In my final look back to 2015, I review my year in reading. 2015 was my first year ever in tracking my reading progress, thanks to finally joining in on the Goodreads Reading Challenge. Since I mostly check-out library books, I really had no idea how many books I read a year. So, I set 24 books, hoping to surpass it. By the time January ended, I had 14 books under my belt, so, I figured I should reset my goal to 100, which was much more realistic. So, while I could enumerate the number of books, how much did I actually enjoy what I read? What was the process like? Outside of the pretty diagram Goodreads made for me, I want to examine my bookish feelings on reading one book every 3 days.
This is my story, of an avid YA reader who reads too much, and which is the truth, the whole truth, as much as I can remember of the truth after the jump.
I started the year off with the Lux series, recommended to me by a dear friend. Not sure if she was pulling my leg about Jennifer Armentrout’s novels, I read all three books in a series about secret-keeping alien neighbors you love to hate. The story was ridiculous, but, I will finish reading almost anything I start as long as it makes me feel something. This was one of those series that was so infuriatingly bad, I couldn’t put it down.
This was followed by Wendy Higgins’ Sweet trilogy. This story of Southern fallen angels fulfilling their sinful duties was flat-out offensive with its sexual/sinful innuendo coupled with moral Bible versus. Naturally, I couldn’t put it down. Actually, I listened to the audio book and the breathy narrator, Erin Mallon, made the gross pornographic parts of the story even more sleazy. I loved it while I listened, but then I hated myself after I was done.
I needed a mental flossing from my January reading experience. I wanted to find some books that restored my faith in storytelling, so I cleansed my palette with some fairy tale-inspired tomes: Rosamund Hodge’s Gilded Ashes and the extremely underrated Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt. I also simultaneously listened to Holly Black’s Curse Worker series which was expertly narrated by Jesse Eisenberg, professional actor, who, in my humble opinion, should do more voice over work. This lead me down the path of Holly Black, and I quickly finished The Darkest Part of the Forest and The Coldest Girl In Coldtown in quick succession followed by McCormick Templeman’s supremely under-the-radar,The Glass Casket. I began reading The Raven Cycle series, which took me until the summer to finish, and was immediately smitten with and then in a committed relationship with Blue Sargent and her tribe of Aglionby boys in search of a dead Welsh king.
Along the way, I read some duds like Perfected (seriously, genetically engineered human pets? Who thought this would be a good idea?), Shiver (oh, Maggie Stiefvater, what in the world is THIS?), The Secrets We Keep (how does your own mother not recognize that you’re posing as your own, dead twin?!?), and Atlantia (Ally Condie, this should have stayed at the bottom of the ocean where it belonged). Summer had started off with a little bit of a stumble, mostly caused by these books and not the volume of champagne I was drinking. Luckily enough, Extraordinary Means, A Court of Thorn and Roses, Made You Up and the incredibly cute and charming The Improbably Theory of Ana and Zak made it to the top of my reading list and reinvigorated me once again.
I also found myself a victim of some pretty big disappointments this year: Rosamond Hodge’s Crimson Bound (a story so transfixed on it’s fairy tale and mythological origins that the explanations got in the way of the story Hodge was trying to tell), Rick Yancey’s The Infinite Sea (which was like the second season of Walking Dead where they just sat on the farm and argued) and Eleanor Herman’s The Legacy of Kings ( I. Just. Couldn’t. with Alexander the Great).
I went old school and absolutely fangirled over Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy (watch YOself, Lord of the Rings, you don’t have anything on Nix’s worldbuilding abilities!), Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Sky Chasers magnificently dark and triumphant space trilogy and Patrick Ness’s Genius Chaos Walking trilogy (The Language! Todd & Viola! MANCHEEEEEE!).
I declared 2015 the year of the Unfinished Trilogy and I began all of these new series: Colleen Houck’s Reawakened, VE Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, Josephine Angelini’s Firewalker trilogy, Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, Heather Demetrios Dark Caravan Cycle, Mary E Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles. I even snuck in a duology, The Wrath and the Dawn, which stole my heart, my brain and gave me the longest, saddest book hangover all year.
There were two gay Simons on my reading list this year, both equally charming and amazing in their own right: Simon Snow from Rainbow Rowell’s Harry Potter-based fan fiction, Carry On, and Simon Spier from Becky Albertelli’s can’t say it enough, AMAZING, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Carry On was our November book club pick and Simon Vs. is our January 2016 pick.
I rounded out this exceptional year of reading by beginning the Lunar Chronicles series, which I’ll finish reviewing in anticipation of the 2016 release of Stars Above, Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not, Anna-Maria McLemore’s exquisite The Weight of Feathers, and Ryan Graudin’s explosive Wolf by Wolf. I will begin 2016 with my reviews of these novels, but I can say this: all 4 of these novels are in desperate need of your attention. They are all exceptional in their own way, so don’t miss out on them in 2016!
We started both our Book Club at Inkwood Books (if you’re in Tampa, by the way, please join us!!) and the blog over the summer, so many of the reviews for the books I’ve mentioned are only available on my personal Goodreads page. It was a huge learning experience to go from random drunk musings to formulating structured reviews and we’re still not finished fine-tuning our content to fit our goals. In 2015, I discovered that I was always in the company of a great book or one that at least made me feel something. I was wrapped up and swept away by the pieces of trees between two covers and enjoyed every the ride, for better or worse. Have a very happy 2016 and I look forward to sharing much, much more with you!