My 10 Favorite Books of 2014

2014Books

The year has finally come to an end and, though it was close, I managed to complete my challenge of reading 74 books. Though, I reread a few, so I think it was actually 76, but whatever. Here is what I read, in order of how many stars I rated it.

Unrated

Fruits Basket, Vol. 1
by Natsuki Takaya

Very rarely do I not rate a book. In fact, the only time I really considered it was with my own books because you know, authors rating their own books… no. But, I made a deal with a friend that I’d read manga if she’d make a Twitter account and send at lest 5 tweets in her first month. She held up her end of the bargain, and I read the first books of Fruits Basket. I didn’t rate it because I think that manga just isn’t my thing. I was annoyed by the backwards nature of it and the naming conventions confused me. Overall, I was mostly lost through it and so, I don’t feel like I can really rate this book. I didn’t like it, I didn’t dislike it, I just didn’t really get it. Sorry, all you manga fans. Maybe I’ll try again at some point, but as for right now, I’ll avoid manga.

1 Star = I didn’t like it

In this one, I needed a story and there was no story. Felt like a history book to me and unless I needed to read it for school, I saw no point. Though, I have a friend who is a history buff and adored this book. If you are, you might, too. Not for me.
It won a bunch of awards and stuff, but there was nothing about it that I liked. Plot, characters, setting. One big meh for me. I almost feel like I missed something because some people really love it. Oh well.

2 Stars = It was okay

I’ve often said that I love to read a book without knowing anything about it, and 99% of the time, that benefits me greatly. This book is in the 1%. The cover and title led me to think this book was going to be something completely different and in the end, I was just unsatisfied with the whole thing.
Still so disappointed by this book. I had been looking forward to reading it for a long time. I couldn’t wait to read all about the girl who’d done so many awesome things. Only, it was mostly not about her, but the history of where she lived. While some of that was needed to make sense, it was way too much history and politics and ended up being not at all the book I wanted it to be. The bits that were about Malala were wonderful, though.

3 Stars = I liked it

A 3-star rating for me means that I liked the book. For whatever reason, it was good enough that I enjoyed it, but had something that bugged me enough to not like it more. Worth the read, but not my top picks.
Selected Stories
by Anton Chekhov

Read the full review here

The Celibacy Club
by Janice Eidus
Catch-22
by Joseph Heller
Shadowland
by Meg Cabot
Sole Survivor
by Dean Koontz
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Graceling
by Kristin Cashore
The Maze Runner
by James Dashner

Read the full review here


Read the movie review here

Beauty Queens
by Libba Bray
Second Chance Summer
by Morgan Matson
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
The Expats
by Chris Pavone
Vampires in the Lemon Grove
by Karen Russell
If We Survive
by Andrew Klavan
Beautiful You
by Chuck Palahniuk
California
by Edan Lepucki
Defective
by Susan Sofayov

Read the movie review here

Our Dried Voices
by Greg Hickey
The Dragon’s Rocketship Presents: The Ship’s Log (anthology by multiple authors)

4 Stars = I really liked it

A 4-star book is a book I really, really liked. It kept me turning the pages, was highly enjoyable, but fell just short of that final thing that would bump it into a 5-star rating. These are all books I’d easily recommend to others.
Because Of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo
The Magic Toyshop
by Angela Carter
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
by Joanne Fluke
Voyager
by Diana Gabaldon
The Echo Maker
by Richard Powers
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

Read the full review here

The Silver Linings Playbook
by Matthew Quick
A Long Way Down
by Nick Hornby

Read the full review here


Read the movie review here

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
by Agatha Christie
The Spectacular Now
by Tim Tharp

Read the full review here


Read the movie review here

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
If I Stay
by Gayle Forman

Read the full review here

Orange Is the New Black
by Piper Kerman

Read the full review here


Read the TV show review here

The Diviners
by Libba Bray

Read the full review here

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
by Susan Cain
City of Heavenly Fire
by Cassandra Clare

Read the full review here

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

Read the full review here

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Calling Mr. King
by Ronald De Feo
Allegiant
by Veronica Roth
Cinder
by Marissa Meyer
The Program
by Suzanne Young
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
by Katherine Boo
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
Scarlet
by Marissa Meyer
Cress
by Marissa Meyer
I Suck at Girls
by Justin Halpern
The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
by Susannah Cahala
NOS4A2
by Joe Hill

Read the full review here

Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson

Read the full review here

Red Moon
by Benjamin Percy
The Cuckoo’s Calling
by Robert Galbraith

Read the full review here

The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
Everything I Never Told You
by Celeste Ng
Clear Skies, Deep Water: A Chautauqua Memoir
by Beth Peyton

Read the full review here

Antagonize
by Thomas R. Manning

Read the full review here

5 Stars = It was amazing!

I know some people give out 5 stars like they’re nothing, but I am super uber picky with my 5-star ratings. A book not only has to be amazing, but I have to have some kind of deep emotional response to it. Crying, laughing, or just a desperate need to read the book. The characters must become real, and there’s usually a book hangover involved. But mostly, it’s a book that I just can’t stop thinking about. It has to rock my world in a huge way to get 5 stars.

In order from #10 to my #1 fav, here are 10 books that I gave 5 stars to in 2014:

#10
Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into… and Out of
by Blake Snyder

Yes, it’s technically for screenwriters, but it’s so much more! This book will help you learn how to plot and tell a story better. Life changing! I’ll be reading the other Save the Cat books at some point, and this is one of those much-highlighted, constantly-refer-back-to, books.

#9
The Age of Miracles
by Karen Thompson Walker

I’ve had this on my TBR list for a long time and I finally listened to it. First of all, the premise was really cool–days are growing longer and the book is about the impact that has on the world. It’s simple, but there are so many little things this affects. The author did a great job of going into detail and showing the hardship of this major change in the world, but also how people can adapt to almost anything when they stay together.

#8
The Giver
by Lois Lowry

Classic dystopian from the days before dystopians became so popular. I loved the world and the characters, and I love the way the story played out. The use of color was brilliant. So much about it was brilliant. Loved the relationship between the Giver and Jonas. Looking forward to reading the rest in the series.

Read the full review here


Read the movie review here

#7
Insurgent
by Veronica Roth

Book 2 in the Divergent series. It was a continuation of what I loved so much in the first one. Plenty of action and tension, both in love and in the fight against the government. So many twists and turns. It was nice to see them get out of their faction-restricted world and start to explore a bit.

#6
Dragonfly in Amber
by Diana Gabaldon

I was so crazy about Outlander, I couldn’t wait to jump into the 2nd book. This one totally threw me for a loop, though, in the beginning. It was so much of “what is happening right now!” I needed much moral support from friends who read it before, but when it came down to it, this book was just as much of an adventure as the first book.

#5
The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd

Is there a book by Sue Monk Kidd that I’m not crazy over? If there is, I have yet to find it. She has a way of telling the most beautiful stories. In this case, a story of friendship and a desire to be more than what others tell you to be. The contrast of the lives of the two girls was vivid, yet they shared many of the same struggles despite being so different.

#4
The Scorpio Races
by Maggie Stiefvater

I smile just thinking of this book and especially the ending. While it started a tiny bit slow, when it picked up, it never let up. I can’t look at a horse without thinking of this book. Apparently, plans to make it a movie have made some progress, so we just might see this one on the big screen some day soon!

Read the full review here

#3
Divergent
by Veronica Roth

Yes, believe the hype. If you like YA dystopians, that is. It was fun and sweet, heart-stopping and adventurous. Everything I love in a dystopian. The movie turned out pretty good, too. I loved the first two books, though I was a bit miffed by the ending of the series. Not because of what happened so much as that I felt like it did not fit the story or the character and it was just the wrong ending. But hey, I’m not Veronica Roth, so who am I to say? Still a great series and the Insurgent movie looks to be just as good as the first.

Read the movie review here

#2
Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes

Oh, this book. It makes me want to cry and scream just thinking about it. So much about this book was unexpected for me, so that every time something happened, I was just reeling. It was a huge roller coaster of emotion and really opened my eyes to what a paraplegic person goes through every day. I really thought until the end that things were going to go another direction. Big shock and just so ahhhhh.

Read the full review here

#1
Outlander
by Diana Gabaldon

Something about Outlander just makes me want to squeeeee like a fan girl. Oh, right, it’s probably Jamie. ;) But yes, as wonderful as he is, this is just a great story. Claire is so stubborn and passionate, you can’t help but love her, even if you want to slap her sometimes. And what’s not to love in a big Scot with a heart of gold who’s willing to fight to save all he loves? The TV show is just perfect, too. I can’t wait for the rest of season 1, and I can’t wait to devour the rest of the series this year for more Claire and Jamie adventures!

Read the full review here

4 thoughts on “My 10 Favorite Books of 2014

  1. So many of these books and your ratings were spot on with mine. Loved Brain on Fire, and can’t wait until it comes out on film! Me Before You? Do I really need to say anything about this book?!?! Lol.
    The Invention of Wings – excellent, as well. I have read one or two of Kidd’s other books, but they did not compare.

    Everything I Never Told You – the bottomless pond is about 30 miles from where I grew up and my aunt and uncle actually got married in the little chapel. So much fangirl gushing went on reading that one!! The Goldfinch…. NOS4A2…. Oh so many of your choices make me want to go back and reread lol.

    I’m literally just beginning the book blog phase of my life, but I am going to have to make my own “best of” lists for the last 3 years!!

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