2015 is nearly over now; and while there are some brilliant books that are being released next year, I have more than a few on my to-read list, there were some amazing books I read this year. I beat my Goodreads Challenge for this year and finished over 200 books so below I am going to highlight the ones that really stood out for me.
I have more than a few favourite books and series that I will re-read each year, The Night Circus and Harry Potter being two of the bigger ones, so I only picked out books that I read for the first time this year. Some were released a few years ago and some were released this year, some are the conclusion to well-loved series and some are brand new series which caught my eye and didn’t let go until I’d read the last page.
…Contemporary romance book I read in 2015
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I’d heard some great things about Fangirl, but it was only this year that I actually got around to reading the book. Once I’d finished the only thought on my mind was ‘why didn’t I read this book sooner?’ Fangirl is a brilliant coming of age novel focusing on Cath and her first year at university, having to deal with leaving home and the growing tension between her and her twin sister who is trying to find her own identity. The character development and Cath’s journey is what drew me into this book; and her relationships with her family, her roommate, and Levi are brilliantly written.
…Sci-fi book I read in 2015
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
There was a lot of hype surrounding Illuminae, and more than a few mixed reviews. I’ll admit that the main reason I brought this book was because of the graphics and layout, but once I started reading I couldn’t get enough. After their home planet is attacked Kady and Ezra are among the survivors that flee aboard the warship Alexander and the science vessel Hyperia. As the enemy travels ever closer to wiping out the remaining witnesses Kady realises there is a much more deadly threat a lot closer to home. While the format of the book made the character development harder to follow I felt Kady and Ezra’s voices and personalities really shone through.
…Fantasy book I read in 2015
The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas
This whole series became one of my favourites after I finished reading the first two books and I was eagerly awaiting the release of the third and final book. Unable to hide from the Bane any longer Iolanthe and Titus are forced on the run. Together with Kashkari they prepare to take the fight that has been brewing ever since Iolanthe called down lighting to the Bane himself in Atlantis. Iolanthe and Titus are two well-rounded and developed characters but it’s when the two work together that they create a formidable team, willing and able to face anything.
…Paranormal romance book I read in 2015
Changing Nature by April White
Time travel is one of my absolute favourite sub genres and the Immortal Descents series is the best of the lot, in my opinion. The research that went into the history and setting of each of the three books that have been released so far is incredibly well-done. After discovering evidence of another split in time Saira has no choice but to travel back to medieval France, in the time of Joan of Arc, to try and repair the damage done to history. Meanwhile, at home, the Mongers are making a move against the other Families and it’s Saira’s friends and family who are bearing the brunt of it.
…Fairytale retelling book I read in 2015
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Before this year I had read nothing of the original Shahrzad myth, though I did have a basic understanding of the story, so going into this book I had nothing to compare it to but all my expectations were still completely blown out of the water. After marrying a man who has murdered every other wife he’s had Shahrzad knows what to expect, but she is determined to survive long enough to kill her new husband for murdering someone she loved. However the more time she spends with him, the more sunrises she survives and the more stories she weaves for her husband, the more she starts to see another side to her husband and the curse that forces his hand.
…Magical realism book I read in 2015
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Bone Gap has all the makings of a modern day fairytale, and I loved every part of it. The story was incredible but it was the individual characters that made this novel really stand out. All of them are well-written and developed, and it has two of the most rounded and in-depth female characters I have ever read in any book before. The story shows a darker side to human nature, beauty, and fairytale romances but it still allows for hope. Finn sees the world differently to everyone else in his small town, and when Roza goes missing his unique view of people halts the investigation into her disappearance.
…Standalone book I read in 2015
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Another fairytale inspired book, but with demons and dark magic added in. I really enjoyed Rosamund Hodge’s unique look at fairytales when I read her first book, Cruel Beauty, so the chance to jump back into world she creates within her pages was one I couldn’t wait for. After making a deal with a demon when she strays too far into the forest Rachelle has given her life to the realm, guarding the King and his son, Armand. But she knows she cannot escape her past, and that one day soon the demon who entrapped her will come back to claim her.
…Breakthrough book I read in 2015
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Of everything I have read by V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic is by far my favourite and I can see this series getting even better when the second book is released early next year. Kell is a traveller, one of the few people with the ability to travel through the dimensions to the four different London’s. His side job, however, is taking artefacts from one world and selling them in another, a job which lands him in trouble when he takes the wrong thing from one London and finds it stolen by Lila before he can safely destroy it.
…New author I discovered in 2015
After finishing Fangirl I jumped straight into Carry On, a story which surpassed my love for Fangirl if I’m being honest. Rainbow Rowell has a brilliant talent for weaving realistic characters, even in the midst of a magical war against dragons and vampires, and putting them in engaging and heart-warming stories. At the moment I have only read Fangirl and Carry On, but I have more of Rowell’s books on my to-read list for 2016 and I have no doubts they will be just as brilliant as Fangirl and Carry On were.
… New series I discovered in 2015
The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon
The Bone Season is a series which fills the gap after so many of my other favourite series ended this year. Set in an alternate London where clairvoyance is real and punished by death the series shows us the brutal side of humanities fear of the unknown. Paige lives in a world where she is constantly hunted but she is an incredibly strong character, harden by what she faces at the hands of the Rephaim and Scion. The growth of her character within the first two books alone is amazing and I cannot wait to see what the next in the series has in store for her.
…Conclusion to a series I read in 2015
Winter by Marissa Meyer
I have loved The Lunar Chronicles from the very first book. It has been a long wait and a long journey to the last book of this series but well worth it. Winter pulls together the story arc and the characters from the previous stories and brings them all to Luna for a final showdown against Queen Levana for Cinder’s right to the throne. I honestly cannot believe it’s over but I felt that Winter was the perfect ending to the series.
…Return to a favourite series I read in 2015
Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
The Chronicles of Ixia series is one I re-read at least once a year; the story, the characters, the romance all comes together to create one of my favourite series. So when I saw the author was returning to the world and continuing Yelena’s and Valek’s story I was so excited, and Shadow Study didn’t disappoint. Everything I loved about the original trilogy was in this new book and after the way it ended I cannot wait to read the second in this new series.
Of course there were so many brilliant books in 2015 and narrowing it down to these few was incredibly hard but these are the ones that stood out from all the rest, that I couldn’t put down until I’d read the last page, and that have left me desperate for more.
Let me know in the comments what you think? Did any of the above books make your best of 2015 lists? If not let me know what ones did, I’m always looking for new books to check out.