2014 Reading Challenge
Every year I set a goal at Goodreads where I log and track my books read. I don’t review or rate books EXCEPT for my annual top ten reads. Here are 2014’s top ten with a few thoughts about what I loved about each one, in reverse order of completion.
Claire’s Annual Top Ten 2014
Whatever It Takes by Cat Kelly
I’m a fan of this author, more for her historical writings under different pen names, but always for her wit and compelling characters. I can’t say the plot of this story was terribly memorable…mostly because I don’t remember it that well barely two months after finishing it. I do know that it was a favorite because it was full of the writing I’ve come to love from this author.
Christmas at Copper Mountain by Jane Porter
I met Jane Porter’s writing this year. I liked Jane Porter. I will read more Jane Porter. Though a Christmas story read in the summer as a Kindle Prime loaner, this low risk reading investment paid off in spades. An easy writing style, crisply drawn characters who can tug at your heart won me over.
The Lunar Chronicles just get better and better. As much as I loved Cinder, Scarlet raised the bar even higher. The world building is fantastic. The loosely drawn associations with popular fairy tales adds a tongue in cheek delight. This book’s heroine a bit more of a badass than a pitiful princess like Cinder, but lovely tie ins to its predecessor and the hint of a nice romance made it a winner with me. I’m ready for Cress now!
Last Night in Ghosttown by Kathryn McKade
This is a relatively unknown science fiction gem by an author friend of mine. I emailed her after I finished beta reading, raving about it. My friends know that I don’t usually rave. I’m hyper-critical, which is one reason why I don’t review. But this…this novella was amazing. What really hurts however, is not long after it was released, the publisher closed shop and Ghosttown was effectively unpublished. I hope my good friend, Kathryn, will find a way to put it back out there so more people will have a shot at reading this lovely story.
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Jellicoe Road is one of those books you never seem to be able to forget. I often reflect on this story pondering a long series of “what-ifs”. There are some gut-wrenching and tragic twists of fate in this book about two groups of friends in two different generations.
Beyond Repair by Charlotte Stein
I adore 99.9% of everything I read of Charlotte Stein’s. She’s got this stream of consciousness style of writing that is so incisive and so dead on accurate in describing thoughts, emotions, sensations, it’s truly a gift. She’s not everyone’s cuppa, but she certainly is mine. I adore introspective damaged heroines who are trying to figure out the equally damaged men in their lives and how together they might just be the cure the other needs.
Another excellent book by a good writer friend. I’ve long been a fan of Dale’s darker writings–he’s a true horror writer and a talented one–for many years since our monthly blog chain exercises together. This monster-free, lovely Christmas tale has the makings of a classic. My only gripe is how difficult it is to get a copy if you aren’t Canadian. I was fortunate enough to be able to barter for my copy (my book for his) and I think I came out on the winning end of that swap. Dale, if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll get this into Amazon or Barnes & Noble or in digital format some day soon.
A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
Long time fan of Ms. Dare’s, this historical romance did not disappoint. I’m always a sucker for a road trip romance in which hijinks ensue and the hero and heroine ally against a common threat while slowly falling in love. You’ve read ’em before, seen the movies (The Sure Thing comes to mind) probably. This tale from that classic trope was full of Tessa’s trademark wit and fun.
Memoirs of a Gigolo Volume Four by Livia Ellis
I listed volume 4 but the review is for all the collective installments of the serial I have read so far. The more I read, the more I fall deeper under the spell of the destitute, but upper crust Oliver. You have to keep reading to really appreciate the deeper waters running through this, gently guiding you along a much larger arc. Though it’s full of sex, both M/F and M/M and all variations in between, the sex is not the story, despite Oliver’s being a prostitute. The characters, who on the surface should be reprehensible, are subtly engaging and sympathetic and memorable.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Creepy, compelling, mystical… Honestly, I had not previously read a book with water horses or kelpies in them, so I must confess to some wide-eyed wonder over the beasts. Ms. Stiefvater’s water horses are wild, man-eating creatures, almost zombie-like in their inevitability. They are pitted against man’s arrogance in dominating them once a year in a show of bravado. This is the backdrop of a how two lonely and desperate teens meet and bond. It’s Sea Biscuit with very sharp teeth, and I loved it.
So, that’s it for 2014. I’ll return in a year with another crop of ten books! Happy Reading!