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.

Books

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

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Reading Rewind: Sneak Peek at Isla and the Happily Ever After

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I’m in hard-core writing mode right now, with a July deadline sitting out there mocking me. So that doesn’t leave me much time to read. Which is horribly sad because I just want to read ALL THE BOOKS! But that is not to be for the next month and some change. This week, I did however devour the sneak peek of Isla and the Happily Ever After and am now tormented by the fact that I have to wait until August for more of Josh and Isla.

Isla

Goodreads Summary:

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

My Thoughts:

I love St. Clair (from Anna and the French Kiss). But I LOVE Josh. The awkwardness with Isla. The adorable way he knows all about her. The tattoo. The constant sketching. The sense of humor. This boy has it all. And Isla with her sweet personality supplemented with the cussing and fierce loyalty to her best friend. And the mad crush on Josh. So damn cute. Just these 5 chapters were enough to tell me that this might be my favorite book of the series. I want more. Now.

I Read YA Week

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This past week was I Read YA Week (hosted by This Is Teen), and I’ve been thinking all week about some of my all-time favorite YA books. I know I’m a little late to the bandwagon, but that’s kinda fitting with the fact that I didn’t like to read until I was 17 (yes, I know how terrible that is, but I swear I’ve more than made up for it since then!)

So here are some YA books that I would push on anyone who likes a good read, regardless of the target audience.

IReadYA

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas (yes, the VMars creator himself!)

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Fangirl Reads in 2013

If last year was my epic rock concert year, this year was my YA novel love affair year. I read some seriously amazing books this year. Books that inspired me. That made me cry. That invaded my sleep and caused me so much anxiety I could barely function for days on end. Books that I pushed on friends and co-workers and my sister because I needed people to talk to about them.

Not all of the books on this list are from 2013, but this is the year I found—and fell in love with—them. And there are dozens of other books that I read and loved, and dozens more that are still on my TBR list, because even though I managed to read 3-5 books/week on multiple occasions this year, I still had to do things like work, and talk to my husband, and, you know, write my own stories. All things I love, so sacrifices had to be made.

But for the books I did make time for, these were my favorites…

MaraDyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (2011) and The Evolution of Mara Dyer (2012), Michelle Hodkin – Why I love it: A phycological thriller/paranormal romance series that is so expertly crafted you don’t know what to believe. Oh, and Noah Shaw, my favorite book boyfriend ever.

GrishaBooksShadow and Bone (2012) and Siege and Storm (2013), Leigh Bardugo – Why I love it: An epic fantasy series that sucks you into the world in the first few pages and refuses to let you go. There’s on-the-edge-of-your-seat action, and super swoony moments with multiple boys, and a girl who kicks serious ass. Also, the Darkling.

UnspokenBooksUnspoken (2012) and Untold (2013), Sarah Rees Brennan – Why I love it: Jared. He’s the ultimate bad boy who would do anything for the girl he loves. You know, except tell her he loves her. (Warning, these books may make you want to throw them across the room in agony.)

PivotPointPivot Point (2013), Kasie West – Why I love it: It’s like Sliding Doors but with teens with abilities and super swoony Texas boys and a little murder thrown in to complicate things.

Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss (2010), Stephanie Perkins – Why I love it: All the feels. This books captures friends falling in love so perfectly, it made me fall in love with my husband all over again.

Imaginary GirlsImaginary Girls (2011), Nova Ren Suma – Why I love it: The writing is so f-ing gorgeous and the bond between the sisters is so powerful that it I’m pretty sure that if I went to the reservoir I would actually find Chloe waiting by the water for Ruby.

ShatterMeShatter Me (2013) and Unravel Me (2013), Tahereh Mafi – Why I love it: A girl, who can’t touch anyone because her skin kills them, meets the one boy who (seemingly) isn’t affected by her. I’m not even going to talk about the other boy. Even thinking about him makes my anxiety flare up, which is part of the brilliance of Tahereh Mafi.

AcossTheUniverseAcross the Universe (2011), A Million Suns (2012), and Shades of Earth (2013), Beth Revis – Why I love it: This sci-fi series set (mostly) on a spaceship felt like I was reading in a world based on so many TV shows I love. It’s this awesome mix of Futurama, Firefly, and Doctor Who with some teenage angst and love thrown in.

Devil_SeaBetween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (2013), April Genevieve Tucholke – Why I love it: It’s creepy, and dark, and not at all what I normally read. But River is another (redeemable) bad boy I just couldn’t resist. And because of his powers, neither could Violet, which made it a whole helluva lot of fun.

SelectionBooksThe Selection (2012) and The Elite (2013), Kiera Cass – Why I love it: It’s a love triangle that made me switch which boy I was rooting for partway through. That NEVER happens.

TFiOSThe Fault in Our Stars (2012), John Green – Why I love it: The humor and frankness in a story about kids with cancer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s heartbreaking, but So. Damn. Lovely. Also, the diagram of virgins vs. 17 year old guys with one leg.

FangirlFangirl, Rainbow Rowell – Why I love it: It’s about a girl who would rather live in a fictional world than deal with the people around her. Enough said. (Well, not quite. Also, Levi.)

AllegiantAllegiant, Veronica Roth (2013) – Why I love it: Veronica Roth wasn’t scared to do what was right for the character of Tris, even if it did break my heart. It’s not the ending I wanted for Tris or Four (or for me, for that matter!). But as a writer, I have to respect how much guts it took to do what she did.