My Favorite Books of 2014

January 2, 2015 2014, Ariel Lawhon, Beatriz Williams, Chris Bohjalian, Deborah Johnson, Dollface, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ellen Marie Wiseman, Erika Robuck, Favorite Books, favorites, Greg Iles, Jojo Moyes, Julie Lawson Timmer, Laura Lane McNeal, Laura McHugh, Mary Kubica, The Secret of Magic 15

I read or listened to 86 books in 2014, an all time high for me, and I’m very happy I read those books.  What I’m going to share here are my favorites of the year.  This in no way it to say these are the best books published in 2014, I mean gee I didn’t read them all, I didn’t even read many of the books that are everyone else list.  I share because amidst all the minutia of blogs and lists and best of etc, these are what I liked best.  If you have similar reading tastes and missed one of these, I hope you’ll consider picking it up soon.

I had an awful time formatting this post, I hope it’s not too much of a hot mess…UGH.

So now, in no particular order…………

My Favorite Books of 2014

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman

What She Left Behind

 This book was historical, the mental institution depicted did exist and suitcases of those former patients were found.  The intimate details are brilliant fiction from Ms. Wiseman.

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson.

The Secret of Magic

 A novel by a new to me author that blew me away. This book is about the south, racism, and the aftermath when a black soldier returning home from WWII winds up dead.  A young woman working for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund is sent to Mississippi to learn more.  She isn’t prepared to be thrown into the Jim Crow south.  This book was amazing! The paperback is releasing in January, and I’ll be meeting the author in my favorite Indie book store.

The Wife, The Maid,and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

The Wife The Maid and the Mistress

Historical fiction done by a debut author, and this story kept me on the edge of my seat.  There is still much mystery surrounding the disappearance of Judge Joseph Crater.  The story Ms. Lawhon tells is beautifully woven and makes for great reading.

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

Fallen Beauty final cover

 How I adore the way Erika Robuck writes Historical Fiction.  Each book she writes has me researching and learning more about  a now dead author or person.  I knew next to nothing of Edna St. Vincent Millay, nothing of her poetry or her life.  I finished this book again eager to read more, and buying books by and about Millay.  Never miss a book by Ms. Robuck.

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

The Weight of Blood

A debut novel I was drawn to by the summary and location, this book didn’t disappoint.  The setting of the Ozarks of Missouri, one I’m familiar with, added to the ambience and mystery in the story.  The main character is a young girl, and she searches for answers to questions surrounding the death of a mentally challenged girl, and the disappearance of her own mother.  Read this one!

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles

Natchez Burning

 This was my first book from Greg Iles.  While I looked at it with major trepidation because it was over 800 pages.  Once I got into this story, I couldn’t put it down, I was up all night reading the last 400+ pages, and I am looking forward to reading the next in the Penn Cage series.  Mr. Iles knows his southern fiction, trust me, pick it up.

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams

The Secrect Life of Violet Grant This is the second book I’ve enjoyed by Beatriz Williams. She writes historical fiction like she was there, as if she can take the reader along with her and the story becomes a part of your life as you enjoy her book.  This dual story line really captivated me.

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

One Plus One

 This book was humorous and just plan fun.  I love how Jojo Moyes can write so many unique books so well.  This book reminded me that families and love comes in all shapes and sizes.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

 This book took on several topics, nuclear energy, homelessness, young parentless children and teens, and all are explored delicately and with respect by Mr. Bohjalian.  I’ve made it clear that he is one of my very favorite authors, I’m in awe of his ability to weave a tale, and he is the kindest, most humble of artists.  This book is intended for adults but I think older teens would enjoy it too.

Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal

Dollbaby A debut novel that I was anxious to explore, this book didn’t let me down.  Another historical fiction, this on set in the 1960’s New Orleans, I love southern fiction.  This author wrote what she knew.  It’s a coming of age story, and shows the struggle of the black people in this time.  I had the pleasure of meeting Laura, expect more wonderful books from her.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl 2

 When a book has you guessing all the way through, and only in the last few pages do you know the truth…it’s a good book.  There was much excitement and talk about this debut book from MIRA.  I immediately followed the author on twitter and then I read this book, and I was amazed!! No one was giving it away, everyone was right there were more secrets than I had imagined and it’s too good not to share and tell you pick it up!

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer

This book shared the story of two separate families, facing two very different challenges.  The book shares the challenges of being a foster parent, and more difficult, do you get to decide when it’s time to go if you have an incurable debilitating disease?  I didn’t know much about Huntington’s Disease prior to reading this book, but now I’ll never forget it.  This book was very  emotional.  Another debut novelist I look forward to hearing more from.

Five Days Left

15 Responses to “My Favorite Books of 2014”

  1. Sarah's Book Shelves

    What a great list! And I think we have the same tastes 🙂 The Wife, Maid, and Mistress and Natchez Burning were on my list as well. I also really liked The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Dollbaby, and Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands. Happy New Year!

  2. lakesidemusing

    Great list, Anita! We share Dollbaby (my favorite audiobook of the year) and The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress. I loved A Hundred Summers, so must read Violet Grant. Jojo Moyes is another must read.

  3. momssmallvictories

    Wow, I want to read every single one of these. Looks like you had a fantastic year. I hear Greg Iles is great, finishing 400 pages at once is quite a feat. You must be a fast reader, 400 pages would take me all day!

  4. rivercityreading

    Whenever I see Close Your Eyes Hold Hands it reminds me that I really, really want to read that book. Everything about it sounds like something I would like and that cover is just wonderful.

    (One thing I’ve noticed since switching from Blogger to WP is that the auto formatting in WP for posts like this is so hard to work with. It drives me absolutely nuts. You got around it good here, though!)

  5. Michelle

    I missed so many good books this year! But I did read One Plus One as my first Jojo Moyes and it was excellent. Happy New Year, Anita.

  6. Laura Lane McNeal

    Thank you Anita for including Dollbaby among those great authors! I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet you in Vero Beach. It was one of the highlights of my book tour! Many blessings in the new year to you and your family.

  7. Melinda Ott

    The only one of these I read last year was “The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress” and I really enjoyed it. However, I have a number of these queued up to read in 2015!

  8. R Hunt

    I’ve also read Close Your Eyes Hands and The Secret of Magic and loved them both. I have The Weight of Blood, Natchez Burning and Five Days Left, unread, on my kindle still. Thanks for sharing a great list. I now want to add What She Left Behind!

  9. litandlife

    I’ve added several of these to my list in the past year. My folks just passed along the Iles book and said I “had” to read it. They are fans of his anyway but this one really impressed them. Since you liked it so much, I’ll have to assume it wasn’t just their fandom that made them love it!

  10. Books in the Burbs

    What a fantastic list!! It looks like Historical fiction was at its best this year, which always excites me! I read a few of your books recommended and a few I’ve had on my TBR list. Love how much a book can capture your attention and never let go! Thanks for sharing!!

  11. writerrhiannon

    I loved The Weight of Blood and The Good Girl. Your formatting is great on my end!

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