Favorite Books of 2015

December 31, 2015 2015, Uncategorized, Wendy, yearly favorites 29

2015 favorites

Get your gift cards ready, because here it is: our annual list of favorite books! We read many, many 2015 releases (and sampled many more), and here are the ones we feel you shouldn’t miss.

vine-divider-final2015 favoritesKim’s Favorite 2015 Releases

Once again, unlike so many lists you’ll see in publications, my list is comprised almost entirely of fantasy/science fiction. I would like to point out Archivist Wasp and The Awesome as two wonderful books, fantasy and paranormal respectively, that I think are deserving of more attention! All in all, it was a really great year for genre fiction (more so on the fantasy side).

There are certainly some books I just didn’t get to that I know would’ve made an appearance here (Simon Vs.the Homo Sapiens Agenda immediately springs to mind). It was particularly hard to keep up with reading during the last several months of the year thanks to my starting library school. You must let me know what else is missing from my list!

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher Stace
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
The Awesome by Eva Darrows
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Favorite Middle Grade:The Stolen Moon by Rachel Searles, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison

Most Disappointing Reads: I Was Here by Gayle Forman, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Favorite Ships: Nina and Mathias from Six of Crows, Agnieszka and the Dragon from Uprooted

Books read: 140

2015 books 1

Layla’s Favorite 2015 Releases

2015 has been a tough and strange year for me, but I’ve had some great books (and great readers) to keep me company. It will come as a shock to no one, I imagine, that there’s a fair number of science fiction and fantasy books on my list, and also, that Naomi Novik’s Uprooted topped it. What *did* surprise me most about the books I read this year was how many wonderful contemporaries there were. (Maybe I’m turning into a fan of contemporaries? I started reading Sarah Dessen this year and, ahh, I love her now! Is this what I’ve been missing out on?) In any case. I’ve been trying to think about what ties all of these together, and all I can say is that while all these books might share certain qualities (strong women! awesome world-building! lyrical prose!), they’re the books that have kept me up at night, gotten through to me emotionally, and made me excited to keep reading and blogging about literature with you all.

Favorite Young Adult

1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
3. Devoted by Rachel Mathieu
4. The Last Time We Said Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
5. A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
6. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
7. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
8. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
9. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez
10. Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton

… yes, this list is all YA and no romance because most of the romance I loved this year (Cara McKenna, I’m looking at you), wasn’t published in 2015. Except Lucy Parker’s Act Like It, which was, and is great, and everyone should read that. Can I add that to my list as a Bonus Jonas?

Most Disappointing Reads: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

2015 books 2

Wendy’s Favorite 2015 Releases

In a way, it’s not even fair that I’m posting a list because there are so many books I didn’t get to read in time. It’s been a tough year online and off, and I’ve had very little time to read and very little head space to devote to as many books as I would have liked, so I got through far fewer than I’d planned. But I still squeaked in a respectable number! And I’m hoping to do a few round-ups early next year with mini reviews as well, particularly for books that aren’t bestsellers and romance books. Yes, romance–Layla and I have been planning to start monthly romance posts, but next year it will actually happen. I swear it.

But without further ado, here are the books that touched me, thrilled me, killed me this year.

1. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
3. The Last Time We Said Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
4. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
7. George by Alex Gino
8. Crosstown Crush by Cara McKenna
9. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Noteworthy Debuts: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee, Willful Machines by Tim Floreen, The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Cutest Books of 2015: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Favorite Middle Grade: Nest by Esther Erlich, A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano, The Doldrums, Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putnam Oakes

Favorite Adult Books: Zero World by Jason M. Hough, Alice by Christina Henry, The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, The Fold by Peter Clines

Favorite Romance Books: Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand, Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O’Keefe, Flirting with Scandal by Chanel Cleeton, Suddenly, One Summer by Julie James

Most Disappointing Reads: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Soundless by Richelle Mead. And bear with me here, but two of my top 10 books also make this list for one major flaw in each: Queen of Shadows primarily for View Spoiler », and Everything, Everything for View Spoiler »

A few books I should’ve read by now and might’ve made this post: Vision in Silver, The Invasion of the Tearling, Of Dreams and Rust, The Lie Tree, The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, The Whisper by Aaron Starmer, The Immortal Heights, Uprooted, and basically Kim and Layla’s entire lists. I’m so sorry, books, I tried my best, but I’ll get to you soon! As Anne says, tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it. (Yet.)

In other reading news: this is the year I finally got through Harry Potter (almost! I’m nearly through with Deathly Hallows), and I’ve been furiously reading books from/set in the 40s, 50s, and 60s as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings. View Spoiler »

Books Read: 200

2015 books 3

vine-divider-finalSo…that’s a wrap for 2015! Did any of our favorites make your own list? What else should we make sure we don’t miss?

Wendy signature teal





29 Responses to “Favorite Books of 2015”

  1. Bethany

    I don’t know HOW I missed this post last year! But here I am to remedy this…

    Ditto ditto ditto to: Uprooted, The Winner’s Crime, A Darker Shade of Magic, and Queen of Shadows

    A bunch of books (like you, Wendy), that I need to read and have just not gotten to yet… Everything Everything, Six of Crows (I’m so nervous), The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Shadow Scale (the whole series!), and The Last Time We Said Goodbye (tissues).

    WENDY! Some of your “should’ve read by now” books are excelllllenetttt, especially that first one (and UPROOTED!) – can’t wait to hear how you like ’em.
    Bethany recently posted…The South Trip #2: Alabama

    • Bethany

      My full published in 2015 list of favorites:
      *ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES (Jennifer Niven) – so many tears
      *GOLDEN SON (Pierce Brown) – Wendy, did you ever end up reading RED RISING?
      *THE MIME ORDER (Samantha Shannon) – this series is awesome
      *MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES (Jasmine Warga) – I liked this and ATBP, though similar
      *VISION IN SILVER (Anne Bishop) – this series is also awesome
      *UNDER A PAINTED SKY (Stacey Lee) – yay westerns!
      *THE START OF ME & YOU (Emery Lord) – she’s becoming a favorite author for me
      *THE ROYAL WE (Heather Cocks) – braincandyfun
      *A COURT OF THORNS & ROSES (Sarah J Maas) – swoon
      *SAINT ANYTHING (Sarah Dessen) – classic Dessen
      *THE WRAITH & THE DAWN (Renee Ahdieh) – I *did* like it!
      *UPROOTED (Naomi Novik) – met all the hype
      *KISSING IN AMERICA (Margo Rabb) – unexpectedly loved
      *IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT (Judy Blume) – adultish
      *FINDING AUDREY (Sophie Kinsella) – loved her first foray into YA
      *INVASION OF THE TEARLING (Erika Johansen) – this series is also, also awesome
      *CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND (Kevin Kwan) – #2 in a series that is so much fun and hilarious
      *QUEEN OF SHADOWS (Sarah J Maas) – i hear you on the character stuff but still loveit

      I forgot how much I enjoyed last year!
      Bethany recently posted…The South Trip #2: Alabama

  2. Lyn Kaye

    HELL YES for Uprooted! High five for you both!

    And I am so happy that Wendy enjoyed Minnow Bly. That book make me just want to curl up, die, and scream.

  3. Justine

    So late to finally reading this:)

    Happy to see Archivist Wasp on the list here. That was one of my 2015 favourites too, along with some of the more obvious contenders like Uprooted.

    No Frances Hardinge on anyone’s list? Didn’t like enough to make the cut or didn’t get to?

  4. Soudha Parsan

    It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy I Was Here. I read both the If I Stay and Just One Day duologies by Gayle Forman and loved them both and was hoping her new book would be just as good. I still haven’t read a Darker Shade of Magic but I’m hoping to marathon it with its sequel soon. Everyone also seem to be really enjoying Uprooted so I might add it to my TBR as well. Great listings :)
    Soudha Parsan recently posted…Authors I want to read in 2016

  5. Pili @ In Love With Handmade

    So many of your books are in my top lists too!! Six of Crows! Uprooted! Queen of Shadows!!

    I still need to read some of those in your lists though, like Bone Gap, Archivist Wasp, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, A Thousand Nights… (all of those I own and hopefully will get to read them in this year!) and so very excited for many of the books to publish this year!!

    I cannot wait to discover more awesome books with your recommendations ladies, because you very rarely steer me wrong!!
    Pili @ In Love With Handmade recently posted…Tell Me Tuesdays #34!!

    • Layla

      I knooooow. Everyone is really lucky that they didn’t just all receive copies of Uprooted for the holidays this year. (Or maybe they’re not lucky, ’cause that book is awesome.) It’s really still my favorite thing that I’ve read in the past twelve months. I want to re-read it just so I can experience the magic again and also reassure myself that, like, the feelings I had for it were real and good and that I can feel that kind of love for a book again!

      I haven’t read any of The Winner’s Curse books yet. I know I need to, but I might just wait for the third book to come out this year – a totally anxiety-free way to read! :) That way I can just breeze through them. I have a friend who has been impatiently waiting for the last book for like a year, and it might be nice to not have to do that – especially if I’m going to like these books as much as I’m hearing that I will.

      Layla recently posted…Favorite Books of 2015

  6. Melanie

    Yes to Shadow Scale! It was so different than I was expecting, in the most intriguing ways possible.

    • Layla

      I know, right? It wasn’t what I was expecting at all, and I enjoyed it so much! Go out exploring and find all the other dragons, Seraphina! I love anything that expands a world I’ve come to love. My favorite part was how queer-friendly parts of the world-building were (conversations about pronouns! queer relationships! woo!).
      Layla recently posted…Favorite Books of 2015

  7. Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

    Bone Gap was lovely and OF COURSE Queen of Shadows. So glad you loved The Awesome; it really was super unappreciated! I need more Maggie. 2016 I will finally make time for Uprooted. It’s been on so many lists!

    Ahhh so many awesome looking romances, Wendy! I’m determined to make more time for romance novels this year (even if I don’t review them) because they are wonderful.

    Wishing you all a happy new year full of wonderful, undiscovered reads!!
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…2015 End of Year Book Survey

    • Layla

      I know. I STILL need to read Bone Gap. It has been on my TBR since Kim recommended it, and I’ve also wanted to read The Awesome. There were really so many books I didn’t get to this year. I think my list would’ve looked different (longer, probably!) if I’d had time to read everything I wanted to read (I never read Queen of Shadows or Immortal Heights or The Rest of Us Just Live Here or Nimona or any of the dozens of library books that have passed through my hands unread this year. SIGH.)

      READ UPROOTED. I loved it. I loved it so much. I want to read it again.

      I still want to read Crosstown Crush and Suddenly, One Summer (I love Julie James!) and Everything I Left Unsaid for the romances that Wendy rec’d. I haven’t read as many 2015 romances as I would’ve liked to have done.
      Layla recently posted…Favorite Books of 2015

      • Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

        Bone Gap was all sorts of magical. I struggled with my end of year post as well because not only did I not read as much as I typically do, but I wasn’t picking up the best things. I had less than half a dozen 5-stars and I know a few of them were re-reads so 5-stars were a given. haha

        Crosstown Crush is high on my TBR because of Wendy. :) I read a few contemporary romances this year but zero historical romances and I love those so.
        Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…2015 End of Year Book Survey

        • Layla

          I hear you. I was struggling with some of my choices this year but for different reasons? I wasn’t reading as many 2015 releases as I wanted to towards the end of the year (and throughout the year too, really) so although I read a lot of things I loved this year, many of them weren’t published in 2015.

          And yeah, I feel like I had … very few five star books this year. Maybe that’s not right but that’s what I’m remembering.

          Anything you’d recommend? I’m trying to think of any historical romances I read this year I enjoyed – Tessa Dare released one, and I always like her stuff; so did Rose Lerner, ditto. Weirdly, the one I’ve picked up and haven’t liked all that much has been Courtney Milan’s newest book, which is crazy because she is my favorite.
          Layla recently posted…Favorite Books of 2015

  8. Joy // Joyousreads

    Kim, I’m with you on the Red Queen it left me a little underwhelmed as well. I felt like it took a lot of fantasy elements from a variety of books, but didn’t really improve upon them. I’m looking forward to meeting Nina and Mathias from Six of Crows. :D

    I so wish I can get into more Science Fiction and fantasy books, Layla. The elaborate world is just way too much for my simple imagination to handle. Lol. It’s so weird that for someone who enjoys contemporary romance like me, I’ve only ever read a couple of Sarah Dessen novels. I really want to read more. Got any good recommendations for me?

    Miss Wendy! I so miss your posts last year. Here’s hoping you’ll be able to share more of your reviews. And I’m disappointed that you didn’t quite enjoy a couple of books that are on my favourites for 2015. But I can understand why.

    Happy New Year, ladies! All the best to you in 2016.

    • Layla

      You never know, maybe one day you’ll read a SF/F book that works for you – I feel like the world-building isn’t always super elaborate, you know? Some take place in worlds that are only slightly different from our own and might thus feel more recognizable to you? I don’t know! So keep hope alive, the perfect book might be out there waiting for you.

      With regards to Sarah Dessen, start with The Truth About Forever and Just Listen. That is where I started (and I think that was on Wendy’s recommendation, and she can correct me if I’m wrong!) and I liked both of those. Have you read either of those? :)

      Happy New Year!! (And yes, go read Six of Crows!!)
      Layla recently posted…Favorite Books of 2015

  9. Stephanie Jane

    I haven’t got any matches on my Top Ten list for 2015, although I do have an older Patrick Ness that I listened to this year, A Monster Calls. Very powerful audiobook.

    Looking forward to lots of great 2016 reading. Happy New Year!
    Stephanie Jane recently posted…My Top Ten Books of 2015

    • Layla

      Ooh, I still haven’t read that one! (Though it is, like everything else in the world, on my TBR list.) I did get to see Patrick Ness speak this year at a conference for English Teachers though, which was pretty great – he was wonderful, and after Kim’s glowing review of The Rest of Us Just Live Here, I’m really excited to read it.
      Layla recently posted…Favorite Books of 2015

  10. Carina Olsen

    Yaaaay :D I love this post. <3 Thank you sweet girls for sharing about all your favorite books of 2015 :) YAY! I loved a few of these too. <3 Especially Six of Crows :) Such a special book. But aw. I don't see Winter on any of your lists :( Haven't any of you read this precious book yet? :) YOU MUST :D I hope you will all read so many awesome books this year too. <3 Happy reading to you all :) And happy new year. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Best Books of 2015

    • Layla

      Haha, I haven’t read so. many. books that I suspect would’ve made my top ten list this year if I’d only read them! (I didn’t read Bone Gap, Immortal Heights, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, George, etc.) And that’s to say that I also haven’t read Winter! I still haven’t read past the first book in that series yet – it’s on my list, I just haven’t gotten past that yet. Maybe in 2016? I’m glad you loved it as much as you did though! And yes, I loved Six of Crows – it’s cool that that one made all of our lists. :) Woooooo!

      Happy New Year!
      Layla recently posted…Favorite Books of 2015