The Wenches' Top Ten of 2014

It's time once again, Saucy Readers, to look back over our year and to whittle down our read lists to our ten favorite reads of 2014. As our TBRs continued to grow, we managed to check some books off that list, and some of those books were absolutely wonderful. New series, continuations of favorites, classics that were new to us, and Wench recommendations, all earned a place on our list.

Come with us through the jump and find out which books earned a place in our hearts, and on our "best of 2014" list.



Angelfall & World After by Susan Ee

These are easily two of my favorite books in the past couple of years. Especially the first one. This series shocked me, amazed me, and repulsed me, and had me coming back for more. It was one of those rare books I read in a sort of frenzy, turning pages like a madman to see what would happen next. But nothing can prepare you for the events that unfold in Angelfall, and the consequences the characters have to deal with in World After. Absolutely brilliant story telling by Susan Ee. Wonderful characters. A stark, gritty, cruel world that seemed almost too real. It was a story I thoroughly enjoyed from Penryn's POV. And I loved the *blink and you'll miss it* painfully slow burn between Rafe and Penryn. (Which I know is not everyone's thing. And that's fine. The way it's written, it could easily go either way and end up amounting to nothing.) First and foremost this is a story about family, and survival, when the odds are against you in every way. A must read if you haven't gotten around to it yet. ~~Zee (Wench Review Here)

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

 Bloodlines is a great YA/PNR series, but The Fiery Heart is the point at which this series went from great to truly amazing. It was in this book that we got Adrian's POV in every other chapter, allowing us to see the effects of Spirit on our hero, which still leaves me awed with Richelle Mead's ability to depict mental illness so beautifully. It was also in this book that Adrian and Sydney reveled in their blossoming relationship, where Sydney quit pretending she didn't have feelings and just accepted them. It was absolutely glorious. And this book was also the point at which Sydney Sage faced her greatest fear and chose to act anyway, knowing that she may not succeed in changing anything, might in fact lose herself, but chose to fight, chose to do the right thing anyway. Sydney is a badass in a completely different way from our usual female leads, and this is the book in which she became one of my favorite heroines ever. ~~Barb (Wench Review Here)

American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

I am so glad so many of the Wenches and Saucy readers got around to this in 2014! One of my favorite books of all time. It's no secret Neil Gaiman is my favorite contemporary author. I love him. And American Gods has a little bit of everything that makes his writing so extraordinary. It's fantastical, it's emotional, it's magical, it's elaborate, it spans continents and millennia, it's almost too much! But if anyone can put together that many threads of a story to weave the most complexly beautiful tapestry, it's Gaiman. He has a gift for going into details without the reader feeling like they're reading a textbook. You'll start the story with Shadow, a wonderfully quiet observer of all the things around him, and you'll be taken on a journey you won't soon forget. You'll meet the most delightful characters. You'll be drawn into a world more vibrant and colorful and intense than your own. And you will love every second of it.~~Zee (Wench Review Here)


Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop 

One of our favourite fantasy books from 2014. The reason we loved Written in Red so much was it took a departure from the usual genre novels we read of shape-shifters and vampires and Other. It painted the supernatural world as the guardians of the planet and they were quick to enforce their will. Humans are prey. Little better than food to The Others. (Earth Natives is their preferred label for themselves.) There is one problem. Humans produce many of the luxury items, like electricity that The Others find they enjoy. At the heart of each territory is a Courtyard. The Courtyard allows humans to interact with The Others. When Meg Corbyn lands on their doorstep, there is the perfect job just opened up as Human Liaison. Simon Wolfgard might just find he has taken on more than he can handle when he gives Meg the job. Thus it becomes Meg’s job to deal with the delivery drivers who bring goods to the Courtyard. However Meg is a valuable commodity and someone wants her back. For Meg is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet who can see the future.~~Angela (Wench Review Here)

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

I love Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews, because in this book, I found the alpha male I’ve been looking for since Jericho Barrons (Fever series by Karen Moning). I’m not saying that Connor “Mad” Rogan is another Barrons, but I *am* saying that he has Barrons-like qualities. He is gorgeous, ultra-powerful, protective of those he cares for, and most of all, sometimes a total jackass. LOL It’s that jackass quality I’ve been looking for! I’m being serious! I’ve been looking for an alpha character that can make me love him, *despite* sometimes being an ass. That hero that is caring and sweet one minute, then says something completely offensive the next. The one that makes me gape, and think, “Oh, you little shit!”, in an affectionate way. I am so happy that Ilona Andrews pushed the envelope on the male hero. Mad Rogan is that diamond in the rough I’ve been seeking. On top of that, Nevada is an amazing heroine, strong, funny, and there is so much room for growth with her character. In addition, the storyline was fantastic, and I can see it’s going to be an intriguing continuing plot. I can’t wait for more books in this series! ~~Amanda (Wench Review Here)

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon

The loooong wait for this eighth installment in the Outlander series made it all the sweeter! We finally got some resolution for our beloved characters, who had been left smack in the middle of several alarming and potentially explosive predicaments. MOBY jumped right back into the mess and then immediately took off in all directions. Jamie and Claire were drawn back into the events of the Revolutionary War as they struggled for some personal time to resolve their own interesting little situation. Ian’s run of bad luck finally turned around, and it was deeply satisfying to watch him build his new life, as well as reunite with his mother. Fergus continued to tease that thin line between patriot and traitor with his usual panache, and boy did he ever have his hands full with his mischievous son, Germaine! He got a little taste of what he put Jamie through all those years ago, which was only fair! Lord John and his brother Hal spent much of the book living as Loyalists in Philadelphia; I really enjoyed their growing bonds with the Frasers. Jamie’s son William (finally!!) started to evolve into a tolerable, almost likeable, character who perhaps did inherit some of his dad’s fine qualities after all. Bree and Roger's family was completely consumed with its own nerve-wracking adventures (which I expect to learn more about in the next book, or I will be disappointed), and along the way we got some deliciously unexpected scenes from the past and some verra interesting clues about the way that time travel works in the books. For me, MOBY was a satisfying next step in the saga, and I loved the ending: not a cliffhanger, but definitely stoked my anticipation for the next book. I hope we’re done with the military plots so our characters can get back to their far more interesting (IMHO) pursuits on Fraser’s Ridge and wherever else their adventures might take them. I think the ending of this book set up that possibility nicely, and I am particularly looking forward to Jenny’s reaction when she meets Roger!! Hello the house!! ~~Kathi

Blood Games by Chloe Neill

Why was Blood Games one of the best books of 2014? Easy. Because Chloe Neill wrote it. That is reason enough for the Wenches. But, if that's not good enough for you, here's a few more reasons. First, METHAN!! Methan and their adorableness was out in force in this book. And, we get more Ethan trolling Merit with fake almost proposals, which is hilarious if you ask me. But, we also get a healthy dose of our favorite side characters, Mallory, Catcher, Luc, Lindsey, Jeff, and my personal favorite, Jonah. We also get Mallory and Merit trying mightily to mend their friendship, more RG goodness, a hilarious Luc/Lindsey and Merit/Ethan double date/surveillance ops fiasco and a really great murder mystery. If that's not enough to set Blood Games apart, we also get two VERY long awaited plot lines in this book. We get the resolution to the GP mess that we've been dealing with for several books and we finally, finally get to meet the strongest vamp in the world, and Ethan's BFF, Amit Patel. All of these things, along with Ms. Neill's outstanding writing add up to Blood Games having a solid spot on the Wenches' Best of 2014 list.~~Anne (Wench Review Here)


Sixth Grave on the Edge and Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones

2014 was a great year for author Darynda Jones and thus making it a great year for those of us who are Charley Davidson fans! Not only were the Wenches able to befriend Ms. Jones, which was totally awesome because she rocks my socks off, but we were able to read not just one book in the Charley series but TWO! First came Sixth Grave On The Edge back in May and then Seventh Grave and No Body in October, making for a very fun Spring and Fall. Both books definitely find Charley being the ever busy Private Eye as she often has several investigations going at once. In these two books we saw many advances in Charley’s arc, and those of her friendly sidekicks, while both books ended with their own respective cliffhangers, leaving you salivating for the next installment. My New Year's wish is that in book 8, that comes out this May, we finally find out more about what being a Grim Reaper truly encompasses, and we find out more about Mr. Wong! Though books 6 and 7 found growth for Charley in major ways, so many ways I don’t want to spoil our readers who have not made it this far, these books still have Charley and us interlopers in the dark about what all her abilities are as a Grim Reaper. It is Charley’s wit, adventures, and coffee addiction that keeps pulling us back to the series and how both made it into the 2014 Wenches Favorites. ~~Natalie (Wench Review Here and Here)

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

They say Me Before You is controversial because of the ethical and moral questions it raises. Maybe it is, although I do believe one must be able to choose what he/she can’t live without. And at what price. What I say is that this is one of the greatest love stories. Remember this at all costs. This book is a love story. This book is real. Just as real as life is. This is a story about a man who had everything and lost it all in one rainy London day. It’s about a small-town girl who had to make choices that never allowed her to spread her wings. This is a story about life, happiness, choices and love. It’s a story about the right to die. This book made me question everything I knew about myself. It shattered me so profusely. I finished reading the book at 2 AM one night. I couldn’t do anything without thinking about it. It’s been haunting me and it will for the rest of my life. ~~Olga (Wench Review Here)

The House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter

I've gushed about this first installment in Kristen Painter's new Crescent City series, and its sequel, City of Eternal Night (review here), since I read it this summer. House was easily my favorite UF of 2014, with nothing I didn't like about it. An absolutely delicious hero, a damaged heroine with so much potential, great side characters, a glorious setting, excellent storytelling--House of the Rising Sun checks every single one of my boxes, and I'm still trying to convince everyone who will listen that this is a must read book. If the gorgeous covers weren't enough to convince you to give this new series a try, then look for House in your favorite e-book retailer's store, where most of them have it for under two bucks right now! It might be the best two bucks you'll spend this holiday season. ~~Barb (Wench Review Here)




Honorable Mention:

Dirty Magic and Cursed Moon by Jaye Wells



This list would not be complete without mentioning Jaye Wells' Prospero's War series. Head Wench Barb and Wench Zee LOVE everything about the series. Ms.Wells is absolutely brilliant at bringing the weird and wonderful world of the Cauldron and Babylon to life in her books. Dirty Magic knocked our socks off right out of the gate, and Cursed Moon stepped up the crazy to a whole new level with a lot of new fantastical characters and elements that had us riveted from beginning to end. Who can say no to a book that has a sex magic coven run by a truly fabulous hermaphrodite, people going nuts because of the impending Blue Moon, and problematic relatives from our heroine's past? Not to mention the absolutely irresistible and very sexy John Volos? We just love reading about Kate (and reading Kate and John's explosive encounters...) and cannot wait for the next installment! Definitely deserves to be on the list of best reads of the year for the Wenches! We highly recommend it to our readers. ~~Zee (Wench Reviews here and here)

Comments

  1. What a great list. Three of my favourite books from this year made it on the list. American Gods, Written in Red and Angelfall. Also enjoyed Burn For Me and have MOBY on my TBR.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the list. Some of my faves managed to find their way on it. :)

    ReplyDelete

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