Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 Reads

In the past on my blog, I have done a few year end book reviews with all the books I read over the past year. I took the 2012 and 2013 off since I had sort of slacked off with my reading (new mom, new baby), but in 2014 I picked my pace back up and managed to read 16 books over the year. I set a goal of 12 and came out on top!

So, without further ado...my 2014 reads!
(Books are posted in the order that I read them in, and that order was mostly determined by the order that I got them in from the library reserve program. Out of all my reads of last year, I only purchased one of these, everything else came from the library!)

1. Where'd You Go, Berndatte by Maria Semple - Love love LOVED this book. It's definitely in my top 3 for the year (I'd say #3 on my ranking scale). The writing was funny and the story, while very odd, was really engaging. I loved this book from beginning to end. (5/5 stars on goodreads)

2. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes - While this book had some interesting parts, overall it kinda bored me. The plot is about a serial killer who can more or less time travel through a magic door. I don't know. The idea behind the book had potential, but it just wasn't my favorite. (3/5 on goodreads, but now that I look back I'm thinking I should have given it just 2 stars)

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - This will be known as the year of Rainbow Rowell on my reading list! This was the first of her books that I read, and it was my favorite of the three that I read. Such a real and raw version of young love. I absolutely loved this book. It would be number four on my list for the year if I was ranking my favorite books! (4/5 on goodreads)

4. Tell The Wolves I'm home by Carol Rifka Brunt - Oh June Elbus. The story of you and your late Uncle Finn....I didn't want this book  and your story to end. I don't want to give away the major themes and plots in this book, but if you haven't read this one, please pick it up. I took so much away from this book. It's considered Young Adult, but I promise it doesn't feel like that. This would be #2 on my lists of favorites for the year. (5/5 on Goodreads)

5. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - A lot of friends of mine really liked this book and gave it high reviews on Goodreads, but I found it kind of slow and hard to get through. It really wasn't bad, but it was just kind of blah to me. It was like a romantic comedy with a man who had asperger's syndrome as the protagonist. I don't know. Just wasn't my cup of tea. (3/5 on Goodreads)

6. What Alive Forgot by Liane Moriarty - Really liked this book. It's definitely a quicker, lighter read, but still fun and well written. I am hoping to read some more of Moriarty's books in 2015! I have a few on my shelf that I've borrowed from others and I need to dig in. (4/5 on Goodreads)

7. The One and Only by Emily Giffin - I have enjoyed some of Giffin's books in the past and others have been just so so for me. This one fell in the so so category. I still had fun reading it, as I do with all of her books, but there was a major plot theme that just seemed a little unbelievable and kinda...weird. I wouldn't tell others to not read it, but I also wouldn't call it a favorite. (3/5 on Goodreads)

8. Defending Jacob by William Landay - Another book that had come highly recommended to me by a lot of friends. It was a page turner and I enjoyed it, but I also think the bar had been set high by others. It didn't quite live up to the hype I was hoping for. Still a good suspenseful drama if you're looking for that kind of book (4/5 on Goodreads)

9. Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner - I always love Jennifer Weiner's books when I'm in the mood for something light but also with a lot of heart. I also find that I can read them quickly and don't want to put them down. This one fit the bill and I enjoyed reading it in the mountains at our friends' cabin this past summer. (4/5 on Goodreads)

10. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - My very favorite book I read in 2014. I absolutely loved this book to pieces. It's been a long time since a book brought me to tears the way this one did. I loved the characters and the story. I won't lie, the first 50 pages or so seemed kinda boring and like the book just wasn't moving, but by the end I was so sad to read the final page. I didn't want it to end. I wanted more! Highly highly recommend! I've reserved a few other books by JoJo Moyes at the library but haven't read any yet. Anyone read any of her other stuff? Tell me about it if you have! (5/5 on Goodreads).

11. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - A historical fiction novel about orphaned children in NYC during the depression who were sent by train to live and work in towns in the midwest. There was also a current day story that was going on in every other chapter. I enjoyed the historical fiction pieces, but I didn't care for the current day stuff. Not a bad book, but I also wouldn't rush out to read this one. (3/5 on Goodreads)

12. Goodnight June by Sarah Jio - NO. Don't read this book. the premise (a fictional story on the creation of the popular children's book Goodnight Moon) seems kinda cute and like it'll be a light enjoyable read. At least that's what I thought/hoped for. While it was light, it was so poorly written. It was cheesy and the story was just overdramatic and felt like a Hallmark Christmas movie. But really the writing was bad.  (2/5 on Goodreads)

13. The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison - Another big miss for me. I heard so many rave reviews about this book and how it was supposed to be this summer's Gone Girl. Ummm....not so much. This book was all over the place and honestly quite predictable and just not interesting to me. Gone Girl captivated me...this one was a struggle to want to pick up. I wouldn't recommend this one. (2/5 on Goodreads)

14. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without you by Courtney Maum - I really wish I could remember where I first heard about this or who suggested it to me. I wish this because I want to go back and say, "HUH?!?" This book took me forever to finish because I just didn't want to pick it up and read it at the end of a day. I hated most of the characters. The main protagonist was so whiny and immature. The story kinda felt like it was going no where the entire time. The writing was actually okay, but overall the whole book just felt like one big circle of whining and complaining from someone who was just a big jerk. I hate to quit books but I wish I had quit this one when my gut told me to early on. My suggestion to you: don't read. (2/5 on Goodreads but I totally should have given it a one. I am changing my review now!)

15. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I finished out the year with two Rainbow Rowell books. Fangirl was a fun YA novel about a college freshmen who writes fan fiction for a Harry Potter type series of books. Overall, I really REALLY liked it. I loved the main character, Cath, and once again, the story and Rowell's writing were just perfect at capturing young love. Only complaint about this book were the LONG pieces of fan fiction that got added in. I didn't mind the small ones, but the 7-8 page fan fiction sections kinda bored me. Don't let that stop you though! If you read E&P by Rowell and liked it, pick this one up too! (4/5 on Goodreads)

16. Landline by Rainbow Rowell - Out of the three Rowell books I read this year, this was my least favorite, but I still liked it. It was the first adult novel of hers that I've read (maybe her only?), and the story was just a little slow and honestly...just kinda silly in my opinion (magic time traveling phone). I still liked it though, and once again I thought she did a fabulous job developing characters and writing the dialogue and emotions felt between two people who are in love, in the early stages of the relationship up until current day when their relationship is in need of help. (3/5 on Goodreads...wish Goodreads would let me give it 3.5)

So there you have it!

Now tell me your thoughts....

Did you read any of the same books this past year? What are your feelings on them? 
Agree or Disagree?

Also, what about 2015? What books are absolute musts for this year? Please share!

Past yearly book reviews: 2009, 2010, 2011
Also....let's be friends on Goodreads! Add me here!


  1. We have very similar tastes in books! I just finished Eleanor & Park, and loved it! My mom also told me to read Attachments by her, but my library doesn't have it in e-books! I just checked out me before you on your recommendation! :)

  2. My book club read Me Before You and I felt the same way - it was sooo good! I agree that it was a bit slow at the beginning and then the story just exploded off the page. I've toyed with several you listed as my book club pick so I think we've got really similar taste. My favorite book of 2014 was the latest book in the Outlander series. That series is AMAZING. The first book was written in 1991 and the books are LONG but the story is very captivating!

  3. I am just so impressed you read 16 books in a year!!!! I read ZERO, haha (unless you count reading children's books to E). I probably should step up my game....

  4. Me Before You turned me into absolute MUSH. I loved it and cried so so hard. I agree, I didn't want it to end. I read One Plus One by her and loved it. It was not nearly as sad but quite enjoyable. I loved the characters. I started to read Silver Bay by her and couldn't get past the first 50 or so pages- the characters just didn't pull me in.

    I loved Eleanor & Park too!

  5. I always look forward to your book posts - I add so many to my library queue based on your suggestions. I read MBY and loved it so very much. I followed it up with The Girl You Left Behind which was a very different read (set in two time periods) and not light hearted at all (not that MBY was) anyway I really enjoyed it. I think I read another one of hers but I can't remember the title! I really like her writing style though.

  6. Great minds ;) I love all the book review posts!

    You should definitely read more Liane Moriarty -- I just love how she crafts her stories and characters! Her endings are a bit convenient for my taste but what can you expect from a fun read, right?

    I need to read JoJo Meyers -- a good friend who is a big reader just told me one of her other novels was fantastic... I think it was The Girl Left Behind.

  7. We read many similar books this year! Good to know about Silent Wife - I had that one on my "to-read" list but have heard a few other bad reviews. I'll put it off for now. And I need to read Landline and Fangirl - I've really enjoyed the other Rainbow Rowell books I've read.

  8. I keep meaning to read the first book on your list!! It's been on my night stand for weeks!