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You’re looking at a corner of my 2014 vision board. And as you can see, I love to read! One of my visions for the year is to continue reading regularly, everything from non-fiction to fiction. Since I was young, fiction has been my fave, so I would say the majority of what I read falls into that category. But non-fiction makes its way in every few weeks.
So I thought I’d share with you some of the best and worst books that I’ve read in the past year. I’m in no way intending to be negative here, but a couple books were pretty awful, so I’m not going to candy coat! These opinions are my honest ones.
Here we go, in no particular order.
(by Jennifer Donnelly)
I read this series over the course of a few weeks in August when I was dealing with my back injury. I loved these books because they were long and the plot was fast paced and thick with mystery, romance, and history.
That said, there was quite a bit of profanity, innuendo, and sensuality that I felt could have been left out. It’s really a shame because the character development is amazing as are the relationships forged throughout the saga. So I guess I’m a mixed bag on this series.
Bottom line: Read it if you can take the good with the bad. If you don’t like books with profanity and intense romance, leave this one on the shelf.
(by Kathleen Grissom)
This book was worth the hype! I love historical fiction and a good tearjerker. But parts of this book were super sad, almost borderline depressing. I felt like it contributed to the integrity of the story and was a true representation of life during those times, so to me the sadness was a good thing that drove home some excellent themes.
Bottom line: I highly recommend this one for historical fiction readers who also have a tender side.
(by John Green)
Unlike The Kitchen House, I did not think this book lived up to the hype. Seriously, with over 7,600 reviews on Amazon and 4.5 out of 5 stars, I thought for sure there would be something to love here. But I could not get into it. I honestly had to look up the description again to refresh my memory because it made so little of an impression on me.
Bottom line: I’m not jumping out of my chair for this one. I hear they’re making a movie out of it, which I probably won’t go to see although I’m curious to know what they’ll do with this story.
(by Joyce Meyer)
I can’t say enough great stuff about this book. It motivated me at a time when I was rather down in the dumps (again, back injury…) and was a quick and easy read. Joyce Meyer has a way of writing effectively but very simply, so I think even children will get these concepts. She outlines 12 “power thoughts” and advises working on one every month for a year.
Bottom line: If you’re looking to strengthen your mind and give yourself the upper hand when it comes to fighting daily battles, read this book.
(by Vanessa Diffenbaugh)
Fair warning: I got about two-thirds of the way through this one and quit. I truly have no idea what has made this book so popular. When I told my sister I was having trouble getting through it (we share similar tastes in books), she said she’d just finished it and told me it wasn’t worth my time. Hence the quitting two-thirds through.
I was so bored reading this. I can barely remember the plot or the character’s names without looking them up. Some reviewers on Amazon described it as “enchanting and compelling,” or, “a roller coaster ride I won’t forget!” Are we seriously talking about the same book? It was more like a lazy river ride that I did forget!
Bottom line: The Language of Flowers simply didn’t speak my language, I guess. I thought the writing style was unimpressive. And while the whole meaning of the flowers business was neat at first, I felt like it was overdone after a few chapters. Thumbs down from me.
(by Erin Morgenstern)
You know those movies where you watch it one night sort of mesmerized and wake up the next morning thinking, how dumb was that? That’s what this book reminded me of. Again, with a 4-star rating on Amazon and nearly 3,000 reviews, I was planning on being impressed. I wasn’t.
Granted, there were some pretty amazing passages of prose in this book. I give the writer a pat on the back for making a strange world come alive off the page. But the actual storyline itself was just weird. I couldn’t get into it but forced myself to finish it, since I already had bailed on The Language of Flowers.
Bottom line: I’ve never liked fairs and circuses in person, and I guess I don’t like them in books either.
(by Francine Rivers)
I read this book years ago, but I forgot most of it so I gave it a read again this fall. I’m such a Francine Rivers fan! Although this isn’t my favorite book of hers, I still enjoyed it for the most part. Her characters are always very well developed, with hearts that seem so human and real.
Bottom line: It’s a little sappy in spots, but overall pretty touching with wonderful themes and morals. (If you read this and like it, you must read Rivers’ The Mark of the Lion series and Redeeming Love.)
So there you have it. Chime in with your comments and recommendations, please! I’m working on building my reading list for 2014 and would love your suggestions, fiction or non. Thanks!