Although I have only been actively blogging for six months it is time for my end of year round up. A quick check of my blog finds that I have reviewed around 50 books in the last 6 months of the year. To select a top 10 from 50 seemed too many so I was going to do a top five. Until I started my list and I discovered that I wanted to include one or two more: Grab This Book’s Magnificent Seven was born.
So in no particular order I present the seven books that I enjoyed reading most (and the reasons why) during 2014.
Stalkers – Paul Finch
I was late to the party on Paul Finch’s brilliant Mark Heckenburg novels. The good thing about this was: by the time I read Stalkers there were two sequels and two more on the way.
Stalkers is a compelling thriller which pulls no punches and delivers shocks and twists in equal measure. I have probably recommended Paul Finch’s books to more of my friends than any other author this year – thus far I have had nothing but positive feedback from those that took my advice.
Doctor Who: Engines of War – George Mann
Cast your eye over my blog and you will find that Doctor Who books crop up fairly frequently. I make no apology for this, I have been a fan of the show for 35 years and I have been reading Doctor Who novels since the 1980’s. Not counting the books I read more than once, or the many audio plays, I think I have read around 350 different Who novels (although it is probably more).
For me, George Mann’s Engines of War stands out as one of the best that I have read. Ever. It features the Daleks, a new companion (Scarlet) and even better – The War Doctor. The Doctor has been fighting in the Time War, the Daleks fear him and the Timelords still cannot control him. His weariness of the War is telling and this is not a Doctor that can solve all the problems and just disappear in his TARDIS waiting for the next adventure. Mann catches the fatigue and frustration of the Doctor brilliantly.
If you enjoy Doctor Who and have seen John Hurt’s War Doctor in action then this is a must read. If you like an exciting good guy/bad guy story this is also for you, there is a great adventure to share. If you hate all things Doctor Who, this may not be the book for you. But I loved it!
Vendetta – Dreda Say Mitchell
Some books are in my list for personal reasons and some are here as they are stand out reads. Vendetta falls into the latter category. It was (without any doubt) one of the most entertaining books that I have read in recent years.
I cannot say enough good things about Vendetta and was thrilled to be able to participate in the Blog Tour when it was published. Dreda Say Mitchell penned a fantastic article Heroes to Die For which featured on my site. The combination of hosting the tour, having an exclusive article to feature and the book being one of my favourite reads of the year made this a memorable title for me.
Digital Circumstances – Brian Stewart
Summer 2014 was an amazing time to be in Scotland. We had the Edinburgh Festival (as we always do), the Book Festival (as we always do) but we also had Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games and the small matter of the Indy Ref – the world was watching.
Three out of the four events were spectacular successes – the fourth is subject to ongoing debate but 55% of the people were happy at the time!
During the height of all things Scottish I started reading Digital Circumstances, written and self-published by Brian Stewart. The story is (mainly) set in Glasgow and had a great mix of cybercrime and gangsters. As Glasgow is a city I know well and was very much in the public eye as I was reading Digital Circumstances – it just seemed a perfect read at the time.
A fun read and worth seeking out.
Someone Else’s Skin – Sarah Hilary
A debut novel and the introduction of a principle character (Marnie Rome) which the author is planning on developing into an ongoing series. I have included this book in my top picks of the year mainly because it was a brilliant story which I got totally drawn into as I read.
However, Someone Else’s Skin holds the honour of being the book in 2014 with the best plot twist. It totally floored me and had me re-evaluating everything I had read up to that point in the story.
I read well over 100 novels this year, it would be very remiss of me to exclude the year’s ‘Jaw Drop’ moment from the list of my top books.
An Evil Mind – Chris Carter
A fellow blogger contacted me asking if I could help him by reading a Chris Carter book (a task I felt reasonably comfortable accepting). He had been set a mission by the publishers: to find readers who had not read Chris Carter’s work and see if he could turn them into fans. I agreed to help and duly received a copy of An Evil Mind.
Click through to check my review for a more comprehensive summary, however, the addition of four new Chris Carter novels to my bookcase in the last few weeks should give a fairly big clue as to how much I enjoyed An Evil Mind. When drawing up a shortlist of possible titles to include in my Magnificent Seven, nothing came close to dislodging An Evil Mind from the list.
My thanks to Shaun on this one – take some time to visit his blog at: www.bookaddictshaun.co.uk
Red Rising – Pierce Brown
The book that broke my rules. Don’t get drawn back into Fantasy novels. Don’t start a series of books if the last books are not published yet. Don’t lend out your copies of your favourite books to friends as you know they will love it. Three copies of Red Rising later I currently only have my digital copy left – I MAY get some of my paperbacks back (eventually)!
This book made me want to read Fantasy novels again – this is after an 8 year hiatus where I have only really read crime and thrillers. A must read novel and worthy for inclusion in ANY list of recommended reads.
So there we have it – my best reading memories from 2014 and a brief explanation as to why these books stood out for me.