JC Reflects: 2014 Top Reads
Continuing on with my reflections from 2014, this time books! I used to read a lot when I was younger, but with the distraction of TV and the internet, it got neglected in recent years. With the purchase of a kindle and a very long commute for a few months this year, my reading has finally started up again and I have really been enjoying it. I thought I would reflect on a few of my favourites this year, whilst scrolling through my kindle I counted 28 books this year, along with two real books I have hit 30! So that will be the goal next year to beat my record.
Favourite Series: Shardlake Series by C J Sansom
I have mentioned these quite a bit in my monthly reads as I have made my way through Revelation, Sovereign, and Heartstone recently. This series is set in the 1500s in the time of Henry the 8th, and follows a lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Barak, who takes cases which usually turn out to be much more complex than first seem. They always end up in him undertaking a lot of detective work and getting caught up in some complex schemes an events. I really love how these are written, they are gripping and I am always surprised by the endings even though they have a similar set up.
I do recommend you try this series even if you aren’t a fan of historical fiction, I do love the setting but you don’t need a knowledge or appreciation of history to still enjoy these novels. The first one which is about a murder in a monastery was one of my favourites so it is a good one to start with!
Favourite Crime: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Really written by J K Rowling, this is the second in this series, featuring Comoron Strike. This time he is investigating a murder which was included in a book recently written by the victim. I really love her writing style, very similar to Harry Potter – rich and imaginative. This story really pulled me in and I couldn’t stop reading it until I found out who was responsible. I am looking forward to the next installment!
Favourite Fantasy: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood / Girl with all the Gifts
This is kind of sci fi/fantasy/dystopian fiction, not totally sure of how to classify them! These two were probably my two favourite books of the year. The first – Oryx and Crake, is just so interesting. I wrote a big rant about it here so I won’t repeat myself but honestly, if you enjoy dystopian fiction and you haven’t read this then pick it up right now!
Girl with All the Gifts is a really unique book centred around Melanie, a young and exceptionally bright girl who lives in a cell and is constantly restrained. This book is so mysterious, slowly revealing more and more facts about the post apocolyptic world they live in and what Melanie really is.. I thought the ending of this was fabulous as it was unexpected and different. I could barely put this one down!
Favourite Chick Lit: The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond
This was a bit of a cheat as I only read one chick lit book this year, but I really enjoyed this one! Centering around Evie, who is left a cafe in Cornwall by her Aunt when she died, of course Evie currently has an unfufilling life and boyfriend so she packs it all up to head to the beach and keep the cafe going. This was predictable, but it was also really enjoyable and left me pleased at the end. I am reading the novella Christmas at the Beach Cafe at the moment which I have been very much enjoying too.
Favourite Non Fiction: Lean In, Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
I wrote a whole review on this book here, but I think it is an essential read if you are a women in business. It gives excellent tips on how to lead and grow within a company and how to balance life at the same time. I use experiences from this book all the time in my career and think it is a great way to encourage more women into business and leadership.
Least Favourites: Gillian Flynn..
I know this will be controversial, but I also read Gone Girl, Sharp Objects and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn this year and I have to say after reading them, she just is not my kind of writer! I find the stories so unbelievable (and I am an avid fantasy reader…), the characters are frustrating and I almost always guess the twists. She is a favourite for many but just not one for me!
Please let me know what your favourite book of 2014 was, I would love to add to my reading list for my 30+ books next year!