December 31, 2014

My 2014 Favorites List

I mentioned this post would be coming and here it is! My favorite reads from 2014. Looking back over the 44 books I read this year I anticipated struggling to limit my list of absolute favorites. But I surprised myself! I guess it turns out that I read several enjoyable-but-not-fabulous-beyond-reason books this year. I still read some pretty amazing stories though. So the criteria I used to pick this list was pretty simple: the book had to draw me in right from the beginning and keep me anticipating turning the pages, as well as had to be a story that I didn't forget once I closed the final chapter. Some books are fun, but once I finish I kind of forget a lot of the details. The books I've listed are unforgettable! They made me *happy sigh* many, many times and left me wishing the stories would continue forever. The authors all had the knack for sweeping me off my feet and depositing me inside their worlds for a few hundred pages, letting me forget reality even existed. Which is happiness indeed! :)


Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson - I absolutely fell in love with Edenbrooke, so my anticipation for this book was very great. I was so happy when it met my (admittedly high) expectations!


Tap & Gown by Diana Peterfreund - After having heard so many good things about this series, I was beyond thrilled to devour all four books. This one is my favorite though because everything comes to their expected yet hard-won happy ending. I DO love my happy endings! ;)


The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle - I have been searching high and low for a sequel that would do justice for my inexplicable love of Mary Bennet from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and I'm quite happy to say that this one snuck up on me. I wasn't expecting much, mainly because I'd been disappointed time and again. But this Mary is sweet and feisty and finding her way, just as I'd imagined her. And her romance is cute, which is a definite plus!


It Had to be You by Susan May Warren - My heart, it swoons! Eden and Jace's story is so wonderful and lovely and swoonworthy. These two had me at hello and refuse still to let me forget them. I just now realized that I never reviewed this one, but suffice it to say that it is definitely worth reading! Which you totally need to do, if you haven't yet.


When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren - The same could be said about this one too! Grace and Max's friendship is one of my favorite relationships of this year.


Random Acts of Murder by Christy Barritt - I don't read many mysteries, so when one catches my attention and keeps me up half the night I know I've found a keeper (either that or I need to stop reading murder mysteries late at night ;). I am decidedly a big fan of Ms. Barritt's!


The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd - Ms. Ladd's first novel was fun, but it didn't quite meet all the expectations I'd had. So I was a little leery of trying this one. Oh how happy I am that I gave it a chance! And now I am eagerly anticipating book three. :) I love when books surprise me like that.


The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien - An epic and sweeping adventure which left me longing for more! What else could a reader ask for?


A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd - Of course you knew this one would be here, right? I've only raved over it a few hundred times. And my happiness with the story is only intensified by the wonderfulness of getting to meet Ms. Lloyd in person! :)


The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab - To quote my review "Resonating with sounds and tastes and feelings, it is wonderfully expressive.....It's such a curious mix of so many different things. And it does them all well! When I closed the last page, I immediately turned the book over and started reading my favorite parts again." I absolutely love Ms. Schwab's writing!


Lizzy & Jane by Kathine Reay - This book! So full of relationships and emotions and all the messy chaos that comes with that. And SO wonderful a read. Ms. Reay has risen straight to the top of my list of authors who I'll read anything they write. Which is kind of crazy as this is only her second book! But what a story. I mean, who else could combine food, Jane Austen, and classic literature so well? This one is a must read!!!


Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge - Saved the best for last! This story swept me away and refused to let me go for days after I read it. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I'd rush home right after work and devour my favorite scenes all over again. And I did this for at least a week or more! I have no words to tell you how phenomenal this book is. All I can tell you is READ IT!

Honorable Mentions: How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes and The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton - Both are wonderfully written stories!

12 favorites out of 44 possibles is pretty great, I must say. I tried to scratch two so I could get the perfect 10, but I just couldn't figure out which two to leave off. So 12 it is! Now tell me. What were some of your favorites from this year?


  1. Will have to read "Lizzie and Jane" at some point methinks. Nice to see your list. Happy New Year, Kara!

    1. You definitely should, Ganise! It's not a typical romancy type of story, I really think you'd enjoy it. Let me know if you do! :)

      I hope your New Year was wonderful and that January has been treating you delightfully!

  2. Lizzy & Jane, a thousand times yes! Also, Susan's seem to always find room on my favorites of each year. Her books are a special kind of magic. I'm curious about this series you mention by Diana Peterfreund, especially since I've seen them featured here before. Great list, Kara!

    1. Right?! Lizzy & Jane is just so wonderful, isn't it, Rissi? SO good!

      And yes, Susan's books do have a special kind of magic. Just the sight of them makes me smile. :)

      Diana's series is great fun! At least I thought so. I'm not sure what it was about them, but somehow I just got swept away and devoured all the books as fast as I could. If you ever get the chance to read them, I'd love to know what you think. You know how you really recommend a book and then are anxious whether the person will actually like it? That's me right now! ;)

  3. I'm working on a list like this right now myself! Looks like you had a lovely, fulfilling reading year :-) Here's to a 2015 filled with delightful books too!

    1. I did, Hamlette. I most certainly did! I'll come read your post soon. And yes! Here's to a new year of wonderful stories! :)

  4. That's a great list, Kara! I'm so happy to see Sarah Ladd's and Susan May Warren's on your list, too. And of course, Lizzy and Jane!

    I've heard good things about Cruel Beauty and Blackmoore, so I'll be keeping my eye out for those. Also, The Pursuit of Mary Bennet sounds fun!

    1. Thanks, Courtney! Isn't it fun to see books you've loved show up on someone else's list? :) I'd love to know what you think if you ever get the chance to read Cruel Beauty! I loved it so much that I want everybody else to feel the same way! :D


Thank you so much for visiting my little corner of the internet! :)


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