Tuesday, December 29, 2015

JoLee's Favorite Reads of 2015

The end of the year is my absolute favorite time to be a book blogger. I don't think I could ever get tired of reading year-end favorites and best-of's posts.

I gave fifteen books 5-star ratings this year. They are all represented in some fashion in my year-end favorites below. (I gave 52 books 4-star ratings, so yeah, I read a lot of books that I really liked this year!)

Of the 15 favorites:
13 were released in 2015
2 were released prior to 2015
4 are contemporaries
2 of those contemporaries have a little magic/ sci-fi mixed in
3 are nonfiction
7 are fantasy or science fiction
1 is historical fiction
4 were consumed as audiobooks

Favorite work of Nonfiction: Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson
I did all sorts of gushing over this book about the life and work of Dmitri Shostakovich, the great Russian composer. I read most of it while listening to Shostakovich's music which made for a very enjoyable, emotional, and wonderfully aesthetic reading experience. This book will make you want to listen to Shostakovich's symphonies. (featured here)
Another 5-star 2015 nonfiction read was The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill by Andrea Warren.

Favorite Contemporary: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Robin Benway writes wonderful, lovable, complicated characters. I absolutely adored this book that mixes humor with the serious stuff so well. The romance between Emmy and Oliver is sweet and honest, and, for a reader, nothing is more satisfying. (featured here)
Another 5-star 2015 contemporary was Robyn Schneider's Extraordinary Means (featured here)

Favorite Sequel: Beastly Bones by William Ritter
Sign me up for more! This sequel to William Ritter's fantastic debut, Jackaby, is even better than the first. There's plenty of delightful weirdness in this novel, and the Bone Wars setting just sang to my little nerd heart. (featured here)

Favorite Audiobooks: Time's Edge and Time's Divide by Rysa Walker   
I listened to the final two books in The Chronos Files series this year and now that series is vying for a spot on the top of my metaphorical "favorite time travel series ever" list. I highly recommend the audio versions. Kate Rudd is an excellent narrator. She adeptly conveys Kate's strength and smarts. This series definitely deserves more love! (featured here and here)

Favorite Book Club Book: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
This was the book club pick for June, and I spent the rest of the year recommending it to everyone I know. It's about the rowing team that won the Olympics in 1936. I loved it. And I loved that the audiobook is read by the late Edward Herrmann. 

Favorite Fantasy: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman 
This marvelous sequel to one of my favorite books ever is so, so good. When I finished Shadow Scale I was so sad that I would be leaving this rich and lushly wrought world behind. It's a gorgeous book with the most terrifying villain ever. (featured here)
Another 2015 5-star fantasy was Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. (featured here)

Favorite Ghost Story: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud 
Jonathan Stroud is going to have to keep writing Lockwood & Company books forever because I am never going to want to give up this lovely tradition I've got going on of reading one every Halloween. Parts of this book are absolutely terrifying, and I loved ever minute of it.

Favorite Historical Novel: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
I liked Rose Under Fire even more than the first in the series which is saying a lot because Code Name Verity is pretty gut-wrenchingly great. I absolutely adore Rose. She is the kind of friend that everyone would want. Simply stated, this is one of the best World War II novels I've ever read.

Favorite Series Finale: The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas
The Elemental Trilogy comes to a heart-stopping conclusion with The Immortal Heights. This is a great series for those of you missing Harry Potter. With great magic, a terrifying villain, and a pitch-perfect romance, this series gets lots of love from me. Titus and Iolanthe forever! (featured here)

Favorite Debut: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Out of the eight debuts I featured last week, this was my favorite. Adam Silvera took this book in a really unexpected direction, and seeing him work that magic was so incredible. The book just got better and better with every page. (featured here)

Favorite Middle-Grade: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale
This was a tough one. I didn't read a whole lot of middle-grade books this year, but every one that I did read was great. I was so pleased with this finale to the incomparable Princess Academy Series. It was such a pleasure to see Miri go from student to teacher. (featured here)

Most Beautiful Read: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Oh my, I just can hardly even handle this book. The whole time I was reading it I was thinking, "This is so, so beautiful." The writing is glorious. Bone Gap made me feel that swelling, tingling sensation that you get when you are reading something truly amazing. Read it. (featured here)

1 comment:

  1. I have got to read Bone Gap! Everyone keeps raving about and I haven't read it yet. . . .


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