Monday, December 14, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY | The Best Books Ever Read by Me in 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists. It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

The best books of the year lists are what book bloggers live for so I'm not sure it requires a fuller description but the one The Broke and the Bookish is instructive:
Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015 (you can do it by only 2015 releases,  overall , by genre (top ten fantasy books I read in 2015), etc. however you choose to make your BEST list)
I will be choosing my 10 from all the books I read this year so no genre restrictions and not limited to 2015 releases, just straight up the ten best books I read this year. It will not include re-reads though or the list would be mostly Harry Potter books, lol.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

General Fiction. Western. The rest of the list may be in no particular order but this one is listed first for a reason.  It was my favorite read of the year.  It could be considered a modern classic and I would not argue with that status. It has the perfect blend of great storytelling with characters that I will not soon forget. Gus McCrae in particular has been added to my all time favorite characters list. FINAL VERDICT: "If you enjoy humor, character-driven fiction and compelling storytelling than you owe it to yourself to read this book as soon as you possibly can.  I can't imagine another book that could unseat this one as my favorite read of 2015. 5 very enthusiastic stars out of 5."  My Full Review

Nonfiction. This was the best discussion of the issues of the modern workplace and gender equality that I have read.  It's very readable, thorough and thought-provoking.  The final verdict on my review - "This is a wonderfully succinct and thoughtful book for anybody interested in feminism, work-life balance or America's work culture." My Full Review.

Jackaby by William Ritter

Young Adult Fiction. Historical. Paranormal. This book goes on the list for pure reading fun.  Definitely my favorite YA read of the yearFinal Verdict:  "I could probably go on gushing for pages but that would get boring.  I hope I’ve gone on just long enough for you to be convinced about how lovely this YA book is.  Most of the criticisms I’ve read accuse the book of being unoriginal.  *shrugs* I personally don’t get too caught up in how original a story is or isn’t as long as it is done well and in my opinion this was." My Full Review.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series by Maryrose Wood

Middle Grade. Historical. It's a little odd to include a whole series but I just really had fun with all the books this year.  They are delightfully charming and hilarious.  The Interrupted Tale has been my favorite thus far perhaps we finally get to visit Penelope Lumley's Alma Mater, The Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females.  Final Verdict:  Find every 10-14 year old child you know and insist they read these books.  And read them yourself.  You'll laugh a lot and be charmed into a puddle.  My Full Review.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

So this one may have snuck on here because I just finished it a couple weeks ago and at the finish I wanted to stand up, alone, in my living room and give Marissa Meyer a big round of applause. It would have been quite weird but I felt like it deserved it because she had so many loose ends to be tied, so many balls in the air and a couple new characters to introduce and she manages it all like a boss.   I have often mentioned that I so appreciate a series author with a plan and this series was such a perfect example of this.  It was a great final book in a very fun series.  I haven't written a full review yet but it will definitely one where you should expect a lot of gushing.

Mister Slaughter by Robert McCammon

This is one of my favorite historical mystery series, set in colonial era America.  Mister Slaughter is the 3rd book in the series and by my reckoning was the best.  Tyrannthus Slaughter is a terrifically sinister character and I really enjoyed the growth of the protagonist of the series, Matthew Corbett.   My Full Review

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

This was the best Mary Roach book I'd read since Stiff and that's saying something considering the books she's written since are pretty great.  This one was particularly well written, funny and informative. I didn't even know I was interested in the digestive system but Roach showed me the error of my ways right quick.  If you haven't experienced Roach's science writing, you owe yourself to pick up one of her books immediately and I highly recommend this one.  My Full Review
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

I read this book twice this year that's how much I loved it.  My favorite of the Sarah MacLean books I read this year and I really enjoyed all of them. In fact, Sarah MacLean has vaulted to the top of my favorite historical romance writers list.   My Full Review.
Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

Not only did I really enjoy Turn Coat, and it is one of my favorite of the series, but this is included to represent the fun I had catching up with the Dresden Files this year.  My Full Review.

Death Without Company by Craig Johnson
This is the second book in the Longmire series of mysteries which I fell in love with this year.  Johnson is a great writer and has created memorable characters and I love how Durant feels like a community straddling the the wild west and the modern day. My Full Review.


That's it for my top ten and while I loved every single book on this list it feels a little underwhelming.  Lonesome Dove is really the only book on here that could be legitimately called a great book.  Unfinished Business is an important book.  All the rest are on here for sheer enjoyment value. There's nothing wrong with that of course but it is a little surprising to me.  It's felt like a bumpy reading year even though I feel like I handed out more 4 and 5 star ratings than usual.  Looking over this list and my full reading list, I think the summary is that I didn't read a lot of books that will truly stick with me in the long-term but I did read a lot of books I enjoyed.  That's enough.

Another thing the list does a good job of illustrating is how non-specific my book tastes are:

2 Non-fiction, 1 science, 1 social justice
3 Mysteries (if you count Jackaby)
4 Fantasy (if you count Jackaby a second time), 1 more Sci-Fi, 1 Urban Fantasy, the other 2 vaguely paranormal
1 Western
1 Romance
7 Adult
2 Young Adult
1 Middle-grade

What were some of your favorites this year?  How would you characterize your reading year? 

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