Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Best Books I Read in 2014

2014 wasn't an OMG-spectacular reading year for me, so I had a hard time even coming up with ten books to put on this list. (As usual, I'm kind of cheating and counting a YA series as a book.)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Goodreads Summary: Is falling in love the beginning...or the end? In Ethan Wate's hometown there lies the darkest of secrets...There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head...Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes. There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it's been promised. And no one can stop it. In the end, there is a grave. Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.

My Review


The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Goodreads Summary: When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?

My Review

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket

Goodreads Summary: Match wits with Lemony Snicket to solve thirteen mini-mysteries. Paintings have been falling off of walls, a loud and loyal dog has gone missing, a specter has been seen walking the pier at midnight -- strange things are happening all over the town of Stain'd-By-The-Sea. Called upon to investigate thirteen suspicious incidents, young Lemony Snicket collects clues, questions witnesses, and cracks every case. Join the investigation and tackle the mysteries alongside Snicket, then turn to the back of the book to see the solution revealed. A delicious read that welcomes readers into Lemony Snicket's world of deep mystery, mysterious depth, deductive reasoning, and reasonable deductions.

My Review


Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

Goodreads Summary: Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation's faction leader did the same. Tobias's transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child. Newly christened "Four," he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future--and the future of the entire faction system. Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling Divergent series, told from the perspective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here--"The Transfer," "The Initiate," "The Son," and "The Traitor"--plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the Divergent trilogy.

My Review

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan

Goodreads Summary: From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, "What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?" Whether she's helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn't have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan's bizarre tales prove that she's truly seen it all. Stacked high with hundreds of strange-but-true stories, I Work at a Public Library celebrates librarians and the unforgettable patrons that roam the stacks every day.

My Review

Lost in Translation by Ella Frances Sanders

Goodreads Summary: Did you know that the Japanese language has a word to express the way sunlight filters through the leaves of trees? Or that there’s a Finnish word for the distance a reindeer can travel before needing to rest? Lost in Translation brings to life more than fifty words that don’t have direct English translations with charming illustrations of their tender, poignant, and humorous definitions. Often these words provide insight into the cultures they come from, such as the Brazilian Portuguese word for running your fingers through a lover’s hair, the Italian word for being moved to tears by a story, or the Swedish word for a third cup of coffee. In this clever and beautifully rendered exploration of the subtleties of communication, you’ll find new ways to express yourself while getting lost in the artistry of imperfect translation.

My Review

Pray the Gay Away by Sara York

Goodreads Summary: Star football player Jack Miller had it all. The perfect family, looks, girls hanging on his every word, and the respect of most people in his town. But one thing was missing--a man to be his own. When Andrew Collins showed up in small town, conservative Sweet, Georgia, he looked more scrawny mutt than high school senior. Andrew's plan was to keep his head down and graduate high school, leaving his family behind to start his real life. When he meets Andrew, Jack thinks he's found heaven, but reality holds him in check until one night when his lips gently slide across Andrew's and fireworks go off. As lust and something a little deeper brings them together, compelling them to take chances, people start to notice. Then the unthinkable happens, and Jack's parents find out he likes guys. The battle lines are drawn and they vow to pray the gay away.

My Review


This Star Won't Got Out by Esther, Lori, and Wayne Earl

Goodreads Summary: A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.

My Review

The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

Goodreads Summary of Book #1: St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Vampire Academy
Frostbite
Shadow Kiss
Blood Promise
Spirit Bound
Last Sacrifice (currently reading)

The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto

Goodreads Summary: Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Mitzi Szereto’s Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray continues where Wilde left off with the Faustian tale of a man of eternal youth and great physical beauty who lives a life of corruption, decadence and hedonism. The story begins in the bordellos of Jazz-Age Paris, moving to the opium dens of Marrakesh and the alluring anonymity of South America. In his pursuit of sensation and carnal thrills, Dorian’s desires turn increasingly extreme and he leaves behind yet more devastation and death. He ultimately settles in present-day New Orleans, joining with a group of like-minded beings known as The Night People. They inadvertently return to Dorian his humanity when he falls in love with a young woman he rescues from becoming their victim. She will be his redemption, but she will also be his final curse.

My Review

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Shift by Madison Dunn. $8.99 from Smashwords.com
I'm not sure why it happens, but when I focus just right, I can slow time. Things around me become lighter somehow, and I almost feel the tiny particles of energy spinning inside of them. The thing is, having the ability to transform the world around you isn't all it's cracked up to be -- especially when you are running from the Valencia without any deodorant.

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