Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My 2015 in Books

As 2015 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on all the books I've read this year. It's almost like reading them again! Since I didn't read only 2015 releases, I've included some older books in my round-up, but I think they deserve the titles they are given.

They say you should always start with the bad news, so without further ado:

My Biggest Disappointments

The White Rose by Amy Ewing (Review) 
I read The Jewel and thought it was incredibly average, but something made me read book two, The White Rose. This novel mainly consisted of a completely forced romance with a guy who has no purpose to the plot outside making lovey eyes at the protagonist, and Violet running away for half the book with no actual plot progression.

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton (Review)
This book absolutely killed me. I read the first two in the series, Everneath and Everbound, and absolutely adored them. So, naturally, I was very excited for the final novel. Man, was I disappointed. The ending is obvious, the villain is completely undefined and under-utilised, and the romance fell completely flat. Blah.

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (Review)
I had high expectations for this novel, and I think that may have worked against me. There was nothing unique about the mythology used in this book. The protagonist felt really unrealistic, like she is far too quick to believe that there is a god requesting something from her. I've heard the series gets better over time, and I truly hope so.

The Elite by Kiera Cass (Review)
I really enjoyed The Selection, as cheesy and fluffy as it was. However, The Elite and The One were both so... boring. Nothing really happened, and these two could easily have been made into one book. Really, the whole series could have resolved in one book. I don't have unrealistic expectations, I went in knowing this book would be fluffy, and that's fine - I just hate fluff that takes forever.

The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross (Review)
This one was perhaps the most disappointing of all. I have stuck with this series since it started, and it was one of those series I attribute my love of reading to. The three books before this one were all action-packed and exciting, but this one just fell flat. There was nothing unique about it and it just felt like a way to get all the main characters paired off and give them their happy endings.

My Absolute Favourites

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (Review)
As you know, I am a huge fan of the Throne of Glass series, which is what motivated me to pick this book up. I read it with my book club (feel free to join us here), and though I did not love it initially, about 70 pages in I was absolutely hooked. I was interstate on holiday, and kept making excuses to go back to the hotel so I could read more. The romance was intense and beautiful, the girl saves the guy, and the world-building is exquisite. Another truly amazing book by Queen Maas.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Review)
Apparently this year is the year of Beauty and the Beast for me, since this and A Court of Thorns and Roses are two of my top books for the year. Hodge's writing completely enraptured me, and the mythology aspects of this novel are unique and thoughtful. I have never read another book like this, which is uncommon these days. It's a short read and not a series, so I recommend it to anyone looking for something quick and easy (but still beautiful).

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (Review)
My, my, I'm starting to look like a hopeless romantic, aren't I? Ahdieh's book stood out for me because, like Cruel Beauty, I had never read a book quite like this before. Which is saying something, since it is a retelling. I love diverse books (especially books not based in the US) and this novel is set in a truly under-utilised historical period. The romance makes you want to cry and laugh, and things are never quite what you think they are...

The Rose Society by Marie Lu (Review)
Marie "Soul Crusher" Lu is back with a vengeance in this series, and I love it even more than I loved Legend. Adelina is a truly interesting protagonist, and I loved hearing the story from her perspective. All great novels are character driven in my humble opinion, and Adelina is that great combination of sympathetic and evil that makes me feel alright about loving her, despite her bad actions. I was hooked from the moment I picked it up, and I cannot wait until the third book is out!

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (Review)
Now this book was a real surprise. As you may remember, I was not that impressed with Rutkoski's first book in this series, but I had already bought the sequel so I figured I should give it a shot. I am so glad I did, because this novel was nothing like the first. The Winner's Curse read mostly like a romance novel, with very little else. The Winner's Crime had elements of romance (which were beautifully written), but also had politics, fantasy, and intrigue. The ending almost killed me (in the best way), and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Most Anticipated for 2016

I am not going to comment on these since I know nothing beyond their blurbs, but I am super excited for these 2016 releases. Frankie by Shivaun Plozza gets a special mention, since I love a contemporary book based outside of America (we Aussies do everything better)!

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Young Elites #3 by Marie Lu
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass #5 by Sarah J. Maas
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Frankie by Shivaun Plozza
Riders by Veronica Rossi
The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

And with that, the year is over. Happy new year, and I look forward to debating seemingly irrelevant plot points for hours with you all next year!

-Grace Lucy