Friday, December 26, 2014

Top 20 Novels of 2014

2014 was a wonderful year in literature for me, there were some first time authors and there are some who have become old friends and standards to which all others are rated.
So without further ado I present the Top 20 of 2014!

The top spot this year is shared by two very different yet exceptional novels. The rest are in alphabetical order.

Alice Close your Eyes Averil Dean-
This was the surprise of the year for me, in a good way. Its an exceptional psychological thriller, the characters are unforgettable and it gives you one heck of an ending. I cant wait to read the next thing that she writes which as a matter of fact comes out in January. Click HERE for our interview and my review courtesy LibraryJournal.

Valley of Fires J Barton Mitchell-
I have been waiting the entire year for this incredible YA Science-Fiction finale to Mitchells epic, fabulous trilogy. Imagine that the earths been invaded by alien forces where all the adult population becomes afflicted and suddenly only the children remain to run the planet. Thats the hypothesis for this tour de force sci-fi fantasy. The second in the trilogy won my top pick last year and the finale was the icing on this alien cake. It was also a 2014 RT Reviewers Choice Science Fiction nominee. To Read my entire review courtesy RT Reviews click HERE.

Laura Griffin is always a go-to author for me, no one writes romantic suspense like she does. This past year Laura released her very first Hardcover Far Gone. I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Far Gone and interviewing Laura on the blog. Click HERE for the entire post.

Carla is yet another favorite author, her storytelling is visual, its engaging and entertaining. She sometimes takes us on far away jaunts to Ireland or keeps us right here in the good old USA but she always keeps us wanting for more. Harbor Island is a 2014 RT Reviewers Choice nominee. Click HERE for my interview with Carla and review of Harbor Island courtesy of RT Magazine.

A Long Time Gone Karen White-

Theres nothing more comforting than a Lowcountry or as some call it a Southern Fried Read and theres no author who does it like Karen White. Her fantastic novel Long Time Gone deals with dysfunctional families and whether or not you can go home again. A Long Time Gone is an 2014 RT mainstream fiction Reviewers choice nominee. Click HERE for my Top Pick Gold review courtesy of RT Magazine.

Lost Lake Sarah Addison Allen-

Sarah Addison Allens novels are always enchanting and magical, her characters are always full bodied and bewitching and her storytelling as always was fantastical. Her 2014 release Lost Lake was no different and all typical Allen, it deals with loss, starting over and going home again. Click HERE for my Q&A with Sarah and my review of Lost Lake.

Maybe This Christmas Sarah Morgan-

What can I say about Sarah Morgan? I fell in love with her method of telling a story way back when I first started reviewing series romance for RT magazine, her novels always got high marks and now shes ventured out of series and into full length romance novels and she brought her magic right along with her. Sarah had two novels releasing in 2014, they were both exceptional but there was just something very special about Tyler. Click HERE for my review courtesy of RT Magazine of Maybe This Christmas and a RT best book nominee for 2014.

Mean Streak Sandra Brown-

I have been a Sandra Brown fan from the time I started reading again. Mean Streak was a wonderful, terrifying read where for a long time you dont know who the bad guy is as Brown takes us far away from her usual Texas landscape into the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC and right in the middle of intrigue where the plot always thickens. I was fortunate enough to review Mean Sreak for Library Journal Click HERE for the review courtesy them.

The Midnight Witch-Paula Brackston-

I had the pleasure to first read Paula Brackston when the cover of her last book The Winter Witch caught my eye and by that and the title I knew I had to read her. I was not disappointed and now every time she releases a new book its always on my MUST READ list. Click HERE to see my interview and review of The Midnight Witch on the blog.

Emilie Richards is yet another testament to longevity and favorite author status and yet another of my Harlequin authors who I love and will read everything they release. She is deep into her Goddesses Anonymous series with this latest installation. Her series takes place in the lowcountry of Ashville NC and I have fallen in love with every one of her eclectic, wounded characters. This novel is heartrending and deals with a real problem of today.  Click HERE to read my interview with Emilie and which includes my review courtesy RT Magazine.

What can I say about Mark Lawrence and his fantastical, fanatical fantasy novels? I first fell in love with this enigmatic authors writing with Prince of Thorns, staring a most unlikely, un-hero, hero. Prince of Fools is the beginning of a new chapter in his Broken Empire saga with another unlikely hero in Jalan. Prince of Fools is an RT 2014 Epic Fantasy Reviewers Choice nominee. Click HERE for my review courtesy RT Magazine.

Random Acts of Kindness Lisa Verge Higgins-
I first met Lisa when her publicist gave me an ARC of The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship, which I devoured in one sitting. Shes been featured way back when I moderated an on-line book club for B&, shes been featured on my blog and shes been featured on my Goodreads Group too. Weve even had a World Series bash/contest between us in which the Good Team (Cardinals) did NOT win LOL ;). Ive been fortunate to be able to keep up with her on FB, Twitter and by email and also to be able to spread her word with my reviews and showcases of this exceptional author. Random Acts of Kindness is Lisas latest release and the debut in a new series, the next novel Senseless Acts of Beauty will be release in March of 2015. Click HERE to see my interview which includes my review courtesy of RT Magazine of Random Acts of Kindness which was featured on my Goodreads Group.

Santas Playbook Karen Templeton-

This year there are two of my series romances that I had to add to my list of top 20 novels. Santas Playbook is one of them. Karen Templeton really has a magical way with words. You know when you open a book and youre mesmerized from page one all the way through to the end and when you turn that last page the only thing you want is more pages. Well thats how I felt about Karens holiday novel, Santas Playbook. Santa's Playbook is a 2014 Special Edition Reviewers Choice nominee. Click HERE for my review courtesy RT Magazine and
its also a nominee for RT reviewers choice award for 2014.

Spark John Twelve Hawks-

I first fell in love with John Twelve Hawks when his urban fantasy/post apocalyptic The Fourth Realm trilogy came out. It was dark, it was gritty, it was fantastic. Im also very intrigued about an author who shies away from the limelight, who lives off the grid because most authors with inundate readers with social media, personal appearances etc.. So when I found out that he was releasing a stand a lone (I hope this will be the first in a new series) Spark, I knew I had to have it. Click HERE for my review of Spark on the blog.

The Book of Life Deborah Harkness-

So its 2011 and a HUGE honking 500 plus paged book comes across my desk, Im deep into the paranormal by now and its called A Discovery of Witches. So I think to myself, if I have time Ill read it. Boy am I glad I had time because that was the start of my new love affair with Deborahs character Matthew Cliarmont. The Book of Life is the end of this fantastic trilogy that follows Vampire Matthew and his love Diana through the ages as they search for the book called Ashmole 782. Click HERE for my review of The Book of Life.


The Collector of Dying Breaths M J Rose-
I had the great pleasure of meeting in person MJ when she came to St. Louis in 2012 as a part of the Atrias Great Mystery Bus Tour but thats not when I became a fan that happened long before that and when I read The Collector of Dying Breaths and reviewed it for LibraryJournal it just reinforced MJs mastery with words.  Click HERE for our interview which includes my LibraryJournal review.

The Descent Alma Katsu-

So my editor for LibraryJournal sends me the second book in Almas Taker trilogy The Reckoning thinking I might like it, yeah well she was wrong I LOVED it. I read The Taker first to give it credence and then of course when the last of the trilogy came out I jumped at the chance to review it. It was an adult fairytale, it was dark and it was delicious. The Descent is a 2014 RT pick for paranormal worldbuilding. Click HERE for my interview/review on the blog.

It was also LibraryJournal that I reviewed Vicki Petterssons first in her urban fantasy, fabulous, Celestial Blues trilogy, The Taken and I was awed by the visual narrative, by the angels and heaven and the rockabilly of it all. She has a fantastic and unique way of storytelling that brings to life this dark adult fairytale that has angel Griffin Shaw searching earth for his killer. Click HERE for our interview and my review of The Given, which includes my LJ review of The Taken too.

The Magnates Manifesto Jennifer Hayward-
The Magnates Manifesto is the second of my series romances to make my top 20. Listen to the first line and tell me what you think.
From the keyboard of Jared Stone to his wingmen.. or was that the entire female population?
My Manifesto on Women Having dated and worked with a cross-section of women from around the globe, and having reached the age where I feel I can make a definitive opinion on the subject matter, I have come to a conclusion. Women lie.

Yeah well the rest of the novel just goes up from there, click here Jennifers Website for the rest of the excerpt.
What an incredible read this was. The Magnate's Manifesto is an RT 2014 pick for Presents.  Click HERE for my review in RT Magazine.

When Shadows Fall J T Ellison-

I had the pleasure of meeting the marvelous Ms. Ellison in 2012 when Bouchercon was in St. Louis when I moderated a panel she was on along with St. Louis native Julie Comton and the irrepressible Hank Phillipi Ryan. But Ive loved JTs novels long before then. I was a huge fan of her Taylor Jackson and when she put her on hiatus and picked up one of her co-stars, Dr. Sam Evans to star in her own series I wondered how on earth she would accomplish this. Well take the devastating Nashville flood of 2010 and that gave her a fantastic jumping off place. Now shes even more famous since she and the super novelist Catherine Coulter are combining efforts on a new FBI spin off series from Catherines Savich and Sherlock.
When Shadows Fall is her latest Dr. Samantha Evans thriller and is also an RT 2014 Suspense/Thriller nominee. Click HERE for my review.

2014 has been fantastic on the blog thanks to my friends, authors and followers and I'm sure 2015 will only get better!! Thank you to the best out there!

Here's hoping your 2015 is the best year ever!
Thank you for an exceptional year at The Reading Frenzy. Thank you for your visits, comments and support!!


  1. I read the Descent in 2013..but omg was it good. I adore Morgan, Allen and Harkness. Wonderful list Debbie. I am on blog-cation enjoying time away from the sphere, but wanted to pop in and say hello :)

    1. Enjoy your time off Kim
      Happy New Year and thanks for the stopping by

  2. Oh man. I've not read a single one. *big ol' gusty sigh* but a handful are on my tbr pile!! Must find a way to read more in 2015. lol Hope you have a great rest of the year Debbie!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and always for your support Anna
      Happy New Year!

  3. You actually have some books that I've listened and love too, yay! I'm going to be checking out this list more closely since I'm determined to try new Authors.
    I hope you had a great Holiday :) I just came back from trip, it was hectic but a lot fun.

    1. I did Loupe, thanks and I'm actually starting my vacation later this week!!! Very excited to be off;

  4. Hi Debbie, your Twitter and Google+ links on the top navigation are not working. Twitter link goes to twitter home page and not your profile, Google Plus link needs to be truncated.

  5. Hi Leona, thanks for pointing this out. It's been fixed I guess you can tell I'm a tech NO geek :)
    it's all about trial and error