Tuesday 15 September 2015

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: My picks for 'Favourite Books I've Read In The First Half Of 2015'.

It's Freebie time! This week, the lovely ladies who run this Meme are allowing us to choose our own Top Ten list and so I decided I would sort of have a catch-up of some of my favourite reads so far this year. This won't include some of my more recent reads because I'm only counting books read from the beginning of January to the end of June. In other words, the first six months of my 2015 reading list. Here goes!

1) 'The Shock Of The Fall'; Nathan Filer.

This was my first five star read of the year, and there were so many reasons why! 'The Shock Of The Fall' is a heart-wrenching book narrated by a nineteen year-old boy by the name of Matt who suffers with Schizophrenia and has to learn to cope with the grief and guilt he feels for a shocking death early on in the book. There was plenty of interesting family interaction, as well as some well-researched and insightful glances into how society as whole deals with patients suffering with a mental health problem. I was impressed by Filer's intriguing writing style too. A great book!

2) 'The Sunken'; S.C. Green.

Before reading this, I had never read a Steampunk book. This was my first one and it has not let the genre down! I was impressed by the way Green paints such a gorgeous alternate London during the Industrial Revolution (the world-building was fantastic) where technological innovation and engineering are worshipped as a God would be, and poetry, art and other creative outlets are revered. Famous figures from the period are treated almost as priests, and yet there is an element of the supernatural too as the infamous mad King George III seeks to turn London into a feasting ground for his monstrous creations. And of course, we can't forget the dragons!

3) 'Cress'; Marissa Meyer.

Of course a Fairy Tale retelling had to appear on here somewhere and Cress is not only the best that I read in the first half of this year, but possibly one of my favourites full stop. This series that Marissa Meyer has created is truly extraordinary and I adored this third instalment to the story, featuring Rapunzel's story. I think that most people who have read these books will agree with me and I don't need to say a whole lot else other than the fact that I'm very impatient to read the final book, 'Winter', being released this November!

4) 'A Storm Of Swords: Blood & Gold'; George R.R. Martin.

This is the second part of the third book in the 'A Song Of Ice & Fire' saga, but I count it as it's own book because the set that I own has split Book 3 and Book 5 into two separate books. Despite finding the first half to be my least favourite (though still incredible), this was definitely my favourite instalment of the series! So much happened and it was every bit as exciting and horrifying as I expected it to be! I love the TV Series AND the books so much, and you all might already know that I'll be getting onto 'A Feast Of Crows' this month. Fingers crossed it's just as enjoyable!

5) 'Child 44'; Tom Rob Smith.

Around the time that they announced a movie would be made of this series, my flat mate begged me to read the books first. Eventually I got round to answering her wishes and was completely taken aback by just how much I enjoyed it! Murder mysteries and thrillers aren't usually my thing and despite having a deep love for Historical Fiction, I don't know much about Soviet Russia. At least, I didn't. I feel completely enlightened and loved this story. It was the best I had read of it's type. Full of atmosphere and suspense, keeping my eyes glued to the page. For those looking for something extra special from this genre, definitely give this series a go. I want to read Book 2, 'A Secret Speech' ASAP!

6) 'The Rosie Project'; Graeme Simsion.

This novel belongs to yet another genre I rarely read. Romance. But once again I was totally bowled over and enchanted by everything I found in Simsion's highly reviewed book. I only read it because my Mum adored it and I managed to score a copy of the sequel from Netgalley. Simsion's writing style is fun and easy-going, his characters enchanting, and it was the perfect holiday read for while I was in Crete around my birthday. I even read bits out to my boyfriend Mat and he loved it too! I've recommended it to almost everyone I know and will continue to do so.

7) 'A Natural History Of Dragons'; Marie Brennan.

I had this book on my bookshelf for well over a year, and didn't pick it up until June. However, it was certainly worth the wait! I really adored Brennan's feisty leading lady, Isabella Trent. The fact that the book is told from the POV of an aged and wizened woman, looking back on her past made the book intriguing and all the more entertaining. The inclusion of Dragons was ingenious, I loved the idea of studying them rather than battling them. This book managed to break my heart a little too, but I'm certainly looking forward to continuing with the series and finding out where Isabella ends up next!

8) 'The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry'; Gabrielle Zevin.

I loved this book so much that I finished it in a day. It was that good! Some of that is down to the fantastic writing, part of it is because of the wonderful characters and most of it is because they love books as much as I do! It was quirky, heart-warming and certainly an emotional roller coaster that made me smile, laugh and cry repeatedly. I am so grateful that things like Netgalley exist to let me read such fantastic books!

9) 'Between The Lives'; Jessica Shirvington.

Another Netgalley read that I adored. Honestly I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. It did a really great job of keeping me hooked and it's certainly one of my favourite romantic couples this year. The concept of a girl who had to live two lives simultaneously, shifting from one into the other ever midnight was a really cool one, and Shirvington did a great job with it too! I wish this was being made into a series because I would read every book!

10) 'Dracula'; Bram Stoker.

I have wanted to read this classic for a very long time and now that I have, I was not disappointed! Stoker's horror novel was everything I thought it would be and more. I adored how he wrote on the stunning scenery of Transylvania, and how it contrasted with some of the deeply horrifying events that occur in the book. Of course the writing style is a little dated and takes a while to get to the point but I've found this with most classics and it didn't tarnish my enjoyment! I definitely think that Victorian Gothic fiction is a genre I could get into!

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