Jen’s Favorite Books of 2014

2014

Another great year of reading is drawing to a close and looking back on some of the awesome titles, I am tempted to go back and read some of them again.  Now that I have put this list together, I realize that just about every one is part of a series. Some of them can stand alone. Others are better read after enjoying earlier installments.  But either way, for me, they are the cream of the crop from the year 2014.

undead poolThe Undead Pool by Kim Harrison (The Hollows, #12) – This is the penultimate book in the Hollows series, and though the finale also came out in 2014, I felt this was the superior installment.  This book gave me so many things I have been waiting for. You can really see Rachel’s growth and it sets up the path to where all of the characters are going in their lives. Plus Trent.  So many reasons to love it.  Read it as part of the series.

Click to purchase: The Undead Pool

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare (Castles Ever After, #1) – Tortured hero alert! I loved this book and its blind and scarred leading man. Ransom lives in seclusion in an old worn-down castle. He is content to stay hidden from the world until Izzy comes barreling in with assertions that the castle actually belongs to her.  She is the perfect complement to his gruff cynicism and together, they are magic.  This easily reads as a standalone.

Click to purchase: Romancing the Duke

murder of crowsMurder of Crows by Anne Bishop (The Others, #2) – The Others has quickly become one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series. It’s so different from what else is out there right now. Bishop does such a great job of keeping her monsters monstrous. Meg is such a fresh and emotionally innocent character and Simon is wonderfully, unapologetically growly. There are great secondary characters in the Courtyard, which houses supernaturals of many kinds. These books are dark, but you can see hope found in the interactions Meg has with the Others she lives with.  And did I mention Simon? (It bears repeating.) Read Written in Red first.

Click to purchase: Murder of Crows

magic breaksMagic Breaks by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels, #7) – As much as I do love The Others, for me there is no Urban Fantasy series that compares to Kate Daniels. And this book is the best installment in the series to date. It’s a culmination of a long running series arc and it was so big in its scope; but it’s cohesive and extremely well done. Kate is such a kick ass heroine, but she’s more than that.  I feel like I know her.  Curran is sexy, strong, and so in love with her.  I can’t imagine how any UF fan would not love this series –and this book in particular.  Books like these are why I love reading.

Click to purchase: Magic Breaks

kraken kingThe Kraken King by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas, #4) – I may have broken Twitter gushing about how much I loved this book.  Really. I’m kind of embarrassed. (Not really.) Steampunk isn’t usually my thing. But even though you won’t find a steampunkier series than this, Brook’s writing really transcends the genre.  For me, the romance is just so fantastic, it could have been set on the moon.  It was written as a serial, but has since been published as a single book. And though it’s #4 in a series, you can enjoy it as a standalone. I loved it so much, it inspired me to go read the backlist on the series. I was a big fan of Brook’s Guardian series and this, while different, is every bit as good.

Click to purchase: The Kraken King

burn for meBurn for Me by Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacies, #1) – This is my favorite new series. Hands down. I love Ilona Andrews like chocolate.  This book straddles the line between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, with a feisty heroine and a morally ambiguous, powerful hero who’s in desperate need of lessons in humanity. The world building is fantastic. It’s sexy. It’s smart. It’s funny. It’s everything I have come to expect from the Andrews team. Made of win.

Click to purchase: Burn For Me

Dark Skye by Kresley Cole (Immortals After Dark #14) – I have been waiting for Lanthe and Thronos since Kiss of a Demon King. And it was totally worth the wait.  The past few IAD’s were just ok for me, but this book reminded me why Kresley Cole is one of my auto-buy authors. Thronos is so deliciously angsty and tortured… and virginal. And I loved that Lanthe is strong and unapologetically sexually confident.  Both of these characters come a long way over the course of the story and it’s such a great ride. You could enjoy this as a standalone, but it is probably better as part of the larger series.

Click to purchase:Dark Skye

evernightEvernight by Kristen Callihan (Darkest London, #5) I never thought I could love any book in this series as much as I loved Firelight. Then I read Evernight. As the story begins, the hero is actually trying to kill the heroine.  He blames her for helping a madman experiment on him. But it turns out that Holly is the only one who can help heal William of the torture he endures every day. Their relationship goes from hate to need to desire and eventually, love, in spectacular fashion. This book is unpredictable, engaging, and very sexy. I loved it. Much of the groundwork for this story was laid in the last book. You should probably read the series in order for maximum enjoyment.

Click to purchase: Evernight

archangels shadowsArchangels Shadows by Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter, #7) At this point, I honestly can’t tell you whether I love Singh’s Guild Hunter or Psy Changeling series more. They are two of the best PNR series out there. While I enjoyed Vasic’s book, I have to say that the long awaiting Janvier and Ashwini story really knocked my socks off. Singh has been teasing us with the dance between these two since the very beginning, and it pays off in spades. Not only that, but we’re seeing repercussions from the last book and getting quality time with Raphael and Elena. The anticipation and teases from the previous books help make this really spectacular.

Click to purchase: Archangels Shadows

Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane, #7) – I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling and Elizabeth Hoyt does it right. The hero is tortured –and a mute, gentle giant. He has escaped from an asylum and is wanted for a murder he didn’t commit. The attraction between him and the heroine is pitch perfect –so sexy.  It gave me butterflies. This story takes a familiar trope and makes it fresh and surprising at times.  And if you haven’t read any of the Maiden Lane books, don’t worry, you can enjoy this as a standalone.  Hot… with a lot of heart.

Click to purchase: Darling Beast

marked 2Marked by Rebecca Zanetti (Dark Protectors, #7) – Rebecca Zanetti made me absolutely burn for this book. And it was everything I hoped it would be.  Janie finally gets to come face to face with the man who has shared her dream world since childhood. And Zane is so much more than I (or she) ever expected. There are so many great surprises and an utterly satisfying conclusion to the story arc we started back in book one.  Thank you, Rebecca, for giving me everything I wanted.

Click to purchase: Marked

Honorable Mention:

Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock, #8) – We finally move forward on the relationship arc.  I almost fell down dead (in a good way.)

never judge a ladyCursed Moon by Jaye Wells (Prospero’s War, #2) – Not much in the way of romance, but a solid, fast moving UF plot, with some emotional kick.

Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover (Rule of Scoundrels, #4)  by Sarah MacLean – Chase is a woman! And an emotionally complex one at that. I loved the power struggle in this book and the great twists MacLean has built up to here.  A fabulous historical romance.

See any of your favorites on the list? Did I miss one that you loved? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’m always looking for a great read.

Be sure to check out Jaimie’s, Shelly’s, Janell’s and Carrie’s Favorites too!

Comments

  1. You’ve listed a lot of my favorites this year as well. I think Dark Skye might be my fave though. Murder of Crows too. Evernight is amazing! Hard to pick! They are all great!

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      I know!! Such a great year for books. I know I don’t have any contemporary or erotic romance here, but I’m sure Janell, Jaimie, Carrie, and Shelly will hit those genres when their lists come out. 🙂

  2. Nice list. Agree with Evernight, Burn for Me and Murder of Crows.

    I found Magic Breaks kind of meh. But like many series there’s that one book that’s not as great as the others and MB was it for me in the Kate series.

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      Really? I was so far away from meh on Magic Breaks. I loved it so much, I almost read it again as soon as I finished. — I am looking forward to seeing your list when it comes out.

  3. The Kraken King is top of my list, with Black Widow coming in second. Oh, and the Bec McMaster book was awesome too (name escaping me this moment). I haven’t gone back to review my books yet to come up with my own list, but I do know that I loved Magic Breaks, although I found last year’s installment my absolute favorite! I also enjoyed Burn for Me, but not top of the year – the first 75% was too slow to make it 5-Star worthy. I also liked Archangel’s Shadows – probably top 10.

    I’m listening to Murder of Crows right now. I’m new to the series (having just finished listening to Written in Red before this). I really like it, but I don’t know if it’s top 10 for me. I also purchased the first book in Kristen Callihan’s series based on you and Book Nympho’s raves!

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      I love Firelight so much. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Make sure to @ me on Twitter when your list comes out.

  4. We have a lot of the same books on this list. I loved Undead Pool, Murder of Crows, Magic Breaks, Burn for Me, Dark Skye and Archangel’s Shadows were all great. I’m not familiar with the other books on your lists.

    For me, I also included The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta (narrated by Robert Petkoff), and Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews and Forgotten Sins by Rebecca Zanetti because I listened to audios that were released in 2014.

  5. Absolutely love your list Jen! Murder of Crows, Burn for Me and Magic Breaks are my favourites of 2014 too. I also really loved Broken Blade by J.C Daniels and Master of Crows by Grace Draven.

  6. Christine says:

    I agree with Murder of Crows, Magic Breaks and Burn for Me. I am currently reading Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, and I am also planning on reading Archangels Shadows and Evernight. I read Firelight and loved it, so I have to read the rest in the series first. The Kraken King looks interesting as well. I also liked The Curious Case Of The Clockwork Menace by Bec McMaster and I think I would also put Night Broken by Patricia Briggs on my list.

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      Night Broken was good, but it made me mad too! I haven’t heard of the McMaster book. Thanks for the rec. 🙂

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