Traveling With T’s Best Books of 2013

Best Books of 2013

It’s that time of the year- the time of year where numerous “Best Books” list are published. And so, it’s time for Traveling With T to publish a list- a list of the books I loved, some books that made me a better reader, and a few honorable mentions.

Best of 2013

The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman  

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Lori Nelson Spielman’s debut is heartwarming, loving and and has some thought-provoking moments.  I cried, I laughed, I LOVED. Here is my review. This is 1 of the 2 hands down favorite books of Traveling With T. Read on for #2!

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Kimberly McCreight’s debut, Reconstructing Amelia, was called 2013’s Gone Girl. While many books in the mystery/suspense was compared to Gone Girl- this one probably was most deserving. Dark. Twisty. Kate’s anguish over what happened to Amelia, realizing how she did not know her daughter- and wondering if past sins of hers played a role in Amelia’s death- of if the sin of not being there for Amelia in her time of need was why Amelia is gone. Each character- each section of the book- carefully crafted and wonderful. You, as a reader, might think you have it all figured out- but Kimberly takes twists and turns- and creates a story in unforgettable. Here is my review.

A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

When I was emailed a request to review this book, I wasn’t familiar with Susan’s work. But, I had a good feeling from the description and the cover was beautiful. I’m glad I trusted my instincts- because this book is a Southern Lit treasure. Love, finding yourself, feeling nourished, and acceptance are themes of this book- and it truly is a gem. Here is my review.

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

I yearn for the latest Kinsey book well ahead of Sue Grafton’s 2 year publishing schedule. I curse the the day I discovered A is for Alibi and thought “Years and years of mass market paperback books will keep me busy for some time.”  It did not. Thus began the waiting game. Each year a Sue book is published- I’m so happy. Kinsey rocks as a character. Seriously. If you like a mystery- Sue Grafton is great.

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

My first J. Courtney Sullivan book was a treat. JCS weaves a story of fiction with some real-life truths about how “A Diamond is Forever” came about. Criss-crossing from 4 viewpoints, 4 different time frames- and how a diamond plays a role in all their lives. Here is my review.

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Mia March books just scream “SUMMER” to me. Light, funny- sometimes fluffy- I love to read a Mia book. Finding Colin Firth, her 2nd novel, tells the story of  3 women- women who are each dealing with troubles of their own. To add to the mix, a movie is being filmed- and rumor has it that Colin Firth is in town- which adds to the fun of the book.  Here is my review.

Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Thriller. Terrifying at times. Suzanne’s look into the dark side of a marriage is worth a read. Here is my review.

The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

A mother’s love. Love and trust in WWII. Secrets and betrayal. Grief. And much more. Kristina McMorris weaves 2 stories together to make 1 compelling book. Here is my review.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Magical-realism. That phrase made me hesitant about reading this. But, I did. And I’m so glad. It was so much more than I expected. Don’t let the magical-realism label scare you! Here is my review.

The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Haunting and beautifully written. A Southern Lit tale that will stay with you far after the last page is turned. Here is my review.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams– Love, lust, betrayal. Secrets. And a hurricane. Here is my review.

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

honorable mentions for 2013

Books that def require a mention!

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Enjoyable- very enjoyable! Here is my review.

You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Entertaining and enjoyable. A tale of friendship- the highs and lows. Here is my review.

Buried Leads by LynDee Walker

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Photo Credit: Henery Press

Smart. Funny. Nichelle is high-heel loving, Moscato-drinking, and funny as all get out reporter. Enjoyable read! Here is my review.

The Affair by Colette Freedman

the affair

Photo Credit: Amazon

Normally an affair can be seen as pretty black and white issue. But Colette Freedman takes this topic- and paints in shades of grey. By the end, you’re not sure who is right or wrong! Here is my review.

The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

A lie. A harmless lie. And a girl turns up missing. But, that is just a section of the story. Page turning- and you are never quite sure who is innocent or guilty. Here is my review.

What do you think? Find any books to read? Did I miss a book you thought was “Best of 2013” worthy? Tell me!

*This list is just my opinion. I fully realize that I may have over-looked a book that should be ranked. My apologies!

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The Engagements by J.Courtney Sullivan

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A Diamond is Forever…. and what stories could a diamond tell if it could talk…..

J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements tells the tale of 4 different people- 4 people who have experienced the range of emotions a marriage can provoke. The happiness, the sadness, and more. Each person in this book has a story about marriage- a reason for it, a reason for marriage and love not working, or a reason for never wanting to experience the life of being married. In between each story, we, the readers, meet Frances Gerety- a young ad writer for De Beers- who wrote the game changing line- A Diamond is Forever.

Evelyn has seen the bittersweetness of a a marriage and also the joys of one. Delphine learns that while passion may be hotter than a predictable man, passion fades and what is left is not always enough to sustain the long term. James, a paramedic, who has made some mistakes in life; but is trying to make life the best possible for his wife. And Kate- a woman who has watched countless friends get married- and yet has no desire to experience it herself.

J. Courtney Sullivan takes these stories, these experiences of marriage- the white- hot passion, the predictability, the love, the sadness, and all the good, bad, and ugly- and writes a story that is entertaining and heartwarming. J. Courtney Sullivan connects these characters, these characters that experience marital highs and lows, and connects them in surprising and satisfying ways.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Fantastic book. Loved how J. Courtney Sullivan revealed her master plot with The Engagements piece by piece to create a story that was smart, funny, heartwarming at times, and highly entertaining. Plus, I loved how she inserted Frances Gerety into the story- it was very interesting to hear more about role in the A Diamond is Forever tagline. Recommended.

 

* I won this book in a giveaway from the effervescent Sarah McCoy. Thank you Sarah for sending me a copy of The Engagements!

Literary Friday ya’ll…..

It’s Friday- and have I got some book-ish news!

 

1. Deep South Magazine and their #literaryfriday: #giveaway of Dream With Little Angels  by Michael Hiebert ( a Deep South Mag Summer Reading List selection!) Other things: an essay by Amy Franklin-Willis (her latest book The Lost Saints of Tennessee is Southern Lit Lovers on Goodreads July read!) and a Tom Honea interview!

 

2. Anton Disclafani tells her 5 Firsts and Lasts to Chick Lit Is Not Dead. You might know Anton for this little debut novel that everyone has been raving about called The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls!

 

3. Great Thoughts has been posting weekly updates to their summer reading list- here is Week 4 and Week 5.

 

4. Itching for Books is giving Finding Colin Firth Mia March!

 

5. My #fridayreads is Time Flies by Claire Cook, The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, and Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold.

 

6. For other #giveaways, check out Traveling With T’s Thursday Mashup

 

7. Check out Traveling With T next week- #giveaway of Three Good Things by Wendy Francis, interviews and more!

 

 

 

Literary Friday ya’ll….

Friday!

 

1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday is posted! Erika Robuck chat was wonderful- her #literarycrush was revealed: It’s a tie between Tatiana de Rosnay and Simon van Booy (she calls it #swooncity!) Tatiana de Rosnay must know how Erika feels- because she wrote a beautiful blurb for Call Me Zelda! Read over #southernlit

More #literaryfriday news: Interview with Beth Albright, The Sassy Belles, news about Kimberly Brock, Georgia Author of the Year First Fiction Award winner, a play about Zelda F (She’s HOT now, folks!) and more!

For more Twitter chat info- check out Deep South Mag’s Twitter chat schedule!

 

2. Katherine Scott Jones reveals her Summertime Reading, One Book at a Time!

 

3. Kimberly McCreight is coming to my blog to answer questions about Reconstructing Amelia! Here are the details!

 

4. Week 4 of Reconstructing Amelia discussion questions have been posted!

 

5. Author Spotlight for Beth Albright– find out her #literarycrush and #literaryconfessions! Plus a #giveaway of The Sassy Belles!

 

6. My Thursday Mashup was filled with #giveaway information! Check it out!

 

7. My #fridayreads- I must confess: I’ve been lying- I keep saying the past 2 weeks, I’m going to read The Engagements ( I haven’t! This weekend is changing that, tho!) Other #fridayreads Restrike by Reba White Williams, Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella, and Chose The Wrong Guy, Gave the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison.

 

Happy Reading 🙂

 

 

 

 

Literary Friday ya’ll…

Friday- Friday -Friday!

 

Deep South Magazine and their #literaryfriday goodness: Carl Hiassen’s Most Memorable Characters, Wiley Cash news, and more. Plus, the Author Spotlight that was featured yesterday on Erika Marks on my blog, Traveling With T, made the #literaryfriday news!

 

Literary New England is getting “chatty” during the month of July- 2 author chats lined up: Nichole Bernier, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D, chats with @litnewengland July 2nd from 8-9PM EST. There will be a #giveaway! Then July 10, Erika Marks chats from 8-9pmEST- there will be a #giveaway for her chat as well. Use #LNEchat to participate.

 

Anita Loves Books is giving away a copy of Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman. #giveaway ends June 16th.

 

She Reads as part of their Books of  Summer series features Meg Donohue. Read her Tell Me Something True: A Visit with Meg Donohue to find out some about All The Summer Girls.

 

Today, I reviewed Steamed to Death by Peg Cochran for Cozy Mystery Reviews!

 

The #giveaway is still going on for Erika Marks The Guest House. Comment on Erika Marks: Author Spotlight for a chance to win!

 

What are you reading for #fridayreads? I’m reading The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whalen, Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight and hoping to get in Time Flies by Claire Cook.

 

Speaking of The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan- it is mentioned in OBSESSED- The 20 Next Big Things in Glamour’s July 2013 magazine.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

 

Thursday Mashup

#giveaways

Book-alicious Mama is giving away all 3 of Erika Marks books (Little Gale Gumbo, The Mermaid Collector and The Guest House).

The Book Wheel is giving away The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Lobdell ( a SIGNED copy!)

Hallie Sawyer wants to make amends to us followers of her blog since she’s been slacking about posting 🙂 She’s giving away a signed copy of Erika Marks latest book, The Guest House.

More Summer Reading Lists:

Chicago Tribune has posted their summer reading list- The Lake House by Marci Nault,  The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton, The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani–  are the ones that I’m most looking forward to reading 🙂

Great Thoughts has posted their Summer Reads Week 1: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams, The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow, and Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger- all sound great!

Working Mother posted 8 Summer Books for Working Moms- Time Flies by Claire Cook, The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio, Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman are 3 of the 8 books (but the other 5 sound just as great!)

Good Housekeeping has posted their list for Best Beach Reads- A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams, Finding Colin Firth by Mia March, The Engagements by J.Courtney Sullivan are just a few of the books that made the list!

She Reads reveals The Books of Summer- instead of focusing on 1 book for June- they want to share with the readers several books! It’s a great list that should be checked out!

If you can’t find a book to read this summer, look over some of these lists for inspiration!

Random Mashup:

Want to know more about Erika Robuck and Call Me Zelda? Leah’s Thoughts has the scoop!

Jen Doll writes about The Quiet Shame of the Half-Book Reader- it’s an interesting article that needs to be read.

 

 

Literary Friday, ya’ll…..

Friday. Ahhhh…..

1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday: Sinning across the South, book signings and more!

2. Boston Herald reveals it’s Summer Book Club: 10 hot reads to pack in your beach bag. The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan made the list- which I’m super excited about because I won an ARC from the adorable Sarah McCoy, author of The Baker’s Daughter. Look for my review of The Engagements to be posted in a couple of weeks!

3. A Novel Review is giving away Sarah Jio’s newest book, The Last Camellia!

4.  She Reads featured today The Blog Network Recommends– 3 great sounding books were recommended- The Last Camellia, The Third Son, and The Outcast.

5. Drey’s Library is also giving away The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio (plus she has a fabulous interview with her!)

6. Today, Traveling With T, began Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club– come join in the fun as we talk about Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. The questions for Week 1 discussion have been posted- so plenty of time to join in!

7. ICYMI: I reviewed Never Tell by Alafair Burke and Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman this week.

8. My #fridayreads are Reconstructing Amelia and A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White.

9. Traveling With T will have #giveaways next week! Come and visit 🙂 A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle will be given away MONDAY JUNE 3rd. Don’t miss it!

 

Happy Reading!