Fangirl Friday - My Five Star Reads of 2014. 12th Dec.

2014 What a year it has been for reading and discussing books. What better way to wrap up my last Fangirl Friday for the year, but to rave about my favourite books I've read this year. These are all my five star reads. There were seven books in total that made it onto my five star list and I think every one is brilliant in their own way. The range from historical to fantasy to non-fiction. Of course with me, always heavier on the fantasy element.

Check after the jump to see what books rocked my world in 2014.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Read January 2014

This might just be the best book I've ever read. It won the 2013 Man Booker Prize and I can clearly see why it did. Intelligent, thought provoking and so completely absorbing that I couldn't put it down. Catton skilfully related this mystery tale from a multiple point of view perspective. She made me feel like I was really on the West Coast of New Zealand with the driving rain, the wind and the mud. So vividly did Catton show me this landscape that one day I plan to visit this part of the country. Some might argue it's an academic fiction book. A thinking person's book. I agree, however I also think that there is beauty in the way the story unfolds and the threads all come together at the end to leave the reader satisfied. Of course one of my favourite things about this book may very well just be that it pretty much starts off, "A man walked into a bar..."

Hands down my favourite book of 2014.

My full review.

Written in Red by Anne Bishop.

Read March 2014

My favourite fantasy book I've read this year was Written in Red. I'm delighted that so many other Wenches picked up this book after my earlier review of the two books published so far. Meg is a cassandra sangue and when she cuts her skin she is able to see the future. A scary prospect when cassandra sangues are controlled by Controllers and are viewed as property. Very valuable property. Luckily for Meg, she was able to get away. However this is a world where humans are secondary to shapeshifters, vampires and other supernatural beings. This is a world where The Others (who actually call themselves earth natives) control the world. Humans are prey and it is a delicate balance that has to be maintained. It doesn't mean The Others aren't above eliminating a village or town if they are disrespectful to the environment. Meg doesn't smell human and Simon needs to employ a human liaison due to the supernatural world enjoying some of the items produced by humans. Human liaisons are great as long as they don't get eaten. It is from this tentative beginning that Meg starts to enfold herself in the supernatural world, even though outwardly she looks very much human. Therefore she doesn't scare the delivery vans that come to the Courtyard. I loved Written in Red slightly more than Murder of Crows which was published this year.

My full review.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) by Diana Gabaldon

Read April 2014

Wench Kathi sure had me pegged when she said I would enjoy this series. Sure, I've enjoyed some books more than others, but A Breath of Snow and Ashes was one of my favourites across the whole series. It was action packed. Which I needed after reading The Fiery Cross. There was angst, there was drama, there was action and also plenty of tender moments. There was my internal screaming wondering why Diana Gabaldon was taking me through the wringer. Anything medical has my stomach churning, yet still I was compelled to read on. I enjoyed it knowing in the background that war was coming and Jamie Fraser had knowledge of what was to come via Claire. He had a tough choice to make to ensure that he and his family would come out on the winning side after the war. The plus for this series as I'm starting to get older, I find it refreshing to read a series that has older lead characters in it. I still have Written in My Own Heart's Blood to go and I'm hoping it will be just as fantastic. I'm sure it will be.

Want to read more about the series? Check out Wench Kathi's great Diana Gabaldon post.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Read June 2014

Fantastic book. What more need I say? It has all the elements I love in a great book. Fantasy, unexpected events, plot twists, interesting and captivating characters. A very, good friend of mine has been trying to get me to read Neil Gaiman for a long time and she was right. My mantra for the year from this point onwards was pretty much Wench Zee always has the best recommendations. Listen to her advice.

The lead character Shadow captivated me immediately. Whether it was his view of the world or his willingness to accept (eventually) that there are things living amongst us that we don't know about. I was invested in what was happening to him as the story unfolded. Gaiman skilfully revealed Shadow's story to me and I couldn't have been more delighted. It also made me ponder about this world we live in and what we are doing to it. It was just magical and thought provoking and really what more could you ask for in a book.

Beautifully and insightful, this book will be on my reread list.

Wench Donna's Review.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

Read July 2014

I can't even begin to describe how much I loved Neverwhere.When a book turns out to be just as good as your friend promised you it would be. Yes, you guess it, Wench Zee again. I was captivated from the first few chapters. Whether I personally would want to live in London Below is debatable, I'm unsure if I'm cut out for life in the sewers. Gaiman was clearly able to show me how it might be to live there. My favourite character was the Marquis. He was pretty shady, but I like that in a character. You get glimpses of good in him. For many a great character has shades of grey to their personality. It makes them enthralling and the reader hungry to learn more. Richard Mayhew, our lead character is thrust into a world he never imagined and we are taking along for the ride.

It also makes you question what do you really need to survive and the answer is actually you don't really need a lot of material things. Sure we want to have them, but doesn't mean we need them. Check out Neil Gaiman if you haven't read his work.

The General's Son by Miko Peled

Read July 2014

Again another recommendation by Wench Zee. Where would I be without her??? It was the first time I had read a nonfiction book in some time and I'm glad I did. It tells the story of an Israeli, Miko Peled in Palestine and his relationship with the people there. It's an incredible story of how worldviews can change and that no matter where you are it would give you pause as to how you would react if you lived in one of the worlds many trouble spots.

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days) by Susan Ee

Read November 2014

I read this in one sitting due to a great recommendation from a friend. She never seems to steer me wrong. One of the major reasons I enjoyed this book, is I didn't see the end coming. The ending made sense, but I couldn't have predicted what was going to happen. Always a bonus for me. Penryn was a character I could back. I loved her determination and resolve to find her sister. It made her likable to me and even though she sometimes acted rashly I knew her heart was in the right place. I'm surprised a YA book made it on my list, but there you go. The world is full of surprises. If you haven't read this book, I can say enough good things about it.

Wench Merit's Review.

Honourable mentions

Other honourable mentions which didn't quite make the five star mark for me, but well worth checking out are:

Sebastian St Cyr series by C.S Harris if you like historical murder mystery.

The Disillusionists series by Carolyn Crane if you love urban fantasy

Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens for murder ghost mystery lovers.


What a great year for reading it's been this year. Wonderful recommendations from my friends has seen my reading broaden just a little bit and introduced a lot of new authors to my favourite list. Of course it's adding many more books to my to be read list, but that's all part of the fun.

Let me know below some of your favourite five star reads from 2014.


  1. Love it! So many of my five star reads here too :D hehe.

    1. Haha Zee. I know right? I'll be looking to you in 2015 for some more excellent recommendations. No pressure or anything ;).

  2. Great reads! 2 of these still wait on my TBR list.

    1. Thanks Merit. I have you and Zee to thank for Angelfall. Such a brilliant book.


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