End of Year Recap: 2014 Best and Worst Books

I realize I’m a huge reader and I love to give out recommendations to friends. I wasn’t going to do an end of the year recap of what I read and loved, but I realize you guys don’t necessarily follow every review or even care about certain genres of books I read. This is a great way for friends of mine and followers to see what I loved in genres they like, too.

These are based off of all the books I read in 2014, not necessarily books that released in 2014.

Best Book of the Year
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
A book set in a virtual reality future with tons of arcade gaming and 80’s references. If you are an adult, have any sort of fondness for the 80’s, or just love the idea of having a future where people attend school and work in a virtual world while sitting at home in a trailer, you will love this book.

Best YA Fantasy
Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Lani Taylor
This is also the best full series I read this year. I highly recommend it, even to adults who hate YA. It’s not typical YA. It’s unique, well written, and has tons of concepts that are rarely explored in fantasy.

Best Series Conclusions
In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken (YA Dystopian)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (YA Horror)
Ignite Me by Taherah Mafi (YA Dystopian Romance)
The Descent by Alma Katsu (Adult Gothic Fantasy)
Best Urban Fantasy
Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews
Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
Best Science Fiction
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Best Classic Novel I Read
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Best Adult Adventure/Fantasy
The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
Best Fairy Tale Retelling
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Best Adult Mystery
 Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
One Kick by Chelsea Cain
Best YA Contemporary
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Best Historical Fiction
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Best Most Uncomfortable Novel I've Ever Read and Can Barely Finish, But Makes Really Good Points About A Subject
Tampa by Alyssa Nutting
Best WTF?! book
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
Best Adult Contemporary
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
Best New Adult Indie Romance
The Sulfur Heights Series by M.S. Brannon
Best Shamefully Delicious Adult Paranormal Romance

The Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter
Best Contemporary Romance
Slammed by Colleen Hoover
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Best YA Paranormal Romance
The Deepest Night by Shana Abe
Best I-Like-Scary-Concepts, But-I-Need-Romance-Too Novels 
The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole
The White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter

 What about the books I didn’t enjoy?

Books I Didn’t Finish (GASP!)
Rooms by Lauren Oliver
I love her books, but Rooms was her venture into adult mystery and it fell flat. I couldn’t get through it after multiple attempts. It was about a house full of ghosts observing the living, and while there were tons of secrets, it was all kind of boring.

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
If you’re a woman who likes paranormal concepts, you’ll probably love this trilogy, but the author lost me after traveling back in time, getting pregnant, and turning into a pile of mush after being an independent woman in the first book. All of the ties to fantasy, witchcraft, vampirism, and all of that sort of fell flat after the characters became lame. I feel like the first book A Discovery of Witches was amazing, but the rest of the journey was too much for me. I hate that the logical next step in an adult romance is babies. But the characters were just over the top lame.

The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander
It was based on Elizabeth Bathory, the woman who used to bathe in the blood of her servants because she thought it would keep her alive forever! How on earth could this end up on my DNF list?! Because the book took an amazing concept and made it absolutely boring. Honestly, it was extremely dull. Kudos to anyone who can make that subject so boring, I couldn't continue.

Series I Didn’t Enjoy, but Everyone Else Loved
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
The endings to both series were atrocious. Everyone is all matched up, everything ends perfectly, no one ever thinks about the consequences, sticky situations are always jumped into because nothing bad will ever happen to anyone who matters to the story, and it's terrible.

But if you like YA with happy endings, this series is totally for you. And if you like novels with worlds that never end, this is a great author to love because she is writing even more content set in the same world.
Most Disappointing Novels
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
An amazing fantasy concept featuring a protagonist who was larger and NEVER lets us forget about it. I knew more about how her legs burned, what she ate, and how many calories than how the world was set up.

The Twelve by Justin Cronin
I loved The Passage for the eloquence, the writing, and the characters. So The Twelve decided to cut out all of the slow writing and character building and was fast paced, ridiculous, and full of randomness. And I think he tried to be too much like Stephen King instead of just writing the way he began.

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
The TV show was cool, so I thought the book would be even better. Turns out the authors are much better suited to make a TV show and aren’t very good at writing. It was awful to get through.
Worst Book of the Year
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
While the disappointing novels were bad, this one was the worst because I bought the sequel, was like 99% sure it would be SO AWESOME and it totally WOULD have been awesome if the main character got the F*** over herself for 2 seconds. Having a fatter protagonist is great for fiction and empowerment (and I get why authors are doing that), but it’s counterproductive when she puts herself down 24/7. I’ll never understand why that’s okay. I’d rather have a protagonist who never ever talks about her appearance (except I'm pretty sure that everyone just assumes they are beautiful).

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