Book Round-Ups

2014 in Books

I don’t know how this happened, but it’s 2015. 2014 has been a year of huge changes for me – mainly because I left for college in August. And I only read 89 books this year, 44 fewer than 2013 – the first time since I started tracking my reading in 2010 that the number has dropped below 100. A little disappointing, but still not bad.

So, to start the new year, I’ve put together three lists: My top 5 favorite books of 2014 (since I can never decide on just one), some 2014 reads worth mentioning that didn’t make the top 5, and the 5 books I’m most excited to read in 2015. None of the lists are in any particular order.Jalyn at's 5 favorite reads of 2014: BLACKOUT by Madeleine Henry, ETIQUETTE AND ESPIONAGE by Gail Carriger, NEW SIGHT by Jo Schneider, WIN THE RINGS by K.D. Van Brunt, and THE RITHMATIST by Brandon Sanderson

  1. Blackout (Darkness #1) by Madeleine Henry. I had a deadline of one week to read and review this book, which I agreed to against my better judgement … and ended up devouring the entire book during the busiest week of my year. The characters, concept, and amazing execution blew me away, and I would be happy to read book two with a yesterday deadline if that means I get it soon.
  2. Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger. Steampunk is my current obsession anyway, but steampunk, in high-class Victorian England, at a finishing school, that teaches girls to be spies? Absolute perfection.
  3. New Sight by Jo Schneider. Giving a new twist to the idea of psychic powers, this Indie urban fantasy added beautifully dark, gritty tones of insanity and addiction to the traditional master-your-powers-help-the-good-guys plot.
  4. Win the Rings (Cracked Chronicles #1) by K.D. Van Brunt. Despite a vague blurb, bland cover, and seemingly nonsensical title, this Indie book was amazing. Tense, action-packed, amazing concept, and told from two perspectives that gave the best of both worlds – the hunter and the hunted.
  5. The Rithmatist (The Rithmatist #1) by Brandon Sanderson. This is the second year in a row a Sanderson book has made my top 5, and for good reason. Fascinating and original magic systems, great characters, a delightfully complicated plot, and I never could decide on a prediction for the bad guy.

Jalyn at's books worth mentioning of 2014Reviews of the mentioned books:

  1. Ballad of the Northland by Jason Barron
  2. Theory of Mind by Jacob Gorczyca
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  4. Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen by J.L McCreedy
  5. My Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos
  6. Tea Cups and Tiger Claws by Timothy Patrick
  7. Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know Of) by F.J.R. TitchenellJalyn at's top 5 books to read in 2015: FIREFIGHT by Brandon Sanderson, EXPOSURE by Kathy Reichs, UNWHOLLY by Neal Shusterman, THE SHADOW THRONE by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and DATA RUNNER by Sam Patel
  1. Firefight (Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson. The first book, Steelheart,was amazing (honestly, anything Brandon Sanderson writes is amazing), so I’m really looking forward to reading more of this fabulous series.
  2. Exposure (Virals #4) by Kathy Reichs. I’ve loved the Virals series since I discovered it, and after the way Code, the third book, ended, I need to know what happens.
  3. UnWholly (Unwind #2) by Neal Shusterman. Unwind has been a favorite for a while, so I was thrilled to find it was first in a series (I actually just bought this book – now I have to get around to reading it).
  4. The Shadow Throne (Ascendance Trilogy #3) by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I absolutely loved the first two books in this series, even though it’s middle grade, and I’m looking forward to finishing the series.
  5. Data Runner (Data Runner #1) by Sam A. Patel. Couriers running information in a high-tech world, including cool aliases and conspiracies – sounds like a fun, action-packed ride.

So that’s my year in books. What were your favorite books of 2014? What books are you looking forward to reading in the coming year?

Book Round-Ups

2013 in Books

Well, it’s the beginning of a new year already. 2013 seems to have gone really fast for me. I only managed to read 133 books this year, 54 less than last year. Still, I think that’s pretty good.

I’ve put together some lists of books. My favorite books of 2013, other books I read in 2013 that didn’t make the top 5 but are worth mentioning, and the 5 books I’m most excited to read in 2014. None of these lists are in any particular order.

Top 5 favorite books I read in 2013:Cover of "The Raven Boys," featuring the silhouette of a raven with blue wing tips and a glowing red heart

  1. The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater, which not only didn’t agree to my maybe-this-will-be-okay expectations, it knocked them down, trampled them, and made me wonder where I got such idiotic ideas.
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I wasn’t really expecting much from a tearjerker about cancer kids, but I ended up falling in love with the heartbreakingly beautiful romance.
  3. The Last Dragonslayer (The Last Dragonslayer #1) by Jasper Fforde, which I’m glad I gave a chance. Its screwball storytelling is a perfect blend of smart and silly, realistic and ridiculous, ordinary and oddball.
  4. The Crystal Ordeal (Legends of Leone #1) by M.G. Dekle, an Indie book that surprised me. I couldn’t read this book at night because the male lead would make me laugh so hard I’d wake up my family.
  5. Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson, a dark, suspenseful, action-packed not-exactly-superhero story with an urban vibe. Any book that can make me draw wrong conclusions is impressive, but a book that can trample them this fantastically earns definite bonus points.
Cover of "Allegiant," featuring a background of red clouds with an ocean wave curling in a complete circle above the title text
Image from Veronica Roth

Other books worth mentioning:

  1. The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl #8) by Eoin Colfer. The last Artemis Fowl book was bittersweet for me – it was a fabulous ending to a fabulous series, but I was sad to see a series I’ve loved for so long end.
  2. Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth – a book I thought I’d like, but didn’t. I liked the first two books in the series, but this one killed off too many characters that (in my opinion) didn’t have to die.

Top 5 books I want to read in 2014:

  1. Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
  2. The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
  3. Firefight (Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson
  4. Exposure (Virals #4) by Kathy Reichs
  5. UnWholly (Unwind #2) by Neal Shusterman

How about you? What are your favorite books of last year? What books are you excited to read in 2014?

Book Round-Ups

Stand-Out Books of 2012

Well, it’s a new year, which means two things.  First:  A round-up of stand-out books I read last year.

I’ve decided on my top five favorites, plus a few “honorable mentions” that were good but didn’t make Top Favorites.  All links go to my review. (Since I started this blog mid-year, I don’t have reviews for every book.  Books marked with an asterisk [*] are ones without reviews.)

Virals book cover
Image from cemsbookhideout.

My top 5 favorite books of the year (in no particular order):

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld*

Prophet by R.J. Larson

Gunner’s Run by Rick Barry*

All Things New book cover
Image from bookcritiques.

Honorable Mention (books that made an impression):

All Things New by Lynn Austin

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

The Hero’s Guide to Saving your Kingdom by Christopher Healy*

Failstate by John W. Otte*

The second thing a new year means is a list of books I intend to read in the coming year. Since my goal is to read 200 books, I’m not going to list every title – just the ones I’m really excited for.

My top five most-excited-for books to read in 2013 (I will link to reviews as I read them):

Code book cover
Image from mynotsovacantshelf.

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I Hunt Killers by Barry Luga

Code (Virals #3) by Kathy Reichs

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson

There’s my ten cents’ worth.  What about you?  What were your favorite books that you read last year?  Which books are you excited to read this year?  How many books do you want to read?