The end of the year is upon us, and it is about time I faced the difficult decision as to which of the many books I have read this year is my favourite! If you have already read my most recent Top 5 Wednesday, you will already know how this list concludes, however I am going to pretend that I haven’t already talked about my top 5 and go through my list as I would do normally. As there are 14 books on here, I am not going to talk in-depth about any of them (if you want detailed reasons as to why I loved the top 5, then check out the aforementioned Top 5 Wednesday post; books with full reviews will have links in the title or in the text). I also have ruled that there cannot be more than one book from a series on this list, and there cannot be more than 2 books per author, just to maintain some variation on this list. I will be listing the books in reverse order from 14 to 1, stating the date that I read it. I believe that every book on this list received a 5 star rating from me. *It is worth noting that I read all of these for the first time in 2014, but not all of them were released this year*. So without further ado, let’s begin the countdown!
14. ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green
Read – 12th May
I think that it is this book, alongside Cassandra Clare’s ‘Mortal Instruments’ series, that got be back into reading. As most of you will agree, this book made me laugh, cry and above all, want to read more. I fell in love with John Green’s writing, and some of the quotes from this book are truly magical. Hazel was a female protagonist who did not set a bad image, unlike a fair few female characters I have read recently, Gus was incredibly sweet, and Isaac was the kind of guy that I would love to have as a best friend. The book took me by surprise and had me crying floods on the train (it was the first book to make me cry in public as far as I can remember). I feel that I do not have to say any more about this one.
13. ‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness
Read – 25th July
This book took me completely by surprise. About a boy struggling to accept that his mother is dying, it sparks tears and evokes thought. The magical element of the ‘monster’ is beautifully done, and I feel like this is a book which everyone should read. I only wish that I had the illustrated version rather than the text-only version, as the illustrated version would add so much more to the story.
12. ‘The Darkest Minds’ by Alexandra Bracken
Read – 24th August
I had not heard of this book before I started watching BookTube videos (probably due to the fact that it is almost impossible to find in UK bookshops), but it is one which I discovered had a lot of hype around it. I was very glad to start this series. The characters are all intriguing and enjoyable to read about, and Ruby and Liam had great chemistry. Clancy is a villain you love to hate and Chubs and Zu were the perfect sidekicks. Even though the story did not feel completely unique to me, it was executed in a way which made me really take notice of the book. For a book of its length, it is a very quick read, and it is rather fast paced. The ending of this book, even though I can now see why it could be predictable, really shocked me at the time. I didn’t see it coming, and it left me in floods. I own the second book, ‘Never Fade’, and for some reason I have not read it yet! That is a must-do for 2015.
11. ‘The Bane Chronicles’ by Cassandra Clare
Read – 12th November
Before 2014, I was not interested in Cassandra Clare’s books, as I had read ‘Clockwork Angel’ (the first of her ‘Infernal Devices’ series) and absolutely hated it. My best friend bullied me into picking up Clare’s ‘The Mortal Instruments’ series under the promise that it was way better than ‘The Infernal Devices’, and I was very glad that I listened to her. I fell in love with ‘The Mortal Instruments’, and from the beginning, Magnus was one of my favourite characters (I didn’t take notice of him during ‘Clockwork Angel’). After getting up to date on the series (to ‘City of Lost Souls’), I read a couple of the ebook short stories about Magnus, to try and quench the need for ‘City of Heavenly Fire’, and I loved learning more about him and his life before the series began, so I preordered this book, which contains all of the previously released ebook short stories. This was only the second thing I ever preordered (behind ‘City of Heavenly Fire’) and the long wait for it killed me. However, it arrived a lot sooner than I was expecting it to, and I read the entire thing on that same day. I loved all of the short stories, which surprised me, but there truly wasn’t one that let the side down. It’s a must-read for Cassandra Clare fans, if you ask me.
10. ‘Stardust’ by Neil Gaiman
Read – 2nd September
Neil Gaiman is an author who is very much hyped and whose work is typically the kind of book that I would enjoy, and yet I had never read one of his books before this. I had seen the film of ‘Stardust’ and actually wasn’t that much of a fan, however I had always been intending to read some of Gaiman’s work when I stumbled across this for £1, so I put any doubts to the side and chose this one. This book completely blew my mind. The way in which Gaiman writes is beautiful and compelling, and the magic in this book is unlike anything I’ve read before. After reading the book, I watched the film again, and I actually loved that the second time around, although the book beats it by a long way.
9. ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini
Read – 12th July
I read this book knowing that it was on my syllabus for my English Literature exam, and that put me off considerably, as books always seem like more of a struggle to read if they are required texts. I was very happy to be proved wrong here (especially as I have to study it in the New Year!). This book was so poignant and thought-provoking, being about one man’s journey to face the ghosts of his past. It really makes the reader think about the consequences of their actions, and whether it is always possible to set things right again. Hosseini’s writing is fantastic, and I can completely see why it is used as an English Literature exam test.
8. ‘City of Heavenly Fire’ by Cassandra Clare
Read – June
The final instalment in ‘The Mortal Instruments’, the series that got me back into reading, ‘City of Heavenly Fire’ was the first book since ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ that I have anticipated the release of. It was even the first book I have ever preordered. I was worried that the series would not conclude the way I wanted it to (and I was convinced that one of my favourite characters would be killed off). Thankfully, after waiting very impatiently, I got the end to the series that I wanted. I cried floods at the time (That’s becoming a bit of a common occurrence with these books!) but I cannot imagine a more satisfactory ending for me. This book represents the end of a series which reignited my love for reading, so it has to have a place on this list.
7. ‘Blackbringer’ by Laini Taylor
Read – 14th November
This year I have discovered that the author whose writing style I appreciate the most is Laini Taylor. Her writing reminds me of the style I attempt to write in, and her books are exactly the kind of thing that I adore. If I love all of her books as much as the ones I have finished, then I may proclaim her my new favourite author. As much as I loved ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone‘, I think I loved ‘Blackbringer‘ more, purely as this book took me by surprise. Knowing that the audience for this book is a little younger than anything else she has written, I wasn’t expecting this book to be as brilliant as it was. This quirky little story was unlike anything I have read before, and I think that this should have more hype around it. It is incredibly hard to get hold of the second book, ‘Silksinger’, but I have now done so, and I cannot wait to read the second instalment.
Read – 12th December
A latecomer to the party, I didn’t think when I started this that it would make it onto this list. Actually, when I started it, I read 20 pages then got intimidated by the fact that there were 600 pages and I wasn’t in a reading mood, so I put the book down. Upon picking it up two months later, I discovered that I was missing out. I fell instantly in love with the characters (especially Tavi and Bernard), the world and Butcher’s writing. It has become a goal of mine to finish this series next year, as even though there are 5 more (pretty large) books, I know it’ll be worth it. I already have book 2 lined up for my January TBR.
Now we are into the Top 5, which you have already seen in my ‘Top 5 Wednesday‘ post (bear in mind that the T5W post is a bit more thorough than this, as this feels like a recap to me)…
5. ‘Where Rainbows End’ by Cecelia Ahern
Read – 24th October
This book is the book which made Cecelia Ahern my favourite author of adult books, and gave me a whole new sense of appreciation for adult romance books, which I now realise I like a bit more than I thought I did (and definitely more than YA romance). ‘Where Rainbows End’ is a very quick read due to its letter format, and I loved moment I spent reading it.
4. ‘Looking For Alaska’ by John Green
Read – 30th July
The second John Green book on here, ‘Looking For Alaska’ made me question the world in a way that most of John Green’s books do, but unfortunately not many YA contemporaries do. I gained a lot of respect for John Green this year, and this is easily my favourite of his books.
3. ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell
Read – 16th June
The first book I have read (and only one of two, the other coming up later on) where I truly identify with the book, not in an ‘oh-I-understand-that-character’ way, but I mean I truly felt like this book had strong links to both where it feels my life is at and where I want to be. Cath is, for me, the most relatable female character I have ever read about, and it was nice to read a book where every character and every element of the plot feels believable, as there aren’t many out there that feel that way to me.
2. ‘Crown of Midnight’ by Sarah J. Maas
Read – 8th September
Or alternatively, ‘Throne of Glass’. I adored both books, and either one could take this spot, but I feel ‘Crown of Midnight’ just pips it. This series has become one of my favourite and most anticipated series (now I am up to date, I have to wait ages for each new instalment… this is why I jump on most bandwagons late!). The kickass heroine, the interesting and unique bunch of characters and the magical aspects combine to make this fantasy series one which I greatly enjoy.
And finally, my favourite read of 2014…
1. ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon
Read – 1st July
Quite simply, this book has affected and inspired me more than any book I have ever read, and means more to me than any other. This book is one which I am always going to have emotional attachments to, and however interesting any of the other books are, none of them can compare to how much this book means to me. Therefore, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ is my stand-out winner as my favourite read of 2014.
There we have it, 14 books which I read this year and absolutely loved. I had a terrible time choosing these, but I hope next year the choice is even worse, as it means I have read some brilliant books. Click here for the full list of books that I read in 2014. As this may well be the last post of 2014, then I wish you all a Happy New Year, and may 2015 be a brilliant year for all.
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