I tracked a total of 119 books over at GoodReads this year. Here's how my ratings broke down:
5 Stars (A Grades) = 8
4 Stars (B Grades + "high" B-) = 49
3 Stars (C Grades + "low" B-) = 41
2 Stars (D Grades) = 7
1 Stars (F Grades) = 1
0 Stars (Did Not Finish) = 13
Even if I subtract my DNFs, I still read over 100 books this year - and since 100 is always my goal every reading year, I'm pretty happy with that. I also started tracking my audiobooks half way through the year (first time I started keeping track of these!) and of that 119, 13 were audios. Per usual? The bulk of my reading fell somewhere in the middle. Once again shattering the myth that Wendy iz a Mean Girl. Very few books get "A" grades, but conversely, very few books get "D" or "F" grades.
So what were my favorite reads of 2014? Let's start with the A, or 5 Star, books. Also, please note that not all of these books were 2014 publication dates. I did dip into the TBR this year.
Title links will take you to full reviews.
Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath - Start to finish and damn near perfect, I loved this western historical so much I was tempted to take leave of my senses and give it an A+ rating (for the record, I don't believe in 'em).
The Man Behind the Mask by Barbara Wallace - Contemporary boss/secretary category romance featuring a legitimately haunted wounded hero.
Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward - Contemporary category romance with a heroine, overlooked and dismissed by previous heroes in this series, finds her Prince Charming. A Prince Charming who gets a serious wake-up call when she informs him she'll never be anybody's second best ever again.
Now and Forever by Logan Belle - Contemporary erotic romance, second (and last) in a duet featuring a 40-something heroine battling breast cancer and her sexual "wing man" - a hero who has been running from serious relationships his entire adult life. Both novellas are now packaged in a 2-for-1 digital edition. Buy it. Now. Do eeeeet.
Intrusion by Charlotte Stein - Contemporary erotic romance featuring two characters touched and haunted by violence. Smoldering, simmering passion that made me swoon.
There's Something About Ari by L.B. Gregg - Contemporary male/male romance novella featuring a friends-to-lovers theme and characters with a serious amount of past baggage to work through. Sweet, tender, I feel in love from the first chapter.
A Cowboy for Christmas by Lacy Williams - Historical inspirational western featuring two characters haunted by fear and shame. Wonderful scene setting and the author avoids the trap of "pitying" her characters. Williams' best book yet.
Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff - Non-fiction that is part true crime, part memoir written by a journalist during the period of the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal and the auto industry bail-out. The author is an ass and the entire book is grim as hell, but I was sucked into this audiobook like whoa! Recommended by work colleagues and I devoured it.
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens - Pyschological suspense that seriously messed with my head and kept me thoroughly riveted during my commute (audio). Dark, violent, but wow - what a ride.
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye - Historical mystery and again, another audio listen, about a former bartender who joins the newly formed New York City police department. I don't think this would have worked nearly as well for me had I read it (a lot of period language and slang!), but the narrator (Stephen Boyer) was fantastic and I want to continue on with the series.
To Tempt a Viking by Michelle Willingham - Historical romance that is part two of a duet. Divorced heroine falls for the hero, a man she's known since childhood and who isn't "good enough for her" according to their respective stations. A real heartbreaker in parts, very emotional.
Secrets at Court by Blythe Gifford - An extremely well-done medieval featuring plenty of political intrigue, Vatican meddling and a romantic couple in the eye of the storm. Probably one of the best done medievals I've read in a long while.
Crazy, Stupid Sex by Maisey Yates - Contemporary erotic romance featuring a geek heroine who doesn't take any crap from the playboy hero. Sexy and fun.
It Had To Be You by Delynn Royer - Prohibition era "girl reporter" gets caught up in the murder investigation of a dead mobster. Hero is a cop who grew up in the old neighborhood with said dead mobster. Fun mystery and romance, hope it turns into a series.
His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock - Contemporary category romance about a heroine who works for a farming conglomerate and goes back to her Vermont hometown to buy-out her various former neighbors. Standing in her way is the hero, the boy she left behind who is now running his family's farm. Great conflict and no easy villains.
Never Forget Me by Marguerite Kaye - Three linked short stories set during various years of World War I. Loved the framework of the stories and found it a wonderfully emotional collection, finding hope even during the most darkest of hours.
Seduced by Molly O'Keefe - A gritty historical western set post-Civil War featuring a heroine married to the worst sort of man and a hero, turned bounty hunter, looking for his scattered family. If you've been waiting for someone to pick up Maggie Osborne's baton? Yeah, this is it right here.
Tempted by a Cowboy by Sarah M. Anderson - Contemporary category romance featuring a recovering alcoholic heroine turned horse trainer and a playboy hero who is still drowning in the bottle. Emotional, gritty, and oh-so-satisfying.
Looking back on 2014, frankly - I'm glad to see it go. While some exciting things happened in my personal life (New Job! Our vacation in London!) on the blogging front it was, without a doubt, a year to forget. It was the year where I seriously considered whether or not I should "keep on, keepin' on." But looking back at my reading, I'm reminded again of the importance of ignoring the noise and focusing "on the work." I was lucky enough to discover three of my "A" reads during the month of December, and boy howdy - it was just what the doctor ordered. I discovered the joy again. Here's hoping that joy carries over to 2015.