03 January, 2015

Only the Best of 2014 - My Best Reads This Year

I had a really slow year this year when it comes to reading. It doesn't help that I moved a couple states away, got a new job that keeps me busier than ever, and I'm trying to keep up with three kids any moment they're awake. My Goodreads goal of 50 books, a decrease from last year because I knew there was a possibility of some changes, was only met by 64% (that's only 31 books).

However, a number of those books were new releases and it was a great year for those. Below you'll find my top 7 new releases for 2014. I was going to narrow it down to five, but I found myself trying to cheat by posting "ties" and I honestly hate that so I gave the actual number even if not so round.

Following that list are some more year-end wrap up awards if you can even call it that. Mostly, I wanted to have a chance to talk about the books I loved this year one extra time.

Top 7 New Releases of 2014

7) Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan

6) City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (still need to review this)

5) Breach Zone (Shadow Ops #3) by Myke Cole

4) Prince of Fools (Red Queen's War #1) by Mark Lawrence

4) Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie

3) Veil of the Deserters (Bloodsounder's Arc #2) by Jeff Salyards

2) The Magician's Land (Magicians #3) by Lev Grossman

1) The Crimson Campaign (Powder Mage #2) by Brian McClellan

Biggest Surprise

Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott - Seriously, you need to read this if you haven't already. At first glance, it doesn't sound like much, but it was absolutely one of my favorites of the last number of years.

Best Stand-Alones

Tie for Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway and Blackdog by K.V. Johanson. Remember, I said I hate ties in numbered lists. No numbers here, so I can have a tie. Both these were absolutely astounding reads. They are completely different, one a contemporary mystery with a wonderful sense of humor (Angelmaker) and one an epic fantasy set in a non-European medieval times (Blackdog).

Best Audiobooks

Ilium and Olympos by Dan Simmons. This is really just one extended book that blew me away from start to finish. Simmons is a mad genius to combine all the elements he combines here and pulls it off stupendously.

Biggest Disappointment 

Impulse (Jumper #3) by Steven Gould - I had high hopes after the first two excellent installments. Combining the elements that made the first two great with teen angst and holier-than-thou characters made it a bit tough to stomach.


Blood and Iron by Jon Sprunk (currently reading), Of Bone and Thunder by Chris Evans (currently reading), Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, The Emperor's Blades by Brian Stavely, Assail by Ian Cameron Esslemont (though I did make progress by reading Stonewielder), and tons more. There are plenty of authors I've just gotten behind in keeping up with their new series such as Brent Weeks and Daniel Abraham and tons more I'm dying to begin. I'll have to do better this year I guess.


Carl V. Anderson said...

Nice list! I got a copy of Hollow World for review and maybe one day can get around to reading it. All the reviews I have seen have been positive.

Half a King is on my list of books I want to read.

I have yet to read any of K.V. Johanson's books, but I've been sent the latest to from Pyr, so again, just need to make the time.

I love Raymond Swanland's covers for the Johanson books.

Bryce L. said...

All great reads. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Blackdog. I have her next duology up soon-ish. :) And you just can't go wrong with Swanland. He's a genius.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I know I have The Leopard and also The Lady, but I may actually have Blackdog as well. I'll have to check.

Bob/Sally said...

City of Stairs, Prince of Fools, and Veil of the Deserters - absolutely agreed. I need to get around to Blackdog sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

Good to see you have Emperors Blades in there. I'd also suggest Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

Bryce L. said...

Somehow it didn't happen this year, but I was really looking forward to Emperor's Blades. I hear Red Rising is also excellent. I was thinning the herd, but if you insist on recommending me good books, how can I resist? :)

Bryce L. said...

@Bob Milne - Yes you do! Johanson was a great find this year, I'll be reading more from her. I'm always amazed at how much you read, plus lots of great independent books.

penny g said...

Some new ones in there for me. I will have to check them out. Great tastes.
You should check out Escape From Netherworld by David Kuklis.
Easily my favorite of the year and I think destined to become a huge hit among fans of dungeons and dragons and role playing games.