2015 brought us another treat load of amazing books! I really wish I could have found the time to read them all, but the ones that I did read were of course brilliant, with a couple that didn't quite meet my expectations, but thankfully these were few and far between. At the end of each year I love seeing what everyone's favourite books of the year were and although I am a little late to the party, here are my top 15 books of 2015. These are in no particular order as that would have been an even harder task.
As with last year, Red Rising, the first book of this absolutely fantastic trilogy made it into my top books of 2014 and was thrilled that Golden Son delivered just as brilliantly. I really cannot get enough of this clever, and very unique trilogy set in space. I honestly never thought I would become so engrossed by a novel set in space, but Pierce has gone against my expectations and delivered a trilogy that I cannot get enough of. It has really been a torturously long wait for the final part in the trilogy which is Morning Star, but publication day for it isn't far off, just over a month to go. I am desperate to read, yet at the same time I don't want it to end. It is without any doubt though that Morning Star will be in my top reads for 2016. If you are yet to start or have not heard of the Red Rising Trilogy then to sum up, this is an alternate future where the earth is dying and Darrow, a miner must extract precious elements from Mars to make the earth inhabitable, but Darrow is about to discover that not all that has been told is the truth. Seriously if you are looking for a read to get completely and utterly engrossed in, then start The Red Rising Trilogy.
Technically I read this book back in 2014, but it was published in 2015, so thought it would make a bit more sense to include for 2015. I adored this mysterious and slightly eery, historical novel set in Gloucestershire. It was one of those stories that I devoured within a few hours as the need to keep reading and discover what had happened all those years ago was so great. I couldn't quite get over how eloquent and beautiful Kate's writing was. It actually blew me away and meant the impact that the story had on me was even greater. This is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time, especially as I had the privilege of being asked to the launch of the book at the stunning Owlpen Manor where the story had been set. It was an incredible weekend that I will treasure.
One is a beautiful, emotionally charged story of conjoined twins Grace and Tippi. This is something that you only ever hear about in the news or very rarely see, so for Sarah to write a story from the perspective of conjoined twins actually opened my eyes to a world that I am ashamed to say I had not given much thought to. Written in verse, One is the epitome of an unputdownable read. Initially upon opening this, I was a bit unsure whether I was going to like the writing style, but I don't think the powerfulness and the strong emotions would have come across so well. There is an unbelievably strong theme of underlying love in One; Grace and Tippi are there for each other more than the rest of us could be and it melted my heart. An unexpected read that turned out to be one of my favourites this year.
When I first opened up the story of Night Owls, I found myself falling in love with it. This is an absolutely stunning love story. When Beatrix meets Jack on the San Francisco night bus- named the Owl, her world is turned upside down. Jack is a attractive, charming and possibly one of San Franscisco's most notorious graffiti artists, but he is hiding who he really is and Beatrix is about to find out who this mysterious boy is. This is an absolutely stunning love story. The main characters Beatrix and Jack have such amazing chemistry. I actually want what they have, there is such depth to their relationship and what they feel for each other is almost palpable. I might even go as far as saying that think I loved this a little bit more than Eleanor and Park!
This is one of those books where I really had no idea what story I was in for. The title was enough to make me curious, but I could not see where the robot was going to fit in. However once I started I pleasantly surprised where this story took me. A Robot in the Garden tells us Ben and Tang the robot's story. Ben wakes up one day to be told by his wife Amy that there is, quite simply a robot in the garden. Ben quickly discovers that Tang is broken and as he seems something in Tang that is special, he takes him on a global trip to find his maker and get him fixed. What follows is a fun, self-discovery journey for Ben, full of humour and awkward situations. Deborah has created a truly wonderful, heartfelt story of friendship that completely melted my heart.
I picked up The Lie by Cally as I had been really fortunate enough to go to her book launch at the amazing HarperCollins offices in London and of course get to meet Cally herself. I was very intrigued to read this as not only was the cover really striking, the synopsis had me really curious. Jane Hughes has come quite a long way since her holiday that turned into a nightmare. She thinks she has finally put that all behind her, that is until she receives a note saying "I know your name's not really Jane Hughes". Everything Jane has built up in the last five years is at risk of crumbling down as someone out there is determined to destroy Jane and everything she loves. Everything about this is just so intense, there is a constantly tense atmosphere as you really do not know what is going to happen next. This was brilliantly dark, creepy and twisted, with a constantly underlying sinister edge. Everything about this book is addictive, gripping and compelling, I could not put it down. It is safe to say this was my favourite thriller of this year.
I actually had the pleasure of meeting Fredrick back last summer along with fellow blogger Linda from Linda's Book Bag. It was fascinating to be able to interview him and find out where his story idea had come from and where he got his character ideas from. It was a delightful and rare treat to be able to interview an author so closely and I must once again thank Nikki Barrow from Spectre for the opportunity.
You could usually tell whether you are going to like a novel or not from it's first page and that is exactly what I found with this story. Upon meeting Ove, you will think he is one of the grumpiest men around. He considers everyone, apart from himself to be complete, incompetent idiots. And despite being ousted as Chairman of the Residents Association, he still continues his daily inspection around the local area. But Ove is rare in his kind, with his old fashioned beliefs and a lifelong dedication to making every just so, you might just find yourself falling a little bit in love with Ove. A Man Called Ove is ultimately a love story with one person missing and I found it so endearing, but so heartbreaking. Although Ove would have hated it, I really wanted to just give him a great big hug. This was a truly brilliant tale about true love that completely melted my heart and had me crying so hard at the end.
I was so lucky to have got a plus one invite to the Hot Key Books Blogger Brunch back in April and get to meet some of their incredible authors, Julie being included among them. The Big Lie s exactly the kind of book I have been wanting for ages to come out. This is a topic that has always interested me and got me thinking; what would have happened if the Nazi's had won the Second World War? I couldn't wait to get Julie's take on it. This is an incredibly intelligent, high concept thriller. I was pretty much blown away by this story as it is so plausible. You can tell that an incredible amount of research went into this, especially because you can so easily imagine this happening. Julie has managed to reference a lot of Nazi Germany and incorporate it alongside modern day imaginings so effortlessly; this is even right down to propaganda and how Churchill has been painted the villain. Fingers crossed for a follow up!
If the title The Girl on the Train hasn't made it's way into your radiowaves this year, then you definitely must have been living under a rock, as this has been the most talked about thriller this year. This was chilling and very atmospheric, it keeps you turning the pages and it's high unpredictability made this story all the more compelling. Rachel always takes the same commuter train to work and each day the signal makes the train stop at the same place that allows her to watch the couple who live in their cosy suburban house. She has even created names for them she feels she knows them so well. To Rachel, their life seems so perfect, especially compared to her own. But one day she sees something shocking, only for a minute, but it's enough. Rachel must tell someone and finds herself entwined in the investigation, but is she doing more harm than good? Just brilliant and deserving of all the hype it got.
I am aware that these are technically two books, but they are part of the same trilogy and I would not have read The Jewel if I had not received The White Rose for review, so here we go as to why these made it into my top 15 books. I am an absolute sucker for a dystopian story. I simply love books with alternate futures and politics and world's entirely different to our own. I guess the only problem with these books is that can end up having that same general pattern of where the story is going to go, so it takes a lot for them to stand out. Thankfully I loved The Jewel trilogy parts one and two. I literally could not get it out of my head. It manages to be unique in its story delivery and it's unpredictability. The Jewel is a fascinating, yet brutal and in places horrifying read. There are no rose-tinted glasses whilst you are reading this, and one particular scene made my toes curl. But this did not stop me from reading on. I don't know how Amy does it but nothing about this story is predictable. It is literally on the edge of your seat reading. It is torture having to wait for the final instalment especially as there is no release date yet! Hope it's this year though!
Every once in a while, a book comes along that makes a fantastic addition to fiction and Smart does exactly this. The way this was written reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime except that the brilliant protagonist in this (Kieran) was excellent at drawing and not maths. Kieran is autistic, so he sees the world a little differently to those around him. So when Jean's friend Collin gets killed and the police don't seem to want to do anything about it, Kieran takes matters into his own hands. Moving and poignant, this was a fantastic debut that reaches out to younger readers.
It's actually quite rare that a Christmas book will make it into my favourite reads of the year, and not one, but two Christmas books have made it into my top reads. First it's Lisa Dickenson's Twelve Dates of Christmas. This was originally released as a four part ebook series back in 2013, but I was thrilled for it's paperback release this Christmas. The story put simply is about Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas and it is hilarious to read some of dates that she goes on. Despite a sad start to the story with Claudia's boyfriend leaving her, this was a funny, cosy, lighthearted and positively festive read that was a joy to read at Christmas time.
The second book that has made it into my top 15 reads is Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington. This story left me speechless, I was so completely blown away. Carmel always writes stories that get right to your core and despite the hardship in this emotional story, I could not put it down. Inspired by the beautiful film that is It's a Wonderful Life, comes the story of Belle, who has to make the hardest decision of her life on the Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin. This is a story that I will want to read again and again at Christmas time. I cannot wait for what is next from Carmel.
This is an outstanding piece of work from Cesca which was so beautifully crafted. Based on a true story, the Silent Hours follows three people's lives before they are torn apart by the war. This is a story full of love, loss and devastation that was so heartbreaking but so powerful.
The second Hot Key Book to make it into my top reads is Fish Out of Water. This tells the story of Mika. Mika's summer is all planned out; it's going to be perfect, but the arrival of her never before seen Grandmother and grumpy Dylan at work mean that her summer is not going to go quite the way she had envisaged. What I loved most about this was that so much is packed into this story, it deals with the issues of prejudice, relationships, illness, family drama, different cultures and more, but at the same time it is a really cute, really happy, lighthearted story that melted my heart.
Another year, another set of brilliant books and have noticed that half of them were YA books. YA just seems to be getting better and better and though I am getting further from my teenage years as each year goes by, I do not think I am ever going to stop loving YA novels. I am mega excited for what 2016 has in store book wise!