Monday, 28 December 2015

Top 5 Favorite Books of 2015

As this year is coming to a close I am faced with yet again another difficult challenge; choosing my top 5 favorite books of the year. To be entirely honest, this was slightly easier this year than last because I am sad to say that I have read a lot of disappointing books in the year of 2015. With that said here are some great books that I've read:

5. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows moved around a lot on my list but eventually made #5. If you didn't already know, or if you're living under a rock, Queen of Shadows is book #4 in the Throne of Glass series. I've only just started reading this series in the beginning of the year, but it has already become one of my prime favorites in young adult fantasy. If you're looking for assassins, kick-ass heroine, sass, adventure, magic, and intricate world building then Throne of Glass is definitely for you. For such a large book I was able to fly through Queen of Shadows for the fast pace and also the familiarity. The only reason that it wasn't higher on the list, was because some of the relationships seem to develop rather, quickly which I found rather disconcerting.

4. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

You're probably wondering why this isn't higher on my list and I debated with that too. I adored Mistborn with every fiber of my soul. Brandon Sanderson paints a grim ashen landscape in which lives a street urchin named Vin, who realizes she is a Misborn, a person who when consumes various amounts of metals can exhibit various types of powers. This book is definitely an epic fantasy adventure. I love the magic system of allomancy, the cast of characters, the fight scenes that give me so much anxiety. Brandon Sanderson is a master storyteller and I'm definitely looking forward to picking up the rest of his many novels. I already have started The Well of Ascension, which is book #2 in The Final Empire trilogy and I already can tell it's going to be one of my favorites of 2016 once I get back to it.

3. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

*Gasps at self as to why this isn't at the top of my list*

Choosing a top 5 is hard. The Mime Order comes in at #3. Why am I beginning to sound like an award show host. Anyways, if you follow me on Instagram you already know how much I am in love with this series. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, which is book #1 of what is to be a 7 book series, was one of my top reads last year. So much so that I even reread it this year before The Mime Order released. I was beyond excited to finally get this book in my hands. If you don't know what The Bone Season is about, it's honestly nothing like you've ever read before. Set in 2059 alternate London, our main character Paige Mahoney works in crime underworld for clairvoyants. Clairvoyancy has been outlawed and Paige could be killed if her ability as a Dreamwalker is ever discovered. One night she  makes a mistake and ends up kidnapped and where she is taken she soon discovers that her world was more complex than she ever imagined. The Bone Season was such a thrilling read, it was unique, though a little slow in the beginning to get you use to the world and new terms, it soon picks up the pace. The Mime Order was such a fantastic continuation of the developing events of The Bone Season. You definitely get to see Paige grow more as character and see her truly harness her abilities. Samantha Shannon really does a fantastic job of fleshing out her characters and also keeping the world building grounded. Even sitting here now I can still vividly remember the intensity of the Danse Macabre chapter, which is one my most favorite and anxiety inducing book scenes I've read all year.

2. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Again if you follow my Instagram it comes at no surprise that this is #2 on my list. The Diviners by Libba Bray is honestly my favorite book of all time. Libba Bray is such an incredible writer. I also read Going Bovine by her this year and truly enjoyed that story as well. For those that don't know, The Diviners is about Evie O'Neill who is a diviner, her ability being that she can read objects which is to say that she can hold an object of a person and see past memories of that person and said object. This of course lands her into trouble and her parents send her away to New York City to go live with her uncle who owns an occult museum. A string a ritualistic murders begin happening around the city and the police seek out her uncle for help and Evie believes that her power can help catch the killer. There's so much more to this story, but with a dazzling and eerie setting of NYC in the 1920s, Libba Bray paints such a realistic atmosphere of not only the glitz but the truly ugly side of the 20s. Lair of Dreams is a continuation of all that and I was not disappointed even when the release date kept being pushed back. The strongest thing to this story are her characters; Evie, Sam, Jericho, Memphis, Theta, Ling, and Mabel are just characters that you can't help, but care for. I feel as if I know and can identify with these characters. Lair of Dreams still had that definite creep factor just as its predecessor, but there is just so much character development and growth in this book. You meet new characters, get more insight on old ones and just love it all the way. Strongly urge you to pick up The Diviners sometime soon. Definitely want to explore her other books in the near future.

1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Favorite book of the year, and one of my favorite books of life. A Little Life mainly focuses on Jude St. Francis, the quiet and mysterious one out of his three friends. It catalogs their life from college well into late adulthood as Yanagihara showcases the trials and tribulations that Jude undergoes as he tries to come to terms with the severe abuse he received as a child. I posted a full review here so you can know my full thoughts, but this is a book that brought me great pain and joy. Just an overall heartbreaking and impactful story that will stay with me for quite sometime. All I can say is to just read it. And get ready to cry a lot.

Honorable Mentions

Here are books that I also really enjoyed, but didn't make it into my top 5 list. In no particular order.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

This is most likely my #6 choice. Finally got around to reading all the Raven Cycle books this year and truly enjoyed them, which I was surprised because I absolutely hated The Shiver trilogy by this author. I love Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah and all their friendships and ley lines adventures make me somewhat nostalgic and I wish I could jump inside this book and be apart of that magic.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

This year I reread Cinder this year I can finally continue on with this series. I managed to continue on with Scarlet, Cress, and then the novella Fairest and really loved them all. Still have yet to read Winter. If you're looking for scifi, adventure, funny and lovable characters then you should definitely give this series a try.

The Winner's Curse & The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Reread The Winner's Curse this year so I could finally get around to The Winner's Crime because I have previous forgotten almost everything. Utterly in love with these books, I'm not even big on books that mainly focus on romance, but I can't help but love Arin and Kestrel and root for them the whole way through. The Winner's Curse is about Kestrel, the general's daughter, who one day purchases a slave, Arin at an auction. The more Kestrel begins to spend time around him, the more she begins to fall for him, unbeknownst to her that he harbors a secret, one that can change the course of her life forever. I'm beyond thrilled for The Winner's Kiss to release. Even more thrilled that they decided to keep the hardcover to match the originals. The Winner's Crime was even better than the first. I just wished that these books would have been longer because some of the scenes do seem to happen very quickly.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Another Libba Bray book what a shocker. Even though this won the Printz Award I feel as if this definitely is her most underrated book in the shadow of The Diviners, The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, and Beauty Queens. This book is definite whimsical and wacky and truly played on my mind when I read it. 16 year old Cameron discovers he has mad cow disease, which is a spongy deformation of the brain and spinal cord which causes ataxia, hallucinations, memory loss and eventually death. While in the hospital Cameron gets visited by a punk angel, who he thinks is a hallucination, who then tells him that there is a cure if he looks for it. He then sets off on a adventure with his dwarf friend, a talking lawn-gnome and vague ideas of where to find this cure. This book is definitely weird, trust me it got really weird at times, but I strangely loved it. Libba Bray is such a gifted storyteller and I love the way she can mix so much humor with tragedy and despair of a teenage boy who is just trying to find himself. Would of course recommend Going Bovine, if you're in the mood for a great road trip book.

So many new releases of my favorite books in 2016. Looking forward to a new reading year and to progress forward in these various series. Wishing you a fantastic 2016 reading year.

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