I hope everyone had a Happy New Year’s Eve last night. Ours was pretty quiet, in fact I’m a little surprised we managed to make to midnight as my hubby and I were both tired. Anyway, I figured since it was the first day of 2015 that I would start the year off right by posting about my favorite books that I read last year. These are not, for the most part, books published in 2014. Not surprisingly, a lot of the children and young adult books are award winners, and justifiably so. As you can probably tell, most of my reading are in these two categories. I did find it interesting that almost all of my favorite cookbooks this year were vegan or vegetarian. These books are in no particular order. If you like to know more about them, click on the link for my book reviews.
- Machines Go to Work in the City written and illustrated by William Low – my son Liam really liked this book and with all the fold out pages, it was a fun book to read to learn about all the different machines. I will say that I definitely know more names for construction/work vehicles because of books like this that I’ve read to him.
- Little Owl’s Orange Scarf written and illustrated by Tatyanna Feeney – owls + knitting = awesome
- Fortunately, the Milk written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young – hilarious adventure story by Neil Gaiman with whimsical illustrations (really for older kids but was filed in picture books so it is in this section)
- The Tiny King written and illustrated by Taro Miura – graphically probably my favorite children’s book this year
- Locomotive written and illustrated by Brian Floca – great introduction to the early railroad in America, plus richly detailed illustrations
- Chu’s First Day of School (Chu #2) written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex – didn’t think it could get better after the first Chu book, but it was
- Thank You, Octopus written and illustrated by Darren Farrell – this book has been part of 2014 vocabulary for the entire family
- It’s an Orange Aardvark written and illustrated by Michael Hall – another graphically awesome book
- Julia’s House for Lost Creatures written and illustrated by Ben Hatke – a fun whimsical kind of book, perfect for sharing (although honestly I want this one for my personal collection of picture books)
- Quest written and illustrated by Aaron Becker – even better than Journey
- Hug Me written and illustrated by Simona Ciraolo – hugging and cute cactus named Felipe = win for me and my son
- Tea Rex and Flora and the Flamingo written and illustrated by Molly Idle – the first book got me into the author/illustrator and I’m very impressed by all her work so far
- The Adventures of Obadiah written and illustrated by Brinton Turkle – this little Quaker just stole my heart, I love this series of picture books!
Older Children/Young Adult
- The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman – I had not read any of his books before though he is pretty prolific, but I really enjoyed this nonfiction biography of a great singer and lady who stood up for what she believed in.
- I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino – a totally unknown book to me before I picked it up for my Newberry Challenge; I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to children or adults who want a good story
- Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti – a hard story to read but vital I think, makes me understand so much more about how regular Germans actually reacted to Hitler
- Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli – honestly never thought I would like this book until I gave it a try
- Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice by Philip M. Hoose – an in-depth look at the start of Civil Rights movement in Alabama, which for someone who used to live there but didn’t know about, was eye-opening
- Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen – love the poetry and the illustrations, esp the description of an owl as the “dark emperor”
- The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan – end of the series, but what an end!
- The Sandman and the War of Dreams (The Guardians #4) by William Joyce – seriously, this man is a fantastic writer, I love all his stuff
- The Battle for Wondla (Wondla #3) written and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi – love all this man’s written and illustrated works, great book to end a series
- Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures written by Kate Di Camillo and illustrated by K.G. Campell – a funny story with even more hilarious illustrations
- Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1) by Elizabeth Wein – waited forever before I got a chance to read it but was worth the wait; hard to read in places but what a fantastic book!
- Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor – I love love loved this series, and this was a fitting end to a great series; can’t wait to read more of her stuff
- The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud – an ARC I was fortunate enough to be able to read, he is one of my favorite children/YA authors for a reason
- The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton – ***** favorite book I read this year!
- Waistcoats and Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger – another ARC I loved, this series just keeps getting better
- Library Wars: Love and War, Vol 11 by Kiiro Yumi – my favorite manga series right now
- The Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown #1) by Melissa de la Cruz – a confusing story but I really liked the alternative history in this book mixed with the Avalon myth
- A Storm of Swords (A Song of Fire and Ice #3) by George R.R. Martin – Wow this story just had everything: romance, sword-fighting, all kinds of surprises, political intrigue and plotting, dragons, and one hell of a wedding
- Throne of the Crescent Moon (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms #1) by Saladin Ahmed – definitely wins my vote for best author name and I’ve not actually written the review for this one yet, but I really enjoyed it
- Murder as a Fine Art (Thomas de Quincey #1) by David Morrell – recommended by one of my favorite YA authors and I really enjoyed it
- Legend of Sheba: The Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee – a great ARC read about the little known Queen of Sheba
- City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran by Ramita Navai – an interesting look at a city few Americans really know anything about
- Bella: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne – definitely one of the best nonfiction I’ve read this year
- I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb – a fantastic biography, it was a really well-done book of a incredible young woman who deserved to get the Nobel Peace Prize
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – 3rd Gaiman book to make the list, see a pattern here, lol (he’s one of my favorite writers for a reason)
- How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman – he is a genius, great easy-to-understand recipes; this was the one cookbook I bought last year
- The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook – a former vegetarian (so has lots of those recipes), I liked her recipes b/c of the stories that went with them and they looked fantastic
- Roots: The Definitive Compendium – literally everything you could ever want to know about root vegetables, plus lots of tips on how to cook the lesser-known ones
- The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Meals at Night by Mark Bittman – an interesting expansion of recipes on his original diet concept (which the author himself uses)
- Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry – I love it that he takes very meat-centric food and makes delicious-sounding vegan food from it
- Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi – this man can make even the most boring vegetables look decadent