Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Show Us Your Books - Best of 2015

Earlier this month, I listed my top 10 books of 2015 in post for another linkup (click here).  For this Show Us Your Books - Best of 2015 post (hosted by Steph @ Life According to Steph and Jana @ Jana Says), I wanted to do something a little different in lieu of simply recycling my earlier post.  This post was partially inspired by my high school yearbook superlatives and by the upcoming award show season.  Drum roll, please...

*Books and characters considered for this list did not necessarily have to be published in 2015, only read or listened by me in 2015.

Best audiobook performance - Santino Fontana, narrator of YOU by Caroline Kepnes

Oh. My. Heavens!  I cannot sing enough praises about Santino's vocal performance on YOU for it was un-freakin-believable and out of this world awesome!  He breathed a uniqueness into each of the characters and completely owned the main character of Joe.  Oh, and his deep voice was pure bliss to listen to.  I said it then and I'll say it now - I could listen to Mr. Fontana read medical journals and stereo instructions on repeat all day long and never tire of his voice. (See my review here.)

Best book boyfriend - Boyce Winn
Sweet by Tammara Webber

I devoured this book over the summer and Mr. Boyce Winn had a lot to do with it.  I thoroughly enjoyed his character and I did develop a teensy bit of a literary crush on him.  In my review of Sweet, I said,  "If Boyce Winn had a theme song it would be "Real Good Man" by Tim McGraw."  If you are unfamiliar with the song or the lyrics, here ya go:

"Girl, you've never known no one like me
Up there in your high society
They might tell you I'm no good
Girl, they need to understand
Just who I am 
I may be a real bad boy 
But, baby, I'm a real good man" 
(full lyrics here)

I really need not say more...  Sigh.

Book most recommended by me - The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

After I finished this book in January, I told everyone I knew - avid readers and infrequent readers alike - to check out this book.  It remained my favorite mystery/thriller novel of 2015 until it was dethroned by the following book.

The best book that I read in 2015 that is still relatively unknown - The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Yes, in my opinion, this mystery/thriller was the best one I read/listened to this year.  Sadly, not many people have heard of it.  It did receive a nomination nod for a Goodreads Choice Award in the Best Mystery & Thriller category, but was beaten by the book above.  (See my review here.)  I highly recommend it.

Best YA book - I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I have read several really good YA books this year.  What makes this book stand out above the others is the quality of the story, the quality of the writing, the fluid, believable dialogue, and the unique format in which the story was told.  (See my review here.)

Book that was the most unexpected surprise - What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

I was honestly just expecting a chick-lit story.  I had no idea how intriguing the story would be and that it would keep me guessing all the way to the end.  Also, I had no idea that that characters would be so distinctive and that I would think about them when I wasn't listening to the book.  This was a thoroughly enjoyable book! (See my review here.)

Most beautifully written book - All the Light We Cannot See by Jonathan Doerr

As I listened to All the Light We Cannot See, I remember thinking that the prose was so fluid and so rich in detail, that it was almost like listening to poetry.  (See my review here.)

Most poignant, charming, quirky tale - A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

I read this book back in July.  Even now, six months later, I still think of Ove and the journey I took with him.  I laughed, I teared up, my heart was touched, and I laughed some more.  (See my review here.)

Best heroine - Willowdean Dixon
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Having always been a stout gal  myself, I really identified with Willowdean.  I know that my common ground with this character has probably skewed my opinion of her character, but I still stand by decision that she is the best heroine of all the books I read this year. It's not easy being a teenager, let alone an overweight teenager.  Even though I didn't care for some of Willowdean's actions, she rallied in the end and learned to truly embrace herself while opening up herself to infinite possibilities. 

Most worthy of all the hoopla - The Martian by Peter Weir

This book kept popping up in my life for months before I finally decided to give it a whirl.  Other reading challenge participants were reading it, bloggers were reviewing it and giving it glowing reviews, and every time I passed the book section in Target or Walmart - there it was.  Well, it really is worthy of all the hype and hoopla. (See my review here.)

What do you think?  What are some of your best books from 2015?

I wish you a very Happy New Year!  May 2016 bring you good health, prosperity, and happiness.  As always, thanks for stopping by!


  1. I love how you gave them award names as the best of! Martian has been requested at the library as I think I'm the only blogger that hasn't read it yet! You audio was definitely worth of such an award, totally creepy when read by him! I love everything I've read by TW so I'm definitely bumping Sweet up the list!

    1. Thank you! It was a fun post to create. I HIGHLY recommend The Martian and Sweet! Happy reading to you and Happy New Year!

  2. We have very similar taste :) The Girl on the Train, The Martian, and All the Light we Cannot See were all books I read AND LOVED this year! Have you read the Book Thief before? I think you would really like it too!


    1. Yes, I read The Book Thief. I want to read I Am the Messenger by Zusak. Have you read it? Happy New Year to you!

  3. So there are like 3 books on your list that I know that I have to read next year: You, Dumplin', and The Kind Worth Killing. I'm pretty sure that I saw your review on The Kind Worth Killing and knew that it would be a book that I would love, and everybody has said so many wonderful things about You and Dumplin' that I know that I need to read them this year! The Girl on the Train was a book that I loved this year, and I cannot get enough Liane Moriarty! What Alice Forgot is my favorite from her!

    1. YOU is a book that I don't recommend to just anyone due to the language (it's not a book for the easily offended or faint of heart). If crass and explicit language doesn't bother you, then I HIGHLY recommend it. I cannot say enough good things about The Kind Worthy Killing. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. yay the martian! i have read Easy but not the other books in that series, but you've convinced me!

    1. Boyce Winn makes an appearance in Breakable, the Lucas/Landon POV of Easy. Boyce and Lucas/Landon are buddies from back home. It's not necessary to read Breakable to enjoy Sweet, but you do get a little more background that leads you up to Sweet. If I was naming runner ups for my categories, Lucas/Landon from Easy would've received that honor for the boyfriend category.

  5. Dumplin', You, and The Martian made it onto my best of lists as well. I've been enjoying all the Moriarty books I've read thus far. The Kind Worth Killing is on my TBR and I cannot explain why I haven't read it yet.

    1. I am definitely going to check out more Moriarty books in 2016! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I agree with many of your superlatives!

    I read that Peter Swanson and another this year and enjoyed both. Great writing.

  7. Loving your categories for all of the books- I keep going back and forth on wanting to read You and I'm not an audiobook person (I've never finished one), but your review makes me want to listen to the audio version now! I still have to get around to reading Girl on the Train and I just added The Kind Worth Killing to my list!

    1. Thank you! If you want to sample the audiobook version of YOU, I'm pretty sure you can through Amazon. Just click on either the Audio CD or Audible option and underneath the picture of the cover is the sample that you can play. I pretty much only listen to audiobooks anymore, but when I first started, it took me a while to get the hang of it. It's almost as if you have to train your brain to listen to the book and fully comprehend it. It does take practice. YOU is a good one on audio because it was like being inside the stalker's head and listening to his thoughts. Happy reading to you and maybe listening!

  8. I've been on the library wait list FOREVER. I may just need to buy it. A Man Called Ove sounds interesting. Gotta check that out.

  9. I just finished All the Light and you described it perfectly. I loved and connected with so many of the characters.

  10. If I haven't already read it, I have nearly every book here on my TBR. Should I try The Martians again? I know it is a real crowd favorite, but I couldn't get into it. I had that sucker on hold forever at my library and was just bummed beyond belief.

  11. I love the way you categorized your books for this post!

    You was one of my honorable mentions for 2015, and I can't even imagine how much creepier it would have been if I'd listened to someone reading it.

    I also really liked Liane Moriarty more than I initially thought I would. (Big Little Lies actually made my "Best Of" list!) I'm not really a chick-lit kind of gal (for the most part, anyway), but her books seem to have a little more substance and more realistic, well-rounded characters. I can appreciate really well done chick-lit, and Moriarty definitely delivers that.

    Several of the other books you mentioned here are already on my "To Read" list, including The Martian and I'll Give You the Sun, which are both near the top of the list right now. I need to read them in order to complete a couple of reading challenges!

  12. I need to read Dumplin. I too was surprised by how much I loved What Alice Forgot! Moriarty's characters are always so well developed that I think about them when I am not reading also. I will have to check out The Kind Worth Killing too, I remember seeing it on Goodreads list.


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