If you’re looking to kick off the New Year with some great new reads, here are a few of my top picks from 2015. Most of these were published last year, but some weren’t, that’s just when I read them. If you were to ask me I’d say I read mostly romance, but looking at this list, it seems I cover a fairly wide variety of genres. Excellent. I’ll appear well-read.
In no particular order:
UPROOTED - by Naomi Novik
I saw this on a couple of best-of lists and picked it up because I was in the mood for something different. There are already a billion reviews for this so I won’t write another one, but it’s a fairytale-inspired story that captivates from pretty much the first page. Bonus points to Novik for telling the whole story in one book, when most publishers/authors would have split this in half and made us pay twice. It’s action-packed and a little romantic, with a wonderfully bumbling and up-to-the-challenge heroine, and I devoured it in three days.
SWEET THE SIN – Claire Kent
This is the first of two books (and though I’d hate to put something negative in my glowing recommendation, I despised the second one) but you get 90% of the story in this one anyway, so I still urge you to pick it up. I think I even reviewed this on Goodreads and maybe Amazon. Anyway, there’s a really strong and interesting plot to go along with the very plentiful sex, and it’s one of those books where you’re really paying attention to every word so you don’t miss any important details. The heroine hooks up with the hero because she thinks he killed her father, and because he resides in a moral gray area, you really don’t know if he did it or not. (And I’m not telling.) This was a deal somewhere so I picked it up without ever having read this author, and really liked it.
ROGUE LAWYER – John Grisham
Grisham has been more miss than hit for me over the past few years, even though I’ve faithfully read every one of his books. Now that he’s reverting to the single POV or more traditional omniscient narration, the books have gotten so much better. This one is a series of short stories involving the same “hero” (that’s debatable) with threads connecting each one. They’re all compelling and I loved this book. He manages to develop atmosphere and environment so effortlessly that I don’t know it’s happening I just completely feel like I’m living in the story.
TORMENT ME – Annabel Joseph
This is the first of a three-book series, the third of which has yet to come out. I’ve read most of Joseph’s books and she’s one of my few auto-buy authors. This book is not for the faint of heart – the warning in the book description exists for a reason. But that’s why I like her so much – she writes the stories she wants to write and doesn’t try to pander to anybody. This story has a call girl heroine who gets caught up in a very intense not-quite-romantic relationship with one of her clients, who refuses to tell her his name. In fact, for a long time, he refuses to show her his face. The mystery of who, exactly, this man is, in addition to the at-times-shocking sex made this a page turner and a big win for me. (I posted a review on Amazon, if you want more details.)
THE MARTIAN – Andy Weir
No need for me to tell you that this is great. Read one of the billion five-star reviews or go see the movie starring ol’ what’s his name – Matt Damon. I must live in a hole, because I never heard of this book until the movie was about to come out. I’m not into science fiction or space, so when I saw the posters of Matt Damon as an astronaut I thought they were old posters of Elysium, which I also never saw. Anyway, I picked this up and read it and loved it. It’s a story of surviving by being smart and determined, and it’s so lovingly and geekily told that I couldn’t help but be captivated. Not to mentioned alarmed by my poor math skills – I’d never last a day on Mars, it seems. (I enjoyed the movie, too, but as usual, the book was better.)
RISE – Karina Bliss
I wrote a review of this on Amazon and Goodreads so I won’t recap it here, but Bliss writes honest, believable characters, not caricatures, and that’s what makes her stories so compelling. This is the story of a stubborn, ego-driven rock star and the studious biographer who comes along on tour to write his autobiography. They slowly start to like each other, trust each other, and love each other, and when they finally get together, it feels like they’ve earned it. As a reader who despises insta-love, believing in the love story is paramount for me, and Bliss excels at this.
THE OTHERS SERIES – Anne Bishop
This is a recommendation of a series, not just one book. There are three so far and I’m not sure how many to come. It takes place in an alternate universe in which Earth isn’t quite Earth; there are humans but they live alongside but not equally with the Others… I’m not going to do this series justice by rambling about it. It’s hugely popular so you can find a ton of reviews, but the world building and character development (the very slow growing romance between Simon and Meg is so sweet) is truly convincing and I can’t wait for the next one.
So there you have it! What are your favourite reads from the last year? What are you looking forward to in 2016? I’ll have some new book news of my own for you soon.
Happy New Year!
Best Reads of 2015*
*books may have been published in any year, I just read them in 2015