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PostHeaderIcon AnnAlysis Best of 2013

Wow! Today’s the day. The last day of the year. Where did the time go? I fee like when I was a kid, time passed at a snail’s pace. Summer never got here fast enough, it took forever for basketball season to start, the dance was always so far away. But now, that I’m adult and look back and wish I cherished that time more, the time is flying before my eyes.

This year was a big year for me in the term of books. This year I actually followed through with a few of my reading goals from last year. I didn’t set a number goal for this year, but I did get through 76 books. I’m pretty proud of that number. I never count until the end of the year, and honestly, am horrible at guessing, so it’s always a surprise.

This year, especially toward the end of the year, I did a lot better with reading books off NetGalley. This is also in part to another goal: being more picky and choosy about my review books. For several years I felt obligated to read every single book that came into my inbox. I still get several of my books that way and always give an extra credit to those who have found me and taken the time to email me. But, like everything else in life, some books just aren’t meant for some people.

One thing I did, unintentionally, this year, was to expand in genres. This year I read about art, travel, countries I had to look up on a map, history, ghosts, teens, murder and mystery. I even read a chick lit book with the main character being a man. Who would have ever thought? I would never have imagined reading so many different genres and actually enjoying them. I give a lot of that credit to SheReads.org. They have opened my eyes when it comes to reading. There are several books that are on my favorite list this year that came from their recommendation. And they are books I would not have picked up without them.

One thing I super slacked on this year was cleaning off my TBR shelf. But hey, two outta three aint bad… right? I did add a few to my shelf, like The Great Gatsby. One of these days, I may not want to review books anymore (lol just kitten with ya)… but I may need to fall back on my shelf. And when I do, I’ll have months of reading before needing to restock.

So, you’re here for my favorite books of 2013. Hold on for this one. We are all over the place!

Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain: I listened to this book on audio book and fell in love. There are several in this series, and I missed the first few, but there were definite “Oh sh!t” moments in this book. You know it’s good when you are texting people tell them they HAVE to get to the library immediately to check this one out.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks: Do I really have to explain this one? What put this one on the list, other than my love for NS, was the fact that I felt this book was completely different than his others. Yes, you have a little love story, but this was deep and dark compared to my other loves of his.

Hysteria by Megan Miranda: This. Book. Was. Crazy. Enough. Said.

The Boy from Reactor Four by Orest Stelmach: I denied this book when it first came in. Then I had an opening and thought, ‘What the heck’. Boy am I glad for that opening. Totally not what I would consider up my alley, but this book blew me away and led to me doing quite a bit of research, which if you can get me to do historical research, you deserve a prize!

The Sixth Station by Linda Stasi: Why not throw a religious mystery into the mix. Is your head spinning yet? This book blew me away. You don’t have to be “into” religion to like this book. It’s a fast paced thrilled that keeps you on your toes from start to finish. And the research done to make this book come together. Very commendable.

The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb: When I reviewed this book back in April I said it was going to be on my favorite list for this year, and here it is. Oh and this was another audio book. I really nailed it at the library this year. From the cover to the story. I loved its intensity.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline: I think this is an absolute, must read for this year. Amazing story weaving the past with the present, fiction and reality.

Shadowlands by Kate Brian: We all know I’m a fangirl of Kate Brian. Have been since my husband bought my a random book from the Private series. This book had been hooked from the summary. And will keep you hooked until the very last period. Then infuriate you that you have to wait until you can get your hands on the next book. I didn’t love the second book in this series as much, but Shadowlands was top notch.

Oh and you are probably wanting to know what my FAVORITE  book of 2013 was, right? Drumroll please….. Here we go!

calling-me-home-197x300

Julie Kibler set the bar so high for me back in February, there was no chance anyone could get close to topping this one for me. I am still gushing about it 10 months later. From the Kentucky setting of this book, to a story that is told through the past and the present, to the characters who jump from the pages, straight to your heart, Kibler nailed it with Calling Me Home. And what I love most about this, is that I have seen that I am not the only one who made this the top read of 2013. I even had a former teacher, who shares a love for reading, have my mom ask me about this book because she had to share it with someone. Kudos to SheReads.org for an amazing pick and Julie Kibler for the homerun!

What were your top reads of 2013??? Let me know if you have posted them so I can make sure I add them to my TBR!

Happy Reading in 2014!

PostHeaderIcon Lather On the Sunscreen… You’re Reading All Day: Beach Reads 2013

Hey there friends! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it’s almost beach season. Dad has his pool open already. I even cleaned it for him a couple of weeks ago… my good deed for the summer :)

While I love spending time with family and friends around the pool and watching the little nephews jump in and want me to do tricks on the diving board (yes, I still have tricks), I long for the summer days alone where I can spend the entire day reading with a good book.

When I go on vacation, the clothes are easy, the books are hard. How many to take? Should I take regular books or Nook books? Do I have a range of genres so I can change it up? Do I have the books that will keep my interest for several hours on the beach?

Well if you are planning a vacation and looking for books to haul along, you are in luck. I have put together a list of the books I’ve read this year so far that will have you lathering on the sunscreen, because you’re not leaving until this book is over. I know that many people like easy, light beach reads, but this list is a little different. The reads are a little harder, more in depth, but I promise you, these are books that will keep your attention and you won’t want to put down. **Warning…I am not to blame if you lose track of time and get sunburned**

1. Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler: This book is told through the past and present. In the past, we learn about young Isabelle’s struggle as a young girl in the 1930s who falls in love with a her black housekeeper’s son. The present tells of a road trip to a funeral with her hair dresser, who is also black. Along the way, Isabelle tells her story…except for just whose funeral they are attending, and why. This one pulls you in immediately. You want to know who is so important for this elderly lady to drive across the country for and you want to know how she managed to break the color barrier back when it was as tall as the Berlin wall.

2. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks: You have to have a love story at the beach right? And it’s so sunny out, no one will be paying attention to your tears. They will think that you are just sweating. But let me tell you, the tears will come with this one. Katie has a secret…a major one. She has a former life that no one can find out about. And a present life that one person in particular must never find out. I read this book just before I went and saw the movie. The movie was good, but the book was better.

3. Hysteria by Megan Miranda: Ok, so I’ve given you a little historical fiction and a love story. Now add YA To the list. Mallory killed her boyfriend and is now having nightmares about that day and day terrors about a possible stalker. This one has a twist that you won’t want to miss. Just keep reading. Just keep reading.

4. The Boy from Reactor 4 by Orest Stalmach: This is totally not what you expected to be on my list, right? I know, I know. I turned it down originally, but read it and loved it. I recently watched A Good Day to Die Hard and the movie is set in Russia, part set in Chernobyl. Thanks to this book, I felt like I had been there and knew exactly where they were and what they faced. The book follows Nadia, whose father’s dying wish leads her back to his homeland, Russia, to help a young family get a better life and protect a secret that could be world changing. This was such a page turner, I couldn’t put it down.

5. The Sixth Station by Linda Stasi: What could I add to this list? Religion. Linda Stasi knocked it out of the park with this book. It’s reminiscent of Dan Brown books and follows a journalist who tries to uncover the story of a man who is believed to be the second coming of Christ. This thriller starts in New York, but takes you on an international trip that will have you wanting to find the deepest, darkest religious secrets in the remote parts of the world.

6. The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb: Who doesn’t love a good web of tangled family secrets that have been hidden under decades of cobwebs in a moss covered mansion? This is probably one of my favorite audio books I have ever listened to. I just couldn’t get enough. I kept driving around more than I needed (which means I was at 100+ miles a day thanks to my commute, so you know it’s good) just to keep listening. I will say there is a bit of paranormal in this book that kept it from being perfect in my eyes, but it was still so good, it had to be added to the list.

7. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Cline: Who is this girl that keeps adding all of these books to this summer reading list? What happened to the girl who only used to read YA? Folks, she’s growing up and so are her reading tastes. Orphan Train is an amazing piece of historical fiction that had me doing research late into the night to find out more about these trains. How did I never hear of these? The story puts together a foster care teen with a wealthy elderly woman who has taken a long journey to get to where she is today. You start loving the characters early and can’t wait to hear more about their lives.

Alright friends. There is my beach reading list. All of these books were ones that I could. not. put. down. I wanted more, and still do as I am writing up this list. As I went through my list of books I’ve read so far this year, I fell in love with all of these stories over again and hope that you love them as well!

I want to know what you books are on your Beach Read List for 2013! Leave a comment. Let me know. I am always looking for more books to add to my shelf, even if I have to sneak them in so my husband doesn’t see :)

PostHeaderIcon AnnAlysis: Hysteria

hysteriaFrom Goodreads.com:
Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can’t remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn’t charged. But Mallory still feels Brian’s presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda’s masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.

My Thoughts:
I absolutely loved Mallory’s character from the get-go. She is a normal girl, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong boy. After the deadly night, everything changes. Her parents have a hard time staying in the same room with her, and hide sharp objects, just to be sure nothing like this ever happens again. Her best friend isn’t allowed to spend time with her. And her dead boyfriend’s mom is stalking her. So, she is shipped off to a private school. She is in a bad situation all around and having horrible nightmares don’t make it any easier, or the fact that she keeps waking up with bruises that she can’t explain. You have to feel for her. You don’t know all of the details from the night she killed her boyfriend, and at the beginning of the book, she doesn’t either, but you know that she didn’t do it without cause and you want to help her get better and move forward. Luckily there’s another cute boy that comes into the picture, Reid, who Mallory has been friends with since they were children, but she can’t fall too hard, too fast. Remember what happened last time?

This book creeped me out! You always wonder what will happen if something tragic and horrible happens to you. And I have to say that if I were in that situation, hysteria would probably take over my life as well. How do you cope? How do you move forward? How do you even remember what really happened?

I really liked how Miranda told this story from the present and then goes back to the night the murder happened. I thought she did this flawlessly, with inch-by-inch revealing the the vivid details.

This book pulled me in from the beginning and I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going on with Mallory. There has to be a rational explanation, right?

I give Hysteria 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

Amazon B&N Goodreads
Released: February 5, 2013
Author Website

 

PostHeaderIcon AnnAlysis Sunday Times: 2/24/13

Happy Sunday (evening) friends! Hope the weekend has treated you well! I only left the house once this weekend, but it’s been a productive one. We had the water guys here for SIX HOURS yesterday replacing our water heater. It took longer than expected, but now we can get showers for more than 5 minutes. Yippee! Although I was couch-bound while the water guys were here, I got A LOT of knitting done. So much that I was able to finish the third of three baby blankets for a friend’s triplets. I’ve been working on them for months. Today I got caught up on the house cleaning and finished The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow. I also got in a couple of good Jillian Michaels workouts, including her six-week ab workout today. It was my first stab at that one, and I wanted to quit after the first round, 18 minutes in. I finished and am glad I did. Definitely something I will work in to my weekend routine.

I have some major reading to do over the next month. Here’s what you can expect (book wise) on the blog in the month of March:
March 3: Review of Three Sisters by Susan Mallery
March 4: Interview with Susan Mallery
March 4: Review of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski
March 7: Review of Hysteria by Megan Miranda
March 15: Review of The Best Man by Kristan Higgins
March 16: Interview with Kristan Higgins
March 18: Review of Spellcaster by Claudia Gray
March 23: Review of The Boy from Reactor 4 by Orest Stelmach
March 25: Review of The Sixth Station by Linda Stasci

I’ve already got a couple of these books read and hope to also work in Improvising Carla and The Murder Bird by Joanna Hines. Oh and I have Also Known As (below) on my NetGalley bookshelf just calling my name.


On The Blog

AnnAlysis: Belles
AnnAlysis: Safe Haven
Let’s Get Physical Friday: Workout Blogs


Out This Week

the revenge of the girl with the great personality


As I mentioned above, I already have Also Known As and I plan to get The Madness Underneath. I don’t know how I missed out on the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson, but luckily I am only a couple of books behind. I know what will be downloaded on the Nook soon!

Hope you have a wonderful week! Click on the book cover to learn more about what is coming out this week. And feel free to stop by or Tweet me (@kariannalysis) to give me some motivation for the reading this coming month! :)

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