The books I read in 2014: Listed from “Best” to “Not So Best”

Looking over this list at the end of the year, part of me wanted to start re-arranging. But I decided not to, because this is how I felt after reading each book. #1 and #2 were really neck and neck for best book, so I am going to give them both the number one slot.

It is funny– I read 21 books this year. That is exactly the same number of books that I read last year. I am half way through reading another J.L.Armentrout book right now, so maybe it is really 21.5 books this year.  Not too shabby since I don’t have all that much time to read.

So here it is, my list of Best to not so best books this year. Have you read any?

  1. Onyx , Jennifer L. Armentrout – Second (maybe third) in the Lux Series. Girl moves into a town and the twins next door are aliens. This story deepens the plotlines of book one. Slow to start, but once it got going I forgot about all that. What an amazing and unexpected last fifty or so pages!
  2. Rules of Survival, Jus Accardo – Great story about a bounty hunter that shackles himself to a fugitive girl and then finds out there are people trying to kill her. Great action and nice character development. Have to fault the author for an unrealistic sex scene, but loved the rest of it!
  3. Darkside Sun, Jocelyn Adams—Great Googly Moogly. I loved this book. Paranormal action and suspense at its best. The ending could have had some more action, but an awesome read overall.
  4. Rescue Me – This is writing of First Person Present at its best. The tone did not jar me, and despite being downright offensive at times, this author kept me turning pages. Granted, I started to roll my eyes after the fortieth sex scene, but this novel really moved.
  5. Opal, Jennifer L. Armentrout–Yeah, another Lux novel. I really enjoy these. The concepts and characters continue to pull me in. Unfortunately, I had read the blurb on the next book before reading this, so I knew how it would end. Kind of ruined it for me. Great excitement and really awesome writing. This author has not let me down yet.
  6. Cinder, Marissa Meyer–I liked this book a lot. I just didn’t love it. While everyone is telling me book 2 is even better, I didn’t find myself instantly reaching for the next book, and I’m not sure I ever will. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. It was. I’m not sure why I’m not continuing with the series.
  7. Midnight Dawn, Jocelyn Adams–Adams is another one of my favorite authors. She rarely disappoints me. Great story and great world and kick butt characters with explosive endings. What’s there not to love?
  8. Branded, Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki — This was a great fast-paced Dystopian. I had to cringe a few times over the violent images (not my thing) But the authors did manage to surprise me at the end. After hearing mixed reviews, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this.
  9. Call Me Grimm, Elizabeth Holloway – Really neat story. Great world building, but she lost me in the last sentence. Didn’t spoil the overall enjoyment of the book though.
  10. Ghosts in the Mirror, Joyce Mangola — Oooo ghosts. This is a unique pass at a ghost story. Ghosts jump into this poor kid and put him in a coma. Lots to love here. I would consider picking up another book in this series if there was one.
  11. Divergent, Veronica Roth–Okay, I’ll admit this was a DNF for me. I really enjoyed the writing and the flow of it all. But I saw the movie when I still had half the book to go. I just kind of lost interest after that. I will probably read more some day though.  I think all the talk about the rest of the books not being good may have turned me off as well. I’ll probably get back to it some day.
  12. Fire of Stars and Dragons, Melissa Petreshock—Girl has to marry either a dragon, a god, or a vampire king. They all have to woo her to win her love. Interesting premise, but told in first person from each male lead’s POV and the protagonist’s POV. Not crazy about the switching first person, but after a very shaky beginning, this was an enjoyable story overall.
  13. Damaged, H.M. Ward – Great story. Odd that I enjoyed it because it was contemporary romance. Really had me hooked, but it Didn’t end AT ALL. You need to buy book 2 to find out what happens. I did not buy book two. I felt cheated, and didn’t like not knowing if I’d have to buy book three, four, or more before the story completes. If a book is a serial, it should have a stamp on the cover or something. Instead of loving the book (which I was doing) I ended up ticked off at the end. Not good.
  14. The Brown House, Christy Sloat — Interesting and very complicated ghost premise (in a good way) This is a ghost story that really is not scary at all. (Like not even a creepy feeling) I got this book because it was based loosely on a real house and the weird things that happened here. It was neat reading another book that took place in New Jersey.
  15. Sleeping with a Stranger—A crit partner asked me to read this, because this is a writer she wanted to emulate. I was not impressed, but it could be a bad match of reader to book. I can’t relate to gambling or immature, dangerous behavior. I also felt the conflict was forced. (Note – After reading it, my crit partner agreed. She wondered if this was one of the author’s earlier works)
  16. Tempting the Bodyguard, Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J. Lynn — Okay, this is my favorite author. Why is this book down here? Yikes! This book was not written for me. I picked it up expecting the same valued writing style that I enjoyed with the Lux books, but with an adult story. Boy, was that NOT what this was. Shame on me for expecting what this was not. There is a reason she changed her names for these books. Not. For. Me.
  17. The Witches of Glass Castle – DNF. I was bummed, because I could not engage with this story. Stinky, because so many people seemed to like it.


Dragon Eye, Anna Simpson–This is a cute story, great for a short read at the beach or while waiting in a doctor’s office. Just some good clean fun.

Pixified, Sheryl Winters–More good fun. Lots of goofy characters written tongue in cheeck. Read this with a smile on your face.

Craft Books:

1. Riveting you Reader with Deep Point Of View – AWESOME

2. Writing Fight Scenes: Almost put it down because the beginning was talking down to a novice, but later parts of the book were helpful. I like how it is divided into different sections for different types of fights.

So there you have it. What was the best book you read in 2014, and why did you love it?



10 responses to “The books I read in 2014: Listed from “Best” to “Not So Best”

  1. Thanks for the reviews. My favorite book this year was nonfiction: The Soil Will Save Us by Kristin Olson. Liked it so much, I talked the local library into bringing her here as a guest author.

    Now to check out your favorite authors.

  2. 1. As someone who just began his first stab at a novel, do you feel the changing POV is quite distracting? It’s something I’m considering, to intersperse first-person chapters in a third-person narrative.

    2. Whether to continue a series – or even a book – is an intangible choice, isn’t it? You either feel it or you don’t.

    3. Unrealistic sex scenes kind of blow it. Most authors don’t realize that merely adding a graph about needing a snack afterward would fix that.

    • Wow! That’s a lot of questions!
      1. What you are suggesting there is very complicated. Even the most proficient of authors may struggle making a story fluent and readable written in such a fashion. I would suggest writing your first several novels in a more comfortable fashion… Maybe third person from no more than three points of view in alternating chapters. This way you can develop your own voice while you work through issues like show verses tell and learn the finer points of dialog. Once you master the basics, then You may want to challenge yourself with something complicated. Not that it can’t be done, but it is something to consider.
      2. Yes, it really is. It is not that the book I mentioned was bad. It was ten times better than I expected. Never once did I consider putting it down. It just didn’t resonate with me in a way that left me scrambling for more. I know thousands of people disagree… that’s why there are different books in the world… to make EVERYONE happy. 🙂
      3. Pfft. Yep. Unfortunately, I think some publishers encourage certain types of scenes to draw an audience. It is a shame.

      Good luck on your book!

  3. This is so hard for me. Most of the time, the next 5 star book I read becomes my favorite. I’m going to keep your head from swelling, though, because my first response was “Fire in the Woods.”
    So I looked over my Goodreads list and found that I had three series I loved and read the books, boom, boom, boom: Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Staff and Sword by Patrick Carr and The Cat’s Eye Chrinicles by T.L. Shreffler. (I am reading book four in the last series now and expecting to love it as much as the others.) So a book from any of those series could have taken the top spot.
    Then I saw “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak and said, “That’s the one.” It takes character and setting to a new height of inter-connectedness and then the man has Death narrate the story. Death! It was brilliant. And I placed that book as one of the YA must-read titles alongside “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
    So sorry about FITW, but if you had time to read “The Book Thief” you would agree it is a classic.

    • Ha! No problem at all. My head swims after a while, too. That is why I make the list all year long, while they are fresh in my head. I think about my overall feelings after finishing the book, and decide if it was better than the book at the top of my list. I’m usually more clear right after reading. An no worries at all. I never meant FIRE to be a classic — just a fun romp through the woods with a hot guy. “Just because I could” Thanks for even thinking of me, though!

  4. I enjoyed Cinder, but like you, I didn’t find myself reaching for the rest of the series right away . . . I will read them at some point, I hope. LOVE the Lux series and Divergent, but yeah, her writing in the last book was disappointing. Hoping my readers don’t think that about my third book next week. And no offense, but I was glad to be off this list this year;-) hahaha!

    • Ha! Remember, my lists go by enjoyment factor not necessarily by how good the books are. that was just a bad match between reader and book. Good luck on the new release !

  5. Jus Acardo’s books are amazing, so that doesn’t suprise me that it’s up there. I like Armentrout’s books, but I’m not huge into aliens so I’d have to drop hers down on my list a notch or two. Of your list, Cinder would be at the top followed by Scarlet and Cress. I hope you do decide to give these books a chance because the stories move forward with different characters that are all woven around each other. I love the whole cyberpunk Cinderella theme. I didn’t think I’d like the series but ended up loving it. My fave book of 2014: Skin Game by Jim Butcher. Holy cow. I really wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. So, so cool. In fact, your Son might like this one, especially if he’s a fan of the Percy Jackson series.

    • I really enjoyed Cinder, butni just dodnt get that “wow” feeling when I turned the last page. Like you said… Different themes appeal to different people. Thats why there sre so many great choices of books in the world!