1) Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Brief Summary: NOPE.
My Thoughts: This book was super amazing and cemented the Stormlight Archive as my favorite Brandon Sanderson series…well, at least until my next reread of Mistborn. The character development was beautiful, the new pieces of worldbuilding we got were intriguing, there were a lot of sitting-in-my-bed-screaming-at-the-book-at-1-AM chapters, and Shallan’s backstory broke my heart. I need Oathbringer now, please.
2) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Spooner (reread) (audiobook)
Brief Summary: I’m not crying about a murderous supercomputer, YOU’RE crying about a murderous supercomputer!
My Thoughts: I reread this specifically for the audiobook experience, and it paid off! For those of you who don’t know, the Illuminae audiobook is a full-cast audio, complete with sound effects, and it was kind of like watching a movie in my head. The voice actors were perfect, and the audio enhanced certain scenes, like Ezra’s drunk voicemail and the classical music playing during [spoiler]. If you liked Illuminae, I definitely recommend the audiobook. If you haven’t read Illuminae yet, what are you doing with your life?
3) Born to Endless Night by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan (audiobook)
Brief Summary: Magnus and Alec accidentally adopt a baby warlock.
My Thoughts: The whole time I was reading this, I was keenly aware that it was fanservice, and I didn’t mind at all. This fan feels very serviced. It was hilarious and heartwarming and my favorite installment of Shadowhunter Academy so far. (I’m also very happy that we got to know Lily better, and her odd friendship with Alec was adorable).
4) Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
Brief Summary: I’m not crying about a murderous kandra, YOU’RE crying about a murderous Kandra.
My Thoughts: The Alloy of Law was so much fun that I really was not expecting the wave of pain that hit me at the end of this book. Don’t get me wrong–it was fun and banter-y and Wayne was delightful–but there were also moments that broke my heart, which I maybe should have expected because Brandon Sanderson. Also, I’m in love with Melaan, and Steris is a beautiful cinnamon roll who deserves all the happiness in the world.
5) Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
Brief Summary: Once again, I have picked the worst possible time to become invested in a ship.
My Thoughts: I’m reading this series ve-e-e-ery slowly, but I’m loving it a lot. This one is my favorite so far; it has the best plotting, and Rose has grown so much from the first book to this one. I’m still not emotionally prepared to discuss the ending, so let’s just leave it at that.
6) Lock and Mori by Heather W. Petty
Brief Summary: Modern AU Sherlock Holmes with female Moriarty.
My Thoughts: I was excited to read this one, but it ended up not working for me. Lots of instalove, a mystery I had no emotional connection to, and certain decisions Mori made caused this book to feel a lot longer than it actually was. The ending made me think the series had some potential,
7) Hold Me Closer by David Levithan
Brief Summary: A musical about big gay football player Tiny Cooper.
My Thoughts: I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I love musical theater, and that means this book was a really fun way to spend two hours. All the nostalgia, and all the musical references.
8) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Brief Summary: A girl is forced to relive the day before her death over and over.
My Thoughts: I’m honestly really sad that Lauren Oliver is known for the Delirium series when this book is so much better. The writing is beautiful without being over the top, the characters are all much more complex than they appear, and Sam’s character development brought tears to my eyes, especially towards the end of the book. In particular, I was pleasantly surprised by how Lindsay’s character was written; over the repeated days, she is made more and more real and complex and sympathetic, but her terrible actions are never excused or brushed away. Definitely one of my favorite contemporaries read in 2015.
9) Spinning Starlight by RC Lewis
Brief Summary: Sci-fi version of The Six Swans.
My Thoughts: I didn’t love this quite as much as I wanted to. I could have done with less infodumping, the main romance was cute but not particularly interesting, the plot was really slow, and the characters of the brothers ran together for me, which made the ending lose some of its punch. On the bright side, I could tell the author knew what she was talking about with the scientific aspects, and while I found the flashbacks very jarring at first, they ended up being effective and helping me understand Lyddi and care for her.
10) Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian
Brief Summary: Will has a complicated love life and family life and doesn’t know the word ‘bisexual’.
My Thoughts: This book was very realistic, and in this case I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I liked it better than I thought I would, because all the negative reviews lowered my expectations a lot. Will is selfish and avoids dealing with his problems and thinks he loves Angus and Brandy but really only loves how they make him feel and the escape they provide, and from a reader’s stand point, I didn’t really mind; even though I don’t like him, he feels real to me. The writing is also pretty strong, and I ended up caring about Brandy a lot. I guess my biggest problem was that it didn’t really go anywhere? Nothing changed, no one grew, and I was left wondering what the point even was. Also, while I understand the author’s justification for not using the word ‘bisexual’, I don’t agree, and I think it hurt the book more than it helped.
11) Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
Brief Summary: Let’s fight evil superpowered people with the power of terrible metaphors!
My Thoughts: The Reckoners trilogy is my least favorite Brandon Sanderson series, which makes it…still pretty good, actually. It had been a long time since I read the first book, but David’s awkwardness got me back into the world really fast, and I actually ended up caring about his relationship with Megan. Most of the other characters still felt a little too trope-y for me, but I did love Mizzy a lot; if anything bad happens to her in Calamity, I will be very upset. We also learned a bit about how Epics work and where they came from, and that information made me very excited for the third book.
12) Gilded by Christina Farley (audiobook)
Brief Summary: The mythology is unique. Everything else is decidedly not.
My Thoughts: Meh. I wanted to like this one, but the protagonists voice was grating (though that may have been at least partially the narrator’s fault), the love interest had the personality of a block of wood, the plot was slow and repetitive, and the writing was the worst kind of awkward-first-person POV. I am giving a second star because the Korean mythology was interesting, and, according to others who are more knowledgeable than I am, accurate.
13) Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer
Brief Summary: Rule 63 Twilight.
My Thoughts: I still can’t believe this book exists. It was boring in some places, but made me really nostalgic and weirdly emotional in others, and there were some really entertaining moments that didn’t happen in the original books. (Sex with vampires 101, anybody?) Also, I enjoyed Edythe much more than Edward, and ended up shipping Archie and Beau. Make of that what you will.
Rating: as if I could rate this
15-16) Shadowland/Ninth Key by Meg Cabot
Brief Summary: Suze is a perfectly normal teenage girl who talks to ghosts sometimes.
My Thoughts: This was super fun to revisit! It has kind of a cheesy fun “early seasons of Buffy” vibe and is generally hilarious, and I maintain my opinion that Suze and Jesse have the best chemistry of any Meg Cabot pairings.
17) The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Brief Summary: For a book this short, it’s literally impossible to summarize.
My Thoughts: A simple, honest story that’s relevant to both children and adults. Made me cry a little.
18) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Brief Summary: A witch, a scientist, and the upcoming end of the world.My Thoughts: One of the most unique books I’ve read. The self-aware humor reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s writing style and Patricia and Laurence’s relationship made me very emotional. The book had such a large scope, but never lost its personal connection. Also, it took place partially in San Francisco and had a secondary asexual character, and both of those things made me happy.
19) Beyond the Red by Ava Jae (ARC)
Brief Summary: Eros, a half-blood, is enslaved by aliens and becomes a bodyguard to Kora, a queen struggling to keep her throne.
My Thoughts: Really cool wordbuilding, a great balance between kissing and political intrigue, and two protagonists on opposite sides who are interesting and sympathetic and have distinct voices. Definitely pick this one up once it comes out!
20) Persuasion by Jane Austen
Brief Summary: Sometimes, meeting your ex-boyfriend years afterward actually ends well.
My Thoughts: I accomplished my “read all of Austen’s novels in 2015” goal with only hours to spare! Anyway, this is one of my favorite Austen novels, and a good finishing point for 2015.
I had a REALLY good month in December, I picked up some AMAZING BOOKS GUYS.
1) The Girl from Everywhere by Richelle Mead
Brief Summary: Time traveling pirate ships, learning about history, all sorts of amazing things.
My Thoughts: Dude. DUDE. This book wasn’t what I was expecting it to be but holy crap guys. It wound up so much better.
2) The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
Brief Summary: Endings are the worst. But I do love endings done well.
My Thoughts: I put off reading this book for so long because I didn’t want this story to end. I loved Sydney and Adrian so much that I can’t even come close to explaining my love for them. I don’t want to put any spoilers here but this was such a great ending.
3) Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson
Brief Summary: Ugh. A book that had so much potential but just fell so far from what I was hoping for, or from what I was even promised from the back of the book.
My Thoughts: I have a full review of this book coming closer to release date and in some ways I just want y’all to wait for that, I had a lot more space to explain how I felt about this book. But in short? I wasn’t thrilled at all.
4) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Brief Summary: Who doesn’t know this story?
My Thoughts: Every Christmas I wind up picking up this book. The book is just so fantastic, there’s some great movie adaptations out there (Disney’s Christmas Carol with Jim Carry is so crazy close to the book) but this book is just like my favorite thing. I can’t get over it.
5) My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
Brief Summary: Once you learn which Christmas stories to skip and just read the good ones this book becomes amazing.
My Thoughts: I only read my favorite stories this year, plus a couple new ones, and I gotta say this book is just so wonderfully amazing, it’s so cute and adorable and squealing. (If you wanna know which stories to read start with Midnights, It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown, Star of Bethlehem,)
6) The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa
Brief Summary: Ethan and Kenzie’s story wraps up the stories of Faery and so many twists and turns.
My Thoughts: I’m not sure exactly what to say here. The book was good, really good, but for some reason I kept putting it down and not picking it up? I’m really not sure what happened there. But I really enjoyed the story, and I’m sad to say goodbye to all of these amazing characters.
7) A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Brief Summary: Somewhat retelling of Sherlock Holmes, and yet totally unique in it’s own way and it makes me crazy happy.
My Thoughts: THIS BOOK GUYS. OH MY GOD. I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked this up but UGH. I loved every second of reading this book and I can’t wait for a physical copy to arrive at my doorstep. It was just SO FANTASTIC AND AMAZINGGGG.
8) Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
Brief Summary: Vast majority you’re gonna find these online already. But finding a bindup is always a good thing.
My Thoughts: I’m pretty sure I cried with laughter reading, and rereading so many of these. I can’t get over how Sarah is able to nail so many great and wonderful things about people (But also specifically me)
9) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Brief Summary: Greek Myths galore! Sarcastic kids galore!
My Thoughts: I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to pick this one up. Like I always knew I’d like Percy Jackson if I’d just PICK IT UP. But I never did, and then I just….ignored it existed. But finally I am embarking on this journey. (And yes, I’m loving it)