Well, it’s that time of year again! I’m sure your inbox is flooded with notifications about end of the year blog posts, but I hope you don’t mind reading just one more. I had an okay reading year. For the first four months, I was in school, so I was forced to real only school books, but I tried to make up for it in the summer. My Goodreads goal was 30 books and I read 42, so I call that a win. My goal for 2016 is 40 books. I like to keep my number conservative because I write in my free time. My novels takes priority, so I know that I will not be able to read as much as other bloggers do.
In 2016, I do plan on doing book reviews. I also plan on participating in more ReadAThons. I bought a lot of books this year, and I want to slay my TBR in 2016. Before all of that however, I thought I would talk about the best books I read in 2015, and a few of the ones I found disappointing.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I cannot say enough good things about this book. I laughed. I cried. I fell in love with the characters. That’s so hard to do now adays. For some reason, it’s been hard for me to find a book where I fall head over heels in love with the characters, but that happened with Eleanor & Park. There was something so raw and real about their romance. I could relate to them on so many levels. Though I read and enjoyed all of Rowell’s other books–Fangirl, Landline, Attachments and Carry On–they do not have the same heart, with and personality that her debut Young Adult novel does. If you are looking for a touching, sweet and realistic romance, read this book. It has one of the most heartbreaking and hopeful endings I have read and years.
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
This was a tough one for me. I was initally tempted to go with Lola and the Boy Next Door (I read Anna and the French Kiss in 2014), but after further consideration, I came to the conclusion that while Isla is not the better book, it is the one that affected me more. I hate–and I mean hate–when characters in books are separated. I need to keep reading until they are reunited again. There was a chunk of chapters where Isla and her boyfriend Josh were separated and I just couldn’t handle it. I take this as a sign of Perkins’ writing. She is able to create characters who are relatable and readers can root for. Yes, Lola had the better plot, but the characters in Isla were better, and for me, that was the deciding factor. I recommend this entire trilogy. It’s a cut above the usual young adult romance. Perkins is just so good at writing an engrossing love story.
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Sure, you can enjoy the Lunar Chronicles without reading Fairest, but why would you want to do that? Fairest offers readers an interesting insight into the series’ main villain Queen Levana. Captivating from beginning to end, Fairest is one of those books that is just pure fun. I enjoyed learning more about Levana and while I sympathized with some of the things she went through, I still think she is awful and I cannot wait to see what happens to her in Winter. In order to fully enjoy Fairest and to avoid spoilers for the rest of the series, I recommend reading the novel after Cress and before Winter. The Lunar Chronicles has been such a joy to read. I own Winter but I haven’t gotten the chance to read it yet. Hopefully I get to it very soon. It’s going to be bittersweet to say goodbye to such wonderful characters.
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung
I had to read several biographies for my Perspectives on Genocide class this semester and although they were all great, none of them affected me as much as First They Killed My Father. The rawness of the writing really adds to the horrific things that happen in the story. Books like this are important to read because unfortunately, we are going through some similar things now. If you are interested in reading a book about the Cambodian Genocide, I recommend picking up this one.
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
So if you don’t know by now, I am obsessed with J.K Rowling. She is my absolute favorite writer of all time. I have devoured the Harry Potter series, and while I did not love The Casual Vacancy, Rowling has managed to enthrall my with her Comoran Strike novels. Written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, Rowling has crafted an engrossing trilogy of character driven crime novels that are just as magical as the Harry Potter saga. I re-read The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm this year in order to prepare for Career of Evil. While I did enjoy those first two novels, Career of Evil blows them out of the water. The novel deviates from formula, including chapters from the killer’s point of view. Rowling develops the characters in such a way that they become more interesting than the actual plot. There is no release date for the 4th book, but I can only hope it will drop in 2016, because after reading that ending, there is no way I can wait any longer than a year for the next book.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
I knew of Agatha Christie for a long time and I own several of her novels. After reading Career of Evil, I was eager for more mystery novels. So I picked up this book and let me tell you, it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only is Agatha Christie amazing at creating characters, but her plots are so unpredictable. I had my own suspicions of her committed the crime, but I never came close to predicting Christie’s brilliant finale. I plan on watching the film adaption and I cannot wait to dive into more of Christie’s novels.
Most Disappointing Novels of 2015
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I liked this book but I didn’t love it. Everyone hyped it up to be this amazing, one-in-a-lifetime love story and while the writing was good, I found it too formulaic and predictable. This was the first John Green book I read, so I cannot speak for his other novels, but I hated the way the characters talked in this book. They were so pretentious. No teenager actually talks like that! That’s what I loved so much about Eleanor & Park. I actually felt like I was reading a conversation between two teenagers. Yes, I cried. I’m not a Grinch, but I don’t think this was the best book ever. Not even close.
The Natural by Bernard Malamud
I was expecting something way different in this novel. I guess that’s the problem with seeing movies first. I went into this book hoping to be inspired, but instead I was let down. The ending is such a downer and there is not a single likable character. I know this novel is supposed to depict the dark side of baseball, but how I am supposed to care about Roy Hobbs fall? He is way too arrogant. Maybe that was Malamud’s intention. Maybe we were supposed to hate Roy Hobbs from the beginning because I sure did. I am writing a book about baseball, so I will probably read this again for research purposes. Who knows, now that I know what to expect, I may enjoy this book more the second time around.
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I have heard nothing but good things about this book on BookTube. However, when i read it, I couldn’t help but feel indifferent. I thought the book was a bit too long and the ending was a bit anti-climatic. I understand leaving loose ends, but since this is a stand-alone novel, there has to be answers. I felt like I was left with more questions. The book was fun, no doubt. I just wasn’t wowed.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I love Rainbow Rowell. I have made that clear. That’s why I found Carry On so disappointing. I expected so much more from Rowell. Yes the dialogue was typical Rowell, but the plot was all but non-existant. It is nice to see a mainstream LGBTQ love story, but I was just underwhelmed with the plot, the world and the magic system. I am eagerly awaiting Rowell’s next book, but I think she should stick to contemporary novels. That is what she does best.
So there you have it! I hope you guys had a great 2015 and I hope we all have an even better 2016!
Have a great day and I will see you next year!