What was originally a random library grab turned into a 5-star read and Top Read of the year! An overthrown kingdom, an underground resistance, a masked vigilante. The Orphan Queen was fun and intense and all the reviews that mention the killer ending? Cliffhanger doesn’t even begin to describe it! I need The Mirror King in my life!
JENNIFER DONNELLY | These Shallow Graves + my review
Donnelly is someone who has always been on my radar, but until These Shallow Graves I never read any of her work. One of my goals for 2016 is now to dive into her backlist! While I had a few minor issues with this one (I quickly guessed Who Did It, the cover gives me more of a Horror feel than Historical Fiction, etc) Donnelly’s description more than made up for them! New York’s Gilded Age comes alive under her pen and the city was every bit a character as the people.
TRISH DOLLER | The Devil You Know + my review
The Trish Army gained a new recruit with this one! Another random library pick, another book I fell madly in love with. A campfire turns into a party which then turns into a roadtrip and one seriously twisted thriller! I devoured this book in record time and went on the hunt for more YA – and for someone who’s typically not a YA reader, that’s saying something!
RACHEL HARTMAN | the Seraphina series + my double-review
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I rarely binge-read. The moment I finished Seraphina I immediately jumped right into Shadow Scale! Dragons! Fantastic world-building! MAPS!!! Hartman crafted such amazing characters that I actually had a terrifying nightmare about one of them! These books truly have it all: politics, drama, romance, war, philosophy and I’m so extremely impressed.
I’m not big on zombies. Sure, I’ll watch The Walking Dead, but I’m not as OMGCRAZY!!! over it as most fans. I’ve heard fantastic things about Frater’s As The World Dies series, a post-apocalytpic tale featuring the undead, but it was never a series I was interested in reading. Then I discovered Dead Spots. In a classic case of publicists knowing my taste better than I do, this one appeared at my door and I decided to give it a try. Almost immediately I was hooked. When a tragedy turns Mac’s life upside-down, she heads back home…and winds up in a dead spot. Dead spots are little pockets where time bends and nightmares rule. If you’re trapped in a dead spot, you’re trapped there for good – and if you die, you’re simply revived and get to relive your worst fears over…and over…and over. I’m SO glad I stepped out of my comfort zone with this one – though I’m a bit bummed out this is a standalone (I want more Lucas!)
BEATRIZ WILLIAMS | Along the Infinite Sea + my review
Do you have a friend who practically forces you to read an author yet you’ve been putting it off? Do yourself a favor and listen to them. One of my friends has been singing Beatriz’s praises for a while now and I kept telling myself one day. Well that day finally came and WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN SOONER?! If you love historical fiction, family sagas, or simply love GOOD, WELL-WRITTEN stories, read her work. I still can’t put my feelings into words, so I’ll leave you with a quote from my review:
Along the Infinite Sea is the kind of novel that emotionally wrecked me, tore me open and completely rearranged my insides, left me breathless and spellbound. And it managed to do it all with a smile. These are the reviews that make me feel so inadequate as a blogger. Those okay, decent, middle-of-the-road novels are easy to critique. Novels so horrendously awful are a cinch to rip apart. But these, these elite group of oh so very, very special books have a way of attaching to my heart and leave me unable to string together a coherent sentence.
CELESTE NG | Everything I Never Told You + my review
This is one of the few pre-2015 novels included in this list and it’s oh, so good. All the hype it’s gotten and all the awards it’s won are absolutely deserved and it’s tiny, tiny size (less than 300 pages!) packs a huge gut-punch. The very first sentence tells you that a character – the middle child, the favorite child – is dead and the momentum keeps on rolling until the final page. While this one is technically a mystery (and you do find out what happened to Lydia) it’s more of a character exploration novel and really pulls apart the family dynamic between siblings. I’ve been recommending this one for months now and will continue to do so until Ng writes another novel – you’re killing me, Celeste!
HANNAH REED | the Scottish Highlands series + my double-review
My ultimate guilty pleasure is a cozy mystery. I love, love them though I rarely review them here. They’re the perfect read for when you want something light-hearted and entertaining…or as light-hearted as murder mysteries go, I guess! Still, what’s a body or two when there are Scottish men in kilts?!
Southern Gothic with just a whisper of something otherworldly. Two families with a feud spanning generations. Innocent lives lost and the return of an exiled relative who’s more myth and legend than human. Um, yes please! I love me some dual era narratives and this one takes place in the 1930s and 50s. Oh, my heart! Reputations are ruined when a little boy disappears and it’s called into question whether or not justice was truly served. Let Me Die in His Footsteps is a delicious novel full of gothic-y goodness and that beautiful cover is only the tip of the iceberg!
KAREN WHITE | The Sound of Glass + my review
While reading this one I couldn’t help but think of Diane Chamberlain, one of my all-time favorites. I’ve come across White’s novels a few times but never took the leap until The Sound of Glass. With multiple books under her belt I’ve got some serious catching up to do! This one was total beach read territory: an easy-going pace with a few twists and turns thrown in to keep the reader engaged. Sure, I guessed a few of the surprises early on, but the ride was so enjoyable I didn’t mind one bit. If Lifetime movies are your thing check out Karen White. I know I’ll be reading more of her books!
LIANE MORIARTY | Big Little Lies + my review
SHAME ON ME for waiting so long to read her books! I totally get it, guys. One book and I was absolutely captivated. I listened to this one on audio and, my goodness, if the same narrator reads her other novels I think Moriarty will be an audio author for me! Despite the length and shocking number of characters I was hooked and found myself making excuses to come back to it when I should have been doing other things. Whoops! I own a few of her other books so I’m halfway there and she’ll be coming out with a new one next year! If you’re like me and have yet to discover the fuss drop everything and pick up one of her books. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
SUE MONK KIDD | The Invention of Wings + my review
I don’t know what I had expected with Sue Monk Kidd, but it certainly wasn’t what I got! I guess I assumed she’d be a chick-lit kind of writer and that’s not a genre I typically go for. I do, however, go for historical fiction, particularly when the story involves actual historical figures. Plus the Civil War-era setting doesn’t hurt! Since having read this one I’ve been curious about her other novels: my sister devoured The Secret Life of Bees and Kidd also has a few non-fic books to her name!
Another historical fiction novel that focuses on real people (and, again, the Civil War ♥) The Mapmaker’s Children is one of the few Underground Railroad novels I’ve come across and, though there’s an awful lot going on within these pages, McCoy pulls it off beautifully. ALSO, there’s a recipe for organic dog treats (which I’m seriously going to try!) Sarah’s a total sweetheart who has joined us in our #HistoricalFix chats and I’m beyond thrilled to discover her novels are just as lovely.
AGATHA CHRISTIE | Murder on the Orient Express + my review
Yes, this was the year I’ve finally decided to dive into Agatha Christie! She’s one of those authors I can’t believe I’ve never read and now I’m pleased to say I’ve got a few Hercule Poirot notches in my belt! Part of me wishes this book wasn’t as famous or as widely-referenced – the Big Reveal has been known to me for years now so it wasn’t nearly as surprising, though I’m still very excited to finally read the Grandmother of Mystery!
SHARI GOLDHAGEN | In Some Other World, Maybe + my review
This novel was one of the first books I read in 2015 and it’s stayed with me all year. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but once I started I was enchanted. I was also extremely impressed by Goldhagen’s ability to weave together plots and characters I never imagined would intertwine! This is a definite must read for fans of quirky contemporary novels (plus how can you say no to that gorgeous cover??)