My Top Books of 2015

Hey guys! 🙂

So, as 2015 comes to an end, I thought it would be a lot of fun to look back at all of my favourite books of this year. If I’m completely honest, I didn’t really read as much in 2015 as I did in 2014, thanks to a huge reading slump that lasted around 3 months (it’s over now though so YAY for lots of reading!). BUT, the books that I did read were great, and a lot have them have fast become favourites. SO, no particular order, here are my top books read in 2015!:

The entire Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas up to the most recent installment, Queen of Shadows.

Throne of GlassCrown of MidnightHeir of FireQueen of Shadows

This stands as my absolute favourite fantasy series to date, and I don’t think it’s going to be beaten any time soon! Sarah J. Maas creates a world so enticing and wonderful, and her characters so real and strong (and GORGEOUS *cough* ChaolDorianRowan *cough*). If you haven’t picked this series up yet, then I highly recommend you do it.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses, also by Sarah J. Maas.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

You may have noticed that there is a slight pattern here. Another book by Sarah J. Maas in my favourite books of 2015 (and probably every year after in which she releases a new book). This is because her writing is absolutely amazing. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a spectacular opening to what is sure to be another whirlwind of a series and I seriously CANNOT WAIT for the sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury!

 

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley.

Magonia

Magonia was undoubtedly one of the most unique and imaginative books I have ever read. The world and characters were perfectly built and developed. The characters were all so lovable and funny and unique in their own rights.

*You can see my review for Magonia here!

 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

An Ember in the Ashes

I absolutely adored this book. It broke my heart, mended it, then repeated. Several times. This is definitely a book that will stay in your mind long, long after you’ve finished reading it, and will leave you wanting more. I seriously can’t wait for the sequel, A Torch Against the Night!

*You can see my review of An Ember in the Ashes here!

 

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.

The Wrath and the dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn still stands as my absolute favourite book of 2015. It was amazing. Renee Ahdieh created a sensational world, with fantastic characters, and plot and culture, and the descriptions of everything are just exquisite. I loved Shahrzad, she is one of my favourite fictional characters – so strong, smart and witty. And Khalid, but don’t get me started on him, or we’ll be here all day! :D.

After writing this, I found that I REALLY wanted to re-read so I’ve just bought the audiobook to listen to. This is why I have no money 😉

*You can see my review of The Wrath and the Dawn here!

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Fangirl

Fangirl was one of the most relatable, funny, cute books I have ever read. Rainbow Rowell has created a masterpiece with Fangirl – I absolutely LOVED it! I can honestly say that I have never related to a fictional character more than I did with Cath, and I am so thankful for her and her story.

 

 

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything was a book quite like nothing i’d ever read before. It was romantic, funny, and sad at times, but perfection all over. And it had these little illustrations on some pages that just made it shine! I’m currently writing a review for Everything, Everything and finding it very difficult to gather my thoughts, and to form a full review beyond just the words, “I loved, loved, loved it! READ IT!”

 

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae

Ok. I have a slight confession to make here. I haven’t quite finished Illuminae yet – I have about 50 or so pages – but since I read the majority of it in 2015 (and it will probably be finished before 2016 starts, because, quite frankly, I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN), I decided to go ahead and add it to my top books of 2015. I can honestly say that I. Have. Never. Ever. Read a book like this before. It is so unique and gripping and engaging and I can feel my inner fangirl coming out so I’ll stop there. But seriously. It’s SO GOOD. (UPDATE: I’ve now finished Illuminae and it. Is. Spectacular)

*All of the books that don’t have reviews yet will do soon!

So that’s it! Those are my top books of 2015. All of these books were truly, truly spectacular, and if you haven’t checked them out yet, then I highly, highly recommend you do! 🙂

Happy New Year and happy reading! ❤

Review: Evanescent

EvanescentTitle: Evanescent
Author: Gabriella Lepore
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository
Source: Kindly sent by the author for review
Synopsis:
“Then it is settled,” Felix declared. “Come hell or high water, when this is all over, at least one of us here will not make it out alive.”

When Bronwen Snow is pulled from her cottage in the middle of the night, she finds herself seeking the help of three mysterious boys who reside in an abandoned castle deep in the hillside. With only a hasty handwritten note and a vague sense of dread to guide her, Bronwen is forced to put her trust in the eccentric and willful Felix Cavara and his eternal curse – immortality.

Review:

Evanescent was a fantastic read. It was fast paced, with romance, mystery, fun and lovable characters and a great original plotline to boot. You will fall in love with these characters, and experience a rollercoaster of emotions along with every twist and turn. I quickly became immersed within the story, and invested in the characters and plot.

Evanescent follows the story of Bronwen Snow, a girl who is forced to leave her home in the middle of the night with no explanation as to why. All she knows is that she’s in danger- and that the people she is running to can help her.

This book was engaging from the very start and I loved the originality of the story line. There were new twists and turns and revelations at every point. There was a lot of action – the story never fell flat or got boring as there was always something new happening in every chapter – though not too much that it became hard to keep up with. Action wasn’t all there was in this book, though. There was a perfect blend of mystery and romance to equal the action, and it was just as effective and gripping.

It was a lot of fun getting to know the characters and seeing how Bronwen developed and adapted to the situation she was thrown into – and she developed quite a lot.  And Felix – oh my gosh, Felix was amazing! I loved the playful banter he and Bronwen shared and how he kept the story upbeat. I found myself literally laughing out loud every other page because of him ( I think I’ve found another book boyfriend to add to my growing collection 😀 ).

I was a bit worried at the beginning of the book that the romance was going to be too fast moving – that after just two days, they’d be professing their undying love for one another, that there would be no buildup or development. But, it soon slowed down and there was more of a development – their love growing slowly but surely, especially towards the ending, which was heartbreaking yet beautiful at the same time.

Rating:

This is the first book by Gabriella Lepore that I have read- I had heard a lot about her books before reading this so I had high expectations and I was not disappointed!  ★★★★☆

Thank you very much to Gabriella Lepore for sending me a copy of Evanescent to review! 🙂

Review: A thousand Nights

A Thousand NightsTitle: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository.
Synopsis:
LO-MELKHIIN KILLED THREE HUNDRED GIRLS before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster

Review:

A Thousand Nights was a wonderful, magical retelling of A Thousand and One Nights filled with stories and tales of the desert and far away lands, and rich culture, with settings from desert camps to opulent, expansive palaces, all packed within one story, with one main character who inspires and creates stories in order to survive.

Our main character knows that Lo-Melkhiin -the king who murders his wives- is coming to her desert village, and that he will want a new wife. And she knows that he will want to take the most beautiful of them – her sister. So, she devises a plan to save her sister, and offers herself up to Lo-Melkhiin by taking the attention away from her sister. And so, she is taken away to marry the king, and she is forced to begin her plan- to fight to stay alive, night after night.

The most unique thing about this book, something that surprised me, that I had never seen before, was that no one besides Lo-Melkhiin, is ever given a name. The main character is called a lot of things – Daughter, Wife, Queen – yet we do not learn her true name. I thought that this might bother me to begin with, but it didn’t. I was still invested with this character’s story and although there is a power in names, and that is taken away from her, what she does to save herself and her sister, despite knowing the consequences, and her intelligence and courage alone show her to be incredibly strong, stronger and more powerful than her people would imagine.

The writing in this book can only be described as exquisite. It is tense and magical and beautiful. I loved that we got some small insights into Lo-Melkhiin’s mind, and what exactly is is that he wants from the main character and her newfound power over stories.

There is no romance in this book,  which I found slightly disappointing, but at the same time, I feel like had there been some romance, then it wouldn’t have been believable. I liked how focused the MC was on her task: to keep herself and her sister alive, and to stop Lo-Melkhiin from murdering any more innocent women. Despite there being a lack of romantic love, the MC holds plenty of love for her family, especially her beautiful sister, her mother and her sister’s mother, and I loved how it focused more on the bonds between family.

Rating:

A Thousand Nights was a magical re-imagining, one that will stay with me for quite a while. ★★★★☆

Review: Red Queen

Red QueenTitle: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository
Synopsis:
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

Review:

Red Queen was filled to the brim with action, intrigue, suspense, romance, strong characters and unearthly awesome powers; it was fantastic and gripping. With all of these, it’s no wonder why this book has become so wildly popular since it was released in February.

Though I did struggle a little bit to get into this, once I did (after about a chapter or so) I found it to be engaging and I became invested in the characters. Mare Barrow, the main character, is an insanely strong and independent young woman. She discovers that she – a Red blood – has powers, like the superior Silvers, powers that she shouldn’t have, that make no sense. Powers that are extremely dangerous, and should be kept secret at whatever cost.

The world was imaginatively built up and Aveyard’s writing style was amazing: everything was described beautifully and there was just the right amount of tension and suspense to keep you invested and wanting more. I did feel that the plot lacked originality in some places, but this was soon overpowered by the next twist or turn that Aveyard spun on it, and it didn’t taint the story one bit for me. I’ve read countless books that have some of the same ideas within them, yet have their own spins on it.

There is a love triangle in this book, but it wasn’t overpowering and didn’t distract from Mare’s story and everything that was going on- and there was a lot going on. Every chapter had a new turn or event that compelled you to continue reading.

This is also the first time that I have no idea who I think the main character will end up with. Or even who I want her to end up with. I love everyone! And speaking of characters, the development of Mare’s character throughout is great- you can clearly see how she has developed and adapted with her newfound powers to become a stronger person and someone who will stand up for herself against anyone.

Rating:

There is a lot of well deserved hype surrounding this book, and it is undoubtedly one of the most talked about debuts of the year: ★★★★☆

Review: Sweet Evil

Sweet EvilTitle: Sweet Evil (book 1)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository
Synopsis:
Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Wendy Higgins introduces a whole new take on the stories of angels and demons in this spectacular story packed with suspense and romance, topped with great characters and a completely unique and original plot. And she does it brilliantly –  don’t be surprised when you find yourself plucked from reality, and become immersed within this beautifully written novel.

We see Anna Whitt, a sweet, kind teen who is anything but normal as she struggles with her ability to sense other people’s emotions and learns the true, terrifying reason behind this. It is only when Anna meets Kaidan and realises that he is like her, that she begins to unravel the truth about who she is. Her father was a fallen angel – a Duke. And she is a nephilim, and in this world, being a nephilim is not so good.

I loved the idea of the Dukes, and the Nephilim who have to carry out their sins to stay alive. It was completely unheard of – I have read a lot of books with angels and fallen angels, but none of them were like this. Sweet Evil is by far the best of them I have read yet, and the plot is well developed and perfectly paced, so it keeps you hooked from start to finish.

There is a very interesting cast of well developed characters within the book, and they’re all so completely different from one another that it never gets boring. Anna is incredibly strong, and develops throughout to become stronger as she is forced to deal with the news that she’s been given about herself, and what she will have to do as a result. And Kaidan – I could go on for HOURS about Kaidan. Wendy Higgins did an amazing job creating such a perfect, perfect character as Kaidan Rowe.

Rating: Sweet Evil was a fantastic opening to a spectacular trilogy. ★★★★★