2014 has been a great year for me. I got back into reading more strongly, and I rediscovered the amazingness of books, and discovered a hilarious, kind and entirely unknown-to-me community: the book blogging/publishing community!
It’s so hard to pick just ten, but I managed to do it (somehow).
Here are the top 10 books I read in 2014, in no particular order:
I don’t read a lot of contemporary, but this book stole my breath – and my tears. All of my tears. I have to admit that I am an easy crier in all things fiction (books, movies, TV shows) but this one was a book where the emotion cut very raw. This book centers around a tragedy, and the force of the pull of the characters emotions was overwhelming. The writing style shifted from several different perspectives and had a narrator who was unknown until the end. As a debut novel from a writer just entering high school, I was incredibly impressed. One of my favorite reads.
This is one of my favorite series, and Dark Triumph was my absolute favourite of the three. I really enjoyed this book because of the main character, Sybella. Sybella was dark and sassy and flawed and vulnerable, and pretty much a jumble of the characteristics you’d get from mixing a convent nun with an assassin. Her love interest was so adorable I wanted to just cuddle him (with Sybella’s express permission, of course) and never let him go. The main characters were what really won this book for me, but the plot was also great, flowing from the first book, Grave Mercy, and leading into the third and final book, Mortal Heart.
This was my absolute favorite contemporary book I read this year. The swoons were thrilling and delicious, and the chemistry between the MCs was fantastic. I originally started off not liking the MC, Lola, and not really being as into the book as I had the first in the series, Anna and the French Kiss, but this book ended up being far above the first by the time I had finished. There’s still one line that I read every now and again, and I get the same swoony, melt-y feelings I did the first time. I push this book on everyone.
I love historical fiction, especially ones that centre around WWII, and this book delievered everything I wanted in a book. There was tension, and intensity, and a strong MC, blossoming romance, and formidable enemies (I mean, at certain times she went up against Hitler himself). What stood out to me was the realism of this book: it was clear that Anne Blankman did a lot of research into the subject, so the historical figures were so vivid and real I couldn’t forget that there was equal parts history and fiction. What I liked best about this book was that the MC was inside Hitler’s circle, which added some anxiety and an entirely different perspective and voice.
I’d been following this series since the first book released, and I expected to feel book withdrawal sadness when I finished Strange and Ever After, but I was not prepared for what I actually felt. The last book in this series was not at all what I was expecting and it was a bittersweet reminder of the realities of life and the enormity of the stakes Eleanor, Daniel and the rest of the Shadow Hunters were gambling with. Luckily, the ever-lovely Susan Dennard has started writing The Sheridan Institute Files, which gives me so much happiness and soothes the pain I felt in this book.
I want everyone to read this book. Everyone. Seriously. One of my roommates already read (and loved) this book, and I’ve just convinced another friend to buy it. I’ll Give You the Sun is like poetry. The prose is interesting and fluid and imaginative in both of the perspectives it deals in. I did favour one perspective over another, not because one was worse, but because I really liked the flowery, creative analogies, metaphor and voice it had. This book had so many life-truths; it was stunning and captivating and everything I look for in a great contemporary read.
Before I managed to get my hands on this book, I was hearing about it everywhere. There were gushing reviews and there was so much talk about it, I was almost scared to fear it for fear of it falling below my expectations. It didn’t. It really, really didn’t. As a fantasy novel, Snow like Ashes had a great world. It was very unique and distinct, but also based on a concept that made it easy to imagine in my head. Highly imaginative worlds are great, but not so much when I only have a blurry idea of what it looks like. SLA was far from that. The pace was great, always moving forward. I know many lovers of this book loved the love interests, Mather and Theron, and with good reason. They’re both amazing. Like really amazing. I still haven’t decided who I ship, but I know either way I’ll end up happy.
This was another historical fiction book that I really enjoyed this year. It was based on Tudor court, and the lives of Mary Howard and Henry Fitzroy. Brazen was a slow burn; not the bad kind that makes me DNF a book, but the type that really allows me to languish in every separate event of the book. It was a long read at 528 pages, but it was absolutely, wholly worth it. I cried. The writing was perfect and inspired, and the entire book was stunning.
I’ve been a fool. That’s all I could think when I finished Shatter Me after it had been sitting on my shelf for over a year. This book was fantastic, marvellous, amazing, gorgeously-written: it was all the words you could possibly use to describe a book that was perfect across the board. The writing style was definitely my favorite because it was so unique! There were two characteristics that created the MC’s voice: the use of numbers and the use of strikethroughs. The characters were so diverse and real and the kind of people you want to be friends with in real life.
(I’m going to marry Kenji.) The rest of the books in this series are officially on my TBR and my wishlist this holiday. (Also the cover is stunning.)
This is another series I foolishly didn’t start until this year. Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass series, and while I really enjoyed the first book, Throne of Glass, the second knocked my pants off. (Hurrary for middle children!) MC Celaena was fiercer, more ruthless, more wicked, just more than she was in the last book. The plot was flawless. What I really love about the plot of this book (and the last) is that it’s not necessarily that they’re on a different journey or solving a different problem; it’s more like as events progress, they’re just finally realizing the depth and breadth of their situation and circumstances. I think of the plot and the characters as an onion; you never truly realize what’s happening until another layer is stripped off.
So these are my top ten favorite books of 2014! I gave each of these four or five stars, and they’re the ones that I know I’ll re-read and re-re-read in 2015 and years to come.
*Visit me again tomorrow to continue the Top 10 of 2014 week!*