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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My Top 10 Reads in 2015



My Top Ten Reads of 2015



I’m a picky reader. Most of the books I crack open, I put down before I get through the Amazon sample (as discussed here). I’m also a slow reader, not because I don’t read quickly but because there are so many interruptions in my life and so many things competing for my attention that reading often gets put aside, or I think “if I have time to read, I have time to edit/write/read aloud to my kids.”
But because of this shortage of time and general pickiness the books I do manage to read are all the more precious.


Now, while this is my “best of this year” list, not all these books were published in this year. You’ll also notice that most of my reads are indies. This is honestly because I read almost exclusively Indies. Mainly because Traditional Publishers still haven’t got their heads wrapped around the somewhat obvious fact THAT I WON’T PAY PAPERBACK PRICES FOR EBOOKS! (Do you think they heard that?) The only traditionally published books I read, I got at the library, and a couple classics, but no one really needs to hear me talk about “Walden.” I mean, it was good, but if you haven’t been convinced to read it yet, I’m not the one who will tip you over the edge. I’d rather tell you about the books from the last year that I loved that you may not have heard of.


Throughout this post there will be affiliate links to purchase the books on Amazon.

From 10 counting down to NUMBER ONE! Here we go ...



10. Try, Fail, Succeed, by Matthew J. Earl, a book of writing prompt haikus. I don’t read a ton of poetry, but this book earned a place on the list because it tells stories in three lines, some of which were funny, some of which intriguing, and I really enjoyed devouring it. It was a big surprise for me. 

9. Chickens, Hawks, and Grumpy Goats, by S. A. Molteni. This is a collection of short stories and essays about farm life, and it both made me laugh out loud and cry. It’s just a charming series, which I highly recommend.

8. Meadowcity, by Liz Delton, YA/Fantasy, this fast paced story had excellent world building and likeable characters. Surprisingly, my favorite was the villain, and that does not happen often to me. I really felt for the guy.

7. Only a Kiss, by Ines Bautista-Yao, Romance, this is NOT my usual genre, but I really loved hanging out in the Philippines for a few days with this pair of precocious young friends. The characters managed to be flawed and believable yet extremely likable.

6. Shatterworld, by Lelia Rose Foreman, a MG SciFi with excellent world building and characterization. The characters are sometimes so real it is uncomfortable, but I still very much enjoyed it.

5. Waiting for Appa, by Mirtika, SciFi/Short Story, one of two books on this list to make me cry, I really got sucked in. This told an entertaining complete story in a short span. I read a lot of short stories this year, but this was definitely my favorite.

4. A Place of Voices, by Lauren Lynch, YA Fantasy/Spiritual, this book won me over with a koala. Yeah, I started this book and this creature is creeping up on a young girl and I thought, “Oh no, this is a werewolf book… I don’t want to read a werewolf book …” but thankfully I stuck it out and when the supposed werewolf turned out to be a cuddly koala, I was sold. This book is a clear Christian allegory, and while I thought those had been done so many times that I wouldn’t want to read another (after all, C. S. Lewis did it so well, do we really need more?), but this book proved me wrong. The sequel was excellent too.

3. Mia and Snouts, by Day Jamison, is a MG Fantasy, with a very vocal and adorable child protagonist. I read the first few chapters, thought, “Hey, my daughter would like this,” read her a few chapters, then finished it up on my own later that night, and then read her the rest over the next few days, and I didn’t mind essentially reading it twice in the slightest. Mia reminds me a lot of an older version of my toddler, Claire, who knows what she wants and how she wants it.

2. Malevolent, by K. M. Carroll, This is a YA Paranormal romance which is incredibly quirky and creative. I had more fun with this than I had reading anything in a long time, one of those books I didn’t want to put down.  

1. The Fairy Wren, by Ashley Capes, This book is magical realism. There is some off screen sex and a couple of f-words during a fight scene, so if my mom is reading this, she’s been warned. It is also one of the few books in my life that has just blown me away from the elegance of the writing. The first page made me stop and take a breath. The story is bizarre and whimsical and intense in places, but this was definitely my favorite book of the year. The author also put out a ghost story called A Whisper of Leaves which I enjoyed and which almost made the list, but I decided to keep it to one per author, so it’s just an honorable mention.


So what were your top ten reads for this year? I know mine were all indies, but yours don’t necessarily have to be. Have you read any of the books on my list?

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your eclectic list!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I just found out number 8 is apparently free right now (not sure for how much longer, but grab it if you can).

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  2. I loved The Place of Voices! Looking up Meadowcity right now...

    Great list, thanks for sharing!

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  3. OH, man, you made me so happy today! Thank you for including my short tale. :D

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    1. I really enjoyed it. I read a lot of short stories (because I have to hide from my kids to read so time is precious), but yours was definitely my favorite short this year.

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  4. Wow, thank you, what a wonderful, wonderful surprise, Heidi :D

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  5. Well, the book deserved it. Magical realism is a fairly new genre for me, but I'm definitely going to have to look up more of it.

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  6. Thanks!
    How has the research gone?
    How about maybe checking 'A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings'? (Gabriel García Márquez) which is a short or maybe 'A Wild Sheep Chase' by Murakami - which is a little more post modern, perhaps. Both tend to have the MC a little more accepting right away, of the magic in the world, than The Fairy Wren, I'd say

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    1. I've been meaning to read some Marquez. Mostly it has been trolling Scrib for writers who tend towards this ... and a few short stories.

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