Tuesday Top Ten – Favorite New Releases of 2014!

I seriously hate writing these lists. Seriously. Because the segment is called the Tuesday Top Ten. I’ve read 120-something books this year and, sale yeah, sick sure, a good number of them were either re-reads or books that were released previous to the year 2014. But I would say a majority of those books were brand new releases.

And I’m just supposed to narrow them down to the ones that I liked the most. I mean, come on. That’s just mean. And hard. I’ve read so MANY great and fantastic books this year. It just blows my mind how authors can just continue to write amazing stories over and over and over again.

And yes, I’m the brains of this operation which means, technically, I could make a whole huge list of books that came out this year that I loved but they legit would all make the list and the point of this is to highlight the ones that really stood out to me this year.

So that’s just what I’m going to do! Check it out :)

10. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

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I was looking forward to this book because it has three of my favorite things in the world: romance, hot boys with abs and football. I hadn’t been massively impressed with Cora so far but this book completely changed my mind and I loved the second one as well. I definitely could use more Rusk boys in my life.

9. Cress by Marissa Meyer

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I was DYING for this book and when I finally got my hands on it, I was in the worst slump ever. Took me about a week and a half to read this book, but when I finally did, I was just blown away. Cress is an incredible character and I absolutely love this book. I couldn’t believe how long I had to wait (and am still waiting) for the final book.

8. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Oh Morgan  Matson. Please never stop writing. The closeness I felt to this book, the inability to remember how to do things, live life, make friends, have fun without your best friend…I totally understand that. Plus she’s just such a fun writer. Reading her books is easy, you just get sucked in and suddenly you realized hours have passed and you haven’t even moved.

7. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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This book completely blew my mind. I needed a really good fantasy book in my life and this one completely and totally delivered. I was just blown away by the incredible world building that Sara created in this novel and I loved every character that we meet, even the villains because I can appreciate a really well written villain. And I loved the surprises. I love when I’m reading and I feel like I have a handle on the story and something completely throws me off. Its beautiful and I absolutely love it. Get this book.

6. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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I LOVE Anna and the French Kiss. I LOVE Lola and the Boy Next Door. I literally ADORE and am OBSESSED with Isla and Josh and this story. I read this just a week before I broke up with my boyfriend and when I knew things weren’t good, and that’s kind of why I like this novel. This book is about romance, about how we get caught up in it and we forget that it can be hard work and that things aren’t always easy and they aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. That hit me hard, and the beautiful reality of love in this story just broke my heart. I love love love this book. It has a happy ending, which is fantastic, but I loved seeing the struggle to get there.

5. Alienated by Melissa Landers

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I am sure you are all so tired of me putting this in your face but guess what? Nope. Not at all. Because I truly love this book. I seriously seriously love this book. I am so glad I ran into Melissa at ALA and brought this book into my life! Its so beautiful. Great science fiction, awesome humor and the romance is just…ugh, I’m fangirling.

4. Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

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Dear Richelle Mead, Can I be your daughter? Love, Sara. I really liked The Fiery Heart but The Indigo Spell is my favorite so it was hard to follow that. Silver Shadows is now just below The Indigo Spell, because it just blew my mind. I loved the dual point of view and I loved the build up to the incredible climax and omg that cliffhanger broke my heart. A month until the end of it all!

3. The One by Kiera Cass

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I am so glad I got into Kiera Cass this year. I read The Selection at the very beginning of the year, at the urging of…someone. I can’t remember who. But I hadn’t really had a desire to. And now, I’m just stoked that I did because its such a good book. The Elite is a bit of a struggle to get through BUT The One was just a beautiful book. I was so emotional and I cried and when I met Kiera, I fangirled way too hard.

2. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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Dear Leigh Bardugo, please teach everyone in the world how to end a series. Seriously. So many series enders have been so disappointing, so lacking but this book just blew my mind. I sat down and just consumed it. It was absolutely fantastic. Everything came to an end, and it was heartbreaking, utterly heartbreaking and surprising and just…ugh. It made me so happy. I wish I could have even just a fraction of the talent that Leigh has.

1. Grasshopper Jungle and 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

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I cheated ;) I put two books for my number one but that’s just because I legit could not choose between these two. They are both so different but so unique and just brilliant. Andrew Smith is such a one of a kind author that just blows my mind. 100 Sideways Miles was incredible and Grasshopper Jungle was unlike anything I’ve ever read in my life. I literally have never read a book like GJ and it just was….it was about everything and it was bizarre and funny and all of that. He’s truly brilliant. He might just end up on my top ten at the end of every year haha!

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What were some of your favorite new releases of 2014? Share in the comments

Book Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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Young Adult, information pills Fantasy

Pages: 

422

Part of a Series?:

The first in a planned trilogy

Release Date: 

October 14th, story 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

My Review:

Why did I read this book? Can I be completely honest here? I really liked the cover, I heard it was fantasy and I heard it was an incredible. I was technically on a book buying ban because I’m in the worst slump EVER but I saw the book and I thought, I can’t resist. Maybe a book like this will break me out of my slump. Now while it didn’t exactly break me out of this incredible slump that I’ve been in all year, it did completely blow my mind.

I’ve been itching for a really good epic fantasy for awhile. The last one that really blew my mind was the Seven Realms series by Cinda Chima. The world building and romance and everything of that series just…ugh, my heart is exploding with feels. But anyway, reading Snow Like Ashes…I felt like I’d finally found a truly great YA fantasy again, and by an incredibly talented debut author.

First off, she creates these amazing characters. Meira, Mather, Sir, Theron, all of them are so incredible. They feel like they could be these real people, which is incredibly important in a fantasy. The thing about fantasy is that its supposed to take you out of our world and into a world that doesn’t feel familiar. Exciting, sure but not familiar. What is supposed to pull you in and keep you there and make you care about it is the people. The people, their lives, their personalities, their successes and struggles have to feel real in order for you to fall into this world. And that’s exactly what Sara does. She instantly makes you love every person in this novel. From the moment I read the first page, when Meira is struggling in a mock fight with Mather, I knew that I was madly in love with her as a character. Every character was so developed and changed over the course of the novel and I just loved that.

And then there is the story itself. The thing about fantasy is that there are so many similar stories but it is the way you tell the story that makes it so unique. Meira and the people of Winter, what few of them are left, are hanging on a thread of hope that is King Mather, in the hopes that they can bring their kingdom back together, that they can go home. You feel it in every single page, from the elder members of the group who remember everything about their home and even in Meira, who feels such a strong tie to a place that she never even knew. I wanted them to get their home so badly, it hurt. I wanted them to do anything and everything to make it happen. I knew nothing about Winter except stories but it felt real and I wanted them to get it back. I wanted Mather to be king and I wanted Meira to figure out her place and I wanted Sir to realize how important Meira is and all of that.

The world building of the book is perfect. Its really perfect. When there is an issue in world building, it can cause the believability of the story to go down. Everything about the world felt real, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, everything. The stories, the myths, the cultures and music, the way they fight, the things they believe in, it all felt so natural. It read easily. I felt like I knew the place without having to be confused or having to flip to the map constantly. There was no over explaining or any of that. It just felt real. I love that about a good fantasy. You don’t question it. I want to go there, and be a part of that world.

But I think what really makes this a great book is that she completely takes you by surprise. Completely. Obviously most books have a really good twist but this one…I didn’t expect it. I thought something was a little wrong, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite what it seemed but when it was revealed, I definitely was surprised. There was so much more to the story than previously expected and that’s what made it even better than what it had been before. I am already dying for the next book, because I’m ready for the next one. Its an absolutely fantastic debut by Sara and I’m so glad to read such a great fantasy. I’m SO ready for it.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

November Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2014:

150 Books

Am I On Track: 

No.21 books behind

Books Read So Far: 

116

Total Books For October: 

2 (OMG)

Snow Like Ashes

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The Collector

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I can’t believe it. Two books. In ONE month. I swear, viagra approved I’m a better book reader and blogger than this. I resolve that I WILL get better in December!

How was your month? Share in the comments!