My favorite books of 2014:
1. Just One Night --- This was a novella that finished out the Just One Day, Just One Year books that I so so so so so loved. That second book left out about an hour of information that I obsessed over for a year. This little novella finished it out in a very satisfying way.
2. Isla and the Happily Ever After --- Very few authors can do sappy, cutie YA better than Stephanie Perkins. While it's not a true series, this is a book in a the same world as Lola and the Boy Next Door and Anna and the French Kiss. And those characters are wrapped in this story, as well. Isla quickly became my favorite girl in that world.
3. Fangirl --- I checked this out of the library because I wasn't sure about this one. Rainbow Rowell, the darling of YA writers, wrote Eleanor and Park which was too dark for little me. This book was amazing and took me back to my freshman year of college. Levi wins my favorite boy of the year.
4. United We Spy --- The end of Ally Carter's super series about a spy academy. We truly watched Cammie grow up from a naive freshman with a knack for getting into trouble to a strong HS graduate. Ally has a new series coming out next year and I can't wait for it.
5. True Love series --- In full disclosure these books are written by a friend of mine but they're super gooey and good. Kieran Scott is another author who does good gooey YA and this time she mixed in a Mount Olympus cast of characters. True is a hilarious character.
My favorite books of the year that I didn't read ... by totally will:
1. Dreams of Gods and Monsters --- Never fear, I WILL get through the third book in my FAVORITE series by Laini Taylor. Sometimes, I have a hard time saying goodbye to beloved characters and Karou & Akiva will break my heart. I know they will.
2. Longbourne --- This is Austen's P&P from the servants point of view, so I'm intrigued but not enough to devour the book. I'll get to it.
3. The Bone Season --- Remember all the press this book got? The next Twilight and Harry Potter. I got through 1/4 of it. I liked it. But it was put-down-able. I'll pick it up when something more enticing doesn't get in the way.
4. Sinner --- A follow-up to the Shiver series about Isabelle and bad boy Colin. It's Maggie Stiefvater and I'd do just about anything to get a new book from her every year. I WILL get to this one, mostly because I'm sure Sam and Grace will make cameos.
My favorite audiobooks of the year:
1. The Raven Boys --- it's the second in a trilogy by amazing author Maggie Steifvater (see above). The narrator is completely perfect (until he has to read a tender kissing moment with his gravelly voice). I've requested the third audio book from the library and am waiting ... waiting.
2. Etiquette and Espionage Series --- steampunk and fun, the narrator again makes this audiobook. Her voices are great and there's good action. I let the girls listen to these books (third one is coming out this year) on the way home from school and it's hard not to mimic the voices all evening.
What I Like to Read with the Kids:
1. Alice loves the Fancy Nancy books and I love to read them. I like the vocabulary words and they usually give us something to discuss afterwards.
2. Leah likes reading the Elephant and Piggie books. They're easy reads and they crack us up.
Favorite New Cookbooks:
1. 100 Days of Real Food --- A family who gave up processed food and lived to tell about it! Lisa Leake has some very amazing ideas for lunches and easy, real dinners. I have added many tags and plan to try the chicken nuggets soon.
2. Dinner: A Love Story --- I often think, "ugh, I have to make dinner. Again?! I just did that!" Jenny Rosenstratch has been keeping a dinner journal since her 20s because she LOVES dinner. It's inspirational more than anything. And I like the memoir aspect as the years pass from singlehood to life with kids.
3. Edible French: Tasty Expressions and Cultural Bites --- To satisfy the Francophile in me, I ordered this book from blogger Clotilde Dusoulier that gives you cute French expressions around food and the meaning. Plus, pretty watercolors to accompany. It's a fun one.
4. Cooked --- OK, not a traditional cookbook but a book about food by Michael Pollen. His writing always gets me inspired and thinking about the choices I make around food and meals. This one had especially good timing, as I was attempting to lose weight last winter and get meal-planning going in my household. I wrote more about it here.