Top 10 Books I Read In 2014!

Since it’s the end of the year its only befitting to publish a post featuring my top 10 books of 2014. I have read a lot of books this year, but there are only 10 that I read and will forever cherish in my bookish heart. Let’s get to my top 10, shall we?

 

10. The Story of Awkward by R.K. Ryals

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9. The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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8. Forever by Judy Blume

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7. The Merciless by Danielle Vega

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6. Every day by David Levithan

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5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

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4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

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2. Legend by Marie Lu

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1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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Book Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

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Published July 2, 2013

Length: 320 pages

Source: Oyster Books

Money can’t buy a good first impression.

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom’s porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he’s tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them? (summary from Amazon)

I normally don’t read contemporary books because I don’t like the overly romantic aspect of them, but I gave this one a try and I must say I’m glad I did! It was the opposite of what I expected. If you aren’t into contemporary and you want to read at least a couple, this book is great for starters. I don’t want to give it away, but there’s a certain reality to this book that separates it from other books in the same genre.

2014: My Year In Books

I decided to share the books I bought over the year. I didn’t think I would collect this many. I am a book collector, but sometimes even I get surprised with how many I’ve accumulated. I did not count them. I spared myself. lol. These are all the books I bought this year minus a few I didn’t include. If you need to know the title of a book, let me know!
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Last Book Haul of 2014!

Around Thanksgiving and Christmas I get super excited because the deals on books are never ending. I bought books during the Black Friday event and the Boxing Day event (the Friday and Saturday after Christmas) that were both hosted through book outlet. The books that you will see in this post were books I ordered during the Boxing Day event, so here’s what I bought!

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A Graphic Novel

I read my first graphic novel this year and I was immediately hooked. I’m starting to build my graphic novel collection and I’m really excited! If you are a frequent reader of my posts, then you’ll know and understand that I love dark and gory books! So, this pick shouldn’t be a surprise. There isn’t much to explain about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Everyone knows! The same story in graphic novel form. 

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Hunger by Knut Hamsun

A true classic of modern literature that has been described as “one of the most disturbing novels in existence” (Time Out), Hunger is the story of a Norwegian artist who wanders the streets, struggling on the edge of starvation. As hunger overtakes him, he slides inexorably into paranoia and despair. The descent into madness is recounted by the unnamed narrator in increasingly urgent and disjointed prose, as he loses his grip on reality. (Summary from Amazon.com)

I cannot WAIT to read this! What intrigued me about this book is the struggling writer trying and failing to sell his written work to those who publish journals. A story that tells you the dark side of pursuing your passion and knowing where it gets you, but you carry on anyway. Amazing.

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Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott

Good to a Fault follows a divorcee who has to come to grips with her husband and family being almost non-existent in her life. One day she gets into a car accident with a family who is homeless and living in a car. She decides to help them, while leaving her family puzzled about her actions towards people she does not know. Through all of this she forms a new relationship and more decisions she has to make about her life and the life of the family she’s taken responsibility for.

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The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

I am a huge fan of stories involving women (as lead characters) that take place in different countries around the world. I’ve been reading about these women and social taboos they were faced with. This story is about a 14 year-old Persian girl who thinks she will be married within a year, but her fate changes when her father dies. Soon after, the girl and her mother are homeless without money and without a dowry for marriage. A rug becomes their salvation and the story unfolds from there.

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season is incredibly popular in the book community. I’ve read and watched enough reviews of this book to buy it. On the other hand, I’m a bit scared to start reading overhyped books because I may end up not liking them, but I will give this one a try.

This is the first book in a dystopian trilogy and it takes place in 2025. The lead character is a girl who is capable of dream walking. She gets snatched away and taken to a secret prison where she discovers there are creatures who are out to capture and kill individuals like her.

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The God of War by Marisa Silver

The year is 1978. Ares Ramirez, age 12, lives with his mother, Laurel, and his younger brother Malcolm in a trailer at the edge of the Salton Sea, an unintentionally man-made body of water in the middle of the Southern California desert. It is a desolate, forgotten place, whose inhabitants thrive amidst seemingly impossible circumstances.

Ares’ struggle with the burden of responsibility — to himself and to others — draws him into a world of drugs, violence, and sex that he is not prepared for, launching him into a very personal battle for his own identity, one that has a lethal outcome. (Summary from Amazon.com)

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Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney

Marbles is another graphic novel I purchased. I thought it was really cool because it’s a memoir by Ellen Forney in an art form, which makes sense since she’s an artist. Ellen tells her story about being a crazy and creative cartoonist as well as stories of other bipolar artists and writers.

This wasn’t included in the boxing event order. I bought this a few days before. There was only one left and I always managed to miss out on buying it before it sold out, so I didn’t miss out this time. I bought the last copy!

2015 LGBT Challenge – sign up!

Brin's Book Blog

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This is my second year taking part in this challenge, hosted by the lovely Cayce @ Niji Feels (formerly known as Fighting Dreamer). I signed up last year part-way through the challenge (after taking part in LGBT Month) and I knew I would be signing up again this year – from the beginning this time!

Here are the details:

  • The challenge runs from 1 January through 31 December 2015.
  • Like last year, each month there will be a mini challenge/theme/list/thingy.
  • This year, there is no form/genre restriction (you can read whatever you want – young adult, new adult, adult, erotica, nonfiction, manga – as long as its LGBT).
  • And the LGBT in the challenge’s name does not mean just LGBT, you can read any book that falls under the L(esbian) G(ay) B(isexual) T(ransexual) T(ransgender) Q(ueer) Q(uestioning) I(ntersex) A(sexual)+ spectrum.
  • There will be link ups throughout the year (but the setup…

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5 Books You’ll Never Think Are Christmassy!

I’ve learned an important lesson this year about judging books by their cover! After reading The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, I was super surprised again. The cover looks nothing like what the book contains. Of course there’s clocks on the cover. However, it is very simple compared to what the book is about. So, that gave me a bright idea. I decided to compile a list of 5 books you wouldn’t think are christmassy by the covers. Here’s what I came up with:

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The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

This story takes place around Christmas and the New Year. I loved this book! It is Albom’s story of Father Time. The characters and life lessons gained about time are interesting. It confronts problems of wanting more time and less time. Also, it reveals the negative emotions of not paying attention to the time you do have.

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NOS4A2 (Nosfertu) by Joe Hill

I just started reading this book (I’m about 100 pages in) and I didn’t have any clue it involved Christmas until I started reading about Christmasland. It is a horror book and one of my favorite genres. It’s mainly about a man, with a “special power” who feels he needs to steal children from individuals he thinks are underserving parents and take them to Christmasland. I’m reading the copy with the original cover. A new cover depicting the Christmas theme was released. That’s more like it! And I’m sure people are more likely to read it now.

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The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

I haven’t read any books by Hans Christian Anderson and I feel a bit sad about it. I have watched a few movie adaptations. I understand this is a fairytale about a snow queen (obviously) and child. Judging from the cover (the irony), the queen is trying to protect the child and there is a struggle between good and evil.

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Morality Play by Barry Unsworth

I want to read this book. It is on my TBR list! The story takes place in Medieval England involving a priest who fled from his diocese and joins a group of players (actors). The players plan to play at the lord’s castle on Christmas day. Drama unfolds surrounding the play and a death of a local woman. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Award, so it must be good.

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The Family Under The Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

The Family Under The Bridge is a children’s book. It’s about a man named Armad who does not particularly care for children. One day he meets a group of kids who live under a bridge. He begins to develop a connection with them and soon thinks he has to find a decent place for the children to stay. Through their journey around Paris, the children meet gypsies and santa claus.

Book Review: The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

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Published: March 4, 2014

Length: 256 pages

Source: Bought | eBook

“This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it, but I do.” The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs with the devastating violence of prison life.

Review

First of all, why is this book so amazing? I’ve read two amazing books in a row and I am so happy about that! Again, If you read my review of The Story of Awkward, then you will understand when I say I have no words. None! I have to definitely redo my best books of 2014 to add this one. I love really dark and gory books, but this story takes place in a prison. I think what makes this book more serious and real to me is because it is prison and it more than likely happens almost every day in reality. It’s not a random killing or stalking case that I often read about. I’m not saying killing and stalking isn’t real. I am saying that those things taking place in prison is more creepy. There’s nowhere to go! And you’re surrounded by killers. It’s almost inevitable. It made me cringe a little. Even though this is a work of fiction, the realism is breathtaking. It’s too real! Also, Denfeld wrote this book in a poetic style. I never thought a story so dark and helpless can be so beautifully written.

The story is told by an inmate. While reading this book you can get a little confused because he’s narrating, telling the stories of other characters (including their thoughts and feelings), and telling his own story. He is what we call an omniscient narrator. He knows and sees all. You have to pay attention when you’re reading this book or you will get lost. Through the book we learn that every character has their demons and somehow they all work together and contribute to the events forming prison life. Besides that, deep topics such as morality and death are explored from different point of views of the inmates, investigator (the lady), priest, and warden. We also take a look into their lives and understand what makes them who they are and what influences the decisions they make inside the prison walls.

I don’t want to give too much away about this book, but I recommend it. I cannot say how much I love this book enough. It is a truly, truly amazing work and it deserves every book award there is.

Book Review: The Story of Awkward by R. K. Ryals

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Published April 10, 2014

Length: 284 pages

If you are looking for a happy book about beautiful people, this is the wrong story.
If you are looking for a narrative without emotion, without regrets, and without mistakes, this is definitely the wrong story.

This is by no means an uncomplicated tale about uncomplicated people. It is by no means sweet or light.

This story is ugly.
This story is complicated.
This story is emotional.
This story is tragic.

In short, this story is about being awkward.

Review

I cannot put into words how much I love this book. I was completely engrossed. I don’t have any gripes. There is nothing negative to say about this book. It is absolutely perfect. This book is a readers dream. Amazing. It is about a girl who went through challenges like most teens in school. Bullying and a not so good family life. Something happens on her way to college that sends her through a series of events that were completely her work. A lot of readers think this book is sad. It does have sad parts, but I can’t say the whole book is sad because it isn’t. It won’t depress you. Saying this book is depressing is overkill.

The setting and how the story unfolds reminds me a lot of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. It actually has some elements taken from various childhood stories, specifically fairytales to make an extremely awkward one (the title gives it away). The characters are great. The love story is great. I have no words! I think EVERYONE should read this book. No matter the age. Usually, I don’t read fairytales and stories that are loosely based on fairytales, but this one kept my attention because it is so different! It’s an awkward fairytale with awkward characters. I can’t wait to read more of her work.

Best of all, the book is free on Kindle and iBooks! It’s definitely worth the download.