Top 14 Books of 2014

Happy New Year (almost). I anticipate an issue with my system when the numbers get higher. These are only from the book I read this year for the first time, not that they were necessarily released this year. As with last year, these are in no particular order.

  1. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken: The third book in this series is out but I haven’t read it yet! The first is still my favourite out of the two I have read though they are both fantastic.
  2. Cress by Marissa Meyer: This is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles and this series keeps getting better and better. They’re fairytale retellings (kind of) with cyborgs and space travel and I am not explain this well at all. Just read it. Cinder is the first.
  3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: I didn’t know what to expect from this novel, I went into it totally blind. I ended up really enjoying it! The characters are so good and the premise, while fantastical and made-up feels like it could have happened in a different place at a different time in our world.
  4. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare: Obviusly this was going to be on the list. I will read and adore anything this woman puts out.
  5. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor: Again, this had to be on the list. An amazing conclusion to this series, though the way it ended there could have been another book. I don’t think she’s planning on writing one though, which is unfortunate becasue these are beautifully written.
  6. Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas: I need the next one! there isn’t even a title out! If you don’t know I just finished this one and it is the third book is an amazing series, Throne of Glass is the first one if you want to jump on this train.
  7. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi: This book really redeemed the series for me. After the second I was on the fence abut it but this pulled it way back up in my mind.
  8. World After by Susan Ee: The dark, twisted, creepiness continues and how I do love it. A great book to follow Angelfall, I love the dark sarcasm through out these novels.
  9. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers: Another assassin novel. This on also has fantasy elements but it’s more so trying to disguise itself as historical fiction.
  10. Endless Knight by Kresley Cole: Dead of Winter! It’s coming really soon! This is a very unique, post-apocalyptic/fantasy/paranormal story line. If you are looking for something that doesn’t really follow the norm it’s this.  first book is alright, second is amazing! It’s characters are based on tarot cards.
  11. Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout: Unlike many others on this list, the first book was my favourite and the there was a decline from there. I’m almost temped to tell you to stop after this book but I don’t remember how big a cliff hanger there was at the end of it. You might need to continue, like it might not work as a stand-alone.
  12. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein): Elizabeth Wein. Just this author. he WW2 stories (her other one is Code Name Verity) are so real and heart-wrenching. You want to stop reading becasue its so horrific what she is describing but you want to finish at the same time becasue you want a happy ending for these characters, even though there isn’t always one.
  13. Allegiant by Veronica Roth: Very satisfying conclusion. I know lost of people hate the end but for me if it had ended any differently I would have been disappointing with the story, it wouldn’t have been true to character.
  14. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead: This is just a fun, fluffy read. I’m starting on the third one. With these books I find you can’t take them too seriously. You just have to jump in and enjoy the characters and not over think it too much.

What did you really love reading this year?

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Book Rant: Heir of Fire

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RATING: 5

GENRE: YA, fantasy

SERIES: Throne of Glass, #3

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas. This book just hit the ground running. I really enjoyed the first two books with the competition and seeing Celaena be an assassin and watching the love-triangle play out, but this book blows it all away. There’s less drama, much more magic and general kick-ass moments and, I found, better character development. What can I say for a non-spoilery section? Not much! Celaena has been sent to Wendlyn to assassinate the Royal family there, which she has absolutely no intention of doing. But in Wendlyn lies answers she needs to help overthrown the tyrant King, the very man she pretends to be a loyal servant for. Behind Celaena leaves her friends, Prince Dorian, and Chaol, Captain of the King’s guard, who are also walking the thin line of treason trying to protect their loved ones from the brutality of the King. I highly reccomend starting this series if you haven’t, last I checked there were supposed to be 6 books total so this is the perfect time to jump on this train. Each one is getting better and better. I love Sarah J Maas’ writing style, I find it similar to Laini Taylor’s in that she’s very good a weaving threads you don’t think are important at the time then we zoom out and it’s this beautiful masterpiece. That is all for the non-spoilery people! Bye if you haven’t read the book!

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Okay….where should I start?

We have this new character Rowan. He’s this immortal fey Prince, badass warrior and at first I don’t want to say I hated him becasue that’s too strong. I wanted him to be a friend for Celaena, not like Dorian or Choal, but a real friend who really got her and accepted her and would support her. Neither Dorian or Chaol ever did that, they always had another agenda. And I was so frustrated with him in the beginning becasue he wasn’t doing that I knew that was how they needed to end up. He didn’t even seem to care about her as his student, it really seemed that he had been conditioned to think that becasue she was a demi-fey her life didn’t mean much, ever as a Queen. The peak of this is when Celaena finally yells at him “You left me.” becasue it’s so true, she’s grasping at straws trying to pull herself up enough to fulfill her vow to Nehemia and Rowan will randomly give her a hand up then drop her again. When Emrys finally spoke up on her behalf it was the beginning of a change and it was so good to finally get there. I couldn’t believe what he did though with Luca. What. Yes, it does make her act to save him but it’s the cruelest teaching technique. It wasn’t until her burnout that I finally started liking Rowan. He didn’t know of her past and that made some of what he’d done less cruel. When he finally pens up about his back story we see that he is just as broken as Celaena and they try to put each other back together. I liked how protective he was over her, not like a lover like Chaol, but like a true friend.

I was so proud of Celaena during that fight for the fortress! She’s so selfless, she really doesn’t give herself enough credit. She is a warrior Queen who will sacrifice everything for her people. THAT is a Queen, not sitting in a throne like Maeve watching her people suffer for her. The character growth she goes through is just fantastic. The coming to terms with her life and what had happened to her and accepting her actions and inactions instead of constantly dwelling on them and the end of the book with the tattoo was beautiful. Speaking of, the Valg Princes. Agramon, the greater demon for fear from Cassandra Clare’s shadowhunter world (City of Ashes?) came to mind along with the dementors from Harry Potter. They feed off your fear and pain and go through your most horrible memories until you finally die.

Chaol…sigh…

 

How I felt THE ENTIRE book. Do I need to elaborate more? Was anyone NOT feeling like this towards him? I still like him, but so frustrated.

Let’s move to Dorian and What’s-her-face-healer-chick. Dorian is like a 13 year old flipping girl who can’t not be in a relationship for 5 minutes. This was supremely unnecessary in my opinion. They only significant thing about her character, besides being Dorian’s latest love interest, was that she was another spy. Her role could have been absorbed by Ren, or Chaol, or Aedion. She was just there to generate unnecessary angst with her death. But I didn’t know enough about her to care at all about her death. Dorian revealed his powers saving Chaol, not her anyway. This is the only time I can recall being really annoyed at Sarah J Maas, for introducing and making a huge deal out of this character only to kill her. You could argue that she facilitated the development of Dorian’s character but all his not-considerable development in this book could have been through someone else already in play instead of adding this bimbo so he can fall in love…again. I’m actually glad she’s now dead she I don’t have to deal with Dorian falling out of love with her a week later. Apart from that bullshit relationship, Dorian and Chaol’s interaction I did find very interested. I was so pissed at Dorian for telling Chaol that he couldn’t accept Celaena for what she is (although true) becasue in the last book Dorian wasn’t accepting her either until he realized he is magic. That’s not friendship, you “accept” who she is now that you NEED her. F*** off! Neither of them deserve a second thought from Celaena. But I can’t even be mad at either of them for lack of communication becasue they are both doing it to protect the other. They’re both in the mindset of willing to give up, basically destroy, their friendship to save the other. Chaol a little more than Dorian, Dorian also wants to kill his father and Chaol isn’t there yet. It just shows their true loyalty to one another. When Dorian exposes his power to save Chaol is the epitome of that, even though they are no longer friends in the superficial sense, they are deeper friends then ever.  When Chaol told Dorian that he loved him AH! One of the best parts f the book. Sounds like now Dorian in under the control of the King with one of those collar things, so that’s mildly terrifying. Just as he finally grew a pair too. (I wasn’t all too happy with either of them in this book, if you missed it.)

Aedion! How much do I love this character? So much! At beginning I  hated him becasue thought he truly had turned completely against his people. I though he was the King’s Whore just as he wanted everyone too.  When Chaol points out the ring, I just felt horrible for him becasue he wasn’t himself at all. But then we find out he’s actually a genius and has been playing everyone for so long and actually trying to help. I love how loyal he is to Celaena (Aelin). When he was talking about all his titles and the ones he cherished most were safely locked away I absolutely love it: “Cousin-that had been his most beloved title. Cousin, kin, protector.” I really hope there is a reunion between those two in the next book. Obviously he has to be freed from whatever jail he got thrown into. I’m glad Chaol finally picked a side but he did a really inconvenient time to do so. Aedion had completely forfeit himself so Chaol couls stay in the King’s favour and then Chaol totally burned that bridge. I like that he picked a side becasue I could take another book of his character acting like he was in this one, but timing man, timing.

The witches side plot I really, really enjoyed! Manon is not in anyway a likable character but I still found myself rooting for her. Abraxos was her redeeming point, when she actually cared about something. Then when she saves Petrah and after she kills the Cochran when she’s thinking about the fact that the witches are made into monsters, they aren’t born heartless. I think she can be a really strong character and I can’t wait for the story lines in intersect. I think this plan is going to backfire on the king, a lot.  The witches don’t seem the type to submit to anyone’s rule and now they have the wyverns so unless there is something else in it for them I don’t think  that alliance will last horribly long, especially if/when magic comes back. I really want Manon to team uo with Celaena, even though she killed Baba Yellowlegs. Given the relationship between The Thirteen and Iskra I think they might be able to come to a (probably temporary) agreement to overthrown the King. I really hope so. Also we never addressed the fact that all the meat and people smelt off. That was pretty key, but we got no explanation.

Maeve at the end, AH! I WILL STAB. You don’t hurt Rowan! I think that ring is far more important then we have been told. Maeve isn’t the type to do something like release one of her warriors over something simply sentimental. Hopefully it isn’t a Wyrdkeys, I don’t think it is but maybe something else magical? Rowan and Celaena can’t split up, they are so fun to read together. I’m not sure how is going to work becasue magic is gone. The next book has explaining to do. It’s a whole year away! I don’t think I can do this. So many questions unanswered!

That is all for this book, bye guys!

Book Rant: The Raven Boys

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RATING: 2.5

GENRE: YA, Paranormal

SERIES: The Raven Cycle, #1

Hi Everyone, first off, Merry Christmas! I hope you are all having a happy holiday with lots of R&R and cookies and treats with your friends and family.

Now, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This book is based in a small town in Virginia and Blue the main character comes from a family of psychics though she herself cannot see anything. Until one night she sees the spirit of a young man, Gansey. There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit, either he is her true love or she is destined to kill him. As fate would have it Gansey and Blue cross paths when her and his ridiculously rich private-school friends (known as the Raven Boys) come to her mother for a reading. Gansey is on a quest with three other Raven Boys: Ronan the unpredictable fighter, Adam a sweet-hearted scholarship student and Noah the quiet observer.  Blue finds herself caught up in their sinister and mysterious hunt into the magic Blue has been surrounded with her whole life but never understood.

Be warned, this book does take lots of patience. SPOILERS past here.

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You may remember the other books of her’s, The Scorpio Races, that I absolutely loved. And people have just raved about this book and series so I went into it with very high expectations and was left underwhelmed. I found there wasn’t much of a plot until halfway through. Sure we knew Gansey was looking for this dead King and there was plenty of back story on the boys’ and Blue’s lives but nothing had really come into play to move the book forward. It felt very sectioned like, here are the characters, now here is the story instead of weaving the characters into the story and watching them develop and learning about who they are that way.  The last 100 pages really picked up and I became really interested, but before that I just was reading to get through it.

Chainsaw. I don’t get it. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS BIRD? The Raven Boys have a raven, ahahahaha, that’s so funny. (Sarcasm) The stupid thing kept being brought up, am I to assume it will be important in the next book? At the end we learn it came out of one of his dreams, cool story bro. At this point we have seen so much weird stuff and you live on a magic fey energy line so my capacity for shock has been neutralized. It significant enough for me to justify Ronan telling us he needs to feed it every other chapter. This damn bird better be able to tell the future or save all their lives somehow in the next book.

The Adam-Blue relationship was kind cute, but really it just seemed to slow the inevitable plot and try to construct some unnecessary drama for later. It’s well established at the beginning of this book Gansey is her true love she is destined to kill. She didn’t see Adam’s spirit. I’m not saying she can’t really like Adam, but the end-game has been set.

This Noah-is-actually-a-ghost plot twist. I actually am not sure how I feel about this at this point. I’ll get back to you after I finish the next book. I certainly don’t dislike it and it was done really well but I don’t know if I like how ended yet. I was very happy to have him back but part of me felt like he should have died and been at peace and bringing he back was kinda cruel.

I love Gansey’s character. He’s the most real to me, the others seem a bit 2 dimensional. Noah doesn’t bug me becasue, well, he’s a ghost. The whole point is that he is a shadow of what he was. Adam actually isn’t too bad, it’s Blue and Ronan that really irked me. Ronan in stereotypical fighting, tough, stubborn one who is this way becasue of a traumatic past. And Blue I thought she tried too hard to make her eccentric and different and just ended up making her flat, it ended up being her whole character. There wasn’t anything else to her, no real personality traits, she’s just a sassy, eccentric teenager. She has a couple moments like when she’s with Gansey in the church and she tells him about the prophecy around her when I got the sense that she could be made into a really good character but there weren’t a lot of them. She does have some witty dialogue that made me laugh but there’s nothing behind them.  Emotionless. That’s the word I’m looking for. Gansey though. This character! He’s very human. He has these different sides to him depending on who he’s around and what role he has to play and that’s very true, everyone does that to varying degrees. Beneath that all he’s very unsure but not in a way that stops him, it makes him act and try to figure himself and this mystery out. I really like how he’s so good with words and he just turns them into a dangerous weapon, even without meaning to. And he’s trying to change that.

Neeve. I was kind of confused regarding her relationships with all the people in Blue’s house. At the beginning she’s creepy but we are generally ok with her. She’s like that aunt that is weird but she’s got your back, she’s not mean, she can be helpful and we trust her. And then somewhere in the middle she suddenly becomes suspicious and I don’t know why. Lots of family lives in this house so that another aunt came to live with them I didn’t find strange. We were told by Blue that it was and that she didn’t understand why she was here, but I had just accepted it. She needs a place to stay, all her family is there , it made sense to me. Then at the end I wasn’t sure if she was being evil, or… is she trying to help and having good intentions but maybe going about it wrong not realizing she’s hurting?

Once we found the plot I enjoyed it. It had a great treasure hunt and if had kind of the same vibe as The Spiderwick Chronicles. I never read those books I just saw the movie. Does anyone remember that and know where I’m going with this? Anyway, wasn’t a huge fan of this novel over all, but I didn’t dislike it. I’ll read the next one but I’m not tripping over myself becasue I feel I need it right away.

What are your thought? Again I hope you have a fantastic Holiday! Bye!