Five Favorite Reads of 2015

Though I really tried to squeeze one last book in - I just finished Kirsty Logan's The Grace Keepers - I'm not too displeased with what I managed to read in 2015, given what a temperamental year I've had. We moved - twice, really, as we had a six-week stint with family before finding a new home - I began a new job I did not love, I left that job for another that I love so much I ought to marry it, after the closure of my first publisher I signed with a new one, and I've spent the last few months scrambling to stay well ahead of a deadline for the sequel to The Hidden Icon. The bad news is that I didn't meet my personal deadline of this past weekend, the good news is I'm super close. But on to what I've read this year, despite me being me. Clariel While Garth Nix's Clariel had a slow start, my anticipation of more stories from his beautifully imagined Old Kingdom and the book's absolutely killer second half secured its place in my heart. It wasn't the story I expected or even a story I was sure that I wanted, once I realized what I was reading. But I was delighted to be wrong, on all counts, and am really looking forward to Nix returning to the Old Kingdom again, which it is rumored he will, with more of my beloved Lirael. It is not remotely surprising that I loved Amy Poehler's Yes Please, even though it confirmed for me that I am just not cool enough to like Amy Poehler. She's so very real and very funny. One of my favorite parts was her admonishing readers to stop reading and call their mothers to hear the story of the day that they were born, if they hadn't heard it already. I learned that my mother's OB-GYN encouraged her to drink a beer when she thought she was in labor, and if that didn't stop the contractions, to come into the hospital. Much though I'd like to think my birth was heralded by a craft brew of some kind, I expect it was Budweiser. Ah, well. The Queen of the TearlingErika Johansen's The Queen of the Tearling wasn't without flaws, but I admired her daring as a writer so much, the world she built, the questions she left boldly unanswered, and more than anything, a whole, complicated heroine in Kelsea. I was willing to follow her anywhere. Right into the sequel, in fact, given it's waiting right now on my bookshelf to be read.

There are few writers whose imaginations delight me as much as Laura Bickle's, and Dark Alchemy was everything I've come to expect from her: playful, wicked, and unexpectedly dark. Petra Dee was intimately likeable from the start, with just enough mystery and flirt to pull me along to the book's satisfying, if so very sad, conclusion. Both Dark Alchemy and the sequel, Mercury Retrograde, are quick, easy reads, and explore territory you won't find anywhere else in urban fantasy.Uprooted Easily my favorite book of the year, though, was Naomi Novik's Uprooted. It wasn't a fairy tale retelling but had all of the best elements of a genre I love so much; it felt fresh and familiar at the same time, was delicious and creepy and just plain cool. Though I could guess from early on the characters' trajectories, I was nevertheless delighted that she could still surprise me, and that even what I'd guessed at played out in a pretty spectacularly unusual way.

What about you? What did you read and love this year?