Top 10 Books of 2015

The books I listed as my Top 10 are just some of many amazing books that I read this year.  The books I selected for my Top 10 are the ones that I am most likely to recommend to someone, or re-read myself in the future.  I tried to get a solid mix of genres into this list as well.

These aren’t listed in any kind of particular order:

The Winner’s Curse

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I loved Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse and can’t wait to continue reading this serious.  Kestrel is a wonderful and unique female protagonist.  I love that her weaknesses are often the strengths of protagonists in similar books.  The antagonistic relationship between Kestrel and Arin is not only super entertaining to read about, but it also is a great way to personalize the larger political unrest that is occurring throughout the book.

You can read my full review here.

None of the Above

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None of the Above is a novel that had me embarrassingly weeping in front of my family while I was on vacation.  It is such a heart-wrenching and necessary book.  Kristin’s tumultuous feelings after discovering she is intersex and the additional loss of control she faces when this information is shared with the community by someone other than herself, is written in a way that is intimate and immediately makes the reader sympathize with Kristin.  I applaud Gregorio on her handling of the facts, and the lack of embellishment or confusion in the story.  She manages this, while also boldly displaying the prejudice and discrimination that can occur to someone who is already trying to work through a very difficult issue.  If you like contemporary and haven’t read this yet, I highly recommend it.

The Game of Love and Death

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The personification of Love and Death in an epic never-ending challenge was what initially drew me to this story.  In this way, it is really similar to The Night Circus, which is one of my favorite novels.  The scenes when Love and Death interacted with each other were some of my favorite and helped tie a much larger story to the brief one depicted in Brockenbrough’s novel.  I feel like this is a book that didn’t get much attention this year, and I wish more people would read it.

You can read my full review here

Falling Kingdoms

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I am so glad I picked up this series after hearing about it from Lainey over at Gingerreadslainey Booktube channel! It is a great starter series for someone whose looking to begin reading fantasy.  Falling Kingdoms was a fantastic opener to this six book series.  Although I am excited to find out what happens next, I am definitely taking my time to get through these books because the fourth book has only just been released.

You can read my full review here.

Second Chance Summer

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This was another recommendation I found on Booktube. Shannon from Leaning Lights did a video about her favorite family depictions in YA literature and couldn’t get through this recommendation without tearing up.  I’m a bit of a sucker for a good tear jerker, and Second Chance Summer did not disappoint.  Although there is a romantic aspect to this book, you really read it for the family.  This one I managed to read right towards the end of the year and it was a great way to round things out.

Legacy of Kings

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I really appreciate when an author takes the time to research and really understand the world they are writing about, and Eleanor Herman excelled at this in Legacy of Kings.  The attention to detail was astounding in this book about Alexander the Great.  I am very ready to read the next installment from this series, that is set to be published in the Fall of 2016.

You can read my full review here.

Name of the Wind

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What a wonderful but super chunky book!  Although my copy of this book is upwards of 800 pages, it never felt bogged down and I was always caught up in Kvothe’s story.  I loved the storyteller narration in this novel, and appreciated the lyrical style of some of Rothfuss’ passages.  Like Falling Kingdoms, this is another unfinished series, so while I am very excited to dive back into Kvothe’s world, I’m taking my time getting to The Wise Man’s Fear.

Saint Anything

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Saint Anything really snuck up and surprised me.  I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, because the only other Dessen book I had read before this was This Lullaby and for some reason it didn’t grab me as much as it seems to other people.  But Holy Smokes! I loved this story! I loved the attention Dessen gives to all of the characters, and the plot is something that had my attention from the beginning.  I don’t often reread stories, but this is definitely one I want to pick up again.

You can read my full review here.

Six of Crows

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I would re-read this book again just for the awesome quotes!! The banter Bardugo creates between the characters is my favorite I read all year.  I loved the way the six lead characters fit together in this awkward amalgamated clan that should never really work together but manage to through Kaz’s leadership.  Everyone in this story has a really murky, gray characterization that made it difficult for me to decide how I felt about them, but there is no doubt that I am going to be continuing this series to find out what happens next.

A Step Toward Falling

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I will read anything that Cammie McGovern writes and A Step Toward Falling only solidified that claim.  This was a powerful contemporary, that has some breathtaking quotes. I loved how McGovern depicted and did justice for all of her characters, especially those shown with disabilities.  She didn’t shy away from portraying reality, but remained respectful in each scene.  This book provides great insight into a population that is just beginning to be featured more in YA fiction, and I can’t wait to see what McGovern writes next.

 

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Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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“No Mourners.”

“No Funerals.”

Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5/5 stars

When renowned street lord, Kaz Brekker, is offered an impossible job, he assembles the most talented members from his gang to attempt the impossible.  Much like the Island of Misfit Toys, most of the six members of this heist, are castaways or runaways seeking refuge under Kaz’s protective umbrella.  While very few of them get along, they each have a specific skill that everybody recognizes is needed to pull off this task.

A fantastic start to this Duology! I was left excited for more through the entire novel 🙂

Review:

I don’t want to give much of the plot away because I read it not knowing much and think it was a better experience because of that.  I do want to talk about the characters and quotes though!  This was my first Leigh Bardugo read, and the quick banter and memorable passages sprinkled throughout this novel, made me hungry for so much more!  This book had many serious and stunning quotes that stuck with me long after I had put it down for the night. For example, when declaring undying love, these characters have a flair for it:

I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.

or there is:

“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

But Bardugo also drops some hilarious interactions amongst the gang to show their antagonistic behavior as well.

“It’s not natural for women to fight.”

“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”

I could quote this book for days, but for now, I will leave just one more.  Kaz is a really interesting and morally dubious character.  But for all the uncertainty of whether I really like him or not, there were several times in the book I couldn’t help but respect him.  Raised on the streets, and only 17 years old, there are several times when Kaz has to interact and confront men much older and much more experienced than himself.  And each time, he is able to hold his own.  This quote from the beginning of the novel, was one of the first time’s when I was reading and realized that Six of Crows was going to something pretty epic!  This interaction occurs as another street lord is commenting on the lack of commitment Kaz’s benefactor has to taking over other areas of the city.

“Quit flexing, boy,” Geels said. “We all know the old man doesn’t have the stomach for a real brawl.”

Kaz’s laugh was dry as the rustle of dead leaves. “But I’m the one at you table, Geels, and I’m not here for a taste. You want a war, I’ll make sure you eat your fill.”

I can’t recommend this book enough, and can easily say it deserves all of the hype it has received.