Favorite Books of 2014

I can’t believe another year has gone by! So much has happened this past year, and even with everything going on in my life I have managed to read 80 books this year! It is so hard to narrow them down to my favorites, but I did my best. Here are my favorite books from 2014:

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra ClareCity of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

This has to be one of my favorite series of all time. I loved the first three books and when I found out that Cassandra Clare had decided to write another three books I was so excited! This is the final book in The Mortal Instruments series and it was slightly daunting at a whopping 725 pages but the book is so good that you don’t even realize the length. I will miss this characters terribly but look forward to the spinoff series that Clare is writing!

 

Release date: May 27, 2014

 

 

 

 

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFeversMortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Another series finale, Mortal Heart started off a bit slow but picked up in the middle and turned out to be a fantastic final book in the His Fair Assassin series. I loved reading about Annith, a character who has intrigued me since book one, and her story had even more twists and turns than the previous two. Review to come soon!

 

 

Release date: November 4, 2014

 

 

 

IMG_1847Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

This is another one of my absolute favorite series, and it seems like each book gets better and better. This is the third but not final book in the series, and will just leave you desperate for the next book to be released!

 

 

Release date: October 21, 2014

 

 

 

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. MaasHeir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

I will probably read anything that Sarah J. Maas writes because her writing is so phenomenal. This is the third book in this series and I am still just as interested if not more interested than I was after the first book. Each of these books is amazing and I am so glad I waited hours on line to get an ARC of this one at BEA.

 

 

Release date: September 2, 2014

 

 

 

The Jewel by Amy EwingThe Jewel by Amy Ewing

This book had amazing world building and an eerie plot about pregnancy and surrogacy. While the romance in the book was a bit of a flop, the book didn’t center around it but rather focused on the messed up world of the Jewel and it’s backstabbing royals. I’m anxious to read more about this world so I look forward to the next book.

 

 

Release date: September 2, 2014

 

 

 

The One by Kiera CassThe One by Kiera Cass

I loved the first two books in this trilogy and I couldn’t wait to see how it would end. I literally read this book in less than a day because I couldn’t wait to find out how everything would be wrapped up. I’m so excited that Cass decided to write another book, The Heir, due out next spring!

 

 

Release date: May 6, 2014

 

 

 

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

What I really loved about this book was the narration–it is told from three separate points of view, with a slight twist near the end that totally got me. Great start to a new series!

 

 

Release date: July 8, 2014

 

 

 

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Loved this book!! Beautiful world building and an incredible story. I couldn’t put this one down and after the ending I am anxiously awaiting the next book!

 

 

Release date: March 4, 2014

 

 

 

Cress by Marissa MeyerCress by Marissa Meyer

This is another series that gets better with each book. This book introduced Cress, whose story is a retelling of Rapunzel. I loved her story and how it intertwined with Cinder’s and Scarlet’s stories.

 

 

Release date: February 4, 2014

 

 

 

Ignite Me by Tahereh MafiIgnite Me by Tahereh Mafi

I just actually read this entire trilogy this year and I can’t believe I waited so long before reading it. Mafi’s writing is gorgeous, and this book was SO GOOD!! I love the main character and how she became so strong from the first book to the final book. This is a series I could read over and over again!

 

 

Release date: February 4, 2014

 

 

 

What were some of your favorite books from this year? Anything you missed that you wished you had read this year?

Happy New Year everyone!!

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Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa MeyerCinder and Captain Thorne are on the run in a stolen spaceship, and they have teamed up with Scarlet and Wolf in order to overthrow Queen Levana. In order to do this, they must seek help from Cress, a girl who has been imprisoned on a satellite since she was a child. Cress is an excellent computer hacker because she has had nothing and nobody but her netscreens the entire time she has been imprisoned. The problem is that Cress has just received orders to track down Cinder and her accomplices for Queen Levana.

I had highly anticipated the released of this book and I am pleased to say that it was well worth the wait! Each book in this series gets better and better, and Cress definitely did not disappoint. In this book we meet Cress, who is basically Rapunzel but instead of being imprisoned in a tower she is on a satellite orbiting Earth. Her social skills are a bit lacking because she has been imprisoned alone for so many years, but for a girl who has spent so much time alone she is very bright and strong.

When Cinder and her group attempt to rescue Cress from the satellite so that she can help their team, they run into trouble and the group ends up separated. Cress is finally free of her prison but is now lost along with Captain Thorne, and the Cinder must do everything in her power to stop Queen Levana from marrying Emperor Kai.

I love the way each of these books focuses on a new character each time but still allows us to see what is happening to the other characters as well. Cress is a great new character and at first seems so childlike and innocent because she has been alone for so long but I like how she is able to become strong and hold her own. I also love the way the relationships between the other characters are still developing three books later and it doesn’t feel like anything between them has been dragged out or fallen flat. Meyer does an excellent job of keeping the story going and keeping the relationships interesting.

Overall, Cress was an excellent and exciting follow up to Scarlet and Cinder. This book definitely had an interesting ending so I am very anxious to see what happens next!

Cress was released on February 4, 2014 and is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles.

Favorite Books of 2013

There were so many fantastic books released this year so it was really hard for me to narrow it down to just ten books like I really loved. Since it would have been even harder for me to distinguish the best of the ten, I have simply put my list this year in alphabetical order:

Allegiant by Veronica RothAllegiant by Veronica Roth

I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding this book–some people gave it one star on Goodreads, others gave it five–but overall I really loved the way the series was concluded. There were so many people that hated the ending but I think that it made sense for it to end the way it did. I also liked that in this book we were able to get more into Tobias’s mind and I think it helped me to understand his character a lot better.

 

 

 

 

 

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareClockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

I’ve been a huge fan of the Shadowhunter world since I first read City of Bones a few years ago, and I was so excited that Clare’s prequel trilogy was just as good if not better than The Mortal Instruments series. I admit that I was nervous about how this trilogy would end, but I am so glad that it ended the way it did. I honestly think that this is Clare’s best book yet, and I’m excited to read all of the new series she has in the works already.

 

 

 

 

 

17167166Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

I didn’t know if this book could be as good as Throne of Glass, but Maas did an excellent job with this one. It was even better than the first book, filled with so many twists and turns that I had to keep turning pages. The ending was not something I expected either, so I eagerly await the next book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dare You To by Katie McGarryDare You To by Katie McGarry

I will probably read anything that Katie McGarry writes because so far every book I’ve read by her has been great. Dare You To has been my favorite of her books so far. I loved Beth’s attitude and the way that Ryan was able to finally make her trust again. This was a great love story that I highly recommend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dream Thieves by Maggie StiefvaterThe Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

THIS BOOK! I absolutely loved The Raven Boys and the sequel was just as good. The writing in this book was beautiful and the story got even better. I love this series and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Elite by Kiera CassThe Elite by Kiera Cass

This is another series that I absolutely love. While I will admit, some of America’s back and forth between Aspen and Maxon did annoy me a little, I still could not put this book down. I have no idea how it is all going to end but I can’t wait to find out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This was such a cute story! It really brought me back to my own fangirl days of Harry Potter fanfiction. This was a really great story about family and adjusting to college life, and definitely a must read!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Madman's Daughter by Megan SheperdThe Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

This book both fascinated me and scared me. It was super creepy at times but the scientist in me loved it. The ending almost made me scream until I realized that there is a sequel planned. Definitely not something I would recommend reading alone at night, but a must read for sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Requiem by Lauren OliverRequiem by Lauren Oliver

This was another book I was nervous about, because the ending of the previous book was definitely not expected. I wasn’t sure how Oliver would wrap this all up, but I think she did a good job. It wasn’t your typical ending but I liked how it was slightly open ended. Overall, a great conclusion to the series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarlet by Marissa MeyerScarlet by Marissa Meyer

I love how each of these books is a retelling of a different fairy tale. This one is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, yet we still get glimpses of what is going on with Cinder. Scarlet is such a great character, and I loved the way her story intertwined with Cinder’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously this was a fantastic year for YA! What were your favorite books from 2013? What are you excited to read in 2014?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trending Topics in YA: Fairytale Retellings

As I’m sure most of you have noticed, fairytale retellings are hugely popular lately! I can’t even tell you how many books I’ve looked at in the past week alone that have been a retelling of a story I used to read as a child. What is the reason for the spike in retellings? I would say nostalgia plays a role–it’s nice to read something that we loved as children and brings back all of the memories and feelings that we had when our parents read us bedtime stories. Also, I think it’s really interesting to see the different spin that authors put on familiar stories and it revives a story that has grown old and somewhat boring.

I think the key to a good retelling is definitely the originality that an author can bring. For instance, Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer are retellings of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, respectively, yet the stories are completely different and original. While keeping some of the familiar aspects of the story, such as Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters or Little Red’s famous red cloak, each book offers an entirely new take on the fairytale and Meyer incorporates dystopian, steampunk, and scifi elements as well. Splintered by A.G. Howard, while not one of my favorites, also offered a new perspective on a familiar tale–Alice in Wonderland. It presents a much different version of Wonderland than either Lewis Carroll or Disney gave us, and its originality is what makes the story stand out.

Other fairytale retellings include Kill Me Softly, a book by Sarah Cross that has multiple fairytale retellings in one, Entwined by Heather Dixon, which is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Beastly by Alex Flinn, which retells the story of Beauty and the Beast.

What fairytale retellings have you read recently? Which retelling would you like to see written? I personally, would love a retelling of The Little Mermaid, which was my favorite as a child.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

“But you’re the only one, Scarlet. You’ll always be the only one.”

Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother has gone missing and the police have called off their search. But Scarlet doesn’t believe that her grandmother ran away–she thinks that something terrible has happened to her, and she intends to find out what it is. When Scarlet meets Wolf, a street fighter who seems to know something about her grandmother’s disappearance, she finds herself drawn to him even though she doesn’t trust him. She embarks on a journey to rescue her grandmother with Wolf’s help and on the way encounters Cinder, who has just escaped prison. Scarlet realizes that there is a lot more involved in her grandmother’s disappearance than she thought.

I loved this book! I really enjoyed the first book, Cinder, because it was such a different type of book than I had read before. Even though I enjoy science fiction, a sci-fi fairy tale retelling seemed a little bit strange to me. I’m so glad I gave it a chance though because it is such a fantastic and original story, and the sequel, Scarlet, was even better!

Scarlet is such a fantastic character! I love a strong female protagonist and Scarlet fills that role perfectly. She not only runs her grandmother’s farm, but she knows how to defend herself and is determined to rescue her grandmother no matter what. She initially doesn’t trust Wolf, especially once she realizes he knows more about her grandmother than she thought, but she and Wolf have an undeniable chemistry that keeps drawing them together.

It was also really interesting to see how Scarlet’s story intersected with Cinder’s. The book shifts back and forth between the two narratives and while I initially guessed at how Scarlet and Cinder’s stories related to each other I didn’t expect the twists at the end! The only complaint I would have is that I missed Kai–he’s not in as much of the book as I would’ve liked but I’m guessing he’ll play a bigger role in the next one. I did enjoy the little bit we did see of him in Scarlet because he was dealing with the aftermath of Cinder’s appearance at the ball and was conflicted between his feelings for her and his desire to do what is best for his people.

Overall, Scarlet was an amazing sequel with crazy twists! It was even better than Cinder in my opinion and I’m very excited to see what happens in book three!

Scarlet was released February 5, 2013 and is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles. The third book, Cress, is set to be released in 2014.

February 2013 Preview

Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile–I decided to go back to school to get a second bachelor’s degree and this was my first week back. I’ve been super busy going to school full time and working full time, and since my major is English, I’ve had a lot of reading to do for my classes and haven’t been able to get much pleasure reading let alone blog posts done. Hopefully I can figure out a way to manage my time better and get back on track!

I’ve read some really great books so far this month but here is a preview of some books that I’m excited to read this February:

Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

Article 5 has been sitting on my shelf for awhile and since its sequel, Breaking Point, is due out soon I’ll have to bump it up on my list. Breaking Point continues the dystopian story of a girl named Ember who is living in a United States where the Bill of Rights has been revoked. It sounds like an interesting story that I’m sure I’ll love!

Release date:  February 2, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me has been on my to read list for awhile now, and now that the sequel is coming out I think it’s as good a time as any. A dystopian/post-apocalyptic series about a girl with a fatal touch definitely piqued my interest, so I am very excited to read this one!

Release date:  February 5, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Cinder, a Cinderella retelling about a cyborg girl living in futuristic Beijing, was one of my biggest surprises of last year. When I read the description it didn’t really sound like something I would like, but I decided to give it a try and it was actually really great! Cinder‘s sequel, Scarlet, is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood but still continues the story of Cinder and Prince Kai. I can’t wait to see where this series goes!

Release date:  February 5, 2013

 

 

 

 

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Wither was a fantastic and original story about a world where girls die at age 20 and boys die at 25. Young girls are being sold off to rich men as brides and are forced to bear children. Rhine Ellery becomes one of these girls, and tries her hardest to escape. The sequel to Wither, Fever, continues the story but in my opinion wasn’t nearly as good as the first book. Sever is the final book in the trilogy and I’m hoping it will be a great ending to the series.

Release date:  February 12, 2013

 

 

 

 

Fragments by Dan Wells

Fragments by Dan Wells

Partials is yet another book I own but have not read. A post-apocalyptic novel that takes place on Long Island, where I have lived my whole life, is definitely something I’m excited to read. I’m hoping to read Partials before the sequel, Fragments, is released.

Release date:  February 26, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

So it looks like February will be another exciting month for YA books! I just hope I can find the time to read all of the books I have on my list! What February releases are you looking forward to?