So here we go then with my top ten countdown for 2014 – just to be clear, I decided that I wanted to do my Top Ten at the beginning of December each year from now on – because encouraging everyone to buy books for Christmas is, to my mind, a great thing to do. This may or may not help. The list was closed out a couple of weeks ago and anything I am reading now and will read in the rest of December will go into the mix for 2015. Frankly there are at least two books I’ve read recently that you might have seen here if I hadnt already done it – All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven for certain and I’ll tell everyone now, that you lovely authors are going to have to go some to beat that one in next years mix for sure.
I wrote a little post not long back on how I choose them – you can read this here if you want to know how the heck I whittle it down: http://lizzy11268.booklikes.com/post/1051927/how-i-chose-my-top-ten-for-2014
Later in the week, I shall be doing an honorable mention list which will showcase some of the other top novels I have read this year – not all of them by any means, it has been a brilliant year for reading and so far 2015 is shaping up to be even better. Just remember, my reviews tell you how I felt about each individual book in the moment, and for me the moment is extremely important. So look out on Wednesday to hear about some great books from Neil White, Amanda Jennings, Tamar Cohen, Lauren Beukes, Paula Daly and more…Including Liz Nugent and Unravelling Oliver, a most terrific book that won a well deserved award the other night. And Matt Haig of course. Who’s novels are always No 1 for me along with Stephen King who also strangely does not appear this year.
But here we go, you want to know now right? So lets count them down….my original review will be available as a link underneath each title.
In at number 10 we have Jane Casey’s latest Maeve Kerrigan story. I absolutely adore this crime fiction series, it really does have some of my favourite characters in it. I’m always desperate for more when I finish. Plus of course (swoon) Derwent. This one was one of the best Jane has written, so addictive and if you havent read these yet go GO NOW!
I don’t think anyone who read “Station Eleven” could POSSIBLY leave it out of their top reads of the year. Haunting, evocative, beautifully written, a Post Apocalyptic literary work of genius, this one stayed with me for a long time after reading it. I kind of expected it to be my No 1 or higher than it is, but I stuck with my method and so here it is at No 9.
In at number 8 then we have The Three by Sarah Lotz. Possibly the biggest page turner I have read since Red Rising, this one had me enthralled, often very creeped out, it was totally absorbing and scarily authentic – an intriguing look at how humanity could react to certain events. Brilliant brilliant stuff and so well constructed it is a definite masterpiece.
The much anticipated follow up to “Mayhem” did not disappoint – I loved this one very much, I think I read it in an afternoon, am fairly sure there were maltesers involved and I could not put it down until I was done. At which point I was bereft. Sarah Pinborough has such an accessible yet beautifully haunting way of writing, every novel has something new to offer, from emotional overload to horror and fright. Not all at the same time. Well, sometimes. If you havent read this author before then I highly recommend that you do and would like to also mention “The Language of Dying” a book that had me in floods of cathartic and very healing tears.
At number 6 we have Greg Iles tour de force Natchez Burning. Absolutely magnificent, a tome of a novel that not once loses your interest, and although it may be Book Four in the Penn Cage series you could easily start here – there are another two books to come to complete this particular story and I will be willing to kill (metaphorically speaking) to get my hands on the copy of the next one when it is available. Lovely Kate Stephenson from Harper look out! Another one I half thought might be my No 1, now I’m looking at this cover I’m tempted to read it again. Right now.
In at number 5, a YA novel. I’m a huge fan of the Young Adult genre and believe it is highly accessible to adult readers who sometimes love it more than the target audience does. In this book Courtney Summers writes a Zombie apocalypse book that does not focus on the undead too much, this was a character piece following a girl who wanted to die before anything went horribly wrong with the world and follows her fight for a survival she is not even sure she wants. It was brilliantly evocative and tremendously wonderful reading. I have since read this authors other novels and I’m now a huge fan. Usually focussing on teen issues and writing about them extraordinarily well, this was somewhat of a departure for Ms Summers and thank heavens because it is a stunning read. Sequel coming soon. Consider me ready..
In at number four we have Lucy Lawrie’s spectacularly funny, brilliantly insightful look at family life when you become a parent for the first time – the complete upheavel, the love and the emotional overload and the strange yet wonderful changes this brings your existence. Life after baby given form in one delicious novel I highly recommend this for all parents and anyone who might ever be a parent – it will not only make you giggle but will also let you know that nothing is odd you’ve just had a baby and whatever you are going through is likely to be a normal part of such a huge change. Wicked. I read this again the other week just because. And if anything it was even better second time around.
In at number 3 – Gleam. Oh Gleam how I loved you! I do like a good fantasy tale but Tom Fletcher has created a marvel of a world here with some of the best characters I’ve seen in the genre for some time – brilliantly engaging, page turning joy. One character in particular – Nora – I frankly would have been happy with a book just about her. And yes Andrew Turner I shall be stalking you around when there is even a hint of book two on the horizon.
In at number 2 – The Girl with all the Gifts. Honestly one of the best books I’ve read in my life let alone this year, it was one of the novels that reminded me, in amongst all this reviewing madness that I love so dearly, why I started to read in the first place. You will fall in love with Melanie. You will. And that’s all I shall say about this one. If you have not read it yet, don’t read spoilers. If you love a good yarn just go get it and dive right in.
So there you go then. 10 – 2 all done. So which book hit the No 1 spot? Well to be fair there really was only one choice and it may surprise people but in the end, this book is the one that still haunts my dreams, that I STILL go back to and go “what? WHAT?”.
And it was this one.
Only Ever Yours by Louise O Neill. With an ending that killed me and an honest lesson to be learned about our obsession with image especially for young girls and teenagers, all wrapped up in a hugely addictive and entertaining Dystopian tale that could oh so easily be more than fiction, this is a book I wanted to throw at every young lady who ever worried about her weight or beauty. Ms O’Neill dissects our society with a sharp knife in this one and oh my word, it was a marvel.
Happy Reading Folks!