A Sky Full Of Stars – Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

I am SO EXCITED to publish this post, everyone. I’ve been looking forward to writing it for ages because it involves flailing over books – and not just any books, but the best of the best! The books that made me fangirl for days on end!

But at first, I didn’t know how to format this post. Should I talk about ALL of the awesome books I read last year, or should I pick just ten? I read 39 four-star books and 4 five-star books in 2014, which sounds like a LOT until you realize that I read 203 books total!

You see, I’m VERY picky when it comes to books. Sure, I’ll read just about anything, but it’s very, very hard for a book to earn a four-star rating from me – and I almost NEVER give five-star ratings. (If you’d like to know my reasoning behind this decision, I discussed this picky bookish habit in another post titled after a song: OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars.”) Want proof? The fancy-schmancy Goodreads graph below shows how I rated what I read.

books read in 2014

Forty-three four- and five-star books? That’s a LOT to recap in just one post… so I’m not doing that after all. I am going to list all of the four-star books that didn’t make it onto my top ten list, though – thirty-three total – at the end of this post because they’re still very special to me.

Because, compared to the number of books I read total, thirty-three is a very small amount. A three-star rating is typical for me; it means I liked the book. Above-average and excellent ratings are, RELATIVE to the total number of books I read, quite rare. That word “relative” is super-important there, which is why it’s capitalized for emphasis.

Plugging some stats into my calculator reveals that only twenty-0ne percent of the books I read in 2014 received EITHER a four- or five-star rating. What about just the five-star books, though?

like no other[Pokes calculator buttons] They make up slightly under TWO PERCENT of the total books I read! They are elite, elite, ELITE. And I’m a tough critic. Evidently.

On the other hand, the above graph also shows that I hand out poor and extremely poor ratings quite infrequently. I read exactly the same amount of two-star books as I did four-star books, and reserved that awful, awful one-star rating for what I absolutely loathed.

Aaaaand that’s enough analysis, so I’m going to move on. Here’s my top ten list! It IS listed in a particular order; books ten through five are the best four-star books, while the bottom four are, naturally, the five-star reads. Enjoy!

Note: All links lead to the reviews of my top ten books!

10. Like No Other by Una LaMarchecress

Contemporary YA love stories are so not my thing… usually. But this one was beautiful! Like  No Other is about the forbidden love between a black boy and an Orthodox Jewish girl who live the coldest girl in coldtownon opposite sides of the same street in Brooklyn, NYC. I devoured it in one sitting!

9. Cress by Marissa Meyer

I discovered the Lunar Chronicles last year, and this is the newest installment! (But not for long: Meyer is publishing two more volumes, Fairest and Winter, in 2015.) This series has sooooo many awesome elements, from fairy tales and cyborgs to hilarious characters and a dystopian Beijing setting. Highly recommended.

8. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I love classic vampire stories. (Think Dracula and Carmilla.) But the newer ones? Not so 284440much. Except for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown! In this book, Holly Black creates a complex and terrifying world where vampires and humans lead an uneasy coexistence. I LOVED this modern take on vampires! It’s probably the best paranormal story I’ve ever read.

7. Sceptre of the Ancients by Derek Landy

This is the first book in a looooooooong fantasy series about a walking, talking, wise-cracking, fireball-throwing, impeccably-well-dressed skeleton detective, Skulduggery Pleasant, and his teenage student/assistant, Valkyrie Cain. These books really blur the lines between children’s/middle-grade/YA – the series begins quite cheerfully and gradually becomes darker, yet keeps its screwball sense of humor until the 400px-Gatsby_1925_jacketvery end. Great fun. 

6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

So I know that some of you are probably thinking, “Ew, classic books!” but trust me, you HAVE to read this. This short, brilliant novel tells the story of Nick Carraway and his recent acquaintance Jay Gatsby, a well-to-do and since you've been gonemysterious young man. I frequently roll my eyes at what is considered a “classic,” but this one really does deserve all the hype.

5. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I hereby give Since You’ve Been Gone the MOST SURPRISING BOOK OF THE YEAR award! As I said above, contemporary YA is not really my cup of tea… so I’m very glad that I picked up this book! It’s about lists, and trying new things, and whether you really need a BFF or just a bunch of good friends. I hereby declare Since You’ve Been Gone the ultimate summery read! (Also, I just really like the word v for vendetta“hereby.”)

4. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

I have one small request to make of you: Take a break from all your recently-published YA dystopian novels. No, really. Spend your time reading this instead, because it’s SO worth it. V for Vendetta is an extremely dark, extremely well-17378508written story about a dystopian Britain, and it’s filled with enigmatic characters, brilliant monologues, and Big Ideas. Told in graphic novel format, it’s one of the best old sci fi books I’ve yet read.

3. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater could write, like, a to-do list or something else really mundane, and I’d probably still fangirl over it. She’s just that amazing. Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third and penultimate installment of Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series, and it’s just as wonderful as its adaptationpredecessors. (I gave The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves five-star ratings as well.) Her writing is both vivid and dreamlike, and fantastically beautiful too. I love the characters. And the setting. And you really, really need to read this book.

2. Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Aliens? Check. Bisexual protagonists? Check. Conspiracy theorists? Check. Love triangles that are actually  interesting and realistically written? Check. This book was SO refreshing to read after slogging my way through so many poorly-written, boy-meets-girl YA dystopians. Such as Divergent. I’d much rather read a girl-meets-girl-and-then-a-boy-and-together-they-learn-about-aliens story! ash

1. Ash by Malinda Lo

If I were Gollum, this book would be my precious. Actually, I’m going to call it my precious anyway, even though I’m so much more attractive than Gollum. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, right. This book. Ash is a beautiful retelling of “Cinderella,” in which Prince Charming is replaced with a girl, and I love it to bits. Absolutely stunning.

 -~-

As promised, here are the thirty-three other four-star books! They’re not listed in any particular order.

  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  • Malice by Chris Wooding
  • How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
  • The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
  • Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
  • Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Inheritance by Malinda Lo
  • Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  • My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
  • Princess Princess by Katie O’Neill
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  • Playing with Fire by Derek Landy
  • The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy
  • Dark Days by Derek Landy
  • Mortal Coil by Derek Landy
  • Death Bringer by Derek Landy
  • Kingdom of the Wicked by Derek Landy
  • The Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy
  • Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

-~-

It’s your turn now! What are the best ten books you read in 2014, and what do you think of my choices? Let me know in the comments!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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52 Responses to A Sky Full Of Stars – Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

  1. Like No Other and V For Vendetta sound pretty awesome. I’ll go check them out after I finish GoT (which, btw, is at a very boring point because Theon is like the most unappealing character ever jfc.)

  2. I really want to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown! Also, V is for Vendetta has a really creepy cover. Just sayin. When I first read Gatsby, I was neutral. Then the more I thought about it and studied the nuances, the more I loved it. And it looks like you like the Skulduggery Pleasant stories a lot – I’ll definitely check those out!

    I *could* list my top ten 2014 reads. 🙂 Well, okay, I will. I can’t resist. In approximate order …
    1. The Book Thief
    2. Les Miserables
    3. The Count of Monte Cristo
    4. The Last Olympian
    5. East of Eden
    6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
    7. Son of Neptune
    8. And Then There Were None
    9. Mockingjay
    10. Erm … maybe Throne of Glass? (I had quite a few problems with it but it does have two of my top ten fav characters, so …)

    • nevillegirl says:

      It does, doesn’t it? 😛
      Same! I miiiiight almost change my rating of it from 4-stars to 5. It’s just that good!
      I looooooooove that series. It’s a new obsession of mine. xD

      Glad to see that you enjoyed And Then There Were None! 🙂

      • ATTWN was genius. And creepy in an excellent way. 🙂

        Through the Goodreads stats, I discovered 2 thirds of my books in 2014 were 4 or 5 stars! guess I’m an easily pleased reader … or maybe I was just lucky last year. 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      It’s my favorite mystery ever. 🙂

      Lucky you! *high-five* I can’t remember whether or not we’re friends on Goodreads… what’s your username?

  3. Cait says:

    Um, can we take a moment to think about what Maggie Stiefvater’s to-do list would say?! IT WOULD BE EPIC. Obviously it contains stuff like “buy fainting goats” so I’m all onboard with reading it. *nods*
    Basically: Maggie Stiefvater tho.
    Also HOLLY BLACK. I’m reading The Darkest Part of the Forest and I love it so so much. fjasldka I’m so glad I picked up The Coldest Girl!
    You are a tough rater, 😉 but I’m finding myself getting tougher these days. And HEY. 3-stars means you liked it, so that’s not bad, right?! You liked a lot of books, still. I’ve actually rated all my reads this year 3-stars except for The Bane Chronicles which got 5 because I love Magnus. XD

    • nevillegirl says:

      “Buy fainting goats and take them for a spin in souped-up racing car.” 😀

      Ooh, I need to read that book! 🙂 Never even heard of it before.

      I’ve actually read TWO 4-star books so far this year! And one 3-star book, and one 2-star book. And that’s all I’ve read so far. xD

  4. There are SO many books here I have to read. *ahem*Ash. I love retellings. I love diversity. I love Malinda Lo and what she’s doing in the world of YA. What’s not to love? I also MUST read Skulduggery Pleasant and Maggie Stiefvater in general.

    My 2015 TBR just got a lot bigger 😛

  5. moosha23 says:

    These are all brilliant books – I need to read ALL of the top ten! 😀
    (I love your rating pattern though…despite the gazillion three star ratings they were quite evenly spread out!) 😀

  6. Taylor Lynn says:

    GATSBY!! I *love* that book so much! Fitzgerald’s prose and descriptions are so vibrant and striking and gorgeous and GAH. As for the others, THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN and SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE are both on my to-read list and they both sound marvelous! I also want to try THE GRAVEYARD BOOK and GOOD OMENS and maybe the first SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT book. 🙂

    Also also ALSO: I just finished BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE yesterday and oh. My. GOD. It was SO AMAZING!! 😉 Only I don’t think a single comment can contain all of the love I have for this series, even if I *could* find the words to express said love! It’s Maggie Stiefvater’s particular brand of magic, and her luminous prose (dreamlike is definitely the best word for it), and the beautiful setting, but mostly it’s the characters and friendships and relationships I adore. I’m simultaneously eager for Book IV and also incredibly sad that it’s the last in the series because I will really miss Gansey and Blue and Ronan and Adam and Noah when it’s all over. *sobs quietly in the corner*

    Looks like 2014 was a great year of reading for you–I hope 2015 is even better!

  7. SpunFromInk says:

    203 books? I’ve read this post a couple of times now and am realizing that I haven’t read that much in years…oops. Good news is that now I have plenty of ideas to add to my TBR list, which I said I’d try to keep reasonable for the sake of my sanity and wallet. Oh well!

  8. matttblack42 says:

    Aha! I was wondering why WordPress didn’t notify me of your last two posts. Turns out I must’ve unfollowed you by accident. *clicks the follow button again.*

    I’m not sure what books would be in my top ten list for 2014, but Blue Lily, Lily Blue is definitely in there. That series just gets darker and darker, and I’m loving it. I have no idea how Stievfater’s going to wrap it all up in a satisfying way, but I have faith in her. She hasn’t let me down yet.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, I do that all the time by accident with all sorts of blogs. I’ve subscribed to my own at least four times, as well.

      I’m kind of afraid to read the last book… because I DON’T WANT THIS WONDERFUL STORY TO END. And because I’m worried about Gansey.

  9. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Winter 2015 – Reading Slumps, “Agent Carter,” And An Assortment Of Beautiful Songs | Musings From Neville's Navel

  10. timelord0014 says:

    Reblogged this on in medias res and commented:
    reblogging for future reference! ^~^

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