Monday, December 15, 2014

My Favorite Books of 2014

So I thought today's post would be something a little different. 2014 is the year I rediscovered my love of reading, and I am kicking myself for not having picked up a book in years. As a result, my Goodreads to-read list is dangerously approaching 80. (!!!).

I didn't even come close to achieving my goal of reading 35 books in the year, but at least it's an improvement from 0-1 books from 2010-2013!! So far in 2014, I've read exactly 20 books, which I have to say, makes me quite proud.

When I absolutely love a book, I literally can't put it down, and when I finish it, I can't stop thinking about it for days afterwards. I want to stress as much as possible that this is an OPINION post (key word there!), so you have every right to fully agree or disagree with me on this. In fact, this would make the discussion even more interesting! So here is my list:

The Ones I Absolutely Loved:
1. Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty: This book begins by telling you that a parent has died at a school function, but they keep you guessing the whole time who it is. I couldn't put it down because I just couldn't go to sleep until I found out what had happened. This is by far the most un-put-downable" book I read in 2014. Her books remind me a little of Jodi Picoult, my favorite author a few years ago, but I definitely enjoy Moriarty's style a whole lot more.

2. Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell: The paradox with this book is that it moved me so much, that it completely paralyzed me on the couch for a while when I finished it. The emotions felt incredibly real to me, so it impacted me deeply, and I know I sound so melodramatic here but it's totally true.

3. If I Stay, by Gayle Forman: This book is the very definition of heartbreak. I don't know what else to say about it.

4. Where She Went, by Gayle Forman: Again, I don't know what it is about heartbreaking books that attracts me so much, but this sequel of "If I Stay" is equally as emotional and gut-wrenching as the first, and left me thinking about it for days afterwards.

5. Bossypants, by Tina Fey: Because everything Tina Fey does is brilliant, and her book is no exception. Very enjoyable and funny throughout, one of the best light reads of the year for me. I needed it after the Gayle Forman books.

6. The Husband's Secret, by Liane Moriarty: Although I liked "Big Little Lies" better, I was still glued to the pages of this book, unable to look away and completely shocked by how a single action that occurred years ago can come back and change so many lives forever.

7. Yes Please, by Amy Poehler: I talked about this book in my November Lifestyle Favorites post. It was a great book that shows how wonderfully sincere and honest Amy Poehler is. She writes like she lives: freely, without apologizing and owning up to her mistakes. I loved every page, reading it mostly in the morning, which made the start of my day so much better.
8. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green: another beautifully written, heartbreaking story that I couldn't pull away from. It was one of the first books I read this year and it made me want to keep devouring lots more.

The "Just-meh" books:
1. Dear Daughter, by Elizabeth Little: This is supposed to be a sort of crime thriller, Gone Girl-style book. While it did keep me very interested in the storyline, and I really developed a liking for the protagonist, it wasn't a book that I just couldn't wait to finish, and soon after I did, I never thought about it again.

2. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert: First I have to admit that I dived right into this book as soon as I saw who wrote it (the author of "Eat, Pray, Love") without even bothering to find out anything about it. Then I read it and realized it was a historical fiction novel, which isn't one of my favorite genres, and that, together with the fact that my expectations were so high because of the author, made it a little disappointing for me. Regardless, it's a beautifully written book, extremely well researched, so for those of you who love historical fiction, you'll probably actually really love this one.

3. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter: the storyline was cute and I did enjoy it, but my thought after finishing it was that the characters lacked some depth, and it is just kind of a forgettable story.

4. Just One Day, by Gayle Forman: again, I think my lack of love for this book is more due to my having read Forman's "If I Stay" previously. And also after finishing it, I just couldn't help but think that this book was very "been there, done that", so it was nothing new that blew me away.

5. We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart: Everyone had raved so much about this book and its "twist", that I thought it would be something much more shocking and nerve-wracking. Instead it was just a bit "meh", and I really really hated the protagonist. I simply cannot stand books that center on the theme of "I'm so beautiful and rich, but I swear to you my life is so very, very hard!". Ugh!!! And to top it off, the book centered mostly on this message than on the actual plot of the story!

And the one I just couldn't stand:
1. The Beginning of Everything, by Robyn Schneider: I listened to the audio version of the book, and I don't know if it was the way it was read, but I hated pretty much all the characters from the very beginning. A prom king kind of popular boy suddenly realizes he wants to change his life and hang out with more "real" people? please! I don't buy it for a second. Plus this book was way too long for the plot: something that could have been written in 100 pages, took over 300, which just made it unbearable. I couldn't wait to finish it, and not in the good way!

If you have made it this far, kudos to you! What were your favorite books this year? Did I perhaps convince you to read any of these?
Love you bunches!

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