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).
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 Perkins‘ ISLA 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 Wells‘ THE 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.
- 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.