Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favorite Books of 2015

How do you like my mediocre photoshop skills and my dusty little bookshelf with my grandma-ish wallpaper?  I try, you guys.  I try.  But, anyways...
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Yes, I know Christmas has passed.  I'm talking about that other favorite time.  When we get to sit back and think about the year we've had--the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Today, I'm focusing on the good, on all of the books that I loved this year. Below is a list of all of the books that I read and gave a five-star rating to in 2015 (some are 2015 releases, some are not), featuring little snippets about why I loved them.
These are the books that kept me up late at night, pacing and biting my nails and weeping.  These are the books that left me reeling for weeks, unable to venture into any other stories, unwilling to leave their worlds behind.  
Here are my Favorite Books of 2015:

Queen of Shadows  //The fourth installment of Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series is phenomal.  It was everything I hoped it would be and more.  We got to see all of our favorite characters: Aelin and Dorian and Chaol and Manon and ROWAN! And, we also got some newbies such as Nesryn and Elide, who are so lovable.  A bunch of secondary characters -- Asterin, Aedion, Lysandra and Kaltain -- got moments in the spotlight and some great development.  Some new ships have set sail.  There was blood and death and action and badassery all around.  Loved loved LOVED it.  Definitely my absolute favorite of 2015.  I cannot contain my excitement for the release of TOG #5 next September!  If you haven't picked up this series yet, get thee to a bookstore!  The Winner's Crime // The second book in Marie Rutkoski's Winner's Trilogy was a brilliant, emotional rollercoaster.  Kestrel is caught in a dangerous game of politics where her heart and her life are both on the line.  And, Arin struggles between helping his people and following his heart.  The ending left me breathless and upset and in NEED of the next book.  I cannot wait to get The Winner's Kiss in my hands -- cover change and all. The Wrath and the Dawn // I can't stop, won't stop praising this book.  The writing is gorgeous.  The story is captivating.  The world is diverse and vivid.  Shazi is a strong, admirable heroine.  And, Khalid is a tortured boy king who you will love to hate.  It's a splendid retelling of The Arabian Nights and I can't wait to see what Renee Ahdieh has in store in The Rose and the Dagger.
A Court of Thorns and Roses //Oooooh, this was good.  Sarah J. Maas is my favorite author, so I was very excited to leave her Throne of Glass world and pick up the first book in her new YA/New Adult/Fantasy/Romance series.  The story, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, is sexy and magical and intriguing.  I was skeptical of this at first, because I've never been fond of Beauty and the Beast retellings in the past.  But, I trust Sarah, and she did a very good job making the story unique and her own.  Very excited for the rest of this series!  Archer's Voice //This book left me in tears.  It's such a beautiful story about love and overcoming our greatest weaknesses and fears.  Archer is my Ultimate Book Boyfriend of 2015.  (Shhhhh, don't tell Rowan.)  He's this beautiful, tortured soul and I just want to hug him.  I think that this is one of those stories that it's good to go into blind.  It's good to experience the story and the unravelings along side the characters.  This has easily become my favorite New Adult novel!   Killing Sarai //This story is twisted and crazy, but oh so good!   I devoured this book in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down.  Sarai's story is filled with action, suspense, and romance.  She is on a life-saving mission, but also on a journey of self-discovery.  Having escaped after years of being held captive by a Mexican druglord, she doesn't know how to live a normal life anymore.  And, Victor provides her an alternative lifestyle that is far from normal.  Killing Sarai is fast-paced and enthralling and a must-read for New Adult fans. 
 Everything, Everything // This is the cutest little contemporary romance I've read this year.  I'm a sucker for first-love stories, and Maddy and Oddy's love is just adorable and innocent.  The book format itself is unique, featuring beautiful draws (created by Yoon's husband David) and IMs and emails.  I also appreciated that the story focuses on a wide range of social issues -- physical and mental illness and domestic abuse.  The ending is surprising and the story is heartwarming.  "Love is worth everything.  Everyting" is a quote that has definitely stuck with me.  This is a stunning debut from Nicola Yoon!  Heir of Fire // The third book in the Throne of Glass series was another one of my favorites this year (that makes three Sarah J. Maas books on my list).  I loved it because we were introduced to ROWAN!  (P.S. I shipped him and Celaena from the very beginning.)  Also, we met Manon Blackbeak in this book.  I have to admit that in the beginning, I didn't really like Manon.  However, she definitely won me over in Queen of Shadows.  She is by far one of my favorite characters in the series.  And, of course, there was Celaena's very important journey of self-discovery/self-love/self-acceptance, which was very beautiful to watch unfold.  Sarah rattled all the stars with this one! Confess //Of course, I wasn't going to leave Colleen Hoover off of my list.  I read some of her other books this year -- Maybe Not and Never, Never and Never, Never: Part Two -- but Confess defnitely stood out the most.  I really loved the artful concept of the story.  Owen, one of the main characters in the book, is an artist whose work is based off of anonymous confessions left in a box outside of his studio by members of his community and other passersby.  And, the inclusion of Danny O' Connor's art was unique, too.  And, all of that artwork is just stunning.  The story was touching and romantic, and I loved it. 
 Slammed //Another book by Colleen Hoover.  This was one of the first books Colleen published back in 2012.  Just like Confess, Hoover incorporates art into Slammed, but this time it's Slam Poetry.  Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the poetry Hoover added to the story.  It really helped give the characters their own unique voices; the poetry tells readers something about the characters  that prose can't.  It tells us about the inner workings of their minds and about their deepest thoughts.  Will and Layken's love story was complicated and interesting.  Their love is a love that you can't help but root for even when the odds are stacked against them, even when it's a love that's looked down upon.  Colleen Hoover never ever ever dissapoints!  The Queen of the Tearling //Kelsea, the protagonist of this book, takes shit from no one and I love that about her character.  She's sassy and wise and caring and relatable.  Yes, she's a Queen.  But, she's also just an 18 year-old girl who is struggling to find her place in the world, who has insecurities, who is awkward around men.  Kelsea is me, you guys.  I saw something of myself in her character which was why I really loved this story.  There was also amazing world-building (a future world with a regressed society) and a bunch of beautiful, brooding men.  It's long, but lush and full of detail.  It's mysterious and political.  Trust me -- it's good.  Snow Like Ashes // There was never a dull moment in this story.  I thought that the world was unique.  The protagonist, Meira, is sassy, sarcastic, headstrong, and brave -- all the things I love in a female lead.  I actually enjoyed the love triangle, which isn't something that I say often.  It's kind of a toss-up for me between Theron and Mather right now.  (Althought I'm kind of leaning towards Theron.)  I haven't gotten the chance to pick up Ice Like Fire yet, but I hope to do so in 2016!  A Darker Shade of Magic // This book was dark and enchanting, and I loved every minute of it.  I really liked the world (or rather, worlds.  Because parallel universes).  The storytelling was flawless.  And, I fell in love with Kell and Lila's characters (and Rhy, too) almost immediately.  The story was full of adventure and danger and mystery.  It was just fabulous all around.  I am so ready for A Gathering of Shadows in 2016.  

That's a Wrap on 2015!

  1. What were some of the best books you read in 2015?  
  2. Do you have any recommendations for 2015 releases that I should read next?
Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

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