Friday, December 5, 2014

Jeff's Favorite Books Of 2014

by Jeff Reynolds

This is my last blog of the year, and I'll do as I did last year by giving the fifteen favorite novels I've read in 2014. I know this year's not over yet, and I'm planning on reading three more novels this year (all of which are sequels to books that are on the list), which will put my total at 26, by 21 different authors, a dozen of which I hadn't read previously. At first, I was going to give just the top ten, except it would exclude some good books I've read. They will be listed in alphabetic order by title.

Allow me to also throw down the guantlet. I'd love to see the lists for my other contributors, and also for the readers of this blog. It would be interesting to see how much overlap there is on the lists.
But first, let me start with the five non-fiction books that I most recommend for the year, in alphabetic order:

  • Christian Theology of Public Policy by John M. Cobin. This book is challenging my thinking of the role of Christianity to the state -- I'm not sure I agree with all his points, but he did get the grey cells working.
  • Creature Of The Word: The Jesus Centered Church by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger. Excellent on looking at the role of the church and how it can be cenetered on Christ.
  • Getting To Know The Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction by Brian M. Litfin. A good look at ten people who had an impact on Christianity prior to 500 A.D., including my long-time favorites Tertullian and Athanasius, and a new hero, John Chrysostom.
  • Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman. This edges out a similar book, Follow Me by David Platt. Both are good dealing with the cost of being a follower of Christ.
  • Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul's Path To God by Gary Thomas. It develops the premise that there are nine spiritual temperments by which we worship, and gives tests on how to develop them.
I'll start my novel list with an honorable mention: Friend Me by John Faubion (interviewed Feb. 9, 2014). This was on my list from last year, but it wasn't released till this year.

So without further ado:

  1. The Advocate by Randy Singer. When I interviewed him in February, 2013, his book Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales had yet to be released, but he was more excited about this story. Unlike his typical contemporary legal thrillers, this goes into history, giving a fictional look at the historic character of Theophilus (Luke 1, Acts 1). This book borders on being literary fiction.
  2. Amberly by Mary Elizabeth Hall. Flirts between being a fantasy and a historical romance the setting is fictional but mirrors the time of the American Revolution. I love the politics involved in this story.
  3. Amish Vampires In Space by Kerry Nietz (interviewed November 3, 2014). Sounds like camp, but this is a top notch, very creative science fiction story. 
  4. Blown Away (re-released on e-book as Bumping Off Binky) by Nancy Mehl. I interviewed her June 3, 2014 about her latest book, Gathering Shadows. I loved this book because it's a great cozy mystery with a lead character who's both entertaining and smart (most cozy mysteries have a main character who's more one than the other).
  5. Conspiracy by Suzanne Hartmann (most recently interviewed April 3, 2014). The second of the Fast-track thriller series. 
  6. Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig (interviewed October 24, 2014). Second installment of the wonder Edge of Freedom trilogy.
  7. Deadly Devotion by Sandra Orchard (interviewed July 3, 2013). Excellent suspense novel -- grabs you at the first sentence. Or is it a mystery? Actually, it's successful at being an excellent hybrid, fufilling both genres, a rare feat.
  8. Death by the Book by Julianna Deering (interviewed most recently July 3, 2014). The second Drew Farthering mystery.
  9. Heaven's Prey by Janet Sketchley (most recently interviewed two days before this one is posted). Another suspense story that plunges you into danger in the first chapter and never relents. 
  10. The Merely Mortal by J. P. Leck (interviewed May 5, 2014). This horror story is very creative, with an intriguing writing voice, and characters that aren't ones you'd normally be associating with. 
  11. Murder At The Mikado by Juliana Deering. Third of the excellent Drew Farthering mystery series, and my favorite of the three. If you like traditional mysteries, you'd love this.
  12. A Newly Crimsoned Reliquery by Donna Fletcher Crow (most recently interviewed July 28, 2014). The latest in the Monastery Murders, featuring Father Anthony, one of my all time favorite fictional characters. A highlight is a debate between Father Anthony and an athiest. My favorite in the series was last year's An Unholy Communion, but this one isn't far behind.
  13. No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig. One of the best woven stories I've ever read.
  14. Prophet by R. J. Larson. The start of a fantasy trilogy, looking at a 17 year old girl called to be a prophet, and her encounters with various heads of state.
  15. Son of Truth by Morgan Busse. Another fantasy story, this one being the second part of a trilogy.

I'd love to know what my fellow contributors consider the best books they read, as well as the readers here.


  1. Thanks so much, Jeff. I wrote that book a long time ago. It means a lot to me to hear it's still being enjoyed. :)

  2. Jeff, I enjoyed the Drew Farther in books by Julianna Deering. I bought Elizabeth Ludwig ' s books, but I haven't gotten around to reading them yet. I just bought Checkmate by Steven James, one of my favorite writers, and that might top my book for the year. My complete list will be on my personal blog in January. Come check it out.

  3. Thank you so much, Jeff! What an honor!

  4. Thank you, Jeff, for the nice mention. Glad you enjoyed Son of Truth :)

  5. Jeff, what an honor to make your list. I'm tickled by your comments. Thank you!

  6. Awww, thank you, Jeff. I'm so glad you enjoyed Drew & Company.

    Working on Book Four: Dressed for Death. :D

  7. Jeff, as a reader I appreciate how you give a reason why you include each book... it helps me decide what to add to my dangerously-long to-read list. As a writer -- I'm thankful to be included at all, let alone among authors like these! Those I've read I admire, and those I haven't read yet, I need to check out!

  8. What an honor to appear on your list twice!!! Thank you, Jeff. You have encouraged me greatly!