While this year seemed a little less impressive (to me) in terms of number of books read, but still feel like I've accomplished a lot. Between becoming more social on Booklikes, meeting a lot of new people, and participating in more bookish activities (Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, an unofficial Winter readalong, various reading challenges, etc...), I feel like this has been a very productive bookish year.
Without further ado, here is my 2015 year in books up to this point.
Reading Stats in 2015
(As of 12/24/2015)
Number of works read: 172
-- Full length print novels: 142
-- Novellas: 11
-- Short stories: 10
-- Anthologies: 3
-- Audio books: 6
Number of pages read: 53,223
Number of 5 Star reads: 4
Number of 4.5 Star reads: 11
Average book rating: 3.40
Number of 2015 Releases read: 24
(Added on 12/30/2015)
Number Authors Read in 2015: 81
Most Read Authors in 2015:
1. Kay Hooper -- 10 books
2. Laura Griffin -- 9 books + 1 novella
3. Cindy Gerard -- 8 books + 3 novellas + 1 short
4. Maya Banks -- 8 books + 1 novella
5. Tara Janzen -- 6 books + 1 short
Favorite Books Read This Year
(Book title links lead to my personal reviews.)
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Technically, I listened to the audio book version of this autobiography. And Neil Patrick Harris is an extremely charming and witty narrator with excellent comedic timing. No wonder he's so freakin' awesome!
Officially, this is my favorite book I read in 2015.
Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
I've never really been that big on science fiction, but retellings are one of my bookish pleasures. While The Lunar Chronicles was never really my most favorite series ever, I've been keeping an eye on it mainly because I loved the world it is based in and love the retelling aspect of it and love the characters. There was just always something I felt was missing.
But with the concluding book, Winter's release, everything seemed to just fall together and I had the hugest book hangover after finishing it since my days of binge reading Japanese manga. And no wonder, after I realized that Marissa Meyer had tailored her story and characters with Sailor Moon in mind. I always thought this series had an anime-ish feel to it and always thought it would make and excellent mini-series anime.
Officially, this is my favorite 2015 book read in 2015. And Carswell Thorne is my most favorite character from a 2015 book.
(As of this point, I have not read Sherry Thomas' The Immortal Heights and so cannot rule that book out as it is also a concluding book in a series I'm in love with.)
Other Lunar Chronicles books: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress
by Cindy Gerard
Whisper No Lies (Black Ops, Inc. #3)
Killing Time (One-Eyed Jacks #1)
Cindy Gerard is, to date, probably my favorite Romantic Suspense author. For a while I had thought that she was just a temporary obsession as a new-to-me author from last year. But then I binge read all of her Black Ops, Inc. books and immediately fell in love--with her books, with her characters, with her world, with her writing, with her suspense and action, with her romances... Especially with her characters.
In fact, the BOI series is probably one of my favorites I read this year.
Officially, Killing Time has a better progression and more intriguing writing than Whisper No Lies. But I'm forever a Johnny Duane Reed and Crystal Debrowski lover even if Mike Brown and Eva Salinas are an awesome pair.
Other Black Ops, Inc. books: Show No Mercy, Take No Prisoners, Feel the Heat, Risk No Secrets, With No Remorse, Last Man Standing; novellas/shorts: Leave No Trace, SEALed with a Kiss, Dying to Score
Shadowfell Trilogy by Juliet Marillier
Juliet Marillier is magic. With beautiful writing, attention to detail, and intricately planned progression and wonderfully created characters, I absolutely fell in love with the Shadowfell trilogy by the time everything came to an end. Despite the fact that the series started off on a slow note with Shadowfell being quite drawn out in the traveling aspect, the books just kept getting better until I, again, absolutely fell in love with our characters and our world when I finally got to The Caller.
This is the type of high fantasy adventure I love, with an extended, detailed world with room for more expansion, and great characters you easily and readily love even as they have their flaws and faults. And, of course, a satisfying Happily Ever After for all.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Uprooted is a retelling based on Beauty and the Beast. However, you probably wouldn't have guessed that given the direction in which the story begins to take you from the very beginning. And while there were some issues here and there I nitpicked with, I ended up loving this book so much that I didn't care that it wasn't perfect. Agniezka is, hands down, one of my favorite characters ever encountered and probably one of my favorite 2015 book characters (right behind Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles, of course). With her flighty, strange approach to magic and her fiery, unafraid to get in her mentor, Dragon's face, things just keep getting better as the book progresses.
Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Honestly, I hadn't known what to expect when I picked up Six of Crows aside from having loved Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy. I knew she had excellent humor and wit, attention to detail and a wonderful sense of world building, basing her stories in a Russian setting. But Six of Crows, honestly, blows the entire Grisha trilogy out of the water. It is thus far my favorite of Bardugo's books with a much more thought provoking feel to it and a deeper, darker look at the chaos in a war torn land, but with a light-hearted undertone of wit, sarcasm, and readily relatable characters.
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
I hadn't really been expecting much when I read The School for Good and Evil. It's got a great premise with a fairy tale based jumping board and so much potential for parody that I had been looking forward to it the moment I heard about it.
But it's also a middle grade novel and I've found that, being so far removed from youthful years, I tend not to enjoy middle grade novels as much. HOWEVER, rather than feeling like I had a hard time relating to the characters in this book, I found it extremely delightful and insightful on a lot of levels. Even if I ended up with a lot of loose ends and many quibbles about the way some things were handled.
Nonetheless, this book was a lot of amazing fun.
-- Special Mentions --
Dracula by Bram Stoker
audio book narration by full cast including:
Simon Vance, Tim Curry, Alan Cumming, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, and more.
There's really not much to say about this classic horror novel. This is technically kind of like a reread for me as I had read Dracula for a book report back in middle school. But since it was such a long time ago and I never quite finished reading the book in full, this could also be said to be a new read as well.
Certainly, Dracula is an excellent classic, one of few that I actually like, despite the fact that things start to drag towards the end of the novel. As it is, I'm sure a lot of my enjoyment of this book's reading in present-day has mostly to do with the stellar narration cast.
Simon Vance has become one of my top audio book narrators to look out for, while the rest of the cast had also caught my attention. I especially loved Alan Cumming's voice as Doctor John Seward--very charming.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
audio book narrated by Simon Vance
Simon Vance. A Christmas Carol. Need I say more?
I suppose I should state that I've never really read much of Dickens' works. My middle school and high school years had been plagued with the reading of Great Expectations, wherein I dive into the book and somehow taper off into stopping reading by sometime midpoint in the novel. I made a third attempt sometime in college with the same results. I mean, I even own the darn paperback with hopes that I'll one day read it.
I know he's a great writer. But I suppose some books just aren't for me.
But this little blurb is supposed to be about A Christmas Carol. And this short Christmas themed story was quite fun and as excellent as all the adaptations I've seen over the years. It is classic and memorable for a reason. I just also never realized how eerie some parts of this story could get.
And also, Simon Vance's narration really brings the entire story to life.
-- Novellas and Shorts --
Leave the Window Open by Victoria Schwab
The Little Android by Marissa Meyer
Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky by Marissa Meyer
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Short stories aren't works that I pick up all that often. And when it's part of a series, I tend to get a little irritated because then I have to go search for it if it's not already part of one of the main books. But this year, there were three short stories part of a series that I read and absolutely love.
Wesley Ayers from The Archived series has always been one of my favorite YA main male characters, so getting a short story from his perspective (Leave the Window Open) was a wonderful treat! And, as I'd said before, I seemed to like The Lunar Chronicles' shorts and novellas more than I had been liking the main books (until Winter). I especially loved Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky a lot. Fairest is technically not a short, but it's a side novella and was also a wonderful read.
-- Honorable Mentions --
Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson
Seduction Game by Pamela Clare
Dead by Midnight: An I-Team Christmas by Pamela Clare
Killjoy by Julie Garwood
Slow Burn by Julie Garwood
Suddenly One Summer by Julie James
Mistletoe Mischeif by Stacey Joy Netzel
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Freefall by Jill Sorenson
The Prophet by Amanda Stevens
The above listed Honorable Mentions are books that I read in 2015 that I loved in one way or another even if they weren't entirely my favorites of the year. I specifically wanted to make mention to Julie Garwood's Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna series, as each book is more enjoyable as the series progresses. My specific favorite of the series, so far, is Killjoy.
Julie James and Pamela Clare are always a delight to read (also two of my few auto-buy, auto-read authors. And who can ever say 'no' to a Brandon Sanderson book?
-- Series Mentions --
Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis
Simply Irresistible, The Sweetest Thing, Head Over Heels
short story: Kissing Santa Claus (Small Town Christmas anthology)
Lucky Harbor is twelve books long and I have the distinct feeling it's a finished series now since Jill Shalvis seems to be working on a new series. As far as Contemporary Romances go, this one is quite enjoyable and humorous, with lots of character interaction that is heart-warming and light. Despite the unoriginal love story devices, the books are extremely entertaining and the characters are awesome to follow.
Chloe and Sawyer are now one of my favorite fictional couples ever.
I will attempt to finish the rest of the series: Lucky in Love, At Last, Forever and a Day, It Had to be You, Always on My Mind, Once in a Lifetime, It's in His Kiss, He's So Fine, One in a Million
Tracers series by Laura Griffin
Untraceable, Unspeakable, Unforgivable
Snapped, Twisted, Scorched, Exposed
Beyond Limits, Shadow Fall
There were ups and downs, but I'm really into this series in general. And Laura Griffin's writing seems to keep improving with each progressive installment of this series. Also, I'm a little impressed with myself that I had read and caught up with this entire series already within 2015. I guess it kind of goes to tell just HOW into these books I've become.
Even though none of the books really stand out on their own, I'm still really enjoying this series for little trivial reasons. I suppose I just grew to love the series.
Looking forward to the 2016 release of the 10th installment, Deep Dark.
Steele Street series by Tara Janzen
Crazy Hot, Crazy Cool, Crazy Wild
Crazy Kisses, Crazy Love, Crazy Sweet
I have only read the first six books in this series so far, with five more to go. But I've enjoyed this entire series so far as easy, relaxing, "shut your brain off" crazy fun. If it's one thing I love, it's nonsensical, crazy fun, with some subtle comedic undertones that just either amuse you or makes you laugh out loud without realizing it.
Looking forward to finishing the rest of the series: On the Loose, Cutting Loose, Loose and Easy, Breaking Loose, Loose Ends
KGI by Maya Banks
The Darkest Hour, No Place to Run, Hidden Away,
Whispers in the Dark, Echoes at Dawn, Shades of Gray,
Forged in Steele, After the Storm
novella: Softly at Sunrise
The first four books were great. The sixth book was also enjoyable, but mainly because there's a superwoman involved. The rest of the books were just meh, even if I managed to enjoy them to an extent.
I had such high hopes that I could continue to love this series, but I'm starting to waver--especially since I would love to see Rusty get her story and I also love the family-friend-character bonding in these books (even if they ARE more or less, more cheesy than I can handle).
Let's hope the rest of the books can continue to woo me, or we might have some words.
Left to read: When Day Breaks, Darkest Before Dawn
X-Ops by Paige Tyler
Her Perfect Mate, Her Lone Wolf
novella: Her Secret Agent
X-Ops is a fairly new series, recently started in 2014, with a paranormal twist to its romantic suspense. Without realizing it, I ended up really enjoying both books I read and will continue following this series as well as, possibly, other series by Paige Tyler.
Left to finish: Her Wild Hero, Her Fierce Protector
2016 Bookish Forecast
I'm not sure it would be a wise idea to list all 48 of my Reading Assignment Challenge books for 2016, so here is a link to my 2016 Reading Assignment Challenge starter post. And it's probably not tenable to list all the books I plan to read, so how about a list of books I'm most looking forward to reading in 2016?
No covers. I'm lazy now.
2016 Releases include:
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater -- final installment of The Raven Cycle
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo -- sequel to Six of Crows
Flirty Little Secrets by Julie James
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Deep Dark by Laura Griffin -- 10th installment of the Tracers
Taking Fire by Cindy Gerard -- 4th book in One-Eyed Jacks
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
The Way Home by Cindy Gerard
Running Blind by Cindy Gerard
Delicious by Sherry Thomas
Behind the Red Doors anthology
On the Loose by Tara Janzen
Cutting Loose by Tara Janzen
Loose and Easy by Tara Janzen
Breaking Loose by Tara Janzen
Loose Ends by Tara Janzen