Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My Favourite Reads of 2014 .... and a few to look out for in 2015

2014 has been another fabulous book year for me. I've read almost 180 books, but I've also abandoned many.  I've been to some fabulous bookish events, met some of my favourite authors and made new friends.

It's so difficult to choose the traditional Top Ten books, especially as I read so many. Last year I had a Top Twelve, and this year I've picked a Top Fifteen. Just like last year, I've also included some 2015 releases at the end of the post.  I've been lucky enough to read these pre-publication so I didn't want to add them to my 2014 picks.  

Random Things just wouldn't be the same without the support of so many authors, publishers, agents, PR agencies and of course, the people who read my blog. A huge thank you to everyone who played a part in another great year.  I really hope that people continue to enjoy reading my thoughts about the books that I've read.

So, here goes. Here are my favourite fifteen books of 2014, with a couple of recommendations for books due to be published in 2015.

I hope everyone has a Happy and Peaceful New Year and that 2015 is a wonderful year for you all

Anne xx

My favourite reads of 2014 - in the order that I read them.  Click on the book title to read my full review:

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

Published by Ebury 

Hardback 30 January 2014  
Paperback 28 August 2014

Rowan Coleman's writing gets better and better.  There is no doubt that The Memory Book is her very best novel to date.  It is a joy, and I will be recommending it to everyone that I meet.

Wake by Anna Hope

Published by Doubleday

Hardback 16 January 2014
Paperback 1 January 2015

Wake is powerful and evocative, it is a tender but at the same time, brutal look at the aftermath of war. Anna Hope's writing flows with such ease, her use of prose and descriptions are beautiful and haunting.

The Undertaking by Audrey Magee

Published by Atlantic Books

Hardback 6 February 2014
Paperback 4 September 2014

 It is a unrelenting story, Audrey Magee is an extremely gifted author, her dialogue-led style of writing coupled with her depth of human understanding is outstanding.

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

Published by Tinder Press

Hardback 27 February 2014
Paperback 19 June 2014

The ending is shocking.  It is so cleverly written, and so unexpected - it felt like I was left hanging from the edge of a cliff by a fingernail.  The final paragraphs are the true triumph of this novel.

Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

Published by Bantam Press

Hardback 13 March 2014
Paperback 7 May 2015

Some psychological thrillers are more about plot than character. Keep Your Friends Close is a perfectly balanced blend of compelling characters with a gripping story. 

The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings

Published by Cutting Edge Press

Paperback 1 May 2014

The Judas Scar is one of those novels that you need to keep reading ..... just one more page ..... because the instant that you put it down, you'll be thinking of it, and when you finish it, you'll be wondering about it for quite a while.

Before The Fall by Juliet West

Published by Pan MacMillan

Hardback 22 May 2014
Paperback 28 August 2014 

Juliet West's writing is as powerful as it is poetic, she creates an almost claustrophobic atmosphere with words. The complexities of forbidden love, the effects of war on the community, the sense of duty and utter hopelessness is portrayed skilfully and most beautifully.

The Broken by Tamar Cohen

Published by Doubleday

Hardback & Paperback 22 May 2015

Tamar Cohen is an exciting author who can build suspense expertly. Her characterisation is brilliant, her imagination and plotting is almost genius.  The Broken is a superb psychological suspense thriller, I loved every page of it.

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Hardback 13 March 2014
Paperback 12 March 2015

Rene Denfeld is an incredibly talented writer. This story is sophisticated and subtle - it is moving and eloquently written. The Enchanted really is quite captivating ..... in fact, it will enchant you.

Who Are You? by Elizabeth Forbes

Published by Cutting Edge Press

Paperback 1 July 2014

I am in awe of Elizabeth Forbes. Her writing is chillingly unsettling; tense and so cleverly paced. Prepare yourself to be consumed by this story, to be terrified and at the same time to empathise with the hidden victims of other people's actions.

Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen

Published by Bantam Press

Hardback 31 July 2014
Paperback 12 February 2015

The thing that makes Where Love Lies particularly special and quite unique is that despite the obviously emotional, romantic theme to this novel, there is a twist to the story that will make the reader contemplate how love really works. 

Her by Harriet Lane

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Hardback 12 June 2014
Paperback 1 January 2015

I am very very impressed by Harriet Lane's writing. She is so so clever and has produced a very intelligent psychological thriller that will certainly feature in my Top Books of 2014.  Her is a brilliant read - Bravo!

Your Beautiful Lies by Louise Douglas

Published by Black Swan

Paperback 14 August 2014 

Once again, Louise Douglas has written a book that engrossed me from start to finish. I am hugely impressed by her writing, and by her ability to produce such stunning novels - all so very different, but all so wonderful.

A History of Loneliness by John Boyne

Published by Doubleday

Hardback 4 September 2014
Paperback 7 May 2015

This is a book that is harsh yet so so powerful. John Boyne writes intelligently, with emotion, yet is unsparing with his words, there is a lot of anger within the words. It is haunting and incredibly powerful writing.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Published by Blackfriars

Hardback 26 June 2014
Paperback 13 November 2014

Everything I Never Told You is a wonderfully perceptive debut novel, written with authority and passion. This book has been voted the No 1 Book of the Year 2014 by, and I can really understand why. It really is a beautifully written book.

I'd also like to give a very special mention to the following four books.  I read them in 2014 and they are due to be published in 2015.    Again, a very mixed bunch, but they are all excellent reads - look out for them!

Alice and the Fly by James Rice

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

Hardback 15 January 2015

Rice does not hold back, his portrayal of the cruelty of some people towards those that they don't understand is so well done. The portrait of a modern, dysfunctional family; on the outside wealthy, shiny and happy, but underneath, decaying, hiding and denying is frightening real.

The Liar's Chair by Rebecca Whitney

Published by Pan MacMillan

Hardback 15 January 2015

It is psychologically thrilling, it is challenging and it is often an uneasy read. The author's characterisation is wonderful, but don't expect to actually like any of them, they are a bunch of cold and calculating, yet absolutely realistic people but at the same time are fascinating in a very dark sort of way.

The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond

Published by Pan MacMillan

Paperback 1 January 2015

The Year of Taking Chances is another triumph for Lucy Diamond, her fans will be delighted by this, and new readers will become fans immediately. This is a real treat, a story that will transport the reader into the world of the characters.

Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye

Published by Orion

Hardback 15 January 2015
Paperback 16 July 2015

A novel of small town America, of racial divide, of the strength of nature and ultimately a love story. Summertime is an exquisite piece of writing; rich, satisfying and beautiful.

Nineteen wonderful books, a very mixed selection, but each and every one of them were excellent reads.    I hope that I may have whetted your appetite with a least a couple of these, they all come very highly recommended.

So on to 2015, and I'm looking forward to seeing just what will randomly pop through the letterbox this year.


  1. Fab list Anne, I've read seven of those and have couple still to read, think my TBR list will be growing some more now though. Happy New Year to you.
    Dawn x

  2. Wow, a great selection - and what struck me is there are some beautiful covers coming through! Have a great 2015! x

  3. Interesting list. I've read and enjoyed 6 of them but only Lemon Grove and A History of Loneliness made it to my Top 12

  4. A great list Anne, and I agree with so many of your choices. Here's to many more wonderful books in 2015. Happy New Year, Karen x

  5. Fantastic list, The Broken very nearly made my list too as did Her by Harriet Lane.

  6. Excellent list Anne, and good to see some of my top reads made it onto your list too! Happy New Year. Anne xx

  7. Love all of Louise Douglas's books. Some on the list on my kindle already and now more on the Amazon wishlist!