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Top It Off: Top Books of 2014

Okay. This is what everybody has already done and like, always I am late to the party of course! 😀 For this, wonderful year, I am just gonna list a combination of all the genres that I usually read, because I am new to book blogging (Plus, I usually don’t keep track of the books I have read :D).

Understandably, most of the books in the list are quite popular, but there are a few that you might not have read, and I would like to think that my thoughts on them would whet your interest enough to give them a try! Also, this year has been full of books. I had gotten a tablet, so a whole new world of eBooks opened up for me, which led to late night readings and/or known a binge marathon reads! My one resolution of 2014 (I will post about it later and link it here!) led me to chronicle what and when I read it.

So choosing only 10 favourite books is a blasphemy that I have to commit to make it easier for you all (Love me for this!) So, I reneged and added some series to my list as well, which if you count would definitely not be 10 books in total (I am wily, that way! :P) but these are the books that I have actually enjoyed and would definitely re – read again. Hence, the title – Top Books of 2014 🙂

The books/series in this list are not in any order or preference.

Credit: Not Mine :)
Credit: Not Mine 🙂

1. Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream: A Forensic Psychiatrist Illuminates the Darker Side of Human Behavior by Robert I. Simon

This text provides insights into the minds of rapists, stalker, serial killers, psychopaths, professional exploiters and other individuals, whose behavior both frightens and fascinates us. It also works to break down the false separation between good and bad people, pointing out that this dark side is an essential component of our humanity.

Joining as a Forensic Psychologist, led me to devour any kind of book relating to criminal psyche and my research gave me this book. Based on the theory that every human has both good and bad in them, the only difference between the “good” and the “bad” is that the latter have less impulse control. this book gives food for thought, yet having been in this job for almost 2 years now, I can honestly say, that this book still tries categorize people into black and white but sadly, nothing ever is that simple. This book is definitely an interesting read, especially for a lay man who needs an answer to questions like “why do people do the things they do?”

2. Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of Mossad By Gordon Thomas

Created in 1951 to ensure the future of an embattled Israel, the Mossad has been responsible for the most audacious and thrilling feats of espionage, counter-terrorism, and assassination ever ventured. Gordon Thomas’s 1999 publication of Gideon’s Spies, resulting from closed-door interviews with Mossad agents, informants, and spymasters as well as from classified documents and top-secret sources, revealed previously untold truths about the Israeli intelligence agency. And now, in this edition, Thomas updates his classic text and shows the Mossad as it truly is: brilliant, ruthless, and flawed, but ultimately awesome.

This is one of my favorite finds from The International Book Fair, Delhi 2014 and with recommendations from The Israeli President and the Current Head of Mossad, how could it not be? This book chronicles the secret missions of the agency against terrorism, it is a fast paced book with enough action to keep you at the edge of the seat and finally we get to know exactly why Mossad is one the most feared and ruthless agency in the world. Perfect read for those interested in the real stories behind most conspiracies.

3. KGI Series by Maya Banks

The Kelly Group International (KGI) is a group founded by brothers of the Kelly family.  They all have military backgrounds and deal in hostage rescue, intelligence gathering and black ops for the U.S. Government.  There are several teams, introduced throughout the books that you will fall in love with.  The Kelly family is a huge one, with six brothers.  And, once you’ve been taken in by Marlene Kelly, mother extraordinaire, you’re part of the family.

Books in the Series: 

The Darkest Hour (#1)

No Place to Run (#2)

Hidden Away (#3)

Whispers in the Dark (#4)

Echoes at Dawn (#5)

Softly at Sunrise (#5.5)

Shades of Gray (#6)

Forged in Steele (#7)

After the Storm (#8)

When Day Breaks (#9)

Darkest Before Dawn (#10) – Expected Publication Date in June 2015

I found Maya Banks when I went through my phase of fascination of Army/Navy Seals/Spies/ (Well, you get the idea!). I have fallen for the Alpha Males with a soft cuddly center and imagine my delight when I found there is a whole genre devoted them, i.e. Military Romance 😉  So when I read the blurbs about this series, I was quite hooked. I especially love the fact that this series was about family. Maya Banks writes beautifully and her characters get you hooked from the start. She introduces the whole family in the first book, making you wish for their happily ever, and make you want to re-visit the family again and again.  Definitely worth a read for those who love a romance with an edge of mystery. For those who love Alpha Males with heroines to match them.

4. The Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now. Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Books in this Series:

Shatter Me (#1)

Destroy Me (#1.5)

Unravel Me (#2)

Fracture Me (#2.5)

Ignite Me (#3)

This series has a special place in my heart (and not just because of Warner!) because of the fact that this is the series that i started my bookstagram (_@geekythoughts_) journey and through which I met such wonderful bookworms. This series is different, in the sense, the way it’s been written is not exactly mainstream but that’s the charm of it. Understandably, it takes a little getting used to but when you do, you either tend to absolutely love it or you tend to absolutely hate it. I fall in the first category. I loved this series. This series isn’t for anyone but for those who love a good character growth would love this one. 

5. The Lunar Chronicles By Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Book in the Series: 

Cinder (#1)

Scarlet (#2)

Cress (#3)

Fairest (#3.5) – Expected Publication in 2015

Winter (#4) – Expected Publication Date in 2015

A retelling of beloved fairytales in the dystopian future. What’s not to love? A cyborg cinderella, a military Red Riding Hood and a technological prodigy Rapunzel. Beautifully written without loosing the charm and the essence of the old Fairytales, this series ranks quite high on most of the young adult lists of 2014. And you have no idea, how eagerly I am waiting for the Winter!  If you still haven’t read it, go and get these books. NOW! They are definitely worth it. 

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan… But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

A book that has fandoms, fangirls and the love of fictional character as an integral part of the plot? Again, what’s not to love?  This is one those books, I loved due to the plot but not the writing. The writing, in itself, was sub par at the best, though that is not the case with other Rainbow Rowell books. Having been a fangirl since like I was 6 (before it was cool to be a fangirl, that is!), I am glad that Ms. Rowell wrote this book, majorly because it characterizes how difficult it is to reconcile your normal boring life without the love of fictional characters. 

7. The Precious Stone Trilogy by Kerstin Gier 

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Time Traveling. Enough Said 😀

You can read the full review here (Another reason why it’s my favourite? This was the first review I posted on my blog!)

8. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

“Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.”

I think most of us forget what it is like to be a teenager, as we grow up. To be in a fight with the world and with your yourself. To be so conflicted with what you want and what the world wants for you. To be at war with the world. And yet, be able to do whats right for yourself, to make yourself happy. Most of all, we forget that the angst of knowing is far worse than the envy of understanding.

This is the first book I reviewed for one of the sweet bookstagram’s website (@thebookboxx) and can be read fully here

9. Dark Dreams: A Legendary FBI Profiler Examines Homicide and the Criminal Mind by Roy Hazelwood

Profiler Roy Hazelwood is the world’s leading expert on the strangest and most dangerous of all aberrant offenders–the sexual criminal. In Dark Dreams he reveals the twisted motives and perverse thinking that go into the most reprehensible crimes. He also catalogs the innovative and remarkably effective techniques–techniques that he helped pioneer at the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit–that allow Law Enforcement agents to construct psychological profiles of the offenders who comit them. Hazelwood has helped track down some of the most violent and well known criminals in modern history; in Dark Dreams he takes readers into his world–a sinister world inhabited by scores of dangerous offenders for every Roy Hazelwood who would put them behind bars. These are sexual sadists, serial rapists, child molesters, and serial killers. The cases he describes are as shocking as they are perplexing; their resolutions are as fascinating as they are innovative.

Again, my work as a Forensic Psychologist, led me to this book. Written by a Profiler working with the FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit, talks about the cases he had help solve during tenure with the team. Again, this book is only for those who has an abject interest in the working of criminal psyche and the way their own psyche can be used against them. 

10. Knitting in the City Series by Penny Reid

Books in this series:

Neanderthal Seeks Human (#1)

Neanderthal Marries Human (#1.5)

Friends Without Benefit (#2)

Love Hacked (#3)

Beauty and the Mustache (#4)

Scenes from the City (#4.5)

Happily Ever After Ninja (#5) – Expected Publication in 2015

This series is hilariously written. And is absolutely unconventional. Every single book in this series would destroy your stereotypes and the best part would be that you would be laughing all the while it does! I started this series with Neanderthal Seeks Human (with that title, I am definitely sure, you can understand why I picked up this book) and marathon read the rest within 2 days (with breaks for food.. I love food!) and I can’t wait for the 5th book in the series to be published so that I can devour that too! You should definitely check this one out, especially if you like laughs with your romance 😀

11. Percy Jackson and Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

‘A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don’t need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.’

So begins Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic–and sarcastic asides–to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who’s who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. ‘If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that.’

Dramatic full-color illustrations throughout by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco make this volume–a must for home, library, and classroom shelves–as stunning as it is entertaining.

This book is epitome of Percy’s Sassiness (and in turn Uncle Rick’s) and was such an hilarious read that I couldn’t help but fall in love with Percy all over again ❤ If you have ever read Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series, you wouldn’t need this book recommended, but if you haven’t ever given the above series a try, just read this book and you’ll realize why there is unanimous decision of adoring Percassy (I think I got that right, right?) 

12. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Pic Credit: I wish!! But still not Mine!
Pic Credit: I wish!! But still not Mine!

Throughout the years, since Harry Potter actually ended, there have been many editions with different Illustrator. But from the first moment I saw these covers, I was in love! Absolutely, irrevocably in love!! And I wasn’t going to rest until I had these in my hands.  And now the whole set is finally complete and It is beautiful!!! They make me want to re – read the series again, and It’s on top of my list of re – reads for 2015 🙂 

13. Men Who Walk The Edge of Honor by Lori Foster 

Books in the Series:

Ready, Set, Jett!  [In The Guy Next Door] (#0.5)

When You Dare (#1)

Trace The Fever (#2)

Savor the Danger (#3)

A Perfect Storm (#4)

What Chris Wants  – E-book only (#4.5)

Another author I discovered during my fascination with Alpha Males and who soon became one of my favourites. This series is all about how danger is the most powerful aphrodisiac (not that I recommend purposefully putting yourself in danger just to meet hot guys!)

Her connected series to this one are the SBC Fighter Series, Love Undercover Series and the recent The Ultimate Series, the review of No Limits (#1) can be found here.

But her characters are definitely worth the time and effort spent on them! You should definitely go for these books if love sassy females with strong alpha males to match them!

14. The Infernal Devices : The Manga by Cassandra Clare and Hyekyung Baek

They be so pretty <3
They be so pretty ❤

These books were the reason I am now in a long term affair with Manga. Honestly speaking, I have no love lost for the Mortal Instruments Series – It was so difficult for me to even complete the City of Bones, that I even refused to even look at the rest of the series. But the illustrations in this edition are so pretty, that I couldn’t even stop myself from getting these.

This Manga version is reponsible for me giving in and deciding to at least read the The Infernal Devices series (but no this definitely does not mean that I would given in and red TMI as well.. Na uh… Sorry not gonna happen!)

You can read about my love for manga here and can also read the full review of The Infernal Devices : The Manga Version here

I really hope you can give this version of art a try, because trust me, they are honestly beautiful ❤

15. Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

Books in the Series:

The Lost Hero (#1)

The Son of Neptune (#2)

The Mark of Athena (#3)

The House of Hades (#4)

The Blood of Olympus (#5)

This year we said goodbye to Percy Jackson and it was such an emotional moment. Having lived the War against Titans with Annabeth, Percy and Grover, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them. So when I found out that Uncle Rick wasn’t going to end our association then, I was ecstatic. 

This series is honestly my favourite. How could it be not? Percy and Annabeth grow up so well, both individually as well as together (Percabeth *sigh*). We get to meet such lovable characters (Leo!! My Leo!!) that you can not just hand over your heart and soul to them on a platter. 

But the end of this series meant that there would be no more Percy and his friends. Ever again. That broke my heart, not that it would ever stop me from reading it. 

This series is honestly my favourite. How could it be not? Percy and Annabeth grow up so well, both individually as well as together (Percabeth *sigh*). We get to meet such lovable characters (Leo!! My Leo!!) that you cannot just hand over your heart and soul to them on a platter. 

But the end of this series meant that there would be no more Percy and his friends. Ever again. That broke my heart, not that it would ever stop me from reading it. 

And as usual, this book (like all others by Uncle Rick) only whetted my appetite rather than giving me closure. Sure, the book had flaws (I still say it’s only because even Uncle Rick never wanted to let go of these characters either!) but damn it, I wanted, need an epilogue to know to that if they were okay! 

*Rant over* 

This is quite possibly one of the favourite series of all times! And another on my list of re-reads for 2015! I will never get tired of visiting Percy, Annabeth and their friends. Ever!

16. The McCabe Trilogy by Maya Banks 

Following the three unforgettable brothers risk everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.

Books in the Series: 

In the Bed with a Highlander (#1)

Seduction of a Highland Lass (#2)

Never Love a Highlander (#3)

Anybody love Historical Romance? This series set in one of the most beautiful places in the world (The Scottish Highlands – My top place to visit!), Maya Banks weaves an unforgettable journey of the McCabe Clan as they fight for their survival and the protection of their clan. A place where honor and dignity are more important even than their own lives, we see each brother fight for their love and their very own happily ever after.

I do believe this is Maya Bank’s best work. The historical facts might not be quite accurate but they are nevertheless quite an engrossing read. For those who love a medieval setting, with heroines that show spine and strength, then this series is pretty perfect for you 🙂 

If there is a book/series you think I would like, don’t delay and let me know! The above list tells you of the varied interests I have and I can’t wait to see your suggestions ❤

So, I guess this is it. The end of another year. The beginning of new! I can’t wait for 2015. I know I don’t have to. Lots of books to read. Lots of books to review ❤

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6 thoughts on “Top It Off: Top Books of 2014”

    1. Oh my!! That is awesome!! I usually don’t find many who actually have the same taste as mine in romance!!!
      I hope you read Maya Bank’s KGI Series too! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed ❤

      Thank you so much love and Happy New Year to you too!! I hope you have one to talk about :*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah Maya Banks is absolutely brilliant! If you like her work, you should also try out Lori Foster and Julie Garwood.. You’ll like their writing style as well 🙂

        Yes Yes Yes I have!! Those books were amazing as well! Though I still love McCabe Trilogy a little better, if only for the hidden treasure and a princess in the story! I am a little partial to royalty 😛

        Liked by 1 person

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