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  • Writer's pictureJacque Stevens

2014 Book Reviews

I want to put some book reviews/recommendations up here eventually, so here is just a quick/dirty list of some of the books I read in 2014, or at least the ones I remember. In an effort to keep my blog positive, I will only talk about books when I have something positive to say, when I would recommend them to others. Sorry, but I know enough authors personally and have written enough myself that I can’t just post a review without thinking of the author behind it (even if that author is so big that they would never see my review anyway). If they were my critique partner, I wouldn’t hold back, but once they’re published, they deserve to be praised or politely passed over to be praised by a more appropriate audience. At least in a public setting like this. I still reserve the right to rant privately to my family and friends after reading a REALLY bad, not-for-me book. :P Since I am doing these all at once, I'm just going to link to the Amazon page and let you see the summaries there, so I can just quickly have a few thoughts here. Starting with…. A Strand of Doubt by Donna Fuller- Again, a shameless plug. Donna was in my first writing group and this was the first full novel I ever critiqued. At the time, I had NO idea what I was doing, so I’m not sure I was much help, but it still was great to share a piece of her journey. Great romantic suspense you can read in one sitting. I hope there will be more soon! Rising by Holly Kelly- Holly was briefly in my main writing group. We scared her off pretty quickly, but it’s great to see her book out there anyway. I loved a lot of the word building in this book (mermaids). Good characters too. Watched by Cindy Hogan- Just before I started this blog, I went to a self-publishing book conference where a lot of self-published authors were kind enough to give me free copies of their books. I read them all, but this was my favorite of that bunch. A quick suspense story, with some fun YA characters. I thought it was nice how the main character was LDS, with those values, and never actually made it a plot point. We need more books like that. The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, & The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms) by Chima – I write YA high fantasy, so this series gets recommended to me a lot. So this is to confirm, yes, I read it, and yes, I liked the overall plot. Chima just gets a bit too long-winded for me in places, so I will admit to skimming occasionally, but it was still fun. Cinder, Scarlet, & Cress (Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer – I love fairytale rewrites, so I was ready to love this, but I was pleasantly surprised with how deep the world building was and how more layers of the plot are revealed with each book. Can’t wait for the next one to come out! Beyonders: A world without Heroes by Brandon Mull-I loved Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven, so I got this book pretty quickly after. But for some reason, it has been lying around here unread for a really long time. The main character just never grabbed me I guess. But once I really sat down to read it, I enjoyed the quests and world building of this book. Matched by Ally Condie- Interesting concept for a dystopian, it grabbed me right away. It kind of slowed down after that because the villain was a softer, kinder sort than the norm, playing into the whole soul mate thing that a lot of girls claim to want. Still a great concept though. There's A Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar- This was one of my all time favorite books growing up. It’s funny and has some great life lessons mixed in. Checked in again this year to see if it was as good as I remembered. It was! :) Three Little Words: A Memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter – Yeah, I know this is a very different choice than the rest of these books, but I often find myself fascinated with real world foster care stories, carried over with my experience as a psych nurse. I have two adorable nieces and an angel nephew brought into my life this way. I read other books from the perspective of the foster parent and this does a good job of giving you a glimpse of the child’s perspective. Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen– Just barely finished this one on the Monday before New Years, so it counts. It has some great world building and I liked the main love interest. I found myself skimming a bit on the troll court politics and didn’t really understand how a troll could be handsome and still be a troll, but it was still fun. Kind of a take on beauty and the beast, with trolls. And I finished Run again!!! Review is right here. :) Wow, this is a really short list for me. Used to be I could finish a list like this in a month or two. Sadly, it has been harder for me to turn my editor brain off and just read and enjoy books like I used to. I need to do better though. I’ll have to make it a goal somewhere… Recommendations are always appreciated. :)

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