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MandyM

MandyM

Stuff I'm reading... Mostly romance and Scifi/Fantasy.

My top ten reads of the year

The Hook Up - Kristen Callihan Flight of Magpies - K.J. Charles Shaking the Sugar Tree - Nick Wilgus Champion of the Scarlet Wolf Book One (Cadeleonian Series, #3) - Ginn Hale The Witch with No Name - Kim Harrison The Martian - Andy Weir The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie

My top 10 reads in 2014 (is it too early?)

 

I haven’t checked my bookshelves. I’m just going by what I can remember so it should be a good representation of the stories that really stayed in my mind. I’m counting down from 10 so my most favourite will be last.

 

10: All the fanfiction I’ve read this year.

Thank you all.

 

9: Transcendence by Shay Savage

A P2P Twilight fanfic that is really unusual. It has plenty of flaws but it’s written from the POV of a caveman, whose limited intellect and imagination makes a great cloudy lens through which to view the heroine’s story. And the ending was lovely. A combination of feel good and plot twist that brought happy and sad tears to my eyes at the same time.

 

8: Red Dirt Heart by N.R. Walker

I know the Outback so well and this story brings it to vivid life. I think my own ambivalence about living in remote areas really made me anxious about the heroes gaining their HEA which just enhanced the realism of the story for me. Click here for some spectacular scenes of station life that are probably very similar to Charlie Sutton's.

 

7: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

Whoda thunk it. A great New Adult novel. I didn’t think they existed. Ticked all my contemporary romance boxes.

Feisty independent heroine. Tick.

Determined smart hero. Tick.

Angst. Tick.

Great sex. Tick.

Humour. Tick.

 

6: Flight Of Magpies by K.J. Charles

Don’t you just love it when the last book in a series is the best. This fascinating and sexy paranormal trilogy is brought home with a bang. I liked the way that the tables were turned and this time it was Lord Crane’s ‘superpowers’ (his arrogance and nobility) which won the day.

 

5: Shaking The Sugar Tree by Nick Wilgus

An unconditional love story between lonely dad Wiley Cantrell and his deaf son Noah. Oh and there’s a grownup love story for Wiley too. This book is a full immersion experience in America’s Deep South. The way the characters talk, walk, and think. The places. The down-home welcoming feel. The cray-cray. The strong religious undertones. Wiley is sex personified. I fell for him hook, line and sinker. It also has some great lines including this one which is my favourite of the year:

“We don’t hide crazy,” I said. “We put it on the porch and let it entertain the neighbors.”

 

4: Champion Of The Scarlet Wolf by Ginn Hale

My love affair with fantasy continues with this adventurous and romantic tale from the best fantasy author in mm romance. It’s set in the same world as her Lord Of The White Hell books. This book is not available on Amazon for… I dunno… reasons. Maybe the authors are taking an ethical stance against multinational corporations. But I really miss having other people to talk to about how much I love this series and world. *pouts*

 

3: The Witch With No Name (last book in a 13 book series) by Kim Harrison

I learned an excellent lesson from this urban fantasy series. Always check the average ratings on books in series. If the ratings are getting higher as the series progresses that’s a great sign that the series is going to be worth reading. In this case there were some less enjoyable books earlier on but the author brings it home brilliantly. She never loses sight of who her character is and where the story is going. The romantic arc is ultimately extremely satisfying. I only discovered this series in 2014 so reading all these books took up a big slice of my reading time this year. I was in reading heaven for weeks.

 

2: The Martian by Jeff Weir

The sexiest thing in the world is intelligence. And my God this author is one sexy beast. Many times while reading this my brain just seized up and I could only stare unseeing at the wall while I tried to comprehend the vastness of scientific knowledge the author must have to be able to write this story. Hard Scifi is my favourite kind and this is a brilliant example. Amazing. Totally believable. Edge of your seat action and thrills. Gonna be a KICKASS movie!

 

drumroll

 

1: The Blade Itself (The First Law series – book 1 of 3 books) by Joe Abercrombie.

I saw a discussion from some rabid fantasy fans about a fantasy sub genre called Grimdark. They were raving about this series saying how different it was and how Grimdark was the Next Big Thing so I decided to give it a go. I can only describe my reaction to this series as visceral. Even now thinking about it my hands are feeling clammy and I feel a mix of anxiety and excitement.

 

The characterisation is incredible. I have never met fictional characters like Glokta and Logen before. The author introduces you to these amazingly twisted damaged COMPLEX people and makes you despise them utterly, then start to understand them, then want them to survive, then even love them passionately, before ripping the floor from under your feet.

 

It contains the best action scenes I’ve ever read and it is dark. So very dark. It’s like the anti-Tolkein which is apparently the goal of Grimdark. These authors even refuse to supply maps with their series, the bastards! After book 1 I had no intention of reading on but I seriously couldn’t sleep thinking about Logen for 2 nights so I had to read the remaining 2 books, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument Of Kings.

 

I hated it. But I loved it a billion times more.