We’ve had big changes at VBC this year. For starters, we now have multiple reviewers. In addition to me (Chelsea), you see regular posts here from Jo, Candace, Mary, Amanda, Amy, Krista and Amber. So, while last year we broke it out by reviewer for the best books, that would make for a very long list with a lot of repeated books. So, this year it’s curated. Yep, the VBC team put our collective heads together to pick the 10 best books of 2013.
In addition to our epic top 10 list, we will announce the readers’ choice winner at the bottom of the list. There were so many good titles that didn’t make the final list. So, if you don’t see your favorite below, hit the comments. Chances are one of the VBC reviewers will chime in saying they loved it, too! (See the Best Of lists from 2012, 2011 and 2010.)
All that said, this list makes a great shopping list. You can pass it off to your significant other as a “subtle” hint. Not that we’d do that. I can vouch that any book in the top 10 is going to have strong characterization, stellar worldbuilding and a plot that sucks you in.
1. THE ETERNITY CURE (BLOOD OF EDEN #2)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Allie’s character arc deepens as Julie Kagawa takes her to darker, necessary places. The Eternity Cure gave me what I really needed in this journey: huge emotional development, answers about the world Allie grew up in, down-and-dirty fight scenes and some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve read in some time.
2. TWICE TEMPTED (NIGHT PRINCE #2)
Author: Jeaniene Frost
We like books that read like emotional rollercoasters. Twice Tempted is definitely one of those books. It’s full of powerful scenes that both twist your gut and make you swoon. Vlad is a complicated hero, and watching he and Leila journey toward love is utterly gripping. Prepare to fall even more in love with the impaler.
Get more: Check out Chelsea’s review over at Heroes & Heartbreakers
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
3. ENDLESS KNIGHT (ARCANA CHRONICLES #2)
Author: Kresley Cole
Kresley Cole knows how to make us fall for the guys we shouldn’t. That applies to all her books, but Endless Knight was masterful in the way it played with our emotions. You’d be sure you understood a character, and before you knew it things would be flipped and you’d love the one you hated. It’s lush and addictive and unputdownable.
4. HEART OF OBSIDIAN (PSY-CHANGELING #12)
Author: Nalini Singh
At its heart, Heart of Obsidian is a story of redemption for a hero who may not deserve it, except for the love of one woman who has always believed in him. It is a haunting, beautiful, passionate love story that we, the fans, have been waiting impatiently for—and Nalini Singh delivers. In spades.
5. FIFTH GRAVE PAST THE LIGHT (CHARLEY DAVIDSON #5)
Author: Darynda Jones
Engrossing worldbuilding, larger than life characters and humor have made the Charley Davidson series one of the VBC team’s favorites. (And most of us have a thing for Reyes, too.) Mixing that with the sheer amount of romance, mystery and action in this installment made Fifth Grave Past the Light the best book in the series to date.
6. THE FIERY HEART (BLOODLINES #4)
Author: Richelle Mead
Have you ever wished that Richelle Mead would go full-on romance novel in one of her YA books? That finally happens with The Fiery Heart. The core of this book is about Sydney and Adrian’s journey as a couple. Their coming together, understanding each other and growing their relationship. Also: So much kissing. It’s like a few hundred pages of everything Sydrian ‘shippers have been longing for. That said, expect complications and a few “seriously?!?” moments.
7. DYING IS MY BUSINESS
Author: Nicholas Kaufmann
Ever wish there was a fantasy version of The Bourne Identity? Us, too. Dying is My Business is a really great example of an urban setting mixing brilliantly with a high fantasy element. The contrast between the gritty criminal underworld Trent is working in against the almost fairy-tale mythical world he stumbles upon makes for a vivid read. The action sequences had a sense of realism yet were at the same time magical.
8. BOUND BY NIGHT (MOONBOUND CLAN #1)
Author: Larissa Ione
We like it when Larissa Ione writes vampires. With this first book in her new MoonBound Clan series she offers the kind of romance that makes your knees weak, and of course that includes a stubborn alpha, who you’ll love and hate at the same time. Bound by Night is a lush romance of two people letting go of their hate to find love. Bonus: If you love the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, you need to read this one.
9. BITING BAD (CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES #8)
Author: Chloe Neill
Remember how OMG amazing Twice Bitten was? The eighth installment of the Chicagoland Vampires series Biting Bad throws back to that kind of gripping read. It’s Merit being awesome, and sometimes failing. It’s Merit and Ethan together. It’s vampire politics. It’s Chicago. Chloe Neill brings her A game to this one, and makes us fall for the Cadogan vampires all over again.
10. SHADOWDANCE (DARKEST LONDON #4)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Secrets, lies, serial killers and more sexually charged back and forth than you can shake a stick at? That’s right, Jack Talent and Mary Chase finally square off in their own installment of the glorious victorian-set Darkest London series. Shadowdance is filled with exquisitely detailed worldbuilding, tortured back stories and angry hearts breaking. One of (if not THE) most romantic of the series so far.
READERS’ CHOICE: WRITTEN IN RED (THE OTHERS #1)
Author: Anne Bishop
This one was very, very close. As in four books within a single vote of one another. Anne Bishop’s Written in Red came out on top, though. This is great, as it just barely missed the cut for the VBC Top 10. Several of our reviewers will be jumping up and down at this. The consensus on Written in Red is it’s special. A unique story that will stay with you for days and days after you read the final page. Our reviewer Amy said she loved the heroine Meg, who was both naive and smart.