I hate to say it, but 2014 was by and large just an average reading year for me. I read a lot of books I liked, some of them quite a lot, but I didn't actually rate anything five stars. I'm not sure what that means. Is my taste changing and my book choices aren't reflecting that? Have I set my standards too high, looking for books that will absolutely knock my socks off? I'm not sure. I hope I get this straightened out this year. So here are my top ten books of 2014. If I haven't reviewed the book, I've linked to a synopsis on GoodReads.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, narrated by Katherine Kellgren--I adored this tale of the taming of three children who have been raised by wolves. I would have enjoyed it in print but Ms. Kellgren's narration put this one over the top for me. My favorite book of the year.
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger--Gail Carriger can do no wrong in my eyes. The first book in her young adult series does not disappoint. There are gadgets aplenty, a fabulous heroine in young Sophronia, and appearances by young Lady Kingair and Genevieve Lefoux.
In the Belly of the Bloodhound by L. A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren--This is another can't-miss series for me. Irrepressible Jacky Faber never fails to delight me. Neither does narrator Katherine Kellgren. It's no coincidence that she narrated two of my top ten books of the year. She's amazing.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, read by George Guidall--The title alone practically guaranteed that I would enjoy this one. I worried for naive Chava as well as world-weary Ahmad. I was intrigued by this twist on a classic immigrant story.
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash--Easter, Ruby, and Wade broke my heart. They all just want to be a family. Wade tries but no one is sure he's up to the job now, and he definitely doesn't have a good track record. I was never quite sure what the best solution was, which made this book feel very true to life.
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick, read by Oliver Wyman--Written by the author of Silver Linings Playbook, The Good Luck of Right Now does have a similar feel, with lost souls coming together to find and accept each other. These characters have their own sets of problems though, and I like the concept of "The Good Luck of Right Now." It makes your own bad times feel a bit less terrible.
The Pearl That Broke It's Shell by Nadia Hashimi--I've never heard of the bacha posh, an Afghan practice that allows a girl to pass as a boy during adolescence if it's necessary to help the family survive. This tale of two women, separated by generations, living this way fascinated me.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple had me laughing and shaking my head at the same time. Poor brilliantly creative Bernadette is never going to fit into the suburban soccer mom crowd, no matter how hard she tries. That's not necessarily a bad thing when it's a group of helicopter parents like this one.
Dreadnought by Cherie Priest, read by Kate Reading--Steampunk is a pretty safe bet for me, but I love Cherie Priest's take on it. Zombies + Steampunk = Win. In a version of the United States in which the Civil War has raged for decades, the war might not be the worst thing happening but very few people realize that. I like Kate Reading as a narrator but even so, she surprised me with how well she read this one.
Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer--This madcap historical fantasy left me giggling. Told in a series of letters between Cecelia and her cousin Kate, each character was actually written by one of the authors. They didn't plan where the plot was going, they just had fun with it and that shines through the text.
And that's my top ten! Have you read any of these? What did you think?
I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.