For the past couple of years, I’ve done the FIVE Challenge, which is basically a series of recap posts that was created by Persnickety Snark. I don’t know if she does it anymore, and I didn’t want to have a whole week of posts like this, but I decided to combine them and pick and choose the topics I felt like doing. Hopefully I don’t overwhelm everyone will all the different end-of-the-year recap and roundup posts – tis the season, after all!
FIVE Great Debuts
1. Pivot Point (Kasie West)
This paranormal book with parallel worlds didn’t blow me away, but it was a fairly enjoyable and had a very interesting twist on a love triangle that you might like even if you aren’t a fan of love triangles. I prefered West’s contemporary book, which you can find below, but this was still a pretty enjoyable debut that has me interested in the future sequel as well as her contemporary books.
2. The Nightmare Affair (Mindee Arnett)
The main character wasn’t my favorite, but the mystery and story itself were pretty interesting. I didn’t see the bad guy coming, and that helped with most of the shortcoming. Yet again, another opening book that has me looking forward to the sequel.
This book definitely had its issues (namely slut- and fat-shaming), yet I still remember it as one of the most interesting debuts I read this year (it wasn’t exactly a great year for debuts for me). Cricket certainly wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty much always interested in her story and even rooted for her with the romance, despite some of my less-than-happy feelings toward her.
I wasn’t as big a fan of this book by the time I got to the end, but it was a pretty interesting story otherwise. I want to know what had happened to the main character’s sister, and I did feel for her, and initially liked the love interest (although their relationship kind of moved too fast later on and he started to sour the book for me), so this was a promising new author who could potentionally become a great contemporary author for me.
This book was often slow and I just didn’t care about the main character and love interest that much, but then I got to the end and it might have hooked me enough to check out the sequel, although I’d like to hear more about it first.
FIVE SIX Great Sophomore Books
Historical fiction isn’t normally my thing, so the fact that this book wowed me so much was an even bigger accomplishment. I’m definitely excited to read more from this author, even possibly her scary-sounding Between Shades of Gray (WWII and I don’t mix well – I’m not good at handling that level of sadness)!
This was another surprise for me – it started out kind of slowly, but toward the last half or so, I was really interested in the story, and by the end, I couldn’t wait to read the sequel, which’ll luckily be out soon!
Luckily I’m one of those people who likes the overly-purple prose of this book – I can see why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find it different and interesting, especially when Juliette and Adam are being too angsty for me. Team Kenjii (and by that, I just mean he’s awesome – Juliette doesn’t deserve him unless she gets a whole lot more fun)!
This was similar to Unravel Me – the MC and main love interest were too whiney and angsty a lot of the time, but amusing side characters and an interesting plot made this book very enthralling and has me excited for the final book in the trilogy.
I wasn’t sure what to classify this book as, since it’s from a 2013 debut – would it be a debut or a sophomore book? I’m counting it as a sophomore book, but if I need another sophomore book next year, I might cheat and count her two (yes, two more in one year!) 2014 books as sophomore efforts! Anyway, this was adorable and definitely made me a Kasie West fan!
I thought Trish Doller’s debut last year, Something Like Normal, was good, but it didn’t blow me away. Where the Stars Still Shine sure did, though – definitely a favorite for the year, and I am definitely a Trish Doller fan now.
FIVE Great Covers
Just look at that cover – isn’t it so pretty? With the fancy but simple typography to the sligtly out of focus picture to the lights, which actually play a part in the story, now that I think of it – if I hadn’t already had this book on my to-read shelf, I would have probably added it after seeing this!
This cover was definitely one of the reasons I checked it out. Yes, the story itself sounded interesting as well, but that cover was just so striking, with it colors and the splatters and the images. Eye popping indeed.
It’s been a while, but I think this cover was part of the reason why I checked out this debut in the first place. It’s a little weird (what are those things flying around poor Addie?), but I love the parallel image most of all! There have been a lot of parallel books released this year (although this was one of the few I read and the only one I really liked), but this cover seemed to stand out for me.
This is just such a striking cover, with its wisps and the face and the old, ornate key. I think it represents the story well, but I still love the cover even if it didn’t have anything to do with it!
I wasn’t a big fan of this book, but I do still love the cover. I love the way the typography takes over the cover, yet the image beneath the words is still striking. They’re such an interesting and beautiful combination and I just wish I liked the story between the cover even half as much as I did the cover.
FIVE Great Series
1. The Heroes of Olympus (Rick Riordan)
I finally began reading the spin-off series to Percy Jackson, and I must say that I’m enjoying it so far. I’ve read books 1-3, and am debating whether I should wait for the final book to be out before I touch book 4 in case it has another nasty cliffhanger. These books are all massive, and the thought of possibly having to reread the first three books kind of scares me, but they’re all pretty interesting and for the most part I didn’t care about the length while reading them, which is always good!
I finally read not just one, but all of Sarah Dessen’s 11 published books this summer (and the last couple in the fall, but shh, it’s still called the Summer of Sarah Dessen), and I feel that they all connect well enough that I can stick them here as a series, even though they’re really just companions. I had my ups and downs – some were pretty much perfect for me while others had me sometimes skimming to get to the end – but she’s definitely become a pretty darn reliable contemporary/summery author for me, so I’m glad that I did this personal challenge.
This was another massive book, and it only has one book out so far that was probably as long as some series’ first two books, but it was practically perfect for me and read much faster than I expected. There’s a lot happening in it, but if you loved Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy, like I did, you’ll probably like this 1920s-set paranormal series as well! I’m kind of glad that I didn’t get around to it right away so that I don’t have to wait as long for the sequel.
This trilogy finished this year, and like Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy, it was practically perfect – one of those books where I can admit that they aren’t perfect and some people might not like, but I honestly don’t notice that while reading the books. I’m sad that the series is done, but I hope there’ll be another, just as interesting, companion series sometime in the future (Armstrong has another YA book coming out next year, but I don’t think it’s connected to DP and DR, although I could be wrong).
I read the first book in this trilogy (I think) last month, and it definitely left me excited to find out what would happen next. Mythology is pretty much always a good thing in my book, and I love how this book doesn’t try to clean up the gods – they’re screwed up, not silly humans who just want to fall in lurve with a boring human!
FIVE Great Re-Reads
1. Crimson Family series (Hilary McKay)
This past spring, I reread the whole Crimson Family series and finally read the last book, Forever Rose, which I didn’t even know existed! I think the best book will always be the first book and the later books weren’t to the same quality, but it was fun getting a break from the traditional YA books to meet up with the quirky family at this series’ center.
2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (Rick Riordan)
Before I read the first three books in the Heroes of Olympus, I decided to reread all five books in this series, which was pretty easy because they read quickly and are much shorter than the companion series. Even though I knew how things would end, I really enjoyed rereading the interesting adventures.
3. Ruby Oliver quartet (E. Lockhart)
After the way I raved about this series last year, the only reason it’d be surprising that they’re on this list is because I waited so long in the year to read them!
This book was a bit more melodramatic than I remember it being, but it was still great to read about Lola and Cricket and Lola’s parents and her friend and everyone. I want to hear more about Lola and Cricket than I wanted to hear about Anna and St. Clair, so I’ll be happy to finally get my hands on Isla and the Happily Ever After!
5. The Mediator series (Meg Cabot)
I continued my yearly tradition of reading the snarky, hilarious, awesome Mediator series, although I didn’t manage to read them before summer ended.
FIVE Great Non-Debuts
On the off chance that you haven’t heard my raving about this book, you should just go check out my review to see my thoughts so that I don’t have to annoy all the people who have heard about it!
This was an early and surprise hit for me this past year, but it’s stuck in my mind more than I ever expected and has just made me even more anxious to get my hands on Outcast.
Hmm, forgot this would show up later on the list. Oh well!
This didn’t affect me the same way it seemed to do to many other people, but it was still really freaking good and has made me a Jessi Kirby fan for life.
This wasn’t perfect for me, but I love my review of it, and I think that’s made me like the book even more, which doesn’t really make sense but I don’t care!
FIVE Most Anticipated
It’s from the author of My Life Next Door! That’s good enough for me!
I’m kind of worried that waiting for this book so long has built up my personal hype too much, but as long as it’s another cute romance, I think I’ll be pretty good with this long-awaited final companion to Anna and Lola.
A new YA from Kelley Armstrong! I don’t think it’s a companion to The Darkest Powers or The Darkness Rising, which makes me kind of sad, but I really don’t care that much – I just want to read it!
A new contemporary from the author of the absolutely adorable The Distance Between Us? Of course I’m looking forward to this!
Scarlet was a surprise hit back in 2012, so I’m definitely excited to read more about Scarlet, Robin Hood, and John in this sequel!