My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2014

After much thought, I've made the final decisions for my top books of 2014. While some books I read were more detailed or may appeal to a larger audience, I made my decisions based on which books I enjoyed and would love to read again. There were so many that I loved (see my Long List,) but I really, really loved these. I've written reviews of all but two that I squeezed in reading in the last few weeks. I will be reviewing each of them very soon. 


Did you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @IvoryOwlReviews 

Fiction:

Henna House by Nomi Eve
The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier
Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes
The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee

Non-fiction:

American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning by Kate Sweeney
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

My Long List: Best Books of 2014

Well, I know tons of "Best Books of 2014" lists have already been circulating but I have been trying to squeeze in a few more reads these last few days that I thought had big potential. The 2014 releases I didn't get to will now go into the master TBR and I will try to return to them in the upcoming year. I haven't narrowed my top picks down yet but here is my long list of the best 2014 releases with links to my reviews (in no particular order):

Non-fiction:

Short Stories:

  • Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood 

Fiction:

Fantasy Fiction:

    Dystopian:

    • On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
    • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

    Children's:

    Historical Fiction:


    Memoir:

    Thriller:

    Cookbooks / Food Trends:

    Magic Realism:



    I'll be making my choices for the best book in each category and posting within the next few days!

    Survey / Giveaway for Suzanne Redfearn's Upcoming Book

    Do you enjoy novels by Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty, JoJo Moyes or Anita Shreve? Then you are the perfect reader to help up-and-coming author Suzanne Redfearn choose the title and cover for her next women’s fiction novel. For participating, you will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble.

    Here's a little about the book:

    Four-year-old Molly Martin is as cute as they come. With her mop of curls and precocious personality, it's no wonder the crowd fell in love with her when she stepped forward to do an impromptu jig with a street musician in Santa Monica. But when a YouTube video of her performance goes viral, it turns into another thing altogether. Swept into the vortex of Hollywood, Molly's star rises at lightning speed, straight to the pinnacle of stardom, as the world falls completely
    in love with her. At first it seems like the family has hit the jackpot--fame, fortune, opportunity--but when the reality of their new life settles in, the dark trappings of celebrity are revealed and their world begins to splinter apart. Molly's mom struggles to hold it together, but when her ex-husband
    appears to cash in on the action, and Molly's older sister, Emily, finds herself on the fast track to trouble, things begin to unravel. And in a business where everyone is an actor and every move you make is scrutinized by the world, it is difficult to know who to trust. Becoming famous was easy, becoming unfamous will require the performance of a lifetime.

    Take the survey and give your opinion here

    Here's the choices:









    Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn

    Title: Lost for Words
    Author: Edward St. Aubyn
    Publisher: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux
    Publication Date: May 20, 2014
    ISBN: 9780374280291
    Number of Pages: 262
    How I Got It: NetGalley 
    Format: Kindle

    NetGalley Description:

    Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels were some of the most celebrated works of fiction of the past decade. Ecstatic praise came from a wide range of admirers, from literary superstars such as Zadie Smith, Francine Prose, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Michael Chabon to pop-culture icons such as Anthony Bourdain and January Jones. Now St. Aubyn returns with a hilariously smart send-up of a certain major British literary award.
    The judges on the panel of the Elysian Prize for Literature must get through hundreds of submissions to find the best book of the year. Meanwhile, a host of writers are desperate for Elysian attention: the brilliant writer and serial heartbreaker Katherine Burns; the lovelorn debut novelist Sam Black; and Bunjee, convinced that his magnum opus, The Mulberry Elephant, will take the literary world by storm. Things go terribly wrong when Katherine’s publisher accidentally submits a cookery book in place of her novel; one of the judges finds himself in the middle of a scandal; and Bunjee, aghast to learn his book isn’t on the short list, seeks revenge.
    Lost for Words is a witty, fabulously entertaining satire that cuts to the quick of some of the deepest questions about the place of art in our celebrity-obsessed culture, and asks how we can ever hope to recognize real talent when everyone has an agenda.

    My Review:
    The intellectual delegation for awarding the Elysian Prize is funny and oh so shady! The candidates are bed-hopping. The submissions are mistakenly admitted and excluded. One character (who believes he should be a candidate, despite publishing his novel privately in India) is the six hundred and fifty-third maharaja of Badanpur. The messy personal lives of the judges, candidates, and secondary characters all intertwine and the snobby, caustic remarks alone are worth reading this book. A very impressive feat by Edward St. Aubyn to write multiple excerpts of the candidate's works for inclusion in the text.


    ** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

    The Paper Magician Trilogy (Books 1 & 2) by Charlie N. Holmberg


    Titles: The Paper Magician / The Glass Magician
    Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
    Publisher: 47 North
    Publication Date: Sept. 1, 2014 / Nov. 4, 2014
    ISBN9781477823835 / 9781477825945
    Number of Pages: 224 / 222
    How I Got It: NetGalley
    Format: Kindle



    The Paper Magician Description:
    Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
    Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
    An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

    The Glass Magician Description:
    Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.
    When a magician with a penchant for revenge believes that Ceony possesses a secret, he vows to discover it…even if it tears apart the very fabric of their magical world. After a series of attacks target Ceony and catch those she holds most dear in the crossfire, Ceony knows she must find the true limits of her powers…and keep her knowledge from falling into wayward hands.
    The delightful sequel to Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician will charm readers young and old alike.

    My Review:

    This was a fun YA read. I really liked the first book but the second one had me lose interest about halfway through. I was trying to figure out what some of the terminology was for the magic and was a little lost on how the spells were woven and how they could be broken. I don't want to be overly critical because I don't usually read YA and I'm not sure if this is a common theme to ensure a continued reading. I might give the third book in the trilogy a read when it is released next year but it is not at the top of my list.



    ** I received copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews **