Favourite Reads of 2014

So another year is spiralling to a close… I could’ve sworn we’d just partied it in, but apparently a year has gone past or something.

This year I published Soul Blaze (the Soul Trilogy #2), ended up on television, got fired for the first time in my life because I wouldn’t take corporate bullshit and completed NaNoWriMo for the third year in a row.

But I also read quite a few books (didn’t make my Goodreads challenge though, darn!) and would like to present my two favourite reads, both trad published and indie.

cover for review

My favourite (traditionally published) book this year was A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. An exquisite book that I waited a year for did not disappoint and I highly recommend. Below is my review as can be found on Goodreads. To see the spoilers, click the link to read my review at Goodreads.

5 STARS! (funnily enough I just typoed that and wrote tsars… people who’ve read the book will get it). Five big fat yellow stars.

This is the next level of Claudia Gray’s writing. This is it, she’s stepped it up, raised the bar. Anything she writes from now on I’m going to be pre-ordering and practically tearing from her typewriter (I was like this anyway, but after A Thousand Pieces of You, even more so). I am now going to attempt to break down my ramblings into small conscise sections (watch how quickly this idea deteriorates).

The Cover
I know I’ve prattled on about the cover to anyone who will listen. But seriously, after reading the book, I am even more impressed at the designer of it. The cover is stunning, glorious, eye-catching and everything you want in a book cover. But it’s also more than that. The two cities mirrored in each other and the splash of watercolour behind it relates directly to the story! I really shouldn’t be this amazed at the concept, but after having to design my own covers, I know what it’s like trying to keep relevance to the book whilst also making it as beautiful as possible. I applaud the cover designer 1000x over for achieving this masterpiece.

Characters
Theo, Marguerite and Paul are our main three. Then we have smaller, minor characters that I don’t think I could list so I won’t try. Marguerite got a little annoying in place, but it tied in with how her character was portrayed so I won’t remove any points from that. Theo was always slightly (view spoiler) and Paul was always steadfast and stoic. I can’t really say too much about them without giving away the story, as it is very character based.

Plot
I was well onboard with the plot until the end, where it got a tad confusing but that could’ve been due to finishing my NaNo just before beginning to read the last third of the book. It was sufficiently eerie at the end of the book, characters behaved just the way I wanted them to. Marguerite had certainly grown throughout the book, as evidenced by two defining actions at the end (view spoiler).

I could say a lot more, but I’m going to leave it with saying that I cannot wait for the second in this series. Highly recommend to all readers.

And one last thing:
(view spoiler)

Well, time to start waiting for the next book.

water cover

The title of my favourite independent book has to go to Water by Heather James. Number 2 in the Elements of Power Trilogy, I read this book in a few days and became way too emotionally invested in it. However, as it is the second in a series and the review contains mild spoilers, I’ll post my review of Fire (#1) instead.

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Fire by Heather James is an enjoyable fantasy that follows the stories of Roxy, a fiery Helian Protector, and Jasmine, the girl who doesn’t quite belong.

I really liked this book. I loved Roxy’s chapters, watching as she was brought in on the scheme that follows the Helian pattern of generally just being nasty to the other nations. It’s not often that we get a point of view from the antagonists, and Roxy was such a convincing character that I was really unsure of how this was going to end up.

Jasmine and Brae have been friends for a long time; so when Brae announces his intention to travel to the Helian realm for the ‘conference’, Jasmine immediately worries. After a few disturbing dreams and some unusual developments of her own character, Jasmine sails herself to the Helian realm to save her friend.

The characters in this book were so defined that even if they didn’t have their names above their chapters, you could still tell who was narrating, and I find that to be an exceptional thing. Too often characters sound like sock puppets and to read a book that finally bucked that trend was extremely refreshing.

During the second half of the book, I was surprised at how much I felt for a certain development on Roxy’s behalf. I did not see it coming and I cannot explain how grateful I am that I was completely blindsided by this. I love when the author takes me completely unawares; it’s part of the reason I read!! This is certainly one development that I can’t wait to see in the sequel, Water.

Jasmine’s … unique… development was also very well executed. I figured it out about three quarters of the way through the book and had to put down my phone and go ‘ohhhhhhh’ because it made perfect sense and yet I didn’t see it coming at all!

Recommend those who love surprising novels and the elements.

~

There are so many books I’m looking forward to next year, and I’ll be posting those later. I’d love to know what books you enjoyed this year and also what you’re looking forward to! I highly recommend the books I posted above and hope you’ll take the time to check them out.

Also, Merry Christmas! (a day late but that’s what I do).

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