Top 10 Reads of 2014

Hello everyone!  As kind of a conclusion to this year, I thought I’d look back on the many, many books I’ve read this year (*cough* all 151 of them *cough*) and pick out the 10 I liked best and would recommend!  Admittedly, some of these are in the middle of a series, so really, I’m recommending the whole series.  I hope you enjoy!  In no particular order, here are my ten picks!

1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1) by Rae Carson

Released: September 20, 2011

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: I loved loved loved this book.  It was the best in the series, in my opinion.  Elisa is a total underdog in the story, a girl who doesn’t believe she can accomplish anything.  I loved that this fantasy was so well-imagined and intriguing.  Lots of spies and warriors and a coming war sparking tension throughout multiple kingdoms.  Seriously, what is there not to like here?

2. Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin, #3) by Robin LaFevers

Released: November 4, 2014

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: I physically could not stop reading this book.  As the last in its series, it was one of the most exciting.  It’s a historical fiction with a bit of a fantasy twist on it, full of assassins and hunters.  (…Are we sensing a trend yet in what I like to read?)  Annith, our main character, is a complete people pleaser because of her awful past.  Once she realizes that others are trying to exploit her for this reason, she decides she needs to take her fate into her own hands.  I loved that she was strong enough to do that.  And the romance in this story wasn’t bad either.  🙂

3. The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

Released: October 11, 2011

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: I fell in love with this book.  Definitely one of the more eclectic on this list, it is written entirely on poetry from the voices of 24 passengers and crew on the doomed Titanic.  I loved that every single voice felt distinct, which is incredible because there were 24 of them.  But I loved how I came to know each of these different characters (who were real people on the ship) and came to know their (somewhat fictional) stories.  Obviously, the author has taken liberties to create an interesting book.  It was so worth it, though, as a someone who finds Titanic fascinating, to read poetry from their perspectives.

4. A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Released: January 23, 2014

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: This historical fiction was so frustrating and real.  I felt for Vicky and her struggle to be her own woman in 1909, when suffragettes were treated horrifically and women were expected to obey men at every turn.  I was frequently angry at characters in the story, but I was also proud of Vicky for pushing those boundaries.  You know there had to be women like Vicky in order for us to be where we are today.  All she wanted to do was paint, and the world told her she couldn’t.

5. After the End (After the End, #1) by Amy Plum

Released: May 6, 2014

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: Yay, my first dystopian on this list!  Actually, it’s a lovely twist on a typical dystopian.  Juneau has lived her entire life in the Alaskan wilderness with the only people who survived World War III…or at least that’s what she’s been told.  Imagine her surprise when she finds out the world still exists, but WWIII never has.  This spectacular twist put a new spin on an old story.  And I loved the tension between Juneau and Miles, the boy who takes her in when she’s looking for her missing clan.  And Miles may have some secrets of his own…

6. Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub

Released: July 9, 2013

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: A truly lovely tale about the aftermath of Romeo and Juliet.  It was so imaginative and totally plausible in that world.  Verona is trying to recover from the bloody summer that took the lives of far too many residents.  Prince Escalus, in an attempt to reconcile the families, decides that the Capulets and Montagues should marry…and picks Rosaline and Benvolio to wed.  It was truly awesome to read the story from their perspectives, especially since Rosaline was the one who originally turned down Romeo and Benvolio was witness to the entire mess.  But together they form a bond when they discover that even if they wed, the feud between their houses may still cost them their lives.

7. Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Released: July 23, 2013

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: A dystopian twist on a tale as old as time.  Obviously, I tend to geek out with anything that has to do with Beauty and the Beast, but I was scared to try this one.  But it was beautiful.  The dystopian storyline only enhanced the story and the love between the characters.  Princess Isra is blind and relies heavily on those around her.  Gem is a mutant from outside the domed walls of the kingdom who is struggling to survive.  He sees Isra as a chance to rebalance the world he lives in and exact his revenge.  Oh, it’s such a beautiful story.  What are you waiting for?  Go read this before I buy up all the copies for myself!

8. Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Released: March 11, 2014

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: I have been singing this book’s praises since the moment I finished it.  It has the feel of a modern fairytale without having a fairytale that it draws from.  I loved that.  Sing da Navelli has been training since birth to be an opera singer, just like her parents.  She’s gained admittance to a prestigious school called the Dunhammond Conservatory…a school with a strange history.  But Sing doesn’t care about that.  She just wants to get the lead in the school’s opera, Angelique.  Somehow, her voice just isn’t right and she needs training from an apprentice, Nathan, whose take-no-prisoners approach just may be the push Sing needs…or enough to break her.

9. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Released: May 6, 2014

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: I love Morgan Matson’s stories.  She always makes her realistic fictions poignant and emotional while being hopeful.  Also, Matson’s inclusion of playlists in the stories is just awesome.  It’s something she does with every book and it makes me feel like I know the characters more.  Emily didn’t used to be popular or “crazy” until Sloane became her best friend.  Sloane was the spontaneous one who dragged Emily along on her adventures.  Then Sloane disappears and Emily doesn’t know what to do until a list arrives in the mail from Sloane of things Emily needs to do this summer.  Apple picking at night? Dancing until dawn?  Ok.  Kissing a stranger?  Um…

10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Released: September 10, 2013

I originally gave it: 5 Roses

Why?: While I wasn’t a fan of Eleanor & Park, I found myself ga-ga over this book.  I even reread parts of it 3-4 times before I returned it to the library.  It was realistic and so different from the many NA books I try to avoid.  Cath is completely awkward and would much rather write her Simon Snow fanfic than go out and do normal things at college.  This is what Cath knows she’s good at.  But college isn’t like Cath thought it would be, either.  Her creative writing teacher hates fan fiction with a passion.  Cath’s twin sister Wren is off doing what normal people do in college.  I loved that Cath’s experience with college was so like my own: we were fish out of water, unsure what to do.

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