Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

So guys, it’s the big one this week. The topic is: The Top Ten Books I Read In 2014. I can’t believe I’m compiling this list already. How it is nearly the end of the year!??

Anyway, here goes…in descending order for the EXCITMENTZ!

10. DIVERGENT – Veronica Roth

DIVI often forget how much I loved this book. I still haven’t finished the series though. And don’t even get me started on the movie!

Goodreads
Review

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

9. TAKE BACK THE SKIES – Lucy Saxon

take This book got some bad reviews but I don’t know why – I loved it!

Goodreads
Review

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

8. VAMPIRE ACADEMY – Richelle Mead

345627 I can’t believe it took me this long to start this series. It was so much better than I expected. I read books 1-3 in 2014, but the first one was definitely the best.

Goodreads
Review

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

7. POISON – Chris Wooding

w1 I still haven’t reviewed this one! Slap my wrist. I had never heard of this book or the author for that matter, until one of my friends told me I had to read it. I can’t believe it had passed me by for so long.

Goodreads

Poison has always been a willful, contrary girl, prone to being argumentative and stubborn. So when her sister is snatched by the mean-spirited faeries, she seeks out the Phaerie Lord to get her back.
But finding him isn’t easy, and the quest leads Poison into a murderous world of intrigue, danger, and deadly storytelling. With only her wits and her friends to aid her, Poison must survive the attentions of the Phaerie Lord, rescue her sister, and thwart a plot that’s beyond anything she (or the reader) can imagine. . . .

6. SCARLET – Marissa Meyer

www1 I loved the second book in the Lunar Chronicles almost as much as the first. Favourite series of the year by far!

Goodreads
Review

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

5. BURIAL RITES – Hannah Kent

burial Iceland. Murder. An execution. Amazing.

Goodreads
Review

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

4. THE ONE – Kiera Cass

15844362 I was so sad when this series came to end…but now there’s going to be more. Squeal!!

Goodreads
Review

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

3. SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE – Marcus Sedgwick

siniI loved Sedgwick before this. I love him even more now. I will read anything he writes!

Goodreads
Review

Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers–a skill at which she’s remarkably talented. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.

2. OF SCARS AND STARDUST – Andrea Hannah

arc1
I didn’t know what to expect from this and it just blew me away!

Goodreads
Review

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

1. CINDER by Marissa Meyer

11235712 (1) It just has to be. So. Much. Yes!!!

Goodreads
Review

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I’m especially looking forward to seeing what made everyone’s lists this week. Even if I’m a bit later to the party!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014.

I was introduced to so many new authors this year so I really enjoyed making this list. Some were completely new with debut releases and some were authors I’d read so much about but only got round to this year.
All quotes are from my own reviews. Click on the links to read the full review if you so wish 🙂

10. B. I Woolet

hunter
I’m so glad I requested The Hunter, The Bear and The Seventh Sister from Netgalley back in January as I absolutely loved it. I described it as ‘an amalgamation of all my favourite childhood reads’, and it really was. The second book in the series was released recently and I can’t wait to read it.

The authors, Benji & Ila Woolet also did a great guest post for me in February. Go check them out.

9. Laura McHugh

weight
The Weight of Blood is Laura McHugh’s debut novel and I was very impressed with this intricate small-town crime story.

‘Reading The Weight of Blood felt like sitting on a swing-chair on a porch in the sticky night-time heat with Dragonflies bashing against your lantern; kind of peaceful and beautiful but there’s this uncomfortable feeling rising to the surface, and you know where it’s coming from but if you just ignore it, it might go away. Obviously, it never goes away…’

She’s definitely one to watch.

8. Alan Bradley

cover35827-medium
I don’t know how I hadn’t discovered Alan Bradley before 2014. I’d never heard of the Flavia de Luce series and I somehow requested The Dead in their Vaulted Arches without realising is was book 6. But it didn’t matter. I loved it! I really need to read the whole lot now! ‘Think Young Sherlock Holmes meets Veronica Mars and you’re there. I’m off to find the first 5 books now. Tally ho, jolly good show!’

7. Chris Beckett

darkeden
Dark Eden. Woah. What a book. I still think about it. A lot.

Dark Eden is a book full of questions and very little answers. It is set on what we assume is an alien planet (although it’s pretty similar to earth) where almost two hundred years ago, humans crash landed. Some attempted to get back to earth, while one man and one woman thought it was too dangerous and stayed behind, deciding to make a go of living in the blackness of Eden until they were rescued.”

6. Veronica Roth

insur
I LOVED Divergent so much, and thought this was going to be my new favourite series by my new favourite author, but then I kind of got over it. (Also Marissa Meyer happened but more on that later). Insurgent was good too, but then I’d heard so many bad things about the third book I never got round to it. I still plan on finishing it some day.

5. Chris Wooding

w1
So Chris Wooding completely passed me by until my friend gave me Poison to read recently. It was amazing. I still haven’t written a review but it was basically all of my favourite fairy tales, plus Alice in Wonderland and countless others, swirled together in a dark and sinister cauldron of awesomeness. I need to check out his other books!

4. Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

back
I read two of her books this year and loved them both. Sarah has a sort of whimsical ‘twee’ story-telling style and I found them both unique, cute and exciting all at the same time.

‘Oh man, this was a rollarcoaster. Once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know how things had spiraled so out of control for Oscar and Meg. It really captured something special about being young, especially the perils of school days and friendship.’

3. Richelle Mead

sk
Yes I know. Completely behind the times, but I only started the Vampire Academy series this year. I was really pleasantly surprised by them and I hope to continue the series with book 4 soon!

2. Andrea Hannah

arc1
I find it hard to express how much I loved Andrea Hannah’s debut Of Scars and Stardust.

It was such a surprise as I only requested it on the basis of liking the cover and the title. I want to read it again. And again!

Of Scars and Stardust completely blew me away if you can’t tell already. It was a mystery, a psychological thriller, a romance, and it was written so beautifully it made me want to cry.”

1. Marissa Meyer

11235712 (1)
What can I say about Marissa Meyer…she blew everything else out of the park for me this year. At first I thought Cinder looked a little silly – Cinderella as a cyborg and set in a dystopian Beijing – What!? But I was so wrong. The Lunar Chronicles is definitely the best series I started this year, and possibly EVER. EVER I SAY.

I’m excited to see who you guys picked, feel free to leave a link!

Not Your Average School Ski Trip…

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

spr4It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

Well, getting hooked on this series was probably inevitable. Some hot vampires and a kick-ass female lead, in a high school setting…now, where have I seen that before!? I was really impressed with the first book in this series though, as I wasn’t expecting it to be so rooted in Vampire Lore. (You can check out my review of book 1 here.)

Frostbite, continues where we left off. Rose is getting closer to becoming an official guardian and trying to keep her distance from hot russian Dimitri, whilst Lissa is sickeningly in love with Christian and trying to control her weird Vamp powers.

It’s Christmas (yay) and they are all forced (not that you wouldn’t go willing by the sounds of it) to spend it at an exclusive ski resort to keep hidden from the deadly Strigoi who are still picking off the Moroi royalty one by one. Of course! Where else would one go?

I was pleased that this book has a prologue that went over what we’d learned thus far; the gospel according to Dhampirs, Moroi and Strigoi if you will (I still can’t pronounce them), to remind us of all the intricacies involved in their society and the stigma that comes from certain choices, should they make them. However what I wasn’t OK with was all of the other catch-up sessions in the book. The prologue was perfect, I really didn’t think we needed the rest.

There were a few other things I was disappointed with in this book as well, maybe disappointed is a bit harsh considering I couldn’t put it down, but I felt like all the dark shiz that made me love the first book was gone.

Now they know what Lissa’s deal is, there’s no self-harm (which is obviously a good thing but it made for good reading!), no dead animal corpses in her dorm, and now that Lissa and Rose are permanently back at St Vlads (yes, we’re on nick-name terms already, I move fast) no hot ‘dirty’ feeding sessions. Bore off.

But, I digress. Overall, Frostbite wasn’t boring at all. With the focus taken off Lissa and Rose a little, we get to explore some of the minor (and new!) characters a bit. There’s definitely more of Christian, Lissa’s boyfriend, who I’m really hoping is going to turn out to be evil, right? Because if not what is he good for?-Creating tension between Lissa and Rose I guess, but it was a bit meh.

We also get more of Mason, who grew on me throughout the book, he’s pretty adorable. And then there’s the introduction of tall, dark, mysterious and probably deadly Adrian who seems to be stalking Rose a bit. Well, who wouldn’t!?

AND OF COURSE, there’s Dimitri. Oh delicious Dimitri… Richelle Mead you really are spoiling us!

I liked that they didn’t get together too quickly (because you know, it’s wrong), but I really hope it’s not going to end up being a whole on/off, on/off thing for the next 4 books too.

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS right now. Sigh.

One thing I wasn’t expecting however, was that Rose started to annoy me a bit in this book. I like a protagonist that is confident, but in Frostbite, her self-assuredness (that’s not even a word is it? Bitca!) got a bit too much. She’s constantly pointing out how hot her body is, like anyone actually ever says that to themselves all the time! Pfft, anyway…

No matter what, I couldn’t put Frostbite down. It definitely has some flaws but I’m too far gone to care. I’m invested in Rose, Dimitri and Lissa, and GIVE ME THE NEXT ONE NOW.

Ahem. Please.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it!
Title: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Details: Paperback, 327 pages
Published: April 10th 2008 by Razorbill
My Rating: 4/5

March 2014 on Lipsyy Lost & Found

Well that was another ridiculously quick month. Nearly all the books I read were ARCs in an attempt to catch up, so this month I’m looking forward to reading some of the books on my shelves. I also went to my first book launch, and got a pay rise at work. Winning!

Total Posts: 24

New WP Followers: 25

Books Read & Reviewed (8):

  • Frog Music by Emma Donoghue, 3/5 (Review)
  • Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3) by Patrick Ness, 4/5 (Review)
  • Zombies Vs Unicorns by Various, 3/5 (Review)
  • Blood Orange Soda by Michael Larranaga, 2/5 (Review)
  • The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, 4/5 (Review)
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer, 5/5 (Review)
  • Eden Forest, 3/5 (Review)
  • Kissing With Fangs by Ashlyn Chase, 2/5 (Review)

Friday Features:

  • We Need to Talk About…reviewing books in a series (View Post)

Guest Posts:

  • Jennifer Gilby Roberts – The inspiration behind her novel, After Wimbledon. (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts:

      1. Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Authors I’ve Never Read (View Post)
      2. Top Ten Tuesday: Things on my Bookish Bucketlist (View Post)
      3. We Need to Talk About…Reviewing Books in a Series. (View Post)

    Books Purchased/ ARCs Received:

    I FINALLY got round to buying these beauties. I love that they are all blue-ish too. So pretty, I just want to stroke them.

    inst

    And I was really good as far as Netgalley is concerned and only requested this:
    youre

    The author is mainly famous for being Tom from Mcfly’s other half and this is her second novel. I didn’t read her first one, Billy and Me but it got some decent reviews so I thought I’d give it a go. It looks like a fun spring/summer read.

    *BOOK OF THE MONTH*

    11235712 (1)

    *COVER OF THE MONTH*

    12432220

    *MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS MONTH*

    THIS. FINALLY.

    18172471 (1)

3 Vamps, 1 Stone: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

345627 St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

What surprised me most about this book was that it surprised me.

I’d been meaning to start this series ever since it came out in 2007 (woah, has it really been that long?), so I figured I knew what it was going to be about. I expected another fluffy teen vamp read. Which it kind of was. I expected a cross between Twilight and Gossip Girl. Which it also kinda was. But what I didn’t expect was that it would be heavy on mythology and be a unique take on Vampire Lore. That, was a pleasant surprise.

Let me try to explain, more for myself than anything. There are three different kinds of vampires in Mead’s series. Rose is Dhampir, non-royal but strong and whose mission in life is to train as a guardian to protect the Moroi, the weaker of the vampires who have their own royal family. Dhampir’s and Moroi exist together in relative peace although the Dhampir’s that do not train as guardians are often seen as scum. These two breeds of vamps are living, mortal vampires. The Strogoi however, are not. And they’re the bad guys who prey on the moroi (especially the royalty) hence the need for guardians.

It’s pretty ridiculous but it works. I enjoyed the dynamic between Rose and Lissa, who by the way have a psychic bond, and the sexual tension between them was pretty transparent. Hot though, obviously. I liked the whole getting bitten by a vampire is addictive, but dirty thing. In fact we are pretty much bombarded with both actual rules and social suicide rules that these vamps must abide by in order to stay respected. That rang pretty true in a school setting.

Overall, I was impressed by the complexity of Vampire Academy as I was expecting more of a throw-away story, but it was also that complexity that dragged it down sometimes. I felt like this book was just an introduction to a much bigger story (which it obviously is considering how many books there have been) that throws too many ideas around too soon. But I still really enjoyed it.

I look forward to seeing what happens with Dimitri (Rose’s hot Russian Mentor) and Rose’s doomed love story.

I’m obviously going to get hooked.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Nope, Oh Chrys sent it to me as part of her Bookish Christmas Bookswap 🙂
Title: Vampire Academy (#1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Details: Paperback, 332 pages
Publication Date: August 16th 2007 by Razorbill
My Rating: 4/5