Friday, January 9, 2015

Kimberly’s Favorite Books of 2014

I love end of year lists. I read them for everything: books, TV episodes, internet memes, fight scenes in movies, animal gifs. If there’s a list for it, I probably read it. So here is my humble contribution to the best of 2014 lists. It’s a little late, sure, but it still counts!

Last year, was a fairly strong reading year for me. I read 100 books, 10 of which were rereads. I read more broadly than I have in the past, spending more time browsing the adult fiction shelves and reading outside my comfort zone. I also spent a lot more time reading for me instead of reading because I felt I had to for work or a committee or a book club. It was liberating, and I hope to continue the trend in 2015.

Since I did read so much more adult fiction than I usually do, I have split my list in half. Without further ado, here are my top five favorite adult fiction titles and top five favorite YA fiction titles.

Books - 2014 Adult Favs.png

Adult Fiction:

1) Written in Red and Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop - I have loved Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy for years, but put off reading this until December, when I finally caved to peer pressure. I’m glad I did because this is urban fantasy at its best.

2) Night Broken and Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs - The Mercy Thompson series continues to be one of my favorites, and 2014 brought two new additions: a novel and a book of short stories. I loved both, although Night Broken did break my heart a little. And, since Shifting Shadows came out on my birthday, it was the perfect gift to myself!

3) The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling - These were, by far, the best audiobooks I listened to in 2014. Robert Glenister’s narration is absolutely perfect and I repeatedly found myself so engrossed by the story that I would just lay in my bed, listening. I need more Cormoran Strike novels, now!

4) Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover - My New Adult experience is pretty minimal, but surely this is one of the best out there. So many swoon-worthy moments in this book! And the soundtrack is definitely one of my favorite CDs from 2014.

5) Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James - The best Simone St. James novel so far. I was completely captivated from start to finish.

Books - 2014 YA Favs.png

Young Adult Fiction:

1) Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour - This was a beautiful novel about first love and new love. It was also a refreshing addition to the LGBTQ genre in that it didn’t focus on coming out, but on living.

2) Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - I had been waiting to read these until the last book came out, but a book club I co-host read it in December. I never did make it through the plodding tome that is Cress, but these first two books are fantastic. The fairy tale aspect is well-written, the heroines are multi-faceted, and Prince Kai and Wolf are so dreamy.

3) For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across the Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund - Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel, so I’m actually surprised I didn’t start this series sooner. Peterfreund’s world building in each novel is so startlingly unique and fascinating. I would give the edge to the first novel, but both are fantastic.

4) Winger by Andrew Smith - This book played with my emotions in a cruel, cruel way, but I loved it anyway.

5) The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas - I put off reading this one for a long while because I wasn’t in the mood for such a long book. (Sometimes, I’m a little lazy.) But it was so well-written, creative, and fast-paced that it hardly felt like it was long enough. I can’t wait to see what else Thomas does with this world she’s created.

Honorable Mentions:
Venetia by Georgette Heyer
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Easy by Tammara Webber

Best Rereads:
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf