2014: My Favourite Books

Happy New Year!

I’m loving all the annual wrap-ups/best-of posts appearing around the book blogosphere, and my TBR list is growing by leaps and bounds (I’m also trying to be smarter by using the eReaderIQ price drop watch lists, but there is only so much restraint I can show).

My 2014?

It’s a weird one.  It’s not felt like an amazing reading year for me (again – I had similar feelings about 2013) but if I look at my book log, I actually read a lot of books I’ve enjoyed.  Good thing I track my reads, huh?

Maybe it’s because while I’ve stumbled across some new-to-me authors and read some really good books, there’s been no single author whose books I’ve just wholeheartedly glommed.  Am I being unrealistic?  Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by discovering authors like Eloisa James, Elizabeth Peters, Lois McMaster Bujold, Kelly Hunter etc relatively recently (where recently = since I’ve been blogging) and it doesn’t feel like a good reading year unless I discover a fantastic author with a massive backlist to dive into. Possibly.

Anyway, here are my favourite books read during 2014 (roughly in the order I read them):

Susanna Kearsley‘s THE WINTER SEA (romance): Yes, I finally got around to reading Susanna Kearsley in 2014, and fell headlong for her quiet swoon-worthy romances and the way she weaves together the then and now.  This one was my very favourite of the Kearsleys, and trust me, I made a dent in her backlist over the year.

KJ Charles‘s THINK OF ENGLAND (historical M/M romance): KJ Charles became an auto-buy author for me over 2014. This book wasn’t without its controversies (heck, 2014 may go down as the year the book blogging world did Controversy), but she nailed both the period feel and romance in this one, IMO.

Miranda Kenneally‘s BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE (YA romance): I’ve had both hits and misses with her Hundred Oaks series, but this one was very definitely a hit.  Chemistry and feelings a-plenty in these pages.

Cinda Williams Chima‘s THE GRAY WOLF THRONE and THE CRIMSON CROWN (YA fantasy): I kind of cheat here, because it’s the whole quartet I loved, but Cinda Williams Chima didn’t let me down with the two concluding books to her Seven Realms series. It was just a really good story that hit all my buttons – court intrigue, magic, romance… I couldn’t ask for more.

Rainbow Rowell‘s FANGIRL (YA romance): I finally got the why behind Rainbow Rowell’s popularity this year.  I’d tried (and failed) with her popular ATTACHMENTS and was about to place her in the authors-everyone-else-loves pile.  And then I gave FANGIRL a go – I fell hard for Cath, and we had fanfic love as bonus (obviously, I’m dying over the CARRY ON 2015 announcement).

Stephanie PerkinsISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER (YA romance): The wait for this book was worth it – no one can quite capture those dizzying extremes of teenage emotions the way Stephanie Perkins can.

Juliet Marillier‘s THE CALLER (YA fantasy): I admit I had doubts about this fantasy trilogy at the start, and the first book is unlikely to ever be a favourite of mine.  But Juliet Marillier ended the Shadowfell trilogy on a high.

Martha WellsTHE SIREN DEPTHS (fantasy): Like the Cinda Williams Chima books, this really should be the Raksura trilogy as a whole.  Another of those series that I should have read a long time ago – memorable characters and really excellent world-building.

Kylie Scott‘s LEAD (contemporary romance): I enjoyed Kylie Scott’s previous Stage Dive rock star romances, but LEAD was miles better.  Jimmy and Lena won my heart with their banter, chemistry, and yes, drama.  There were some very perfect moments in this book.

In summary:

  • Six romance books and four fantasy books, with half of the list being YA
  • An even mix of new-to-me and previously-read authors (last year, it was all new-to-me authors)
  • And half of these books were published in 2014, with publication dates for the other five ranging from 2008 to 2013

Before I wrap up, I don’t normally call out short stories in my annual favourites, but there were two anthologies I had to mention this year – both of them M/M romance anthologies, coincidentally.  KJ Charles‘s (again) “The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh” was a standout for me (in the anthology ANOTHER PLACE IN TIME).  Seriously.  I’m really excited she revisits her Regency world in a new Loveswept release this year.  And COMFORT AND JOY was just a consistently good Christmas romance anthology (stories by Joanna Chambers, LB Gregg, Harper Fox, and Josh Lanyon) – it’s definitely one for my holiday stories keeper pile.

Next up: 2014 in numbers. Because I like stats.

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18 thoughts on “2014: My Favourite Books

  1. You’ve got some great books on your list, Li. Some on my 2014 list and some I keep meaning to read (Fangirl and KJ Charles). I wasn’t feeling the Christmas romances this year, but I will have to check out Comfort and Joy–but maybe next year!

    • I started on the Christmas romances late this time around – have quite a few I didn’t get around to reading so they’re in my pile for next year as well!

      I’m really glad I gave Rainbow Rowell another go (I admit the FANGIRL cover also influenced me). And KJ Charles writes so fluently across multiple genres (she also did a contemporary m/f romantic suspense) – definitely an author to watch.

  2. Very nice! I really need to check out the Anna and the French Kiss series. I’ve heard a lot of good things about all those books. The Martha Wells book sounds very interesting as well! I’ll have to see if my library has it. Hope 2015 is an awesome year for you!

    • Happy New Year, Samantha!

      ANNA remains my favourite Perkins of the three, I think. Both ISLA and LOLA were excellent, but it’s ANNA that’s left a lasting impression. And yes, I totally recommend the Martha Wells.

    • They were all standout reads! I’m really looking forward to Susanna Kearsley and Rainbow Rowell’s 2015 releases, and would love to know what Stephanie Perkins is writing next.

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  4. It’s nice to see everyone’s annual wrap-ups and best of posts indeed! Mine should be coming sometime in the coming week. Would have loved to work on it today, but we had a power outage, ugh 😦

    That’s two times in a row I see Lead by Kylie Scott. Guess that means something 😉 I loved Breathe, Annie, Breathe. Mainly for Annie’s journey. Fangirl was interesting, but I don’t know… Attachments hit a cord for me that Fangirl didn’t. Although I much preferred Fangirl than Eleanor & Park. And the KJ Charles is in my TBR pile courtesy from your review earlier this year 🙂 Hopefully, I will get to it soon 🙂

    eReader IQ is pretty interesting, but is it only for Kindle ebooks?

    • I look forward to reading your post! (I’ve been having trouble commenting on Blogspot blogs with my WordPress logon credentials – think it’s my browser, annoyingly, but hopefully will be fixed soon.)

      I think you should definitely give Kylie Scott a go, I really liked her voice! I started with the second book, then backtracked to the first, before reading LEAD- probably should have read in order, but it didn’t bother me that much.

      So you preferred ATTACHMENTS to FANGIRL? Interesting. I’ve kind of stalled in the middle of ELEANOR & PARK – need to pick up again!

      Yes, eReaderIQ is Kindle only, unfortunately – I don’t know if there is a Kobo equivalent. Interestingly, Amazon is usually cheaper than Kobo on price here (though the VAT change may have affected that now, so I need to see if that’s changed anything), so I normally go for Amazon unless there’s a Kobo coupon floating around.

      • See, the thing is I don’t like being tied down to Amazon ^_^; Which is kind of weird because I’m actually a very loyal customer… but I guess it’s a long-time prejudice that I have. I just like the concept of Kobo more when it comes to uploading books. Less restrictive I guess.

        Really though, I never check the price on Amazon for ebooks. Just Kobo. But you`re probably right that Amazon is cheaper. However, Kobo does have a lot of coupons floating around.

        Yeah, I kind of preferred Attachments to Fangirl. Perhaps because it was the first book of hers that I picked up and the style. Eleanor & Park… I like that Park was half-Asian and the time period was an interesting choice… my issue is the point of the whole story. Was there really one?

      • Ha – if pressed, I actually prefer Amazon to Kobo. Probably a hangover from back when I used to order stacks of books from Amazon – they had amazing customer service as they’d just send out replacement parcels if any went missing, no questions asked. (Possibly also due to the amounts I spent there…) And also Kobo’s website design is… not great. But generally, I usually just use whichever retailer is cheaper.

        Yep, you nailed the reason why I put down E&P – I wasn’t quite sure what the story was meant to be! Maybe you’ve just got to be in a certain mood…

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