Favorite Reads of 2014!

I did a post like this last year, and I think it’s a fun and/or useful tradition, so I’m doing it again! (Once again, I’m not including re-reads.)

So here, without any further ado, are the best of the books I read in 2014. πŸ˜€

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Top Ten Novels

1. The Crown of Dalemark – Diana Wynne Jones (The Dalemark Quartet, #4)

Ohhhhhh my goodness. I CANNOT EVEN WORD WITH THE AMAZINGNESS OF THIS THING’S CONCLUSION. So it’s book 4 in a series, wrapping up The Dalemark Quartet… Which means I’m sort of including all four books when I say this is the best, because part of the amazing was how the separate storylines of the first three books came together so epically in this one. BUT STILL. It was just… I CAN’T, OKAY.

When I finished it I was literally incapacitated for several minutes. All I could do was some combination of sitting there in awesome-book-ending-shock, and flail around and babble incoherently at my sister who had to put up with me. πŸ˜„

BUT BUT FANTASY WORLD, WITH MUSKETS, BUT ALSO QUITE MEDIEVAL, BUT ALSO MODERN-ISH BECAUSE TRAINS. AND TIME TRAVEL. IN A FANTASY WORLD. WHY DOES THIS NOT HAPPEN MORE OFTEN? IT WAS ALSKDJFLKJDFL POSITIVELY BRILLIANT. AND THE CHARACTERS WHO I LOVED WHO WERE AWESOME. <3<3 AND THE HUMOR. AND EVERYTHING. AND DIANA WYNNE JONES. And. Just. I CAN’T EVENNNNNN.

THAT. ENDING. *flaiiiil*

2. Orphan’s SongGillian Bronte Adams

So I reviewed this last Wednesday in this post. Which means it is hopefully fresh in your memory… But if not, go read that review. Or better yet, READ THE BOOK!!! But this book was so awesome. Christian Fantasy done RIGHT… An awesome fantasy world… Characters who were 100% human and 100,000% loveable… And the SONG… And the WRITING… And Birdie and Ky and Amos and Cade and Carhartan! This was an epic story and I’m itching to read the next one. ❀

3. The Grand Sophy – Georgette Heyer

YES. This book. It was recommended to me by several online friends, so I just had to give it a try. I’M SO GLAD I DID. I feel like this is what Jane Austen was trying to do… It’s like Jane Austen with spunk! I enjoy Austen’s works very much, don’t get me wrong! But they are rather… quiet. The Grand Sophy has an AWESOME heroine… I don’t usually love the heroine this much! Sophy is grand indeed, and full of spark and wit. I love her! The story and incidents were all HILARIOUS. And CHARLES RIVENHALL! ❀ Possible one of my top 2 favorite characters this year… I feel like he’s a perfect mix of Mr. Darcy and what I think Mr. Knightly is like (I haven’t read Emma yet, sorry, but I did see a film). Charles Rivenhall is the ultimate dark, kind of furious, strong-willed hero, who is up against the most whirl-wind-ish female he’s ever encountered… Who’s going to tame who? The resulting story is just perfect.

4. Entwined – Heather Dixon

Eeeeeeeeeeeee. This was so good! A retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (which, as you may know, I am obsessed with…) it was just fantastic! If it wasn’t for a certain slightly disappointing thing, this might have made it higher on my list. BUT IT WAS AWESOME ANYWAY. And it’s really neat how the twelve girls are named alphabetically after flowers. I can actually remember them! And… just… It’s beautiful. And all the characters are fabulous. I LOVE THEM ALL. ❀

5. The Boggart and the Monster – Susan Cooper

The sequel to “The Boggart”. (Which when I made my list last year, I put as #12 in my top-favorites of 2013… but if I were to do it over again, it would be wayyyy higher up. I LOVE THE BOGGART.) It was just as good as the first and I absolutely adored it! So much, that as soon as I finished reading it, I started rereading it the same day, aloud to my younger siblings. Many books that I love, I daydream about rereading the moment I’m done, but this might be the only one I’ve ACTUALLY carried that out for… Scotland! Humor! Loch Ness Monster! Fun! Fantasy! Soooo good.

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6. The Word ChangersAshlee Willis

I reviewed this awhile back… It was just delightful! Falling into a book and becoming one of the characters… Perfectly carried out Christian Fantasy element… KYRIN of course…! ❀ And just an overall awesome story! I JUST LOVED IT. I highly recommend it!! (And that on the left is a new cover for it!! Isn’t it simply gorgeous?? SO MUCH BEAUTIFUL! I can’t get over it! <3)

7. The Seahorse LegacySerena Chase

I reviewed this one in a blogtour… It was fairly awesome! Especially every. single. moment. with. Cazien. CAZIEN. He might have to be one of my top 2 favorite characters of the year… O_O Maybe. Just. EVERY TIME HE OPENED HIS MOUTH. So much hilarious awesomeness. He is definitely one awesome pirate. Aaand The Seahorse Legacy cut off right when I was waiting for the most interesting thing to happen. πŸ˜„ The second half of the story, The Sunken Realm, is supposed to come out sometime this summer. Can I just say… I NEED IT NOWWWW!!!


8. Merlin’s NightmareRobert Treskillard

This was an AWESOME conclusion to the Merlin Spiral trilogy. (My review is here.) It was rather epic, and the young Arthur up-and-coming toward his destiny of being king, mixed in with Merlin’s own story… it was just awesome. Lots of exciting adventure and humor, too! But my favorite thing about it just had to be Arthur himself. It’s hard to do a King Arthur who lives up to that name — but Mr. Treskillard’s Arthur was perfection! I loved that character so much. ❀ I can’t wait for the second trilogy to start coming out so we can continue to follow Arthur’s adventures!

9. The Princess SpyMelanie Dickerson

I also reviewed this… Exciting story, beautiful setting, and I loved the characters so much! Margaretha was a fun heroine, Colin was awesome, and they were a very cute couple. ^_^ It wasn’t much of a fairytale retelling, I didn’t think, but it was an AWESOME book. Melanie Dickerson always writes awesome books… πŸ˜‰

10. AlyceSarah Scheele

I’m not sure if this quite counts since it’s a novella and not a novel… But I simply HAD to include this rolick of a Cinderella retelling that had me laughing hysterically but was also rather epic and beautiful. Such fun! So funny, so mysterious, full of witty writing… and the characters were just absolute delights. I loved it a lot! ❀

Things That Are Category-less But Must Go On This List


Prince Valiant, Vol 1: 1937-1938 – Hal Foster


Prince Valiant, Vol 2: 1939-1940 – Hal Foster

So they’re not exactly novels. Or nonfiction. Or picture books. Or really comic-books because they’re not like most. But when I say that the Prince Valiant comic-strip saga is basically my favorite thing ever, I hope you understand how much I really mean that. I’ve loved Prince Valiant ever since my earliest memory of being read it from the comics-page in the newspaper, and on into reading collections of it in book form. So when I discovered that my library had these two earliest collections, I sort of went crazy and checked them out and read them before you could have said “crazy fangirl”. PRINCE VALIANT. So much epic.

Best Non-Fiction

The Green and Burning Tree: On the Writing and Enjoyment of Children’s Books – Eleanor Cameron

Reflections: On the Magic of Writing – Diana Wynne Jones

Both of these were basically collections of essays by two of my favorite authors ever, about two of my favorite things ever: books and writing. Specifically, children’s books and fantasy, mainly, which are others of my favorite things.

I always say that J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lloyd Alexandar are my 3 favorite authors. But I’ve been fans of them for almost as long as I can remember — I grew up with their books. Eleanor Cameron and Diana Wynne Jones come right after them in my list of top 5 favorite authors, and THEY are the ones who I DISCOVERED. So getting to read their thoughts and see how much I agree with them and how brilliant they were… it was just an absolute joy!

Some people, I suppose, find fiction they like by finding out if they like the author’s opinions. I find fiction I like, and then because I like it, I find nonfiction that I agree with… πŸ˜‰

Honorable Mentions

They don’t quite belong in my top ten/twelve/whatever because they’re not my normal thing and there were other books that are not on the list that I liked better, overall, but there was just something about these, so I have to mention them.

NeverJ. Grace Pennington

This is here because it is the best Christian book I read all year. I read about a dozen of them, and some were good — some are even up there in my top ten. But there was something about Never that affected me more than any of the other Christian books I read this year; plus it was a good mystery, and it makes me want to read more westerns because I never do, and I loved both of the main characters a ton. But the Christian aspect may have been done the best I’ve seen, and it was not preachy but at the same time was more real than in many books I’ve read. It just hit me with a very strong feeling.

The Mysterious Benedict Society – Trenton Lee Stewart

While I enjoyed it wayyy more than I thought I would and it was a good book, it’s only here because of one particular moment that was one of those explosive things that gave such a FEELING that affected me in that moment way more than any other book this year besides the ending of The Crown of Dalemark and basically the whole of Orphan’s Song. But if you’ve ever heard of Tolkien’s “eucatastrophe”, this was the best example I can think of and just aaaaahhhhh. That feeling of explosive elation and excitement and happifulness right after the moment when you think all is lost; plus mixed in with resolving a mystery I’d been suspecting, and just– I can’t explain it!! It’s weird, too, because other than that moment, it would have been a really enjoyable book but I wouldn’t be too excited about it. But just. Wow. I don’t even know if anyone else would think that way but it really got me and was awesome. So this can’t even go in a category, but it gets mentioned because of the moment. πŸ™‚

Favorite Picture Book

stgrgdragon

Saint George and the Dragon – retold by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

This is just such a beautiful, awesome, picture book! I love Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrations… she may be my favorite artist… So much expression in the characters, and so much beauty and detail! And this story was just so cool. Actually, the look of this book very much influenced some of the feel of my own story Heartseeker. Which may be one of the reasons I’m so attached to this book. But it’s just… perfect. ❀

Favorite Short Stories

I didn’t read as many short stories as the year before, but two stood out as my VERY favorites, both from the collection “Book of Enchantments” by Patricia C. Wrede.

The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn (short story) – Patricia C. Wrede

This was just ADORABLE and perfect — it’s set in the Enchanted Forest (of Wrede’s awesome four-book series) and it has a princess and a cat and a unicorn. …Er, well, I suppose you could tell that. BUT IT WAS AWESOME. There need to be more short stories like this.

Utensile Strength (short story) – Patricia C. Wrede

This. THIIIS. It’s probably the closest we get to a “sequel” to the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Because it takes place after book 4 AND WE GET TO SEE DAYSTAR ETC AS A HAPPY FAMILY AND JUST ALKDJFLKDJFLKF. I loved it to death. I LOVE CIMORENE AND MENDANBAR AND THE ENCHANTED FOREST AND DAYSTAR AND ALL OF IT SO MUUUUCH. ^_^ So yes, this is absolutely a favorite of the year. Anyone who’s read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles: get ahold of this one and read it!!

***

So there are some of my favorite new reads of 2014! Have you read any of them? What did you think?

What about you? What are your favorite reads of 2014? πŸ™‚

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34 thoughts on “Favorite Reads of 2014!

  1. Ooh, a fun, bookish post! ❀ The only one on the list that I've read is "The Grand Sophy." (Recommended to me by the same people, lol.) But there's a number of books here that I need to remember to read one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely loved this post and getting to see all your favorite reads!!! But it makes me sad how few of these I’ve read because I want to read ALL of them!

    I NEED more Diana Wynne Jones book because, ya know, Diana Wynne Jones!!! I think I shall search for these next time I go to the library. *nods, nods*

    Orphan’s Song, yes!

    I am currently reading Entwined and am loving is soooo muuuuch! I stopped it for a while when I left town but now I need to finish it because slkdjf;lsjdfsdf so much epicness!

    I actually have Alyce sitting on my tablet. Why have I not read this thing yet??? This must happen soon!

    Of course you know my feelings on The Mysterious Benedict Society. It was just so fun! I don’t know why I haven’t read the 2nd one yet, it’s sitting on my shelf! I’m so shameful. And I totally know what you mean about certain moments in books that just makes the book. There have been a lot of books that I enjoyed but didn’t realize how much I loved until something WOW happens. It’s a magical moment!

    AND WHY DO I NOT HAVE THESE PATRICIA C. WREDE BOOKS????? I NEED THESE. LIKE NOW. *FLAILS*

    I need to add like all these to my GoodReads to-read shelf. So much good bookishness!

    Okay, okay, I’m gonna stop. I just get overly excited when it comes to discussing books, as you well know. πŸ˜‰ This post was wonderful. Thank you for sharing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • DIANA WYNNE JONES. SO MUCH. You absolutely MUST look for some at the library, yesh!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      YAY ENTWINED! *flail* I hope you like it through the whole thing! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it! ^_^ And Alyce is just… FUN. πŸ˜€ So yesh, you must read it. πŸ™‚

      I… feel like we actually never TALKED about The Mysterious Benedict Society. O_O That and Heartless we were going to discuss cuz we read them together and then… nothing happened. πŸ˜„ …OR maybe we did and I just totally forgot, which is also possible because as we all know, my brain is made of fail. πŸ˜„

      :O You HAVE the second Mysterious Benedict Society?? AWESOME. I still need to get the next from the library, but I rarely go and there are SO MANY other things. o.o

      And… Ummm. It’s only one Patricia C. Wrede book (“The Book of Enchantments”)… I just mentioned two different stories from it. πŸ˜› BUT YES. SO GOOOOOD. ❀

      YAY GOODREADS.

      And I loooved your comment. ^_^ I'm glad you likey! THANK YOU. ❀

      Like

  3. omg, I feel awful and terrible and out of the loop but….I HAVEN’T READ ANY OF THESE AND I HAVEN’T EVEN HEARD OF MOST OF THEM. *cries* Will I had heard of the Gillan Bronte one and I do actually want to try that. xD You convinced me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s okay, Cait. πŸ˜„ Methinks you and I move in verrry different book circles. πŸ˜› But yesss, Orphan’s Song! And you seriously MUST get your hands on Entwined someday, somehow!! And read a Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle is the best)!

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  4. Entwined is on this list. πŸ˜€ That makes me ridiculously happy. The rest (other than The Word Changers), sadly, I haven’t read (though I do enjoy the Prince Valiant comics in the newspaper). Several are going on my TBR list, though.

    Apparently I really need to read the rest of the Dalemark Quartet. O_o I read the first one and was like “eh” and didn’t bother to request the second. *goes to fix that* And I have the first two Eyes of Evaria books on my shelves, waiting to be read . . . *needs to get on that*

    Liked by 1 person

    • ENTWIIINED! *flail* And… er… perhaps I will email you about Entwined. I hate comments with spoilers. πŸ˜„ *shifty eyes*

      The Worrrrd Changers! And… OH MY GOODNESS YOU READ PRINCE VALIANT?? :O YOU ARE SO SO SO AWESOME. I haven’t read the recent ones in years, sadly… I wonder if they’re still getting weirder. πŸ˜„

      Heheh. I had the EXACT feeling about the Dalemark Quartet. I read the first three, and as I read each one I thought they were too weird, but by the end of each, I’d gotten totally used to them and kinda liked them a lot. And then I read the fourth and it put all of the characters/threads together and I was suddenly like ALKDJFLDKJF SO AWESOME. And, mostly, the ending. πŸ˜„ So… it just depends if they’re your thing. πŸ˜›

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      • Okey-dokes. *nods* That’s fine.

        YES I HAVE. Every week. πŸ˜€ And I haven’t read the really early ones, so I can’t say, but the current adventure is pretty crazy.

        Ok, I’m glad to know I’m not alone. πŸ˜€ I shall definitely have to finish the series, then.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Emailed you! ^_^

          THAT IS SO SO SO AWESOME. I loooove Prince Valiant and every time I hear of anyone else who’s read it, I’m sorta shocked because that seems rare. πŸ˜„ Heehee… when I stopped reading (because we stopped getting the paper) things were taking a turn for the super-crazy but I don’t even remember what… But that’s part of the fun, too. πŸ˜‰ I just … EEEE I LOVE IT! πŸ˜€

          Yes! Especially if you like Howl’s Moving Castle. πŸ˜‰ I love allll of Diana Wynne Jones’ things I’ve read! πŸ˜€

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          • I saw. πŸ˜€

            ‘Tis because no one reads newspapers anymore. πŸ˜› Except us and my grandpa and a few others, apparently. And I’m pretty sure we mostly get it for the ads and the comics. You could probably find the comics online somewhere.

            Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favorite books EVAH. :D:D:D:D Of Cart and Cwidder didn’t seem to have the same feel to it, though, which might be why I didn’t like it as much.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yesh, I keep meaning to find Prince Valiant online… I know most of the others are. πŸ˜„

              ISN’T IT THE BESTEST!!! πŸ˜€ ❀ I think Cart and Cwidder was more serious… it was also one of her earlier books, so perhaps she didn't have her hilarious style yet. πŸ™‚

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              • Hopefully you can get around to that sometime. πŸ™‚

                YES. πŸ˜€ I love Howl and Sophie. ❀ And Calcifer is awesome. And the whole thing is just so sweet and funny and awesome. ❀
                Hmm, maybe that's it- about her not having developed that style yet. So you'd say the others are closer in style to Howl?

                Liked by 1 person

              • Well… I think the whole series is more serious than Howl… I don’t know about style… The final one definitely felt more like a classic Diana Wynne Jones book than the first three…? *I* liked them all, but they’re a little odd and perhaps not for everyone. πŸ˜„ Have you read any of the Chrestomanci books? πŸ™‚

                Like

  5. I want to read all of these, they look wondrous and well bookish. I love Dianne Wynne Jones, I am reading the Merlin Conspiracy by her right now, but anything by her seems to be brilliant. Thanks for sharing your favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wondrous and bookish… I LIKE! πŸ˜€

      Oh really? COOL! Yes, Diana Wynne Jones is awesome! ^_^ I want to read The Merlin Conspiracy! πŸ˜€ It’s at my library so I’ll get to it someday…

      You’re welcome, and thanks for reading/commenting! πŸ™‚

      Like

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