Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Ten Books I Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

You guys, I'm going to cry! There are at least 5 books I still need to review because I've been putting it off for so long! I have so many feelings about all of them but am sadly lacking in the mental capacity and endurance it will require to write about them. I'm pretty long-winded in case you haven't noticed... In the meantime, let's just keep things moving right along with this week's Top Ten Tuesday, which, incidentally, I've also been seriously slacking on. (I can't help it! Work has been busy and it's holiday season and, and, and...)

This week we are talking about TOP TEN BOOKS IN 2014. This year I read so many great books – in fact, I read more books this year than I have in the past (the first Goodreads challenge I've successfully completed, woo hoo!). But there are a select few that really rise to the top for me. So in some rough semblance of order...

10. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. The writing is so effortless and beautiful, the story sticks with you, and the places and details are just mesmerizing. This is the book that inspired me to make a trip all the way up to the Cloisters. It makes me want to explore every little crevice, every corner, every alleyway of New York City.

9. Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. (By the way, I'm counting series as one book. Because it's my blog and I can do whatever I want. I'm also just now realizing that I don't have posts about a lot of the books in my top ten list this week because I didn't start this blog until halfway through the year. Womp.) I still think about some of the passages in this book because they are so dreamy and magical. Also, I need this shirt.

8. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I finally got around to reading this a few weeks ago! Even though it is purely fiction, it is so painstakingly researched that everything that happened felt entirely plausible. One of the most intense books I've ever read in my entire life – by the time you reach the end, the only words you will be able to say are "MIND BLOWN." I'm going to hold this book up as the highest standard one could reach for a historical fiction novel.

7. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. This is a series that has really grown on me as it progressed. The more I discover about Celaena Sardothien, the more I like her and – surprisingly – relate to her. I'm excited for Book 4 to come out next year.

6. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I hate/love this book. It is the worst/best book. It will make you want to love someone/be alone forever. The ending makes me die/gives me life.

5. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill. This book captured everything I love and fear about, well, love. It made me cry for days. For me, Dept. of Speculation was one of those books that echoed my deepest beliefs but also taught me new things about myself, which is partly why I think it was one of my favorites from 2014. I waxed poetic about it in my review, so read that if it strikes your interest.

4. Lumatere Chronicles series by Melina Marchetta, goddess of everything. I thought I loved Evanjalin, but then I discovered Froi and Quintana and my life was never the same after that. Melina Marchetta is one of those authors with a crazy talent for taking imperfect, flawed people and striking a match to them (err... you know what I mean, right?) and bringing them to life. This series is one of my favorites in particular because the setting is so grandiose and the events that occur are so trying that all the characters' personalities and character are really magnified.

3. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. I read a bunch of Sarah Dessen novels earlier this year, when I was stuck on the idea of love, and this is the one that really punched me in the gut. Remy Starr is my favorite Sarah Dessen narrator. She and I look at the world, at relationships, at people in eerily similar ways. It's enlightening to experience her shift in perspective.

2. Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith. (When is this lady's next book coming out??) Love, love, love this book. I love Skunk. I love Kiri. I love the way they interact. Wild Awake explores mental health, not as something debilitating, but just as a daily part of life – this is something I relate to and strongly respond to. Like many of the other books in this list, I'm sure I've mentioned and/or talked about this one in previous Top Ten Tuesday posts...

1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Of course. Could my absolute favorite book of 2014 have been anything BUT this one? Taylor Markham is one of the best narrators I've read this year – she has a complicated history that has left her a little bit vulnerable, a little bit angry, a little bit cynical – but still she finds beauty and wonder in the past, in the people around her... I have a lot of feelings about this book. Honestly, it was probably the first book I had actually purchased in years – I loved it so much that I needed a physical copy for my personal collection. Je ne regrette rien!