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text 2015-01-01 07:00
Rose's Favorite Reads of 2014 Part I: Interesting Facts and My Top Ten
Hate List - Jennifer Brown
Prep School Confidential - Kara Taylor
Thin Space - Jody Casella
Frenzy - Robert Lettrick
The Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison
The Martian - Andy Weir
Lies We Tell Ourselves - Robin Talley
The Belief in Angels - J. Dylan Yates
By Megan Hart Flying - Megan Hart
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

It's that time again when I name some of my favorite reads and various book superlatives for the present year.  For those of you who aren't familiar with my superlatives lists, I bring you the lists from previous years that I've featured on my main blog and BookLikes blog (Note: it looks like my 2013 list was incomplete, but I figure I'll share that one anyway).

 

Rose's Favorite Reads of 2012: Part I

 

Rose's Favorite Reads of 2012: Part II

 

Rose's Favorite Reads of 2013: Part I

 

Rose's Favorite Reads of 2013: Part II

 

This superlative list will be two posts in total.  This post will kick off that series, starting with some interesting factoids and a list of 10 of my favorite books from this year  Let's do this.

 

***

 

So, in total for this year, I've read 168 books (maybe slightly more because there were some I didn't mark, but I know it was less than 200), which is way, way less than my total from 2012 (which was 365 books), and far less than the goal I set for myself this year (450).  

 

Some interesting tidbits:

 

First book I finished in 2014: "Garden of Lost Souls (Flin's Destiny #2)" by Erik Olsen (4 stars, Children's/Middle Grade Fantasy)

 

 

 

Last book I finished in 2014 (technically): "The Silent Wife" by A.S.A. Harrison (4 stars, Adult, Mystery/Suspense)

 

 

 

Longest book I read in 2014: "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn (560 pages, Adult, Suspense/Thriller)

 

 

 

Shortest book (not a novella or short story) I read in 2014: "Out of Sync" by Amanda Humann (103 pages, Children's/Middle Grade)

 

 

Shortest short story/novella read in 2014: Mrs. Maddox (Beautiful #1.5) by Jamie McGuire (2 stars, New Adult/Romance)

 

Longest short story/novella read in 2014: "The Nekkid Truth" by Nicole Camden (2.5 stars, Adult/Mature, Erotica)

 

 

Breaking down my reads by age group:

 

Children's/Middle Grade: 10 books

Young Adult: 41 books

New Adult: 36 books

Adult: 39 books

Non-Fiction (various age ranges): 42 books

 

So technically, I had about an even spread of reading through most categories, save for Children's/Middle Grade.

 

Breaking down my reads by star rating:

 

5-stars: 20 books

4-stars: 41 books

3-stars: 35 books

2-stars: 40 books

1-stars: 32 books

 

Rose's Top Ten Reads of the Year:

 

            

 

In no particular order of rank:

 

Hate List - Jennifer Brown: Definitely one of my favorite reads of the past year, it practically reduced me to tears by the time I finished the book, and I read the book in both audio format and physical.  It's the story of a young woman who copes with the aftermath of a tragedy, in which her boyfriend shoots multiple students at her high school before turning the gun on himself.  After getting in the line of fire herself, she has to both cope with her physical and mental scars to come to terms in the aftermath of the tragedy.  Brown's account is so vivid and realistic, especially getting into the eye of the character here.  It's one that cemented Jennifer Brown as one of my favorite YA authors.

 

Read my review of "Hate List" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

 

Prep School Confidential - Kara Taylor: Kara Taylor is another of my favorite up and coming YA authors, and if you haven't checked out this series yet - it's a fun one.  I loved "Prep School Confidential", not just for its fiesty heroine, but believable characters and overarching mystery.  There aren't a lot of standout mystery titles I've come across in YA, but this one is funny, smart and harrowing to follow.

 

Read my review of "Prep School Confidential" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

 

Thin Space - Jody Casella: Jody Casella's narrative in "Thin Space" really struck a chord with me, not just because of its viewpoint of a boy's loss of his twin, but with an interesting twist on events as his narrative comes to pass.  It was amazing, and one of my 5-star reads of the year.

 

Read my review of "Thin Space" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

 

Frenzy - Robert Lettrick:  Dude, I haven't read a survival horror this year that struck me as strongly as "Frenzy", and it's a middle-grade book!  Robert Lettrick creates a potent narrative surrounding a very dimensional cast that's funny, developed, and kept me on my toes throughout the work. This is one read that I was exposed to on NetGalley and I bought it as soon as it was available.  I'm really glad I had a chance to read it.

 

Read my review of "Frenzy" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

 

The Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison: "The Silent Wife" took a little while for me to get into, but it ended up being well worth the journey.  A slowly unfolding suspense and eye into a deteriorating relationship, with an unexpected direction to events.

 

The Martian - Andy Weir: My favorite read of the year, hands down.  Andy Weir's account of a man stranded on Mars and his journey of survival and path to rescue is well drawn, well-researched, and hilarious. Mark Watney's voice leaps through the page.

 

Read my review of "The Martian" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

 

Lies We Tell Ourselves - Robin Talley: A wonderfully told narrative during a volatile time in American History - I really loved this honest narrative told between two girls who must confront their differences and each other during the Civil Rights era.

 

The Belief in Angels - J. Dylan Yates: Probably my favorite New Adult/Literary book of this past year - it's a wonderfully told meeting of generations - between a young woman growing up in a dysfunctional family during the 1970s and her grandfather, a survivor of the Holocaust.  Beautifully written and evocative.

 

Read my review of "The Belief in Angels" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

 

Flying - Megan Hart: Megan Hart's "Flying" pleasantly surprised me this year, providing a refreshingly developed narrative of a woman navigating the rough turbulence of her relationships while contending with issues within her family.  I loved the development of the characters, the intimacy of the narrative, and the feisty heroine.

 

Read my review of "Flying" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

 

and last but not least:

 

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn: I guess you guys saw this one coming.  With a wonderful use of unreliable narration and developed characters in the midst of a deteriorating marriage and whirlwind events, Flynn's narrative is distinct and despite my love/hate relationship with the book, I enjoyed the journey. It left me thinking long after turning the final page.

 

Read my review of "Gone Girl" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

 

That's all for this entry.  My Superlatives for the year are coming in the next part.

 

Cheers,

Rose

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text 2014-12-09 22:22
Thin Space = Go Read This Right Now
Thin Space - Jody Casella

Unbelievable voice. So absolutely gripping. Highly recommend.

 

A story about grief and death and identity. Boy narrator. Delicious. Completely delicious and genre-defying. 

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review 2014-01-08 19:42
Review: Thin Space by Jody Casella
Thin Space - Jody Casella

Jody Casella's "Thin Space" is a story of loss and grief. Be prepared to bring out the tissue box, because it's not without moments that kick one at their core. For me, this was a personal read because it talks about a character who experiences the loss of their twin. As a fraternal twin myself, I couldn't imagine losing my sister in any measure. She's been a part of my life for almost 30 years. She's my best friend and maybe even more than I can explain in mere words. I knew going into this novel that it was probably going to resonate with me on the subject matter in itself, but I honestly had no idea how much. Nor did I realize just how well the story came across on its own terms.

Marsh lost his identical twin Austin three months before this story takes off, from a terrible car crash that left him and his family broken in more ways than one. For Marsh, it's like he's lost a part of himself, and he wanders between desperation, depression, anger, identity issues, and wondering what his life measures up to. All sentiments I could feel for in the spectrum of the story. But there's a bit of a catch to this. Marsh believes he can find a way to reach his brother again, through a Celtic legend that was told to him by a neighbor who passed on as well. He has to find a "thin space" - a link between the world of the living and the world of the dead. He believes it's the only way to reach his brother one last time. His neighbor told him that one of the ways to reach the world is to find the space and walk barefoot into it. So Marsh tries to find a "thin space" everywhere he can possibly go, even walking barefoot on pavement, through snow, and other areas. Sometimes even to the point where his feet are raw.

Suffice to say, people around him think he's crazy. Either that or in such a state of grief, they don't know what to do with him.

Marsh finds himself compromised to a point when he realizes a new family's moving into his deceased neighbor's house. The daughter of that family, Maddie, ends up in his company and the two have a complicated relationship of hidden truths and understanding of grief while Marsh continues his search for a thin space. But there are other factors to consider, such as the fact that Marsh is neglecting his old girlfriend, crossing boundaries with Maddie's brother in the mix, and acting up in school where he'd previously been a good student, even where he used to be on the football team, but fell out of it.

Maddie makes an unlikely union with Marsh to find a thin space, while also wanting to use it for her own aims. The two eventually find it, but both receive answers that they did not bargain for in the measure of things, and it's a coming of terms that really hits home.

I think after a point, I suspected the end point of this story, but it still managed to shock me with the reveal. It was very well done, and a nice punctuation of grief that straddles the realistic and the supernatural, though very light on the latter. The ending comes across as something of a new beginning, a coming of terms, and a realization of grief from something that Marsh can't run from anymore. It's clear, from the encounter that comes with Marsh finding his brother in the thin space, that he has to come to terms with the reality, and progress from there.

I'll admit this story made me shed tears when it was all over. It hit that far home with me, and I'd certainly applaud Casella for weaving an important tale like this so well, for its contemporary elements as well as its punctuation on grief and the ways that a boy copes with losing his identity, in more ways than one.

Overall score: 4.5/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Simon Pulse.

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text 2014-01-08 07:37
Reading progress update: I've read 21 out of 256 pages.
Thin Space - Jody Casella

Whoa, I'm intrigued.  I'm not sure where Marsh is going other than he's desperately trying to find a "thin space."  I like the style of the writing so far.  Puts me well into the character's experience.

 

I may try to finish this tonight, but depends on how fast I go through it.  Still reading.

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text 2014-01-03 05:33
Finished reviewing for today, now reading
The Eternity Cure - Julie Kagawa
Red - Alison Cherry
Thin Space - Jody Casella
Prep School Confidential - Kara Taylor

*whew* Finished up quite a few reviews today, so I'm going back to reading some of the selections on my reading list. Probably will read between "The Eternity Cure" and a few other books tonight. Happy reading all.

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