The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

December 31, 2014 2014, Wendy, yearly favorites 126

2014 favoritesIf you’ve been paying attention to year-end Best of Young Adult Fiction lists, it’s interesting to note how many contemporary books wind up taking home the biggest prizes. Where’s the love for science fiction and fantasy? It’s a little baffling–and frustrating–that these genres remain largely unappreciated outside of the book community until some sort of crossover/commercial appeal suddenly deems them worthy of attention. While we’re certainly fans of well-written realistic fiction, we do think these kinds of results are a good reminder of why book blogs continue to be valuable resources for prolific readers.

So regardless of genre, if you’re a reviewer, please continue to champion the books you love to fellow booklovers, and try to do your best with people who might not otherwise give YA a chance. There’s an incredible amount of challenging and moving young adult literature outside of the few that are recognized by mainstream media or popular polls or bestseller lists, and sometimes you–yes, you–are one of the few people who will continue to passionately advocate on a book’s behalf long after the tours are over and the release dates have passed. I find most of the books I love best through bloggers, and I know I’m not alone in that. And hey, one of these days when Throne of Glass becomes a massive hit film franchise, you can smugly tell everyone I’VE BEEN CRYING OVER THAT SERIES FOR YEARS.

We read a lot of YA books here at The Midnight Garden. We are not influenced by marketing campaigns or shiny packaging or overflowing blurbs or advertising dollars or any sort of awards, and we promise to always do our very best to be fair and helpful in our reviews. So without further ado–get your shopping carts ready! Here are our favorite books published this year. There’s never enough time to get to everything, but between the five of us, we read 693 books in 2014 (and sampled a whole lot more) to bring you the lists below, which we feel represent some of the very best work in their genres.

the midnight garden best of 2014

 

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Kim’s 2014 Favorites

blue lily lily blueThese are the books that grabbed hold of my heart and touched it in ways both loving and painful. All of them are about love at their cores. Sometimes it was romantic love, sometimes the love between siblings, sometimes the love between friends, and one is even about love for humanity and existence itself. I’m so glad I read these books this year. They changed me for the better.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Blue Lily Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Underrated reads: Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule, A Matter of Souls by Denise Lewis Patrick, Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Most Disappointing Books: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Books Read in 2014: 186

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Layla’s 2014 Favorites

I was not surprised to find how much YA and romance I’ve read in 2014, as this has not been a good year in literary fiction for me. A few caveats: I didn’t properly track how many books I’d read, so I had to do some detective work to figure out how many books I’d read this year.  Also, I still haven’t read a few books I suspect I’m going to like a lot: Sarah Waters’s The Paying Guests, for example, as well as Maggie Stiefvater’s Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Why is there not more time. Why.

On the bright side, in 2014, I revisited a lot of older classics that I love (re-reading Little Women was one of the most fun readerly experiences I had this year) and was introduced to a few new series as well (like Vampire Academy and The Raven Boys – both wins for me, and both thanks to TMG).

heir of fireAll of my favorite YA novels this year were fantasy novels with badass heroines because that is how I roll. In addition to this, though, I think these books are notable for their incredibly detailed, beautifully written, and crazy good world-building.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

Favorite Adult Fiction:

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg
The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Most Disappointing Books: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Alienated by Melissa Landers

Books Read in 2014: 120 (Probably.)

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Peyton’s 2014 Favorites

winterspell2014 was quite the year for me. This was the year I really got back into reading and I am so glad I did. So many amazing books! I am so grateful to everyone at The Midnight Garden for welcoming me and allowing me to share in this amazing experience and can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store. I read 77 books this year, which may pale in comparison to some others’ reading lists, but is actually a personal best for me. I have to say, though there were a few duds, I found so many books that I fell in love with. Here are a few of them, in no particular order (except for The Winner’s Curse, which is forever number one).

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Books Read in 2014: 77

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Tonya’s 2014 Favorites

ruin and risingAt only 50 books for the year, I’m really screwing the curve for my counterparts here. In fact, if you remove the books I reread–whether for pleasure or to refresh myself for another book in the series–I only actually read 30, 8 of which were audiobooks (I get my reading in wherever I can fit it… and most days, I can fit it into my 45 minute commute). But of those 30 books are a few that will probably be reread next year. And the year after.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Books Read in 2014: 50

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Wendy’s 2014 Favorites

This has been a rough year. Not as crippling as some in years past, but it’s definitely had its ups and downs both as far as the blog goes and offline for me personally–and then of course, there have been terrible events within the book community that were frightening and disheartening as well.

But what can we do, except try our best? Reading has always been a pleasure, but I still find it pretty astonishing that I’m able to talk to people every single day of my life about books that make me happy or sad. Remember what we did before blogs and GoodReads and Twitter? We read books in isolation, and often we didn’t have anywhere to share that enormous breadth of feeling that a book can evoke, or anyone to ask the million questions it might raise. It’s a small miracle that we’re able to do this, and I thank our readers for sharing this wonderful experience of book love with us every day.

Here are the books that made me the most excited this year. They’re thrilling, they’re romantic, they’re thought-provoking, and some are also devastatingly sad. If you haven’t read them, I swear I will hound you until the end of your days until you do.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Careyqueen of the tearling
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Cutest Book of 2014: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Favorite Debuts: Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule, Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Shulz, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Favorite Picture Book: Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson

Favorite Adult Novels: Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach, The Martian by Andy Weir, Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop, Hard Time by Cara McKenna, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Most Disappointing Books: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Books Read in 2014: 260

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It’s interesting to see how much overlap there is on our lists, isn’t it? We definitely get each other excited about books, which is pretty fun since we like fangirling over books together! It looks like we’re pretty devoted fans of Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, M.R. Carey, Laini Taylor, Marie Rutkoski, Maggie Stiefvater, and Frances Hardinge in particular.

Did we get you guys excited about any of these books? Are our favorites on your own best of 2014 lists? Are there others we should check out? Good lord, we start this all over again tomorrow!

I am totally ready. Bring on the great books, 2015.

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 Photographs by Wendy Darling.

 

126 Responses to “The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014”

  1. Hesione

    Hi! I’ve looked around the website for a review of Ruin and Rising, since I love love love the Grisha trilogy, but I couldn’t find one – will there be a review of the book up soon?

  2. Alexa S.

    All of the Sarah J. Maas love is perfection, ladies! I loved seeing her books mentioned multiple times on your lists. That being said, I love that you did this post! As you said in your introduction, it’s important to keep on talking about the books we love and sharing them with other people. You definitely did that here :)
    Alexa S. recently posted…We Can Work It Out – Elizabeth Eulberg

  3. Esthefania de la Nuez

    Am I the only one that thinks it’s hilarious that all of them (except one) said that Heir of Fire was one of their favorites, and (after all the people talking about it that I’ve seen) We Were Liars was one of the most disappointing?

  4. Lia

    Wow, 693! And I finally found people who agree with me about We Were Liars! I think one of my favorite books read this year was Brazen, but Sarah J Maas, Leigh Bardugo, had INCREDIBLE books this year too . . . SO MANY

  5. Small Review

    I love what you said about reading in isolation and how all that has changed. It still surprises me that I actually have not just that one special person I *might* find who will talk books with me (in general, not necessarily the books *I* like) but that there’s a whole community out there now, right at my fingertips. Things have certainly changed!

    Your blog wasn’t updating in my feed reader, so I’ve been missing all kinds of posts from you for a long time now. Fixed it now :)
    Small Review recently posted…Books I Got

  6. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    Great lists! I love seeing what everyone else loved reading. I haven’t gotten my act together to make a best of list so I commend you all for doing it. It’s funny because I tend to read way more fantasy, sci fi, and romance that contemporary fiction but I do agree that the other genres don’t get as much love. I did not think I’d love The Winner’s Curse but I did. I also loved As You Wish, Magic Breaks, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry and Shadow Kin. There are so many books that I need to catch up on as well.
    fishgirl182 @ nite lite recently posted…Trailer: Pan

  7. A Canadian Girl

    We Were Liars and Alienated were so disappointing! Another novel I ended up being disappointed with was Love Letters to the Dead, which I see Wendy had as one of her favourites.

    Like most of you on The Midnight Garden though, I loved Dreams of Gods and Monsters and The Girl with All the Gifts. I also liked The Winner’s Curse.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2014

    • Layla

      Yay! I’m glad I’m not the only person who was whelmed by those two. (That said, I do still have Invaded and am looking forward to reading it.)

      Wasn’t The Girl with All the Gifts wonderful? I have never been more troubled (but totally onboard) with an ending to a book before. And I liked Dreams of Gods and Monsters – a really excellent ending to the trilogy, and far more hopeful than I thought it would be, which I was happy about.
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  8. Thomas

    Wonderful post, Wendy! Love how you guys at The Midnight Garden always encourage your readers to stand up for the books they love and to express their opinions. I have only read two books mentioned in this post, I think – The Girl with All the Gifts and Isla – so I have much to add to my to-read post. Great work this year maintaining a positive focus while striving for a diverse set of reads. Congratulations, also, to the new bloggers who have come so far. (:
    Thomas recently posted…Erasing My Eating Disorder

    • Layla

      Some of your books are still on my to-read list! I haven’t finished Bad Feminist, An Untamed State is STILL waiting for me on my Kindle, and now I want to read Gives Light because of your review. I really wanted to finish Bad Feminist in particular before the end of 2014 but it’s still not done. Anyway, it’s nice to see that I have lots of good reads to look forward to in my future; hopefully, I can finish them by the end of 2015. You have such a nice variety of books in your top 10!
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  9. Brandi

    Oh man, why’d I read this post? LOL, now I’ve got an even longer to-read list! The Raven Boys books, Laini Taylor, Girl with All the Gifts (really can’t wait for that one!)…oh so so many. Luckily my library has a lot of these via ebook to borrow, albeit with a short wait.
    Enjoyed reading each of your lists, I could hang with you guys with your Throne of Glass love! (So jealous that Wendy has read ACOTAR. Wish I could snag a review copy!)
    My goal this year is 60 books, almost twice as many as last year. It’s so exciting at the beginning of the year knowing there are great books to be read and you’ve got 365 days to get at ’em, lol.

    • Layla

      Yessssss. ::cackles gleefully:: Go forth and read a million things; you’re welcome. I think all of the books you mentioned would be great places to start off your reading for this year (I am particularly excited about everyone in the world reading The Girl with All the Gifts but that may just be me.) & the nice thing about The Raven Boys and the Laini Taylor books is that they are series so you can just keep reading.

      What was at the top of your list this year? And yay, good luck with your reading goal for 2015!
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

      • Brandi

        Favorite reads of the year are probably the Grisha books. I read all three back to back right at the time Ruin and Rising came out. Absolutely loved it. And also Heir of Fire! I liked Crown of Midnight more, but I’m definitely in love with the TOG series and will see it to the end.

        And thanks! I’m feeling pretty confident about my goal. I really want to enjoy some new ones. I re-read a lot last year so I’m ready to make new discoveries.

        (Side note: ordered the Anne of Green Gables books, the ones with the pretty new covers. Can’t wait!)

        • Layla

          I just got the Grisha books, but haven’t started them yet. I am so excited to read them tho. Everyone seems to love them.

          I did really love Heir of Fire; it’s been my favorite of the TOG books so far, mostly, I think, due to Manon? And I liked the kind of way the scope of the book widened, as well as all of the different narrators. Can’t wait to see how the series end, but that day seems so far off, especially if there’s going to be like … six books. (But on the other hand, a long fantasy series headed by Celaena! AWESOME. SAUCE.)

          Those are so pretty. You have chosen wisely.
          Layla recently posted…The Stolen Moon: Review

  10. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    Kim: HOF, BLLB and The assassin’s blade. Perfect picks. I’m in love with the Throne of glass series and I can’t get enough of the world or the characters. The assassin’s blade are the best novella’s I’ve ever read and I love how she wrote them as a story. BLLB makes me scared for the conclusion, it’s so good.

    Layla: I’ve enjoyed all the three YA books you’ve mentioned. I can’t believe I waited so long to finish Laini’s series. Her writing-style is gorgeous. The girl with all the gifts blew me away.

    Peyton: also HOF, BLLB and Dreams of gods and monsters, you guys have awesome taste. I enjoyed The winner’s curse and I can’t wait to get my copy from Winterspell.

    Tonya: BLLB, Dreams of gods and monsters, the girl with all the gifts and Cruel beauty, YES TO ALL OF THESE. Cruel beauty is one of the best retellings I’ve read so far.

    Wendy: Girl with all the gifts, The assassin’s blade, HOF, The queen of the Tearling, The winner’s curse, all books I agree with :D

    It’s cool you all seem to pick the same kind of books. Great picks.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Yearly recap 2014.

    • Layla

      I know! Generally I avoid books that feature angels like the plague so it’s to Laini Taylor’s credit that she made me like not just A BOOK but a SERIES OF BOOKS about an angel. I love her writing. Bah, gorgeous is really the perfect word for it. (But like … also wryly funny? So unexpected and wonderful when it happens. I think this is why I like Zuzana and Mik so much.)

      I know this wasn’t on my list because I just read it, but Queen of the Tearling was SO GOOD OMG. I cannot get over it.

      I think the picking of similar books is because when someone gets excited about a book, I immediately want to run out and read it. I never would have picked up The Girl With All the Gifts, for example, if it weren’t for Wendy’s review a few months back. Ditto ToG, ditto The Burning Sky and Perilous Sea …
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  11. J. Oh

    Love this post! :) I don’t know about previous years, since this was my first year using Goodreads, but I managed to read 160+ books this year (which, I’m still not quite sure how I managed while working full-time, haha).

    This blog has introduced me to a lot of great books, and I agreed with a lot of these. My personal favorite from the year is The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, but I also really enjoyed All Four Stars by Tara Dairman and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater.

    • Layla

      Woo! I feel like the universe (okay, maybe just everyone commenting here, but also the universe) is telling me to read The Winner’s Curse next. I still can’t believe I haven’t gotten to Blue Lily, Lily Blue yet, but it’s one of those books that I’m afraid to touch because my expectations for it are so high. Anyway, it’s cool that TWC is your personal fave for this year – that’s high praise!

      And I’d never have heard of All Four Stars without the blog and it looks excellent. Descriptions of delicious food = I’m set.
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  12. Brigid

    I WANT TO READ HOOK’S REVENGE! *jumps up and down like she’s twelve instead of a 23 year old*

    Yes yes yes yes…..okay too much christmas cookies for me. It looks so beautiful. And I also need to re-read Throne of Glass to see if my opinion is changed and THEN: Crown of Midnight because I bought them together. That is how I roll.

  13. Jenn

    Thanks for the post/lists, ladies! I feel like the sister in the movie Notting Hill who goes to the bathroom with Julia Roberts and says that she just knows they could be the best of friends – my best of 2014 list closely aligns with all of yours.

    Some of my favorites were Winner’s Curse, Winterspell, Cruel Beauty, and I have to say ALL of the ToG books because I finally listened to Kim and read (devoured) them. I just added Queen of the Tearling, The Burning Sky, & All Four Stars to my holds list at the library (I can’t believe I haven’t read AFS yet – I’m such a foodie!). Strange Sweet Song and Cuckoo Song were surprisingly NOT in our library’s catalog, but thank goodness for the Prospector system that lets me borrow from libraries all over Colorado with a mere click of a button.

    2014 was a good year in that I found your blog and got a little more involved in the YA community. Thanks for all the work you’ve put in to reading books and writing reviews – as well as all the other work behind the scenes. I’m catching up to following everyone on Twitter and Instagram.

    Here’s to 2015 and all the exciting releases/sequels to be! And Wendy – next time I visit my fam in LA I’m calling on you for restaurant recommendations.

    • Jenn

      Ack – forgot to list a couple of favorites. Of Metal and Wishes, Half a King, Ruin & Rising (best/most satisfying ending to a trilogy), Prisoner of Night & Fog (although minus points for the use of “Uncle Dolf”).

    • Layla

      I feel like this year was the year that people listened to Kim and read ToG, which, you know, is proof that people did 2014 right. (I count myself in there, too; I hadn’t read ToG before September. So, go team!)

      I still haven’t read The Winner’s Curse but need to make it among the next books I read, judging from everyone’s response to it here on the blog. (Everyone loves it! And I have a handful of IRL friends who have nothing but great things to say about it, too – even people who don’t typically read YA.) Do go read The Burning Sky and Queen of the Tearling when you get a chance – I juuuuuust finished the latter a few hours ago and I LOVED IT. (Go read it and love it too! When your library gets it to you!)

      My library also didn’t have Cuckoo Song but I am going to Interlibrary Loan that ASAP. Also the other books you listed as favorites – so many I still haven’t gotten to. (Of Metal and Wishes, Half a King, Prisoner of Night & Fog – none of them! It makes me wonder what I did read this past year.)
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh Lisa–are you okay? I didn’t realize you were having a rough year, I’m so sorry! Hoping 2015 is a better year for all of us, personally and book-wise.

      And absolutely, 80 is fantastic! I didn’t mean the numbers to be such a thing in this post–maybe next year I’ll take out the individual tallies again. I think it’s interesting as a whole to see how much ground the blog covers as a whole to come up with the lists, but I don’t think it’s a measure of success or failure, regardless of what anyone’s numbers are. Reading should be fun, and no good can come out of feeling pressured to meet goals or comparing your habits to anyone else.

      Incidentally–I finally reposted a bookmark to you since the first one never made it! I sent it to your FL address, and I believe it should get there tomorrow.

      <3 to you, Lisa.

  14. Heidi Schulz

    Wendy, I am so pleased and honored that Hook’s Revenge was included on your list. You are top of my list of favorite bloggers! I’m hoping 2015 is wonderful for you. <3

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw, Heidi! <3 HOOK'S REVENGE was super fun, and I'm so glad I've gotten to know you (and got to hang out with you!) in 2014, and here's hoping for more mutual book love in the new year. You have an open invitation to come do things with us anytime, either here at the blog or if you ever make it down to LA. :)

  15. Angie

    Thank you for your lists. YA is a genre I always want to read more of, but for some reason I seem to overlook it. I’m not sure why. It is something I’m hoping to remedy this year, though, so I appreciate your suggestions!

    Red Rising has been on my to be read list for a while, so I think I’ll start with that!
    Angie recently posted…Badass Best of 2014: Our Most Anticipated 2015 Reads

  16. Hilary

    Okay. I really need to read Throne of Glass just so I can join in the conversation. And I need to read more fantasy books as well since I’ve only been reading contemporaries and that can be a little bit depressing.
    I’m on the fence on Laini Taylor’s works. I’m currently reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone and while her writing style is definitely beautiful, it’s unfamiliar and strange to me (I’m not quite sure how to explain it) that it’s jarring. I’ll try to finish it since so many of you loved it.

    I’ve heard mixed reactions to Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. Not many people liked her Shiver series but a lot of people liked The Raven Boys series.

    I’m really happy that I came to your blog, TMG! Your blog was the first to introduce me to this book-blogging community and I can’t thank you enough. Reading isn’t such a lonely adventure anymore.
    Hilary recently posted…Bookish/Inkish/Everythingish Resolutions for 2015

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh yes PLEASE read TOG. I put off reading it for literally two years, and it was only Kim’s insistent book-pushing that made me (and Layla!) finally give in. I read the first 3 books in one weekend, and shed a lot of tears. I hope you enjoy them, too! (I could totally use more fluffy contemporaries, by the way. I know serious realistic fiction is important/necessary, but there have been so many lately–I’m so over the doom and gloom ones.) But if you’re okay with novellas, I would recommend reading THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE first. Per my conversation with Morgan below you, you really do understand the character so much better if you learn about her history and what’s led her to the state where she finds herself in the first book THRONE OF GLASS.

      And I have to confess–I’m not a huge Laini Taylor person myself. I wrote a really long review back in the day here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/221275938 with similarly mixed feelings to yours. I appreciate much of what she does, but I’m not as moved by it as I feel like I should be? But definitely continue on if you’re curious, obviously I’m in the minority! As you can see, Tonya and Layla and Peyton all loved the last book a lot.

      I actually ADORE Maggie Stiefvater’s first SHIVER book (one of my favorite books of all time, seriously) and her Raven Cycle series, though I’m very mixed on her more popular books, such as THE SCORPIO RACES and the later Wolves of Mercy Falls books and her faery series. I have an intense, but complicated relationship with her books, so I do hope you’ll give her a try sometime. You never know! You might be in the “love” camp, too. :)

      And thank you so much for telling us that, Hilary! It can sometimes feel strange writing reviews and wondering if people find them helpful, so we always appreciate the feedback. We sincerely enjoy talking to everyone, and it’s just wonderful we’re all able to go through these highs and lows with books together. <3 I'm glad you found us, and I'll definitely stop by soon to see what you're up to as well!

  17. Morgan @ Gone with the Words

    I absolutely loved The Assassin’s Blade- it gave so much emotion and nuance to Celaena’s backstory and are some of the only novellas that I feel are essential to read to appreciate the series more. And then Heir of Fire, of course. ToG gets better with every book, I’m so glad there are three more! I loooved BLLB too, the Raven Cycle is one of my all-time favorite series and I loved all the unexpectedness of the latest book. EVERY BREATH! I hadn’t heard of it until I saw some reviews on twitter and I fell in love when I read it. The sequel is going to be one of my first reads of the new year.

    Can’t wait to read The Perilous Sea, I really enjoyed The Burning Sky! And I’m glad you liked The Raven Boys :D I hear the Vampire Academy sequels get really good, maybe I should give them a chance. I thought book one was just ok.

    77 is a lot of books to me! I read 68 this year and last year’s 85 is my personal best, so not far off. The Winner’s Curse was so fantastic; I almost let the hype scare me away but I was hooked immediately and it lived up to every glowing review I had read! Winterspell is going to be an early 2015 read for me, I love retellings :)

    Speaking of retellings, Cruel Beauty was so seductive and enticing and exciting. I really loved it, and the cover of course! Will get to Isla soon I’m hoping.

    I’m very excited about Queen of the Tearling; I’ve heard mixed reviews but I still think I would really enjoy it. Definitely on the top of my TBR! And I JUST finished Hook’s Revenge a couple days ago, it was so cute and so much fun!

    Loved all the lists, and the book overlap! That just means you all made good choices :) Happy reading in 2015!
    Morgan @ Gone with the Words recently posted…Morgan’s 2014 End of Year Survey!

    • Wendy Darling

      I loooooove ASSASSIN’S BLADE too, Morgan. I think it’s still my favorite Sarah book, because yes, you understand Celaena so well after reading it. And SAM! Sam just breaks my heart. I totally agree with you–novellas are often skippable fluff, but in this case they really are necessary reading. I always tell people to try and read those first before TOG if they can. (Hah, “always.” I only read these a few months ago! But I’ve told a lot of people since then, so that has to count, right?) I’m glad we have so many more books to look forward to, but also scared. So much potential for heartbreak.

      I am a huge fan of Vampire Academy–books two and three are better than one, and four and five and fantastic, if I remember correctly. We’ll just pretend that six doesn’t exist. ;) I’m so glad you enjoyed THE WINNER’S CURSE and HOOK’S REVENGE and CRUEL BEAUTY as well. Speaking of CB, I think you’ll love Sarah J. Maas’ new book A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, which comes out next May–I think it has a very CB-type feel, and since it’s new adult it’s even MORE seductive! I was fanning myself quite vigorously while reading.

      I’m also glad you’re going to give TEARLING a try. It’s definitely a very polarizing book, so I guess you’re going to either love it or hate it, hah. Let us know either way! Squees or debates, we’re game. ;)

      Congratulations on your 68, Morgan! Look forward to chatting with you in the new year.

    • Layla

      I loved Assassin’s Blade, too! Really glad I read it before Throne of Glass – it was interesting to head into the first book with slightly more of Celaena’s back-story fleshed out.

      I wouldn’t have read either The Burning Sky or The Perilous Sea without Kim’s recommendation, but I will say that while I liked The Burning Sky, I LOVED The Perilous Sea. So if you loved TBS, I suspect that you’ll be really excited about TPS.

      Vampire Academy does get really good, I think! I was hooked on the series from the start, but I think once you develop a connection to the characters, the series only gets better. I had a friend just start reading another series by Mead that I want to start, too. Anyway, give the next book a try and see how you feel after that? It may not be up your alley, though, and that is okay too!

      Yeah, after finishing Cruel Beauty I am SUPER READY for Crimson Bound. Eeeeeee.

      Happy 2015!
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

    • Peyton

      VAMPIRE ACADEMY is one of those series that gets better with every book. The first wasn’t my favorite, but I absolutely loved them as I went on.

      I have already read THE WINNER’S CURSE three times. I just love it so much. I’m glad you liked it too! You should definitely read WINTERSPELL. It was just so different and beautifully written. I love retellings too, especially when they’re for some of the more underrated stories.
      Peyton recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

    • Kim

      The thing about THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE is that at the end of it I was actually jumping up and down on my bed with my fist in the air yelling, “YOU CAN DO IT, GIRL. YOU’RE GONNA MAKE IT OUT OF THERE AND BE STRONGER.” So that was a first.
      Kim recently posted…The Ghosts of Heaven: visual tour + giveaway

  18. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I’m not the world’s biggest fan of contemporary…but you’re right! It’s like the biggest read genre for me too! I think, maybe, (for me at least) that’s also because it’s easier to read? When my brain is tired I’d rather just flop with a book I don’t have to conentrate really hard on intricate worldbuilding with. BUT WHATEVER. This year I’m going to really hone into epic fantasy! ^_^ Sarah J Maas has probably ruined me since hers are jafslkads oh so good. But we’ll see! I think my first read of 2015 is going to be Jay Kristoff. XD
    Congrats on an awesome reading year, everyone!!
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Wherein Rooms by Lauren Oliver Completely Surprises Me

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s so weird! I actually enjoy a lot of fluffy contemporaries for the reason you mention–they’re fun and easy to read, and a nice palate cleanser between those books that demand you learn all those new names and terminology. But sometimes the fantasy/scifi is so worth it!

      And hah, Kristoff is going to demand every single brain cell you have. Hope you enjoy! I know you will like Buruu.

    • Layla

      Yessss, epic fantasy. What’s on your to-read list? And while TOG is wonderful, I have faith that we will find other things we love (to fill the empty space in our hearts while we wait for the fourth TOG book to come out).

      I hear you. I tend to go for Regency romance when my brain is tired (probably for similar reasons).

      Also, I see that you posted about BLLB and I want to read it but I still haven’t read that book yet! Fail, Layla. FAIL. But eee, I am so excited for it that I keep on setting it aside until I have enough time for it. (Which will never happen, because I need A Day for that and A Day for Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses and I do not have time).

      Happy new year!
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  19. Dawn

    I totally agree with your rant about the overlooking of fantasy and science fiction and if I ever get on a jury; I will campaign for them!
    I have read most of the books on your lists and I have to disagree with We Were Liars, that was one of my favorites of the year. How could you all hate it?! :-)
    Oooh, and Queen of the Tearling- horrible but I guess that’s what makes us all individuals.
    I also loved Winner’s Curse and TOG series and btw, you all missed Kiss of Deception.
    Great Post!

    • Wendy Darling

      Dawn, I exercised huge amounts of restraint in that rant, hah. I have been SO CRANKY watching these Best of 2014 lists roll in. Where’s all the scifi/fantasy?? It seems like pseudo-literary contemporaries are the flavor of the day, and I am so frustrated that people who don’t ordinarily read this age category might try those out and think that YA has nothing more to offer than that. Why is it that SF/F has to be made into a movie or make a bazillion dollars before it gets any notice outside of the community? Okay, I could rant on and on about this, so I’ll stop. I’m glad to hear you feel the same way, though! JEEZ.

      But hah, how funny that we disagree on so many of the books! Including TEARLING, which was so very polarizing, and WWL, too. We will have to agree to disagree on those.

      I’m glad you love TOG and The Winner’s Curse too, though! I guess we can still be friends. ;) And actually, Peyton really liked KOD. Both Kim and I had more mixed feelings on that one (I liked the story/feel, but MAN did the love triangle take over the book), but I’m still interested in seeing where the characters end up so I’ll be reading book two.

      Thanks for stopping by! May there be wonderful reads for all of us next year!

    • Peyton

      KISS OF DECEPTION was a runner-up for me. I really liked it, but I wasn’t crazy with the drawing out of who was who and the love triangle. Glad you liked THE WINNER’S CURSE and THRONE OF GLASS too. Everyone just needs to read more fantasy in general! :)
      Peyton recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh GOOD, I’m glad you’re going to give those two a shot! Best to read TGWATG knowing as little about it as possible, and with TEARLING–just try to be patient with the long journey, hah. I hope you enjoy! We all have a lot of catching up to do, too, there’s just never enough time to read all the things we want to.

      (But yeah, WWL isn’t one we’d be encouraging you to seek out. Heh.) Happy new year, Eileen! Here’s to many great books and cat snuggles!

    • Layla

      Yessssss, go read The Girl with All the Gifts immediately! So excellent. A good way to kick off a new year of reading. :) I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about it if/when you finish it.

      I also need to read The Queen of the Tearling – I’ve had it on my Kindle for months and still haven’t touched it. Wah.

      Happy New Year!
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  20. Johannah

    Looking back at all 49 books I’ve read… I’m disappointed in myself. A bunch of them were kid books that I re read just so I can make my challenge goal. I liked them but I feel like I cheated myself out of some good books. Next year my goal will be a smaller number I think so I don’t feel so much pressure. I want to read some 2014 releases I had gotten this year that I haven’t read yet too. Hopefully next year I don’t beat myself up too badly for ‘cheating’ so to speak.
    Johannah recently posted…Too many Books

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw, don’t be disappointed, Jo! We all go through ebbs and flows with our reading. I went through 3 or 4 months this year without reading any YA at all, I had such a mental block for some reason. I think we all have to just find the time and pace that works for us, and the reading material, too! I don’t think it’s cheating at all to read books you find pleasure in, nor do I think it’s healthy to put pressure on yourself. Re-reads can be so wonderful, and escapism should never be underrated, whether it’s fluffy books or kids’ books or whatever.

      All that is easier said than done sometimes, I know, but truly–I hope you just enjoy books whenever and wherever you can, regardless of what they are. Sometimes the pressure we put on ourselves, with numbers or goals or genres or whatever, can also work against our pleasure. And who needs that?

  21. Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    Ladies, bravo on surpassing 600 books this year! Isla, Blue Lily Lily Blue, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Romancing the Duke, Suffragette Scandal, Ruin & Rising, Cruel Beauty, and The Perilous Sea are all some of my favorites from this past year as well. Like many of you, We Were Liars was an utter disappointment–can’t believe it was voted Best Book of 2014 in many places! Wonderful re-cap and I can’t wait for another year with all of you! :)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Review: Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

    • Wendy Darling

      Ooo, you’re a fan of both those romances too? Now I know I have to read them, if you and Layla both recommend them! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed CRUEL BEAUTY as well, that one seems fairly polarizing.

      And I am not-so-secretly glad that you are in the black sheep pen with us as far as WWL is concerned. I had a feeling it was going to sweep a bunch of awards, but that doesn’t mean I was happy about it. <.< Happy 2015, Keertana! Look forward to chatting with you. <3

        • Wendy Darling

          I used to read a ton of historical romances, but only occasionally do it nowadays–so hard to find the good ones! I remember reading a CM freebie earlier this year that I really liked, though. I think I actually downloaded GOVERNESS AFFAIR, I’ll have to see!

    • Layla

      High-five! So stoked that someone else here has read and loved Romancing the Duke and/or The Suffragette Scandal! Those were absolutely my two favorite romances of the last year (I am a sucker for historical romance). While the central romance in TSS isn’t my favorite of Milan’s books (The Countess Conspiracy is my fave), I found the book itself – and Free! – to be really engaging and interesting. More suffragette heroines, plz. So so glad you liked as well!

      Also, yeah, WWL was kind of a bummer for me. I know lots of folks liked it though!

      Happy 2015!
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  22. nica

    I didn’t read any books listed, but I am sure a few are on my tbr list or they will be added soon. I haven’t read much the last two yrs, but I read double this yr than I did last yr. I am proud of that :)

    I have mostly been keeping up with my favorite series. I hardly see anyone who reads them except my sister. I did get to mark a few off my tbr list this yr, but they aren’t 2014 published.

    I will say Cassy Clare brought TMI back to its spot on my top shelf this yr :)

    But my heart will forever belong to the Dark Hunter world. Some books may just be fillers and you can see the transition from a romace novel to a fantasy. But the world and main characters are my favorite friends to catch up with or meet for the first time. Chron of Nick this yr was an interesting twist on the DH world, as well as the bomb dropped in the adult DH Son of No One. This is a series I will be smug when everyone jumps on the exciting ride that I am prob over 40 books -including the ya, adult, and anthologies- deep when the movies and cable series comes out.

    And Della’s spin off at Shadow Falls was a refreshing look at the camp with great potential. I hope she can bring this series to its rightful place in the paranormal world.

    Then of course I can’t forget Ethan Chase. His story has been such an interesting voice in the Iron Fey realm.

    I have enjoyed all your reviews and I’m so glad I found you :D

    • Wendy Darling

      Doubling your reading is fantastic! I need to get caught up on TMI, I heard this last one was a doozy. I think I’m two books behind, they’re just so LONG, hah. Infernal Devices is one of my favorite series of all time, though. I’m super excited about The Dark Artifices and then the other spinoff coming later on.

      I don’t think I’ve tried the Dark Hunter or Chronicle of Nick series yet, though I’m always intrigued by huge game-changers. I hope you have insane piles of books to happily read through in 2015, and that all your favorite authors continue to surprise and thrill you. <3 Thanks so much for sharing your 2014 favorites--I'm glad you found us, too!

    • Layla

      What series do you normally read? (I ask because it sounds like you like romance, and I like romance a lot.) I actually read the first of the Dark Hunter books this year – Fantasy Lover – which a friend of mine had been trying to get me to read since maybe like … 2007. And I just got to it this year.

      Also, are there going to be DH and CON movies and/or a TV series? I’m curious about what that’ll be like.

      Happy 2015!
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

      • nica

        Thanx for the replies :) So nice to have a little chit chat about books <3

        I am excited to get more reading in this yr! I have loads of books to dig into and pile on ;)

        I absolutely adore Infernal Devices!! My love for the Carstairs is why I finished TMI. It was a great intro to TDA and close to TMI as well as tie in for TID..lol If you followed that, your my bookmate..ha!

        I like fairytale/folklore, paranormal, fantasy, etc..
        Also the classics. My mom actually makes me read romance with her, but I always enjoy a good romance. That is how I became a Menyon!
        The DH world was bound to find me. I had Chronicles of Nick on my tbr for a while, but my mom forced me to read "Fantasy Lover" before I got to read CON (or knew it connected), and goodreads lead me to the series (love that site).

        But the DH series is not for the younger crowd or faint of heart. These characters suffer the most horrific things, but the worse their trials the greater the HEA. Just a warning.

        But Chronicles of Nick is fine for young audiences. I read them with my son.

        If you ever have a chance to meet Sherrilyn Kenyon, don't hesitate! She is such a lovely and interesting person.
        She is co-writing and in negotiation on the scripts for the Chronicles movies -to be coming out this year or next- and the DH cable series.

        They (hopefully) should be made well since the Sherri is completely involved in the production.

        2015 is an exciting book yr :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I was SO nervous about starting R&R, too! I don’t think I read it until October? Something like that. It turned out as I’d expected, though, and it was a lovely ending to the series, imo. I hope you love it, too.

      Happy new year, Nereyda!

    • Layla

      I hear you! I’m starting Ruin and Rising soon, too (thanks to Wendy). Twinsies!

      Looking at your list – wow, you read some great books this year! Super impressed by your audiobook count; that’s awesome. Also also, I’m amused that WWL made your DNF list this year, as well as Deep Blue – I picked that up at a conference and have been curious about it, because mermaids? I can’t remember that last time I read a book about mermaids.

      Happy 2015!
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  23. Nikki

    I haven’t read any of the books on your lists yet!!! Which is making me really sad considering I actually did read almost 200 books this year. Unfortunately I only have so much money to spend on books so I usually have to wait till they aren’t even remotely popular anymore so their price drops and I can afford it. I will say Wendy’s list was the most reflective of the 2014 books that I would like to read. The ones I’m really looking forward to, in order of desire, are: 1)The Martian 2)The Girl with all the Gifts 3) Cuckoo Song 4)The Paying Guests 5) Cruel Beauty. I’m also really surprised by how many people I know that didn’t like We Were Liars given how good it did in the GoodReads awards. I personally have no desire to read it given that almost everyone on MG didn’t like it. And I trust you guys A LOT! :)

    Happy reading for 2015! I’m starting off my year with Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. Not exactly the kind of read you see here, lol!

    • Wendy Darling

      Whaaat, how is that possible? I guess when we have so many overlaps it’s not that surprising, hah. But 200 books, wow! That’s awesome. I hear you on waiting for price drops, especially since books are so expensive–if you read a lot, it can definitely get out of hand. I remember the first year I had my Kindle, the bill for the first two months was…crazy. In my defense, my husband was traveling and it was winter and I was sick, hah. I’m happy to see that a lot more new books seem to go on sale really quickly, though, even if it’s for a limited time. I was surprised by that trend this year, but it works to our benefit.

      I’m very excited you’re excited about those books! (And yay for eclectic taste. I actually do like Stephen King too–I even think he’s kind of a genius, though I’ve only read a fraction of what he’s written) I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, the first 3 you mention in particular are spectacular standouts in their genres. And yeah, none of us will cry if you don’t read WWL, hah. I side-eye those GoodReads awards every year, though damned if I don’t vote every year.

      <3 for the trust in us! And happy, happy reading to you, too, Nikki! Let us know what you're loving in 2015, please.

    • Layla

      Hey, way to go with your book count! That’s awesome. And I totally hear you about waiting for books to drop in price; I try to avoid paying the full price for books if and when possible, which is why I love my local public library so much. :)

      I am also really looking forward to reading The Martian; I’ve heard such good things about it. And The Paying Guests has been on my TBR list for-ev-er – I love Sarah Waters but haven’t gotten around to it yet (some of my friends have had mixed responses to it; I’m hoping my feels will be more like Wendy’s, though). Also also eeeee, I am so excited for you to read The Girl with All the Gifts whenever that happens for you! The less said the better, but man, that book is so interesting and I want everyone in the world to read it.

      Avoid WWL at all costs! Unless you’re curious. But, you know, proceed with caution and such. :)
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  24. kindlemom1

    I have to agree with you all, this was definitely the year for amazing fantasy/sci fi reads and this is coming from a person that swore off both genres at one point and now love them!

    All it takes is one amazing writer to get you to fully understand how great these genres can be and you have a great list of where people can start.

    Congrats on reading so many books you guys, that is awesome!
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

    • Wendy Darling

      I feel like scifi and fantasy have had such strong standouts this year–they need more love! And I’m like you, I’m often suspicious of both genres, but when the books work, they can be such spectacular reading experiences. I totally agree that being in the hands of the right writer makes all the difference.

      And thank you! Hope you had some fantastic reads this year, too. Onto a glorious 2015, hopefully!

  25. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    HOW DID I FORGET TO ADD HoF TO MY LIST?? I always forget some of the most obvious, amazing books. Overall, I felt that 2014 sort of disappointed me but mostly because there were far more contemporary books than fantasy/sci-fi (or it felt like that at least) I am so excited about this upcoming year of books…so much fantasy (my heart just squees). Happy New Year’s you lovely ladies!
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Favorites of 2014

    • Wendy Darling

      I don’t know, Kristen, but that might be an unforgivable offense. *pokes meaningfully* I always live in fear of forgetting something, too! It’s so easy to with the amount of books we all read.

      I actually don’t think 2014 was a totally fantastic year for YA, either, as a whole. There were obviously some awesome books we loved, but the number of books I got excited about (and I know at least a couple of the other TMG ladies feel the same way, from discussing internally) paled in comparison to the past few years. Hopefully we’ll see more in 2015? Fingers crossed!

      And happy, happy new year to you! Wishing you lots of cozy reading time for sure.

    • Kim

      Ha! Oh, Kristen. Perhaps you were just overwhelmed with recent ACOTAR-ness and temporarily blinded you from TOG stuff. We’ll just go with that. :p And yessss. 2014 just seemed rather lackluster to me overall. But there are so many bright and shiny 2015’s that I’m already really looking forward to. *crosses fingers for a better bookish 2015*
      Kim recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  26. Adi

    Hi guys,
    I just have to say, YES, Frances Hardinge! She is one of my heroes, and I don’t know why she isn’t president of the world yet.

    I’m so pleased to see SSS here, and thank you for championing all these wonderful books.
    Adi Rule

    • Wendy Darling

      Adi, I have been told to read A FACE LIKE GLASS for years and years and I never listened! Why was I so foolish? She is WONDERFUL and I want to read everything she has ever written! I can see why you want her to preside over our well-being. *sigh*

      And thank you so much for writing such a lovely book with STRANGE, SWEET SONG! Kim and I both loved that, and are very much looking forward to book two. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help with its release. <3

    • Kim

      Adi! Hiii! I actually have to say thank you because it was reading an interview with you where you named CUCKOO SONG a favorite read of the year (back then it was “so far”) and I knew if you rec’d it it must be good. :) So thank you! Can’t wait for Redwing! :D

  27. Carina Olsen

    Meeep! I love this post you guys. <3 You are all amazing. And you all read so many great books this year :D But omg, yess, Wendy. So little love for science fiction and fantasy books lately :\ but I love them. I still love Fantasy books more than any other genre :) and I still don't like contemporary, not really, hih (A) not for me. Sigh. Anyway.

    Yay! Kim! I love your list. <3 I adored Ruin and Rising & Blue Lily, Lily Blue too. <3 Such perfect books. Sniffs. And still so glad I never bought We Were Liars, lol :) You are awesome. <3

    Layla! So many great books read :D I also really, really loved The Perilous Sea. <3 So good. But aw :( You didn't like Alienated? I loved it. But I do get why it isn't for everyone :) Love your list, though. <3

    Peyton! Meep. Lots of perfect books. WINTERSPELL. My love. The Winner's Curse! So damn good. <3 You read a bunch of awesome books this year :) I also adored The Iron Trial. <3 SO GOOD :)

    Yay, Tonya :D You still read this year, so that is good. <3 And bunch of amazing books on your list too. Sigh. Ruin and Rising. <3 My love. Adored Cruel Beauty too :) Hope you'll read tons of books next year :D

    Wendy. <3 Huuugs :( I'm so sorry this year hasn't been the best. It hasn't been for me either. Sigh. Fingers crossed 2015 will be all kinds of perfect. <3 I adore your list :D Loved a few of them as well. Ruin and Rising, hih. <3 And adored Love Letters to the Dead :) Still so so happy I did not get We Were Liars. Seems like most people hated it :) Anyway. You are the best. <3

    I adored reading all your favorite books :D Thank you all so much for sharing. <3 Happy new year girls :)
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #168

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s so weird how most lists tend to ignore scifi and fantasy, isn’t it? I wanted to write a somewhat ranty post about that, but it didn’t feel right to be so negatively focused in a year-end list. I DO like contemporary YA when it’s well done, but if you weren’t in the book community, you might think all YA published was John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and WE WERE LIARS this year. Which is weird, since JG didn’t even release a book. Anyway, it’s not a criticism of realistic fiction at all, because I think those are important and can be wonderful. It’s more an observation that many of these other awards are heavily skewed, for a variety of reasons.

      I’m sorry to hear you had a rough 2014, too. :( Here’s hoping next year will be better for us both! xoxo Happy new year, Carina!

    • Layla

      You had lots of great fantasy on your list for this year, Carina. (Some of which … I still haven’t read. Like This Shattered World or City of Heavenly Fire. AND I STILL HAVEN’T READ The Scorpio Races, what is wrong with me.) A friend also just rec’d The Walls Around Us to me and it’s waiting for me on my Kindle. Le sigh. Too many books to read!

      I did really like The Perilous Sea – I like some of Sherry Thomas’s romances a lot but liked The Perilous Sea more than almost anything else I’ve read by her lately, though The Luckiest Lady in London was excellent. And I never would have read The Perilous Sea without Kim urging me to do it – and no surprise, I loved it. A cross-dressed heroine and all the footnotes my heart could have ever desired.

      See, I had SUPER HIGH expectations for Alienated but really wanted there to be less romance and more other stuff. I still have the sequel though! And will read it! And have feelings about it, no doubt!
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

      • Carina Olsen

        Meeep! You really need to read This Shattered World and City of Heavenly Fire :D Both books were just so so good. <3 Sigh. And omg! You still haven't read The Scorpio Races? SHAME ON YOU, lol :D It is the most perfect. <3 You must find the time to read it soon :) The Walls Around Us is also really, really amazing. <3 And sad. Sniffs.

        Yess. The Perilous Sea is just so good. <3 I haven't read any of her other books, as I still don't read any adult, but hopefully one day soon :D Glad you love her books. <3

        Aw, sad face. Heh, I do understand you :) There was a lot of romance in it ;p but I loved it. A bit less of it in Invaded, though, as they do spend some time apart :) It's pretty awesome. I hope you'll love it :D
        Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #168

        • Wendy Darling

          Ooo, I’m glad to hear you loved THE WALLS AROUND US! I adore Nova Ren Suma. Her writing is so gorgeous and mysterious, I can’t wait to read that. Especially since you say it is sad. :D

          I need to read the Sherry Thomas books, too. If you and Kim and Layla all loved it…

          • Carina Olsen

            YAY :D I do think you’ll love The Walls Around Us. It was the best book by Nova, I think. <3 It is a bit sad though, sniffs. But also so well done. Excited to hear your thoughts about it :D

            Yesss. The Burning Sky & The Perilous Sea are AAAAAMAZING :D You must read them Wendy. <3 The romance is so good. Sigh. And the plot is exciting too :)
            Carina Olsen recently posted…Review: The Stolen Moon by Rachel Searles

        • Layla

          I know! I just renewed The Scorpio Races from the library … again. (Thank you, library, for letting me renew books. I owe you, big time. I didn’t read anything I thought I was going to read last week! AUGH. Instead I read a lot of NA. ::guilty::)

          Oh man, I KNOW. I really liked These Broken Stars and from what Wendy wrote about This Shattered World suspect that I’m going to really dig the heroine. I wish I didn’t have anything to do but read YA / books I want to read. SIGH.

          I’ll be sure to read The Walls Around Us when I’m emotionally ready. I think that’s one of those ones I picked up because I liked the cover design, though; I know very little about it – but now I know to come prepared with Kleenex.

          Yeah, I am as surprised as anyone to discover that I actually want less romance in my young adult reading these days. (Which is a crazy feel as I love – love, love, love – reading romances.) But I always want them to play out differently than they do!
          Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

          • Carina Olsen

            I do love when there are romances in the books I love. <3 I just want them to be done REALLY well. And without drama. And no triangle stuff at all. Hmph. Cannot wait for yout to read The Scorpio Races :D There is a small romance; not big part of the book, but damn. It is good. I really, really hope you'll love it :) And I do think you'll love the other books as well :D They are awesome. Sigh. Just reading the books we want to would be awesome. But I have way too many review copies for that :p
            Carina Olsen recently posted…Review: The Stolen Moon by Rachel Searles

    • Peyton

      It’s so strange because I’ve always read more fantasy/scifi than contemporary. Sometimes there’s a contemporary that really grabs me, but for the most part it’s all about the fantasy. I think WINTERSPELL AND THE WINNER’S CURSE were probably my top two. So original! So awesome! I’m glad you loved them too because they both need all the love!

      Happy New Year!
      Peyton recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

    • Kim

      Hee, thanks, Carina! R&R was such a satisfying trilogy conclusion. Happy, without being cloying. And not without its sacrifices. And BLLB…oh my, Gansey. How I worry about him!

      And you *should* be glad you never wasted any hard earned money on We Were Liars because it was TERRIBLE. Like Wendy said, it’s frustrating enough that SFF gets little to no love in end of year lists but also that the contemporaries that make it are just awful. I can think of many (and I’m not even a fan of contemporary) contemp books better than WWL that would’ve better deserved a spot. Oh well, one day when I run the book world it will all be different! :p
      Kim recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

      • Carina Olsen

        Yay :D I did love R&R to pieces. <3 I know some was disappointed, but I thought it ended just the way it should have. And I'm so happy with all the things that happened before the ending as well. Sigh :)

        Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Sobs. GANSEY. My Gansey. I just cannot. He is the most amazing character. And I love him to pieces. And he better not be hurt in book four! Sniffs. I need someone to show him more, love, though. <3 Feel like everyone is taking him for granted. Hmph.

        Aw, yeah. So glad I did not buy it. But also a bit sad that it was so awful. How depressing. It makes me a bit angry, lol, when people love books that I hate (A) But I do agree with you; I'm sure there are a lot better books in that genre out there :) I'm just not a fan on this genre at all. I need more excitement, lol :) ONE DAY. You shall rule :)
        Carina Olsen recently posted…Review: The Stolen Moon by Rachel Searles

  28. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Aw, it seems that most of you were disappointed with We Were Liars :( I guess the book got way overhyped. As yes The Queen of Tearling! I’ve been meaning to read that one though some have told me it’s not strictly YA?

    Anyways, Happy New Year to you lovely ladies! <33
    Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) recently posted…2014’s End of Year Book Survey

    • Wendy Darling

      I can’t deny that the hype played into the amount of dislike I had for that book. I would have disliked it anyway, but seeing it sweep so many awards admittedly did affect the “realllly?” feeling I got as I was reading it. It’s probably best to read those things in as much of a vacuum as possible!

      Yeah, TEARLING is more adult/NA, though it’s got definite YA appeal. I really want more people to read it, because everyone seems to either love it or hate it, hah!

      Happy new year to you, sweetie! We’ve been around very sporadically, but I’m hoping to get over to see you and the girls at YAMR soon. Love to you all.

  29. Jasprit

    I’m thrilled to see that you were all able to read many great books this year, I’m pleased to see Heir of Fire, Ruin and Rising and The Girl with All the Gifts make it to yours lists, as they’re books that I still need to read. I also have a copy of Love Letters to the Dead, I’ve heard its a beautiful read, so will certainly pick it up when I’m in the mood for it. I thought I was the only that didn’t enjoy We Were Liars, but I’m glad that this isn’t the case. I hope that 2015 is another wonderful reading for you all! :)
    Jasprit recently posted…2014 End of Year Book Survey

    • Wendy Darling

      OH JASPRIT WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE INTERNET, YOU NEED TO READ THOSE BOOKS!! RED ALERT, RED ALERT.

      But okay, as long as you read them soon, we can still be friends. :D (And yes, join our circle of WWL upset.)

      I peeked at your year-end survey with Rachel as well–I definitely need to get on this Laura Florand fan train now, people have been telling me to read her for years! And maybe I’ll break down and read TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, too. I was a little wary since I’d heard things about her other series that I didn’t love, but this one sounds really fun.

      Wishing you many wonderful reads in 2015, Jasprit!

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah, oh no. All four of us who read it here at TMG absolutely did not enjoy it, so you’re in good company! Both of those books relied so heavily on the “gotcha” factor, so if you weren’t a fan of the writing style, I think the reading experience was pretty much sunk. And obviously, the reading style was not at all to my personal taste. So funny, because I usually love unreliable narrators, too.

      Sorry you were disappointed, though! I hope your “favorites” list is a lot more fun.

    • Layla

      And in response to that, I have this to say.

      We Were Liars, blah! So overrated. I think for the reasons Wendy mentioned, but also for the particular twistiness of the twist and the novel’s pretensions towards being literary fiction. I’m sad you didn’t like it either (because finding a great book is a great thing) but I mean, I totally agree and think that book got way more critical attention than I thought it should’ve.
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

  30. Pili

    Quite a few of your favourites have been in my lists too, I loved The Girl with all the Gifts and that one I read because Wendy highly recommended it! Same happened with All Four Stars!
    I still must read Station Eleven and Cuckoo Song (and I know Kim is totally judging me for not having read them both yet!) and I had my doubts about The Queen of the Tearling, but seeing how it was a favourite of Wendy’s this year… I must add it to the wish list for when I can allow myself to buy books again!
    Pili recently posted…Tell Me Tuesdays #22!!

    • Wendy Darling

      THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is spectacular! I love books that keep you thinking about them long after you’ve finished. That ending was so haunting. I’m so happy you loved it and ALL FOUR STARS as well!

      I need to read STATION ELEVEN myself, I’m only about a quarter of the way in so far. You definitely have to read CUCKOO SONG–it seems like a very Pili book, and I hope you’ll give TEARLING a try, too! That one is so polarizing, but I looooved it. I want more people to read it (KIM KIM KIM) so they can tell me whether I was crazy for loving it so much. It’s not a perfect book, but I thought it was pretty darned great, especially for a debut.

      How long does this book-buying ban last? This fills me with dismay! Surely now that the holidays are over…

      • Pili

        I’m feeling like I might read Station Eleven or Cuckoo Song tonight to start the year right!
        And the book buying ban (except for the ones I already preordered) will last at least till March, because I’m buying an apartment and I need to have a good advance to give so I can get a loan approved for it (banking issues here with the recession!).

        After March, I’ll be balancing books and furniture purchases! ;)
        Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #75!!

        • Wendy Darling

          Oh, congratulations on the apartment! That is a good reason to tighten the belt for a little while. :) I will be WATCHING to see what you think of CUCKOO SONG–please tag me and Kim when you’ve read it! You know how we like to creep on you.

          • Pili

            Even better when I will be dedicating a whole book to shelves and books! My own mini library! ;)

            And I will totally be tagging you and Kim once I start and/or finish Cuckoo Song! I feel like it must be one of those MUST READS for January!!

            Happy New Year Wendy!!
            Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #75!!

    • Kim

      Look at me. Judging you *so* hard right now! :p

      But, seriously, have I let you down yet? Station Eleven is a very special read. A soul soother, I would say. I know 2014 was a year you and both needed that, Pili. I think you’ll adore it. <3

  31. Bethany

    I made it! (not like staying up late to read isn’t typical for me but for a blog post? Pretty special! Hee)

    I read 240 or so, maybe +1-2 if I read a lot tomorrow ;)

    Heir of Fire for SURE made my favorites this year, as did Isla and the Happily Ever After.

    I definitely loved some of the others but thanks to keeping up with the book world and blog posts, I’m not as “behind” on good titles like I was last year! (like Queen of the Tearling or Red Rising or Winner’s Curse… lots of fantasy!)

    A couple of my favs I didn’t see mentioned were A Mad Wicked Folly, Landline (I think Rainbow Rowell is my spirit-animal-writer), My True Love Gave to Me, and City of Heavenly Fire.

    And I’m totally with y’all on Beltzhar and We Were Liars… I don’t think I hated as passionately but definitely didn’t get the hype.
    Bethany recently posted…Isla and the Happily Ever After

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah hah, yay Bethany! Did you finish THE DARKEST MINDS while you waited for this list? I actually didn’t know until very recently you read so fast. Go, you!

      I’m so pleased to hear you liked so many of the books on our list. I’ve been meaning to read A MAD WICKED FOLLY since K reviewed it earlier this year (it was in the “try desperately to read before 2014 ends” pile but I didn’t make it) and COHF, too. I was sadly not such a fan of LANDLINE, hah, although I enjoyed her narrative voice as always. I need to try ATTACHMENTS, though, I hear that one’s really good.

      And I’m relieved you weren’t a huge fan of our “dishonorable mentions,” as Kim calls them, either. We DO feel very passionate about those…just not in the fun way. ;)

      • bethany

        I did! I wasn’t quite finished at 3 so I took a break to read the post and Goodreads appropriately ;) And indeed! There’s no way I’d be able to read this many books (with a ft job) and still function (eat, sleep, heh) without speed reading. I think I’m also at an advantage because I’m not combing through for quotes or review material — for the most part, just reading and enjoying.

        And yay! I read A MAD WICKED FOLLY around the same time I started Downton and they’re set at similarish times with pieces of the suffrage movement woven in, plus that cover!

        I actually didn’t love ATTACHMENTS as much as her others, but it could be the style or because she wrote it so long ago now. Fun fact: one of the main characters, named Beth, is actually short for Bethany.

        Fun fun fun! After getting some sleep I realized something I missed this year was the NA callouts — but maybe that was just a special note from 2013 :) And the length of the post definitely grew thanks to more TMG writers – so give adn take, I suppose :)

        HAPPY NEW YEAR!

        • Wendy Darling

          I really need to get on the Alex Bracken bandwagon, I know Tonya enjoyed the first book but I never got around to it! I have the luxury of a lot of free time right now as well, but there’s still never enough time in the day.

          The reading without trying to mark passages and quotes really is so freeing. I made a promise to myself I’d try to read more for pleasure this year, and it makes such a difference to my happiness level! I was talking to Kim about this recently, too–it’s hard to go back to that pure enjoyment when you’re constantly thinking about what you want to say about it later. Even in books I love, I often feel the need to point out a couple of criticisms so people know YES I SAW THAT, but I loved it anyway.

          I heard AMWF was Downton-like! That makes me want to read it more. Have you seen THE PARADISE? The first season is pretty cute. It’s lighter and not at all perfect, but still fun if you like BBC period pieces. We went through a phase earlier this year of watching British dramas for a couple of months on end. OH! You might also like CALL THE MIDWIFE–I ended up loving that, and even bought the 3 books and soundtrack afterwards, hah. It has interesting things to say about the role of women during difficult periods in history as well.

          And you know, I actually noticed the NA thing as I was going over my reading list this year–I actually went back and reread the list to make sure I wasn’t missing anything! I didn’t read a lot of new adult, sadly. The only one I can think of that I enjoyed was BOOMERANG by Noelle August, aka Veronica Rossi + friend (I was sooooo let down by the last Sophie Jordan NA book) and I’d consider QUEEN THE TEARLING sort of NA. And of course, we have A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES to look forward to it 2015 as well. So sexy, Bethany. So. Sexy.

          • bethany

            I had literally never heard of her until I saw a *really* long line at YALL Fest — and then the first book was free on Kindle randomly so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try… and it was pretty good. Still so surprised that there are recent books we don’t hear about, though the big publishers seem to have their marketing hats on.

            Hopefully it helps that there are more writers for TMG – so you don’t have to be the one to critcally read ALL the books!

            And no! I don’t watch *as much* TV as I read — but will bookmark PARADISE. I had seen a bunch of people raving about CALL THE MIDWIFE – so it’s on my list! DVDs of shows are often on my birthday/Christmas lists ;)

            Hmmm, 2014 NA I read/liked this year:the Rusk University books from Cora Carmack and Colleen Hoover and Jennifer Armentrout both had a couple this year! In thinking about it, more are being published but they don’t necessarily stand out or make me want to read htem over and over again… though what Jen Armentrout’s doing with her Dark Elements series (letting fans dictate which guy “wins”) is pretty radical.

            I had NO IDEA ACOT&R was NA until I started seeing all these reviews and swoons everywhere from people — go Sarah!! Cannot wait. She is such a beast, in the best way possible. I also just found out about her online book/tumblr with Susan Dennard – that’s super fun too! (Though waiting kiiiills me!)
            bethany recently posted…Isla and the Happily Ever After

            • Wendy Darling

              I know, right? I’ve been terrible about blog reading in the last few months of the year, but I’m still surprised when I come across a title that I haven’t heard of before that’s published here by a big six. Even bestsellers sometimes.

              Having more writers for TMG definitely helps, especially when they are as smart and reliable and personable as our current ladies! I don’t know, sometimes I think one more person might also be good for those times when one or two of us are on vacation or need to take a short break, but after some difficult experiences, I’m also pretty protective of what we have right now. These ladies make me happy. The trouble is, we sometimes get each other so excited about books that we don’t cover as many others because we’re so busy squealing over each other’s favorites, hah.

              Oh, I need to read the new Cora Carmack books! I like her, too. The thing Jennifer Armentrout is doing is pretty interesting–it’s definitely very media-friendly, too. Should be interesting to see what happens!

              And YES I didn’t know ACOTAR was NA either, until Kim clued me in. I’m totally interested in Starkillers, but I can’t read that much stuff online, especially if it’s not done–like you, I’m too impatient! I’m crossing my fingers that all gets edited and published in one piece at some point, even if it’s just in ebook. But I’d be surprised if it doesn’t see a print run. Right? With the two of them? C’mon.

              • bethany

                I’m still figuring out the best way to figure out what to read… blog posts and Twitter recommendations help a lot, but finding folks with similar(ish) taste or analyzing why I do or don’t enjoy books is helping. Though sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by random titles too.

                And yes! I totally can imagine the difficulties that can come with scaling a blog from a one person -> medium size -> large team… both the personal and relational elements, plus all the logisitical ones! If anything, I’m glad that it helps keep things fresh and fun for you guys — so that blogging doesn’t waver into that “chore” arena. I think for me, anything I try to force on a schedule starts to become less fun — like blogging! So I’ve tried to stop forcing myself… though who knows what may come out of a new year :) (PS: happy new year!)

                Starkillers is still REALLY early in the story (they’re still introducing new characters sometimes!) but would hope for a final compiled version eventually… I think part of their vision was something about just giving back, rather than charging, but if they keep it available online AND can get a publisher, then I’m sure people would be willing to pay too.

    • Layla

      Heir of Fire! I know, I can’t believe that at this point last year, I hadn’t read any of SJM’s books. (Thank you thank you, Kim.) And now the wait for the fourth is making me grabby and antsy.

      How does Isla compare to the first book?

      I still feel like I’m kind of behind on good books this year; i.e., i have but have not read both The Winner’s Curse AND Queen of the Tearling. SIGH. I also have My True Love Gave to Me but haven’t read that yet, either, which is kind of a bummer, since I wanted to read it a few weeks ago!

      Haven’t read Belzhar but man, I really hate We Were Liars. By far my least favorite book of the year.
      Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

      • Wendy Darling

        For what it’s worth, I liked ISLA better than ANNA by a full star, Layla. I haven’t read LOLA yet, though! And yes, please get on TWC and TEARLING.

      • Kim

        YOU ARE ALWAYS WELCOME. Thanks for letting me text you obsessively about the series. I am the gift that keeps on giving.

        ISLA is very different from ANNA! I really like ANNA a whole lot but ISLA is my favorite of the three. This was really personal, though, as I just identified with Isla so much. You know those very rare opportunities where you feel like you *are* a character? Being in Isla’s head was *a lot* like being in my head. It was so comforting to me to have a character think and act exactly the same.

        Also you would hate Belzhar so much.
        Kim recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

        • Wendy Darling

          Also you would hate Belzhar so much.

          True story. I don’t know which I dislike more, BELZHAR or WE WERE LIARS. The former sends such deeply disturbing messages about mental illness, but the second has even more literary pretensions than its little friend. It’s a toss-up.

          • Layla

            I can’t imagine hating any book more than I hated We Were Liars. I got such real pleasure from giving away my copy. My aunt wanted to know if she should read it recently; my response was not unlike Professor Bhaer’s response to thrillers in Little Women. ;)
            Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

          • bethany

            It’s sometimes so jarring to see BEST OF lists that feature books I was NOT AT ALL impressed with — and especially to see WWL and BELZHAR show up so. many. times. It’s absurd. I mean, yes, taste and something for everyone yadi da, but other than the TMG ladies, everyone seems to be raving! (Thank goodness for the book blogging community)

            And have I mentioned to you, Wendy, that I’m starting to figure out the types of keywords will likely signal a book I won’t like as much? BELZHAR (had I known) is sometimes classified as “magical realism” which I’ve found I don’t like… and TGWATG I couldn’t get into — but I don’t know if it’s because it’s “horror” which I haven’t really liked (though I loved FEED+sequels which is horror right??). And I want to read SHIVER (which I saw you commented on earlier) but I couldn’t finish the RAVEN BOYS trilogy (DNFed #2 and didn’t read #3) — something about the lyrical dreamy writing… maybe I’m not explaining myself clearly, but would you say SHIVER’s similar in that way? Especially since it got picked up for TV(?) I was super curious!
            bethany recently posted…Isla and the Happily Ever After

        • Layla

          Meh, so I felt whelmed by Anna and the French Kiss. (Didn’t really like Etienne; also, I felt like the novel wasn’t fair to his girlfriend.) I am super interested in Isla though if she’s a character you strongly identify with; I also feel like those are pretty rare, so that sounds worth a read for sure to me. (Also, you have not led me astray yet!) :)

          I’ve decided to not read Belzhar in the near future. I have too much stuff I actually WANT to read.
          Layla recently posted…The Midnight Garden’s Favorite Books of 2014

          • Wendy Darling

            I’m with you. I thought ANNA was cute, but it was too long and I TOTALLY agree with you re: the girlfriend. And I didn’t get the amount of fuss over Etienne, honestly. ISLA is much, much better–still a bit long, imo, but very cute.

            And I’m glad you’re not reading BELZHAR. Life’s too short and there are too many wonderful books waiting!

      • bethany

        I *really* liked ISLA — more than ANNA and for me, way more than LOLA too — maybe part of it is returning back to Paris, and how it took Stephanie Perkins a lot longer to finish ISLA because she was going through personal struggles (she spoke about it a bit at YALL Fest), so it really just… I love it. It’s funny, swoony, sassy… There are so many random things I loved about it that I read it twice, bookmarked up the wazoo, and then blog posted it (but don’t read it if you’re going to read ISLA eventually!!). Let’s gush later if/when you read :)

        Can’t wait to hear if you read the ones on your To Read list and what you think! (WINNER’S CURSE, QUEEN OF THE TEARLING, MTLGTM) — and in another post you totally mentioned EMBER IN THE ASHES — and I’ve heard a LOTTTTT of hype for that one! Can’t wait!
        bethany recently posted…Isla and the Happily Ever After