It’s the end of the year and what would the end be without a list of our favorite books of the year? Nicola, Alyssa and I have put together a list of our shared faves, as well as our individual top books of the year. No surprise, adventurous fantasies are at the top of our lists! It was difficult to choose, but here’s what we’ve got:
Queen of Shadows, by Sarah J Maas:
Allison: The Throne of Glass series is probably one of my all-time favorites, so this is a clear contender for me. I love Aelin, but Manon… Manon is my girl. Maybe it’s my love of witches, my love of dragons or just my love of man-eating female protagonists, but Manon really grew on me during this book. I was also thrilled to see the stories in Assassin’s Blade playing out here. Lysandra is another one of my favorite female protagonists of the year.
Nicola: Yes! I loved that all those storylines that were set up in the prequels started to play out in QoS. In many ways it felt like an ending to the series, wrapping up those storylines from earlier on, but of course we know there are two more books to go.
Alyssa: I also loved the ensemble narrative and the wrapping up of multiple storylines!
A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J Maas:
Allison: I am so ready for A Court of Mist and Fury. This was absolutely the best love story of the year for me. I love that this book had romance at the heart of the story. It was sexy, dark and compelling.
Alyssa: YES! YES! YES! YES!
Nicola: I always knew I’d love ACOTAR: my favourite fairy tale, retold by one of my favourite authors? It’s a no-brainer. But I really did love Maas’ take on it: the faery aspect, the not-so-beastly love interest, and Feyre.
An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir:
Allison: This was probably my favorite book of the year, overall. I thought it was fresh feeling in a way that surprised me a little. I loved the way it complicated what can be a very black and white story of good and evil. The idea that the oppressors are harmed by the act of oppression is very interesting to me.
Nicola: Yeah, I think that’s why I loved Helene so much as a character. Even though she doesn’t get any POV scenes (though I think/hope she might in A Torch Against the Night), her internal struggle between the rules she’s been trained to follow and the ethics of her heart positively leaps off the page. And the way the book ended for her, well, I’m really excited to see the decisions she makes and the way it all pans out for her.
Alyssa: This may have been my all-time favorite book of the year, too. I am SO HAPPY there will be a sequel!
Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo:
Allison: While Ember was my favorite book this year, this is probably my most anticipated series. I absolutely can’t wait to see what happens next. Like, really, I’m a little jittery just thinking about it.
Alyssa: Yes, waiting for Six of Crows to come out (and not getting an ARC, woe is me) was torture! And now anticipating book 2…I’m jittery too.
Allison: So those are the ones we agree on wholeheartedly as our top favorites, but I know we each have our lists… And there’s a lot of crossover there as well! What were your favorites aside from these four?
Alyssa: Here are my top favorites in a few categories, all YA published in 2015
- All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven (contemporary)
- Wolf by Wolf, by Ryan Gaudin (alternate history)
- Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard (epic fantasy)
- Winter, by Marissa Meyer (science fiction)
- The Rose Society, by Marie Lu (sequel)
- A Darker Shade of Magic, by Victoria Schwab
- The Diviners and Lair of Dreams, by Libba Bray
- How to Grow Up, by Michelle Tea
- Monstress, Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
- Elysium, by Jennifer Marie Brissett
- The Vanishing Throne, by Elizabeth May
- 2.The Heart of Betrayal, by Mary E. Pearson
- Devoted, by Jennifer Mathieu
- All the Rage, by Courtney Summers
- The Winner’s Crime, by Marie Rutkoski
Allison: There’s books on both your lists that I want to add to mine as well! It was really hard to narrow my list down this year. I loved The Heart of Betrayal and The Rose Society as well.
Nicola: Same here! I read The Diviners a couple of years ago so I really want to read Lair of Dreams, but I have to re-read The Diviners first.
Allison: There’s a reference in Lair of Dreams to The Gemma Doyle Trilogy and it’s KILLING ME. I need to know if that’s going to be continued into the next book, or if it was just a nod to fans of Bray’s previous work. I’m so grateful you both recommended The Kiss of Deception to me, because I’m loving those books so much! The Heart of Betrayal was one of my big time favorites this year.
Alyssa: Yes, The Heart of Betrayal and Lair of Dreams are also favorites of mine! They are such good sequels and, like The Rose Society, avoided the dreaded sophomore slump.
Allison: Agreed! There were so many great second books this year, it’s making me itch for 2016 new releases already… Though I’ll admit I’ve got a few of the ones you mentioned in my TBR for our hiatus.
Dear readers, as you may remember, we’re headed off to our winter hiatus from now until January 11th. We’ll be back in 2016 with new recommendations, our January Coven Reads discussion for Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch, and a few other surprises.
Yours in book magic and mayhem,
Allison, Alyssa and Nicola
While Allison, Alyssa and Nicola are gone, catch up on your TBR too and if you find you have a lady-authored book you’re dying to recommend to others, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re still answering the phones, but forgive us if we’re a little distracted, our noses are already deep in new books.