Well it is that time of year again. A joint no 1 that won’t surprise MANY people although maybe a few but before those, 9 others that have rocked my reading world this year. This top ten includes my favourites for many reasons – and does at least a little justice to the seriously amazing year I have had in reading. And hey, 2016 is shaping up to be even better. I know I say that every year. But every year it does turn out to be true! I have done a whole ton of reading this year and for that reason I will be running a series of articles in January speaking a little bit more about the OTHER great reads that have not quite made it into this list, often not because they are not as good or as worthy but because, hey, at some point I had to stop juggling the many and get it down to the few. So keep an eye out for those posts because trust me these beautiful 10 (11!) may be my top picks but are just the tip of the iceberg.
Before I get into it, the list consists of Fiction titles. I don’t read nearly enough Non-Fiction and I should read more – something I plan to do next year and will have a top ten in non fiction then. For now though I’d like to give a huge shout out to Matt Haig’s “Reasons to Stay Alive” – a really most important book when it comes to mental health issues and one in which Matt tells us his story in an open, honest and utterly engaging fashion. It helped me. I know it helped a lot of people and will continue to do so. I imagine it was hugely difficult to write and even harder to let go of, so it has to have a mention here just because.
So onwards we go then. Counting down. So we’ll begin with Number 10.
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven was actually the very first book I read after last years cut off – at the time I thought perhaps it would be here but of course that was VERY early to be thinking it, then again look here we are. The sheer emotional trauma and cathartic crying I did at the end of this beautifully written and utterly emotional novel, speaking to mental health issues in young people, means it deserves its place here without question. And it had Finch. Who I will never forget.
My original review here: http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/liz-currently-loves-all-the-bright-places-by-jennifer-niven/
John Connolly’s “A Song of Shadows” the latest Charlie Parker novel was just incredible. They always are for me but this one brought the mythology of the series to a whole new level, left me desperate for more and just reminded me of the reasons why this is my favourite crime series of them all. Ever. Literary crime with a hint of other, if you haven’t read these yet then please do. And in order if possible. Charlie’s story is a true journey.
My original review can be found, along with others, here: http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/john-connolly/
Sarah Bannan’s “Weightless” could easily have been my No 1 this year – with its themes of small town life, peer pressure and bullying, told in an atmospheric and noir style that really digs deep – the narrator is never known, she is “we” – observing and commenting as new girl Carolyn moves into a tight knit community and finds popularity then is outcast. I cried buckets at the end of this one too and I still can’t tell you exactly why. It is a tour de force of a novel with an ending that hits hard.
My original review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1263922357?book_show_action=false
Well. What else to say about the seriously amazing “How To Be Brave” – Louise Beech has written a gorgeously rich, emotional literary story, with a basis in truth and history – which speaks to the beauty and impact of storytelling when it comes to life. One I championed from the start, before it was even a glint in it’s publishers eye (Yes Karen I’m taking all the glory!) how could it NOT be in my top ten. It is on my books of all time list.
So my favourite author (ok already SECOND favourite author but hey my favourite didn’t even make my top ten this year so that speaks to the quality of reading in 2015) Neil White concluded his Parker Brothers trilogy with “The Domino Killer” – once again proving that when it comes to crime fiction he’s got the touch. It was a perfect ending to a great trilogy and also has the dubious pleasure of being the novel that set off the longest ever blog tour I have ever been responsible for, when I and a whole gang of my fellow bloggers decided that hey, Neil is quite a nice chap, we’ll spend the whole of July talking about that. Deserved though. Great books. Every time.
My original review here: http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/to-conclude-a-trilogy-the-domino-killer-by-neil-white/
Oh Eddie Flynn. How I love you. And by extension, Steve Cavanagh who with “The Defence” absolutely made one of my reading days this year with it’s witty, exciting writing and a main protagonist to die for in the randomly brilliant Eddie Flynn – This is one that will make you laugh, have you on the edge of your seat and often nodding along at the ironically insightful humour. One of the most addictive books you will EVER read, the follow up to this is one of my most anticipated for 2016. I simply cannot wait.
My original review here: http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/spotlight-2015-the-defence-by-steve-cavanagh/
“Tenacity” by James Law was another one sitting read for me. A tense, claustrophic thriller, with a strong female lead and packing a real punch from first page to last, stories within this genre don’t come much better than this and honestly stories in ANY genre don’t come much better than this if you are looking for a book that will absorb you into it’s atmosphere and spit you out the other side requiring a few days to recover. A marvel and another novel whose follow up I am anticipating most highly.
My original Review here: http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/liz-currently-loves-tenacity-by-j-s-law/
Well we all know my love for Derwent knows no bounds but honestly he is one of the lesser reasons why Jane Casey’s “After the Fire” has made it into my top ten this year – as soon as I turned the final page I knew it would be here. The Kerrigan series just grows in stature with every novel, with our cast of characters always firmly anchoring each individual mystery within. Maeve Kerrigan is the book character I’d most like to know in real life, her relationships and friendships are almost iconic to me now. The subtle intricacies that the author weaves into the ongoing plots are second to none and After the Fire was possibly the best yet for that, including as it does one scene that made me literally cry with laughter and others that simply made me cry. Seriously incredible. Just you know, more Derwent, all the time too please Jane!
Do I really need to explain? Do I? Red Rising, the first novel in this trilogy, was my No 1 book a couple of years back. Golden Son just missed the cut off to be in my last years top reads I read it in December 2014 just prior to its release in January this year – and boy oh boy oh boy. I can’t even speak. Ok I can. Its BRILLIANT. Unbelievable this series for sheer unadulterated passion and hitting you hard in all the right emotional places. Incredible characters, an incredible mythology and yeah ok I’m going to stop now. MORNING STAR will be upon us soon. And I don’t trust this author. No I don’t trust him at all.
*sobs into pillow*
Before I tell you my joint No 1 which most of you know about anyway if you have been paying any attention this year (what you don’t? Ok well maybe it will surprise you then!) I want to mention these. Rob Boffard and Tracer. Patrick Gale and A Place called Winter. Emily Benet and Please Retweet. Finally, Lynn Weingarten and “Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls.” All of these were very close to this list, close enough to bear mentioning and all for very different reasons. Tracer for its old school scifi action, A Place Called Winter for the purely beautiful prose, Please Retweet for being the book that made me laugh out loud the most times this year and Suicide Notes because I’m STILL not over that ending. So there you go.
Number One (times two)
I found these two impossible to separate when deciding which was going to be my top read for 2015. They are both SO different and gave me such different reading experiences, but I can’t decide then remembered that it was my blog so I didn’t have to. I’ll have a joint number 1 making it 11 books in one top ten so there! Remember the glare. Here they are.
Asking For It is possibly the most important book written for the new generation of teenagers and for the next generation of teenagers and probably the one after that as well. Speaking to society and it’s attitude towards sexual assault and rape victims, “Asking For It” asks the hard questions and forces you to search within yourself for the answers. It is incredibly hard hitting and often a difficult read but Louise O Neill is NOT letting you off. Was she “Asking for It” this girl in this book, in this time of so called enlightenment? You will discover who you are from reading this story and every parent and every young adult should read it and find that out. For that reason it should and had to be in my No 1 spot this year. This writer – she already writes books that will endure, classics in the making.
The Dark Inside is a completely different kettle of fish. A southern noir tale with a basis in truth, Rod Reynolds takes us back to 1946 America and sets his main protagonist, reporter Charlie Yates against a small town that hides it’s secrets well, amongst an atmosphere of fear and distrust – meanwhile people are dying and someone knows more than they are telling. Whilst it is a mystery, the heart of it is the journey that Charlie goes on to find himself and regain his self worth. As such it is a marvel of a story, the writing in this is unbelievably magical, real old school storytelling, a touch of genius. Something that has been missing in the book world has now been found again. For THAT reason it should and had to be in my No 1 spot this year. This writer – he’s going to write the books that will endure, classics in the making.
And so that’s it for another year. Christmas is approaching, my reading list for next year looks so enticing I’m salivating – next year will see the release of City of Mirrors – the final part of The Passage trilogy, oh good lord. And Morning Star is here in January, there will be more no doubt from all my favourite authors and I’ll find a plethora of new ones. Bring. It. On.
Happy HAPPY reading folks!