In the spirit of the 2014 round-up posts, I figured that since I’m always reading, it’s only proper for me to include my favorite books of 2014. Which, let me tell you, was quite the feat. I may not read as much as some of those book bloggers out there, but I read around 80 books this year so narrowing that down to my top favorites was pretty difficult.
The Girl You Left Behind – JoJo Moyes: I started to get more into historical fiction right after I bought my first nook. I discovered JoJo Moyes in 2013 after reading ‘The Last Letter from Your Lover’ and instantly fell in love with her writing style. This book was no different. An incredible love story surrounding a painting of Sophie Lefevre (painted by her husband) set in Europe during the first World War, and then the book fast-forwards nearly 100 years later, intertwining the lives of two young woman who are determined the fight for the thing they love the most. This one grabbed me by the heart and wouldn’t let go.
Orphan Train– Christina Baker Kline: I could not put this book down. It captures the story of an unlikely friendship between a troubled teenage girl and a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider. I don’t want to give too much away excerpt to say, if you haven’t read this yet, run out, or purchase it for your e-reader. You won’t be disappointed.
Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel– Kimberly McCreight: Another read I could not put down. This is a heart-wrenching read but so well-written and just an incredible story in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter’s life through e-mails, text, and social media, after she receives a call that her daughter has committed suicide while at school. I can guarantee you won’t put this one down either.
A Discovery of Witches– Deborah Harkness: I had this book sitting on my NookBook wishlist, well since I bought my first nook in 2010. I finally decided to buy it when I heard rave reviews of the entire series at work. While the book is long (like 600 + pages long), it certainly didn’t feel that way. Sure it took me a couple of weeks to read, but I didn’t want it to end! But I was in luck, since it’s the first of three books. I’m not a huge fan of vampires and witchy-type books, but this book had me from the first chapter. If you’re like me and stay away from the Twilight phenomenon (even though I hate to admit I’ve read those too), take a few minutes to at least read a sample. I promise you, you will not be disappointed! I’m even holding off on reading the final book so the trilogy doesn’t end!
The Perfume Collector– Kathleen Tessaro: Again, I discovered a love for historical fiction in the last couple of years, and this was another that I utterly fell in love with. It brought into a world of glamour and mystery, along with sophisticated social circles in London and Paris in the 1950s. It’s charming and unforgettable, and something I would even consider re-reading. Which is rare for me. That’s how much I loved this book.
Stronger– Jeff Bauman: I’ll never forget the Boston Marathon Bombings. I may not have been in the city that day, but it certainly effected my life. For one thing, it seemed that everyone knew someone there that day. I knew several people attending, and watching. It also seemed that there was a small degree of separation between you and a person injured. Jeff went to high school with friends of mine from college. People I know well, knew him personally. I wanted nothing more than to find a way to help those injured, but I all I could do was send healing thoughts. In that first week after the bombings, my mind was constantly on those injured. And even a year later, I thought about them often. This book chronicled Jeff’s life a little before the bombing, but more so after. And it was inspiring. Absolutely inspiring.
The Art Forger– B.A. Shapiro: I found this book as a cheap find on Barnes & Noble. I wasn’t sure what to think of it when I first got it, but wanted to give it a try since it’s set in Boston and the plot is based off the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist. I can easily tell you that this book quickly became one of the best books I had read in 2014, and that was back in July! It’s beautifully written, descriptive and with characters you will adore.
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think– Brian Wansink: I love to eat. And I’m really guilty of eating when I don’t even realize it. I know, crazy right. But I’ll find myself snacking, when I’m not even really that hungry. It’s just something to do. This book really opened my eyes to how to eat, what I’m eating and the psychology behind it all. I’m definitely far more conscious about what and how I’m eating now!
Little Mercies– Heather Gudenkauf: I’ve raved about Heather Gudenkauf before on here. I love her. She’s easily one of my favorite authors out there right now. Her books remind me a bit of Jodi Picoult, they always discuss a really tough subject, but she approaches it with such care and concern. This book was no different than her previous. This book’s plot is based around a social worker who is a children’s advocate and has seen some of the worst cases in history. She’s a devoted wife and mother. But then one moment of distraction caused her entire life to shatter. Read this, and every other book by her you can get your hands on. She’s incredible.
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson: This was unlike any book I’ve ever read before. What I loved about this particular book was that just as a story was taking a turn for the worst, it ends and a new one begins. What I found was that as a particular story was about to end, there were times when I wanted it too. Was the story an uninteresting one? No, it was usually taking a turn that I didn’t like, or something really awful was about to happen. And when the story started over, I found myself relieved and breathing a sigh of relief that Ursula’s life wasn’t over and her life could continue again. If you get confused easily, this is not the book for you. But if you’re ready for an incredible read, buy this and move it to the top of your list for 2015.
Beautiful Ruins– Jess Walter: This was another one of those books that sat on my NookBook wishlist for a pretty long time. I had heard really mixed reviews (people loved it or hated it) and just felt unsure about buying it. When it dropped in price one day, I decided to pounce on it. And boy was I glad. I could literally picture everything happening in the book; the characters, the scenery….everything. Such a beautifully written story. If you’re like me, and have been hemming and hawing over this book, take my advice and go read it. If you love a wonderfully written story, then you won’t be disappointed.
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