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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cindy's Top Picks for 2015

Reading wise 2015 was a bit difficult. While I read a lot of books, there weren't a lot of books that I read that I truly enjoyed or loved. The books I read were fair. They were solidly written, but I just didn't really form an attachment to them that I like to form when reading books.

I read just over 175 books that included everything from Japanese manga and children's picture books to 'oldie, but goodie' fantasy novels and YA novels that spanned from contemporary to sci-fi/fantasy. The following are some of my favorites from 2015. These include books that I personally read in 2015 and does not reflect their publication date. 


  Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

I absolutely loved Book Scavenger. This fast-paced children's adventure/mystery novel was a book lover's dream come true. A real life treasure hunt is launched around the world for books that are hidden throughout the cities. My only complaint about Book Scavenger was that it was over far too soon, but I look forward to other books in the series. Easily one of my top 5 books for 2015.

 Alister Grim's Odditorium by Gregory Funaro

Alister Grim's Odditorium had an odd steampunk/fantasy/Harry Potter feel to it. It wasn't a Harry Potter knockoff by any stretch of the imagination, but within the first few pages I really just 'clicked' with the book.

One of the amazing things about this children's fantasy novel is that Gregory Funaro really made everything come together. There were a lot of creatures and plot themes thrown out there throughout the book. It could be really easy for an author to lose their train of thought and appear lost, but not with this book. Everything came together nicely and while it was a busy/fast paced novel, it all worked out. 

It's an older, epic fantasy, but so good. Detailed plot, lots of mystery, amazing characters. It does move a bit slowly at first as readers get used to the world and magic and other elements, but before you know it the book is over and you are yearning for the next one.

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

This haunting YA novel takes readers into the extremely competitive world of ballet. The novel follows Violet – an aspiring professional ballet dancer – as she struggles to come to terms with exactly how she became so successful. While learning about her success, readers are given a look into the lives of the girls at Aurora Hills – a junior detention center – where not everyone is what they seem to be. Violet's life crosses with the girls at Aurora Hills in an odd and haunting way.  Walls Around Us is emotional, spooky, detailed and absolutely beautiful. As the mystery slowly unfolded, it was amazing to see how everything was tied together. 

 The Six by Mark Alpert

I haven't had a chance to review this for Fantasy Book Critic, but it was amazingly good. There aren't a lot of sci-fi novels out there aimed at the YA audience. The Six is both sci-fi and evil computers taking over the world. Highly recommended. 

Serafina and the Black Cloak by  Robert Beatty

I wasn't sure about Serafina and the Black Cloak, but when all was said and done, it was a unique children's fantasy book. The setting was different, which gave it a refreshing vibe. The characters eventually grew on you. A good, solid read for anyone looking for something a little different, but not wanting to stray too far from the norm. 

The Fixer: Fixer 1 by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Absolutely loved The Fixer. It was filled with detailed characters, a mysterious plot that wasn't overly predictable, and beautiful writing. 

Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Not every book that is Top Novel of 2015 material has to be overly deep or completely unique. Fallout fits that category. The mystery in this novel was written in a way that made it not seem so predictable and the book was good – especially if you are looking for something that is a fun, simple read. Of course, it helps that there is Lois Lane in it! 

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

I love almost anything written by Ursula Vernon. Castle Hangnail is no exception. It had funny/silly moments, a main character that you can't help but love, and lots of witty, age-appropriate situations and problems. It is one of those children's books that I think will appeal to both adults and children alike. 

Paperweight by Meg Haston

Paperweight isn't a fantasy/sci-fi novel, it is a contemporary YA novel, but it is my emotional/deep read for the year. And it was so, so good. Paperweight takes readers into a day in the life of a teen who is struggling to overcome an eating disorder. It starts on the first day of her rehab and follows her through her ups and downs, as she comes to term with what she is doing, why she is doing it, and how she needs to go about healing. Paperweight is not for those looking for light fluffy reads, but it is amazingly good. 

Peak: A Novel by Roland Smith

Another non-fantasy YA novel, but another amazing read. If you ever wanted to experience what it was like to climb to the top of the world's tallest mountain, Peak will take you there. I really felt as if I was climbing the mountain right with the characters and going through their struggles.

Honorable Mentions for 2015

  1. Jinx – Sage Blackwood
  2. Princess Ugg: Vol 1 – Ted Naifer
  3. Curse of the Iris: Jupiter Pirates 2 – Jason Fry
  4. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library – Chris Grabenstein
  5. Uprooted – Naomi Novik
  6. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin – Liesl Shurtliff


Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Hmm. I've heard about a few of your picks. I'll have to look into a few of these. Thank you for sharing your picks.


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