I swear I just wrote my 2014 post, but according to my Aussie Birds calendar, 2016 starts on Friday. So without further ado, I present my six favourite reads of 2015.
(Why six? Because I just couldn’t whittle it down to five, that’s why. These are in no particular order because I couldn’t bring myself to choose between three different titles for the number one spot. These books were not necessarily published in 2015, I just happened to read them this year.)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
I read this back around the beginning of the year, and it came with a bunch of books borrowed from my infallible reading buddy, Nik. I left it until the bottom of the pile because it sounded like the most generic of the lot. I was in for a shock.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns isn’t done justice by the cover, title and blurb. All three elements combined sound like the most boring, predictable slosh imaginable. But the story is surprising, engrossing and fresh. It follows a chubby main character (all ready I was happily surprised – this boded well for the story to come) and her journeys into another kingdom as the wife of a handsome king. There she takes matters into her own hands and begins a transformation that is not only believable, but exciting. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.
This book deserves more attention, and I really hope people aren’t put off by the blurb.
These Broken Stars
Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
This book… haunted me. There’s no better word to describe it. Two very different characters are stranded together after their luxury spaceliner crash-lands on a strange, uninhabited planet… or is it?
I loved the creepiness of this book. I actually got a bit freaked out as it went on, in a very cool, Doctor Who-esque way. Done well, space can be very spooky – think the Firefly episode where they find the abandoned ship with no crew. The same element of tension that kept me on the edge of my seat during that episode was also present during the reading of this book.
The two authors blend very well together, and what starts out as a very straight-forward plot soon becomes twisted and unpredictable. It’s also done on a very grand scale. I could picture the Icarus (punny pun pun by the way) as it crashed into the surface of the planet. I could imagine the feeling of being the only two beings on an entire world. I loved this book and wish I could read it again for the first time. It’s one of those.
This post now features two books that need a bit more lovin’. Dreamfire by Kit Alloway was not what I was expecting – it was so much better than I’d hoped.
Joshlyn Weaver is a dreamwalker, trained to enter people’s dreams and guide them away from nightmares. She’s a hero, she’s good at what she does, and she’s pissed when she gets an apprentice. All of these elements make for an entertaining read, in probably the most original setting I’ve read all year.
The description of the dreams and their execution is funny, fresh and interesting. I particularly liked the passage about children’s dreams, how the furniture was bigger and distorted because kids see things differently. It makes sense, and I’m glad it was in there. It broadened the world and made it more real.
The villains were equally terrifying. They’ve been popping up in people’s dreams and interracting with the dream walkers in a way that’s never been done before. There’s mystery and intrigue, political power plays within a hidden society, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel. This is a book which I borrowed from the library, but loved so much I’m going to purchase my own copy. I highly recommend this one for your to-read list.
Conversations With Spirits
Load up on cherry brandy, because it’s what you’ll be craving after reading this delightful little number by debut author, E.O Higgins.
Trelawny Hart is the rumpled genius who rivals Sherlock Holmes. When he’s asked by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, the author of Sherlock Holmes) to help investigate a potential medium, he reluctantly tags along.
The journey that follows is hilarious, surprising, and touching. Beneath Trelawney’s gruff exterior is a soft, gooey centre of human goodness, and it was brought out very well during the book. I had that happy reading glow about me as I progressed through the novel, probably grinning like an idiot and making other passengers move away from me on the train. Nevertheless, I recommend this one highly. With the sequel in the works, I couldn’t be more excited to read more by this up and coming author.
P.S fingers crossed for a movie version with the delectable Ewan McGregor as our reluctant hero.
The Short Life of Sparrows
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’re probably rolling your eyes at my bromance with this book. If you’re not a regular reader, allow me to introduce one of the best books I’ve read all year.
Surprisingly original in its execution, The Short Life of Sparrows is an achingly beautiful book that sees into your heart, rips out your deepest desires and stomps all over them. You will shed tears when reading this book. You will have your heart broken.
And you will like it.
Calli is a headstrong Seer who refuses to play by the rules of her coven. When an Ordinary is hired by her caretaker, she’s allowed to see how the other side live, and as the coven decides he’s too dangerous to be allowed in their society, she begins to fight.
I was all ready to be completely unsurprised by this book, and was promptly smacked for it. The author totally threw red herrings all about the place, and though it was risky, it works. I can’t say much more than that without spoiling the entire book, and this is one you definitely won’t want spoiled.
I couldn’t get enough of this book, and was quite ecstatic to discover that there are now three books in the series. I’m rationing these books until Starflight comes out so I can have a Landers marathon.
This book is, on the surface, a fluffy alien romance. What it actually is in an intellectual portrayal of what would actually happen if we came into contact with another species. To put it bluntly, people think racism is bad? Try speciesism.
Parts of the book is written like a blog post, as the main character, Cara, hosts a website detailing her experiences of having Aelyx as a house guest. The comments get progressively worse and worse, as do the attitudes of those opposed to the alien race. It’s an extremely interesting story.
Writing this, I can feel the urge to jump onto Amazon and purchase ‘Invaded’. I’m not sure how long I can resist.
In my Goodreads review, I call Alienated the ‘best romance I’ve ever read’, and I reiterate that again. Not a big romance reader, but this won me over. I have to say, despite my disclaimer that these books aren’t in any particular order, Alienated takes the crown as my favourite read of 2015.
So there you have it! These are the books I’ve enjoyed the most this year, and I hope you find something for your to-read list! Happy New Year!