Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best 14 Books I Read in 2014

Hello readers! I'm quite surprised by the amount of posts I've been able to accomplish over the break considering I've basically been reading nonstop. That being said I figure I should acknowledge the end of the year and the start of a whole new year of fabulous opportunities with new books to discover. I've managed to read over 100 books in 2014, which is probably the most I've ever read since high school when I had loads of free time. While I've ranted about all of the terrible books I've read over the year, there have been some really amazing books too.

Not all of the books on this list were published in 2014, but I did read them during this year. Additionally, this list is in no particular order, meaning the last book might not be my favorite book of the year. I don't even know if I would be capable of choosing just one. These are 14 of the best books I've read in 2014.

  • Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
I really love the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series and thankfully the second book in the series didn't let me down. The plot was action packed and something about the weird vintage photographs makes this such a fascinating book.

  •  The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
When I read the first book in Rowling's attempt at writing in the adult mystery genre, I had very lukewarm feelings about it, but I took a chance with this second book in the series in the hope that it would get better. Thankfully the mystery was a lot more engaging and readers finally got some character development. I'm looking forward to seeing what other adventures Cormoran Strike will get himself into.

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
While I was a fan of John Green as one half of the Vlogbrothers on YouTube, until 2014 I hadn't bothered to read any of his books. For a while I was under the impression that this was another one of those terrible cancer books, but I was completely mistaken. Hazel's narration is so refreshingly intelligent and sarcastic. Of the course the ending is a tearjerker and even if you've seen the movie, you have to read this book.

  • S by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams
I won't say too much about this book, but I did a whole review about it here on this blog. That being said the multiple narratives and random inserts in a book that looks like a library book, makes the whole reading experience a treat for bibliophiles.

  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
The entire Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer has impressed me so much over these last two years. Just when I was convinced that I would have to give up the YA genre because it was full of boring love triangle filled stories that followed the same tropes, this series came along and made me change my mind. Every one of the characters is dynamically fleshed out and the main female characters are brave and independent heroes that actually factor into the plot progression. The dystopian world the series is set in is also so ingenious. I'm having such a difficult time waiting for Fairest and Winter to come out. You really have to read this series if you haven't already.

  •  The Diviners by Libba Bray
I've always been a fan of Libba Bray since her Great and Terrible Beauty series and this start to another series didn't let me down at all. This is one of the few YA books set in the twenties that doesn't irritate me to no end. The story has its dark and dangerous moments interwoven with a bit of comedy and romance. I'm also having a bit of trouble waiting for the next book in this series to come out too.

  • The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
I know what you're saying: "Penny, this series is so old and basically everyone has read it already." Well I was one of those few people that hadn't bothered to read the series when it was popular. I was too busy reading terrible YA romance novels to pay any attention. This past summer I finally decided to sit down and read the first book in the series. I ended up marathoning the whole series in a few short days. Even though these are technically middle grade novels, the story is incredibly captivating, the characters are completely developed, and there are so many hilarious moments. Honestly, a great read for all ages.

  • Austenland by Shannon Hale
Okay, I'm going to be honest. I watched the movie first before I read the book. That being said I love both the book and the movie equally as much. I mean what Austen fan doesn't wish they had their own Darcy, Knightly, or Henry Tilney and that they could inhabit the world of Austen's heroines. I'll be honest again and say I know I have...then I remember the status of women's rights back then and my fantasy is kind of killed for the time being. I feel like any Austen fan could identify with the main character, Jane Hayes, and will appreciate all of the moments of comedy and romance that this book has to offer.

  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
While I normally detest contemporary ya romance novels, there is something about Lola and the Boy Next Door (and its preceding book Anna and the French Kiss) that is so well done and entertaining. Granted, I know that these books are complete mushy wish fulfillment for teenagers, but I like it anyway.  If you're interested in a light romantic read, this is the book for you. That being said, the final book is this kind of trilogy, Isla and the Happily Ever After, was such a letdown and did not make this list even though I managed to read it during 2014.

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This is another ya contemporary romance novel that I tried so hard to avoid this year, but ultimately gave up and read. Like the previous book on this list, this book is also complete romantic wish fulfillment for teenagers. Rainbow Rowell's writing makes the story so hard to put down and her romantic leads are fully fleshed out characters that have to struggle with more than just the usual romantically contrived problems that you find in other ya romance novels. If you're looking for another light read in the contemporary genre, this is the book for you.

  • The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Out of all the random remakes and expansions on Alice in Wonderland, this series is my favorite. While I still have the last book left to read in the series, I'm so completely impressed with the fantasy world Beddor has created, which makes Alyss (Alice) the champion and defender of the White Imagination and Wonderland. 

  •  Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
I've been a huge fan of Richelle Mead ever since the first Vampire Academy book was released and I've enjoyed the spins off series, Bloodlines, just as much. This book was released after arguably the worst book in the whole series, The Fiery Heart, and it completely redeemed the series for me. Honestly, it's hard to remember how great Rose and Dimitri's story was while following Adrian and Sydney's adventures. I'm so looking forward to The Ruby Heart.

  • The Archived by Victoria Schwab
One of the booktubers that I watch on YouTube raved about this book a while back and for the longest time, I've wanted to read it. I didn't find a copy of it in my local Barnes and Nobles, so I finally gave up and grabbed a library copy this month. I ended up reading the book in less than a day. The premise of the book is that there are keepers like the main character, Mackenzie Bishop, who make sure that histories don't escape the archive. Histories are basically the collection of memories of dead people. The plot is action packed and of course, as this is a ya novel, there is a bit of romance thrown into the mix. It's one of the more inventive novels I've ever read and the sequel, The Unbound, was a pretty great read too. 

  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Have you ever read one of those books that holds all of your attention completely and for some reason totally speaks to you as a reader? A book that leaves you crushed when it ends, makes you wish you could read it all over again for the first time, and gives you the worst book hangover? The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry made me feel all of these things and more. This unassuming and kind of slim novel is about a bookstore owner, A.J. Fikry, whose wife has just died. He's not quite sure what to do with the rest of his life until a Publisher sales rep walks in and he discovers an unexpected surprise left in his store. The story is so captivating and every book lover is sure to love this book just as much as I have.

These are the 14 best books that I read in 2014. I'd be interested to know if any of these were on your favorites list. Have a wonderful new year and Best Wishes.