Tuesday 15 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'The Best Books That I Read In 2015'.

Okay so this is, without a doubt, going to be the hardest choice to make this year. Not to mention the fact that there's still some December left so I feel like I'm being a bit pre-emptive. Nevertheless, the fact that I've read so many good books this year can only be a good thing, so here goes! These are written in no particular order because I don't think I would have ever got through this list if I'd tried to do that!

1) 'A Thousand Nights'; E.K Johnston.

This is my most recent top read and I adored this book so much! Johnston is such a clever writer and puts a very subtle message of female empowerment in this story. It takes the pretty famous framing story of 'One Thousand & One Nights' and completely turns it on his head. It's not a romance story, but one on uniting in the face of adversity. With powerful imagery and a gripping plot line, I couldn't go wrong with this beautiful retelling.

2) 'Cress'; Marissa Meyer.

I'm going to take this opportunity to pick another retelling now. Everyone knows that I adore Marissa Meyer's 'The Lunar Chronicles' and have five starred every single book I've read so far. The third installment that I read at the beginning of the year was no exception. 'Cress' blew me away and I loved that all the stories I had heard so far were so well intertwined. I own 'Winter', the next in the series, and I am so excited to get onto reading it as soon as possible!

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

Yet another series that I've been enjoying immensely. I read the second half of Book Three ('A Storm Of Swords') as the set I own has split them into two books. Unlike the slow-building first part, this part had so much action that my eyes remained completely glued to the pages. I'm in such a 'Song Of Ice & Fire' mood as of late that remembering the reading of this book made me smile.

4) 'Child 44'; Tom Rob Smith.

I was recommended this book at the beginning of the year by my flat mate and I'm so glad I found time to read it. Smith really impressed me with his handling of a genre that I don't normally read or enjoy a lot. There were so many thrills and so much suspense and I found myself totally engrossed by the huge number of twists and turns as the plot progressed. There are two other books in the series that I really want to read, and I also own a copy of 'The Farm' which looks amazing!

5) 'The Rosie Project'; Graeme Simsion.

This book was laugh out loud fantastic. I read it on holiday and it belonged to another genre I don't normally read: Romance. I'm rarely in the mood for a light-hearted, fluffy love story, but I really was while in Crete and I certainly got one. The characters were likeable, the plot a little ridiculous but in a good way, and I felt like Simsion, by taking the topic of Mental Illness and not taking it too seriously, actually made it appealingly comfortable to read for those that are sensitive about such topics.

6) 'Vengeance Road'; Erin Bowman.

YA Western? You bet I'm on board! There were so many great aspects to this book and while I was sceptical about how well such a genre would pan out, I was surprised by the results. Kick-ass heroine? Check. Believable, developed romance? Check. Shoot-outs, saloon fights, dramatic piano clonking and horse riding galore? Check, check, check and check! Reading this took me back to the Clint Eastwood films I always enjoyed watching with my Dad. Awesome story and it's given me a new genre to adore too!

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

Another story that I adored, and I'm so thankful to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of such a wonderful book. Zevin wrote exquisitely and I appreciated the intriguing plot, constant book references and less than perfect but relateable characters. It's a bit different from my usual read but I managed to read it in less than a day it was that good.

8) 'Station Eleven'; Emily St. John Mandel.

If I had to pick my favourite read from this year this might be the one that just about nabbed the top spot for me. Yet another author that I hadn't read from until now (despite the ample previous releases), I bought this in paperback as a little gift to myself. I'm eyeing Mandel's other books greedily and really looking forward to anything else she releases in the future. While most apocalypse books are set a long time after the world ends, this deals with how humanity copes in the weeks straight after the catastrophe starts.

9) 'Valiant'; Holly Black.

I recently read 'Red Glove' by the same author and wrote so much about how much I enjoy her books. Black has such a wonderful imagination and brings a really fresh feel to creatures and myths that are often made to feel unoriginal. 'Valiant' is without a doubt my favourite book that she has written. Black takes the well-known tale of Beauty & The Beast and gives it a gritty, modern edge with a dash of Faeries, Trolls and the supernatural. There were too many great moments in this book to count and I particularly admired Black's spectacular world-building abilities.

10) 'Neverland'; Shari Arnold.

I know, I know. Another retelling! But they are my favourite types of book to read and 'Neverland' was such a heartfelt, beautiful retelling of J.M Barrie's original 'Peter & Wendy' (the story of Peter Pan). It included the characters we know and love, but gave such a fresh spin on the reason for their existence and their roles in the lives of the children they encounter. There were some really tough emotional issues in this one too, and the book really focused on grief as a topic. I advise tissues with this read.

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