Books of 2014

After my friend Tara did this book review of 2014 thing, it made me reminisce of all the lovely books I’ve read this year. So I decided to do the same thing and do a mini review/recap of all of them 🙂 I’ve only read one book that I truly didn’t like (the writing was awful) but other than that, I love every book I read! Here we go

The Hunger Games (book 1) (I read this in Dec 2013 but whateva): 8/10

I had already watched the movie before I read the book, but for some reason I really wanted to read the book. I was thinking I was going to read the first book and then just finish watching the other movies when they came out. But when I finished the book, I had to read the next.

The writing is great and gives a fearful/bold perspective of Katniss. The storyline is great too obviously and keeps you flipping through each chapter. The only thing I found about all three books is that the writing can sometimes seem monotone and I feel as though Katniss is just always… exactly that; monotone or flat. Still love her though.

Mind Games – Kiersten White: 8/10

This book was really good. It’s rare to find a book that starts off with a BAM. The only other two books that I know off that start off with an automatic hook and captivate you immediately are: The Fault in our Stars and Stung. The first line/paragraph in those books really grabbed me and I can say the same for Mind Games. Although I read it in January of 2014, I don’t remember what it was exactly, but it started off pretty action packed and kept you reading the entire time. I believe it starts off with Fia (my main character) hunting down this boy she has to kill. Intense, right?

Mila 2.0 – Debra Driza: 7/10

This book is about a teenage girl named Mila who discovers, after long detective work, that she is in fact a robot. Well, she was created in a laboratory and implanted with fake memories of a family, childhood, etc. Her mother is actually one of her creators and she stole her from the lab so they’re like, on the run and staying hidden on some farm in a random town. Their whereabouts are compromised and the book is basically about her discovering who she is and trying to fight off the bad guys. There is a book two in the making I believe.

The storyline was really good, just sometimes the writing style seemed … immature? Does that make sense. Like there’s a scale of mature/literary writing and Shakespeare is a the top, and at the bottom is a story that is the exact opposite. So this one wasn’t bad, just sometimes unrealistic or to cliche.

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins: 8/10

Awesome read, obvs. Then I watched the movie right after and it was amaze too.

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgeral: 5/10

I mostly read this because there was such a huge rave about it and I like reading books before watching the movie, so I kind of had to read this.

Personally, I thought it was an okay book. Kind of boring, didn’t really keep me captivated. The storyline was alright. The characters were alright. I like Daisy I guess.

The movie was fantastic and made the scene/era so live and upbeat. The book made me feel depressed and darkish.

Please don’t take offense if you love Fitzgerald.

Allegiant – Veronica Roth: 10/10

I read Divergent in the spring of 2013 (before it was popular hayy) and thought it was amazing. I loved the character Tris and how she developed from such a frightened and shy girl, afraid to make choices on her own, to a powerful, strong heroin who has to save the world. (or Future Chicago dystopia land)

I thought the writing was done really well and also, unlike most books, the love interest was completely unexpected to me. I was so focused on what was going on in Dauntless and how Tris was being threatened for her life, that I never even suspected Four and her would fall for each other. That’s how amazing Veronica Roth is. Didn’t even see it comin. So when he started protecting her yet still being distant and kind of rude, it made me fall in love with them together. I wanted them to be together so bad because .. well, they shouldn’t/couldn’t be together.

Okay why am I talking about book 1 still.

I finished the third book this past summer and oh my god. I cried. It was amazing and has such a twist ending that you’ll literally drop the book. Bravo Veronica, 10 stars for you. It was an amazing tale that will live on forever. Oh and the movies are cool too. But they changed some things in the first film that won’t make sense leading up to the second….

Lucid – Adrienne Stoltz and Ron Bass: 9/10

This book is written from two different perspectives: Sloane, who lives in a small town, gets good grades, and has a loving family. Then Maggie, who lives in NYC, raised by a single mom, dreaming of becoming an actress. They each live their own separate lives.

Plot? At nighttime.. they dream they’re each other.

This book had me going crazy. Literally. I felt like I was losing my mind and completely forgot I was reading a book. I would read multiple chapters then go downstairs for dinner and be in a haze. I was like, “is this real? or am I dreaming?” who freakin knows. The book is amazing k? So I highly recommend it.

Quarantine: Book 1 – Lex Thomas: 7/10

This book started off kind of slow. I started reading it on my trip to Hawaii but could never pursue it. I didn’t start up again till a few weeks later and once I kept reading I got hooked and couldn’t stop.

Basically the book takes place in a High School where two brothers (Gr 9 and gr 12) get locked down in a Quarantine because of a dangerous chemical that kills all adults. And the twist? Once infected, you carry it until you turn 18.

So all of the teachers and adults in the school died, so now the kids run the place. They’ve been in there for a year once the book begins and the army/military still hasn’t found a cure, so once a week a helicopter drops a huge crate with supplies for them. The high school has formed cliques in order to survive. But the older brother doesn’t have a gang because the main leader despises him.

So the book is about the brothers trying to survive in this god awful place and the kids have gone effing nuts, like killing each other and everything. It’s pretty intense and suspenseful. There is also a book two and three.

(The next following 7 books I read during a project I called #ABookaDayProject, meaning I read 1 book every day for 7 days. I started and finished Quarantine from where I left off the day before so that kind of counts too I guess)

Eve and Adam – Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate: 9/10

When I first heard of this book, I thought it was going to be some historical dystopia about how the world began but this time with Eve, and then Adam or something. But no, it’s better.

This story focuses on the idea that Eve created Adam instead of the other way around. And rather than by godly powers she creates him by way of science.

The book is written by husband and wife Michael and Katherine so it switches perspectives every few chapters. The two main characters are actually Eve and a boy named Solo. Adam comes later….once he’s created of course.

So the story tells of a powerful business woman named Terra Striker whose in charge of a large science and technology facility. Her daughter, Evening Spiker, gets into a terrible accident, and while she’s healing in her mother’s state of the art medical facility, she gets assigned a job: create the perfect boy.

Of course it’s just for kicks, but then Eve becomes attached to this project and creates more and more of ‘Adam’. Oh but also there’s this bad boy named Solo who works for her mother and he’s kind of evil but you grow to love him.

Read the book. It’s fantastic.

Will Grayson Will Grayson – John Green and David Leviathan: 8/10

Ah, good old John Green. I fell in love with John after TFIOS. (again, I read this around the same time as Divergent, both when they weren’t so popular) Then I immediately read Looking for Alaska and Papertowns. So then I decided to read this one because well.. John Green wrote it.

The story is about a boy named Will Grayson, who under a serendipity experience, meets another boy, same age, named Will Grayson.

Their two stories interwine from the perspectives of both John and David. The boys are interesting, both kind of loners with not a lot of friends. But they come together to tell a coming of age tale about friendships, relationships, and life itself. It’s a good read and made me smile and even shed  a tear of happiness at the end. Oh and the characters were really well told. I mean, Tiny Cooper – looovedd him.

Asylum – Madeline Roux: 8/10

This book was super awesome as well. Although the writing style sometimes had that ‘immature’ tone as I call it, the book still had a really good and suspenseful storyline that kept me reading throughout the entire day that I read it.

The story is about a boy who goes away to boarding school, only to make friends and discover that their ‘boarding school’ was once an insane asylum for the criminally insane. The book has so many plot twists and secrets that will keep you guessing and be scared in your seat. Really good read.

Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt: 7/10

I read this book because I vaguely remember seeing the movie when I was a kid and I loved Winnie and her story. The book is very small but took me a while to get into it. It’s obviously a classic so I had to read it, but it did start off really slow.

It’s a really good book, interesting plot and characters, but I just felt it was too short and went by so fast. And the irony of the ending saddened me.

Mocking Jay – Suzanne Collins: 8/10

So I finished the Hunger Games trilogy and I have to admit; the story of the third book was awesome and action packed, but the ending really angered me. I’m not going to say anything to spoil it, but the ending to the Divergent trilogy was way better. This one left me feeling unsatisfied. Why Suzanne, why?

The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson: 7/10

I bought this book because I watched a Ted Talk about this man (Jon Ronson) who was given the opportunity to interview a man who was put into a mental hospital 12 years ago. But get this; he’s not crazy, he faked it to get out of a prison sentence.

So after I heard the Ted Talk (link here)  I knew I had to read the book.

The story is pretty much Jon Ronson talking about mental disorders from the DSM manual and how we all have a few by definition of the manual. He talks about the official Psychopath Test which is a checklist of 20 traits that determines whether you are indeed a psychopath or not. (Some things on there include: Superficial Charm, Grandiose sense of self worth, pathological lying, cunning, lack of remorse, need for stimulation, early behavior issues, etc)

And it of course tells the story of the young man who was sent to Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital who claims to be a victim of the psychiatric industry’s unfalsifiable diagnoses. Ronson also meets and interview many other people and convicted murderers who he determines based on The Checklist if they are sane, or truly psychopaths. Amazing read, and I learned a lot about psychology.

Captive- Allan Hall: 5/10

The reason I bought this book was because it was about the Cleveland Abductions, the women who were held captive by Ariel Castro for ten years and escaped in May 2013.

I thought the book was going to be amazingly captivating and riveting, telling the tales from the women’s perspectives about how they survived and how they escaped hell.

But no. It was an outside perspective told by Allan Hall, who also wrote similar stories about similar cases taking place in Germany and Sweden. He brings up his other stories a lot which were kind of irrelevant to what I wanted to hear. He didn’t have any inside perspective from the women who actually lived there.. Only witness accounts and police statements mostly.

This book was a huge let down. I learned a lot of information about the case and about the kidnapper himself, but if you truly want to hear about the women’s story, we’ll have to wait until they come out with their own biography.

Humans of New York – Brandon Stanton: 6/10

This isn’t a novel, mostly pictures and captions about people in New York City, but it’s amazing and interesting. I discovered HONY through Facebook and Instagram and fell in love with reading the captions of people’s lives from around the world. So the book was a bit of a dissapointment to me because it had such short captions and not nearly as intersting captions or stories as the ones he now shares on social media.

So I’d say save yourself the money and just read what he posts on his blog/facebook/instagram.

Six Months Later – Natalie. D Richards: 8/10

This book was amazing. Here is what the back says:

When Chloe fell asleep in study hall, it was the middle of May. When she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can’t remember the last six months of her life.

Before, she’d been a mediocre student. Now, she’s on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he’s her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won’t speak to her.

What happened to her? Remembering the truth could be more dangerous than she knows…

It was honestly such a good book. So much suspense and I kept wondering what was going to happen next. It’s a sneaky little mystery and it’s a really good one too. I highly recommend it.

Skinny Bitch –  Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin: 7/10

This is a health book like never seen before. Rory and Kim tell it to you straight up how it is. Without holding anything back, including curse words, they teach you about the importance of health and nutrition. This book is one of the main reasons many people I know went Vegan. It tells you about the medical industry and how they lie to make money, the dairy and meat industry, where your meat/eggs/dairy come from, and so much more.

Such a great read and I definitely recommend it to everyone. (duh, so the world can go vegan!)

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak: 6/10

I honestly started this book and maybe got through about a quarter and I just never finished it. It was the end of the summer and I started getting ready to go back to University and moving in and everything and it just wasn’t that captivating thus far to keep me interested. I like the writing style and storyline, so I must finish it someday soon. So many books, so little time.

Wild – Cheryl Strayed: 6/10

My friend lent me this book and highly recommended i read it, so I did. Well, I started it, but just like The Book Thief, I got so busy and haven’t got a chance to finish it.

It’s about a woman who feels like her life is over. She’s 25, her mother just died, she just got a divorce, she was doing drugs, drinking, all this other stuff, and wanted to give up. So what did she do? Decide to drop everything and backpack across the Pacific Crest Trail.

The story is detailed and interesting and she gives you every single detail about her journey and how she traveled. The first night reading it I actually bawled at the part where she tells her ‘before’ life story and about her mother’s death.

It’s a really good read, I just haven’t got the chance to finish it yet.

After 1 – Anna Todd: 10/10

Oh my gosh. So let me tell you about After. After is a Fan Fiction created on Wattpadd by 25 year old Anna Todd from Texas. And what is the fan fic about you may ask? One Direction.

Now wait, hold on, don’t laugh and chuck your laptop/phone out the window. Give me a chance to explain.

I first heard of After when One Direction’s music video for Night Changes came out at the end of November. I was reading the comments and some girl commented saying “Has anyone read After? Because this reminds me of Tessa and her mother and blah blah blah”

I was like, what is After? So I googled it and found out it was a fanfic about One Direction. It also said how her story on Wattpadd had over 1 billion reads and was now being published into a book and even has the movie rights sold. I laughed and thought it was such a stupid thing. The story seemed cliche and dumb and people were commenting saying the writing style was shit and Simon&Schuster were idiots for publishing it.

So then the next day, I was doing a reading for one of my classes (Gender and Pop Culture) and we had to read an article online that was about the internet and becoming successful over social media and such. The main topic: Anna Todd and After.

I was like, oh man, now this is all I’m going to be hearing about. This is such a stupid story. Yet I clicked the link that the article had attached and read chapter 278 of After, book 3. (there’s 300 chapters all together.) Again, I thought it was cliche and stupid.

But when I went to bed that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about this damn book and the characters in it.

The next morning, I downloaded Wattpadd onto my phone and began reading.

Let’s just say, that is when the obsession started. I read the first and second book, which combined are around 1,000 pages) in exactly one week. I had school and exams, but I didn’t care. I read this shit in bed, on the bus, in lecture, at the dinner table, it was an obsession. I developed a severe eye twitch at the time from constantly reading such small print off of my bright screen during. It was bad.

Not only did I fall in love with the story, but I fell in love with One Direction. You have to understand, in After, One Direction doesn’t exist. Anna Todd simply uses the people (Harry, Zayn, etc) as characters in the story. They are completely different then the real life people, and are 100% fictional. They just happen to have their names and similar personality traits, histories, etc.

I then took a week break to get rid of my eye twitch, and in between exams, I read the third book, which itself is a total of 1,000 pages, and finished it in less than a week.

All I can say folks is; never judge a book by the review that other people give. 95% of the ratings online said that the book was shit and terribly written.

While I do agree that some parts were written poorly or had grammatical errors, I have to give Anna some slack. She’s never written fiction before and just simply wanted to play around for fun on Wattpadd for her own enjoyment. She did not know it would become famous with over 1 billion reads, get published and a book deal!

The storyline is what I’m focusing on here. The characters and plot are amazing. Suspenseful, riveting, capturing, heartwarming, etc. I laughed and cried and felt such strong emotions for the characters. And I think that’s what a story should be. I honestly have to admit I’ve never been this obsessed or in love with a book/books and it is probably by far my favourite.

It’s amazing and I am now a newly turned Directioner. Give it a chance people, hopefully you love it as much as I did.

After 2: 10/10

Perfect

After 3: 9/10

Amazing

On Writing – Stephen King: 10/10

I started reading this book when I was in my Writers Craft class in grade 12. I got about half way and then never finished it.

But recently I started writing another novel again, and I wanted to get some tips and knowledge on how to get better from The King himself; so I finally finished it last week.

This book is amazing. The whole book is about his life, personal experiences as a writer, then how to write, what to do, what not to do, editing, publishing, writing, etc. He includes everything that a beginning writer needs.

I feel as though I know Stephen personally now after spending so much time reading his words and advice. He speaks to you as if you are a friend he is giving his best advice to. I adore the man, always have, and now I appreciate him so much more. He defineletly helped me a great deal with my own story and writing.

I highly recommend this book if you are an aspiring writer 🙂

The Maze Runner – James Dashner: 9/10

I just finished this book last night, but I stayed up till 1am to finish it so that should tell you something.

I bought this book because I wanted to see the movie, and as I said before, I always want to read the book first.

The intro paragraph automatically hooks you. This boy is being brought up in a crate/elevator shaft and he doesn’t remember anything except his name. He arrives at the land of The Glades where he finds a bunch of other teenage boys who don’t remember anything from their past life, or why they have been sent here.

James Dashner does an incredible job at hooking the reader in and keeping them captivated throughout the entire book. I would finish a chapter, then immediately flip to the next because I had to find out what would happen.

The whole book is a guessing game for both the characters and yourself. They don’t know, and you don’t know. You find out together as you read. Who sent them here? What is their purpose?

Dashner also makes you sympathize and love the characters, and also despise them. (Dally). He portrays an excellent dystopia that almost reminded me of a cross between Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games.

It’s an amazing book and I highly recommend reading it before you watch the movie. Which hopefully I’ll be watching tonight.

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