Top 5 Books Read in 2015

Of the 126 books I read in 2015, these five really stood out for me as having a WOW! factor that immediately earned their place on my “Top 5” list. For anyone interested, here’s my complete reading list for 2015.

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahonThe Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon (Published 8/4/2015)

Alternating timelines. A family-owned motel in small town Vermont. Best friends. First love. A disappearance. Secrets. A murder mystery. And, at the heart of all that, is the enduring bond of childhood friends and the destructive nature of sibling rivalry. Recommended for hot summer nights, curled up in a chair by an open window, a warm breeze sneaking in to tickle your bare toes, and the sound of darkness pulsing on the other side of the screen.

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Memory of Water by Emmi ItärantaMemory of Water by Emmi Itäranta (Published 6/10/2014)

Dystopias centered around global warming or water shortages aren’t new. What is refreshing about this story, though, is its protagonist. Seventeen-year-old Noria is unforgettable. Couple that strong character with Itäranta’s evocative prose and the result is one of the most believable (and frightening) looks at a future we might face if nothing changes.

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Ancillary Justice by Ann LeckieAncillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Published 10/1/2013)

Mind blown! A story set in space, thousands of years in the future, in which people are not distinguished by gender; hence, everyone is referred to using only female pronouns. It took about 25 pages to get lost in the book but after that I was gone. (It may be important to note that I’m relatively new to the genre.) I absolutely loved everything about this story, and it’s the reason why I now actively seek out more science fiction.

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Big Fish by Daniel WallaceBig Fish by Daniel Wallace (Published 10/1/1998)

I’m a huge Tim Burton fan, so I’d already watched the movie by the time I learned it had been based on a book. Having adored the movie, I decided I better give it a few years before I read the book; I didn’t want to constantly compare the book to the movie which, I admit, is often unavoidable. Thankfully the book version was every bit as good, if not better than, the movie adaptation. Ultimately it’s a father-son story, but I was able to easily relate based on my own life experiences.

When a man’s stories are remembered, then he is immortal.

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The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari JääskeläinenThe Rabbit Black Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (Published 1/20/2015)

The Land of Laughs meets The Snow Child.

A secret Society for writers, a book plague, a (maybe murder?) mystery, the disappearance of a Snow Queen-ish character, mythological mapping … will absolutely be a hit or miss for the average reader. For me, it was the perfect amount of weird. Matter of fact, as I’m writing this, I want to pick it up again to re-read it. Loved, LOVED, loved this story!

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Top 5 Books Read in 2014
Top 5 Books Read in 2013
Top 5 Books Read in 2012

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Rating: 4 of 5

The Winter PeopleOnce I started The Winter People I couldn’t put it down. The switch between 1908 and present day really added a sense of urgency to the Harrison Shea legends. There was a couple genuine surprises, but there was also predictable bits. And there was honest to goodness creepouts – based mostly on atmosphere and my expectations – fun, though. It was strange (and wonderful) how fast I connected with Sara; it was within two to three pages. Or perhaps it was simply her fierce devotion to her daughter.

At its heart, the story asks the reader how far they would go, what wouldn’t they give, to have more time with their dead loved one?

Just a heads up: For a literary thriller, there was a scene or three with graphic gore. Nothing shocking for a horror fan like me, but it could be a potential turn-off for certain readers.

Read backstory, excerpts, and reviews on the author’s official website.

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)