Friday, January 2, 2015

My Favorite Reads of 2014

2014 was a fabulous year for me as far as reading goes. I read so many really good books. I have narrowed down my list to my favorite books for adults, young adults, and middle grades.  This is an extensive list, but it was so hard to narrow down any further. I hope you enjoy!

This year I read 29 Novels for Adults

My favorites:

I finally read En el tiempo de las mariposas (In the Time of the Butterflies) by Julia Alvarez. What a beautiful novel! This is one that rose straight to the top of my all-time favorites.

This is a love story about the love of books and reading as much as anything else. It is an incredibly wonderful story and you absolutely need to read it.

The Crane Wife is a gorgeous story based on a Japanese folk tale. Patrick Ness is genius and writes such beautiful stories. His writing always makes me think and this one is no exception to that rule. This is another must-read book.

It is the cover that caught my eye with this book. I am so glad it did. This is another wonderful story about love and life and the ways that lives intertwine.

In The Blood by Lisa Unger is not the most literary of books, but it is a thrilling read with a twisting plot. I was intrigued by the premise of the book and the central question of whether there is a genetic influence to being a psychopath and what you would do if you were the son or daughter of a killer.

I don't know how to describe this novel exactly. It was an interesting premise and definitely made me think about how one event can influence the future.  The book is an interesting look at the era in history in which we experienced both World Wars, starting with the birth of the protagonist in 1911.

I listened to the audiobook of this one. For some reason, I thought this would be a mystery book. Boy, was I surprised when it was a fantasy book. However, I really lost myself in the world created by this author. I am really looking forward to the next one.

I read 63 Young adult books

My favorites:

I don't really want to give away too much about this book. I absolutely felt for Gerald. This is another one by A.S. King that is about much more than what it seems to be about. I love the way her books make me think.

I could not put The Adoration of Jenna Fox down. I was so intrigued by the science fiction and riveted by the mystery in the book.

What I thought was going to be a retelling of Snow White became an historical fiction novel about the holocaust. Jane Yolen is a master storyteller and manages to teach readers about history through the powerful narratives she writes.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King is a powerful story about grief and letting go as well as the destructive power of keeping secrets.

An absolutely brilliantly written book that devastated me. I was unable to pick up another book for a few days after finishing this one. Powerful, powerful writing.

It took me a couple tries to get into this book, but this time it really got me. I don't exactly know why it wasn't one that I could sink my teeth into before, but I really enjoyed the story this time. I love the way Markus Zusak plays with conventions in his books. This book also made me think about the ways in which we influence others in our lives without always knowing that we are doing so.

With every new installment of this series, I am loving it more. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?  Get out and read it now.

Eliot Schrefer is doing some great things by highlighting these great apes and their home lands. This story is every bit as enthralling as Endangered and I cannot wait for more. These stories tell about the plight of the apes as well as the plight of the humans in the dangerous areas of the world in which the apes live.

This was a beautiful story about how a special child deals with the grief of losing both her parents. Suddenly a child who needs the structure of routine is thrust into circumstances that would be hard for anyone. It is a heartwarming story about forming bonds and accepting new people into your life.

I really liked this fantasy trilogy and I loved how it ended. The strength of a female protagonist really shines in this book and I highly recommend this series.

I loved this book. It was so heartwarming to read about the transformative power that companionship brings. I loved reading about the lessons that the teenage protagonist learned throughout this story.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick was a powerful, powerful read.

I am cheating a little bit here because I technically finished this one in 2013, but it was released in 2014 so I am going to include it here. This is a powerful story that you won't soon forget.  You absolutely must read this one.

This year I read 30 Middle Grade books

My Favorites:

I am not sure what I was expecting from this book, but whatever my expectations were, the author exceeded them. I love the way the author really helps the reader to feel what it must have been like to be denied rights because of race. This is a must-read for students learning about the Civil Rights movement.

This is a great story about how a caring person can help a child to change the way he thinks. It is a beautiful story and I would highly recommend it.

This is a powerful and brilliant narrative about a girl with special needs. I wanted to go into that book and slap her father silly at several points in the book. It is ultimately a book about hope and survival. This is another must-read book.

What sounded like a far-fetched and unbelievable narrative turned into a page-turning unputdownable book.  Jennifer Holm wrote a great novel about family relationships and the inevitability of growing older.

This is a another powerful narrative about empathy and understanding each person's story. It is a great novel for deep discussions about how we treat other people.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library was like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but with books. I loved it and I know kids will love it too. It was especially fun to look for the book titles that are scattered throughout the dialogue.

I loved A Snicker of Magic. I don't know how to do it justice on the page so I will just highly recommend it.

This is another powerful story that is important to share with students.

Brown Girl Dreaming is another must-read. Jacqueline Woodson writes such beautiful verse about her childhood and growing up.

I read other books, some professional books, some graphic novels, some picture books, etc. for a grand total of 174 books. I didn't make my goal of 220 books, but that is because I read some might long books and took it east on myself. I had become a bit obsessed with challenges and had really been using reading to avoid some other things in life. I am happy with the total I did get and have set my new goal at 160 books to help myself continue to balance reading with other things I need to do.

Here is to another wonderful year of reading amazing books!

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