Best Books of 2015

One of my goals for last year was to read 52 books. So, about 1 book a week. I ended up exceeding that goal by about 4-5 books. Now, when I say I read 52, that means books that I finished. There were TONS more than I started and could not get into. I’m not going to rehash all of those because it’s a waste of time and… I don’t really remember them anyway. Probably why I didn’t finish them. What I want to talk about are the BEST of the BEST. These were the books that made my 2015 reading adventure a blast. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend you pick them up and add to your 2016 reading list.

They’re listed in no particular order.

SAvage Breast

Savage Breast by Tim Ward

I don’t read a lot of nonfiction. Just not my bag. But I do ocassionally find a book that rivets me as effectively as  good novel. Tim Ward did that with Savage Breast. It is his personal journey to discover the history of goddess worship throughout the ancient world. He stays mainly in the Grecian area (and some eastern Europe), which provided PLENTY of material for one book. I would love it, though, if he did a similar book with goddesses from India and then on east. And then another volume on the goddesses of  middle and western Europe. And then one all the goddesses of the Americas. Seriously, this would make an amazing series if done in his personal, travelogue, memoir style.

 

goblin emperor

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

In all honesty, I started reading this book because of the fascination I had with the whole Hugo Awards debacle. This was on the shortlist for best novel and it sounded the most interesting so I checked it out from the library. My God, t is wonderful! And you wouldn’t think so if I gave you a blow-by-blow account of it. There is little to know action, no romance, now high-drama. But Addison draws her main character, Maia, with such depth and such feeling you can’t help but be drawn into his story.

 

six of crows

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Hands down one of the top three books I read this last year. I had never read anything by Bardugo before (now I am set to read all her Grisha books) and she made an instant fan of me. Incredible character development, masterful pacing, tight storyline. Everything just WORKED here. It actually received one of my rare 5-star ratings on Goodreads. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

 

Tiny_Beautiful-680Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Okay, this one was so good, I bought copies to give my sister and mother for Christmas. Yeah, it’s like that. And I really, really hope they read it. I hope everyone reads it. It could change your life, that’s how good it is.

This was also in my top three. I cried every time I opened it to read another letter.

 

the girlThe Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

I’ve heard this one is being made into a movie and I’m torn. While Carey writes with cinematic flair and this story is definitely worthy of translation to film, I know how the movie industry can be. They often screw up wonderful books for absolutely no reason.

But, back to the actual book. Heart-pounding, tear your throat out thriller/adventure/dystopia. Carey keeps everything very human, though, and the characters, not one of them, is easily pigeonholed. This is literary fiction when done by a genre writer. Gorgeous, wrenching, and just a damn good tale.

 

RadianceRadiance by Grace Draven

I’ve got to hand it to her: Grace Draven is a force to be reckoned with in both the romance and fantasy genres. She blends the best elements of both to make something tender, exhilarating, sexy, fascinating, and incredibly fun. If all indie authors were producing this kind of quality, traditional publishers would be going out of business for good.

 

the shiningThe Shining by Stephen King

I’ve been fascinated with The Shining for years, long before I finally read it. I saw the Stanley Kubrick film version and thought it one of the most disturbing, mind-bending movies I’ve ever experienced. But it didn’t capture the real spirit of Stephen King’s horror masterpiece. I say that because in Kubrick’s version Jack Nicholson, while wonderful at putting on the crazy, never convinced me he actually cared about his wife and son all that much. And that is the true horror of the book. That a man, who genuinely loves his wife and child, could be driven to do unspeakable things to them. King masterfully depicts the three main characters and because they are so “real” their terror became my own. Amazing book, just amazing.

 

Kraken

The Kraken King by Meljean Brook

One of the best romance novels I’ve ever read. And do you know why? Because Meljean Brook doesn’t write like a romance writer. She writes like a fantasy writer or an adventure writer. She highlights the desperation of the circumstances with the romance. But doesn’t let her characters or the story become consumed by it.

 

A monsterA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Wow! What a moving and creative way to look at the grief process. Ness takes a topic that is too often cluttered with Hallmark sentimentality and off-base religiosity and makes it accessible and meaningful. Ness writes beautifully and blends elements of fantasy with middle-grade fiction so seamlessly. This is definitely one of those books that, though written for kids, transcends generations.

 

InvasionThe Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

This was one of the more brutal books I read in 2015. I read the first installment and walked away thinking, “Meh.” So, the only reason I gave the sequel a shot is because I found an Advanced Reader Copy for sale at the Friends booth of my local library.

It was almost instantly obvious, though, that Johansen had received MUCH better editing advice on this book than on The Queen of the Tearling. All of the things that really irritated me about book 1, were fixed in book 2. Johansen is not kind to her characters but she also makes them strong, believable, smart, and vulnerable. A vast improvement on her earlier work and makes me eager for book 3.

 

So, those are my top reads for 2015. Anyone got some of their 2015 choices they want to share. Drop ’em in the comments!

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