The Best 15 Books of 2015

Because 2015 has almost come to an end, I thought I would make a list with the best books I have read in 2015. They’re in no particular order. I have categorized them by genre, so it would be easier to read and a lot clearer. So let’s find out what my favourite reads of 2015 are!


 

Contemporary

  • Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alire Saénz. ★★★★★
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. ★★★★★
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio. ★★★★★
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. ★★★★

Fantasy

  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. ★★★★★
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. ★★★★★
  • Half a King by Joe Abercrombie. ★★★★★
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. ★★★★★
  • The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. ★★★★1/2
  • The Young Elites by Marie Lu. ★★★★
  • Angelfall by Susan Ee. ★★★★

 Historical Fiction

  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. ★★★★

 

 Thriller

  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey. ★★★★

 

Dystopian/Science Fiction

  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner. ★★★★★
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. ★★★★

 

 

Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

Wonder is a very uplifting, feel-good story about a boy called August. It isn’t dark or gritty what you may expect before reading it. The book is split up in several parts and every part is being told from the perspective of another character. So we don’t only get to see the perspective of August himself, but also from the people who are close to him. Which I totally loved! You get their background, you get to know their feelings and what they think about certain things too. It makes the book even more interesting.

The writing style is easy to read, the chapters are short, but yet it is so stunning.

I felt that the main characters in the book were very real. Everybody makes mistakes, the kids really acted like kids and in the way I had expected kids would. The things that are happening in the school are familiar, because it really went like that in middle school in real life. We all have experienced it, maybe not in the way August and his classmates did, but still it is familiar.

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Source: Goodreads

Our main character August is a ten year old boy. On the inside he feels like he is ordinary, but the truth is, August is far from ordinary. He has got a facial abnormality and now has to go to a real school for the first time in his life. And he is dreading it. He worries about being accepted, making new friends and if they would see that he is just like him underneath it all.

August’s sister Olivia, or Via, has to cope with her own problems, like friends growing apart, going to a new school and the ‘problem’ of having a brother like August.

We also get to see the perspective of two of August’s friends, Summer and Jack. Which is very interesting too, because than you get to know why they did the things they have done. What their motives are. How they feel about August.

There was only one perspective of a person that felt a little unnecessary, but still it was interesting to see how a person from the outside thinks of August’s family. How they experience it.

In wonder we follow the first year of August on a real school. There is not really a plot, just a lot of interesting, sad, fun and happy things happening in that certain part of August’s life. The book never lacked interest and I never got bored with it. It made a lot of emotions and feelings free in me. And not even the story of August himself got me almost in tears, it was something unexpected.

I totally loved the attachments in the end. They were funny and they gave me hope. Just like the whole book gave me hope. It was pure perfection. If I would let my future children read a book, Wonder is definitely one of them. It is so much more than just a story. It contains good lifelessons, that there is more to a person than we can see on the outside, that it’s the inside that counts and not the outside. One of my favourite books for sure. I think everyone should read this book.

“You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder.”

RATING: ★★★★★

Wonder / R.J. Palacio / Corgi Childrens / 2012 / 315 pages / ISBN  9780552565974

Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

So it’s been a while since I read this book but I remember Angelfall as a quick and very good read. I didn’t really know what I could expect, because I didn’t know that much about the book. I also hadn’t read a book about angels before (except for the infernal devices, but those are very different, and you can’t really compare them.) But I liked it a lot!

I loved our main character Penrynn. She really kicks ass. She is brave, still very realistic and imperfect. Her actions aren’t always the right ones and she’s aware of this. Although her mother is mentally unstable and talks to demons, Penrynn loves her and her little sister very much. And she is determined to safe her sister, no matter the cost.

Than we have got Raffe, what do I say. He was likeable too. Raffe is stuck between helping Penrynn safe her sister, because he knows he is the best shot she’s got, and solving his own problems.

Something I have to say is that I really loved the conversations the two of them were sharing. It got me laughing almost everytime.

““Here, I’ll show you how to use it. Let me see your foot.”
“That’s a pretty intimate demand in the angel world. It usually takes dinner, some wine, and sparkling conversation for me to give up my feet.””

In the beginning I had the feeling that the book wasn’t that original. It felt like a typical surviving-got-to-find-someone- story, like I read or saw it somewhere else before. Yes, this is a typical storyline that you see a lot, but I’m talking about the things that were happening too. They felt familiar as well, although I never lost interest. The action kept going and I was turning the pages very fast. Fortunately the storyline got way better throughout the book. And what happens near the end.. holy crap! It was perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Angelfall+I have read some thrillers, such as the girl with all the gifts, because I love being creeped out, but this book creeped me out even more than they did. It is very graphic and there are some cruel and nasty things going on in the book.

The ending of the book itself gives you some closure and does, in my case, not desperately makes me want to pick up the sequel. But I know that eventually I will. I can tell you that.

RATING: ★★★★

Angelfall / Susan Ee / Hodder and Stoughton / 2011 / 326 pages / ISBN 9781444778519

The Bookish Scenarios tag

Thanks a lot to Mariana @ fireheartbooks for tagging me to do the Bookish Scenarios tag!

1.) You have to get rid of all your books and you can only keep one from each of these genres – contemporary, fantasy, non-fiction and one other genre of your choosing. What books do you keep?

Contemporary – Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe for sure. I have mentioned this book a lot lately, but I just have too. It’s amazing.

You can find my review of Aristotle and Dante by clicking here

Fantasy – The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss. A book I mentioned a lot too.

You can find my review of the name of the wind by clicking here

Non-fiction – ooh I don’t read much non-fiction, but I’m going with the diary of a young girl, because that’s the only non-fiction book I remember reading.

Thriller: The girl with all the gifts, because this book is very unique and it really surprised me.

You can find my review of the girl with all the gifts by clicking here

2.) You’re at the bookstore and you hear a teenager telling their mom they don’t like to read, but their mom insists they pick something. You walk over and recommend a book you think is great for people who aren’t big on reading – what book is it?

Probably Percy Jackson, because it’s easy to read, action-packed throughout the whole book, it’s about gods and demi-gods, which is very interesting and every book in the series is just so much fun to read!

3.) You’re not feeling yourself and need a pick me up. Which book do you read to put yourself in a great mood?

I’m about to say Aristotle and Dante again, but I will pick another one for the change. Let’s go with a book I have read this year too and that’s Me and Earl and the dying girl. It was the first book that had me laughing out loud and it was a fun read. Although I almost shed a tear at some point too.

You can find my review of Me and Earl and the dying girl by clicking here

4.) You go back in time for a day to your child-hood years. What book would you most likely have caught yourself reading?
Any book in the ranger’s apprentice series!

You can find some thoughts I have about the series by clicking here

5.) Your friend surprises you with a 4 day trip and you have 1 hour to pack. Which book do you bring to read on the way?

The wise man’s fear by Patrick Rothfuss. This book is huge! I’m telling you. So I will have a lot of pages to turn and I won’t be without a good story to read.

6.) Your house has been robbed! Don’t worry – everyone is safe, but your bookshelf has been raided. What’s the book you really hope is safe?

I can’t chose just one! That’s not fair. I hope all of them, but especially the ones I already mentioned above. Like Aristotle and Dante, I’m sorry. My books by Patrick Rothfuss and my beautiful editions of the Harry Potter series too, of course.

7.) Your friend borrows a book and returns it in awful condition. Do you a) Just pretend you haven’t noticed b) Ask them to repurchase it or c) Secretly do the same to something of theirs?

C is not an option to me, because my friends don’t really own books. Not that I would have done it if they had. That’s just something I wouldn’t do. I’m going with option A. I’m not going to ask them to repurchase it for me, that’s too much to ask in my opinion, but I will tell them to be careful the next time.

 

 


 

 

I’m tagging everyone who sees this and wants to do this!

Review: The boy in the striped pyjamas by John Boyne

This book is just so heart-breaking, as well as heart-warming.

The boy in the striped pyjamas tells a story of the nine-year-old Bruno. His father is a very special man, although Bruno isn’t quite sure what is father is actually doing. When his father gets a promotion, they have to leave their house in Berlin for a house in the middle of nowhere. Where there are no children and where there’s nothing to explore. But Bruno couldn’t have been more wrong. Cause on one day, he makes a great discovery. And his discovery is called Shmuel. Shmuel lives on the other side of the fence. Where everyone wears striped pyjamas. Slowly Bruno and Shmuel become best friends, but their friendship has devastating consequences.

The book is written from the perspective of the young Bruno. So it’s all a little childish. The writing style isn’t hard to read and it’s rather playful. I really liked the names of the chapter. It made me feel as if I was reading one of Bruno’s adventure stories. John Boyne really made clear that the book was written in the perspective of Bruno, because he also leaves some things out. He lets you fill them in for yourselves, because we all could guess wat could of would have happened and Bruno himself is afraid to say them out loud. He also pronounces some things wrong, because a nine-year-old would probably do that. It makes things more interesting and makes you feel even more hopeless, because you realise, once more, that Bruno is just a child living in a cruel world and he can’t do anything about it. There’s nothing he could do to help is best friend, if he would even realise his best friend needs help.

The characters in this book are very real. Bruno is a truly nine-year-old who doesn’t know much about the world he is living in and doesn’t really understand it either. He has got a love-hate relationship with his twelve-year-old sister Gretel. Which, in my experience, has got almost every brother and sister. He thinks his father is doing all the good in the world, because he doesn’t know better. Shmuel, a really understanding little boy, on the other hand, gets to see Bruno’s father from another side.The conversations that the two of them are having are very heart-breaking. Bruno doesn’t know what it is like on the other side of the fence and thinks Shmuel has got it better than him, because he has got a lot of other boys to play with. And he tells things like this to Shmuel. It hurts to read, because you know how that effects Shmuel. But at the same time you can’t blame Bruno for doing this, because he’s a kid who doesn’t know how cruel the world really is and how awful the things that are happening to Shmuel really are. Despite that, it’s also heart-warming to see that the two of them love each other for who they are and are forgiving towards each other. And of course only the fact that a friendship between such different kids could exist, already makes me feel warm inside.

Gretel is a rather annoying teenager at the phase of exploring things. She always thinks she is smarter than Bruno and tries to behave much older than she actually is. Just like a twelve-year-old would be.

The story itself is heart-breaking because you know it’s based on things that really happened. People really got treated like Pavel in this story, people really got put in camps and got shot to death for no particular reason. And there really were people like lieutenant Kotler. But there were also good people, not to forget. And what happens in the end and in the way it was written, has broken my heart into a million pieces as well.

I saw the movie before I read the book and normally I would not like that, but I have to admit that it didn’t bother me this time. It’s because the movie is very true to the book and it was executed very well. I loved the cast, Asa Butterfield is just an amazing actor and the boy who played the role of Shmuel was perfect as well. I heard their voices in my head while reading their conversations and I pictured their faces in my head as well, but that didn’t bother me either. I really liked the movie and I think the book is just as good, if not better.

Rating: ★★★★

The boy in the striped pyjamas / John Boyne / Definitions / 2006 / 216 pages / ISBN 9781862305274

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us–to haunt our thoughts long after we’ve faced them.”

This was actually the book I was most looking forward to read this month. The synopsis looked very intriguing and there was a lot of hype around it. So I had high expectations for this one. Unfortunately, the book couldn’t live up to my expactations entirely.

Throne of glass is about Adarlan’s most notorious assassin; Celaena Sardothien. She has served for a year, as a punishment, in the salt mines of Endovier. Known as a death camp. But then one day the crown prince of Adarlan offers her her freedom, under one condition: She must act as his Champion in a competition to become the king’s assassin. The story continues when the competition has started and Celeana has to beat the others in a series of eliminations. But the story gets a twist when one of her opponents turns out dead, and more will follow.

I already said it, but I really liked the idea of the story. An assassin who has to compete in a competition against other assassins, thieves etc. I pictured a lot of action and gruesome scenes, but that was, unfortunately, not the case. It was more of a romantic story and Celaena wasn’t really a cold and deadly assassin as I had pictured her. She came across to me as just a girl with some skills. In the first three quarter of the book it felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again. She was training, she had passed some tests, another champion was found dead. That was almost the only thing going on. And the tests weren’t even described. It literally went like this: two weeks later, she had passed three tests. I was really disappointed. So it took me a while to read the book and I actually picked up another book, because I just couldn’t do it at first. But I’m glad I continued with the book, because I really enjoyed the last quarter of the book

Now let’s talk about the characters. I didn’t like them at all in the beginning. I thought Celaena was annoying and way too perfect, she didn’t feel like a realistic character, Dorian was annoying too and then Choal. I didn’t get him. But I have to say that later in the book, much later, I started to like them a little. Dorian and Celaena turned out to be a little funny and I actually enjoyed some conversations they were having. And I have to admit that I started to actually like Coal. He turned out to be a very interesting person after all and I also liked the relationship he had with Celaena.

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

I have liked Princess Nehemia since she got introduced in the book. She was brave, determined, smart and likeable. And I loved the relationship she shared with Celaena.

And I think lady Kaltain was a good addition to all the characters too. She and the things that happened to her really showed how selfish, greedy and cruel people could be.

Further I have to say that it was a rather mild fantasy book. But what I did like about the book was the idea of the wyrdmarks and everything behind it. It’s a good thing to start with, I hope Sarah J. Maas will expand it in the other books. Although it wasn’t really original in my opinion, it was still very interesting. And the connection with Celaena, yes it was predictable but I forgive her for that, I really want to know more about it.

So even though this wasn’t a perfect book, I eventually enjoyed it and got to connect with the characters. And after reading the reviews of Crown of midnight, I think I will be picking up the next book in the series, because it looks very promising.

RATING: ★★★½

Throne of Glass /  Sarah J. Maas / Bloomsbury / 2012 / 404 pages / ISBN 9781408832332

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

“I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.”

This is a hard one for me.

The young elites follows a girl named Adelina Amouteru. Adelina is a malfetto; she survived the blood fever and now is marked for her life. They had to take out her eye, so there’s a scar on her face where her eye ones was. Malfetto’s are hated by a lot of people. Even her father hates her for who she is. He only loves her sister, Violette, because she is just perfect. One evening when her father makes a deal to sell Adelina, she finds herself on the run from her father. But she accidently kills her father and discovers that she has got an ability a human shouldn’t have. She’s a young elite. But the inquisitors have tracked her down and now want to kill her. On the day she’s to be killed, she gets rescued by a group of young elites, they call themselves the daggers. Trained young elites who have mastered their powers and they have a mission. Adelina finds sanctuary by them and they train her to get control over her ability. But Adelina’s ability is far stronger than any young elite before her and so she can be a danger to others and even to herself.

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