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: A Darker Shade of Magic, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, and We Were Liars


So, It’s November, or more accurately NaNoWriMo. I should not be reading this month, unless it’s my own words as I write them. But that hasn’t really worked out as planned. After Pitch Wars, I was kinda braindead when it came to this other story I’ve been working on. I have ZERO desire to work on it. Instead of staring at a blank screen for hours on end, hating myself for not getting any words down, I decided the best course of action was to read. it was definitely the right call. Here’s how I spent my week…

A Darker Shade final for Irene

Goodreads Summary:

From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London…but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

My Thoughts:

I have not read the whole book yet, only a preview from the publisher.  I love the setup of A Darker Shade of Magic. Multiple realities and kingdoms and varying degrees of magic. A boy with a mysterious past who trades contraband items and wields the power of blood magic, and a kick-ass thieving girl, who thanks to her quick hands, now just might possess the key to it all.

The preview was gripping and gritty and skillfully written. I will definitely be reading the whole book when it comes out in 2015.

*I received a preview of this book from Tor and NetGalley for an honest review.


Goodreads Summary:

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

My Thoughts:

So, I expected to like Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour much more than I did. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cute book about loss and love and learning how to cope (and yeah, and a whole lot about food across the country). But I had such a hard time relating to Amy (despite the Amelia-to-Amy and red hair Doctor Who image I had in my head). And maybe it’s that I’ve never lost anyone in a tragic way (or one that was sorta my fault) but for most of her story I didn’t understand her actions/motivations, like why she’d tell random strangers about her dad, but not talk to her best friend who just wanted to make sure she was okay. Or why she went to see her brother when all she did was yell at him and make him feel worse or why she seemed to think her mom was ignoring her calls when Amy purposely sent the calls straight to voicemail or why she was mad at her ex-boyfriend when she was the one that yelled at him and made it obvious she didn’t want to see him again. Her anger just didn’t work for me when it was side by side with her falling for Roger. I guess I just wanted a little more depth from them so I could really fall in love with them. i wanted this to be really EPIC, and it was just good.


Goodreads Summary:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

My Thoughts:

I’ve heard a lot of hype about We Were Liars this year, but I knew absolutely nothing about it. And somehow it’s not at all what I was expecting. (That’s a good thing.) This book is fascinating and gut-wrenching and infuriating and shocking and haunting and a whole host of other things. Though the Sinclairs as a whole were not good people, and at times I wanted to tell them all to get off their high horses and be decent humans, but the way Cady talked about them all made me look past their faults and care about what was happening to them all. Their brokenness was so obvious, but the reason(s) behind it weren’t so much. And as Cady started getting her memories back, I had all sorts of theories about what had happened to them all. But none of it prepared me for the “truth”. And then looking back at the events of the story after the reveal, it made me realize how skillfully the story was crafted. Such a lovely twist at the end that broke my heart.