My Favorite Books of 2014 (So Far)

It’s a little early. I usually do this in January of the new year, but my list is getting a little long. So here’s the best books I’ve read in 2014, all rated 5 stars:

  • Longbourn (Jo Baker, finished 22 January) The same time, family and a lot of the same locations as Pride and Prejudice, but a completely different perspective. An excellent book, and an enlightening perspective on life as lived by the serving classes in early 19th century England. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
  • The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life (Noble Smith, finished 6 February) What can we learn from the Hobbits and Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring? Quite a lot, it seems. If you’ve always wanted to live a simpler life and you love Hobbits, then this is the book or you.
  • The Mark of a Man (Maggie Lee, finished 16 March) Peril and intrigue in medieval Britain. This is an excellent M/M novel involving a young man and the soldier who is charged with arresting him and bringing him in. Dark forces are at work behind the scenes.
  • The Magpie Lord (K.J. Charles, finished 1 April) Magic and steampunk. Another M/M novel involving a man called back from China to take possession of the family estate after the suicides of his father and older brother, and the magic practitioner who tries to save him.
  • A Case of Possession (K.J. Charles, finished 2 April) The follow up to The Magpie Lord. This time with giant rats and Chinese sorcerers.
  • The Cat’s Table (Michael Ondaatje, finished 20 May) This is the story of a 12-year-old boy who is sent by ship from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to England in the 1950’s to be reunited with his mother. A coming-of-age story that is beautifully written, with a poet’s voice. Quite simply, unforgettable.
  • The Templar Legacy (Steve Berry, finished 30 May) This and The Alexandria Link are part of Berry’s Cotton Malone series. Exciting adventures that keep you up reading them long after you should be asleep.
  • The Alexandria Link (Steve Berry, finished 31 May)
  • Mrs. Queen Takes the Train (William Kuhn, finished 25 June) The Queen, now in her mid-80’s, is feeling a little down in the years since 1995. Feeling the need for a little cheering up, she slips out of Buckingham Palace and goes on an incognito trip to Scotland. Her happiest moments that she recalls were on the royal yacht Britannia, which is now a tourist attraction. Once she’s discovered missing, various people start looking for her, palace staff, a young Englishman of Indian descent. Overall, an excellent book, and one I will enjoy reading again. If you have any interest in the House of Windsor, or even how people who have spent their entire lives in the public eye cope with the attention and stress, you’ll love this book.
  • The Keeper of Lost Causes (Jussi Adler-Olsen, finished 13 July) Set in Copenhagen, this title begins a series of Scandinavian police procedurals that rivals anything written in the USA. Easily the equal of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. If you follow the Scandinavian crime books that are so popular recently, this is a must read.
  • Rotters (Carl R. Cart, finished 13 August) Honestly, I enjoyed this book very much. It’s the first zombie book I’ve come across that tries to provide a scientific rationale for the creatures. And it actually makes sense. I won’t go into the details, that would spoil it for you. The author clearly knows his biology and his military. I could wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone interested in military thrillers, or zombie books. If I have one complaint about this book, it’s that the dialogue seems a little formal and stilted. It’s not written in a casual style I’m used to, and since I read with my ears as much as my eyes, it throws me off some. Still, I would gladly recommend this book.
  • Not a Creature Was Stirring (Jane Haddam, finished 4 September) The first book in Haddam’s Gregor Demarkian series of mysteries. Demarkian, described as “the Armenian-American Poirot,” is a retired FBI serial killer profiler putting his skills to use as a private consultant. When he’s not dealing with his quirky neighbors and friends in his old neighborhood. The early books in this series have been out of print, but are being re-released by Mysterious Press. Well worth the effort of tracking them down.

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