Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s prompt is top ten books I’ve read so far this year. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been slacking on my reading this year (45 books total). I’ve also read a surprising number of books for the second time but didn’t want this list made up of just second-time reads. So I compromised: seven new reads and two second reads.

New Reads

1. Sun and Moon Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George- The writing style of this book is so different and unique. It’s based on a myth that I’d never heard of before and I loved the way everything worked together to give me a completely new reading experience.

2. Twelve Dancing Princesses series by Jessica Day George- Though these books followed more well-known fairytales, George still managed to make the plot unique and fun.

3. The Selection & The Elite by Kiera Cass- Though I haven’t been able to get The One yet, I found the first two books in this trilogy to be entertaining and light reads with just enough suspense and intrigue thrown in to keep me hooked.

4. Enchanted & Hero by Alethea Kontis- When I picked up these books I wasn’t expecting much out of them. I’m glad to say I was completely wrong. It combines tons of different fairytales and legends, most of which I wasn’t very familiar. I never knew what would happen next and I loved that.

5. Three Weeks With Lady X by Eloisa James- I’ve read and loved every one of her books. My favorite character in the Desperate Duchesses series was Villiers and I was so excited that James wrote this book about his son.

6. The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn- I’ve also read all of Quinn’s books. They’re always quick, laugh-out-loud funny and this book was no exception.

7. Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier- The final book in the Ruby Red trilogy. I honestly had no idea how this book would end. All of these books had fairly fast plots but the first two were also funny and not nearly as serious. While all the loose ends got tied up in this last book, the suspense was off the charts and I literally couldn’t put it down until I knew everything.

Second Reads

8. His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman- I read these when I was younger and finally decided to read them again. These books are funny, suspenseful, and heartbreaking. I will never not adore this trilogy.

9. The Witness by Nora Roberts- I read this book when it first came out and loved it. Elizabeth/Abigail is such a unique character but I could still relate to her in many ways. I think I can safely say this is my favorite Nora Roberts book of all time. (Fun Fact: This was the 200th book Roberts wrote.)

So what are your top ten books from this year?
-Antonia

The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

Goodreads Summary:He thinks she’s an annoying know-it-all…

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

She thinks he’s just plain mad…

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn’t matter. She doesn’t care that his leg is less than perfect, it’s his personality she can’t abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless…

I love Julia Quinn. Her books always, without out fail, make me laugh out loud even if I’m out somewhere public causing everyone to stare at me like I’m a lunatic. She uses the perfect mix of humor and sappy that I really can’t get enough of. I love the relationships between her characters. They banter and they fight and they love each other. It’s perfect. It never seems unrealistic. Sisters act exactly as my sisters and I act. Friends act just like Amanda and I are together. I always want to be best friends with the heroine and the hero always makes me swoon (well, he would if I knew how to swoon). I’ve read every one of her books and always await the next with as much patience as I can manage when books are involved. Her newest book (my Christmas present from Amanda) did not disappoint me.
I’ll begin by explaining the duel which is also explained in the other two books of the series. Approximately three years before the events of this book, Hugh, Sarah’s cousin Daniel, and a couple of their friends were drunkenly playing cards. Hugh accused Daniel of cheating, they argued, and Hugh challenged him to a duel. Still slightly drunk at dawn they meet and are still determined to go through with it. Neither actually wanted to shoot the other and were fully expected to just shoot past the others shoulder and be done with it. Except Hugh accidentally shoots Daniel in the shoulder. And Daniel accidentally shoots him in the legging, hitting an artery and almost killing him. Daniel’s forced to leave the country by Hugh’s father threatening to kill him until Hugh manages to convince his father to back off. Because of this, Sarah hates Hugh for causing her family so much pain.
I’ll start with Lady Sarah Pleinsworth. She knows how to act like a lady when she needs to, but when she’s with her friends or her family she’s dramatic, sarcastic and tends to exaggerate. I hadn’t been entirely sure how much I liked her at the beginning of the book. Then she met Hugh and my opinion did a complete 180. He really brings out the worst in her and vice versa. The conversations that ensue are nothing short of hilarious. They’re forced together for a few weeks for Sarah’s two cousins’ weddings. After spending time with him, Sarah begins to realize he isn’t the complete asshole she thought he was. He’s actually a decent person. And has nice eyes. And he’s very handsome. And Sarah is absolutely horrified that she’s thinking any of this purely because it’s Hugh and she’s supposed to hate him.
After the duel, Hugh becomes crippled and struggles to walk even with a cane. Between the duel and his disability, he holds an awkward place in society; he indirectly forced a popular member of the aristocracy to flee the country, it’s unlikely anyone would be willing to marry a cripple, and he can’t dance or hunt or do much of anything physical. Hugh feels terrible that he couldn’t keep his father from trying to kill Daniel and feels responsible for everything that occurred because of the duel, even the parts that weren’t his fault. He doesn’t want to hate Sarah, but he thinks she’s dramatic and silly and she was really quite a bitch when they first met. Until he realizes he’s attracted to her and she’s sort of cute when she’s dramatic and she’s actually pretty clever.
I loved Sarah and Hugh as enemies. I loved Sarah and Hugh as friends. And I love Sarah and Hugh in love. They’re adorable and funny and I just really want to be best friends with them. Hugh just wants to protect her even though he can’t even catch her from falling out of a carriage because of his leg. Sarah just wants to help him and make him happy because she doesn’t see him as a cripple at all.
I loved this book. It had the perfect amount of everything. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romance or books that make you laugh. As always, I’d love to hear your own thoughts and feedback.
-Antonia

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we have a different topic that we write our top ten about. This weeks topic is top ten books on my winter to be read list. I haven’t quite thought about what I need to read that I haven’t yet. So, this list might be all over the place. Here’s what I came up with.

1)Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich– I’m totally obsessed with this series. They don’t have to be read in any specific order, and they’re all freaking hilarious.

2)Delirium by Lauren Oliver– I’ve heard a lot of really good things about this series. Its been on my TBR list for a while, but I’ve been slacking on my library visits.

3)The Book Thief by Markus Zusak– This is another that’s been on my list for a while because there’s a movie of it coming out. Every time I go to the book store I always pick it up, read the back, then put it back down. So I’m thinking it’ll be another I get from the library.

4)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins– I haven’t read this trilogy in too long. I’d really enjoy reading them again. So, maybe if I actually put it on a list I’ll get to it eventually.

5)The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey– This book looks really interesting. I read another by Rick Yancey and loved it. So I figure this could also be a great book.

6)Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley– I found this book while looking through the list of Printz awards. It sounds like it has potential to be seriously good. Along with the fact that it won two awards, so there’s probably a reason for that.

7)Unstrung by Neal Shusterman– I need to have this. The first three were amazing. I know the fourth will be just as wonderful.

8)The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn– This just came out, and I adore Julia Quinn’s books. So it’s a must.

9)The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle– I just adore Lauren Myracle. This also sounds really cute.

10)Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, &Lauren Myracle– I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. Also, John Green.

These are the books that I’ll hopefully get to spend my winter reading. What’s on your list for this winter?