Christmas x

  2. Steve Vernon says:

    Reblogged this on YOURS IN STORYTELLING… and commented:
    HOORAY!
    Tatterdemon – my big fat novel of true scarecrow terror made the TOP READS OF 2013 list over at A Readers Review Blog!

  3. davidprosser says:

    You have excellent taste.
    xxx Hugs xxx

  4. I didn’t get a chance to say this during the holiday madness, but THANKS so much Caroline for making mention of On the Lips of Children. I appreciate it, and happy reading in 2014.

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