My Favourite Reads of 2013

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As we usher in 2014 I thought it was a good time to look back on all the books I have read in the last tweleve months and pick my favourites. They may not have been released this year or may still be yet to come but these novels (in no particular order as it would just be way too hard to choose) were my favourite reads of 2013.







In my humble opinion it is an absolute literary crime that Life After Life by Kate Atkinson has not yet won a mainstream award. Although shortlisted for almost every prize possible it has been pipped to the post each time. Don't let this put you off because this novel is beyond stunning. Follow Ursula as she attempts to live her life to the fullest over and over. As her mistakes push her back to being reborn she slowly follows her true path. An utterly captivating hero Ursula has been my favourite character of the year.

Check out my full review here.

To buy Life After Life by Kate Atkinson from Waterstones click here.

To buy Life After Life by Kate Atkinson from Amazon click here.









This novel is not for the faint hearted and tackles issues that some may find upsetting but there was something about the careful yet uninhibited look at the mind of an abortionist that truly made this novel stand out. There are some gruesome details but these are necessary to gauge a true insight into the mental damage that someone could do themselves carrying out this procedure on a daily basis. Although it feels wrong to say this books is enjoyable, it's an important and absorbing read.

Check out my full review here.

To buy Dirty Work by Gabriel Weston from Waterstones click here.

To buy Dirty Work by Gabriel Weston from Amazon click here.







The Humans is the only book this year that made me late to social gathering due to being a blubbering mess. What is even more confusing during this emotional outburst was intense mix of both happiness and sadness at the same time. As an alien infiltrates a dysfunctional family he reports on the mystery that is human behaviour. Both laugh out loud funny and chin wobblingly upsetting this novel really does leave you feeling uplifted. For anyone who's suffered from anxiety or the dark clouds of depression, this novel will hit home harder than most as Matt Haig expresses these tensions like no one else.

Check out my full review here.

To buy The Humans by Matt Haig from Waterstones click here.

To buy The Humans by Matt Haig from Amazon click here.






Every James Smythe novel I read leaves me blown away and The Machine was no exception. A modern Frankenstein tale it tells the story of a man who returns from war broken and abusive. He agrees with a his wife to test a machine that can erase the damaging memories that have changed his personality but it all goes horribly wrong. Can she ever get back the man she married? Playing with questions of what constitutes memory and personality this novel not only contains great science fiction ideas but also great philosophical ones.

Check out my full review here.

To buy The Machine by James Smythe from Amazon click here.

To buy The Machine by James Smyther from Waterstones click here.






I had been meaning to read Sarah Hall since a Faber evening when I heard her do an utterly incredible reading from her collection of short stories, The Beautiful Indifference. After hearing the main character of The Electric Michelangelo was a tattooist I decided to read it to review for Things and Ink Magazine. Although the beginning of the novel could be described as a bit slow there is something about Sarah Hall's writing that is painfully evocative. There are no happy endings in this book but some of the most brutal, gut and heart wrenching endings to characters that I have ever read. An epic tale of love, loss and trying to belong with writing that extracts the beauty in the ugliness around us.

Check out my full review here

To buy The Electric from Amazon click here

To buy The Electric from Waterstones click here.






I have never really had a huge passion for the sea but three of my top ten books are based around water and sailing. Archipelago tells the tale of a father and daughter looking for escapism after they survive a horrific tsunami that destroys their home and tears their family apart. As the father watches his daughter struggle with everyday life he decides to whisk her and the family dog away on the journey of a lifetime. Under prepared and battling with their own demons the trio hit all time highs and the deepest lows. Warning: will make you cry in public!

Check out my full review here.

To buy Archipelago by Monique Roffey from Amazon click here.

To buy Archipelago by Monique Roffey from Waterstones click here.






I entered 2013 reading this novel and it was not a good time for me but I cannot think of a more fitting novel for my state of mind at the time. Although I was very aware of the premise of a tiger and boy sharing a boat I was worried the story would become too anthropomorphic for me to enjoy. I was proved hugely wrong and not only fell in love with Martel's description of the country but also an ending that I was completely unprepared for, just fabulous!

Check out my full review here.

To buy Life of Pi by Yann Martel from Waterstones click here.

To buy Life of Pi by Yann Martel from Amazon click here.





The Starboard Sea (eBook)


This is one of the undiscovered gems of the year that simply didn't get the attention it deserved. The tale of a teenage boy in a sailing obsessed boarding school, depressed, alone and mourning the loss of his best friend. But he holds a secret so dark it's tearing him apart and blames himself for the death of his friend but what could be so bad? This is a beautifully written novel that has an ending that truly shocked me. It's dark, unflinching and utterly mesmerising, it more then deserved to me a bestseller.

Check out my full review here.

Buy The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont from Waterstones here. 

Buy The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont from Amazon here.







This was one of the most highly anticipated books of the year and for me, it didn't disappoint. The first fifty pages that document a boys experience in an explosion in an art gallery blew me away (no pun intended). Yes it is a beast of a novel and I would recommend reading it in large chunks rather than a page here and there to get the most from it but it's worth every second you put into it. Theo is an unlikely hero in this novel, constantly pressurised by guilt and saddened by unrequited love. Although at one point during the novel he really disappoints you as a reader, you still can't help but love him.

Check out my full review here.

Buy The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt from Waterstones here.

Buy The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt from Amazon  here.







This novel is not released in the UK until February 2014 but horror readers are in for a treat as this is well worth the wait! When a small scout troop take to a local deserted island to earn their survival badges neither them or their troop leader could imagine the horror that would visit them. The first night there the leader spies a small boat land and a barely human creature lunges towards him, begging to be fed. As he pleads the man scoops up dirt and grass into his mouth, eating it as fast as he could to control a gnawing hunger. It's obvious the man's ill but what sickness could push a human to eat anything?

Check out my full review here.

Buy The Troop by Nick Cutter from Waterstones here.

Buy The Troop by Nick Cutter from Amazon here.



And there you have it, the top ten books I read in 2013, a real mix and genres and styles so hopefully everyone will find something in there they like. Here's to an even bigger book year in 2014!





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