Favorite Books of 2014

According to Goodreads I read 71 of my wanted 75 books in 2014. But what Goodreads doesn’t know is that I also read 6 full manuscripts for friends (not to mention the number of times I read my own books, but M said mine don’t count!). So, I’m considering my reading challenge a total win.

There were books that I enjoyed, there were books I honestly didn’t care if I finished, and then there were books that blew my mind with their sheer brilliance. Books that I will push on friends and strangers just because everyone needs to read them. Books that inspired me, tortured me, made me laugh, made me cry and, most definitely made me grateful for so many different kinds of characters and stories. Below are the ones that I still can’t get out of my head.


A Corner of White and Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (I’m not finished with Dreams of God and Monsters yet, otherwise it would be on here too!)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell


Reading Rewind: The Here And Now, The Secrets of Ghosts, A Corner of White, and The Cracks in the Kingdom


Life kinda exploded with all kinds of busyness in the last few weeks, and though I’ve still had a little time to read, I completely forgot to post (bad blogger!). So this post will be a little longer than usual with four books read and reviewed. I also betaread a book for one of my friends, which was a lot of fun.


Goodreads Summary:

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

My Thoughts:

I really wanted to love this book. And there were definitely things I liked about it: the really cool premise, the mystery about how Prenna and Ethan would save the world, and the writing, which was really pretty most of the time. But I had a really hard time caring that much about the characters. The stakes were really high, but Prenna and Ethan’s actions and resulting consequences felt almost like a letdown. With such an epic set up (blood plague, time travel, controlling government, crazy homeless man who knows too much), I guess I just expected more—more danger, more struggle, more substance to tie all of the pieces together. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a book I thought about when I wasn’t reading it.

*I received an ARC of this book from Delacorte Press and NetGally for an honest review.*


Goodreads Summary:

Step back into the magical world of Pendleford with Sarah Painter’s new book The Secrets of Ghosts. Don’t miss the magical, heart-warming from the bestselling author of The Language of Spells! On her twenty-first birthday Katie Harper has only one wish: to become a real Harper woman. Mystical powers are passed down her family generation after generation – some even call them witches – yet every spell Katie attempts goes disastrously wrong.When her magic does appear, it’s in a form nobody expected and suddenly Katie is thrown into a dangerous new world with shadowy consequences. For the realm of the deceased is not as peaceful as she once thought. The dead are buried with their secrets and only Katie can help the ghosts of the past finally find peace.If that is what they are looking for…

My Thoughts:

The Secrets of Ghosts is a fun, magical read. I enjoyed learning about the ghosts—and Katie’s ability to talk with them—right along with her. And the revelation of what her power could really do was a fun twist. The bit of romance thrown in kept the story lighter and balanced some of the darker aspects. Sometimes though the dialogue felt forced between Katie and Max, as did some of their interactions. It didn’t keep me from liking them, just pulled me out of the story every so often. Also, because I haven’t read the first book, I didn’t care as much about Gwen and her fertility issues as I’m sure fans of the series did. Anytime we went to her POV, I just wanted to get through it and get back to Katie because it was her story I was invested in.

*I received an ARC of this book from Carina Press and NetGally for an honest review.*


Goodreads Summary:

The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty!

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).

Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot’s dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds — through an accidental gap that hasn’t appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called “color storms;” a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the “Butterfly Child,” whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses…

My Thoughts:

A Corner of White is such a whimsical, odd, compelling book. Having been a fan of Jaclyn Moriarty for many years, I was excited to see the “different” structure used to tell Madeleine’s and Elliot’s stories. I know a lot of people might be turned off by the world jumping and the letters and the crazy princess editorials in the Cellian Herald, but I loved it. (I listened to most of the book via the audio book and the voices were amazing! But I also read some of the book in hardback too.) The characters are quirky and interesting and flawed in the right ways. And the story premise itself was just so cool. I mean, cracks between two universes that allow people to communicate with each other and end up saving lives (not to mention their own emotional devastation) in the process? Not a book I could put down easily. There were times when the talk about school assignments got to be a little too much (even though it ended up being integral to Elliot later on) and sometimes the POV switches to minor characters were a little annoying when I wanted to stay with Madeleine and Elliot. But the twists at the end were so good I can forgive all that. Cannot wait to read the next one.

*I received an ARC of this book from Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books and NetGalley for an honest review.*


Goodreads Summary:

Princess Ko’s been bluffing about the mysterious absence of her father, desperately trying to keep the government running on her own. But if she can’t get him back in a matter of weeks, the consequence may be a devastating war. So under the guise of a publicity stunt she gathers a group of teens — each with a special ability — from across the kingdom to crack the unsolvable case of the missing royals of Cello.

Chief among these is farm-boy heartthrob Elliot Baranski, more determined than ever to find his own father. And with the royal family trapped in the World with no memory of their former lives, Elliot’s value to the Alliance is clear: He’s the only one with a connection to the World, through his forbidden communications with Madeleine.

Through notes, letters, and late nights, Elliot and Madeleine must find a way to travel across worlds and bring missing loved ones home. The stakes are high, and the writing by turns hilarious and suspenseful, as only Jaclyn Moriarty can be.

My Thoughts:

The Cracks in the Kingdom is one of those books that is so quirky and different that it gets under your skin (and into your imagination) and you can’t help but fall in love with it. Building on characters and a storyline I fell in love with in A Corner of White, this book did not disappoint. It was a little less out there (no, butterfly child this go round) so it felt more like a contemporary story, just you know, with world-jumping. And it gave me some absolutely amazing moments (Madeleine and Elliot holding hands. Madeleine seeing Elliot and discovering he is hot. Elliot hearing Madeleine’s voice and thinking it’s the most beautiful sound ever. Both of them realizing that the other means so much more to them than they imagined.) And then the twist at the end was not at all what I was expecting but was so absolutely right. Now I am dying for book 3 to see how they all end up.

I know the format of this book is not for everyone, but it is definitely for me. (And it makes me sad that some people will never know Madeleine and Elliot because the story structure is a little different.)