Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My Favourite Reads of 2013 .... and a few to look out for in 2014

I've spent a while looking back at the books that I've read during 2013, and decided that I'm most definitely
an eclectic reader, and maybe a bit of an eccentric!
In 2013 I read almost 200 books; most of them were fiction and the majority were by female authors.  

I've had a good reading year, and a good blogging year.  I'd like to say a huge thanks to the many publishers and authors who have sent books to review, done interviews and provided prizes for giveaways.   I've been lucky enough to attend some great author events, parties and book launches, and met some fabulous people.

I'm amazed that Random Things has had over 90,000 page views and that people seem to enjoy my reviews, and then go out and read and enjoy the books that I recommend.

I've made a list of my favourite 12 books of 2013 - it's been incredibly difficult to choose just 12.  I've read some amazing books this year, but these 12 are the ones that really stood out for me.  I've listed them in the order that I read them.  I've also included, at the end of the list a few recommendations for books that are due to be published in 2014 - I've read them, and I loved them - please look out for them early in the New Year.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and hoping that 2014 brings good things for everyone

Anne xx

My favourite reads of 2013 - in the order that I read them.  Click on the book title to read my full review:

Published by Ebury Press 

Paperback - 28 February 2013

"The Adoption is Anne Berry's best novel to date.   It is heart-rending yet beautiful."

Published by Mantle - Pan MacMillan

Hardback - 14 March 2013 (Paperback to be published 24 April 2014)

"I enjoyed every single page of The Promise.  Ann Weisgarber has proved to me that she is an incredibly talented author whose stories are going from strength to strength."

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

Hardback - 26 March 2013 (Paperback to be published 2 January 2014)

"The Storyteller is haunting and raises so many questions.  The writing, the sense of place and the characterisation is superb.   It is an immense story and I'd recommend it highly."

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Hardback 21 May 2013 (Paperback to be published 6 May 2014)

"Whilst And The Mountains Echoed does not have the shock-factor of Hosseini's two previous novels, it is still a very important epic story that will leave a mark on anyone who reads it."

Published by The Friday Project

Paperback 11 April 2013

"I have absolutely no doubt that The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is going to stay in my mind for a very long time, in fact I may re-read it at a later date, and that is something that I rarely do."

Published by Harper Collins

Hardback 9 May 2013 (Paperback to be published 7 January 2014)

"The Shock of the Fall completely nails it. This is brave writing, honest writing and pretty astounding writing.   I am full of admiration for Filer and look forward to reading more of his work in the future."

Published by Cutting Edge Press

Paperback 27 June 2013

"Sometimes a book comes along that totally blows the mind.   Nearest Thing To Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes has done just that, my head is spinning, my heart has been beating so fast that I thought it was going to burst out of my chest."

Published by Headline

Hardback 4 July 2013.   Paperback 24 October 2013

"The Unquiet Grave grips the reader from the first paragraph and doesn't let go until the very last word. The pace is perfect and the twists are genius."

Published by Much In Little  - Constable & Robinson

Hardback 19 September 2013  (Paperback to be published 20 March 2014)

"I was completely under Matthew Crow's spell.  This short novel is just perfectly brilliant and I will recommend In Bloom to all readers, young and old."

Published by Cutting Edge Press

Paperback 1 August 2013 

"The Blackheath Seance Parlour is a 'proper' story for Halloween. Prepare for a story that feels like a mash up of the best of Dickens' gothic magic and an episode of the (fantastically funny) The League of Gentlemen."

Published by Canvas - Constable & Robinson

Hardback 18 April 2013     Paperback  21 November 2013

"The Emergence of Judy Taylor is a very accomplished novel.This is a powerful and often very moving story with touches of dry humour and some fabulous characters."

Published by Century - Random House

Paperback 18 July 2013

"One of Lisa Jewell's main strengths is her ability to write something that is completely different and quite unexpected.  The House We Grew Up In is a hard hitting, yet at the same time, a gentle story that is both shocking and moving and has taken a place in my favourite books of the year list."

I'd also like to give a very special mention to the following four books.  I read them in 2013 and they are due to be published in 2014.    Again, a very mixed bunch, but they are all excellent reads - look out for them!

Under A Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes

Published by Sphere

Paperback 24 April 2014 

"This is a tightly plotted story, with many twists and turns, lots of associated characters and so many potential suspects, just when you think you've solved it, something else happens, and bang! you realise that you were so so wrong."

The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Published by Penguin

Hardback 27 February 2014    Paperback 31 July 2014

"The One Plus One is a love story, it is a family story, it is a story of hope and most of all it is a story that shows that simple acts of kindness can make the power of difference, no matter how difficult things are. Jojo Moyes perfectly captures the tiny things in life that have the biggest impact, she expertly brings to life the blossoming of relationships."

The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley

Published by Pan MacMillan

Paperback  16 January 2014 

"A story of love, courage, consequences, family relationships and mystery. The attention to detail and the perfect parallel timing of this novel makes it a joy to read."

Dead Gone by Luca Veste

Published by Avon Books

Paperback  16 January 2014

"This is quite simply, a stunning debut from an author who I have no doubt is going to find huge success in this genre.  Dead Gone is complex, intriguing and spine-chilling."

Sixteen fabulous books, a very mixed selection, but each and every one of them were excellent reads.    I hope that I may have whetted your appetite with a least a couple of these, they all come very highly recommended.

So on to 2014, and I'm looking forward to seeing just what will randomly pop through the letterbox this year.


  1. I've read eight of those, have another 4 to be read and will be looking out for the other 4!
    Happy New Year Anne, hope you and Martin have a wonderful year together in 2014. xx

  2. I've only read two of these - the Drowning of Arthur Braxton and The Unquiet Grave - and both were on my picks of the year!

  3. I've read seven and have another four on my TBR. Some great choices Anne. Happy New Year and wishing you many more great books to read in 2014. Kx

  4. I must get on and read The Promise. I am ashamed to say it is still on the TBR along with far too many other good books. Wishing you a prosperous and successful 2014 x

  5. Anne, I can't begin to tell you how much it means that The Promise made your list. I'm deeply touched and you ended my year on a high note. Thank you.

    Best wishes for happy adventures, good news, and peace during the new year.