Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Best Reads So Far This Year

Hey guys! In honor of the year being halfway over, I have decided to share my best reads of the year so far. Having graduated college this past December, my time for reading opened up tremendously! As a result, I have discovered some great titles, some of them popular, others not quite discovered.

#7. City of Ashes, by Cassandra Clare

Yes, I have only just finished book two of this series. But that doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed the ride. Cassandra Clare developed an amazing story with The Mortal Instruments series. I felt absorbed in the Shadowhunter world, feeling the tension between Jace and Clary, and experiencing the fear that they hold for Valentine.

However, it is ranked #7 for the sheer fact that, while I was pulled into it, the series has not wowed me yet. Is that bad? I can't explain why, because I know others are smitten by it. I just haven't developed the same love I have for other series. Will definitely read the next books, though.

#6. Larkspur, by V.M. Jaskiernia

A gem hidden within a sea of ebooks, this short novella captured me instantly. A dark, romantic fantasy, it follows the story of Pierre, a nobleman who has a talent for the art of necromancy. As he attempts to gain complete control over life and death, he runs into his old love Elizabeth, who he finds himself falling for once again. But she doesn't know his dark secret.

There was a lot of beauty to this story. Pierre is a very deep character, and I found my feelings about him mixed. It was short lived (only sixty pages), and seemed to end just as it was getting good. But not to worry! The longer sequel is set to come out within the next couple of weeks. I know I'm definitely looking forward to it.

#5. The Great Gatsby, by Ella Fitzgerald

 Yes, I know, I'm a terrible reader for not having read this before. That's why I finally decided that this was the year to pick up the literary classic that has inspired great films.

If I would have never heard of the Great Gatsby and someone told me about it, I would shrugged it off as "not my kind of book." But when actually reading it, I found myself enthralled. Not only has it been one of my favorite reads this year, it has been my quickest. I finished this in less than a day.

I know some would say that, as a classic, it should be my number one. But my ratings are based off of how much I enjoyed the book. That's why this literary masterpiece is ranked #5.

#4. Violin, by Anne Rice

I don't know if I've ever been more thoroughly surprised by a novel. I first read Anne Rice my first semester of college, and fell in love with Interview with a Vampire. Since then I have been seeking her name out in every book store I go to.

From the description and the picture, I expected a classic Anne Rice novel; scary, sexy, with plenty of dark, twisted action. I was shocked to instead find a rich literary novel. Violin follows the story of Triana and Stephan, two souls bound together by sorrow and their love for music. It has a very steady pace, delving deep within the minds of the two main characters, who are trying desperately to move on from their pasts and find happiness.

That being said, you have to enjoy literary fiction to love this as much as I did. The emphasis is on the characters and the words; not the action.

#3. House, by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker

A fast-paced Supernatural Thriller, House had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Just as I thought I was beginning to understand what was going on, more questions popped up. I was racing toward the end to find out.

Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker are truly a lethal combination. I couldn't tell whose writing it was, nor did I care, I was so enticed by the story.

Lost with no phone. Trapped in a house that seems to not want it's inhabitants to escape. Being hunted by a psychotic killer.

Seriously, what more could you want in a thriller?

#2. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Emotionally tugging from page one, The Handmaid's Tale had me riveting with sorrow, disgust, and the raw hope that the heroine would somehow escape the treacherous life she has been forced into.

It is a dystopian fiction following the main character Offred, who has been taken, along with several other women, to become a "handmaid." In a world where children are scarce, handmaids are assigned to aspiring couples desperately wanting to have children. The abuse these handmaids go through is horrific. I was gasping with every page, thinking, "Surely this will get better. Surely there has to be some way out . . ."

I can't believe I didn't read Margaret Atwood sooner. A seriously stunning work.

#1. The Diviners, by Libba Bray

 Here it is! The number one novel I've read since January!

How do I express my love for this book? Libba Bray is truly a master storyteller. The Diviners is a historical, supernatural thriller set in the 1920s. Out of all I have read, this is the one I most didn't want to leave. Mystery, thrill, a truly terrifying villain, and a heroine who, though flawed, is entirely relatable. Don't let the length scare you off. This is a truly incredible book, written by a marvelous author. It was  the perfect novel to bring me from college assigned material, back into the world of reading for fun. It took me weeks to get myself out of that world. Can't wait for the sequel!

So those are my top seven books so far this year. I will end the year with my top seven overall.

What are the best books you've read so far in 2014?


  1. I've not read the Diviners but I've been really curious about that one. And I recently finished City of Heavenly Fire and loved it (the last book in the TMI series). I hope you enjoy the rest of the series!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

    1. It was my first Libba Bray novel I read. Now she's one of my favorite YA authors!

      Thanks! I will definitely continue the series. I really do enjoy the Mortal Instruments, I'm just not as hooked as I thought I would be. But it's definitely good enough for me to continue :)