This year is no different, I'm sitting here coming up with my list, but man 2015 was an amazing year for books! I have read so many wonderful stories that picking just 20 was incredibly difficult. More so than in past years. I started just listing every book I absolutely loved and had way too many. So then I said okay, just one in a series if I had more than that on the list, but even that was way too many. I finally had to decide on just one per author which still left me with more than I had wanted. It was hard coming up with just 20 books, series, or authors that I loved reading this past year. And the real kicker? I don't have one or two books that stand out as better than the rest. I have 20 books that are all the best. 20 books that are simply amazing with none hedging out the others. Incredible.
As this year comes to a close it is nice to be able to look back and see how many great new, or new to me, authors I have found. To see how many incredible books I have read. 2015 was a great year for me. Here's to hoping 2016 is just as good! Now onto my top reads, in no particular order (click the title link to go to my full review):
Kyland by Mia Sheridan. Oh Kyland made me feel all the feels. These characters were incredible. It was such a heartbreakingly beautiful read. Mia Sheridan really knows how to rip me apart then put me back together in a much better way. I still can't get over how amazing Kyland was. One could only be so lucky as to experience love like was seen in this story. I swear I read at least half of the book, if not more, with tears in my eyes. And I am not a cryer. Amazing.
The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
The Martian by Andy Weir.
My friend had recommended this one to me, but I wasn't sure if it was something I would really be into. I am not the biggest space fan, though I am finding more space related things that I enjoy. What I was not expecting was how funny this book would be. Mark Watney is hilarious! I couldn't put the book down once I started. Plus I loved all the science stuff in it. All the calculations and seeing what it really does take to send something into outer space was really interesting. I had no idea.
The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry.
This was a new to me author and man am I glad I found her books. I haven't gotten to the authors other books yet, but they are on my to-read list for early 2016. The Air He Breathes was another one of those books that just ripped my heart to shreds, but then put it back together in a better way. It was such an emotional read and I loved every minute of it. Elizabeth and Tristan are both so broken, they were devastating to read at times, but together they can help each other become whole. A really wonderful read that will destroy you, but then make you whole again and I can't wait to read more from the author.
A Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand.
Florand is another author where I would have put more than one book on my favorites list from this year. Really I love most anything she writes. Her style of writing is not like any other author I know. She always makes me fall in love with things I don't even like, with people who are so amazing I wish they were real. She always wraps me up in this warm cocoon of snuggly goodness that I can't get enough. I chose A Wish Upon Jasmine as my favorite for the year simply because Damian's hot dominant alpha male side that surprised me in such a great way. Really you can't go wrong with one of her books, and both of the La Vie en Roses books were amazing reads. Love this author so so much.
Butcher's Crossing by John Williams.
Now this was a big surprise for me. How can a book about hunting buffalo, with so much super detailed description, be one of my favorite reads? I don't like hunting. I don't like killing animals. So why did I enjoy this book so much? I don't really know. This is an older book, and my book club read Stoner by the same author and I enjoyed that one so I thought I would check out his other books. I did listen to part of it as an audio book and I highly recommend that. The person who reads it is so much fun! This is definitely not my normal read, not something I would usually pick up, but I am glad I did. It was a lot of fun and kind of ridiculous at time. Plus I just loved how it ended.
The Collectors' Society by Heather Lyons
One of my book clubs chose The Collectors' Society as the read one month and man am I glad they did. This author is another new to me author, and after finishing what is published of this series I went and read everything else I could find. They were all great reads, but I think this series is my favorite. I love the whole idea behind it. That popular stories, the places and people, actually exist in their own timelines. That if you were able to you could go into your favorite books and interact with the people. I also love how the author writes the characters, characters that you know from other works, and how they think about their stories. For them it is their lives and they don't always agree with how the author who wrote their stories portrayed things. Really fascinating read and I absolutely love Alice and Finn! I can't wait for the next book to come out so I can see what happens!
Hearts of Fire by L.H. Cosway
No one could be more surprised than me that an L.H. Cosway book made my list of favorite reads this year. I read a couple of her books last year and they were just not my thing. The guys were creepy to me for some reason, and they weren't written that they should have been creepy, so it didn't work for me. Then earlier this year I read The Hooker and the Hermit, authored by both Cosway and Penny Reid, and loved the guy in that book. Ronan was great and since he was mostly written by Cosway I thought I should really give her another try. Especially since Hearts of Fire intrigued me. I did start with the first book in the series, Six of Hearts, and enjoyed that one, but Jack...man he is hot. He gets to me. He is one of my all time favorite guys from a book. This story was amazing. I love the circus setting and seeing how everything played out. I have been converted. I would say I am now a Cosway fan. And I couldn't be happier about it. Heart of Fire can be really intense, Jack can be intense, but oh so freakin hot I can't stand it. Love love loved this story.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Yes, Anna Karenina made my list of favorite reads. It has been on my to-read list for a while now, but I didn't get to it until it came up on my Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge list. I thought it was going to be this long, difficult read. Kind of dry and hard to slog through, but that couldn't be farther from truth. I loved this story from the first pages. It was so much fun to read! I know some people disliked all the talk of Levin and his farm, all the details they found boring, but that was some of my favorite in the book. The characters, the way it was written and what they were thinking, always made me chuckle. I just loved the story. Yes it is long, yes it can be a bit confusing since it seems as though everyone is referred to by the same name, but oh how fun it was.
Fighting Silence by Aly Martinez
Aly Martinez is another new to me author and I am so glad I gave her books a try. I was hooked from the first pages of the first book and immediately read everything I could of hers. They were all such great reads so it was hard to pick just one favorite. I loved so many of the stories, so many of the characters, but I had to go with the first book of hers I read. The one that got me hooked. I remember looking up her books and seeing Fighting Silence. I read the description and thought it sounded interesting, but I wasn't expecting anything amazing from it. I started reading it on my train ride home from some errands and got so wrapped up in the story I almost missed my stop. And that never happens. I am always reading on the train, but always keep track of where we are so I don't go too far. Only Fighting Silence drew me in so much I tuned everything else out. I loved it. Till and Eliza were just perfect together. He has such a huge heart, always looking out for those he cares about, and she is just the sweetest person ever. They both had not so good home lives, but together they were simply amazing. I loved reading their story and really all of the authors books. Great reads.
Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
Oh Penny Reid is one of my favorite authors ever. I love her Knitting in the City series, and even though there was a new novella in that series (Ninja at First Sight) and that novella was amazing, I think Truth of Beard, the first book in the Winston Brothers spin off series, would be my favorite read of hers this year. I mean sexy bearded mountain men? Yes please! Add in a girl I loved who I can totally relate to and you have one great read. Duane and Jess were hilarious and hot, heartbreaking and sweet, and just everything wrapped up into a perfect package. Plus there is Cletus. Oh Cletus. I cannot wait to read his story!
Made for Us by Samantha Chase
I always love reading a Samantha Chase story, but there was something about Made for Us that really just blew me away and made me love it even more than normal. Aiden and Zoe were so cute together! I loved them, and I loved this story. Aiden was so cute. He is one of those people that everyone counts on. He takes care of his family and people he cares about. He always makes decisions and just thinks people should follow what he says as he knows best. Oh he was adorable. He didn't always understand why people would be upset or not understand why he was doing. He didn't always understand why Zoe would get angry with him as he was just trying to help...oh it was great. Plus he doesn't like change so he had some issues adjusting when things do just that. My favorite story from this author, though I love most all of her books.
The Janus Group series by Piers Platt
Oh my goodness was this series amazing. I smiled the entire time I was reading these books. The story start off with Rath's Deception and continues on with Rath's Gambit and Rath's Reckoning and I loved all of them. They were so much fun! So entertaining and I just loved them! As I said above space is not really my thing, but this series is so good I didn't really care. Rath is an amazing main character, I love that the story is his adventures (with the other characters storylines woven in as well). He gets scooped up by the Janus Group and taught to be a hitman, but of course things aren't as they seemed and he gets into all kind of crazy situations. Really really loved this series. It was just plain fun to read.
Hansel by Ella James
Phew-ey! Hansel was one hot read. It is marked as a dark, erotic fairy tale and it is not kidding. I was intrigued when I saw that as I thought this could either be amazing or it could be a disaster. Luckily it fell on the amazing side... It is dark, very dark. It is hot, incredibly hot. It is intense, so very intense. But I loved it all. Hansel and Leah are both messed up from what happened at Mother's house, but man. Hansel lets it go to this dark place, this intense sexy time that I loved to read. And Leah is right there with him. She wants it all. Yeah, I didn't expect to love this story as much as I did.
When to Let Go by J.M. Sevilla
When to Let Go is the story of the Baxter triplets and the people they fell in love with, and I fell in love with all of them. There are a lot of different storylines, portions written from many different points of view, but I really enjoyed the read. The author took me on quite the ride. So many ups and downs, so many times I almost cried, and so many times I was just overjoyed. Times when I was so angry with the characters, but times when everything was just so wonderful. Times when it was devastatingly sad and times when I almost cried because I was so happy. It was a really wonderful read with so many wonderful characters to fall in love with.
Winter's Heat by Cristin Harber
Cristin Harber is yet another new to me author this year. I started off with her Only series then read most of her Titan series and I loved them all. I love all of these tough, strong, sexy black ops guys. They are just...yeah. I don't know that I can pick a favorite so I just went with the first in the Titan series. They are all great though. And the ladies in them are equally as amazing. They can be intense, they can be super hot, they can get in sticky situations, but they always get the job done. I love read them and all their secret missions and romances. Fun times.
Regret Me Not by Danielle Sibarium
I wasn't sure that I would really enjoy Regret Me Not before I started reading it, but man I was hooked from the first page. Somehow the author wrote this story with a character that I would normally hate, but got me to love her instead. Mackenzie is the kind of girl I would normally hate in a story. She is not very confident, she is afraid of feeling too much, she makes stupid decisions and is not very nice at times, she makes decisions for other people, but I loved her. I felt for her. I wanted nothing but the best for her. The author did a wonderful job with this story. She made me feel all the feels when a different author would have made me hate the story. So an great read that I just loved. It really put me through the wringer, but I was glad it did.
How to Save A Life by Lauren K. McKellar
Man How to Save A Life was yet another super emotional read for me. It made me feel all the feels and I just wanted to scoop up the main character and make everything okay for her. One of the things I loved about this story is everything was slowly revealed. Things would be hinted at, but even with the hints I never would have guessed all the terrible things that lead to where the story started. This book was really intense. Everything that happened...man. I just wanted to scoop Lia up and make everything okay. And Jase? Oh he was a sweetheart. He has his own dark past, but he is perfect for Lia. Really a great read.
After Math by Denise Grover Swank
This author I had read before, and I did enjoy, but she never made my top list. Then I found this Off the Subject series and that was that. After Math was probably my favorite, though I did love them all. Scarlett and Tucker are both broken, they both are hiding in their own ways, but they both make each other better. They are there for each other and I loved reading their story. Can you see a tend here? I really love stories about broken people. They are some of my favorites!
Love, Chocolate, and Beer by Violet Duke
Violet Duke is yet another new to me author that is now a favorite. I started with Love, Exes, and Ohs and loved it so much I went back and read the rest of the series. The books were so refreshing to read! Instead of lame drama llama causing problems towards the end the author had the characters handle whatever happened like adults. They would work through things instead of the ever present break up then get back together thing I find so often in stories like this. I really love these books. Whenever I get to a point and think oh, here we go, now it is going to be drama, it doesn't happen like I expect it to. Sure it is not all smooth sailing for the couples, but they was they handle every situation was just perfect. I'm glad I found this author and look forward to reading more of her books next year.
And there you have it. My top 20 reads of 2015. Really an amazing year for books. I had more 5 star reads than ever before. Plus Goodreads says my average star rating is 3.3 for the year. That means I read more good books that bad. I hope 2016 is just as good reading wise!