Wednesday, January 07, 2015

BEST OF 2014 ~ Favourite Reads

In 2014 I:

witnessed the birth of my beautiful granddaughter and became a nonna for the first time ... highlight of the year, little Mia is such a joy

pursued my love of photography and moved a little closer to turning it into a career

bought a Macbook Pro and I love it! 

read 79 books (76 fiction & 3 non-fiction)

completed 3/5 reading challenges (but only updated 1)

cooked quite a few recipes from my Pinterest folders 

turned 46

saw Robbie Williams in concert again

stuck with my fitbit and walking with BookBlogWalkers for a full 12 months ... pats self on back :)

didn't have a hospital stay for my kidney or heart ... YAY

holidayed in England, Scotland and Paris for 4 weeks, saw historical places I've been reading about for years and took photos I'm deliriously happy with.  

read even more Australian fiction (4 Australian authors** on my favourite reads list)

Loved participating in:

I love that so many of my bloggy friends did this challenge, it was really motivating. Along with my fitbit, it's the longest I've stuck with a challenge, 12 whole months and I've signed up for FitReaders 2015 - the new version of Book Blog Walkers co-hosted by Geeky Book Blogger and That's What I'm Talking About.


These aren't all 5 star reads but they are reads that have left a lasting impression on me for one reason or another. Wow did I read some amazing contemporary and historical fiction last year. Click on the title if you want to see my full review.

Contemporary Fiction:

THE GLASS KITCHEN by Linda Francis Lee - an emotional read with a touch of whimsy and magic, if you believe in the healing power of food and following your heart, you'll adore The Glass Kitchen. It really was love on a plate!

LITTLE MERCIES by Heather Gudenkauf - unputdownable. Heather Gudenkauf has a gift for taking readers to an often uncomfortable place, immersing you in issues of sensitivity and judgement but with such compassion you're enlightened and enriched.

THE ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes - The One Plus One encompasses the meaning of family and belonging, it's a story of love, resilience, determination and second chances. Poetic and uplifting, this one had me alternatively laughing and sobbing. 

GOODNIGHT JUNE by Sarah Jio - what a joy to read, sincere and heartwarming. It earned a special place in my heart.

THE PROMISE OF STARDUST by Priscille Sibley - A stunning, emotionally wrenching, beautifully written debut. It's a story of unconditional love and heartbreaking decisions. 

Historical Fiction:

BITTER GREENS by Kate Forsyth**  -  Haunting & bittersweet, Bitter Greens holds a world you slip into effortlessly. Binding and mesmerising, Kate Forsyth weaves magic. 

SELDOM COME BY by Sherryl Caulfield** (Iceberg Trilogy #1) - exquisite tale of love and loss, forgiveness and healing. To be so completely transported and immersed in characters' lives is testament to an author's care and skill, and despite the heartache I loved every minute. 

LYREBIRD HILL by Anna Romer** - lush, haunting and addictive. I was immersed, my senses evoked ... eucalypts, camp fires, the scent of bush flowers, birdsong, connection with the land and the aboriginal people tangible. 

ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline - (audiobook) A story that simultaneously broke and warmed my heart. Narrated beautifully with such authenticity I felt like a participant rather than an observer. 

THE SUMMER QUEEN by Elizabeth Chadwick (Eleanor of Aquitaine #1) - (audiobook) Evocative, expressive, exquisite detail rather than tedious minutiae, The Summer Queen encompasses all that I love in historical fiction, I can't recommend it highly enough.

THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd - (audiobook) It's about strength, courage and the wings of change. Vivid, appalling, haunting and compelling; a must-read! 


THE WITNESS by Nora Roberts - (audiobook) heart-in-mouth unputdownable. Exceptional narration by Julia Whelan. Smart, strong, fascinating heroine and best dog ever! 

DESERVING DEATH by Katherine Howell** (Ella Marconi #7) - paramedic voyeurism and investigative punch. This one warrants sleep deprivation!

Young Adult: 

ME SINCE YOU by Laura Wiess - understated beauty.  Laura Wiess is an author whose writing transcends age and Me Since You is a story that should be read. 

ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell - a sweet, funny, sincere, complicated, bittersweet, unexpected ride.

And it wouldn't be right to not mention these wonderful reads: more Aussie love :)

BILLABONG CREEK by Jennifer Scoullar**

OUTBACK GHOST by Rachael Johns** (Bunyip Bay #3)

NO RIVER TOO WIDE by Emilie Richards (Goddess Anonymous #3)

ACCIDENT OF MARRIAGE by Randy Susan Meyers


SOMEONE LIKE YOU by Victoria Purman** (Boys of Summer #2)

This year I'm keenly awaiting: 

  • Sarah Addison Allen ~ First Frost
  • Kristin Hannah ~ The Nightingale
  • Michelle Moran ~ Rebel Queen
  • Sherryl Caulfield ~ Come Full Circle (Iceberg Trilogy #3)
  • Susanna Kearsley ~ A Desperate Fortune
  • CW Gortner ~ Mademoiselle Chanel
  • Susan Mallery ~ The Girls of Mischief Bay
  • Emilie Richards ~ The Color of Light (Goddess Anonymous #4)
  • Jill Shalvis ~ Still The One (Animal Magnetism #6)
  • Wendy Wax ~ A Week at the Lake

Have you done a favourites post? Leave me link ... I love to add to my groaning TBR pile ;)


  1. Fantastic list! I am still working on mine. One Plus One and The Promise of Stardust are definitely among my favorites read in 2014. I also really liked The Invention of Wings and Me Since You. I read Eleanor & Park in 2013 and I loved it too.

    I want to read Little Mercies and Orphan Train and I just finished reading Goodnight June which was really sweet.

    1. I'll be checking out your list as soon as it's posted Christina, and I'm sure you'll have a few that I just can't resist adding to the must-read pile :)

  2. You have had an amazing year!! Can't wait to see what 2015 brings for you!!!!!!

    1. It sure was Julie and a big thank you for all your lovely comments throughout the year xx

  3. The Invention of Wings and One Plus One made my 5 star list this year. Orphan Train and Goodnight June were 4 stars. I've also read The Promise of Stardust, and The Glass Kitchen, I liked them, but wasn't as enamored with them as you. So fun to see how many others have the same books that you read!

  4. What a wonderful year you had! I loved reading this and all the great things you experienced. :)

    And I love seeing Goodnight June and Eleanor & Park on your fav list. They are a few of my favs, too.

    I really think you're going to enjoy The Nightingale. I can't wait to see what you think when you read it!

    I hope 2015 is another fantastic year for you!

  5. Great pics Sheree and congrats on all of your accomplishments!

  6. I want to read so many from that best of list :)

  7. What an amazing year, I would guess there aren't too many years that could top this one for you. So many of your fav reads I couldn't agree with you more. I have Bitter Greens on my shelf and ready to read for this year after your championing of it. I must try Rainbow Rowell at some point too. Seven of those books you are looking forward to... so am I! I forgot to add Come Full Circle to my list. Must do it.
    So happy to hear you love your Macbook Pro, I got one a couple of years ago and love it too. My first ever experience with computers was a Mac one and I always pined for one, even though in intervening years I used PC's.
    And adorable Mia - what a sweetie. What a year!

  8. We both had exceptional years with the birth of a grandbaby. Being able to witness his birth was so wonderful, its hard to put it into words. I am so glad you had a great health year! We have some of the same books on our favorite list. I am so looking forward to One Plus One.

  9. It looks like you had a great year! Thanks for sharing your list of favorites. Congratulation on the birth of your granddaughter. Great photo!

  10. Wonderful year and thanks for sharing your favorite things that happened in 2014 besides your books! Many books I want to read also.

  11. There are a few of those I think I would like, maybe. :-)

  12. What a great year you had! Hope 2015 brings you more of the same!

  13. I agree, 2014 was fabulous year for me too. Here's hoping 2015 is at least half as good.
    Nice list of reads there. In Philadelphia, they do this one book, one city thing, and the Orphan Train is the pick for 2015.

  14. Great year for you, Sheree! Love your lists too. I didn't know Michelle Moran has a new book this year. Here's to a fantastic 2015 :)

  15. You had an exceptional 2014! The only book I've read from your favorites list is the one I read because of your review, The Witness. Loved it :)


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