The Weirdest Top Five Books from 2014 List You’ll See

I managed to read, including comics, 125 books in the year 2014. Not all of them were published in 2014, in fact fuew of them were but this list is based off books I read, and here they are.

So here are my top reads from 2014, in no particular order. They were even fun, or they hurt, or reminded me of a happier time in my life.

kingdom of scars

Kingdom of Scars by Eoin Macken

This book is extremely well written, and reminded me of how tough adolescence can be, while giving me an insight as to what it might be to grow up in a different class climate, and what it’s like for boys growing up as well. It was not the easiest of reads, but it was a coming of age tale I just know I’ll go back to again and again.

outlander1

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This book and the sequels reminded me of how easily you can become engrossed in a book. Or a series. This was one of the best written, best researched books I’ve read in a long time. The story telling was excellent, the characters and scenery leaping from the page into mind.

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Band-Aid for a Broken Leg by Damien Brown

This is a book that reminds me that maybe I as a person don’t do as much as I could to help those outside of my family and social circle. It was an inspiring read that I still think about almost daily.

My life as a white trash zombie by Diana Rowland

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

This will make some people arch an eyebrow, or even turn away in disgust. But amongst my trying to read world class literature, and more non-fiction this was the book that reminded me that reading was supposed to be enjoyable and fun. The characters are flawed, in the best possible way and this is a series I’ll no doubt visit again and again.

FANGIRL_CoverDec2012

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This was a book that hit close to home, because I’ll admit, this is the character closest to me, only I’m not hauling in any boyfriends any time soon. It’s well written, clever, angsty, fluffy and fun. Rainbow Rowell is a master of writing.


This year, in 2015 my goal is to read 80 books.

Let’s see if I can’t savour my books a little longer, and take a step outside every so often. Let’s see if I can read more classics, or if it’s the year of the supernatural once again as 2014 yielded a list containing more vampires, werewolves, skinwalkers, time travellers and fae than any year before.

All I know is that I’ve got a lot of books on my shelves that still haven’t been read and they too should take up some valuable real estate in my imagination.

Book Challenge Days 16-20

Day 16 – Favourite female character

Oh the choices the choices I could make for this challenge are vast, and each as different as the next. So I’ve gone with two.

Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. She’s a woman after my own heart. She’s tough, yet isn’t scared to be vulnerable around those she truly cares about and that makes her one of the best in my book. She’s a bleeding heart in some ways, and captured my attention from page one.

The other character I would choose is Thursday Next as written by Jasper Fforde. She’s clever, inventive and oh so hilarious and I can’t help but love her. She’s tenacious and just so wonderful.

Day 17 – Favourite quote from your favourite book

“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” -C.S Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

I’m actually re-reading this book, because my sister swears to me that the second book is better, and the third book was even better.

So I’ve decided to re-read it, but I’m finding that certain parts of it lag just like they did before, and I’m beginning to think that the descriptive nature of this book is just not my cup of tea. Though I’m still going to finish this book, as well as the second book because I paid for it, and sometimes that’s all it takes for me.

Day 19 – Favourite book turned into a movie

It’s not a book, or at least not a full length novel but my favourite book turned into a movie might surprise you. It is The Body by Stephen King, which was later turned into the movie Stand by Me starring River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell.

It was one of those movies I watched over and over again, and one of those books where I did exactly the same. I just loved both, as they were a wonderful tribute to adolescence and the friendships you have in those times.

Day 20 – Favorite romance book

Not really a romance novel, but the book that had me squirming happily, squeeing and oh so happy was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I’m no stranger to fandom, and to wishing that things were different when I’m reading, or watching a TV show or movie.

This book felt to me, like I’m sure it does to a lot of people, like it was a reflection of who I had once been and in a way who I still am. It was gorgeously written, and captivating.

Day 13 – Your favorite writer

Day 13 – Your favorite writer

I don’t have just one. I really don’t.

In terms of the classics, C.S Lewis, Jane Austen, J.R.R Tolkien and LM Montgomery reign supreme. I just love the detail and nuances of each of these authors. C.S. Lewis turned me onto fantasy fiction, Jane Austen wrote one of my favourite classic novels and LM Montgomery is probably my favourite Canadian author.

Current literature would be Diana Gabaldon, Kevin Hearne and too many others to name including J.K Rowling. My genres tend to switch quite frequently as you can see here and I love each for different reasons.

And in young adult I would say my main author in that is Scott Westerfeld.

Review: An Echo in the Bone and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood Combined Review

I hate to say this, perhaps because I am so late to the game when it comes to Diana Gabaldon and the Outlander series but I have never been so glad I waited so long to read a series.

an echo in the boneThe simple reason is this, if I had had to wait so long after An Echo in the Bone to read Written in My Own Heart’s Blood I would’ve gone insane. Seriously.

So here are my thoughts in no particular order.

 

 

 

  • Diana Gabaldon continues to handle the world her characters live in with grace and respect.
  • It is still so insanely well researched and I am so impressed by the depth of the research.
  • The suspense in these two novels in particular had me turning the pages rapidly in search of what would happen next.
  • Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser remains one of my favourite characters.
  • Jamie Fraser is still one of my favourites as well. That Bloody Man.
  • Ian appears to grow more and more with each novel which makes me happy.
  • It was refreshing to learn a little bit more about the quakers as admittedly that is not something I’m too familiar with but these two books left me wanting to learn more about that lifestyle in particular during that time in history.
  • William aggravated me in the beginning of MOBY but by the end I wanted to hear more about him.
  • I am charmed by these books and everything that occurs within them. While some people do complain about what they see as filler in the every day life chapters I actually enjoy them quite a bit because it makes everything a touch more realistic.
  • I can’t wait to read the next book, though I know I’ll have to wait four more years.

written in my own hearts bloodI have never been more happy, or moved so quickly through books of this size in a very long time. I’m enjoying it quite a lot.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books about time travel, who likes fantasy, or historical fantasy or just loves being dragged into a book by a plot that just doesn’t want to let you go, and you don’t want to let go of it.

Review: The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow and Ashes

ImageThe Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

Roger Mac certainly finds himself in a lot of trouble, and this novel is no exception. This book is filled with all of the things I have come to love from Diana Gabaldon. A good deal of historical research and attention to detail, as well as scandal, interesting family values and so much more.

This was not my favourite in the series but I appreciate how much was brought up. I loved learning more about Highland customs, even when they’re in a foreign land, as I navigated the world with Claire, Jamie, Roger and Brianna.

This novel brings to mind things i was taught about in school, of early settlers, or tilling new land and hoping that there would be flourishing crop as opposed to famine. The character development in this novels is absolutely wonderful, especially when it comes to the characters of Claire and Roger as they learn about this brave new world they’ve found themselves in, just a little more. And then learning how to deal with loss.

 

a breath of snow and ashesA Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

This book might very well overthrow the first book as my favourite. The characters grow further, from the amusing moments with wee Jem and Roger still trying to learn how to provide for his family and Fergus’ struggle also with doing so.

This novel in particular is rife with scandal of the highest order. The beginning of a new paper. The deceit of a character and the final fall of a true villain I found myself flipping page by page willing the characters to make it through the book, to make it together and perhaps one day have a happily ever after.

The clear, present historical research is still here and there’s no complaints here from me about that. There was some moments where I did wish to rush ahead but only because I can’t get enough of these books. In some ways I can’t believe I ever took this long to pick them up. But now that I have, I don’t think I’ll rest till I’m caught up.

I also was quite happy to see the end of certain treacherous characters in this novel.

 

 

002: Out, In and On The Way

OUT

Books I’ve read recently: 

hot sixHot Six by Janet Evanovich.

My thoughts: I read this book for one reason and one reason only. Because I cannot give up a series once I’ve begun it. That being said it was what I’ve come to expect from Janet Evanovich. A few funny one liners, situations that are a bit like car crashes (sometimes they are actual car crashes) and frustration with some of the main characters. This is my go to light reading, I’m not expecting anything epic from it but in a way it’s comforting to come back to this series every so often.

fiery crossThe Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

My thoughts: This series. This series. Oh my god this series. I know that sometimes they’re too long. I know that there are scenes which could probably be removed for ease of pacing and reading but it’s not going to stop me from reading it. I was an Outlander virgin until this year. I had no notion of Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser. No notion of Jamie Fraser. Of Roger Mac or Brianna.

My sister mentioned these casually to me previously but I didn’t really feel like it. But then a coworker mentioned them to me, and now I’m just all over it. I’ve read them so much, and return to the previous books to remind myself of scenes I love.

a breath of snow and ashesAnd along with the Fiery Cross I just finished A Breath of Snow and Ashes and am quite eager to get along with the rest of the series.

I will be completing full length reviews of both of these books later. Because these books deserve all the praise they can get even if some of the language is a little bit problematic and I’m still almost entirely sure I will never be able to speak Gaelic. Ever.

leaving the beachI also read Leaving the Beach by Mary Rowen and in the process I’ve met two of the most dislikable characters I’ve ever had the displeasure to meet but yet the book left me with fond feelings due to its soundtrack. It’s soundtrack is pretty much the reason to keep reading. Longer review to follow.

In

The books I’m already reading

the blind sideThe Blind Side by Michael Lewis.

I actually don’t like football all that much, but my sister adores it. And I was told by a friend that this was one of the books he’d ever read, so with that in mind I am trying to expand my horizons.

the girl in the roadThe Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

This was a book I got for free, in exchange for an honest review and so far it has actually blown me away.

It is once again, me stepping outside of my comfort zone, into a futuristic fantasy in a land I’ve never been to.

ON THE WAY

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

001: Out, In and On the Way

Books I’ve already read this month:

dragonflyDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

The second in the series, this one is a little bit of a slower read than the first book, Outlander, or at least it was for me but that didn’t mean I didn’t love it any less. Reading my sister’s super well read copy, the pages beneath my fingertips, and the characters leaping off the page. Jamie remains one of my favourite male characters, though he still often does the wrong things for the right reasons and vice versa. Claire is daring, courageous and often foolish.

Good for: Those who like time traveling or historical fiction, because this book has the best of both worlds.

Gabaldon-Voyager-220x332Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

The third in the series, this book didn’t capture my attention as quickly as I wanted it to. But the mystery, intrigue and conflict soon did. With Claire apart from all she knows, in so many different ways, and Jamie’s life changing rapidly it makes for a truly good read. The introduction of newer characters, such as Roger make it all the more interesting.

It was great, exploring other parts of the world with the characters.

This book allowed me to avoid reality for a little while, and enjoy a world completely apart from our own.

1_wYRb6TDnjrDrums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

This is a book I absolutely tore through, the fourth in the series, and the last one I own. I ended up kicking myself when it was over, fully aware that pay day, and the money I needed to buy books was so very far away.

Brianna’s character grows, and in some ways resembles Jamie’s so strongly that there’s no doubting, even in literature they are father and daughter. Roger’s trials were treacherous and yet wonderful, and so detailed and well written.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series, and find out what else will happen to the characters.

Continue reading “001: Out, In and On the Way”

Quick Reviews

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon ★★★★

This book was a little hard for me to get into at first, given the different setting in the beginning but I soon found myself once again falling down the veritable rabbit hole, nervous for the characters and enjoying every minute of it.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon ★★★★

This book, the fourth in the series was definitely not hard for me to get into, as I slid right in and began reading (and sometimes researching) about the different locales, characters growth which is aplenty and enjoying the pleasure of being safely in this time while traveling through a time very different from our own. I was very sad to realize I was unable to yet get the next book in the series.

Must Love Otters by by Eliza Gordon ★★★
This book was very cute, and a fun, funny read. There were more than a few times I found myself laughing out loud at Hollie’s antics, and found myself falling a little bit for Ryan.

 

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book had captured my attention so quickly, that I was a little surprised and dismayed when this one didn’t as well. It was a slow burn for me, as the story and characters slowly wrapped themselves around me and pulled me in.

Jamie is as conflicting as always for me, often doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, or the right thing for the wrong reasons. And his actions sometimes, even in the historical context have been known to make me wince.

Claire is daring, and courageous and similarly so heartbreakingly wonderful and yet flawed.

In this world Diana Gabaldon has created something that can suck you in, whether it’s gradual or not. She has created characters that are never perfect, never without flaws and will not hesitate to make you care for at least one of them.

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t expect to like this book, nor did I expect to stay up until 4 am this morning in a desperate bid to finish it, or spend my morning when I did awake doing much the same.

Claire is a character who I can get behind, she is stubborn, passionate, intelligent and yet at times so irrational that it’s enough to make me (and Jamie) crazy. But I love her. She is awesome.

Jamie is someone I liked almost immediately, able to picture him so clearly in my mind’s eye and enjoying every moment of it.

There were some scenes in this book that I did have a problem with, but I won’t mention those here as I know that is a certain amount of this novel which only happens because of the time it is in.

It’s not a perfect novel. The sex scenes are often outrageous, and the attitudes of the men concerning but it is fun.

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