2014 Year in Review

Three years completed and it just gets keeps getting better. I surpassed my goal for the first time, ending the year with an even 30. Yay! Mixing in the re-reads definitely helped — they cleansed the palate after heavier reads and allowed me to keep up momentum. Plus, I enjoyed reacquainting myself with these past favorites.

So, statistics:

*22 new books
*8 re-reads
*11 new authors

There weren’t any resounding disasters among this year’s books — the ones that didn’t suit my taste were impeccably written. Here’s a rundown of the more dazzling discoveries:

*Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein broke my heart in all the best ways. It’s probably the purest historical fiction I’ve ever read and devastatingly beautiful.

*Unnatural Creatures, the short story collection curated by Neil Gaiman, proved to be entirely magical. Despite the numerous authors and settings, the spirit of the book remained cohesive.

*Shannon Hale’s Dangerous defied the boundaries of genre to create an absolutely thrilling contemporary-superhero-sci-fi.

*The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress) by Marissa Meyer blew my mind. The characters, the world-building, and the sneakily logical use of fairy tale elements all combined in a deeply complex and connected manner. Cress in particular was a marvel and a delight.

*Shonna Slayton’s Cinderella’s Dress was a lovely debut novel that blended historical fiction with fairy tale. I hope there are many more books to come.

*E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars was an off-the-beaten path gem. I found it absolutely compelling, and could use more of this type on my reading list.

*I fell head-over-heels in love with Bridget Zinn’s Poison for its charm, wit, and levity.

*Kiersten White’s Illusions of Fate captured my heart with its brilliant characters and complete fearlessness. I will quickly snatch up her subsequent novels.

This year I added a rating system which is, at least in my brain, more quantifiable than the standard one to five stars. Technically, it is as arbitrary and subjective as anything else, but it eliminates gray area by asking how much would I be willing to invest in each title? Would I buy the full-price hardcover, new paperback, discounted e-book, borrow it from the library, or just walk on by? This list is a good place to get an at-a-glance look at my recommendations.

So, what’s in store for 2015? Well, since I breezed past my goal, I suppose it’s time to raise the bar. Next year, I’m aiming for 35 books, and will still keep it a mix of new and old. Four of the series I love get new books within a six week period so prepare yourself for some sequels, especially early in the year. I will probably keep exploring the work of authors I discovered this year, but will try to keep adding new authors. Although my to-read list is pretty long, I always welcome suggestions! Chime in if you have any requests 🙂

May your new year be full of grand adventures!

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