"Inferno" by Dan Brown
If you have ever read any books by Dan Brown, you will completely understand why this book was one of my favourites this year. All of Dan Brown's books are so suspenseful and well-written, while really making you think. Inferno was the latest installment in the Robert Langdon series (following Angels and Demon, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol). The book starts out with Robert Langdon waking up in Florence, Italy with no memory of how he got there. Like the previous books in the series, a mystery quickly unwinds and Robert is forced to solve it using a series of clues and symbols. This book focuses heavily on symbols within The Divine Comedy by Dante, the Middle Ages, and the plague. I can't say a lot about the book without giving away too much, but I would seriously recommend reading this book! There are constant twists and you won't be able to put it down!
"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon
This book was completely different than any other book I have read because it was told from the point of view of a teenage boy with autism. Throughout the book, the author gives you some insight into the thought processes autistic people go through and how it may differ from your own. In the book, the main character Christopher finds that his neighbour's dog has been killed. Since Christopher was the one to find the dog, he immediately comes under suspicion. He then brings it upon himself to solve the mystery of who killed the dog. In the meantime, Christopher finds out a secret that his father had been keeping from him for years, causing him to leave their town of Swindon and head to London. The overwhelming amount of stimuli that Christopher experiences in London is so interesting to read from his point of view. I thought this book was really well-written and so interesting, making it stand out in my mind as one of my favourite books of the year.
"Divergent" by Veronica Roth
If you were a fan of the Hunger Games trilogy, you will love the Divergent trilogy. The books take place in a post-apocalyptic Chicago where the city is broken off into five different factions based on personality type, including Abnegation for the Selfless, Dauntless for the Brave, and Erudite for the Intellectual. Everyone is born into one faction, but when they are 16, they take an aptitude test to see which faction they should be in. Then they decide whether they want to stay in their birth faction or transfer to a new one. The catch is, if someone transfers, they can't talk to their family or friends from their old faction again. The main character, Tris discovers she has an aptitude for three of the factions, making her Divergent. The society sees this as dangerous, so she is forced to keep her divergence a secret. She decides to leave her native Abnegation to join the Dauntless. She is then forced to go through an intense initiation process in which she makes friends, learns a lot about herself, becomes stronger, and even falls in love. Meanwhile, political issues in the city come to a head, causing everything to change. This book was so good and I read it within a few days because I couldn't put it down. After reading the book, I also saw the movie which I would also highly recommend!
"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green
As I'm sure you know, this book was huge this year, especially after it was made into a movie over the summer. Before reading this, I wasn't sure the book would live up to all the hype I had heard, but I can honestly say, I really enjoyed it! The book is told from the point of view of Hazel, a teenage girl with cancer. When she goes to a cancer support group, she meets Augustus Waters, a boy who had cancer that went into remission. Hazel and Augustus become good friends and end up falling in love. It was so interesting to read all of Hazel's thoughts and see how strong and confident she is and how she doesn't let her cancer take over her life. This book will really make you feel all the emotions. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and everything in between. I loved this book (and the movie as well), and definitely plan to read more of John Green's books in 2015.
"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
This was another book that was hugely popular this year and also had a movie based off it. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I absolutely loved the book! The story focuses around married couple Nick and Amy Dunne. Nick returns home one day to see that Amy is gone and the house is a mess, showing that there must have been some sort of struggle. Nick immediately thinks she was kidnapped, but after police begin investigating, they find Amy's dairy. In the diary, she described the struggles she and Nick were having in their marriage and ways in which Nick was abusive to her. Once the diary is found, Nick immediately becomes the prime suspect in Amy's disappearance and potential murder. The chapters switch off being told from Nick's perspective and Amy's perspective, and there is twist after twist, making you question whose side you are on and what really happened to Amy. This book is so suspenseful and, while I was reading it, I could barely put it down! Now I'm dying to see the movie as soon as possible.
"One Day" by David Nicholls
Next up is a book that I've had for a while, but never got around to reading until a few months ago. I had seen the movie One Day with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess and loved it, so I wanted to give the book a read too. The story follows two friends, Emma and Dexter, over the course of their friendship and, eventually, relationship. What's unique about this writing style compared to other love stories is that it only gives us a glimpse into their life one day a year, on July 15. The book takes place in England so it has that British humour that I love so much. I loved reading this, and after I finished the book, I watched the movie again and felt like I could appreciate it even more!
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson
I recently finished the third and final book in this series, and they were all so amazing! I especially loved the first book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but all three books were so good. The main characters in the series are Mikael Blomkvist who is a journalist and Lisbeth Salander who is a math genius/computer hacker/rebel. The books were originally written in Swedish which is where the books take place. The first book in the series involves Mikael being recruited in solving a decades-old murder mystery. Martin Vanger, a wealthy old man, had spent the last 35 years of his life trying to solve the mystery of his brother's granddaughter's disappearance when she was a teenager. Martin believes she was murdered by a member of the family. As Mikael investigates the case, he finds new details to go along with the case, and links Harriet's possible murder to several other girls in Sweden. While searching for the answers to one crime, he ends up discovering some things that are much bigger and scarier. This is another book that has lots of twists and suspense, so I can't say too much, but you would definitely not be disappointed by it! As with several of the books mentioned above, the movie based on this book is also amazing.
"Misery" by Stephen King
And now for the last and one of the best books I read in 2014—Misery. I have wanted to read this book for a while, but was too afraid it would give me nightmares. I don't like horror, but when my dad convinced me to read this by saying it's more suspense than horror, I gave it a shot. It is about an author named Paul Sheldon who gets into a car accident in the middle of a bad snowstorm in Colorado, and the woman who rescues him, Annie Wilkes, just so happens to be his number one fan. Her favourite books of his are the "Misery" series, but when she reads the newest book and discovers that Misery dies, she forces Paul to write another book for her, bringing Misery back from the dead. Since Paul is badly injured from his accident, he is completely helpless and is forced to do as Annie says. As the book goes on and you learn more about Annie, you see just how crazy and twisted she is. I loved this book a lot more than I expected to, and it definitely is more suspense than horror. I didn't find it scary, but it was pretty violent and gruesome at times. I also watched the movie while I was home for Christmas and it was so well done. Kathy Bates played Annie and won the Academy Award for Best Actress that year, which she completely deserved. If you haven't read any Stephen King books before, I think this is the perfect book to introduce you to his many twisted stories.
So far in 2015, I have already read three books, so I'm already making some headway in achieving my goal of 35 books by the end of the year. Let me know in the comments of some good books that you've read lately!