Skip to main content

The Best Books I've Read This Year

As 2014 draws to a close, it is time to look back at the year that was and here at The Fiction Vixen that means looking back at all of the books I've read since last January and deciding which ones I really enjoyed and which ones just didn't do it for me.  These books did not necessarily come out in 2014, as I tend to read a lot of older books as well as new ones, so don't be alarmed if some of them are much older than the others.  So, in no particular order, here they are:

1. The Princess Bride by William Goldman




[caption id="attachment_564" align="alignleft" width="176"]The Princess Bride, how this Fiction Vixen hasn't read this before is inconceivable! The Princess Bride, how this Fiction Vixen hasn't read this book before is inconceivable![/caption]

I am definitely a late-bloomer when it comes to The Princess Bride, having first watched the movie a few years ago.  When I noticed that Amazon Unlimited had it for free (during the free trial, so it was really free for me), I jumped at the chance to read the book that inspired the movie.  I have to say that Rob Reiner did a wonderful job adapting the book for the big screen because from what I could tell from my reading of the book it was very faithful to the novel.  The thing that I liked the most about reading this book was seeing all those lines that I know so well from watching the movie written there.  One of the things that worried me when I started reading it was that those wonderful lines wouldn't be there that they were the product of the movie.  Thankfully, my worries were unfounded.  If there are any fans of the movie that have yet to read the book, what are you waiting for?


2. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn


romancing mr. bridgertonAnother book that I came late to was Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, which is part of the Bridgerton Series.  This book is the 4th in the series and focuses on Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington.  I've actually just finished re-reading this book last night (the second time in 6 months) and I just love the chemistry between Colin and Penelope.  They remind me a lot of Miles and Henrietta from The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig.  The only thing that was slightly disappointing about this book was that the conflict at the end, while always a possibility, felt unnecessary, although its resolution was done really well.  I felt as if it was added in there just to cause drama once Colin and Penelope were finally happy.


3. It Happened One Wedding by Julie James


it happened one weddingLast year, I discovered Julie James novels and glommed her FBI/US Attorney series in less than a week's time.  I loved them, especially About That Night, the hero of which, Kyle Rhodes, is listed as one of my all time favorite romance novel heroes.  As soon as I finished Love Irresistibly, I wanted more.  Unfortunately, there weren't any more.  At least not until this past June when It Happened One Wedding was released.


IHOW is about Sydney and Vaughn (no, not that Sydney and Vaughn) and their road from really really disliking each other to falling head over heels in love--all while hiding the fact that they even knew each other from their siblings for whose wedding they are serving as Maid of Honor and Best Man.  It was a sweet book, especially the passages in which Sydney would text Vaughn for dating advice while on dates with the other men in her life.  Those were actually my favorite parts of the book and the rest of the book was great too.  I've been longing to re-read it since July (and I only read it at the end of June!) and I'll probably do just that soon.


4. Watch Your Back by Karen Rose




[caption id="attachment_571" align="alignright" width="177"]Stevie and Clay! Finally! Stevie and Clay! Finally![/caption]

Last February, I was really excited to start Karen Rose's Watch Your Back because it felt like we were waiting for Stevie and Clay's story forever.  A lot times when the anticipation was as strong it was for this book, disappointment is bound to occur.  Surprisingly, Watch Your Back lived up to all of my expectations.

The one thing that bothered me about this book was that the villain fell into one of the oldest stereotypes in the book: gay = evil.  I don't know Ms. Rose's political leanings and I hate to say that it would make me stop reading her books if I found out she was homophobic, but that's exactly what would happen.

5. Haunted by Kay Hooper

hauntedI've read every single one of the Bishop/SCU novels, although I had stopped for a couple of years, missing the last three books in the series.  This past October, I decided to get back into them, starting by re-reading Out of the Shadows and several of her other books. When I finally got to the end of my favorite Bishop books, I decided to start on the newer ones.  Haven was meh, Hostage was better, and Haunted was awesome.


The main issue I have with these novels is that as the series has progressed romance has taken a back burner to the paranormal mystery and at times it feels as if what little romance there is in the book is rushed.  This was especially true of Hostage where there wasn't even any chemistry between the people who were supposed to be the hero and heroine.


You're probably wondering why I consider Haunted to be one of the best books I've read this year.  The answer is simple.  Hollis Templeton.  She is really the hero in this last trilogy (the Bishop novels are split into trilogies) and in Haunted Hollis really comes into her own.


6. Enchanted by Alethea Kontis


EnchantedI first encountered this book at Lady Jane's Salon in Manhattan.  The author came and read the opening pages of the book at one of the salon's (if you're in the NYC tri-state area, I highly recommend the reading series--it is one of the few things that I really miss about New York.  I really wish someone would start a Bay Area version that was close enough for me to get to every once in a while.


Anyway, Sunday is one of the seven Woodcutter children, each of whom has some sort of special gift.  Sunday's is that she can make her stories come true.  One day, she's sitting around when a frog shows up and starts talking to her.  The frog, Grumble, wants to be turned back into a human and asks Sunday to kiss him...What follows is a fun mash-up of different fairy tales.  When I first read it, I couldn't help thinking that it is what Once Upon A Time would be like if it was a book (well, the origin parts anyway.  There is a decided lack of Evil Queen-ness in this book, although the king isn't exactly the nicest guy on the planet).


7. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith


abraham lincoln


This book is not a romance novel in any way, shape, or form, but I had to include it on this list.  I'd seen the movie and really enjoyed it, despite the fact that it is most decidedly out of my wheelhouse.  The book is far better than the movie, which unlike The Princess Bride is not the most faithful adaptation.  The ending, especially, is very different and I much prefer the book's ending to that of the movie.




Well, there you have it.  The seven best books I've read in 2014.  Of course, there are still 3 weeks left in the year, so if I read some really good books in that time, I will do another post, but for now: That's all, folks.



Comments

  1. Love Romancing Mr. Bridgerton! It's one of my favorite books!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I only started reading JQ's books at the tail end of 2013 and I was so mad at myself for not doing so earlier. Romancing Mr. Bridgeton is by far my favorite book she's written; I just re-read it last month, and it is still just as satisfying as it was the first time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever is another one of my Julia Quinn favorites!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I actually haven't gotten to that one yet, but I've heard a lot of really good things about it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's one of her best. I laughed and cried when I read it. And it's the top Julia Quinn book I'd recommend, since it's the start of a new series. I'd recommend Romancing Mr. Bridgerton too but I think you need to read the first 3 books to appreciate Lady Whistledown.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Fifteen Years Later: Review of "His Sinful Touch" by Candace Camp

Title: His Sinful Touch
Author: Candace Camp
ISBN: 0373789963
Publisher: HQN
Series: Mad Morelands #5
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $5.99 (e-book) $19.96(Audible)
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2


Most readers remember their first, the first book of their particular genre that they read, whether they enjoyed the book or not.  I have two firsts--the first romance I ever read was a Harlequin Intrigue written by Amanda Stevens.  If you've read my blog before you probably already know this.  The first historical romance I read was Mesmerized by Candace Camp, which was also the first book in her Mad Morelands series.  

I was a senior in high school when this series began and I remember seeing the paperback version of Mesmerized on the shelf at the Target on Queens Blvd (yes, I spent a lot of time on Queens Blvd as a teenager), and was pulled in by the gorgeous cover.  Apparently, that book has had several covers over the last 15 years, but this is the one I remember:


Isn't it pretty?  Of course from the cover I…

Happy Bookaversary! A Review of "Edge of Darkness" by Karen Rose

Title: Edge of Darkness
Author: Karen Rose
ISBN: 9780399583087
Publisher: Berkeley
Series: Cincinnati Series
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $7.99 (e-book) $28.28(Audible)
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


It seems like I've been reading Karen Rose novels my entire life.  I remember the day I came across Count to Ten in the Duane Reade on Queens Blvd.  I'd finished the paperback I brought with me to school that day while sitting in the Dining Hall eating lunch and needed something for the long bus ride home.  I almost didn't buy it because it was $9.99 and I hadn't gotten my financial aid money yet, but the cover copy called to me.  Not even the 500+ page count could scare me away.

I recently learned that Edge of Darkness is Ms. Rose's 20th book and in a strange way, I feel like a proud mama watching her child cross the stage to get their diploma.  I'm just a big ball of happy nostalgia, thinking back to all of the other books I've read by her and hopeful about the ones to come, so befor…

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year--Christmas in September

The day after Labor Day I woke up to an email from my contacts at St. Martin’s Press, inviting me to review six of their upcoming Christmas books, all of which have release dates in early October. For most people, this would probably be a problem — who wants to think about Christmas before Halloween — but for me, I’ve always had a soft spot for the man in the red suit. Even after I stopped believing in the Christ-Myth, I still loved that one holiday. To me, Christmas represents everything that Thanksgiving is supposed to be, but with better music and no obligatory turkey. Some of my favorite books have a Christmas theme and so I jumped at the chance to review those six books (well, five of them because the sixth has to do with cowboys and if there is one sub-genre I just cannot do is cowboys). I read the first two, With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins and Deck the Halls by Donna Alward, fairly quickly, especially since they’re both novellas. Both are being released in a little o…

Review of "New York, Actually" by Sarah Morgan

Title: New York, Actually
Author: Sarah Morgan
ISBN: 0373804105
Publisher: HQN Books
Series: From Manhattan with Love #4
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $5.99 (e-book) $19.96 (Audible)
Rating: 🐶🐶🐶🐶1/2


If you follow me on social media, you'll have seen my posts about this book over the last week.  For the most part, they weren't very positive -- until about 20% into the book, I hated the hero.  If I could have set him on fire, I probably would have.  It was only Ms. Morgan's prose and the fact that I had been looking forward to this book for 6 months that kept me reading.  For once, I am glad I was so wrong about a character.

From the PublisherOne man. One woman. Two dogs.  Meet Molly—New York's most famous advice columnist, she considers herself an expert at relationships…as long as they're other people's. Still bruised from her last breakup, Molly is in no rush to find happily-ever-after—the only love of her life is her dalmatian, Valentine.  Meet Daniel—A cynical divorce …

The Internet of Things: Review of "Hacking IT" by Kimberly Dean

Title: Hacking IT
Author: Kimberly Dean
ISBN: 9781386835561
Publisher: Self-published
Series: Hackers #1
Price: $3.99 (e-book) $9.99 (paperback)
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2


Have you ever seen the description of a book and known immediately that it was going to be awesome and upon reading it were faced with the possibility that it might actually be better than you originally thought?  For me, that book was Hacking IT by Kimberly Dean.  A female white hat hacker using her skills to uncover a black hat hacker, who has stepped away from his computer and entered the real world?  Um, yes, please.

From the Publisher:
Independent software developer Kylie Grant is on top of her game in the world of IT. She has loyal clients, a good reputation, and a prestigious membership in technology giant Afire Industries’ small business accelerator. Things are going well until she stumbles across an innocuous issue with the lighting in the building where she rents space. When she digs into the problem, she discovers some…