Favorites of 2014

I figure I have to share my favorite reads of this last year. A few 2014 books, that are obviously missing from this list, made my favorites of 2013. You can find them here.

As with anytime I’m making a list I feel like I’m forgetting a couple really wonderful ones but this gives you an idea.

Favorite 2014 Published Reads:

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Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson and The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Sadly, I felt that 2014 in general was sort of a let down in my blogging and personal life. I feel incredibly optimistic about 2015–I hope to maintain motivation for blogging and work on more interesting content. Here’s to a bright and shiny new year.

Favorite 2015 Reads (that I read in 2014):

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabba Tahir, The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and Every Word by Ellie Marney

Let me just tell you from what I’ve read from 2015 so far the books are absolutely stellar. It looks like it’ll be a huge year in fantasy and I can’t wait to read them ALL. Side note- Every Word (sequel to Every Breath) hasn’t released in the US yet but you can order the UK/Australian version.

What were your favorites of 2014?

Review of Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

PrincessofThornsPrincess of Thorns
By: Stacey Jay
Release Date: December 9th 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: E-ARC
Source: Publilsher via NetGalley

An electronic copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

The Story:
Princess of Thorns was the second book of Stacey Jay’s that I’ve read. I adored her retelling of Beauty and the Beast with Of Beast and Beauty and was so excited to see she was taking on Sleeping Beauty.

I expected this to be a retelling but in actuality it was more of an expansion to Sleeping Beauty. The main character, Aurora, was Sleeping Beauty’s daughter. The story was the slightest bit confusing in the prologue and first chapter just because I was wrapping my mind around the world and players. Once the story got started I was hooked and wanted nothing more than to read this book (why must I do other things when all I want to do is read??).

I absolutely love the girl disguised as a boy trope. I never get tired of this particular plot device and when it’s done right, which it is here, it’s so much fun to read. I loved the way Jay utilized it and made it work with her story beautifully. I felt that it was never obvious that Aurora was a girl dressed as a boy and was fully believable.

The adventure side of this story was fast paced and kept me riveted. I loved the action scenes and could easily visualize the fighting scenes. There was a good amount of adventuring which felt pretty typical to the fantasy genre but of course the writing made it fun and never boring.

Many aspects of Princess of Thorns have been done before- girl dressed as boy, curses, miscommunication and a kiss stealing the will of another person-regardless Jay was still able to give this book it’s own heart and mesh these together to create a story that I adored (even with my reading a ton of fantasy and seeing these things used often).

Have I mentioned I enjoyed this book?

It was such a pleasure to read and was perfect for what I needed right now. I wanted a fast paced, absorbing book that had heart and the sense of adventure. Jay gave me all of this plus a couple I could ship.

The Characters:
I loved, loved the characters in this book. Aurora was badass and perfect as the ‘boy’ Ror but also as the Princess out to avenge her family and save her brother. She was a true heroine ready to sacrifice to save others. I loved her struggle with the line between deception and truth and how much of herself to give. She was a well developed, likeable character that I immediately rooted for.

Niklaas was such a great addition to Aurora/Ror’s quest. I adored their banter and felt their connection early on. I loved his witty dialog and cocky attitude. He was so much fun to read and felt incredibly fleshed out to me. I also appreciated that he wasn’t just a side character there to help Ror on her quest, he was on his own adventure with very high stakes.

The villains of the story, the ogres, were wonderfully done as well. I loved that Jay gave them a mythology and appearance that stood them apart from other things I’ve read. They ate the souls of people and marked their bodies with symbols representing the souls they’d devoured. I loved this tidbit and would love to see more about them in a future book.

Final Thoughts:
Princess of Thorns was a wonderful expansion to Sleeping Beauty that kept me riveted to the page (or my phone in this case). I loved the characters and story and want more from this world (hoping for a novella or additional book).

Giveaway:

I’ve got an international Twitter giveaway going for a pre-order of Princess of Thorns.

Stacking the Shelves

I didn’t do my StS last week so this is two weeks worth. I’m very excited about each of these books especially Princess of Thorns (eeep).

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

NetGalley:

Princess of Thorns

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

For Review (and being on the blog tour):

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ANewDarkness

Bitter Greens by Kate Forysth, Blackbird by Anna Carey, Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang and A New Darkness by Joseph DeLaney

I’m on the Bitter Greens blog tour so look out for that at the beginning of October. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested in retellings, adult fiction and historical fiction.

Won:

Lost

The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst