Monday, July 28, 2014

Highlights of my reading year so far (2014)

I drafted this post in early July -- and here we are :) Still, I love talking about books that I have so very much enjoyed and here's some highlights of my 2014 reading year.

2014 has been a mixed-up year so far -- with 3 months of it spent nearly entirely in bed (slain with two mosquito-borne viruses -- Barmah Forest Virus and Ross River Fever -- coupled with other medical complications) which made for some reading time (but nothing too challenging as sick, etc, etc). I also (somehow) kept up study and we moved house as well. I'm feeling so much better these days and am so excited for the rest of 2014 -- life-wise and reading-wise. I am ever-so-thankful for books when times are tough -- and also thankful for book recommendations from good friends and bloggers <3

As always, my favourite reading experiences are not necessarily the most brilliant or perfect books out there -- they comprise of the books that came to me at the right time, perfectly matching my reading mood and sucking me in with that up-all-night addictive reading feeling. They feature combinations of characters I came to love, escapism, and gorgeous prose.

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty

My absolute fave so far this year. I love this series so much I feel like my heart could burst! So much looking forward to #3 and also looking forward to rereading this one <3 This was funny and unique and suspenseful and perfectly brilliant in every way.

My review

Shimmer by Paula Weston

I reread the first two books in the series (just as addictive on the reread) and fell deeper in love with the characters and the world. Good times! I am so encouraging everyone to get on board with this unique and addictive Aussie YA angel series.

My Review

As Stars Fall by Christie Nieman

There was something almost otherworldly about this gorgeous Aussie YA contemporary novel. It was startling and beautiful and full of emotoins and surprise.

My review

Dark Horse by Honey Brown

I really look forward to Honey Brown -- she always hits the spot when you're in the mood for a psychological thriller. This is my fave of her titles so far. Addictive with some stunning twists and intense, evocative scenes. I loved this.

I also read Through the Cracks by Honey Brown this year and recommend that as well (unputdownable) -- although I am just sticking to picking one of her titles for this fave list :)

The Girl With All The Gifts by M R Carey

A post-apocalyptic zombie novel that really is worth the hype. This captivated me from the first scene -- and held me the whole way through to it's stunning conclusion.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

I was so surprised by how much I fell for this book. I found it captivating and was so easily absorbed into the pages -- and wanting to get back to it every time I had to put if down. It was a combination of things that kept the pages turning -- Kestrel's captivating narration, the easy world-building, the genuine conflicts and the slow burn and complicated relationship between Kestrel and Arin. This is a fantasy but has more of a historical-ish vibe (even a kind of ancient Greece type feel). I so loved reading it and am 100% hanging out for #2.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Whimsical and heartfelt and a little bit off beat -- this was delightful and clever and I'm still thinking about it.

The Darkest Minds and Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

I picked this up after seeing Reynje (of Wordchasing) recommend it. I feel I have mostly outgrown this YA genre of special powers/post-apocalyptic society type books and therefore never paid this series much attention. So glad I rectified that. Both these books delivered for me: fresh and intriguing with fantastic pacing and some cool twists. I loved Ruby's narration and the little band of characters -- also a shout-out to the good guy love interest = swoon! Looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight and
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

To all those people who were there at the beginning -- I do not envy your wait between books. I ignored this series for a long time (I pretty much don't do urban fantasy or paranormal and thus assumed these books would not be my thing). The upside of me waiting so long to take up these books is I got to read them pretty much back to back. The writing is lush, the plot and world building is intricate and the story-telling is just sublime. There's so much emotion in this series -- depth's of sorrow and love and also ridiculous fun and humour. Unpredictable and gorgeous and consuming -- now a fave series that I am already looking forward to rereading. Karou and Akiva <3

 Nearly a Lady by Alissa Johnson

I like a bit of regency romance when I need something fun to escape into. Out of all the regency romances I have read so far (this year and in previous years) -- this would have to be my fave. So much fun and swoony good times. Also -- does not follow the kind of set romance formula that so much of this genre adheres too. I 100% recommend this total gem to any fans of regency romance (and also to anyone who might like to drop by the genre and give it ago :) )

Major thanks to Keertana of Ivy Book Bindings for highlighting this title in her fave reads of the year (so far)  (you were not wrong!)

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

I really enjoyed this contemporary YA debut. It was the first contempary YA book to hold my attention in such a long time. (And those who have been around here a while know that contempary YA is my first love). I didn't entirely connect with the MC but that did not stop me from loving the writing. Highlights of this were the slow burn romance (my fave way to bring the swoons!) and the best friend relationship. This is a road trip book but it did not feel like a road trip book at all (which suits me as I am generally not into road trips -- in life or in fiction, haha). Not an all time fave book but definitely worth a shout out for it's up-all-night addictiveness.

As always -- I would love any recommendations or to know if you loved any of these as much as I did! And thanks to my readers (if you're still out there!) for stopping by (either on the site or in your feeders) and I hope you're in the middle of a truly awesome book

Much love,



  1. Oh my Gosh, Nomes! :D I've been kind of MIA from blogging for the past few months and the first time I log back onto my Feedly I see a post from you. :))) I really have to read As Stars Fall, which I believe is an Aussie book? Also need to read on with Days of Blood and Starlight. I'm hoping to go to Laini Taylor's book event (for bloggers) in September... did you get an invite too? I'd love to meet you someday. :D Anyway glad you're doing fine. I actually just finished The Winner's Curse last week and I still feel so many feelings for it, it was just gravy. <3

    I haven't read too many OVER THE TOP WONDERFUL OMG OMG books this year just yet, but I highly highly recommend Ask the Passengers (A.S. King) and I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith). Both such beautiful books that resonated deep within me.

    1. I think I have Ask the Passengers? I'll just check... ah, no, it's everybody sees the ants. I bought it from a library sale. I havent read A S King yet but I really should! I know what you mean about not many over the top wonderful books. sometimes it feel like a real drought!

      The Laini Taylor event sounds awesome! I'll email you x

    2. Hey Cass, what's the Laini Taylor event? I'm guessing she's only going to be over east, not in Perth?

  2. Oh, isn't NEARLY A LADY wonderful? I adored it.

    I'm orbiting around OPEN ROAD SUMMER. Hm...

    1. Nearly A Lady was so good! It was also the first book I ever read in large print, haha. My library only had a large print copy -- I have always avoided them before. I will have to get my own copy now.

      I don't think Open Road Summer is as awesome as all the wild hype -- but it definitely had me staying up all night to finish (largely due to the slow burn swoons). You should see if your library has it -- or at least try a sample first :)

  3. First of all, I am THRILLED you enjoyed Nearly a Lady, Nomes! Yay! :D It's impossible not to fall for Gideon and Winnifred, I think, and it definitely carries a different feel than the typical historical romance novel, so I'm glad it worked for you. :)

    I just finished Shimmer and though I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I did Haze, I still really liked it and am DYING for Blaze now. Seriously, that ending was NOT cool. =.=

    I've been with the DoSaB Series from the beginning and though you're right--the wait was not at all envious--I felt it paid off as I adored the trilogy as a whole immensely. Admittedly, the last novel had its share of flaws but it still felt so satisfying.

    Open Road Summer--and The Winner's Curse too--weren't all-time favorite reads for me either but I enjoyed both books immensely. I really need to read Cracks in the Kingdom though! I loved A Corner of White SO MUCH and I have the shiny hardcover of Cracks in the Kingdom on my shelves--and I read the first few chapters too!--but I haven't been hooked yet into continuing. I know I'm going to love it so I'm saving it for those horrible slump moments when I just NEED it.

    Wonderful post, Nomes, and I hope I can someday read the Aussie titles you mentioned, like As Stars Fall, as it seems like a truly poignant novel. I hope you discover even more fantastic books the second half of the year--I for one cannot wait! :D

    1. HUGe tahnks for the heads up about Nearly A Lady. I would
      def never have picked it up on my own :)

      I know re Blaze! What a way to end it! I have feeling it will be a killer conclusion :)

      You will love The Cracks in the Kingdom but absolutely wait until you are in the perfect mood for it x

  4. Oh Nomes, I always love your lists :)

    Firstly, sorry to hear you have had such a rough year so far. Hopefully the rest of the year is trouble and stress free.

    The Girl With All The Gifts sounds really good. I haven't heard of it before but I'm adding it to my TBR now :). Also haven't heard of Open Road Summer but have been desperately seeking a swoony book lately but nothing has really hit the mark. I'll give this a go, thanks!

    I've always wanted to read The Darkest Mind series but never gotten around to reading it. Glad you rate it highly as I trust your judgement :) And Daughter of Smoke and Bone! So glad you loved the series! I've only read the first one as I wanted to wait until they were all released before picking them up again. I loved the first and am so glad you did too because I know it's not usually your thing :D

    1. You will def love Open Road Summer! I was actually thinking of you when I read it :) I has a great swoon (that's what made it on to the list! And is also set on a music tour (in buses). I only picked it up after seeing it on a few top ten lists.

      Also -- if you love zombie books The Girl With All the Gifts is an absolute must!

      And YES to the darkest minds. It was really good -- great pacing, fab characters, unique premise. Lots of fun! but also pretty dark in places.

      the second book in Laini's series was my fave <3

  5. Sorry to hear you haven't been well, Nomes. I'm glad you're feeling better now!

    Open Road Summer is one of my faves this year too. I'm also a sucker for the slow burn romance! :)


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