Mission Accomplished: I Read 100 Books in 2013

Like many of you (50K of you, in fact), I resolved to read more in 2013. I challenged myself to read 100 books before the year’s end. And I can proudly say I did it!

Since I work for a bookstore and mingle with publishers year-round, I’m lucky enough to always have a good book on hand, including some advanced reader copies. Here’s a look at my 15 favorites among the 100 books I read in 2013, along with my ratings of each. The first 13 on my list earned themselves a 5-star rating. Keep reading to learn how you can enter to win a $100 HPB Gift Card.

1. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert,
2. The Son by Philipp Meyer,
3. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand,
4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey,
5. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer,
6. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple,
7. Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard,
8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell,
9. The Dinner by Herman Koch,
10. Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley,
11. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini,
12. On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee (January 7, 2014 release date),
13. Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan,
14. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (January 7, 2014 release date),
15. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain


So now it’s your turn, booklovers. Join me! I’m making a resolution again for 2014 to keep on reading more! Tell us about your resolution (here) and enter for a chance to score a $100 HPB Gift Card.

HOW TO ENTER: Go to hpb.com/resolve and complete the entry form, including how many books you resolve to read in 2014. You must provide a valid email address so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. Limit one entry per person. Deadline to enter is Friday, January 31, 2014.* Just for kicks, tell us what books you’ll be reading this year in the comments below. Need some recommendations? Stop in your local store today and ask for help. Happy New Year!

*One randomly selected winner will be notified via email after January 31, 2014.

Kristen B. is Procurement Specialist at Half Price Books Distribution Center.
You can follow her on Twitter at @kbev302.

Get Lost (with these new fiction titles)!

With the dog days of summer in full swing, you may be feeling a little claustrophobic, restless, or even trapped waiting for temperatures to drop. When the heat is too oppressive to do much of anything else, why not escape into a great new book?  Stop by your local HPB today and check out a few of our new fiction picks to help you dodge the doldrums of summer.

•  Want to get lost in a fast-paced crime thriller? If you like JD Robb’s In Death series or Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper novels, try Bombshell by Catherine Coulter.

• Suspenseful paranormal romance more your style? Check out Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton, especially if you’re a fan of Cynthia Eden’s vampire series or Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark.

City of Bones is the first installment in the YA Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and is a great choice for teen readers who love Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy or the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

• For fans of Philippa Gregory’s historical novels The Red Queen & The Other Boleyn Girl, The White Princess will be a perfect follow-up. Also check out this new release if you enjoyed Sarah Dunant’s The Birth of Venus or In the Company of a Courtesan.

• Can’t get enough of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon thrillers? Couldn’t put down Dan Brown’s Inferno? Try Brad Thor’s new political page-turner, Hidden Order.

Have you gotten lost with any of our new fiction picks yet?  What’s been your perfect summer escape this season? — Kate 

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Fiction Friday: “Darkness, My Old Friend” Quintessential Thriller

Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger is the quintessential thriller novel. It has all of the necessary elements for the making of a thriller, including –
The Who:

  • The retired cop, who, of course, has a last name for a first name: Jones Cooper.
  • The difficult seventeen year old girl, Willow, who has just moved with her single mom to the rural town of Hollows from New York City.
  • The woman who became a psychic after a brutal car accident left her in a coma for six weeks, Eloise.
  • The creepy man, Michael Holt, who lost his mom at an early age. Even at thirteen years old he was bigger in stature than most men in their thirties.
  • The woman with the abusive husband, Paula Carr.

The What: One day while Willow is ditching school, she comes across Michael digging in the woods. Jones Cooper is hired to find out what happened to two missing women – one in the present and one in the past. Their stories start to intermingle after Eloise, the psychic, has some scary visions about the near future for Cooper.

When: Present Day

Where: The Hollows, a rural area that includes the dreaded creepy woods.
Why: To figure out what actually happened to Marla Holt, so many years ago.
This was definitely an interesting, flowing story that I could not put down. It was a quick read and an enjoyable one. At the beginning the stories seemed so disjointed, but they slowly start to intertwine into a fantastic surprise ending that brought the whole story together. Once Lisa Unger introduced the psychic, I became afraid that the story would turn cheesy, but it was quite the contrary. Unger did something I thought no one else could do– she made the psychic a real person and not cheesy at all.
It wasn’t until about half way through reading that I discovered that Darkness, My Old Friend is actually a follow up novel to Fragile, which I haven’t read. I’ve heard that it is good to read Fragile before reading the most recent novel, but it is not necessary. I do respect the fact that Unger has created a follow-up novel that can completely stand on its own.
Now, I leave you with one question today – why do most thriller novels have a cop/ex-cop with a last name for a first name? 🙂 Got any theories?

— Kristen B.