2014 was really a banner year for me when it came to reading and being involved in the book world. I discovered that there were loads of people out there who were as obsessed with books and romance as I was. This. Was. A. Huge. Deal. You have no idea how amazing it was to find my people, and to know that I’m not alone in my craziness. Other people fall in love with fictional characters too! Other people daydream about the make believe like I do! Other people have book boyfriends! Whaaatt?? This world exposed me to a host of new authors and new books, particularly wonderful stories that were independently published. My whole world changed. So it’s with great joy and pain that I get to make a list of my favorites of the year. It was impossible to choose, but choose I did. Listed immediately are my top 10 books published in 2014, and following are a few books that nearly made the list, and others that I loved but weren’t published this year. Here they are:
10. Push by Claire Wallis
This book caught me by surprise. I was caught immediately by the synopsis, but I was still scared to read it. So I took time, and read it when I was ready, and I was blown away. From the prologue on, it was a constant repetition of what-the-fucks and holy-shits. I had an extreme, visceral reaction to this book, and I loved it! Push is an atypical love story that made me lose my mind. Definitely one of my most memorable reads of the year. The follow-up, Pull was just as good, if not better, and I dare readers to give them a chance, get out of your comfort zone, and read this twisted love story. It’s awesome.
9. Captured by Jasinda Wilder
I love reading military romances. Maybe because I was in the military, and I understand that world, or maybe I just love the action and suspense that’s usually incorporated into these types of books. More than likely, both. Captured made this list because this book had everything. It was an emotional story of love and forgiveness, letting go and second chances, and I loved it so much!. It didn’t receive as much love and attention as I believed it should’ve, and that sucks, because it was truly insanely good. Jasinda Wilder’s best work, I think. I hope more people are exposed to it in the future, and that they take a chance on it, in spite of their fears, because this book shouldn’t fall through the cracks.
8. Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan
This book. This book. Ohmigod. Archer Hale is the epitome of a hero. He’s the type they make classic movies about, the type of love story that gets remade every generation because it transcends time. Before I read this, I knew that a lot of people loved this book, and I hesitated to read it because I didn’t want to jump on that band wagon. But once I did, I was the one tugging on that horn and screaming, ‘Get on board!” If you haven’t read this, then get the hell on board! This story is compelling, beautiful, and it has the most wonderful message. This hero without a voice spoke to me loudly, and his voice resonated.
7. Reasonable Doubt by Whitney G.
This serial was the shit. I remember I read it one afternoon because I was taking a break from studying, and I practically inhaled it. Andre Hamilton…fuuuccckkk he’s hot. I had no idea who Whitney G. was – all I knew was that she knew how to write a blurb, because this one had me. And so did the story. Once I finished it, I about died when I realized that I had to wait to read the next installment. Seriously, I stalked her Facebook page daily for any news about this book and its successors. The whole series is unbelievable; sexy, funny, smart, and just plain good. I’ve read all the volumes multiple times, this year alone, and you better believe I’ll be reading it again in 2015.
6. Mud Vein by Tarry Fisher
This book affected me deeply, and it affected me without me knowing it. After I’d initially read this story, I liked it, but I wasn’t crazy impressed with it like others seemed to be. But then I found myself thinking about it, and Senna all the time. All the time. She’d just randomly pop into my head, and I’d remember scenes I barely paid attention to while I was reading it. Someway, somehow, this story implanted into my heart and brain, and slowly spread. Quietly, dangerously, until I couldn’t ignore it. I believe that art is something that changes you, affects you, and Mud Vein was a virus that attached itself to me and spread, changing the way I’m made.
5. Reclaiming the Sand by A. Meredith Walters
This love story was magnificent. A tale about forgiveness and redemption, Reclaiming the Sand tore me apart, and put me back together a different person. I’ve never read a story about two such different people fighting for love as this one, and I loved loved loved Flynn and Ellie. A. Meredith Walters showed her talent with this one, and became one of my new favorite authors because she’s able to create characters that pull at me and make me ache for them. They make me care. I’m glad I read this and am able to call it a favorite.
4. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
This one was an experience. Colleen Hoover showed that she’s not only a great writer, and artist, but a great entertainer as well. She knows how to create stories that people will love, and with Maybe Someday, she created art that became a part of my life. With the inclusion of original music, I was able to live with Ridge and Sydney for hours and hours, days and days. Music is the only art form that I love more than books, and when I listen to an album I love, it becomes the soundtrack to my life at that moment. Griffin Peterson’s EP played repeatedly during this year, which meant that Ridge, and Sydney were a part of my life for most of the year. With every tune that played, a scene ran through my head, and I loved experiencing that. It was truly extraordinary.
3. Bright Side by Kim Holden
Ah, Bright Side. I can’t even look at this bright orange cover, without my throat closing up from emotion. Through her words and her unforgettable characters, Kim Holden’s novel is able to evoke the strongest emotions from me, and that alone earned it a spot on this list. From the moment I finished this book, I knew – I just KNEW – that this was going to be an all-time favorite of mine. I don’t care what anybody says. I love this book, and I think everyone should read it. It’s really the simplest story, and those are the best stories. It’s about love and friendship. It’s about what it truly means to live. And it’s a story about how people leave their mark on us. This book left it’s mark on me.
2. Love, in English by Karina Halle
I was obsessed with this book from he moment I read it. Ask anybody. I loved the cover, I loved the plot, the setting, the characters, the message, the writing, EVERYTHING. For the longest time, this was my favorite book of the year, and the reason why is simple: I identified with the lead character. I knew Vera Miles, because Vera Miles was me. I knew what it was like to be confused about your future. I understood completely what it meant to feel like you don’t belong, to always seek a place where you fit perfectly, and a person who you fit with. I LOVED that she decided to take a chance on something new, and took a great leap of faith in the name of love. Love, in English inspired me, and put Karina Halle on the list of my favorite authors. Now I’ll read anything she publishes, because I know she understands human strength and frailty, and she knows how to write the most raw and revealing scenes. LOVE. THIS. BOOK.
1. The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon
This book came out of nowhere. I read a whole year’s worth of amazing books, and this one topped them ALL. This book was the most beautiful, enchanting, gripping, soulful, and poetic book that I read this year. Amy Harmon just blew my mind with this one. Her talent is angelic, and this book was a song. Each word was a spell, and I was truly mesmerized. It’s hard for me to describe, so you’ll understand, how this book made me feel, because I think that everyone who read it felt differently. I think the best way to describe it is that it pulled a chord and left me humming. If that makes any sense. It was my favorite. Enough said.
Notable mentions (in no particular order):
The Collectors’ Society by Heather Lyons – a very imaginative tale about one of fairy tale’s favorite characters. This book transported me to another world, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series next year.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – A book with the most awkward, lovable hero, this one was one I truly enjoyed reading this year.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – My first RR book, but it won’t be my last. Another book with an awkward hero that just tugged at my heartstrings. I loved this quirky, funny, and poignant read. I’ll definitely be rereading it.
A Different Blue by Amy Harmon – If this had been released this year, it definitely would’ve made the list, and it might’ve been at the top. This is an all-time fave of mine and I don’t know why the hell it took me so long to read it.
penance. (A Böhme Novel) by Sarah Buhl – This quiet NA novel was a standout for me because it was character driven and beautifully written. I loved this author’s style, and this book reminded me of an indie film; one that is subtle, but still resonates.
Monsters in the Dark Trilogy by Pepper Winters – A dark, twisted read that made me feel the tumult of emotions and left me completely drained when I fished reading it. Loved.
Tristan & Danika Trilogy by R.K. Lilley – These three books brought me to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and back to the peak again. A great angsty, sexy read that’ll have you pulling your hair out.
Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson – My favorite paranormal read this year. I LOVED the heroine in this one, and each book in the trilogy was better than the last. This series was jam packed with action, suspense, intrigue, humor, heartbreak, and hope, and I recommend it to everyone, even those who don’t like PNR. If you’re going to try it, then try this.
The Pact by Karina Halle – Yes, I just read this book two days ago. No, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to give it an honorable mention. This is the type of romance that, once you’re finished reading, will have you hugging your pillow as you sway side to side with a huge grin on your face. You’ll sigh contently, then you’ll go back to the beginning and read it again.
I loved sharing my favorites with you, and I can’t wait for next year to read more interesting stories. What were your faves this year? Did any make my list? What do you recommend I add to my TBR next year?