2014 End-of-Year Survey

Posted December 26, 2014 by Renae // 17 Comments

As usual, Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner is hosting her bookish end of the year survey. It’s fun and interesting and I enjoy doing it! Yay.

On to the questions!


1. What was the best book you read in 2014?

dreams of gods and monsters laini taylorDreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Tyalor — This is a no-brainer. I love this series, and Laini Taylor is my goddess. Karou’s story kept getting better with each installment, and this conclusion to the trilogy was just perfection.

2. What was a book you thought you would love, but didn’t?

damaged amy reedDamaged by Amy Reed — For the past two years, if you asked me who my favorite author was, I would have said Amy Reed without hesitation. After this book, I won’t say that anymore.

3. What was the most surprising book of 2014?

far from you tess sharpeFar From You by Tess Sharpe — This is a realistic/mystery novel, and there was a twist at the end I did not see coming in any way.

4. What was the best series you started in 2014?

the hundred thousand kingdoms n.k. jemisinThe Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin — I read all three of these this year, and while they’re not my favorite books ever, they’re solid reads with a lot of diversity in characters, which I’m a fan of.

5. What was the best sequel of 2014?

one tiny lie k.a. tuckerOne Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker — I originally DNFed this in 2013, but I gave it another try this year and wound up liking it a lot more than I anticipated. This might be the best of the series.

6. What was the best series finale of 2014?

lord of the shadows jennifer fallonLord of the Shadows by Jennifer Fallon — So often, a series wanes in quality with each new installment, but this book surpassed those that came before. I absolutely love this series and this book.

7. What is your favorite author that you discovered in 2014?


monstrous beauty elizabeth famaElizabeth Fama, author of Monstrous Beauty and Plus One — I read Fama’s two latest releases this year and gave both 5/5 stars. She’s an amazing writer with a great imagination.

8. What was the most action-packed book you read in 2014?

plus one elizabeth famaPlus One by Elizabeth Fama — This book is a crazy ride from cover to cover. While there were some brief moments of down time, for the most part, the pace is go-go-go the entire time.

9. What book from 2014 are you most likely to re-read?

the count of monte cristo alexandre dumasThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas — This is kind of cheating. I’m a huge re-reader, especially when it comes to this particular book. I first read it in 2009, and I’ve been revisiting it yearly ever since. I’m sure 2015 will be no exception.

10. What was your favorite cover from 2014?

the steady running of the hour justin goThe Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go — Not only is this book well-written and thought-provoking, but the cover is fantastic. I (obviously) love blue, and this cover is just stunning.

11. What was the most memorable character from 2014?

the enchanted rene denfeldThe narrator, from The Enchanted by Rene Denfield — I’ve caught myself revisiting this particular character multiple times in my thoughts. For much of the book we don’t know who exactly he is, but the end reveals all, and it just…there’s so much to think about with him and his relationship with the text and with other characters.

12. What was the most beautifully written book of 2014?

the thirteenth tale diane setterfieldThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield — This author’s prose is dark and elegant and evocative, and it perfectly evoked the modern Gothic atmosphere of this novel.

13. What was the most thought-provoking book of 2014?

the scarlet sisters by myra macphersonThe Scarlet Sisters by Myra MacPherson — This nonfictional account of two important feminist figures of the late 19th century was amazing. These sisters are forgotten from most history books, even though in some ways they were more important than their contemporaries, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This also made me think a lot about the state of women’s rights in the 21st century and how it compares to 150 years ago.

14. What book can you not believe you waited until 2014 to read?

the thirteenth tale diane setterfieldThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield — I saw this book when it first came out, but waited for EIGHT YEARS before I finally got around to reading it.

15. What was your favorite quote from 2014?

on such a full sea chang-rae leeMy most highlighted book this year was On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee. The man can write like nobody’s business, I swear. I’ll share my two favorites.

Moment to moment, we act freely, we make decisions and form opinions and there is very little to throttle us. We think each of us has a map marked with private routings and preferred habitual destinations, and go by a legend of our own. Yet it turns out you can overlay them and see a most amazing correspondence; what you believed were very personal contours aligning not exactly but enough that while our via points may diverge, our endings do not.

Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea

For each of us has a perch on the tree. After we are gone, that perch is marked by a notch, permanent, yes, but with its edges muting over time, assuming the tree is ever growing. Years from now someone can see that you were here, or there, and although you had little conception or care for the wider branching, in the next life there might be a sigh of wonder at how quietly flourishing it all was, if never majestic.

Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea

16. What was your favorite romantic pairing from 2014?

eyes of silver eyes of gold ellen o'connellAnnie and Cord from Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell — These two do not have a swoony, flirty, light-hearted marriage. They are, however, mutually respectful, passionate, dedicated, and caring. They are probably my favorite couple of all time, or close to it.

17. What was your favorite non-romantic pairing from 2014?

land of love and drowning tiphanie yaniqueJacob Esau, Anette, and Eeona from Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique — The relationship between all three siblings in this book was complex and multi-faceted and fascinating. The three of them were always connected in some way, even if they weren’t aware or didn’t like each other at the time.

18. What was your favorite book from an author you’ve read before 2014?

torn away jennifer brownTorn Away by Jennifer Brown — I’ve been a longtime fan of Brown’s but her newest book absolutely destroyed me. She surpassed herself by far, and this ended up being one my favorites of the year.

19. What was the best book you read in 2014 solely on a recommendation?

three souls janie changThree Souls by Janie Chang — I never ever never would have read this on my own, but a friend of mine insisted and I bought it, then ended up being really impressed with the story and author’s writing.

20. What was the best 2014 debut you read?

falling into place amy zhangFalling into Place by Amy Zhang — I went into this book really skeptical, but I was blown away by the skill with which the author characterized her protagonist.

21. What book from 2014 had the best world-building?

the ghost bride yangsze chooThe Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo — Not only did the author establish the setting of historical Malaysia, she also detailed the Chinese afterlife. The combination made one amazing, unforgettable setting to act as a backdrop to this story.

22. What book from 2014 was the most fun to read?

nowhere but home liza palmerNowhere But Home by Liza Palmer — This book is full of happy feels and happy sighs and happy grins. It was so cuddly and happy-making all around.

23. What book made you cry (or nearly cry) in 2014?

the scarlet sisters by myra macphersonThe Scarlet Sisters by Myra MacPherson — I’m not much of a crier in any context, but this book made me so mad on account of patriarchal oppression that I was near tears.

24. What do you think is the hidden gem of 2014?

ordinary beauty laura wiessOrdinary Beauty by Laura Wiess — Gosh dang, why haven’t more people read this book? It’s absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking and perfect.

25. What book from 2014 crushed your soul?

then you were gone lauren strasnickThen You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick — This book was the most horrifying example of rape culture’s influence on young women I encountered this year. Also I hated this book. It’s horrendous.

26. What was the most infuriating book of 2014?

rites of passage joy n hensleyRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley — If you read this book and at some point don’t feel like murdering everyone who has a penis, I don’t know what to say. This book is meant to make you mad, and girl does it succeed.


I skipped a couple questions because I didn’t have answers, and I didn’t fill out the sections on blogging itself, but that’s my survey! 2014 was a pretty decent year, all around.

Renae has written book reviews and other miscellany for Respiring Thoughts since 2012. She loves dogs, Mexican food, mountains, Shakespeare, and procrastinating. She's currently working on an undergrad degree in English/Spanish lit in the Midwest. Connect with Renae on Twitter, Goodreads, and Tumblr.

Categories: Book Talks


17 responses to “2014 End-of-Year Survey

    • Renae

      Goooooooddd, Laini freaking Taylor. Just. AFADFLKJADFJA. I thought that after Days of Blood & Starlight I’d found the best book ever and I ran around telling everyone that. Um. Haha. Nope.

  1. I’m going to look into Chang-rae Lee’s books. Those two passages that you shared are incredible and I want to read more from him. And I’m so happy to hear that you loved Torn Away!! I’m about to start that one and I haven’t seen much love for it. I’m also really interested in Far From You, I’ve seen a lot of bloggers talk about it, so I want to check it out for myself.
    tabithasbookblog recently posted…End of 2014 SurveyMy Profile

    • Renae

      Maaaaaah, TORN AWAY! That book just about killed me. So painful, so brutal, so perfect. *sniffs*

    • Renae

      Yay! Plus One is definitely super good, and Monstrous Beauty is sliiiiiightly less good, but still good.

  2. I’ve seen K.A Tucker’s name around the blogosphere quite a bit, I’ll have to check her out!

    I recently just bought Plus One and I’m excited to read it! I’ll probably save it for Bout of Books 12 though 🙂
    Amber Elise recently posted…Top Ten of 2014My Profile

    • Renae

      K.A. Tucker’s books are pretty good, I think! The first two in that series are better than the second, in my opinion, so definitely start with them. And Plus One is fun and quick and vERY well-written.

  3. Vy

    “murdering everyone who has a penis” YES. So much this. I really enjoyed the book but I was so frustrated by everything at the same time. Totally agree with you on Far From You, too! I wasn’t expecting to like the book as much as I did.
    Vy recently posted…Top 14 Reads of 2014My Profile

    • Renae

      Blahhh, that book though. REALLY GOOD, but then…boys suck. (It should be interesting to see what Hensley writes next, though.)

  4. I really need to read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series! Ooh and I haven’t heard of Lord of the Shadows but I love the cover! Will definitely look it up.

    The Thirteenth Tale is such a fantastic book! Lyrical and dark, and creepy. I read it 4 years ago and I still think about the story all the time.

    I haven’t read or heard of many of the books on your list but that’s sort of fun because now I can find new books! Happy reading 🙂
    Morgan @ Gone with the Words recently posted…Morgan’s 2014 End of Year SurveyMy Profile

    • Renae

      DEFINITELY give Jennifer Fallon’s Second Sons Trilogy a try if you like fantasy at all. SO. PHENOMENAL. *flails around*

      Ditto to Laini Taylor.

  5. Dreams of Gods and Monsters was so good. I think the second book is my favorite part in the series, but it was such an epic conclusion that gave everything I could have wished for. I’m curious about Far from you, I’ve seen more trusted book bloggers rave about it. It’s also time I read something by Elizabeth Fama, I have my eyes set on Monstrous beauty. Since I’m a fantasy lover, I should check out Jennifer Fallon.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Reading & Blogging goals 2015.My Profile

  6. So many of these books I haven’t read, but the main one that jumps out to me is Laini Taylor’s series. I definitely hope to fix that this year!
    I *love* the mention of Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold. That will always be a favorite of mine – I know I can (and I do) return to it again and again.
    Thanks for sharing, R!
    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted…2014 End of Year Book Survey!My Profile

    • Renae

      I love you for recommending that book! I think I’ve read it 3 or 4 (or 5) times already! <333