The Books I Read in 2014

Well, it’s New Years Eve, which is as good a time as any to create a post listing all of the books I’ve read this year. Most I have loved, but some I forgot that I even read. Very good thing that I wrote them all down in my reading notebook! Without further ado…

The list in book covers:

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The list in writing:

1. Dying To Know You by Aidan Chambers

2. Dreams of Speaking by Gail Jones

3. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness

4. The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness

5. Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3) by Patrick Ness

6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 

7. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum 

8. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

9. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

10. The Long Song by Andrea Levy 

11. March by Geraldine Brooks

12. Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas 

13. The Solid Mandala by Patrick White

14. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

15. Just One Year by Gayle Forman

16. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

17. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

18. Amy and Rodger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

19. Past Perfect by Leila Sales

20. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

21. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

22. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

23. Just One Night by Gayle Forman 

24. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

25. The Outsiders by S. E Hinton

26. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

27. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

28. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

29. If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

30. Some Boys by Patty Blount

31. Watership Down by Richard Adams (re-read)

32. The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson

33. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

34. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

35. Solitaire by Alice Oseman

36. How They Met and other Stories by David Levithan

37. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvery

38. Sway by Kat Spears

39. Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer #1) by Robin Hobb

40. Tape by Stephen Camden 

41. Where Rainbows End by Cecilia Ahearn

42. Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

43. The Body by Stephen King

44. Rumble Fish by S.E Hinton

45. Under The Light by Laura Whitcomb

46. Wildlife by Fiona Wood

47. Shade’s Children by Garth Nix

48. Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

49. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

50. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 

51. Love and other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

52. How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran 

I’m technically still reading How To Build A Girl, but I’ve only got 100 pages to go so I’ve basically finished it. If it doesn’t count, which I think it does, I’ve still reached my reading goal of at least 50 books this year. While I might not have read everything on my initial reading lists (which I posted at some point but can’t be bothered linking to) I’ve found and read some other great books (and, of course, some not so great ones).

If any of you would like me to review any of the books here that I haven’t (as I’ve only reviewed the books I read since I created my blog) or if you want to know what I thought of them or anything, please let me know :).

Well, that’s it for now.

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you have a wonderful night celebrating and a fantastic holiday day in the first day of 2015! I won’t be doing much else but moving out and probably reading and watching movies as my family and I spend our last days in our house. Happy days 🙂

Jasmine’s Playlists #8: 2014 (or songs I haven’t yet included in a playlist)

2014 was a difficult and wonderful year. Here are just some of the songs I spent the year listening to, songs that remind me of happy times and songs that got me through.

1. Mathilda by Little Comets

The wonderful albums of Little Comets have basically been the soundtrack of my life this year. It’s very hard to chose just one song, even when I’ve already named many in former playlists. Mathilda is definitely a favourite, though One Night In October, Lost Time, Dancing Song and A Little Opus (and all the others) could have easily been picked, too.

2. We Are The Tide by Blind Pilot

Just one of those songs that gets me singing and makes me happy (which is the effect of most of these songs). It’s just a lovely sounding, mellow song.

3. I Forget Where We Were by Ben Howard

Ben Howard…he is so amazing. I hope to see him on tour in Melbourne in March. I’ve had to wait to buy the tickets because I don’t want to dip into my savings, but hopefully there’ll be tickets left this time next week! This song is wonderful, but then again they all are.

4. Cigarette Daydreams by Cage the Elephant

One of those songs we listen to in the car. My family and I are very big on listening to music in the car, no matter how short the trip we’ve always got one of our iPods plugged in.

5. Geronimo by Sheppard

I don’t often like a lot of the songs played on the radio/mainstream pop just isn’t my thing. But I like this song, I really do. Again, it makes me happy. And it reminds me of my mum and her class at the concert they putt on 🙂

6. The Breach by Dustin Tebbutt

A lovely, beautiful song. Dustin Tebbutt is wonderful. I think a lot of acoustic singers are wonderful and I’m really not just saying it. Bones is also a superb track.

7. Fall Underneath by Snakadaktal 

There was a period early in the year where I was listening to this song on repeat for a month. Like every day. Particularly in the mornings when I had to walk to the station at 5.30 am to get to work. I still love it.

8. Hide by Little May

A fun and joyful song. Trying to describe my love for this song (and for the others) is difficult in my state of utter exhaustion, so all I can tell you is to please listen to it (them).

9. I Need My Girl by The National

Because I had a wonderful time seeing them on tour and this was my favourite song they did. Because I like to remember the good times and be happy they happened.

10. Luna by Bombay Bicycle Club

Do I really need to spell it out for you? It just makes me happy.

Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

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To be honest with you, this book isn’t very rememberable. I only finished reading it the other day and it took me a couple of minutes to remember what the main character’s name is. Josie, as it were. But, I don’t know. This book just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped.

I think this is because I really can’t decide how I feel about Josie. Sure, sometimes I found her witty and mature, but other times I found her annoying and dumb and immature and the rest of the time I was pretty neutral, I guess. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind Josie’s naivety, it really didn’t bother me. Everyone is naive about love and such things at points in their lives, and as she’s a fifteen year-old I can understand her continual analysis of and over thinking about love. In fact, the analysis in the book, which Josie hands in as a school assignment, was probably my favourite part of the book to read. I also liked the ending, even though I didn’t find it very believable (you’ll see why when you read it. Hint: I’m talking about something specifically about Josie’s best friend Stu).

Speaking of, there wasn’t enough Stu. It was a disappointment. What we do see of him I liked a lot, though. He and Josie are quite cute, with their text messages and banter. But there just wasn’t enough of him to really warrant caring too much about him and what happens to him and Josie. 

A large chunk of the book is taken up by Josie trying to convince her sister Kate not to marry her boyfriend. I found it all really stupid and couldn’t see why Josie was so against Geoff (or whatever his name was) and I really didn’t like Kate much at all. I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just the case of me being a 23 year old reading a YA novel that’s just simply aimed at a younger level than me. Even if it does have swear words (I think?) and contain some mature material in it. In saying that, the whole Josie vs Geoff vs Kate does have a good resolution, as Josie comes to a particular epiphany that I found quite good.

So, there are some good things about this novel. It made me laugh a fair bit and it is at times very smart. But for some reason or other it just didn’t quite hit the mark for me and when it comes down to it, though it was reasonably enjoyable reading about Josie’s boy problems, the romance factor just didn’t cut it for me. Definitely not a book I’d put in my favourites pile, but not the worst read in the world. Who knows, you might love it.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Finally, I have read this. Now the only Rowell book I have to read is Landline, and I know I’ll love it as much as I loved Attachments, Eleanor & Park and (though love to a lesser degree I’m afraid) Fangirl. And yes, I will be reading Carry On (the fanfic Cath spends most of this novel writing and thus is a Fangirl spinoff) when it comes out!

Fangirl was a satisfying and fun read. It was adorable and true to the life of a girl/person stuck in the fandom world. It reminded me quite a lot of the times when I used to write fanfiction myself, and would spend hours in the world of Harry Potter. I never became anywhere near as well known in the fanfic world as Cath (actually a Glee fic I once wrote got the most attention) does with her Simon Snow fics. In that sense it was very relatable.

I found I could relate to Cath in a lot of other ways, too. In that she struggles with meeting new people and is anxious about social situations and prefers to stay in writing her fanfic. I could also relate to her problems coming to terms with fiction writing – her preference of writing fanfic is sort of about her inability to imagine herself being capable of creating her own original story and world herself. Quite often I feel that way. Writing is very daunting and sometimes it is easier to “borrow” from other authors and create stories from something that already exists. Like Cath, I’m insecure about my writing abilities. I don’t write fan fiction anymore, and I’ve tried very hard to write fiction, but it’s a difficult thing. I do believe, unlike Cath, that I (someday) will be able to create something. A whole magical world the likes of Harry Potter and Simon Snow…well, I don’t know about that. But it could be something amazing.

Enough about me and back onto the book. It has some really great characters. I liked Cath a lot, as you’ve probably guessed, and I also liked her twin Wren, even though I didn’t relate to her at all. I found their relationship interesting, though I do wish there’d been a bit more of it. Their Dad is great, and so is Cath’s roommate Reagan. Of course my favourite character has to be Levi. It’s very hard not to like him, which Cath soon realises. I mean, he’s so happy and sweet and it’s really quite obvious to anyone with eyes that he’s the sweetest guy in the book, and that that certainly isn’t Nick. (Sorry SPOILER. Though it’s really quite obvious to anyone with a brain, so…)

I thought the book has a good balance between difficult/depressing themes and hilarious/fun stuff. Which is always good when reading a book. The romance part of the book was adorkable. The family stuff is interesting, surprising and real. Cath’s personal struggles were dealt with really well…

My favourite scene (easily) in the book is when Cath ends up reading The Outsiders to Levi, because he doesn’t read and he has test on it the next day. It was the best. You’ll love it, especially if you also love The Outsiders like I do. There was also many references to rabbits in this novel, which I loved (I’m mad about rabbits).

Basically, the books perfect except for the fact that I felt it ended without really resolving some of the issues. I won’t say exactly what they were, but they were specifically to do with the mum Laura, Cath’s original fiction story and Cath’s virginity (haha). I don’t know. I found that in the first half of the story there were a lot of plot lines developing that didn’t really get anywhere by the end of the novel, or just dwindled off. The stuff with Nick could have been less anticlimactic, for example. I get that life is like that, and somethings just happen and you don’t really get a chance to figure them out or address them, but I just felt that I wanted the novel to go on a little longer. That’s really it’s only fault…That it just wasn’t long enough!! A small flaw, really.

Though I didn’t like Fangirl as much as Eleanor & Park, it’s still one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. I practically inhaled it and I think you’ll do the same if you read it. It was difficult to put down and really made me happy for the couple days I was reading it. I promise you’ll feel the same, especially if you have also delved into the Fandom worlds in your time and obsessed over non-cannon couples and if you enjoy reading a incredibly cute romance story or some good family drama. This is a novel that won’t disappoint (and if it does, it will only be a tiny bit).

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

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A weekly meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

I missed last week’s HP Moment, so I’m posting two this week 🙂

18/12/2014 – Best Minerva McGonagall line?

I couldn’t really think of anything on the top of my head for this one. Well, not in the case of the book, anyway. I immediately thought of the film and these two brilliant moments:

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It’s sort of hard not to think of those, seeing as Maggie Smith is so brilliant.

In regards to the books I had to look up a quote/scene from the books and I came across this little sentence from The Order of the Phoenix:

… Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, ‘It unscrews the other way.’

Classic McGonagall :).

25/12/2014 – Best ‘Snape moment’

‘ALWAYS.’

Need I say more?

But seriously, that scene is a a favourite moment of mine, not just a Snape moment. But it’s just so good, even if I know everyone else would have chosen it as well.

I love Snape. There are a lot of other moments I love. Moments with Harry, such as in The Half-Blood Prince when Harry’s borrows Ron’s Advanced Potions book and Snape sneers at Harry’s new nickname ‘Roonil Wazlib.’ Moments like their first potions class or Snape ignoring Hermione and Ron standing up for her and Snape educating them about werewolves and Snape trying to teach Harry Occlumency..

But really, that whole chapter in the Deathly Hallows is just so wonderful and actually made me cry when I first read it. Every scene with Lily and Dumbledore.

And I love every scene with Alan Rickman in the films…

Oh, it’s just too hard to say!!

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: Book Review

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Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair, first of the Thursday Next series, a wonderfully outrageous, extremely entertaining, innovative and hilarious novel. I loved every sentence and every chapter and the whole book (just to state the obvious). I’ve never read anything quite like it because Fforde has created a world that spins our world on its head – and it’s truly magnificent. I’m hitting myself for not reading this sooner. It’s been on my reading list ever since I read Fforde’s Shades of Grey, which is another #1-of-the-series novel I’d definitely recommend. In that Fforde’s creative storytelling and world building was fantastic to read, and that is also definitely the case with The Eyre Affair.

As it’s likely you don’t know much about this book I’ll give you a little summary of it so you get an idea of just how awesome it is. Our main character is a thirty-something year old Thursday Next, a courageous, literature-loving woman who works as a Literary Detective of Special Operations-27. You see, the book is set in an alternative 1985, where Literature is taken extremely seriously and such criminals such as Acheron Hades decides to kidnap fictional characters from books, including Jane Eyre. So Thursday Next has a lot to deal with in The Eyre Affair, from saving Jane Eyre, discussing who really wrote the Shakespeare plays to, of course, trying to sort out her own romantic happy ending – all while the Crimean war is still happening. All sounds pretty brilliant right?

And it is. It really is. Thursday is a fantastic heroine you can’t help but root for, and all the other characters in the novel are great, whether they’re evil, or geniuses, or really funny, or just plain likeable. There really isn’t anything to fault about any of them. The plot is really exciting and never gets boring. It did take me a moment when I first started reading it to grasp the world Fforde has created, but not too long as he’s done a really great job in the fact that it’s often convincing, but also so completely outrageous that you begin not to care whether it’s believable or not. I mean, Fforde breaks a lot of rules, and that’s half the fun of it.

I really enjoyed the part Jane Eyre played in it, especially as it’s one of my favourite classics. Fforde really played with the novel in a comic and respectful way and I loved the fact that (SPOILER ALERT) we (through Thursday) actually get to meet Rochester. All the other references to literature, particularly Shakespeare, were great, too. I really liked how much emphasis is put on literature in this novel and in the world Fforde has built. It’s truly great and in some ways I wish it was more that way in reality.

Really, this is just a magical book. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to read something different and original and fun. It will not disappoint. I know I probably say that about all the books I read and love, but I really, really mean it with this one. It was a very, very satisfactory read and I’m so keen to see where Thursday’s adventures in the Literary world go next.

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

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Sending all my followers/readers Merry Christmas wishes. Hope you all have loads of fun with your family and friends tomorrow and of course stuff yourselves with delicious treats!

Sorry I haven’t posted a review of The Eyre Affair yet, but I shall once Christmas celebrations are over. I’ve been far too busy being with my family celebrating a number of things (not just Christmas but also the fact we got our new house and are moving soon woo) and reading Fangirl at full-pelt. I’ll have a review up for that asap! And then only two more books before I reach my reading goal woo!

Anyhow, I’ll be around later in the week. Best wishes to everyone this Christmas and enjoy your time with the people you care about most and the people who love you 🙂