Reading Recap 2014

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I’ve read 60 books this year – I’m pretty sure that’s a record for me … We had full use of the library this year and I made use of the opportunity by borrowing all those popular books I haven’t had a chance to read yet. It was a great experience. I read some awesome books, some so-so, and some unrealistically amazing. But most of them were awesome, really.

Books I Read in 2014 (in order) (spoiler-free! ***But if you want to be absolutely clueless about everything in these books, skip this post. Also, I might give away who is still living in the next book of a series …***)

(rating system: 5 stars = excellent/4 stars = really good/3 stars = good/2 stars = okay/1 star = did not like)

1. A Room With a View, by E.M. Forster

Three stars. It was good … a nice story about following your dreams and the ridiculousness of society. Think, a darker Jane Austen.

2. Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

Two stars. I read this for school. I can see why it’s a classic but, the truth is, it bored me. It’s not something I’d read on my own.

3. The Human Factor, by Graham Greene

Three stars. I’ve got mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, it was slow paced, sometimes boring, often confusing, and the ending was something of a letdown. On the other hand, it was interesting seeing what life was like for a spy and slow paced though it is, there is a certain undercurrent of dark imminent danger. It’s a thought provoking and unusual book and I’m definitely glad I read it.

4. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Two stars. It was a mystical, magical kind of sermon. Not really my kind of thing.

5. Goodbye Mr. Chips, by James Hilton

Four stars. This is a sweet story of a schoolteacher’s memories. Mr. Chips is quite a personality!

6. Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen

Four stars. Again, I’ve got mixed feelings about this one. I didn’t like Edmund Bertram. Fanny was … okay. Sure, I admire her strength. I did like the Crawfords. Jane Austen has the unique ability of making mundane occurrences interesting to read about and I was very invested in the story. After it ended, I just stood in a daze, unable to recover from the feeling of having to turn more pages. I think any book that gives me that deserves an extra star.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Three stars. I love this story. I really do. I guess I was just a little underwhelmed by the story and found it hard to relate to Scout? But I did love it. It’s a touching story and I love the relationships of Scout with her brother, her father, and Boo.

8. Persuasion, by Jane Austen

Three stars. It’s definitely well written but none of the characters felt alive. The story was so flat for me. But I can’t bring myself to give Jane anything less than a three and once again, she makes mundane occurrences worth reading about.

9. Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

Five stars. Oh, this story. I love Catherine and Henry Tilney so much. Bonus: Austen has an especially sarcastic wit in this one.

10. Silas Marner, by George Eliot

Three stars. Again, a touching story, but kind of underwhelming. Silas Marner and Godfrey Cass have some nice character arcs.

11. Quo Vadis, by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Four stars. When I first read this book, I absolutely loved it. I reread it recently and I’m not sure what I feel about it. The main character is a would-be rapist and missed a lot of the sickening aspect of it all the first time around. There’s also a lot of Christian supremacy. On the other hand, it’s also a gripping read and an interesting look into the culture of the times. It’s very imperfect but I think it’s worth it. Also, the Petronius + Nero scenes. That guy is a genius.

12. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1), by Suzanne Collins

Four stars. Oh, wow. This is an awesome book. Very nicely written and easy to read. The plot is tidy and the world is somehow believable. Of course, the concept is gold, if chilling.

13. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2), by Suzanne Collins

Four stars. Am I the only one who didn’t expect … um, a certain big thing that happens later in the books? And the only one who thought it was an amazing idea on Collins’ part?

14. Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl series #1), by Eoin Colfer

Four stars. I borrowed this on a whim when my mum left me at the library for a couple hours. Oh, it’s good. Very nice worldbuilding but the highlight is Artemis and his evil mastermind brain.

15. Hands, by Joseph Harold Bunting

Two stars. An interesting look at jazz culture.

16. Broken Identity, by Sarah Jae Foster

Two stars. I can’t quite place what I didn’t like about the story. The characters were very real and Foster writes emotion well. Maybe it was just a little too preachy? Maybe it dragged somewhat?

17. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3), by Suzanne Collins

Five stars. Ah, wow. I love this book. It’s the emotion … the feels. I could read it and lose myself … look up from the page and realize that, yes, I’m still in my house, sitting on the sofa, with a book in my hands. I was in a daze long after The End. Also, Finnick. I got the chills. This book was also when I started feeling for Katniss and Katniss and Peeta’s relationship.

18. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Three stars. This story is deeply melancholy and Jay Gatsby is … wow … one heck of a character. As an idealist, I can relate to him.

19. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1), by Marissa Meyer

Five stars. I was skeptical about this story. All the praise it was getting seemed too good. Then I read it and understood. Marissa Meyer’s stories have something about them … they roll on. You can’t stop turning the pages. Oh, I don’t know if I described that right. Anyway, Cinder and Kai are adorable together. And the fairytale parallels were cool.

20. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), by Marissa Meyer

Four stars. Writing wise, this book was less polished than Cinder. And I was kinda bored at the Scarlet and Wolf bits. But I love Cinder and Thorne and Iko together and I laughed so hard. And woah! Those plot twists! In many ways, I could say I like this book more than Cinder, so why only four stars? I don’t know. Star ratings are … complicated.

21. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1), Rick Riordan

Three stars. I didn’t care much for the characters but the world building and action was cool. A fun story.

22. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Three stars. Interesting. Different from my usual reads. What the Dog Saw is still my fav.

23. The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1), by Maggie Stiefvater

Four stars. Awesome plot. Awesome mystery. Lots of mystery that I couldn’t understand. Awesome characters. Awesome writing. Slow pacing. Laughs. And Adam. Oh, Adam.

24. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

Five stars. Epic, beautiful, tragic. I first planned to give it a three, then a four. The last hundred pages absolutely killed me and I gave it a five.

25. Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3), by Marissa Meyer

Four stars. Somewhat disappointing. Don’t get me wrong. I did love it. But there was too much going on and I didn’t feel any CressxThorne chemistry.

26. The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), by Maggie Stiefvater

Three stars. Ugh. It was so confusing. I felt like such a Seaweed Brain reading this. But I will re read it. I am determined to learn to love it.

27. The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2), by Rick Riordan

Three stars. Another fun story and there was some nice character development.

28. The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare

Four stars. I think I might have almost cried? It was too short and the ending was rushed and it was a little preachy. And the scene with Jesus … just, no. Apart from that, it was good.

29. Take Me Tomorrow (Take Me Tomorrow #1), by Shannon A. Thompson

Four stars. An absolute page turner. I could. not. stop. reading.

30. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo

Five stars. In a word, Jean Valjean. Um, two words, I mean. The other parts were great, too, though. Just … sigh … I love it, alright? Any attempt to describe it won’t do it justice.

31. Gates (Book #1), by G. S. Luckett

Two stars. This story has so much potential: interesting characters, intriguing plot, awesome setting. But the pacing was much much too quick and the writing needed polishing. It reads like one of the first drafts of a book. It could be amazing.

32. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

Five stars. I read sooo many awesome books this year, it’s crazy. The writing style is brilliant and witty and I cried. I still can’t help crying whenever I read page _____.

33. Behold the Dawn, by K. M. Weiland

Five stars. More plot twists. More awesome plot twists. And Weiland writes the best romantic tension. Seriously. Those scenes had me internally screaming like they were murder scenes.

34. The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3), by Rick Riordan

Four stars. Um, this is embarrassing. I forgot what made me love this book so much. It was Nico, probably. I love him so much, especially his scenes with Dionysius (priceless).

35. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

Five stars. Creepy. Clever. Genius. Terrifying. Also, the characters’ psyches are very interesting.

36. The Source, by T. E. George

Four stars. This is a Christian/spiritual crime thriller. A very interesting and effective combination. It’s a great book.

37. God Behind the Movie Screen, by Allen D. Allen

Two stars. Meh. It was thought provoking but kind of condescending.

38. The Silmarillion, by J. R. R. Tolkien

Four stars. It was hard getting into this story. And there are so. many. names. But I love the fantastical feel. It’s a thrilling and tragic history, even if I felt rather detached from the characters.

39. Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

Four stars. Everything was great about this story except … I didn’t get the feels. Why? I have no idea. But I didn’t cry. There was no pain. And that was disappointing.

Listening to Flyleaf’s song, Head Underwater, helps, though. It reminds me of Maddie and Queenie’s story and I begin to feel pain.

40. Captives (Safe Lands#1), by Jill Williamson

Five stars. Amazing plot and writing. Massive cliffhanger. I had such a book hangover. Made me want to devour all of her books. I love Mason and Omar and I shipped MasonxCiddah so hard.

41. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1), by Laini Taylor

Five stars. Taylor wrote of a complicated world with beautiful description and didn’t once bore me. I read every word of hers and loved it. Either her world is amazing or her writing is. Both, probably. I love the fantastical and dark feel and the ending. Gah!

42, 43, 44, and 45. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (Books 1-4)

Three stars. The mystery is quite incredible. And the humor. Judge Quinzy gives me the chills.

46. Outcasts (Safe Lands#2), by Jill Williamson

Five stars. It was still amazing but not quite as good as Captives. It suffered somewhat from second book syndrome. But it was certainly gripping.

47. Rebels (Safe Lands#3), by Jill Williamson

Five stars. This one was awesome. I love Mason and Omar’s part.

48. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas

Five stars. Amazing. Apparently I like long books? Dante’s character change is masterfully written. For that alone, I’d love it but it was also filled with dark humor and cleverness. Also, I cried. Like, really cried. Just thinking of it brings the pain all over again.

49. The Giver (The Giver #1), by Lois Lowry

Five stars. I love the concept! It’s about what makes life worth living and I can totally see how this book changed lives. I wasn’t a fan of the writing style but the world and the premise were simply amazing.

50. Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton

Five stars. Interesting. Much easier to understand than heretics. It’s a look into Chesterton’s joyful view on life and religion. I definitely don’t agree with everything he says, but it’s a beautiful story.

51. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Five stars. It was a really sweet, funny, and thought provoking love story.

52. The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4), by Rick Riordan

Three stars. I didn’t like the relationship drama. Also, there was too much going on for that amount of pages. Apart from that, it was good. The plot twist at the end was a killer.

53. We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

Four stars. So, the ending was … unexpected, to say the least.  That’s not what I love about this book, though. My favorite part is the study of the character’s psyches and how messed up everyone is.

54. Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie

Five stars. Genius. Christie is a genius, okay? It didn’t freak me out like And Then There Were None and I missed the suspense but the genius totally made up for it.

55. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

Two stars. It was an interesting look into depression and suicide. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with Esther Greenwood. It’s definitely a well written book, just not for me.

56. The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5), by Rick Riordan

Five stars. What an ending. What an ending. It is by far the best book in this series and a perfect conclusion. I’m still not done fangirling over it.

57. The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus #1), by Rick Riordan

Two stars. I didn’t connect with Jason or Piper. I liked Leo but he wasn’t cool enough to redeem the whole book when it bored me and was missing a killer mystery and any suspense. The good side of it is I realized how much I loved Percy Jackson.

58.  The Demigod Files, by Rick Riordan

Five stars. The stories and interviews are very funny!

59. Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus #2), by Rick Riordan

Five stars. Percy! At last! The mystery was amazing and I like Hazel and Frank (as a couple, too), so all was well. It could nearly beat The Last Olympian. Nearly.

60. Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), by Sarah J. Maas

Five stars. Celaena Sardothien is one of my favorite heroines, and that’s rather surprising considering I don’t normally like heroines, and she did annoy me a lot. But somehow, she’s a heroine I love to read about. And the dynamic between Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol is pretty hilarious. Just, please tell me the love triangle won’t last for all. freakin. six. books. I don’t know if my for everything else can outweigh that.

 

And now, for more 2014 round ups!

Favorite books: Mockingjay, East of Eden, Les Miserables, The Book Thief, And Then There Were None, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Last Olympian, Son of Neptune

Favorite characters: Catherine Morland, Henry Tilney, Finnick Odair, Carswell Thorne, Adam Parrish, Percy Jackson, Luke Castellan, Nico di Angelo, Jean Valjean, Mason Elias, Edmond Dantes, Celaena Sardothien, Chaol Westfall

Most read author: Rick Riordan. I don’t even need to count. (But it’s eight books, not including The Demigod Diaries, which I partially read.)

In other words, 2014 was an amazing year, reading wise.

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2 thoughts on “Reading Recap 2014

  1. I was looking for books to read over Winter Break and you gave me great suggestions! Also I loved the Percy Jackson Series, though Blood of Olympus is ….

    Like

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