Hello everybody! It is July, officially summer, which means it is that time of year again: time for us to look back at our reviews so far and make a big ol’ list.

Without further ado, we present you with: our Best Books Read, Reviewed and Published in 2013 (so far); our Best Books Read & Reviewed in 2013 (regardless of publication year); and, our Honorable Mentions. That means, it is time for our Best of 2013 Lists – So Far.

Ana’s Best of 2013

So far this year I have read and reviewed a whopping 81 books, setting a new record for the half-year mark (granted, 7 of those are shorter fiction pieces that range from short stories to novellas). Of those 81, 33 were Young Adult, 17 Middle Grade, 42 were Fantasy, 9 Science Fiction, 4 UF, 8 Mystery/Thrillers, 9 realistic fiction (including ContempYA) and 9 Historical.

Impressions are a funny thing. Athough my average rate has been a steady 6.5, the impression I have this year so far is that it hasn’t been a good reading year for me – especially when I look at particular months (April and May, I am looking at you) and books published in 2013. I only have a grand total of 2 books that are top 10 material with a few maybes on the honorable list. Overall, as you will see, I’ve read a lot more of awesome oldies than excellent new shiny.

Best Books Read, Reviewed and Published in 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (UK) September Girls

1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, 9 (Fantasy)
2. September Girls by Bennett Madison, 9 (Fantasy)

Best Books Read & Reviewed in 2013 (regardless of publication year)

Nation Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

1. I was a Rat by Phillip Pullman, 8 (Fantasy)
2. The Kairos Mechanism by Kate Milford, 8 (Fantasy)
3. The Siren Depths by Martha Wells, 8 (Fantasy)
4. Indigo’s Star by Hilary Mckay, 8 (Contemporary Fiction)
5. The Catalogue of the Universe by Margaret Mahy, 8 (Fantasy)
6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, 10 (Contemporary YA)
7. The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell, 8 (Fantasy)
8. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, 9 (Fantasy)
9. Permanent Rose by Hilary Mckay, 8 (Contemporary Fiction)
10. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton, 9 (Fantasy)
11. On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard, 9 (Science Fiction)
12. Nation by Terry Pratchett, 10 (Fantasy)
13. Gifts by Ursula Le Guin, 9 (Fantasy)

Honorable Mentions

The Daughter Star web cover A Corner of White

1. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, 7 (Historical)
2. The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord, 8 (Science Fiction)
3. The Daughter Star by Susan Jane Bigelow, 8 (Science Fiction)
4. A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty, 8 (Fantasy)

Thea’s Best of 2013

After going over all of the posts, reviews, and stats my lists are ready to go. So far in 2013, I’ve reviewed 74 books – of those, 42 were Young Adult titles and 9 were Middle Grade titles; 34 were fantasy, 24 science fiction, 21 general speculative fiction, 13 mystery, 10 thrillers, 7 horror, and 4 urban fantasy. And overall? These have been pretty good books – my rating average for 2013 so far is a generally pleased 6.5! Plus, I have a bunch of books that already are top 10 contenders for the end of the year. Not too shabby, 2013. Not too shabby at all.

But enough about numbers. Without further ado, I give you my lists! (Note that these aren’t all in any particular order, and my Best of 2013 list is subject to change as I read more titles published this year…)

Best Books Read, Reviewed and Published in 2013

Orleans The Different Girl

1. Orleans by Sherri L. Smith, 9 (SFF)
2. The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher, 9 (Mystery)
3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, 9 (Fantasy)
4. Mirage by Jenn Reese, 8 (SFF)
5. Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson, 8 (SFF)
6. Stolen Magic by Stephanie Burgis, 8 (Fantasy)
7. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, 8 (Science Fiction)
8. The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist, 8 (SFF)
9. Joyland by Stephen King, 7 (Horror)
10. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, 7 (SFF)

Best Books Read & Reviewed in 2013 (regardless of publication year)

Keeper of the Isis Light (3) The Boneshaker

1. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi, 9 (Fantasy)
2. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton, 8 (Fantasy)
3. The Boneshaker by Kate Milford, 8 (Fantasy)
4. The Broken Lands by Kate Milford, 8 (Fantasy)
5. Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund, 8 (Science Fiction)
6. Deerskin by Robin McKinley, 8 (Fantasy)
7. Keeper of the Isis Light by Monica Hughes, 8 (Science Fiction)
8. The Cup and the Crown by Diane Stanley, 7 (Fantasy)
9. The Pearl of the Soul of the World by Meredith Ann Pierce, 9 (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
10. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, 7 (Fantasy)
11. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, 8 (Science Fiction)
12. Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway, 8 (Fantasy)
13. The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman, 8 (Historical/Fantasy)

Honorable Mentions

Handbook for Dragon Slayers Cold Steel

1. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards, 8 (Science Fiction)
2. The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher, 8 (Fantasy)
3. Without A Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal, 8 (Historical/Fantasy)
4. Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell, 8 (Fantasy)
5. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs, 7 (Urban Fantasy)
6. Cold Steel by Kate Elliott, 7 (Fantasy)
7. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, 7 (Fantasy)
8. The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen, 7 (Fantasy)

There it is – our lists and favorites of 2013 so far! Now we turn it over to you – what books have YOU read and loved this year? We’ve got 6 months to catch up on any titles that we’ve missed out on so far!

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11 Responses to The Half-Year Mark: Best Books of 2013 (so far)

  1. Lexa Cain says:

    I get the impression that you two have different tastes — and therefore are perfect to share a reviewing blog! I hope the next half of 2013 is as exciting (or more in Ana’s case) than the first half. :-)

  2. Bibliotropic says:

    I didn’t read “Nation” this year, but I have to agree that it was a pretty awesome book. I loved the cultural and linguistic divide that was presented!

    There are a few books on here I would disagree with on a “best of” list (5th Wave and The Testing come instantly to mind), but I know that’s largely a difference of opinion. There are still a lot of titles on this list that I haven’t read and am very excited to read!

  3. Ann Angel says:

    Have either of you read Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith? It’s contemporary realism, and knocked me to the ground. I’ll have a review of it tomorrow on Thepiratetree.com, a review site about books with social justice themes — this falls under the category of mental health.

  4. hapax says:

    Have either of you read MR PENUMBRA’S 24 HOUR BOOKSTORE? It came out last year, but was definitely the best book I read this year. I’ll bet that Ana, especially, might like it.

    Other than that, I loved THE RUNAWAY KING and THE CYDONIAN PYRAMID (not even an honorable mention? *pout*) and some that haven’t come out yet: Jody Cassella’s THIN SPACE and Sherry Thomas’s THE BURNING SKY and of course Chima’s ENCHANTER HEIR(I am *such* a Chima fangirl…)

  5. Renee says:

    Aaah, I LOVED Aristotle and Dante too!!! SO AMAZING! I will have to check out some of the other picks on these lists.
    This is such an awesome blog – I just started one (about MG and YA fiction) and I hope it will be half as good.

  6. Darlynne says:

    I love that I’ve read (and agree with) a number of these books. Look at all the others to try!

    On my best-so-far and not-a-particular date, I have to shout about Katherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There. Ms. Valente continues to astonish me with her inventiveness and creativity, and big and little girls can treasure this story.

  7. Shweta says:

    Some of these titles feature on my list too. Ocean at the end of the lane and Nation both are among my favorites. In these past few months I have read and loved Frances Hardinge’s A Face Like Glass and Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer. I need to get my hands on the MG titles you have recommended this year.

  8. Heidi says:

    I’m sorry to see that Ana doesn’t have more definete contenders for the year’s top 10 yet, but I’m PUMPED about all of the great backlog books you guys have gotten to this year! How did I completely miss your coverage of I Was a Rat! ? For shame. I saving up Neil Gaiman for a road trip in August since both my boyfriend and I love him, but I’m sure he’ll be at the top of my list as well. I also had Rick Yancey (though Monstrumologist) and Mercy Thompson books on my list, along with The Freedom Maze (which I first heard about from you ladies), The Hollow Kingdom, and Sacred Scars.

    I’d really love to see you guys check out Kathleen Duey’s Ressurection of Magic series. It’s very dark fantasy, but so emotionally gripping, I really think you could dig it.

  9. Ana says:

    Heidi, both Thea and I have that series on our TBR shelves. We should really read them for OSW soon!

  10. Robert Snow says:

    Very nicely constructed post. Thank you for putting the time into this. I’ve added a couple to my booklist for the next month. I would add Back from The Abyss by Kieran Doherty. http://capandbellspress.com/2013/05/back-from-the-abyss/
    Really beautifully written autobiography from the most fascinating of men. Some of his story is jaw dropping at times and I just couldn’t put it down. Best of the year for me.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this recommendation Robert! We’re thrilled you enjoyed the book. Thea, if at any point you’d like to receive a copy for review we’ll gladly send you one, just email me (Jess Kurrle) at info [at] capandbellspress [dot] com.

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