2015 Best Of

Welcome 2016!! 
I am in serious shock that we've already jumped headlong into a new year. And while I have consistently neglected this blog, I thought I'd do a wrap-up post for 2015. Mostly because I discovered some truly amazing books that I've been dying to gush about. Also, because I'm OCD and like my year all nice and tallied up. 

In 2015 I read a respectable 141 books. And while I continually bemoan ebooks, 53 of those were digital - which goes to show how my reading trends are headed. The rest either came from the library or my personal stash. 

And here goes my best of's for 2015:

Best OzYA:
Every Breath, Every Word by Ellie Marney
I'm pretty sure Maggie got me curious about this series on IG and I'll be forever grateful. What if Sherlock Holmes was a brilliant Aussie teenager named Mycroft who runs a criminology blog, and Watson a girl named Rachel Watts, recently moved from the country, who befriends Mycroft at school? In the hands of Ellie Marney, you get MAGIC. I'm still a mess over it all frankly.

*I'd add Every Move to the list too but seeing as I don't live in Aussie-land, I haven't read it yet. YET.

Best Brilliant Spy series: 
The Lion Hunters series by Elizabeth E. Wein
As my trusted blogger-friend Chachic affectionately calls him 'Gen-in-Africa,' Telemakos is a force to be reckoned with. His wiliness and loyalty hooked me in The Sunbird but the entire series left me utterly wrecked as it explored politics, family and even the legend of King Arthur. Please, PLEASE EWein! Write more Telemakos!!

Best YA Fantasy Caper:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

So so soooo good. Featuring Kaz's brilliantly led band of motley outlaws (some even with magical powers) pulling off an unforgettable heist. Lots of unexpected twists and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT like they just don't make anymore. Plus, it comes in one of the prettiest packages you'll ever find. 

Best YA Mystery:
Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Yet another unexpectedly good YA debut about a socially misfit yet utterly brilliant teenage Sherlock-type and his unsuspecting straitlaced side kick who get caught up in goofy yet terrifying real life sleuthing. So terribly witty and hmmm...I'm sensing a pattern here.

Best THE FEELS!! Contemporary YA:
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I'm not ashamed to admitting that I gulped this one down in one go. Josh and Skylar's dreams of escaping small town CA each take very different forms yet together their rough edges make sense of all the unexplainable tragedies that life manages to throw their way. Their story hit me in all the tenderest spots in the best possible way.

Best I am a Woman, Hear me ROAR! book:
Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

I don't know how Liza Palmer manages to get better with each new offering but she does. She puts pen to paper to every single reason why women read and what it means to be an unashamed part of a community. There was so much power in her words that I went around for days afterwards with the words 'Just BE' rolling around in my head.

Best Middle Grade you're gonna need a tissue book:
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

I don't normally go for MG books, but Katherine Applegate is a known quantity with her stellar The One and Only Ivan and after hearing so much about Crenshaw (a little boy facing homelessness and hunger joined by his imaginary GIANT cat) I just couldn't resist. It was profound without becoming overly heavy, but just don't forget the kleenex.

Best "I'm Going to Have to Science the Sh*t of This" book:
The Martian by Andy Weir

Another category of book I don't usually pick up but the premise (and reviews) made me change my mind: an astronaut stranded on Mars with only his formidable brain and wicked sense of humor to help him survive. Surprisingly, the copious math didn't bother me and I was holding my breath along with everyone else to see how he'd make it back home. And I'm happy to report that the movie was just as fabulous as the book. Which wasn't hurt at all by a shirtless Matt Damon.

Best Unexpected May/December Romance:
What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long

NOT a book I would have normally picked up but it wound up stealing my heart nonetheless. SO MANY tropes that I thought I would hate it (the cover! the title! the revenge plot!...) but in actuality it was so very wonderful. Witty, honest, and just all around lovely. Also, the hero may have resembled Richard Armitage in a cravat just a titch...


Honorable Mention goes to a series recommend by the delightful YAckers who pushed me towards Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey which I read start-to-finish while on the plane to Switzerland this summer. Unfortunately, said binge reading released a flood of big, ugly tears (why did no one warn me?!) which caused the COMPLETE STRANGER sitting next to me to shove handfuls of those tiny papery napkins at me in alarm. Good times.

So apparently I either enjoy a certain type of book - quirky Sherlock-esque mysteries with twists and unexpected developments or the publishing industry is trending in that direction heavily. Hmmm. Whichever it is, I'll take it because they were all just fantastic. 

How about you? What books made your best of list for the year?