It’s that time again, where I look back at what I’ve read in 2015 and try to pick out some highlights. It’s been a tough task as I’ve read a lot of books and so many of them have been really very excellent. As many of them have already featured here as Books of the Week, I’ve linked back to that review where relevant – and added my thoughts about why this has made the list rather than reviewing afresh. I’ve also tried not to repeat myself too much with things that I’ve recommended recently – a lot of my other favourites from the year – that would have featured here too can be found in my Christmas gift idea posts – particularly in Books for Her.
Wonder by RJ Palacio
I loved this when I read it back in March – and it has stayed with me. Auggie’s story is touching, funny and a little bit heartbreaking. I’ve recommended it several times and had nothing but positive responses. Reading the also excellent One at the end of 2015 reminded me how much I enjoyed Wonder and how many really good YA books there are out there, that also teach grown-ups a thing or two too. If you haven’t already read it, it’s in Amazon’s 3 for £10 promotion again.
Prudence by Gail Carriger
Ms Carriger’s fabulous steampunk world was one of my discoveries of 2014, and in 2015 I was thrilled anew by the start of her new series – Prudence. An unconventional heroine, a dirigible painted to look like a ladybird, India, werewolves, other were-creatures and much more. I’m working my way through the Parasol Protectorate (the preceding series) audiobooks at the moment, but I know I’ll get to Prudence too. And the last Finishing School book was pretty spiffing too.
The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
From the start of a series to the end of an era. It wouldn’t be a round-up of my favourite books of the year without the final Terry Pratchett novel and the end of Tiffany Aching’s story. I’ve already written at length about my thoughts about the late Sir Terry and this was a Book of the Week as well. I want to read it again – but my copy is currently with my sister – who was next in line after my father. I am listening to the audiobook as well, but it makes me cry in public so it’s slow progress! I’ve been watching the repeats of Sky’s adaptations of Colour of Magic and Going Postal over Christmas (and crying over Sir T’s cameos) and I’ve still got everything cross we get some more Discworld on TV.
First Class Murder by Robin Stevens
My thoughts on boarding school books and murder mysteries are well known. And Robin Stevens’ series continues to combine all the best bits of both. There were two released this year – but I think First Class Murder is my favourite – because who wouldn’t love Murder on the Orient Express meets Mallory Towers/St Clares. Hazel and Daisy get taken on a train trip by Hazel’s father and get entangled in another death. They’re desperate to help solve it, but Mr Wong is not at all keen on the idea. What more could you want.
Stealing the Show by Christina Jones
And my final pick is this fabulous romantic comedy set in and around the world of a travelling fair. This is one of Christina Jones’s older books but has recently been re-released in ebook form. I loved the setting – and was totally fascinated by it. Jones’s father was a circus clown and she writes brilliantly about the itinerant lifestyle of a travelling show folk. The romance is star-crossed and and fraught with complications and with a deeply satisfying conclusion. And it explained a fair bit about where the fun-fair that pops up in in a lot of the later books comes from!
So there you are. Five of my favourite books of 2015. I can’t wait to start making new favourites in 2015. Please share your favourites from last year in the comments – I’m always looking for recommendations (despite the size of the pile) and I’ve found people in real life are often hesitant to suggest books for me – perhaps because of how many I read they’re worried I’ll have read them already. So rather than trust the Goodreads and Amazon algorithms for what to read next, I’d love to hear from you – after all if you keep coming here to see what I’ve written, you may well have the same sort of tastes as me!