Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#amonthoffaves: Top 10 Books That Blew My Mind in 2014

Today's prompt is Top 10 Books That Blew My Mind in 2014. I'm taking this literally and I chose books that have a wow! factor. There were other books this year that I enjoyed but these were the most exciting, the ones I thought about for days, weeks, and months later. Here are my choices with excerpts from my reviews --

The Supernatural Elements - Edgar Cantero
As soon as I finished the book, I went to my reading spreadsheet where I usually record a couple of brief thoughts. All I could come up with was "holy crap". I tweeted this thought and the author himself found my tweet. He asked if it was the sort of crap he should retweet or not. I chuckled and said that it was absolutely the kind to retweet because I loved the book and the end was simply mind-blowing. I didn't see it coming at all. I would love a sequel that just expands the Epilogue.

The Ghost in Love - Jonathan Carroll
... it's about many things and it's hard to describe but believe me when I say that its uniqueness makes it fresh and thought-provoking and beautiful, all in an unusual way -- because this is definitely a strange book and it's not ashamed to be that at all.

The Land of Laughs - Jonathan Carroll
It has been three months since I finished this book but I can't stop thinking about it and I already want to read it again. I can't explain exactly why I loved this book so much because it's really rather strange and sometimes violent and disturbing and the relationships are very dysfunctional and it's about books that I can never read. But it's also about the magic that is in the best stories and what would happen if that magic escaped and took form and that's pretty awesome if frightening.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate - Jacqueline Kelly
I loved this book SO SO SO SO much. I honestly can’t think of a single moment when I wasn’t enjoying it completely. I wish I had marked some passages and taken notes as I read because there were so many small, wonderful parts that all added up to make this a stellar story.

The Final Solution - Michael Chabon
This was such a beautiful meditation on [Sherlock] Holmes and his legacy and his inevitable decline.
Seraphina - Rachel Hartman
I LOVED this book. I loved this book so much that I want to tell you all to read it right now. You don't have to take my word alone for it either. Ask anyone else who has read it. They'll also sing its praises because it's just that good.

Constable & Toop - Gareth P. Jones
It takes a bit of effort at the beginning to get used to switching between multiple narratives (it changes each chapter between three or four story lines) but once you learn patience, it pays off with a story where you find yourself truly caring about the fates of ghosts. Because, though Sam is the main living character of the story, I'm not sure that he's any more important than ghostly paper-pusher Lapsewood, young and transparent rogue Tanner, or the comical and clearly insane Marquis. I can't wait to give this one a reread during a future RIP season.
Murder on the Home Front - Molly Lefebure
I loved Molly and I loved this book. It turns out the the TV series is fictional and just based off of these memoirs (the lead character is called Molly Cooper, I believe) but I'm still looking forward to watching it soon. If it has half the wit of this book (something one certainly doesn't expect when reading about murders), it will be a fun show!

Jackaby - William Ritter
I loved, loved, loved this book. It has some of everything and it is all brought together in an interesting and fun way. Jackaby is smart and amusing and Abigail is brave and also intelligent. But what I loved most is that they still needed each other. Their world views are very different but they are definitely complementary. I'm so excited to see that there is a sequel to Jackaby already in the works.
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern (reread)
I loved the story just as much (if not more) as I did last year.

and, the bonus series, ...
The Last Policeman, Countdown City, and World of Trouble - Ben H. Winters
I didn't expect this series to become one of my all-time favorites but somehow it did. Between the first book (The Last Policeman), the second (Countdown City), and this one, I only spent about four days reading. I just couldn't put these books down. I can't say if it was the sense of urgency of an impending asteroid strike or the need to help Detective Henry Palace find what he was looking for or simply the morbid desire to watch the breakdown of civilized society as the end of the world approached. Whatever it was, this was an incredible ride and I'm sorry it's over.

(Pre-post edit: I already chose all of my books and wrote and scheduled this post and everything and then ... I read what is actually probably my favorite book of the year and it is so WOW! that I still have to process it. So, I'll just drop the title here and then you will have to wait a few days to see my review of it ... The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers.)

Which book blew your mind this year?

Looking forward to a mind-blowing 2015 read or two,


  1. I enjoyed The Supernatural Enhancements too. Loved it's format and all the twists. And I'm reading Jackaby right now, although it hasn't quite grabbed me yet the way I expected it to. Your entire list is so intriguing and I've been going back and forth from this post to my library's site, putting holds on what I could find. I love that title, The City of Dreaming Books, but sadly my library only has one copy, in its reference collection so I can't borrow it. It's on my wish list now!

    1. Oh, The City of Dreaming Books was such an amazing book! It's translated from German and it's super strange but it's all about the love of books and it was just so fun.

  2. Looks like a great set of books! I will probably be adding a couple to my TBR list. :)

  3. Land of Laughs was the first Carroll I read, and it blew my mind too. It is one I have recommended many times over.

    I think my favorite book of the year will end up being The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert. I love that book. Not sure it "blew my mind", but it was so lovely and perfect.

    1. Lovely and perfect is hard to find these days so that's just as important as mind-blowing, don't you think?

  4. Whoa, I have not even HEARD of so many of these books! Constable & Toop sounds right up my alley. And so many people have so many good things to say about The Last Policeman - I will have to get that series!

    1. Definitely get The Last Policeman series. I can't sing its praises enough.

  5. Man, I am excited for Jackaby. Everything I've heard about it sounds awesome. My family has spoken of doing a camping trip sometime in January ("camping" -- in cabins, not tents, with lots of food cooked in ovens), and Jackaby sounds like the ideal camping read. Supernatural Enhancements too.

    1. That sounds like my kind of camping! And Jackaby would be great for a time like that. I know you like reading books together with family too and it would be a good one!

  6. I've barely even heard of most of these. Thanks for feeding the insatiable monster that is my wish list! ;-)

  7. I'm so happy I've read some of these already so I only had to add a few to my TBR pile! I have Jackaby waiting for me at the library; I've read The Land of Laughs years ago (and loved it); I have The Last Policeman next on my pile to read (I've already cheated and read a few pages). I loved Seraphina and want to get the sequel as soon as it's out next year. I will now be adding Constable and Toop, and the Supernatural Elements to my list. Thanks for a great post!

    1. Awesome! I'm glad we have such similar tastes. :)