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29 December 2014

Reading in 2014

Check out The Perpetual Page Turner for an annual book survey!

Quick Stats

  • Total books read: 96
  • Number of re-reads: 13
  • Mostly from genres: YA and SF/F
More stats found at Goodreads. . . .


1. Best book

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

This was SUCH a tough choice! I was lucky enough to get to read several really amazing books this year. The really silly thing about Locke Lamora is that I never did review it here on LSoAL. I read it (devoured it, really) during a particularly challenging time this year, and this little blog was the last thing on my mind. But you know what? This book helped keep me sane at the end of a long summer, and it means just that much more to me.

Yes, I'm afraid that this book and (a couple of others) will appear multiple times on this list! Can't help it, the book was just that good (and many of the others I read just weren't).

2. Most disappointing

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon - REVIEWED

It wasn't a super terrible book at all, just to be clear, but I did have overly high hopes for it.

3. Most surprising

Code Name Komiko by "Naomi Paul"

I wish I could write more about this book (written by a delightfully mysterious someone taking refuge behind a nom de plume), but as it was nominated for a book list I'm working on with a big fancy committee I just can't say too much about it. Suffice it to say that I was pleasantly surprised!

4. Most recommended

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins, et al. - REVIEWED

Everyone was singing the praises of this collection of holiday-themed short stories leading up to Christmas... and then I joined that chorus! This was actually the only book I lent out (from my personal collection) all year.

5. Best series

Soulless series by Gail Carriger - REVIEWED

OK, choosing between this and the Mistborn series (see below) was so incredibly difficult! Ultimately I chose this one as the best because it was also a close 2nd place for the "Most surprising" category as well.

6. Favorite new author

Gary Krist, author of Empire of Sin - REVIEWED

I wish I could have featured Empire of Sin in another category on this list, but alas! It was not to be. In any case, I think Krist did a swell job of bringing turn-of-the-century New Orleans to life and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of this author's work.

7. Out of comfort zone

Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardey - REVIEWED

It's been ages since I read a true "classic" book, voluntarily anyway, which is why I joined the Classics Club. After having a terrible time with Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South I was about 99% sure that I'd hate my 2nd try at Victorian literature in a year. I was so wrong!

8. Most thrilling

Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson - REVIEWED

It was a close match between this one and The Lies of Locke Lamora (see below), but this one won "Most thrilling" because I wasn't just on the edge of my seat because of the action -- I was also thrilled by the amazingly detailed magic system and world!

9. Most likely to re-read

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

This book is so packed with wit and wonderful prose that I'm sure I'd catch something new on a 2nd or even 3rd reading.

10. Favorite cover

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Here's another one I can't say much about because big fancy committee, but you can't tell me that cover doesn't immediately catch your eye. And it ties in really well with the storyline.

11. Most memorable character

Locke Lamora from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

What can I say? Sheer brilliance!

12. Most beautifully written

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Not a surprising choice, considering it is a Printz award winner after all. This book haunted me for days after finishing it.

13. Biggest impact

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

This was a difficult category to decide on. This isn't a big book, but almost every page packs a punch. If you're into contemporary, big-issue YA and you want to know more about this title, you should definitely seek out some reviews from other websites and book blogs.

14. Waited too long to read

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin - REVIEWED

Considering the multiple SF phases I went through as a kid (resulting in my permanent, unapologetic attachment to the genre as an adult), I'm super surprised that I never picked this one up before.

15. Favorite quote
She had no fear of the shadows; her sole idea seemed to be to shun mankind -- or rather that cold accretion called the world, which, so terrible in the mass, is so unformidable, even pitiable, in its units.

It was hard to choose just one, but Thomas Hardy's Tess had by far the most wonderful passages to choose from.

16. Shortest and longest

Shortest -  The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown, 80 p.
Longest - The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, 722 p.

I guess I just don't have anything interesting to say about page numbers. It isn't the length of the book but the content that interests me.

17. Most shocking

The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

You know, Sanderson has a reputation for awesome plot twists for a reason. If you've read the books, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you'll have to RAFO (no spoilers here)!

18. Favorite romantic relationship

Iolanthe and Titus from The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Here is another big fancy committee gag order book that I just really, really, really wish I could write about!

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship

Wax and Wayne from The Alloy of Law, part of the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

Best crime-fighting buds in a Wild West style high fantasy EVER.

20. Favorite title from tried-n-true author

Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

Having gotten used to Sanderson's work because of his finishing up Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and a couple of his YA books, I knew I'd love Mistborn (and I wasn't disappointed at all).

21. Best based only on rec from another reader

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Nikki, keeper of the There Were Books Involved blog, is rabidly evangelistic about this book on Twitter. I finally fell for it, and boy howdy I fell hard!

22. Fictional crush

. . . ?

To be honest, I don't tend to develop crushes on fictional characters. Not that it is a bad thing! It is just not my thing. Well, there have been a few exceptions, but nothing from what I read this past year.

23. Best debut

The Monkey's Voyage by Alan de Queiroz - REVIEWED

OK, well, the term "debut" is usually applied to novels, but this list has been really fiction-heavy so far and I think this book deserves more love!

24. Most vivid imagery or world

Child of a Hidden Sea by A. M. Dellamonica - REVIEWED

Oh my gosh, y'all, the world building in this book was amazing. I think there's room for improvement in other areas but when I was reading this I wanted so, so, so badly to just be able to literally dive right into this magical place.

25. Most fun to read

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly - REVIEWED

I didn't give this title as many stars as some of the others on the list, but since the only criteria for this this particular category is "Most fun" I think it definitely qualifies. It's just so goofy and cute and fast-paced (and merch-ready, naturally, being a Disney title and all).

26. Brought on the tears

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins, et al.

Despite reading a lot of "big issues" YA this year, it was this endearing little Christmas story collection that had me slathering on the makeup to cover puffy eyes before a big meeting at work the next day.

27. Best overlooked or unsung

The Folklore of Discworld by Terry Pratchett

I wish I'd reviewed this one here on my blog because it really does deserve a little more love. Pratchett's unbelievably witty Discworld novels are favorites of bazillions of people and I think this is a great nonfiction-flavor companion to that series.

28. Most soul-crushing

. . . ?

Yeah, I don't even know what this means. Sorry, here's another category I don't have a good answer for.

29. Most unique

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

It's a slightly dark, reincarnation-themed romance that flows backwards in time. Yes, I'd say that is pretty unique.

30. Most anger-inducing

Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

It's about a young woman living in the late 19th century who is basically beaten down by the pre-feminism world she lives in (not to mention 2 spectacularly awful dudes). So yeah, it made me angry.


1. New favorite book blog

There Were Books Involved

This blog is not new-new, just new-to-me, which actually applies to the bulk of the book blogs I'm following right now. It was a tough choice, but Nikki's enthusiasm is infectious and her blog design is quite lovely, too!

2. Best review, written by me

The Monkey's Voyage by Alan de Queiroz

The reason I'm picking this particular review is because it took me so long to write. I wanted to put all my thoughts down in some way that made sense, and I wanted to do the book justice, but I didn't want to go into undergrad biology major mode and fall completely off the deep end, either.

3. Best book discussion

SpoT-High (Texas Library Assoc. Young Adult Round Table) meeting (the aforementioned big fancy committee thing)

Maybe this is cheating, because it doesn't really fall under the "Blogging" category? But I don't care. I've never before had such a lively discussion about such a great group of books with such a smart gathering of people.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion on another blog

The entire We Need Diverse Books campaign

OK, well, (a) it isn't exactly another blog (though I first heard about it and started following on Tumblr) and (b) it is a big program thing not a discussion, but I admire these folks so, so much and I think it is really important to share what they're doing!

5. Best event

Blog tour for All Four Stars by Tara Dairman - REVIEWED

Um, this was also the ONLY blogging event I participated in, so perhaps this choice isn't quite fair, but that's how it is. And it definitely was fun!

6. Best moment of blogging or book life

Introduced a kid to e-audiobooks. He really struggles to read English, but (a) his age/interest level is way over his reading level, (b) his mother is not OK with trying comic books -- which is super lame -- and most importantly, (c) he has no problem speaking or listening to English. He and his mom both went home happy after I showed them how to borrow downloadable audiobooks from the library.

I know this sounds kind of hokey, but this small thing made me feel like my career is worth carrying on with even when it sometimes feels frustrating, boring, or pointless.

Yeah, there was some other cool stuff, too. The big TLA conference was amazing for so many different reasons. And possibly that crazy promotion at the library could count, though perhaps "best" is not the most accurate descriptor. And I got some lovely book gifts and won a couple of generous giveaways. But sometimes the most important things in life are the small, unexpected things.

7. Most popular post

The Classics Club Master Page

Which makes sense seeing as how I only joined it and started more actively posting book reviews this past year.

8. Post that needs a little more love

The one about our October trip to San Diego

OK, so it isn't book related, but I got a few REALLY great photos in the aquarium there and I think y'all might like to see them!

9. Best bookish discovery

The Upstart Crow and Bay Books bookshops

Speaking of San Diego! We "discovered" a couple of really great indie bookish places while vacationing in California.

10. Completed challenges or goals

Goodreads goal: 80 books (not counting re-reads)

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Louise has completed a goal of reading 80 books in 2014!


1. Book unread in 2014 that is priority in 2015

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

Can you believe I -- a professed Francophile and teen librarian, for heaven's sake -- haven't read this classic yet?! There must be something terribly wrong with me.

2. Most anticipated non-debut next year

Sequel to The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

It doesn't even have a name yet (as of this writing), so I really hope that it won't be delayed. I can't wait to see what adventures with chalklings the next book holds.

3. Most anticipated debut next year

Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova

It comes out in early January so the reviews are already rolling in, and the reviews are mostly very positive! It's billed as a mythology-themed modern fantasy, which sounds very appealing.

4. Series ending coming soon

Shadow Scale, part of the Seraphina "duology" by Rachel Hartman

The author has mentioned that she dislikes the word "duology" so I'm not sure it is fair to use that term for this 2-book set. In any case, I'm very much looking forward to this one!

5. One thing to accomplish in reading or blogging in 2015

Set another 80-book goal at Goodreads; read at least 10 titles from the Classics Club list; join the 2015 TBR Pile and Foodie Reads challenges

OK, well, perhaps that is 4 things instead of 1 thing. Whatever, this is about books not MATH, ew.


La Coccinelle said...

I tried to read The Little Prince earlier this year (in French) but only got a few chapters in. It was kind of painful; I've forgotten so much of the language! Maybe I should try it in English first...

Tess of the d'Urbervilles made me mad, too. We had to read it in high school, but I never actually did. I had a bit of fatigue from all the misogynist books we'd already had to read. Women seemed to only appear in those books to get raped, commit adultery, go crazy, or get murdered. So I just listened to the discussions about Tess and didn't bother reading the book. Amazing that I managed to pass the class...

Jenni Elyse said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! My dad is from Texas, Austin. And his family live in the Austin and Houston areas. My brother also lives in Texas right now in San Antonio. So, I have some Texas connections. ;)

I read The Little Prince in French in college. I don't remember it very well and I don't remember liking it all that much. I want to reread it in English and see if I like it better that way. It will be interesting.

Elizabeth said...

Howdy from a fellow Texan! I've heard so much praise of Lies of Locke Lamora and the Mistborn series... maybe I should take the hint and pick those up! I also want to read Midwinterblood. I tried a couple of other Sedgwick books this year and while I liked his writing itself, the plots weren't that great. I really need to give his "best" book a shot!

Akilah said...

Okay, that story about the kid with the e-audiobooks is amazing. I love those little moments that show how much our jobs can touch other people. I can just imagine that kid getting a paper copy to read along and improving his reading because of your help. Ah, so great. said...

I see you read Soulless by Gail Carriger! I am a huge fan of her Finishing School series and I hear I definitely need to read The Parasol Protectorate! Maybe this year?! Also, I love that you loved the romance in The Burning Sky as much as I did...its just soooo good! I need to get my hands on The Perilous Sea as soon as possible! :)

Louise said...

Yes, in Tess, the writing was so lovely but the subject was so infuriating! As for The Little Prince, I happily managed to obtain little "twin" French-English editions so I can do a side-by-side reading. My French is far too rusty to attempt it otherwise!

Louise said...

I vaguely remember seeing the 1970-something film ages ago (the one with Gene Wilder), but I never did get to read the book. Seeing the teaser for the new movie due out 2015 reminded me that I have to fix this oversight!

Louise said...

Haha, howdy! As for Midwinterblood, I have to confess that I found it a little confusing to start with -- it is kind of a mash up of multiple stories that seem only vaguely connected at first. But it ended up being one of my favorite reads this year because it was just so different and I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Louise said...

Aw, thanks. :) I felt really cheesy putting that story out there but sometimes it really is the littlest things that make the biggest warm fuzzy feelings.

Louise said...

Oh yes, I liked the Finishing School books but her Soulless series is SO AMAZING OMG. I mean, there's some more mature content in there, but if that won't bother you I'm quite certain you'd enjoy Soulless.

Julie G @ Book Hooked Blog said...

I am such a fan of the Mistborn books! Did you see that there are two more coming out over the course of the next two years?

Louise said...

I think Sanderson just never sleeps. Or he has a time-turner or something, because how else could that man write so freakin' much?!

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