Friday, December 11, 2015

My Top Books of 2015!

After reading so many good books this year, I can't help but want to share them with everyone, so I have decided to create a best books of 2015 list or you all!

First up, we have my favorite books from this year were just released this year. (These are listed in no particular order.)

Best 2015 Releases:

1. Slade House by David Mitchell
I really don't want to say too much about this book, so I think the best way to lure you in is to say that this centers around a house on Slade Alley that only appears when it is ready to feast...
This is a short read made even shorter by how compelling it was and easy to get through. This is the first book I've read by David Mitchell and his writing and storytelling just blew me away.

2. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (review to come)
I read this immediately after finishing The Diviners and it completely lived up to its predecessor. Libba Bray drags you into her full-fledged 1920s setting with complex and strong-willed characters that are so unique and full of life that you never want to stop reading.

3. Elon Musk: Inventing the Future by Ashley Vance
Even if you don't give a hoot about Elon Musk or know who he is, this is still an incredibly fascinating look at a determined man who will stop at pretty much nothing to get what he wants done. Ashlee Vance writes in an extremely readable and entertaining manner that made it impossible to put down.

4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
This was one of the top YA fantasy releases this year - and with good reason. Sabaa Tahir has created a brutal alternate world modeled after Ancient Roman elements, and within it we delve into the lives of a slave, Laia, and a soldier, Elias, where the two eventually become intertwined in each other's individual quests.

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
If you love Throne of Glass, you'll probably love this one also! Sarah J. Maas does not disappoint with her first novel in a new series that embodies a wide-ranging cast of characters, each with their own strong and unique personality. I really enjoyed this one and breezed right through it thanks to Maas' vivid writing and compelling plot.

6. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
This was my first Margaret Atwood book and I loved it! I've been burned out on the whole 'dystopian' genre for a while, but Atwood has brought it back with a vengeance. This is fairly short read, but it is still extremely gripping and deeply complex as we discover what happens when a society attempts to become 'perfect.' We all now how that normally goes, don't we?

7. Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates
I just recently read this one and I had to add it my best of 2015 list. If you like The Secret History, then I highly recommend you give Black Chalk a go. This story is centered around six college students who develop a game to play that ends up wreaking much more havoc on their lives than they could have ever imagined.

Best non-2015 releases:

1. The Mysterious Benedict Society (review to come)
I always like to add in some middle grade books to my reading each year, and this was the perfect addition! Trenton Lee Stewart has created such a unique and delightful world with dynamic, engaging characters to match. If you like A Series of Unfortunate Events or intelligent, quirky children, then this is the perfect book for you as well.

2. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Modeled after H.G. Wells' masterpiece, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a haunting yet beautiful story of a young girl who discovers that her father is not the misunderstood scientist that she thinks she is. Megan Shepherd has expertly retold this story, and I absolutely loved it.

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray
I picked this one up because I kept seeing rave reviews for the recently released Lair of Dreams. First off - wow! I was not expecting this book to be so good, mainly because I did not really enjoy Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy, but I was extremely wrong! Bray has developed such a complex storyline with a rich array of diverse characters in a strong 1920s theme. Highly, highly recommended.

4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I really have no words to describe this. But finding the words to describe books is sort of what I do, so I'll try. Tartt employs her mad stream-of-consciousness skills throughout this huge, exceedingly intricate, and well-developed novel.

5. The Paying Guests b y Sarah Waters

The Paying Guests is a hefty novel, both physically and mentally. Frances Wray and her mother have decided to take in boarders in their house in the years after the war in order to pay for their expenses. And this is where the drama all unfolds. I am saying nothing else because it is best left to find out on your own. Just read it and be prepared for intense events.

6. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami's intricate magical realism elements are strong in this book, and are complete with plenty of cats - talking cats! - and cooking. I can't help but love each one of his books, and Kafka on the Shore was just as good as all the rest. I absolutely love the way he delves into the human mind and sort of plays around with our thoughts and emotion. Oh, Murakami...

7. Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
I'm a pretty big fan of Edgar Allan Poe, so when I saw this fictionalized tale about Mr. Poe himself and his wife, I had to pick it up. This story is told from the perspective of Frances Osgood, an aspiring writer who observes Poe and his wife and becomes caught up in the midst of their mysterious lives. Cullen has a hauntingly beautiful prose makes this a breeze to read!

8. The Kindly Ones, Sandman Vol. 9 by Neil Gaiman
The concluding tale (at the time) to Neil Gaiman's illustrious Sandman series, and also one of the best, though it would be absolutely impossible for me to pick a favorite from the bunch.

9. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
A devastatingly beautiful tale of two sisters struggling to make their way in the United States. This tale will give you strong emotions as you journey with these two sisters and their new struggles in America. Despite the many hardships they face, and despite the many times they may have almost hated each other, they know they're always sisters and will always be there for one another. Seriously, it's a great book.

10. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
See, I'm not lying when I say I have a problem with Murakami.  I just can't help but love everything he writes - at least not yet, anyway. (*sweats nervously at the thought of reading a bad Murakami book* - does that even exist!?) Not as many cats as Kafka on the Shore, but still plenty of cooking!


The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
The Wolves in the Walls is one of Neil Gaiman's finest books for younger fans, as its wonderfully creepy and charming at the same time and will definitely keep you flipping pages! The illustrations are also the masterful work of Dave McKean, who has done other artwork for Neil Gaiman's work, such as Coraline, and is wonderfully haunting and unique, a perfect fit for Gaiman and this book.

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