Best Books of 2014

A couple of weeks ago I stated that I’d start writing more about books on this here blog, so in an attempt to follow through, I’m posting the best books I read in 2014–in no particular order. On this list you’ll find some fiction for adults and young adults too–I am a high school librarian after all. Plus, you’ll find a couple of nonfiction reads that I absolutely loved–which was so surprising for me as I don’t typically read nonfiction. If you have a vacation ahead of you or just some good old lazy post holiday time, curl up, get cozy, and enjoy any one of these really great books!

The Language Flowers
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
(Adult Fiction)

LanguageofFlowersDuring the 1800s there was a very popular way of communicating: floriography. Floriography is the language of flowers. Bouquets of flowers were put together in such a way as to communicate a message. Suitors during this time had to be very precise and calculated in exactly what they wanted to say to their recipients. To declare love, send red roses; to spread cheerfulness, send Gerber daisies; to declare friendship, send geraniums and so on…. In the modern day tale of The Language Flowers, Victoria is the orphaned child turned homeless 18 year old. She is devoid of knowing how to love, be happy, or make friends. In a story that visits the past and deals with the present, Victoria is finally able to make a future because of flowers. It is through flowers that she is finally able to learn to communicate, and it is in learning to communicate that she indeed does find love. Vanessa Diffenbaugh has crafted an utterly beautiful story in The Language Flowers.

Rainbow Rowell
(Young Adult Fiction)

FangirlDo you feel like reliving your dorm days in college? Remember that first year away at school, living with a roommate, meeting new people, and starting an independent life? Fangirl is so good because it is so relatable. We have all been where Cath starts out: insecure, anxious, and little weary of all the newness of university life. Yet, day-by-day, and bit by bit, independence becomes a part of our person. Reading about the development of Cath, the heroine of Fangirl, will strike a cord with many of its adult women readers just because many of us have been there. We all (hopefully) have evolved into the strong women we aspired to, yet we obviously may have struggled along the way—and actually still do to this day. But in becoming an adult we learn to know ourselves by forgiving of our faults and in turn embracing our strengths. Fangirl is a very pleasant story that will most likely take its adult female readers down a nice memory lane.

Every Day
David Levithan
(Young Adult Fiction)

EveryDayImagine waking up every single morning in a different body only to go to sleep that night and wake up the next morning in again, a different body. This is the story of “A.” She (well at least I thought she was female although other readers have that “A” was male—the gender is indeterminate) has been waking up in someone else’s body every day of her life. “A” does not know her mom and dad, she does not know her own body, and she does not know why her state is so. “A” does have a mind, she does have feelings, and she does want to have a body. When “A” falls in love with Rhiannon, she or he is now riddled with an utter desire for an every day that would last in one life, not multiple lives. For “A” to have each day follow into the same would be a dream come true, and it wasn’t until she fell madly in love that this would become her haunting desire—to have an every day just like everyone else. This story really makes one thing about love, individuality, time, the soul and the interception of all.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Laini Taylor
(Young Adult Fiction–I’m actually just finishing this book up for the second time, and I rarely, I mean rarely read books twice.)

DaughterofSmokeandBoneBlue hair. Hamsas on doorways. Magical teeth wishes. Angels. Chimera. Akiva. Karou. This book is utterly sensual with a tragic love story at its heart—which is always the best kind. The love between these two completely separate beings will ignite readers then tear them up with love sickness. This story is part Romeo and Juliet with its tragedy, part Twilight with the beautiful hero and heroine, part Harry Potter in all its fantastical glory, and one more part Percy Jackson with its Greek mythology. One thing about this book is entirely how READABLE it is (especially in one sitting, preferably on a beach or somewhere cozy where the reader can fully immerse herself in this awesome story towards an unidentifiable unknown)! When someone is after a good story, one that they won’t be able to put down, I always give them Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

The Male Brain
Louann Brizendine

TheMaleBrainIt is rare that I read a book and then feel that every single woman I know—young and old—should then read it. But, this is what has happened with The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine. When a nonfiction book is told in a such a way as to entertain plus inform me, I find myself hooked. I learned so much about the male gender in reading this book—from my son as an infant and now as a tweener to my father-in-law in the 20 years I have known him. I learned about my husband and how and why he’s changed over the years. I learned about the teenage boys I serve in my position as a high school librarian. Basically, Dr. Brizendine studies the effect that our male (and female) hormones play on our minds throughout our entire life attributing our different stages and developments that our chemicals play on our brains. This book is exceptional! It focuses on concrete research yet backs it up with anecdotal stories. I’ve been recommending it to every young graduate woman I know—especially as she ventures out as an independent woman; I’ve been recommending it to every single woman I know—especially as she tries to understand the dating scene anywhere in the world; finally I have been recommending it to every mother I know—especially so she can try to understand her son and husband. Take it from me: if you want to get to know the male gender better, you should definitely read this book!

Sophia Amoruso

#Girlboss#Girlboss should be another mandatory read for all women—young or old and every age in-between! The lessons detailed throughout this book come from an authority on success: Sophia Amoruso, founder and owner of Nasty Gal. In reading this book, it will help any female rise to the top of her game. Rarely do I read and grab a pen like my old school days to highlight lines from a book, but when I read this title I had my (pink) pen in hand underlining quotes the entire way through. Amoruso’s advice doesn’t just equip me for my work place; her sentiments can be applied to my passions as well. Basically, we get what we put in, and more importantly we should put forth our very best—anything less is shortcutting our very own self! This super successful woman didn’t set out to be as successful as she is, but she always remained true to herself and tried her best. She believes in hard work—hard work which in turn pays off. Here you have it from the #Girlboss herself: “It’s the age-old concept of like attracts like, or the law of attraction. You get back what you put out, so you might as well think positively, focus on visualizing what you want instead of getting distracted by what you don’t want, and send the universe your good intentions so that it can send them right back.”

*These reviews have been cross posted as they were originally written for Sassy HK along with six other titles.

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