Top Ten Tuesday: Top 15 Books I Read in 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Fifteen Books I Read in 2015 (in no particular order): 

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On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves 

Rating: 5/5 stars

This was one of the first books I read in 2015, and even now, I’m shocked at how much I enjoyed it. I usually stay far far away from books with student/teacher relationships, but something about the premise of this book really drew me in and the romance kept me hooked without grossing me out. This is one of the only books this year that kept me up into the wee hours of the morning reading.

Summary: When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.
T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments — instead of his friends.
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.
Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man. 

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 5/5 stars

As soon as I started reading this, I knew it would be going on my favorites list this year. I purposely avoided reading it for as long as possible because I knew I would love it and wanted to postpone that first-time reading experience as long as I could. I was not disappointed! I think I highlighted 1/3 of the book while I was reading.

Review: HERE

Summary: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Rating: 5/5 stars

This was the first book that I ever sticky flagged, and I ended up flagging half the book because I fell in love with the writing and there were so many quotes I wanted to revisit. If you only pick up one book on this list, it should be this one.

Summary: Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 5/5 stars
Review: HERE

I read this book on NetGalley a couple weeks before it was released, and them immediately reread it as soon as my pre-order arrived in the mail. I’m planning another reread before A Court of Mist and Fury is released too! I hardly ever reread books so that should tell you something. Pick this one up, even if you disliked Throne of Glass, because I love ACOTAR so so much more.

Summary: No mortal would dare venture beyond the borders of their world to Prythian, a forbidden kingdom of faeries. But Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill, and when she spots a deer being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. Killing the predator comes at a price though – her life, or her freedom.

Dragged to Prythian, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, the faerie lands becomes an even more dangerous place.

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab 

Rating: 5/5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed this book. I picked up a review copy from NetGalley after seeing a lot of hype around the book community, and I’m so glad I did. I don’t think I would have picked it up on my own, and I would have really missed out on this awesome and unique magical world!

Summary: Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Rating: 5/5 stars
Review: HERE

When I read it, it was being marketed as a standalone, but it’s since been picked up for a second book so I’m really interested to see where this goes now that it’s going to be a series.

Summary: Laia is a slave. 

Elias is a soldier. 

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Rating: 5/5 stars

All I can say about this is that I am so happy I went into it blind. I had no idea what it was about other than that it had an LGBTQIA+ main character. I definitely wouldn’t have read it if I’d known it was sad and going to make me cry so much, because I typically stay far away from those kind of books. That being said, clearly this made my favorites list for the year so I was able to forgive Adam Silvera for ripping my heart out and stomping on it.

Summary: In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

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Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Rating: 5/5 stars

Nicola Yoon is an auto-buy author for me now and this was her debut novel. Isn’t that enough to make you curious about this book?

Summary: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

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The Martian by Andy Weir

Rating: 5/5 stars

How Andy Weir managed to make a book crammed full of science lingo and space drama interesting AND hilarious will never cease to amaze me. This book was incredible from start to finish.

Summary: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

Grounded in real, present-day science from the first page to the last, yet propelled by a brilliantly ingenious plot that surprises the reader again and again, The Martian is a truly remarkable thriller: an impossible-to-put-down suspense novel that manages to read like a real-life survival tale.

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Nowhere by Here by Katie McGarry

Rating: 5/5 stars

I pre-ordered this on impulse without ever reading any of Katie’s other books, and it was one of the best decisions I made all year.  She’s one of my new favorite contemporary authors, and I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

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Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Rating: 5/5 stars
Review: HERE

Any book that features anxiety is an auto-buy for me.  They can be hit or miss depending on how the author decides to handle the disorder, and I was so pleased that this one was so medicine and therapy positive, unfortunately a rare occurrence in YA.

Summary: An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

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The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Rating: 5/5 stars

I read this book in one sitting.  I picked it up planning to read a couple chapters, and a few hours later I was reading the last page. This book sucked me in so quickly and I couldn’t put it down. I still need to pick up the conclusion to this duology!

Summary: After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 5/5 stars

I almost started this one over immediately after I finished reading it.  I’m still not sure what it was about Carry On that made me fall absolutely in love with it, but it’s one of those books I could read over and over and never get tired of it. The beginning is a little slow, but as soon as Baz appears, everything really picks up speed.

Summary: Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Rating: 5/5 stars

I highly, HIGHLY recommend going into this one blind. The format of the book makes for a fun read, but it’s really the fantastic story that makes this such a solid science fiction read. I didn’t read any reviews or blurbs about this book before I started reading it, and it really made the reading experience so much more fun and enjoyable.

Summary: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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13645069Find Me by Romily Bernard 

Rating: 5/5 stars

It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished reading this, and I still can’t stop thinking about those plot twists at the end.  I rarely enjoy thrillers, but this was a solid 5 star book for me.  I will absolutely be picking up the next book in the series very soon and hopefully getting my hands on a copy of book three ASAP too.

Summary: “Find Me.”

These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

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Which of these books have you read? I’d love to know what your favorite read of 2015 was. Tell me in the comments below! 

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21 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top 15 Books I Read in 2015

  1. Ahh, I’ve never seen a bad review for Aristotle and Dante and An Ember in the Ashes! I really need to find a copy of those books so I can get started ASAP.

    From your list, I’ve read Finding Audrey, Everything, Everything and Fangirl, but I gave all those three stars, I think. Here are my favourites–it’s been so hard to choose this year!

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  2. Hi, I’ve just come across your blog from the #RockmyTBR link up. Love your blog btw. I’m now a regular follower. Hehe.

    Anyways, I adored Everything Everything, such a powerful and beautiful novel, Nowhere But Here definiely, big fan of Katie McGarry, who isn’t though. Haha. and I adored Fangirl, but I haven’t read her latest even though I have a copy.

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  3. Weʻve got a few books in common on our Top 10! Aristotle and Dante has got to be in my top 3 this year–I canʻt believe that I waited so long to pick it up! But I am so glad that I did. I canʻt wait for the next Illuminae book! I finished reading it about 2 weeks ago and Iʻve still got a book hangover.

    An Ember in the Ashes, The Martian, and A Court of Thorns and Roses are all on my TBR list for 2016.

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  4. OMG Yes holy crap Everything Everything was such a good and cutesy book. The ending was…. ughhh.. ahahhahahaa.. speechless and so beautiful. Thanks for joining the Readers of the Round Table and you’ve got such a precious and pretty blog ❤

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  5. Wonderful list you have here! I’ve read On the Island as an audio book and I really enjoyed it. 🙂 Though the age gap somewhat bothered me at first since the woman is older than the guy. Still a great book.

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