Best Books of 2014 So Far

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This is (once again) a tag borrowed from Cait at Notebook Sisters! Here are my top 9 books that were published this year. Sidenote: these are ones that I feel have universal merit – I have a few more that I personally thought were fab but I know don’t resonate with other people.

Best Books 1

Free to Fall by Lauren Miller. I haven’t yet published my review, but HOLY CRAP WOW THAT WAS A GOOD BOOK. I really don’t know how I’m going to put my thoughts into words. It was everything that I love about science fiction: speculative, questioning humanity, defining evil, the power of technology – all the things from Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 that I fell in love with. Seriously, read this book. [Edit: July 28 – I’ve now published my review, and you can read the flailing here]

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. See how beautiful that cover is? Doesn’t it make you so happy and fuzzy and warm inside? Yes? Okay, now imagine that feeling times ten. That’s what ELtY will make you feel. It’s very realistic – not just fluff, but it made me so happy that I think everyone needs to read this book.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. FANTASSSYYYYY. TWC took me to an entirely different world of slaves and class and politics and secrets. It was so well put together that I was wailing when it finished – I didn’t want to go back to the real world!

Best Books 2

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. Dreams of Blood and Starlight would be on here too, if it were published this year. I’ll admit that the first book didn’t have me convinced, but books two and three were just perfect and left me absolutely awestruck. I loved every single bit of this book, and could put it down – despite the intimidating size.

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens. What’s odd is that I only rated this one four stars, but I think about it ALL the time. It may not have been one of those “OH MY GOD YES THIS BOOK” reactions, but it’s a slow burn that won’t die. The message is so inspiring, and this book is truly touching.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. This is such a feel-good summer book with an amazing romance AND friendship. I’ve read some reviews saying that it’s too cliche, but I don’t care one bit. Everything about Emery’s writing oozes with awesome sauce, and while I was perusing my copy (because sometimes I just need to hold my books), and I had all the feels again.

Best Books 3

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. I think my essay-length discussion about sums up how seriously I take this series. I’ll be the first to admit that the first two books are a bit whiny and insta-lovey and maybe creepy, but Ignite Me is beyond worth all of that! It’s like all of a sudden BOOM this amazing book just bursts into the room. The themes are what really sold me, and I’ll rant and rave to anyone who even mentions this book.

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. What really stood out to me was that this was a bunch of novellas – and I hate novellas with a passion. I actually consider it more of a prequel novel, and wow what a backstory to my favorite assassin. Maas develops the entire world of her series, while getting into the nuances of Celaena’s character, and to be honest I think TAB is my favorite so far in this series. Though I haven’t read Heir of Fire yet, and that’s been receiving high praise from many of my friends!

Far From You by Tess Sharpe. This is similar to Faking Normal in that it hit me long after I finished it. This is a very quiet story, but very powerful after you’ve read the last page. The mystery wasn’t my favorite, but that wasn’t the important part, and I ignored it almost entirely.

I wrote this a few weeks ago, and I need to add three more: (the July 28 addition)

Best Books 4

There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos. Another that I haven’t published my review for quite yet, but oh my god you guys. Oh. My. God. This is a must read if you’re into books about grief; heck, it’s a must read for everyone. It’s an overlooked book from this year that needs MORE ATTENTION!

Sway by Kat Spears. I may be cheating by adding a book that hasn’t been published yet, but oh well. Y’all can pick up your copies on September 16th and find out exactly why Sway deserves a spot on this list 😉 If you like male narrators, contemporary stories, unlikeable characters that need to grow up and break your heart in the process due to touching character development, and a wee bit of romance – this book is for you!

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. Okay, also not published yet, but September 2nd isn’t THAT far away (I tell myself as I cry in the corner of BN because HoF isn’t on the shelf yet). But whenever it’s published – it deserves a spot on this list. There is NOTHING that can change my mind about Heir of Fire possibly being one of the best books of the entire year. Holy shenanigans you guys – holy shenanigans.

What do you think are the best books published in 2014? Feel free to do the tag yourself!

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28 thoughts on “Best Books of 2014 So Far

  1. So many awesome books you have here! I’ll give in my two cents for the ones I’m familiar with 😉

    Free to Fall I have this one but haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I know it will be fantastic, as Miller’s previous book PARALLEL was something that I loved so much last year. Have you read that one yet? It’s FABULOUS!

    The Winner’s Curse I’m happy to see this on your shelf, but mainly because I read it also so I can relate somehow 😛 I didn’t like this one as much as the others, but I did love the slow-burn romance and all the politics.

    Faking Normal YES. Agree. The message here is indeed so very inspiring, and I guess that’s one of the reasons why I also rate this highly. It’s not something that’s mind-blowingly awesome, but it’s fantastic in a very silent but powerful way.

    Far From You This one was heartbreaking and amazing at the same time. I remember reading it months ago and being so awestruck by the mystery, the secrets, and the relationships that happened between the two best friends. When I got to the twist, I was FLOORED. I did think that the suspect was kinda… random, though. That’s the only flaw that I could see, the fact it was someone who was only mentioned once and only in passing – so out of the blue!

    Awesome stuff, and I can’t wait to see what other favorites you’ll find by the end of the year!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    • I actually haven’t read Parallel yet, but after Free to Fall I’m really excited to read her other books 😀

      The Winner’s Curse was definitely a highlight, but it’d fall on the lower end, like with you. I mean, there is nothing that can outshine Heir of Fire as far as I’m concerned 😛

      I didn’t really get the whole suspect in Far From You either, but that plot line was secondary to the characters, so I didn’t mind as much.

  2. Oooh, I want to read The Winner’s Curse and also Laini Taylor’s trilogy … I LOVE FANTASY. I would also like to read the Sarah J Maas series, considering the incredible volume of hype in the book-blogosphere!

    • YOU MUST READ THE DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE SERIES! I was so surprised by how much I loved it and I can’t believe I even put it off that long!

      Okay, just a note for the Throne of Glass series: book one is like the setup – it’s Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire that are the REALLY good ones 😀

  3. I absolutely loved The Winner’s Curse, Ignite Me and Heir of Fire. 😀
    The Winner’s Curse just has such beautiful writing and the romance is just wonderful.
    Ignite Me – even though it was far from perfect IMO – was still a wonderful conclusion to the series.
    I just finished Heir of Fire and absolutely loved it! Celaena’s journey is just so incredible.
    Thanks for sharing, and great post! ❤

    • Oh yeah, if I took even two minutes to break apart the Shatter Me series, I’d find a million flaws. But it’s one of those ones that I just enjoy because of the story, not for any technical perfection 😉

      Ughhh I have so many emotions over Heir of Fire I can’t even sort through all of them O_O

  4. So, I LOVED the ones I read that are on here, but I haven’t read most of these! I really, REALLY want to read Free to Fall. Like now. Alas, life. Obviously, I need to change that I’ve not read most of these, though. 😀 I hope the rest of your year is filled with just as many fabulous books, Kayla!

  5. YES. Everything Leads to You is one of the best books of 2014! It’s so refreshing and cute and just frickin’ amazing. I read sooo many crappy books before it, which that me into a slump, but this book restored my desire to read. (Dramatic, yes, but what do you expect? ;DDD)

    The friendships were amazing because heyyyy, found family! They formed their own little family. I’m a sucker for that.

    • Heck no not dramatic at all – that book is MAGICAL. It seriously revived my slump as well! I’m a huge sucker for that trope too – I don’t care how cheesy; if you get a group of misfits all together and make a new family, I will cry. Every. Single. Time.

  6. Yessss to The Winner’s Curse. Man that book is just fabulous. AAARRRRIIIINNNNN.

    Hells yeah to The Assassin’s Blade. I freaking ADORED that book, and you know how I felt about Throne of Glass, haha 😄 SAM, KAYLA. SAM *GROSS AND INTENSE SOBBING*

    I also really liked Ignite Me but it wouldn’t make my Top of 2014 list >.< Even though WARNER.

    I am sensing a trend here with my reasons of liking books … haha 😄

    Also I MUST READ EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU. I MUST I MUST I MUST. And probably the other books, too. They all look pretty great 😀

  7. OOOH. I’ve been waiting for this post, and now it’s here – woo hoo! 😀

    I’m super, super, SUPER glad that you absolutely adored Everything Leads to You, The Winner’s Curse, Open Road Summer, Far From You and There Will Come a Time as they are books that I’m really looking forward to reading. 🙂

    I also will probably want to read Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Ignite Me and Heir of Fire when I’ve gotten up to reading them!

    And, YES, YES, YES! Faking Normal! You’re the only person I know who loves this book as much as me! ❤ ❤ ❤

    • *dance party*

      ALL of them are BEYOND amazing Ebony! I’m sure you’re going to love them 😀

      Dreams of Gods and Monsters was fabulous, but it’s pretty big, so go in it when you’re ready to live in that world for a few days 🙂

      HOW CAN PEOPLE NOT LOVE FAKING NORMAL?? It’s AMAZING

  8. Well, this is promising! I haven’t actually read any of these yet, but I do own Far From You, The Assassin’s Blade, and The Winner’s Curse. (And I’ll be getting Heir of Fire!) So I love seeing that you think they have sort of universal appeal and are the best of the best. The only one that I have sort of been reading is Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I started it back in May but gave up about halfway through because I just wasn’t feeling it. I’m about to start reading it again. I’m really hoping it wins me over though because I feel like such the odd one out! It’s just so big and I’m having such a hard time caring about anything going on. Booooo 😦

    • *not so gently pushing you towards those books* Read The Assassin’s Blade! It brings so much character development and world building 😀

      I think it’s because DoGaM is SO big – it’s a huge commitment! I absolutely adored the ending, and the epilogue made me cry like a baby

  9. *cries because hasn’t read Heir of Fire yet and NEEDS TO SO MUCH* Hang on. I’m hyperventilating here. SARAH J MAAS!!!! CAN SHE WRITE ANYTHING BAD?! THE ANSWER IS NO: HER BOOKS ARE BRILLIANT AND OMG SAM! SAM! I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE LET THAT HAPPEN TO HIM BECAUSE SAM! *calms down slightly* Okay, who are we kidding? I am never ever going to calm down. I just can’t believe that I could become so attatched to sam when I KNEW what was going to happen to him. I’m scared to read Heir of Fire. Quite frankly, if Chaol dies I’m going to cry a river over my bookshelf.

    Eeeh, I’m so glad you did this too though! 😄 (And thanks for linking to me. N’aww, I feel like a special snowflake.) I also loved Ignite Me. And I haven’t read Laini Taylor’s books and I feel like that’s a huge downfalling in my reading-all-the-books career.

    • JUST FOUR MORE WEEKS CAIT. SEPTEMBER 2 IS ALMOST HERE!!! I will never ever ever calm down about this series – those words just can’t go in a sentence together. I’m just way too attached to all of the characters; I’m going to end up crying whether they live or die xD

      I was super late to the Taylor party as well, but now I’m a huge supporter! Book one was meh in my opinion, but it’s the second book that you need to get to because ZIRI. OH MY GOD ZIRI *dies again*

  10. I’m in love with The assassin’s blade! That’s how I like to see my novella’s, because it almost reads like a book. I loved to see Celeana’s background story and I felt so sad about the ending. I’m SO SO SO excited for Heir of fire. I really can’t wait! I’m planning to read The winner’s curse before summer ends and I bought a copy from Dreams of gods and monsters today 😀

    Mel@thedailyprophecy

    • I completely agree; even though the stories were separated by a few months at a time, I felt like I was reading a prequel novel rather than a collection of novellas. Heir of Fire is going to be the death of me O_O I already need a reread and I don’t even have my copy in my hands yet!

      Oohhh I can’t even recommend which to go with first – they’re both so good!

  11. Free to Fall… *shudders* Creepy, but also irritating for me. xD I’m still unsure about my thoughts about the ending, even if we’ve both posted our reviews already!

    Everything Leads to You look so good! I love the cover, and hopefully I’ll love the story as well. 🙂 (Seriously. I want that on my shelf.)

    The Winner’s Curse! Woohoo! Totally loved Arin. <33 I really loved the world as well. High fantasy's definitely my favorite genre.

    FAKING NORMAL! ❤ I can't. My feels. Stop it! I may have to reserve/special order Open Road Summer now. xD It looks soooo awesome.

    Ignite Me. *cue hysterical laughing* Nuh-uh. I'm sticking by Adam (and Kenji), okay!

    Far From You's similar to Faking Normal? That's it, I'm adding it to my wishlist!

    Awesome list, girl! <33 I hope the second half of the year brings you more amazing books!

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  14. I’ll be reading The Winners Curse within the next two weeks, and all I’ve heard about it just makes me so excited! I cannot WAIT to see what I make of it, and I just hope all the love for it hasn’t made my expectations awfully high, so it ends up being a disappointment.

    The Assassin’s Blade. So. Good. Gosh, that book just took Celaena up a level for me, gave me so much more understanding of her.

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