Friday, January 2, 2015

Favorite Books of 2014

So 2014 has been a year of change for me. I went from being a part-time working mom to a full-time working mom who started her own company and now works 50 hours a week. Yeah...and I tried to keep doing what I was doing before, but...well, I quickly learned I couldn't do it all. :-) So I've read fewer books this year, only 65 books compared to my 137 in 2013. But I still had a hard time keeping this list short because I read some awesome books.

I'm going to post the best YA books I've read in 2014 in a separate post because there are many. Once again I keep loving to read YA novels and hope to continue this trend in 2015.

So even though I read fewer books, it's been a fun year in that I discovered many great authors and had the privilege of working closely with many of them. In reality, I'm more involved in the book blogging world than ever before.

Here are my favorite reads of 2014. It doesn't mean they were published this year, only that I read them this year:

In Children's Books

Cassie and Tonk, written by GMB Chomichuk, created and illustrated by Justin Currie
This book made me cry. It's filled with life lessons, told by a talented storyteller and accentuated by fantastic and, as my son calls it, "modern" illustrations, Justin's trademark style known as "Shattered Vector Painting". I've read and re-read this book many times. And every time I love the gems of wisdom it imparts. My son and I are new fans of this talented duo.

Peter Panda Melts Down! by Artie Bennett
Artie Bennett did it again! This is an utterly charming book that had my son and I chuckling and reminiscing about his toddler years. It contains he message that love is patient but we’re not perfect, and that parenting is hard sometimes.

Some Bunny Loves You by Jesse Thom (book & musical CD)
Simply put, this little book is an absolute gem! It is charming and so heartwarming it will steal your heart. My son loves it just as much as I do. We both felt it made the message of "I love you" special, introducing a cast of cute and eccentric characters.The illustrations are simple and adorable, with splashes of colour and the music is beautiful and catchy.

Whiny Whiny Rhino is absolutely engaging, attractive, stimulating and well...simply adorable. My son, who has a keen eye for detail, was very impressed by the illustrations. They are bright and eye-catching. We also both liked the rhyming story line and the message that you don't need to be strong or tough to try new things and have fun. The variety of animal characters was smart too, showing that we can have different kinds of friends from all walk of life and places.

In Adult Fiction

The Curiosity by Stephan P. Kiernan
I loved this book, even though, some things were left unanswered and I questioned some of the things the characters did. There were so many other things that made up for that, in my opinion. If you're looking for a fairytale ending, you won't find it in this book, but if you're looking for a thought-provoking book that explores human nature, I highly recommend you pick up this book.

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
This is a touching, heartbreaking and soul-lifting kind of book. I'm usually careful about which WWII books dealing with the Holocaust I choose to read, because I am sensitive and easily moved to tears. This one has a dual timeline and a mysterious painting so I couldn't resist. And I'm so glad I read it!

The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford
Gifford's writing is exquisite. This novel was so atmospheric. Her descriptions of the sea made it so alive, almost like a character in the novel. Every description of it was beautiful, and never the same. She truly captured the many changes and images of the sea.

The Yielding by Tamara Leigh
Once again, Leigh has managed to easily transport me to the medieval era, with its speech and expressions, clothing, way of life, knighthood and chivalry. I love the worlds she builds through her books! And her characters are well-built and likable.

In Adult Non-Fiction

Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
Li brought his childhood to life with his lively portrayal of poor life in the commune. He did it with humour and compassion. I felt like I was right there in China, my stomach growling in hunger along with Li or my feet aching to run with the children as they played in the fields. I now consider it one of the best memoirs I have read.

Who Knows Tomorrow by Lisa Lovatt-Smith
This is another memoir I loved. It touched me in so many ways. Lisa is a change maker and we can learn much from her dedication and compassion and strength. I did not yet get a chance to write my review of it but hope to do so soon.

Finally, I want to thank all my readers and blogger friends who have supported me and my blogging team (Sandra, Maria and Laura H.) with your heartfelt comments. A big thank you to all the authors, publicists, book tour organizers and publishers who trust us with their books and allow us wonderful hours of reading!

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