My darling friend Jamie, a saint/sounding board/therapist/friend without whom I would never had kept this blog as long as I have, does this lovely little end of the year survey that I am now doing for the kajillionth year. Enjoy and click here to see Jamie’s original post at The Perpetual Page-Turner.
Number of books you read: 183
Number of re-reads: 4 (The If I Stay & Throne of Glass books)
Genre you read the most from: Probably contemporary — you know how I love a realistic, funny romance!
1. Best book you read in 2014
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
It just felt like the most perfectly “me” book I’ve read in ages. I’d have been happy to keep reading it for-ev-er.
2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more…but didn’t
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I love her and the writing was spectacular, but the story itself didn’t live up to the hype and my own anticipations.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
I gasped and shouted “WHAT!” louder than ever before. It’s the most literally surprising book I’ve read.
4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2014
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
This book was a total “what took me so long?!” read in 2014, so I made sure everyone else knew to move it up their reading lists.
5. Best series you started in 2014? Best sequel of 2014? Best series ender of 2014
I’m going to go with best series ender — City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
I will be the first to admit there were some stumbling blocks within this series…but if you made it to the end, you cannot deny how BRILLIANTLY it all tied together. So, so impressive.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014
Emery Lord. I adore her writing and her as a person.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Not my typical jam, but I loved the writing in this pick from my book club.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I haven’t done my review yet for this one (it comes out in May), but it was totally unputdownable.
9. Book you read in 2014 that you are most likely to re-reat next year
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
For sure will reread this before the fourth book came out. This series just slays me.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
The cover is nothing special, but the hardcover book itself is one of the most beautiful physical copies of a book I’ve seen in ages. It’s got thick pages, beveled edging and a red ribbon bookmark. Looooove it!
11. Most memorable character of 2014
Sway by Kat Spears
This one was a toughie, but I’m going to go with Sway (aka Jesse) from this one — he really had a strong, interesting voice.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014
The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder
Her verse books have just won me over. I love her style.
13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing Book of 2014
Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
This book probably got me thinking the most — in a sort of “OMG”/”this is disturbing” way.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
OBSESSED with this series. What took me so long???
15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014
I really liked this quote from the last Morganville Vampires book: “You fall into the trap of thinking as Fallon does, that there are only heroes and villains, monsters and victims, and nothing between. We all stand in that space, crossing the line to one side, then the other. Even you.”
17. Book that shocked you the most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
See above re: Kiss of Deception.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
I gotta go with Rosie and Don because they were just so crazy-cute.
19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Aww, man, I hate to do a repeat so soon but the sisters in this book were amazing. And I usually HATE books about sisters. So good.
20. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you’ve read previously
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
I was really happy with this book — I actually liked it quite a bit more than her first!
21. Best book you read in 2014 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Solely read this one based on Twitter love for it!
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
I think my favorite new fictional crush is on the love interest in this book — but I’m not telling you who it is! That surprising bit of it was the best part.
23. Best 2014 debut you read
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
This book was a delight.
24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
I haven’t reviewed this one yet, but I loved it. I was pleasantly surprised too because I haven’t been a big fan of Holly Black books in the past.
25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read
My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
So freaking happy-making, I can’t even.
26. Book that made you cry in 2014
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
I love a good cry.
27. Hidden gem of the year
The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson
I didn’t hear a lot of people talking about this one, but found myself quite pleasantly surprised by it.
28. Book that crushed your soul
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Whew — haven’t reviewed it yet but it made me feel HOLLOW. In a good way?
29. Most unique book you read in 2014
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
“Unique” is putting it lightly, yeah?
30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
I loved it but OMG I AM SCARED ABOUT WHERE THIS SERIES IS GOING. CHAOL!
Oooh, it’s killing me that so many books I loved didn’t make their way on to this survey. Alas, too many books, too little time, as always.
As far as my bookish/blogging life goes, I’ve been a little absent the past few weeks. Just taking some time to regroup and take care of some other priorities. But do not fear — I’ve got some great reviews coming up for you in the next month or two. Stay tuned and thanks for a lovely 2014 in reading!
Not in the Script (If Only… #3)
By Amy Finnegan
Publication date: Oct. 7, 2014
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 392 pages
Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending years performing on cue, Emma can’t help but wonder if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her romances. She’s been burned by heartthrobs (and the press) one too many times, but there’s something about Emma’s co-star on her new TV show Coyote Hills that is irresistible. Jake Elliott is gorgeous, smart and actually cares about Emma’s charitable foundation. But she’s sworn off on-set relationships. They always end badly . . . don’t they?
This third novel in the deliciously fun If Only romance line proves that the best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.
— Goodreads.com description
Sure, Not in the Script was predictable, but it was also sweet and fun. And, in my book, “sweet and fun”” rules all. So there!
The romance was Disney Channel movie-esque, which may not be your thing, but frankly it’s JUST what I need sometimes. And don’t pretend you’re too cool for school and don’t know what I mean by that.
Bonus: Jake and Emma were both nice and flirty-fun and seemed like genuinely GOOD people…which you don’t get too often in books that portray Hollywood.
So I’ll keep this short and sweet, just like the book. If you’re in the mood for something sugary but not saccharine (there IS a difference), check this one out.
I’ll Give You the Sun is Nelson’s first book since The Sky Is Everywhere in March 2010. I reviewed it way back in 2011 on the blog, saying:
The writing and mastery of the teen voice were just superb. Bring on Nelson’s next book!
Ahhh, if I only knew I’d be waiting this long! So glad the wait’s finally over. (Click here to flash back and read my review of The Sky Is Everywhere)
Go Jandy go Jandy go go go Jandy.
Yeah. Every the anti-highligher folks and the people who cringe when they see a bent corner will be tempted. You should see how many gorgeous turns of phrase I highlighted on my Kindle.
A few examples:
His nose is like a capsized ship, his mouth the size of three, his jaw and cheekbones hefty as armor, and his eyes are iridescent. His face is a room overstuffed with massive furniture.
Isn’t that bizarre but also perfectly telling and descriptive? I also love Jandy’s use of hyperbole, which is the number one thing I loved about her first book:
I think the heart of every living thing on earth is beating in my body.
Ha. So emo. And there were a lot of occasions where I was like “YES! THIS EXACTLY! YOU PUT IT PERFECTLY!”
People die, I think, but your relationship with them doesn’t. It continues and is ever-changing.”
Gah. I love words.
Speaking of words…the insults that come spewing out of Noah’s mouth are so creative and awesome, I had to highlight those too. “Garbage-headed scum-suckers,” for example. Or when he says: “I freeze, knowing immediately whose hippo-head the sneering asshat words are coming out of.”
Hahaha “hippo-head.” I’m so using that one.
AKA don’t just take my word for it.
Whether you’re at that age right now or you’ve forgotten what it feels like, I’ll Give You the Sun is that rare, immersive teen novel: To read it is a coming-of-age experience in itself.
Readers are meant to feel big things, and they will—Nelson’s novel brims with emotion (grief, longing, and love in particular) as Noah, Jude, and the broken individuals in their lives find ways to heal.
Nelson’s prose scintillates.
Okay, convinced? Let me know if you’re going to be reading it…or already have! Blog tour details below for more info!
I’ll Give You the Sun
By Jandy Nelson
Publication date: Sept. 16, 2014
Dial, 371 pages
A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell.
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
— Goodreads.com description
Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give You the Sun, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, was on multiple Best Books of the Year lists, was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, earned numerous starred reviews, has been translated widely, and continues to enjoy great international success. Currently a full-time writer, Jandy lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings ofThe Sky Is Everywhere and I’ll Give You the Sun. Visit her online at www.jandynelson.com or find her on twitter at @jandynelson.
Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour, featuring guest posts, interviews, giveaways, and more!
Sept. 1 – Cuddlebuggery
Sept. 2 – Novel Sounds
Sept. 3 – Perpetual Page Turner
Sept. 4 – Forever Young Adult
Sept. 8 – The Young Folks
Sept. 9 – The Book Hookup
Sept. 10 – Grown Up Fangirl
Sept. 11 – Bewitched Bookworms
Sept. 15 – Candace’s Book Blog
Sept. 16 – Novel Novice
Sept. 17 – Alice Marvels
Sept. 18 – Icey Books
Sept. 22 – The Midnight Garden
Sept. 23 – The Starry-Eyed Revue
Sept. 24 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader
Sept. 25 – Katie’s Book Blog
Sept. 29 – GReads!
Sept. 30 – Anna Reads
And, for those of you in the U.S., enter below to win a copy of the new paperback version of The Sky Is Everywhere. Good luck!
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
By Sarah J. Maas
Publication date: Sept. 2, 2014
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 565 pages
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.
While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
— Goodreads.com description
Just reading over my notes I scribbled down just after I finished reading:
“Slayed me. SLAYED.”
“Shit got real.”
“I’m so scared!!!”
“This has ruined me for other books.”
“I hate not knowing.”
Since I finished reading Heir of Fire — and that was WEEKS ago — I have thought of it at least once a day.
Think about that. Okay, sure, I means I’m book crazy and daydream about fictional things far too often. But it also means it was dang good.
It’s the type of book you finish and email your friends about IMMEDIATELY to dissect because you have too many thoughts to keep to yourself. (Thank you Alexa and Erica for being there for me on this one!)
In Heir of Fire, everything gets jumbled up and I can honestly say I have no clue where this series is going to go from here. While that can sometimes be painful for the reader because of the long wait between books, I’m really glad for it because it meant there was a lot of character growth. Did all of said character growth make me happy? Nope. Not remotely. But it’s absolutely good thing in the bigger picture that Sarah is keeping her readers guessing and letting her characters grow up.
There are also plenty of new characters I came to love — I can’t wait to follow them in the books to come.
I really think I could write an essay about this book, but let’s stick to a basic summary: “I loved it. But there wasn’t enough Chaol and it sort of tore my heart out. Everyone has to read it this series now and then talk to me about it in depth.”
Thank goodness I have this blog and book friends to talk with or I would explode. If any of you read this book and need me, I am here for you!
The Bridge from Me to You
By Lisa Schroeder
Publication date: July 29, 2014
Point, 336 pages
Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place.
Lauren is the new girl in town with a dark secret. Colby is the football hero with a dream of something more. In alternating chapters, they come together, fall apart, and build something stronger than either of them thought possible–something to truly believe in.
— Goodreads.com description
What I love most about Lisa Schroeder’s books is how wonderfully READABLE they are. Her verse is beautifully written but not overwrought and I just seem to breeze through them.
The Bridge from Me to You was a wonderful book that kept me just enough in the dark about Lauren’s past to be intrigued but not annoyed. I loved Colby’s friendship with Benny and loved Lauren’s extended family — her aunt and uncle and cousins were all so sweet.
The romance was adorable — though Lauren and Colby have an instant attraction, they get to know each other as friends before they take it to the romantic level. It built and it grew until I was really rooting for them.
The character growth is definitely my favorite part of The Bridge from Me to You. Lauren and Colby learn to believe in themselves and follow their hearts in this story, and you can’t help but love that in a good YA. Definitely, definitely, recommended.