2015 brought a lot of new challenges and adventures for me, but I wanted to ensure that I would continue to make time to read and write, since those are two of the things I love to do with my personal time. My husband and I now have a beautiful baby boy, and I will continue to make time to read in 2016 with my new busy schedule! (I may have to start reviewing kids books too!)
I read 62 books this past year (not as many as 2014, but that’s okay!) and stumbled upon some new authors that I loved, and also reread some of my favorites. I postponed reading a few new releases (looking at you Girl on the Train and Go Set a Watchman) when I heard a number of mediocre reviews, and decided to reread some of the books that often bring me comfort and familiarity.
So, my favourites of the year, you ask? Here is my short list:
Best Mystery Novel: The Girl in the Spider’s Web, by David Lagercrantz. (This book was pleasantly surprising to me. I didn’t know what to think about David Lagercrantz taking over Stieg Larsson’s best-selling series. While the writing was different, it was refreshing. And the characters brought just as much sass and depth as they did in the previous stories).
Best New YA/Fantasy series (this one is a tie!): the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard and The Queen of the Tearling series by Erika Johansen. (Both are fantasy novels, although Red Queen is YA and The Queen of the Tearling series is not. Red Queen reminds me of The Selection and Matched –but much better– while The Tearling series is comparable to the A Game of Thrones series with a feminine twist. Both the Red Queen series and The Tearling series have been optioned for film).
Best TV Show Based on a Book Series: The 100, by Kass Morgan. (I actually like the television show 100 times better than the books! Pun intended.)
Best Reread Inspirational Quote: “Clary was born special. Simon here had specialness thrust upon him. He adapted. Because the world isn’t divided into the special and the ordinary. Everyone has the potential to be extraordinary. As long as you have a soul and free will, you can be anything, do anything, choose anything. Simon should get to choose.” – Magnus Bane in The Mortal Instruments, Book 6 by Cassandra Clare. (Check out the newly adapted TV show: Shadowhunters!)
Best New Sci-Fi series: The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey. (The 5th Wave movie premières this weekend and I have been looking forward to it for a while now. I think both novels will inspire great film adaptions. I have also already pre ordered the third and final book in the series, due out this spring).
Best Autobiographies (It’s a tie!): Bossypants by Tina Fey and Can I Say by Travis Barker. (Bossypants was sarcastic, smart, funny and inspiring, while Can I Say offered the dirt on one of my favourite bands of all time and numerous celebrities, and on a more serious note, it covered the horrible plane crash that Barker survived. Both books were addicting and worth the read!)
Best New Adult Series: K.A Tucker’s Burying Water series. (Just like all of Tucker’s other novels, this series is seriously addicting! It offers suspense, romance and a little bit of spice!)
Best Satire: Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, by By David Rakoff. (Although Rakoff passed away of cancer before this final book of his was published, his work has left its mark. It’s smart, poignant and purposeful).
Some other awards I would like to give out are as follows:
Most Shocking: Confessions of a Video Vixen, by Karrine Steffans. (Seriously, this girl has slept with most of the rappers you know. My jaw was on the floor for most of time while reading this autobiography. It is so trashy, and so poorly written, but it’s also hard to put down due to its shock factor).
The Sweetest: The Secrets of Attraction, by Robin Constantine. (Although this is a YA book, it still left me swooning and made my heart feel full of marshmallows and lollipops all the way through to the end).
Most Imaginative: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. (Gaiman takes us on a literary trip of adventure, imagination, mystery and thought provocation. While this book is classified as Adult Fiction, I would argue that it’s audience is broader).
The Saddest: Maybe One Day, by Melissa Kantor. (This one really struck a chord for me. Of course cancer is often horrifically tragic, but on top of everything, I felt quite close to the characters as well; maybe because they were teenage dancers, just as my friends and I were in high school. I thought this tale was very well written and offered a true perspective of a teenage girl grieving).
Most Disappointing: The Rosie Effect, by Graeme Simsion. (This novel is proof that some books don’t need sequels, and this is coming from a reader who loves a good series).
So there you have it. I have sifted through my list of this years 62 books to give you my thoughts on the best, the worst, and the oh-so-interesting.
Please send any recommendations for this years books my way!
Happy 2016, and happy reading!