Sunday, December 29, 2013

Last Minute Read-A-Thon: Remembering 2013 Mini-Challenge!

Welcome to the Last Minute Read-A-Thon's third Mini-Challenge: Remembering 2013!!

Vonnie @ Vonnie's Reading Corner and I are co-hosting this fabulous read-a-thon for those of us who still have to catch up on our reading before the year 2013 goes out the window, and 2014 comes flying in!

This is today's challenge:

Answer the following:
1. Best Book of 2013
2. Worst Book of 2013
3. Favorite New Author
4. Book that surprised you.
5. Book that disappointed you.

Well, this is a challenge indeed!  Since I am an eclectic reader, and read nonfiction as well as fiction, I'm going to have to include sub-categories for the first two categories above.  I can't rate a young adult novel as compared with a literary fiction novel, for instance.  Also, these are my own selections of books read this past year -- not necessarily of books published in 2013.  So here goes..... (Click on each cover for my review of each book.)

Best Literary Fiction Novel of 2013

There were two books I loved, and couldn't decide between them, so I'm mentioning them both!

This is an absolutely enthralling story about a young woman totally dedicated to her art -- singing opera.  The prose is poetically beautiful, and the main character totally engaging!  It was published in 2012.

This book is a wonderfully moving one, with luminous prose and unforgettable characters!  It was published in 2013.

Best Young Adult Novel of 2013

I loved this totally enchanting story!  The author is an established one,  but this is the first of her books I've ever read.  Her world-building is excellent, and the action and characters excellent!  This novel was published in 2013.

Best Christian Fiction/Christmas Romance of 2013

This novella deeply touched me.  It's a wonderful story with a great main character, and truly miraculous events!  I'm so glad I picked it up! It was first published in 2002.

Best Nonfiction Book of 2013

Although this is a New Age book, and I don't agree with all of the author's ideas, I still found a lot of very helpful advice within.  Paradoxically, I discovered that some of the concepts presented had much in common with Christian teachings!  This book was published in 1986.

Worst Book of 2013

I really can't think of any books that I would place in this category.  True, there were a few that could have been better, but none could be considered the absolute worst.

Favorite New Author of 2013

I have three authors for this category, because I really couldn't make up my mind  which one I preferred.  Here they are:

This is the author of Aloha, Mozart, which is her gorgeous 2012 debut novel.  I discovered her through Novel Publicity Book Tours!

She's the author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, her 2013 debut novel.  I discovered her through TLC Book Tours!

She's been around for a while, but was a new author to me.  I picked up an omnibus edition of three of her Christmas novellas. This edition is titled The Treasure of Christmas, and contains the novella Angels in the Snow.

Book that surprised you

When I first read this novel in high school, I found it extremely boring.  I recently picked it up again, and found that my opinion hadn't changed that much.  But then, I read it a third time, and, to my surprise, actually enjoyed it! 

Book that disappointed you

I can't really say that any of the books I've read this year have disappointed me -- at least, not entirely.  Sure, there were a couple of books that contained some disappointing elements, yet I did enjoy them, for the most part. 

 My Reading Progress

I'm about to start Chapter 5 -- which begins on page 54 -- of Angels at the Table!

After I finished this post, I went back to the novel, and read until 3:20 AM.  I made it to the end of Chapter 10, on page 131.  So I'm about to start Chapter Eleven!  Woot, woot!! 

If you have participated in this mini-challenge, don't forget to enter my giveaway, as well as Vonnie's, on her blog!

The only challenge for tomorrow is to finish up your reads and have a wrap-up post by the end of the day, or early the next day.


  1. This was such a fun challenge! :)

    ANGELS IN THE SNOW looks like a great read. I'm going to add that one to my "want-to-read" list. :)

    1. Hi, Melanie!

      Yes, it really was!

      You know, I had never read anything by Melody Carlson before, but I chose three of her novellas to read for this year's Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. I bought an omnibus edition which contains all three of them. This edition is titled "The Treasure of Christmas". Well, the third novella, "Angels in the Snow", absolutely captivated me! OMG, I LOVED it!!! Yes, you have to read it!

      Of course, if you've read anything written by Melody before, you know just how good she is! I also liked the other two novellas, "The Christmas Bus", and "The Gift of Christmas Present", but "Angels in the Snow" was really extra special for me!!

  2. Aloha, Mozart, Spellcaster, and Angels in the Snow all look really interesting! I've read several books by Melody Carlson and have enjoyed them all so I'm really looking forward to reading this novella.

    I haven't read Pride & Prejudice, I've tried a few times but never could get into it. It's one though that I do want to read at some point, since I do love the movie (the one with Colin Firth) and movies that are based on it (Bride and Prejudice & Lost in Austen).

    1. Hi, Megan!

      All three of these are EXCELLENT!! "Aloha Mozart" is absolutely beautiful! The main character is a great person, and totally dedicated to her art, which is singing opera. And the prose style is just incredible. "Spellcaster" is also amazing -- so full of action, and such great characters! As for "Angels in the Snow", it's a very touching, sweet tale that will probably make you cry with happiness. (I'm such a sentimental sap, lol.)

      I first read "Pride and Prejudice" back in high school, and found it boring then. The second time I read it, not that long ago, I found that my opinion had not changed much. But then.....I read it a THIRD time, and was surprised to see that I was actually enjoying it! I guess some books just grow on you; one reading is not enough to fully appreciate them. However, that was not the case with "Jane Eyre". The very first time I read that novel, I LOVED it!!

      I haven't seen any of the movies based on "Pride and Prejudice", but will certainly look them up on Amazon and get them! I am familiar with the Colin Firth movie, but not the other two. Thanks for letting me know about them!!

  3. Hey, great idea of breaking apart the genres when it came to best book.

    I was captivated by your review on Aloha Mozart when you first wrote it. Seeing that it's one of your fave books of 2013 urges me to really get it.

    1. Hey, Vonnie!

      Thanks! Yeah, I just thought it would be better to judge these books that way -- more fair to the authors.

      Oh, you really MUST read "Aloha Mozart"!!! It's the type of book that really stays with you! I wish they would make it into a movie, too!!


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