A Year in Book Review

Another year, another book. While largely underwhelming in amount of books read this year, it wasn’t all bad. There were so many exciting books and things that happened this year, I ain’t even mad.

So here’s how this is gonna go: Categories. Like a trustworthy bullet-point list, categories are my friend. So happy Christmas, merry New Year, and scroll on for Linnea’s book year of 2015.

First Book: A spot of honor, really. The first of the Christmas haul to be taken under one’s wing and admired. This year mine was The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, and it ultimately ended up being the book that changed my writing life for the better the whole year through. Seriously, if you’ve never touched a Gratton novel, you’re doing it wrong.51IXDysPumL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Last Book: So here’s the thing. The last book of 2015 that I’ve read has also been The Lost Sun. An e-review copy of the re-brand somehow became mine through a mouthful of courage and a seriously fantastic author and being on twitter. So my year begins and ends with Tessa, and I find that inexplicably right somehow. (More on all this later when I post my review of TLS rebrand.)

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Best New Release: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller. A book I picked up on a whim and haven’t forgotten about since. It’s an unassuming little surreal-contemporary-thriller with a gorgeous cover, an even better dedication, and one of the best pure-form stories I’ve read all year.

Oldest Friend: Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a rereading fiend. I always have The Raven Boys with me at any given time, I’ve read any book I truly love at least three times, and I just can’t help but revisit my favorite places. This was a bad re-read year though. I didn’t have the time or concentration, really, and so anything I re-read just kind of…filtered back out.

But I did journey back to Mercy Falls with Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger, and my god was I glad. Cole St. Clair is one of my favorite characters ever, and Linger was one of Maggie’s best works in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I loved every second of going back through that book.

Most Anticipated 2015 Release: There’s no way this award can’t go to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I waited for this book like I waited for a lifeline, and that’s exactly what it was. Complete the picture with my adventure at the launch party and you have one of the most important books I’ve ever read.

Book that Lived up to its Hype the Best, Whether Hyped by Me or Otherwise: Half Wild by Sally Green. The Half Life trilogy has easily become one of my favorites ever since Half Bad took me by the hand and threw me into a pit of heart-wrenching feelings and daring writing. Half Wild had literally everything I wanted in it. Literally.

Book that Let me Down the Most: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud. So Lockwood and Company is one of my favorite series. It’s borderline Middle Grade and The Screaming Staircase to-date features some of the scariest ghosts ever. So I was excited for Hollow Boy. So, so excited. Anthony Lockwood is  my favorite. But I was let down fabulously with the introduction of a new and unnecessarily fight-provoking character, and I got none of the character development that I was looking for. It makes me sad. Not sad enough to stop reading, mind you. But sad.

So genres are fun, right? They give you a sense of what people like to read in general, or what their lists are at least made up of. So here’s some best-in-class reviews for some of my favorite genres.

Best Teen Horror: No second-guessing happens here. This belongs to The Suffering by Rin Chupeco. This book scared the hell out of me in the Japanese Suicide Forest with a fantastic protagonist and a beautiful wrap up. Not to boast, but I cried. A lot.

Best Urban Fantasy: The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff. Endlessly lovable characters, dark city streets, hell. What’s not to love?d92ff30cffe83c0148d6f996fd147019

Best Paranormal Fantasy: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. Holly Black is basically a goddess and anything that comes from her is pure gold. This January release, with a companion in the works, was absolutely no exception. (and the poster I got from my pre-order is still one of my favorite things on my wall.)

Best Gothic: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton. This book inspired me more than any other thing I read this year. Read it. Right now.

Best Contemporary: Even In Paradise by Chelsea Philpot. I just. Seriously go read this book, I’m begging you.

22535536Best Thriller: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver. I didn’t think this book would let me enjoy it. I was wrong. Very wrong. (also, again, that freaking cover. ♥)

Best Recommended Book: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This book was equal parts book club and Snifferblog’s fault, and even though I’m going to blame Snifferblog for ruining my life, I’m secretly grateful. This book was mind-bendingly, heart-twistingly, ethic-testingly fantastic.

Best Book that is Totally Out of my League: The Shining by Stephen King. More on this later when I tackle the last fifty pages and work up a review of some kind, but oh my god. The title of the King of Horror is well earned. Very well earned.

Something that Ended: The Gods of New Asgard series concluded with The Apple Throne this year, and though I haven’t read it yet, I mean. Come on.

It’s Tessa Freaking Gratton.

Something that Started: The Kinsman Chronicles by Jill Williamson began with Darkness Reigns this year. Darkness Reigns is the first part of the first book of this series. I was privileged to be on the launch team with Jill, and let me tell you. This book is great, even if you’re not a Christian High Fantasy kind of person.

Best Author Visit: This is a category I am hesitant to even venture near. I kicked 2015 off with going to NTTBF, and then rounded it off in September with the Six of Crows launch, with Laini Taylor right in the middle of it all and my yearly writer’s workshop feat. Jill Williamson just before that, and Lindsay Cummings right after. So what do I choose?

The obvious choice would be the 6oC launch party. That was a life milestone as well as one of the best nights ever, and 6oC was one of my favorite books, et cetera, et cetera…

But I’m going with Book Fest, because–yet again–Tessa Gratton. I wouldn’t be the me going into 2016 that I am if it weren’t for Tessa and Leigh’s books.

So I guess it’s a toss-up? But the point is: I met my heroes this year. And that was great.

New Favorite Character: I mean, Kaz Brekker. Come on. At the beginning of the year I met Signy in The Strange Maid and she shaped me. But she’s one of those characters where I feel like I’ve known her forever. Like my feelings towards Richard Gansey, there wasn’t ever a time that I didn’t know Signy Valborn.

So Kaz. Because Kaz taught me focus and honestly, he is very easily the prettiest face I read about this year. You just can’t get much better than a teenaged con with a fancy suit.

Most Memorable Book: So this is a deviation, but this award goes to Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, a book that I am still reviewing. I read it in late October, and I pretty much haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It was pretty incredible.

And finally. Last, but absolutely not least: Most Anticipated Read of 2016:

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 Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke.

Happy 2016, Reach readers.

 

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