Here it is – my best of 2014 list. Stellar fiction for all ages. What were your favorite reads of 2014?
To see the Studio 5 segment, CLICK HERE.
Children’s Picture Books, Ages 3-8
“The Book With No Pictures” by B.J. Novak
Best known for his work as executive producer, writer, and actor in the popular TV series, “The Office,” B.J. Novak is also a talented author. This picture book – with no pictures – is quirky, funny, and a must-have addition to the family library.
“The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus” by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Nonfiction picture books are so fantastic. Kids and adults will enjoy this fascinating story of a young boy who loved books and words. Young Peter Mark Roget kept lists of words, finding new ways to organize and collect, which would one day become the first thesaurus, one of the most important reference books.
Middle Grade Fiction, Ages 9-14
“The Night Gardener” by Jonathan Auxier
Two abandoned Irish siblings travel to find work as servants in a strange, derelict English manor house. Soon they meet a mysterious stranger. This book is a ‘spine-chilling fable’ and a mesmerizing read, with wonderful themes of friendship and family. Note: Some mildly scary scenes and mild violence.
“The Fourteenth Goldfish” by Jennifer L. Holm
From three-time Newberry Honor Award winner, Jennifer L. Holm, comes a story of family, science, and believing that anything is possible. With just the right twists of fantasy and humor, the story of 11-year-old Ellie and her grandfather, whose science experiment has turned him back into a 13 year old, is a must-read. Note: A clean read.
Teen Fiction, Ages 15-18
“She is Not Invisible” by Marcus Sedgwick
Laureth Peak sees patterns, numbers – a skill her father taught her. But she doesn’t see them like you and I – she’s blind. When her father goes missing, she and her young brother must solve an intricate puzzle to find him. This is a quick, interesting read. The plot centers on an exciting, full-of-twists mystery and the characters are fantastic. So much fun and so clever. Note: A clean read.
“The Retribution of Mara Dyer” Mara Dyer Trilogy #3 by Michelle Hodkin
If you love young adult romance mixed with action, mystery, and a little supernatural twist, this is a must-read series. Mara Dyer knows there is more to the lies she’s been told. She knows there is more to what she can do, what her boyfriend Noah can do. An exciting conclusion to a fantastic trilogy. Note: occasional foul language, including a few F-words, mild violence, sexual references.
Adult Fiction, Ages 18+
“The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd, the bestselling author of “The Secret Life of Bees,” does not disappoint with her first novel in over seven years. With her gorgeous prose and enlightening character insights, Sue brings to life one of the first and most important abolitionists, a woman whose name we should all know, but who was lost to history. This story is thoughtful, touching and flawless. Sarah and Handful are unforgettable characters. Note: violence in the form of slave abuse
This modern day thriller, with it’s breakneck pace, intricate plot, and well-developed characters is impossible to put down. As a lone ex-secret operative is pulled into a murder investigation in New York, a man in the Middle East prepares to unleash horror on the United States. The suspense is non-stop, the emotions deep and real, and the action satisfying. Terry Hayes is the new name to watch in thrillers.
Note: A few detailed sexual references, occasional foul language, including a few F-words, violence, including torture, and some detailed descriptions of crime scenes.
“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris; she is blind. Orphan Werner grows up in Germany, teaching himself how to build radios and fix anything. When their paths cross during the aftermath of World War II, they will help each other survive. The major theme is how people, even in the worst circumstances, try to help each other, to lift each other up. And that’s a great message of unselfishness. Elegant, touching, and unforgettable.
“Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger (paperback release)
Frank, 13-year-old, lives an easy-going life in his small town of New Bremen, Minnesota. But in the summer of 1961 darkness visits his family and the town. Things will never be the same for Frank. This novel delves into the somber subject of death. It’s an exploration of loss, both natural and violent. It’s emotional, graceful, and spiritual. It will make you grateful for the people in your life and for the time you have together. Note: Occasional use of foul language and references to murder violence.