My Favorite Reads of 2015 Part 2

Goodreads 2015

Goodreads 2015

Since I have so many books I loved from 2015, I had to split the list in half. If you missed Part 1, don’t worry! It’s the internet and you can read that after!

Here then are more of my favorite reads from 2015 in no particular order. As before, I consolidated series into a single entry and links will be Amazon affiliate links to the first book in the series. For the first half of the list, please click here.

11) Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling – Hilarious. Wise. Moving. But mostly, I want to be Kaling. And if not that, be her friend. A worthy followup to her first book of essays, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

12) The Human Division and The End of All Things by John Scalzi – Scalzi continues the story in The Old Man’s War‘s Universe – which seriously, if you love science fiction and you haven’t read this series yet, WHY HAVEN’T YOU?

The Old Man’s War series is thrilling with lots of fighting and stomping and Starship Trooper stuff. But ultimately what you find is a very human story. A story of a man who loved his wife – and still does even after her death. Those are the moments that feel most true. Scalzi does witty banter so well. But his moments of truth about love (whether for lovers or children) are the most moving.

As for the two books I actually listed, it is a continuation of that world and deals with the consequences at the end of The Last Colony and Zoe’s TaleAlthough you do not need to have read the previous books and they are certainly self-contained enough that Scalzi provides all the necessary information, I do think you will enjoy it much better after reading the first four books. (I know, I know. I look like I’m finally only recommending two books and really, it’s six.)

13) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Set in the world of The Grisha, you don’t need to read the other books at all (although I highly recommend them). I always love a good heist and this story was exciting, fun, and always skirting the edge of grim.

14) The Brothers Sinister Series and The Turner Series by Courtney Milan – Regency romances that are a cut above the rest. Milan writes stories that are highly intelligent with a lot of detailed science that doesn’t sound dumbed down or fake. I appreciate how Milan includes people we often don’t see included in Regencies. She also tends to have excellent stories without resorting to ridiculous tropes. When you have read as many Regency romances as I have (at least 375), that is really impressive!

15) The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss – Set in the world of his Kingkiller Chronicles, this story is beautiful, lyrical, and wistful. The homonyms and rhythm of this book is lovely and sweet and poetic. Like a rolling brook. There is still an ever present sliver of dread in the background, but overall, a joyful and keen book. Lovely.

Oh, and it’s about a girl making soap.

Seriously, give it a shot.

16) Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne – God, I love spies. I also love Regency Romances. Perfect! Bourne is excellent as always. Her words and rhythm and humor infuse her books throughout. Part of her The Spymaster Series, I highly recommend you check out the other books.

17) The Jane Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde – Utterly charming and delightful. The book is set in an alternate 1985 where time travel, police states, and jumping in and out of books is normal. The names are hilarious (I can’t believe it took me almost the entire book to catch Paige Turner) and the book rewards a person with a wide background in classics. The ending is somewhat spoiled if you are at all familiar with Jane Eyre, but it is so worth it. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series.

Also, the series is quintessentially British in the sense that it feels familiar and homey. It reminds me a lot of The Rook or Ben Aaronovitch’s series. Highly recommend. I cannot believe it took me this long to discover!

18) Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – Ok, I’m going to cheat here. Technically, I didn’t read/finish this book until this year. But since it was released last year and it was SO FUCKING AWESOME, I am including the book on the list. You’re welcome.

I stayed up until 5:30am reading this and I felt like I was hungover all day and it was SO WORTH IT. This book is violent, sexy, and violently sexy. So good.

Yes, it’s Book 4 out of a projected series of 6 (the other two won’t be out until late 2016 and 2017 – sorrynotsorry), so you do have to start with Throne of Glass (which again, is the weakest in the series). But come on! Super girly assassin who is a BAMF and is really a stone cold killer with a mysterious back story, several love triangles/squares/pentagons.

After you read the first, the rest just get better and better and don’t stop being awesome. Read in publication order to get the full effect: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of FireThe Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas (set before Throne of Glass but is best read after ToG but before QoS due to QoS being further enriched by the info in TAB), Queen of Shadows.

Can you tell I LURV this series? Of course, it is also likely due to the fact that I just finished this book on the 3rd so it’s fresh in my mind.

Alright. Hapa Papa is going to be so annoyed with me that I stayed up until 3:30am to write this series, but you know what? These books were awesome and totally worth it. Now go read! (Or go buy or borrow, whatever the case may be.) Happy Wednesday!

Here, Have Some Lists

I’ve been single-parenting it this week while Hapa Papa’s been in London on vacation for work and quite frankly, I’m pretty exhausted. Usually, my mom would come over and help but she’s in Taiwan until Sunday. What the hell, family? What’s with the lack of consideration for what’s convenient to my life? Ah well, pretty much as soon as Hapa Papa walks in the door all rested and refreshed from his relaxing trip without me 10 hour flight, I will hand him Glow Worm, kiss Cookie Monster and Gamera, and run out the door to the nearest spa for a full body massage. I might remember to greet my husband on my way out.

Anyhow, as a result, you get a listy and bookish post today. Yay! However, rather than give you a list of books (and I still may but I may also let you flex your Google-Fu), I proffer you some authors you should check out in my favorite genre of science fiction and fantasy. Of course, YMMV – particularly if you don’t care for SF/F. As usual, all Amazon links are affiliate links.

1) Orson Scott Card – Most famous for his Ender’s Game Series (approximately 15 books set in that universe), he is one of my favorite authors. I avidly read his columns that review anything and everything on his site. His Ender’s Game movie is coming out in November (and hopefully, won’t ruin the book for me forevermore). Even though I love his science fiction, oddly enough, my favorite book of his is Enchantment, a modern fairytale of sorts. Card’s characters all have smart-ass mouths and the banter is quick, self-effacing, and often full of love. I wish I talked like them.

2) John Scalzi – His most well-known series starts with Old Man’s War and he is lauded for writing “accessible” sci-fi. In other words, you don’t have to be some hard-core geek to love his writing and his books. You just have to like reading. Bonus: Scalzi is hilarious and his fiction includes copious amounts of funny moments. However, what wins me over are his more surprising poignant moments.

3) Brandon Sanderson – Sanderson stepped in to finish Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after Jordan passed away. However, Sanderson is an awesome author in his own right. Be forewarned, though. Most of his books are door-stoppers and usually top out at 100,000 words. But you can’t beat his unique magic systems, world-building, and immense scope. For an easy intro to his work, I would start with the normal length, free-standing Elantris. Then, I would move on to his Mistborn trilogy. Mind-blowing. However, my favorite is still Warbreaker. I can’t articulate why, I just do.

4) NK Jemisin – Jemisin is one of the few black female fantasy authors and I fully appreciate how that influences her writing. Fantasy, more so than other fiction in general, is often lily-white. Jemisin challenges that default and her writing and worlds are the better for it. I would start with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

5) Kate Elliott – I LOVE Elliott’s writing. Her worlds are also not in the default European setting and I really appreciate that! Plus, like Jemisin, she includes non-heterosexual pairings and considers them normative. Like Sanderson, is incapable of writing a short book, but I don’t mind at all. I love her writing. (My brother, on the other hand, is bored to tears by her.) I would start with Spirit Gate even though she is more well known for her Crown of Stars series.

6) Lynn Flewelling – Another fantasy author that includes non-het pairings in a positive fashion (I think she is famous for this, actually). I would start with The Tamir Trilogy, a truly creepy and horrific series that I still get the heebies thinking about. But it’s SO GOOD. *shudder*

Obviously, this list is not all-inclusive. I tried to include some famous authors as well as authors you may not have heard of. I may do another SF/F author list in the future but for now, since my brain is running on empty, this will have to do. If you want to see more of my SF/F books, check out my Goodreads shelf and filter by rating.

You know what? This post did not go as quickly as I had anticipated. *Shakes fist at sky.* I actually did some WORK! BOOOOO!!! 

Anyhow, like I mentioned, this is not an all-inclusive list. So, calling all my fellow SF/F geeks. What authors would you recommend?