Wednesday, December 31, 2014

top 10 book reviews of 2014

It's Top 10 time!!! While I don't have my Best Books of 2014 list finished yet (and I may not until well into January--we'll see how it goes!), I do have a Top 10 list for you today: Top 10 Book Reviews of 2014!

I thought it would be fun to take a look at which of my reviews were the most popular this year, so I turned to my friend Google Analytics. The results surprised me, to say the least! I actually reviewed nearly half of these books prior to 2014, I gave negative reviews to several, and none will show up on my Best of 2014 list. Four of these books either were recently made into movies or are connected to a TV show, so that probably accounts for the reviews' popularity.

10. Dreamtreaders by Wayne Thomas Batson (4 stars)
Is it terrible to admit that I have zero recollection of this book, even after rereading my review? (I do remember the cover, but I couldn't tell you the plot to save my life.) I gave it 4 stars, so I must have liked it at the time ...

9. Revolutionary by Krista McGee (5 stars)
This book is the final entry in McGee's excellent YA trilogy. I loved, loved, loved this series ... and I sincerely apologize to everyone who was confused by my review! You see, when I reread this review for the purpose of this post, I saw that I had called the book Luminary (the title of book two) instead of Revolutionary throughout the review! (Don't worry: I've fixed it now!)

8. Wish You Were Here by Beth K Vogt (5 stars)
I reviewed this book in 2012. It's a great book that tells the story of a runaway bride, but it's so much deeper than your typical romance. I still highly recommend it!

7. Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber (3 stars)
Honestly, 3 stars was probably a little generous for Mr. Miracle. Debbie Macomber's books tend to be hit or miss for me, and this one was definitely a miss. I hoped the film adaptation, which aired on Hallmark Channel this Christmas, would be better, but it really wasn't. I read somewhere that Rob Morrow's Harry (Mr. Miracle) came across as slightly drunk, and I would have to agree with that assessment. He didn't seem quite so naive or childish in the book, and I guess in this case I would recommend the book over the movie, but I don't highly recommend either one.

6. A Short Life Well Lived by Tom Sullivan (2 stars)
This book is the biggest surprise on the list. It's the oldest review represented here--from July of 2011--and it's a negative one. I do actually remember this book because I was so conflicted as I read it. I got it for review from a Christian publicity company, but the Christianity in this book doesn't look anything like what I believe to be true. (We're talking big things here, like the doctrine of salvation.) The theological issues are what caused me to give it a 2 star rating. Without those, it probably would have been a 3-1/2 star novel.

5. Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio by Serena Miller (4 stars)
Sugarcreek was made into a film that aired on Up TV last summer, and I was part of a tour promoting both the book and the film. I haven't actually seen the film yet, but I will soon, as it's now available for rent on Amazon, and I have some credits to spend!

4. Austenland by Shannon Hale (4 stars)
Austenland was made into a film starring Keri Russell and Jane Seymour last year, and the book and the film are very different, yet both are quite delightful! I read the book prior to the film's release, and while I didn't enjoy a few of the changes made for the film, I think that, overall, I do prefer the film to the book. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the charming JJ Field plays the "Darcy" character, Nobley.

3. Longing by Karen Kingsbury (I didn't give this a star rating--but I would probably give it 5 stars for the writing quality and 1 star for how much I enjoyed it.)
I wrote this review in 2011, and it's still getting lots of views. This is one of the most honest reviews I've ever written because I was so passionate about the subject--it's probably more of a reaction than a review. Even now, after rereading the review, I can feel my annoyance rising. And no, I still haven't finished Loving, the book that follows this one. I prefer to just pretend that things with Bailey Flanigan turned out how I wanted them to, rather than how Kingsbury wrote them.

2. Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan (3 stars)
This book is basically a companion piece to Hallmark Channel's When Calls the Heart TV series. The only problem? Though some of the characters overlap, the plot and some of the character's personalities are vastly different. Taken on its own, Where Courage Calls is classic Janette Oke. It's just that I already knew the characters and plot from the TV show, and Where Courage Calls didn't feel like it meshed with the show. If you count yourself among the "Hearties," I'd recommend you either steer clear of this novel or pretend it's not at all connected to the show.

1. Seams Unlikely by Nancy Zieman (3 stars)
This one floored me. Seriously? I guess there are a lot of people who are curious about Sewing with Nancy's Zieman! I mean, I was ... that's why I requested this book for review!


  1. I love Karen Kingsbury, but the Bailey Flanigan series was extremely frustrating! Enjoyed reading your thoughts on Longing. Agree with you on the "ideals" thing. Ugh. Years later and I still get worked up about it.

    Ally @ The Scribbling Sprite

    1. Thanks, Ally! Maybe someday I'll get over it ... maybe:-)


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