Sunday, January 11, 2015

Favorite Books of the Year - 2014

So, am I the last book blog to list my favorites on the year?  Either way, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the books that really stood out to me from what I read in 2014.

One thing that really struck me as I was putting together this list are the number of authors on it who I hadn't read before 2014.  Yes, there are some old standbys on here, but there is lots of new blood.  No wonder my TBR pile just keeps growing even though I keep reading books.

If you want to know more, the links will take you to my full review of the book.

These are in the order I read them this year, so their place on the list has nothing to do with their rank.

Adult Mysteries:
Murder with Ganache by Lucy Burdette
I read all five books in the series this year, starting with this one, book four.  It remains my favorite in the series to date.  The stakes for Hayley were so high and the twists to the plot were great.  I’m glad I finally started this series this year.

Murder Past Due by Miranda James
I kept hearing great things about this series, and after reading the first, I can understand why.  Strong characters and a plot with more twists in the first 100 pages than some books doing in their entire length.  Why I didn’t make time to read further into the series last year is a mystery to me.

Killing Cupid by Laura Levine
This series has been a favorite of mine for years, and the latest didn’t disappoint.  Plenty of laughs and an enjoyable plot make this one worth reading.

Murder on Bamboo Lane by Naomi Hirahara
This book stars an unique protagonist taking us down to a part of LA I don’t know super well.  It couldn’t have been told with any different cast of characters, and I loved every page of it.  Definitely looking forward to the next in the series.

Boiled Over by Barbara Ross
I don’t like seafood, and I’d never go on a clam bake.  Yet this series has captured me with strong characters.  The plot in this one was fabulous and kept me guessing until the end.  While it hasn’t changed my mind on attending one in real life, I can’t wait to go on my next fictitious one.

Basil Instinct by Shelley Costa
A murder mystery that includes farce and weaves an improbable plot without ever being unbelievable.  Pure fun makes this one a pure winner to me.

Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen
Sometimes, in a debut, the characters jump off the page and grab you.  By the time you are done, you already feel like they are old friends.  That was the case here.  The plot was very enjoyable as well, and mix in a dash of humor and you have a real winner.

Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
Old Hollywood in the 1930’s comes to life in this fun and mysterious trip with Lady Georgie.  When the plot kicks off on the journey to Los Angeles, you know you are in for a wild ride, and that’s the case here.  Plenty of mystery, mayhem, and fun.

Death of a Crabby Cook by Penny Pike
I hadn’t paid much attention to food trucks until I read two mysteries this year with the food truck theme.  This was the better of the two with a fun location, great characters, and a complex mystery.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next food truck food festival.

Foul Play at the Fair by Shelley Freydont
Another debut in a series that blew me away.  The stakes in this case were personal for friends of the main character, and yet these characters were so real, we truly felt for the outcome ourselves.

Hell on Wheels by Sue Ann Jaffarian
A favorite series that continues to entertain.  The main plot was mysterious, but the sub-plot was just as mysterious while being downright hysterical.  Fans of the series will probably enjoy it most, but once you start reading the series, you’ll quickly become a fan.

Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris
My final book is another series debut.  As I have said about some of the earlier books on this list, the plotting was tight, but the characters were so great.  They made me care about the outcome, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Middle Grade Books:
Blue Sea Burning by Geoff Rodkey
The final chapter in a fantasy trilogy does a fantastic job of wrapping up all the plot threads without letting the characters or the story lag in the slightest.  I highly recommend these fun books.

Another series I wish I’d gotten back to last year.  This take on fairy tales is highly creative and extremely fun.  Plenty of humor and wonderful character growth.  It should appeal to girls and guys equally.

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
I love all of Stuart’s books, but this new series set on the Moon in the future is just great.  The setting is so well done that I actually felt like I was there.  Plus I was sure I had guessed the killer early on but I was completely wrong.

Nick and Tesla’s Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
While I have enjoyed all of these books, there is a particular reason this one made the list.  Seeing a character named Mark Carstairs immediately made me love it.

Everblaze by Shannon Messenger
Strong characters?  Check.  A plot that pulled me in?  Double check.  This was the longest in the series to date, but it didn’t feel like it at all.  The pages just flew by, and I was so invested in what was happening I was sorry to see it end.


  1. Mark, with all the fantastic books that came out in 2014, I'm so honored to make your favorites' list!

    1. You are welcome. It is an honor well deserved.

  2. thanks for all your reading reviewing Mark--thrilled to be on the list!

    1. Thanks for reaching out to me and getting me reading your great books.

  3. This is a great list! I've been getting more into mysteries, so I'll be referring back to this!

    1. I hope you find some mysteries you will enjoy on the list.

  4. Thank you for including Queen of Hearts in your list, Mark.