2013 – A Year In Review

fireworksIt’s totally cliché, but where the hell has this year gone? With today being the very last day of 2013 I figured I’d do a quick “Year in Review” post to talk about my progress with reading challenges and also to discuss my favorite books of the year!

Quick rundown on how I did with my reading challenges: I successfully read 120 books this year. In fact, as of the time of writing this post I am at 199 books for the year! (WOOT!) You can see all the books I’ve read with links to their reviews here. Now, a bit of bad news. I utterly failed (for the second year in a row) the audio book challenge. I didn’t listen to 1 audio book this year (read: pathetic.) I also didn’t do so great with the Book to Movie challenge either, with only 2 out of 12 read. Now, to the good news: I completed 78% of the Color Coded Challenge, or 7 out of 9 reads. I actually had a blast doing this challenge. You don’t realize how many books use colors in their titles until you do a challenge like this! Additionally, I unsurprisingly completed the Historical Fiction Challenge as well as the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary challenge with no trouble at all.

And now for the difficult part: Picking my favorite reads of 2013.

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley (look for my review next week!!!)
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  4. The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers/Making It Last by Ruthie Knox
  5. Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare
  6. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
  7. Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander/Easy by Tammara Webber
  8. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  9. Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost
  10. The Secret of Ella and Micha/The Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Having read almost 200 books this year, choosing 10 (really 12) of my favorites almost killed me. So, in the effort of easing my conscience I’m giving you some of my runners-up (in no particular order)!

  1. Pride, Prejudice, and the Perfect Match by Marilyn Brant
  2. The Edelstein Trilogie by Kersin Gier (Book one, two, & three)
  3. The Westfield Wolves/Regency Vampyre Series by Lydia Dare
  4. Return to Longbourn by Shannon Winslow
  5. The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
  6. Losing It by Cora Carmack
  7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  8. Bittersweet by Noelle Adams

This was hands down the hardest year yet to pick my favorite books. When you read almost 200 books in a year I guess that should be expected, no?

Ok, the burden is being passed to you. What did you love reading this year?!? Please let us know below. And finally, enjoy the rest of your New Year’s Day, hopefully with a great book. See you in 2014!

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Kim’s Review of Losing It (Losing It #1) by Cora Carmack

li1ccBack in December 2012 the New York Times published an article about the advent of a new genre in publishing, new adult.  In simplistic terms they say new adult novels are young adult novels with sex.  My own personal feelings, however, run a bit deeper.  First let me say that this new genre is being marketed to 18-25 year-olds.  Nobody doubts that being a teenager is hard, but so is coming into your own and becoming an adult.  Those in the 18-25 age bracket are usually entering college/graduating college, thinking about sex, their future, taking care of themselves financially, mature relationships, and beginning life on their own two feet.  As someone who can seriously relate to all of these thoughts, having gone through them myself fairly recently (I’m 26),  I’ve been happy about the explosion of this genre.  Books written with honesty and depth about the problems this age bracket faces are a welcome addition to the book world in my humble opinion.

With that as my introduction I’ll move on to tell you about the new adult binge I’ve been on for a good portion of April.  Losing It by Cora Carmack was my first foray into the genre and WHAT a good choice! Plot from Goodreads:

Virginity.

Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible– a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theater professor. She’d left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

Right off the bat I was in love with this book. No, seriously right from the start.  This line sold me “Somewhere between Saved by the Bell and Gossip Girl, it became unheard of for a girl to graduate college with her V-Card still in hand.” Sadly, it’s so true.  Being a girl and completing high school as a virgin is an extremely difficult task.  Imagine doing it all over again through college.  Bliss is one of these girls.  She feels an immense amount of pressure to lose her virginity, so much so that she’s willing to just find some random guy at a bar.  I commend Carmack for choosing to write about this subject and the inane amount of pressure there is on girls about sex in general.  My respect for her grew leaps and bounds when she had Bliss choose to NOT lose her virginity in a random one night stand.  Bliss is actually a pretty awesome role model.  As pressured as she feels by her friends to do what’s “cool” she knows what her own limitations are and ultimately makes decisions based on them.

Enter Garrick.  I’ve decided he’s my new book boyfriend (well actually him and Jamie Fraser).  Garrick is a suave, put-together guy who rocks confidence and sex appeal like no other.  He’s a refreshing male hero in my eyes because he’s not obsessed with doing EVERYTHING for Bliss.  He doesn’t want to feed her or pick out her clothes, etc.  He wants her to be herself with no limitations.  Even when he’s teaching her class, he wants her to reach her acting potential with her own inner confidence.  He doesn’t tell her she’s good because they’re sleeping together, he tells her she’s good because she is.  He recognizes her intelligence, her confidence, and her independence and respects her for it.

I mentioned earlier about the pressures this age group feels about sex, but for the upper bracket of the group, Carmack accurately depicts the anxieties that graduating college can cause.  The fear of “what am I going to do now?” is definitely something a good chunk of post-college grads can relate to.  I’m glad she highlighted these topics, as they give depth to the work as a whole.  With her witty prose and excellent subject matter, Cora Carmack has sealed her fate as one of my top authors in the new adult genre.  Losing It has earned its spot on my list of top ten reads this year as well as my favorite reads shelf.  Make sure you read this book before book two in the series, Faking It, comes out June 4th.

5 out of 5 Stars

Losing It by Cora Carmack
Harper Collins Publishing (2012)
eBook: 228 pages
ISBN: 9780062273253