Best Reads of 2015

Hellooooo!!!!

Ok, so I’ll admit I’m stealing this idea from someone I saw on Twitter. Can’t remember who now, oops. But it was a brilliant idea. Truthfully it was probably like 3 people.

I sorta definitely slacked off in the book review posts. It was…a bit much, honestly. We’ve talked about that.

BUT.

Someone posted a list of books they’re thankful they’ve read this year and a light bulb went off……why don’t I do a recap of my favorite reads of 2015? Sort of a book of the month, only condensed, and with much less substance. If we’re being honest.

And here we are.

So, I’m a Goodreads nerd. I’ve been on the site since January 2010. I LOVE IT. Seriously, Goodreads has changed my life. If you’re a reader and you’re not on Goodreads, you’re missing out.

Anyway, one of the things I (thankfully) did early on was create yearly shelves so I could look back and see what I’d read in any given year. It’s pretty fun, and because of it, I know that I’ve read approximately 489 books since I joined the site. WOWSER. It’s also really helpful when looking back to see what I really enjoyed this year. It’s kinda funny, too, because some years I clearly was in a dark place – as evidenced by the overwhelming number of self-help books – and some years all I wanted was to escape (those are cozy/romance years). I highly recommend keeping a yearly bookshelf.

So when I had this brilliant idea to share my favorite reads of 2015, where else did I turn but my 2015 read shelf?!

I read a lot. By now, that’s no secret. Yeah, a lot of them are “fluff” – books that don’t involve a lot of thought, but are enjoyable. Everyone has a fluff standby – for a lot of readers I know, it’s romance. I’m not knocking romance – I read my fair share of them. For me, it tends to be cozy mysteries, with a fair smattering of children’s/YA books thrown in. I used to hide my fluff, but then I realized….who the hell cares? I’m reading, and if someone is going to judge me for reading a romance/cozy/kids book, then boo on them. I’m betting they’re not a reader, so I’ve automatically won. (I’ll save that soapbox for another day.)

But where was I?

Oh yes. Favorite books I’ve read this year.

These books aren’t necessarily my highest rated books from 2015. I mean, yes, many of them are, but I’ve also thrown a few in there that weren’t. Because I can. Basically, these are the books I loved, would recommend, and think everyone should read. There are a few of my highest rated that didn’t make the cut – simply because I don’t think they’re something everyone will love. If you really want to know everything I read and my ratings, friend me on Goodreads.

These are in no particular order, by the way.

Wishcraft MysteryWishcraft Mysteries (Heather Blake)

This series actually knocked off Laura Morrigan’s series as my favorite cozy mystery series. I devoured these books. I adore Darcy, I adore the Enchanted Village, and I adore the other supporting characters. The supernatural element is well incorporated, and never feels cheesy (well, I mean, not more so than expected for a cozy). Definitely give these a try if you like cozies with animals, magic, and charming characters.

Station ElevenStation Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)

This book goes down as one of the most raw, terrifying, and astounding books I’ve ever read. I’ve never had such a visceral reaction to a book. I definitely don’t think it will appeal to everyone, but I think it’s one of those books that everyone should read. Read my review here.

The MartianThe Martian (Andy Weir)

This was my Ready Player One this year. I couldn’t stop talking about this book, and more or less forced at least two people to read it. It made me laugh, it made me cringe, and most of all, it made me wish Mark Watney was real. If you’ve seen the movie, the book is 1,000 times better….and that’s saying something. Read my review here.

I Am Pilgrim (Pilgrim, #1)I Am Pilgrim (Terry Hayes)

To be honest, I haven’t read a ton of thrillers lately. I used to be a huge James Rollins, Matt Reilly fan – and I sort of got burned out on the genre. I’d had I Am Pilgrim on my list for a while, and one day just randomly started reading it. To say it grabbed me is an understatement. When I finished it, Jimmie made the comment that he was glad, because he hadn’t been able to talk to me in several days. The pacing is excellent (which is important in a book this long) and the story kept me guessing the entire time.

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove (Frederik Backman)

Backman has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Ove, and his second book – My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry – completely stole my heart. Backman’s characters are really well-developed…you both hate them and love them. Both books have brought me to tears, but I think Ove is a little easier to get into. A genuinely heartwarming, wonderful novel.

Beautiful RuinsBeautiful Ruins (Jess Walter)

I was first drawn to Beautiful Ruins because of that gorgeous cover. It had mixed reviews, though, so it took a while for me to get to it. I am so glad I finally made time for it this year. This isn’t necessarily a story that’s easy to love – at times, it’s pretty dark. Walter’s writing, though, makes up for it and draws you in. The farther I get from this book, the more I appreciate it – it’s the kind of story that sticks with you.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Susan Cain)

Quiet is another I’d had on my list since its publication. Despite the rave reviews, it never made it to the top of the list. On the introvert/extrovert scale I’m just barely an extrovert – I think I’d probably fall into the ambivert category, honestly. I have tendencies of both sides, but generally my introvert side is only stronger when I’m struggling with depression. Jimmie’s an introvert though, and I finally figured I’d see what all the buzz surrounding this book was about.

I’m so glad I read Quiet. It’s extremely accessible, and extremely well researched. Cain does a great job presenting the case for introversion, only getting preachy a couple of times. The book gave me a lot of insight, and a lot of ideas for how to better interact with both introverts and extroverts. I think it’s honestly something everyone should read, and at the very least, should be taught in psychology and interpersonal communication courses.

Well, that’s it. My favorite reads of 2015. I had to be selective – frankly, I enjoyed just about everything I read this year. I’ve gotten better at choosing books, it seems. This year, I only had a handful of 1 and 2 star books. And yet, when I look back at my 2015 shelf, these are the books that jump out at me. The ones that make me smile, that make me want to read them again (and I’m generally not a re-reader).

I’m already building my list for 2016, though I don’t worry too much about making plans and setting goals. That said, I’m open to recommendations (always), so what do you think I need to add to my list? What were your favorite reads this year?

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