As of present, I have read around 170 books in 2014. Even if not including manga volumes and novellas, my book total still rounds out to around 150 books. There were a lot of good books that I loved, a lot of books that were good that I didn't love as much, a lot of books that I loved but weren't really that good, and then there were those mediocre books that were alright, but that caught my eye nonetheless. And then there are the books that I just couldn't find it in me to like at all, but this isn't the place to talk about them.
As it stands, it isn't easy to narrow 150 books down to a Top Ten list. And so I chose to re-format my list just a little bit. I also needed to account for the fact that I like Young Adult novels differently than I like Adult and non-YA novels--Yes, there is a difference in how I perceive a book dependent on target audience.
Without further ado, and in no particular order...
Although, if it wasn't already obvious, they very first book on this list, regardless of genre or target audience, is the Top Book I Read in 2014.
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Book 3 of The Raven Cycle) by Maggie Stiefvater
There is no competition. Just read my reviews of Maggie's Raven Cycle books to see how much I love this series.
See my Somewhat of a Review.
And... NOW, in no particular order:
Split Second (Book 2 of Pivot Point) by Kasie West -- Reviewed
The Bitter Kingdom (Book 3 of Fire and Thorns) by Rae Carson -- Squeeing Review
The Unbound (Book 2 of the Archived) by Victoria Schwab -- Reviewed
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- Reviewed
-- Honorable Mentions --
Grave Mercy (Book 1 of His Fair Assassin) by Robin LaFevers -- Review Soon
In the Afterlight (Book 3 of The Darkest Minds) by Alexandra Bracken -- Reviewed
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West -- Reviewed
Young Adult is a genre that I've come to love a lot, and while this list of Top Tens is in no particular order, the Young Adult books were actually ranked in my personal list above many of the Romantic Suspense novels and Adult Contemporary Romances I've read this year. Aside from being books I thoroughly enjoyed, I also have every intention of continuing to follow the above listed authors in the future as well.
Kasie West is a recent YA author I've fallen for with her dry and witty sarcasm and her nerdy heroines and her adorable romances. Despite the disappointment that was her 2014 YA Contemporary, On the Fence, I still found that her Pivot Point series is one of the better YAs I have enjoyed. Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns series is one of the best high fantasy adventures I've read in a long time. The Unbound may not have been as good as The Archived, but as the story progressed, I found that I still loved it all the same. The Book Thief is an interesting, quietly insightful story told of a tragic historical time, but narrated in the point of view of the common person living their day-by-day as war and tragedy happens around them on a larger scale, in the background.
The honorable mentions (which also includes a Kasie West book) are ones I've found that I loved even if they weren't really all that excellent. But they nonetheless brought out a love in me that makes it hard not to give them a shout-out as well.
Love Irresistibly (Book 4 of FBI/US Attorney) by Julie James -- Sort of Reviewed
She's Got the Look (Book 2 of Walker Brothers) by Leslie Kelly -- Duology Review
Over the Line (Book 4 of The Bodyguards) by Cindy Gerard -- Reviewed
To the Limit (Book 2 of The Bodyguards) by Cindy Gerard -- Reviewed
-- Honorable Mentions --
Tempting the Bodyguard (Book 3 of Gamble Brothers) by J. Lynn -- 2014 book
Deadly Dreams (Book 5 of Mindhunters) by Kylie Brant
Last to Die (Book 2 of Sheridan) by Kate Brady
To be honest, this list is kind of in order of how much I liked each book and where they stand in my personal rankings. Aside from Deadly Dreams, because I wasn't quite sure where to put that one, but I knew I wanted it mentioned, at the least.
While the YA books I read were actually ranked higher on a complete, overall list, Love Irresistibly was the one Adult book that managed to squeeze it's way up into my overall Top Ten list. But since there were a number of Adult books I also loved, I wanted to give the rest a chance to be mentioned as well.
The one common denominator of these books would have to be the romance (duh) and how much I loved the couple as a couple together. From Brooke Parker and Cade Morgan in Love Irresistibly to Alana Gore and Chandler Gamble in Tempting the Bodyguard, the romances were adorably amusing, sweet, and witty with a nice scoop of heart-warming-gushy-ness to boot. Most importantly, I had no problem liking both individuals of each coupling separate as much as I liked them together, which is something that doesn't always happen all too often.
They're all couples with equal footing in their relationships. And even though the same can be said for the rest of the couples in the entire Mindhunters series and the FBI/US Attorney series, I chose the book from both series I liked the most to include in this list.
The Silkworm (Book 2 of Cormoran Strike) by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowlings)
Because of this book, I had to edit this post. I finished reading The Silkworm after I had put the finishing touches on this Top Ten Tuesdays post. But it was good enough that I decided that I must include it. I wasn't too thrilled with The Cuckoo's Calling last year; The Silkworm was a lot more enjoyable and somehow a lot more engaging, though I'm not certain I know what Rowlings did different this time. Something else stood out, made the story more than just a mystery, albeit an entertaining and good mystery.
-- Honorable Mention --
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (Book 4 of Haruhi Suzumiya) by Tanigawa Nagaru
Something about this book really just hit the right spot. I don't know what it is, but I'm guessing it's the fact that I haven't seen the anime movie adaptation of it and had the chance to be surprised at all the right places and enjoy the humor without knowing that it was coming. But the world of Haruhi Suzumiya is still a geniusly created one that I continue to enjoy as it continues onto the end.
See My Brief Thoughts.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman -- specifically the audiobook BBC radio adaptation
The Neverwhere book by itself had great imagery and creative plot and world-building. I've no doubt that Neil Gaiman is an excellent fantasy writer. But of the two books I've read of his, I've found his story progression to be lacking at times and monotonous at others. But what made me really love Neverwhere was actually the full-cast BBC radio performance. Where I didn't really care much for the characters, especially Richard Mayhew (whose name I had to look up because he was really not that memorable), I found that the voice acting by James McAvoy really brings this persona to life, piquing my interest just a little bit more.
So there we go: One Top Book I Read in 2014, Four Top YA books I Read in 2014, Four Top Adult Books I Read in 2014, and lastly One Top Book I'm Not Sure How to Categorize But That I Loved Read in 2014. And then a mishmash of "Honorable Mentions.