Best of 2014

I don’t have a ranking of books for my year, but here are the books I read that I can’t stop talking about:

I went on an altitude-sickness insomnia binge of Jill Sorenson’s backlist in March and loved everything I read. Dangerous to Touch was my favorite. From my Goodreads review:

Also, the hero was a complete dick most of the time. That’s not actually a complaint. He made me laugh and I looked forward to every moment he was on the page. I loved the way he tried to pretend he did have any emotions. I loved how his neat, carefully-dressed self always ended up in the mud. I loved his control issues.

I also read and adored her motorcycle club book, Riding Dirty. As I said on the RT Book Reviews blog, “Sorenson wrote the perfect combination of bad boy gone good and good girl gone bad.” It’s the first motorcycle club book that captured my interest, so Sorenson gets extra credit for that.

It was a slow romance year for me, but I also read and loved Cara Mc Kenna’s Hard Time (librarian-convict romance is bad news and so fun to read!), Elizabeth Essex’s Almost a Scandal(read like that lovely Horatio Hornblower mini-series A&E put out years ago), and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl(we need more introverted heroines!).

I had much more success reading non-romance books this year. Maybe the romance slump is part of the fallout of my divorce, maybe it’s hard to read romance and write at the same time, who knows? But I read some awesome nonfiction this year, including:

How Not to Be Wrongby Jordan Ellenberg. In fairness, I’m not done with the book yet and (I suppose) the ending could be a bomb, but I’m listening to it at the gym and it often has me giggling. Note: I’m giggling at a math book. That’s how awesome this book is. Don’t let the fact that it’s about match scare you away. Ellenberg is a super writer and is great at explaining concepts.

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Richard Massie. I can’t remember why I picked this book up (read it in audio), but I was completely enthralled. A fabulous biography of powerful woman. I cried at the end.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. You’ve probably heard of this book. For a time, everyone seemed to be reading this book and for good reason. Brown tells a gripping story of human triumph and brotherhood for ordinary men who push to be extraordinary. Amazing.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brainby Eric Hagerman. Sarah Wendell recommended this book to me. Hagerman doesn’t talk about all the benefits of exercise on your body (we all know those), but how movement resets our brain chemicals and can help control anxiety, depression, addictions, etc. At the time, I sensed how much better my emotional state was when I managed to make it to the gym and this book solidified my experience. Now, when I’m feeling iffy about a run, I go anyway. And I always feel better afterward.

Quiet by Susan Cain. Honestly, what introvert didn’t read this book and think, “I’ve found my people. Thank you, Susan.”


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