Best of 2015

2015 was a mixed bag. I read some really great books, and got excited about quite a few things.

However there were also lengthy periods of time where I was either feeling a little blah about my books or I was downright fed up with reading in general, and with the repetition brought on by genre fads.

I saved myself from my reading slumps both by rereading, and also by buying books instead of accepting as many review books as I might have other years.

Every year I post my best reads of the year. Many are 2015 releases, but some are not. Not all of them are the Greatest Read Ever, but every one of these stuck with me in some way, and that’s what counts the most when it comes to a book.

The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

Ross Poldark (Poldark #1) by Winston Graham

Poldark_-_Ross_Poldark

His Wicked Reputation (Wicked Trilogy #1) by Madeline Hunter

His Wicked Reputation (Wicked Trilogy #1) by Madeline Hunter

Brown-Eyed Girl (Travis Family #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Brown-Eyed Girl (2015) (The fourth book in the Travis series) by Lisa Kleypas

Collateral Damage (Bagram Special Ops #5) by Kaylea Cross

Collateral Damage by Kaylea Cross

His Christmas Countess by Louise Allen

His Christmas Countess (Lords of Disgrace #2) by Louise Allen

Josette (When Hearts Dare #3) by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Josette (When Hearts Dare #3) by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Tall, Dark and Wicked (Wicked Trilogy #2) by Madeline Hunter

Tall, Dark, & Wicked by Madeline Hunter

This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver

This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver

Demelza (Poldark #2) by Winston Graham

Demelza (The Poldark Saga #2) by Winston Graham

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Bared to You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Danger Wears White (The Emperors of London #3) by Lynne Connolly

Danger Wears White (The Emperors of London #3) by Lynne Connolly

Reflected in You (Crossfire #2) by Sylvia Day

Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

To Love a Cop by Janice Kay Johnson

To Love a Cop by Janice Kay Johnson

Dead by Midnight (I-Team 7.5 An I-Team Christmas) by Pamela Clare

Dead by Midnight (I-Team 7.5 An I-Team Christmas) by Pamela Clare

The Spring Bride (Chance Sisters #3) by Anne Gracie

The Spring Bride (Chance Sisters #3) by Anne Gracie

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Cold-Hearted Rake (2015) by Lisa Kleypas

His Housekeeper’s Christmas wish by Louise Allen

His Housekeeper's Christmas Wish by Louise Allen

In Debt to the Earl by Elizabeth Rolls

In Debt to the Earl by Elizabeth Rolls

The Lady Meets Her Match (Midnight Meetings #2) by Gina Conkle

The Lady Meets Her Match (Midnight Meetings #2) by Gina Conkle

The Week: 28th September – 4th October

SonyaHeaneySophia25thSeptember2015

Me with Sophia the Thursday before she went. She is the most cuddly cat!

UPDATE: Our cat had four gorgeous little black, white and grey kittens! (Well, they’ll be gorgeous soon, because they look a bit like rats at the moment!)

They sneaked an orphan into her litter, so now she a mum of five. 🙂

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The week started in a sad way. Monday was not only the day we took our gorgeous, gorgeous stray cat, Sophia, to foster care (she will be having her kittens soon), but it was also the day we gave up my grandmother’s house to the new owners. It was the centre of our lives for three and a half decades, the place all our Easters, Christmases, birthdays etc. happened.

Australian Parliament Canberra Australia Parliament House Capital Hill Spring Sonya Heaney 28th September 2015

Driving past Australian Parliament on Monday morning – a public holiday in Canberra.

I took the above picture of Parliament House on our way back through Canberra, from dropping off the cat and on our way back to New South Wales to close up the house.

The warm weather has well and truly arrived. Suddenly everyone’s in their little summer dresses!

United Nations 28th September 2015 the tattered Ukrainian flag from the August 2014 Massacre of Ilovaisk, where 366 Ukrainian soldiers were killed after being tricked into surrender by Russian forces.

Ukrainians holding up a bullet-riddled flag at the United Nations on Monday. It is from a battle where the Russians tricked 366 Ukrainians into surrendering and then massacred them. All the while Putin is running around the world, playing friends with all the world leaders.

Imagine how the world would have reacted if it had been 366 Americans massacred!

I have NO idea why, but starting on Wednesday there were so many Christmas episodes on the television. Have the department stores made a deal with the TV networks or something? Is it a not-so-subtle suggestion we rush out and start Christmas shopping in October?

Celebrities who have modelled for book covers

2,_Claudia_and_the_Phantom_Phone_CallsMost interesting to me is the Baby-Sitters Club cover with Kirsten Dunst, because not only are we the same age, but I think I still own a copy of that book.

Sequel Baiting

The Darkest Hour (KGI #1) by Maya Banks

Her Face!

Ravenswood Janet Louise Roberts

My review of This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver

This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver

My review of The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver

This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver

Take a chance and change your life…

College was supposed to be where Hannah’s hard work paid off, but the major in honours chemistry she’s been working towards since childhood is slipping away. Worse, she’s not sure she wants it anymore. Salvation comes from an unlikely place—a used bookstore and Ben, the passionate college senior who works there.

Ben’s trapped in a life mapped out for him. Trapped in a future career as a lawyer to make his father happy. Trapped pursuing a girl he doesn’t even like because she fits into a world he doesn’t want, but can’t escape. But then he meets Hannah. And for the first time, he knows what it means to truly want something.

So he gives in to being her friend. Then to wanting her. Then to kissing her. And within the freedom of his impulsivity, both of their carefully planned lives begin to fall apart…

This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver

It’s always such an amazing moment when you find a New Adult author whose books aren’t full of misogyny and guys punching each other. This was one of the best contemporary romances I’ve read in… well, in forever, and it featured two lovely, sweet, likeable and intelligent characters, along with a bunch of lovely, sweet, likeable and intelligent secondary characters.

Our heroine, escaping bad weather, stumbles into a second-hand bookshop one day, and there she meets our hero. She has been so focused on science she never read, and books are his passion. The relationship that follows develops believably, and both are such genuinely likeable people that it’s easy to believe in them together. And hey – hero with glasses!

The story is really well-balanced, with both hero and heroine dealing with and overcoming their own issues, beyond the relationship. I also liked that our heroine is never taken seriously because of the way she looks, and how she also overcomes that.

There is no misogyny in this book. None. It is sad that that is something that needs pointing out, but it puts This Book Will Change Your Life into a very small group of books in this genre I can actually say that about! Not even the romantic rival is made out to be a bad person, and the heroine has good female friends rather than the author pitting all the young women against each other, like most in this genre do.

It’s not only refreshing, but these people reminded me much more of my university days than any of the melodramatic garbage that has been popular for a few years.

Honestly, this is just one of those books you can’t dislike. It portrays young adults the way things really are, it features characters you can relate to, and you will be really cheering hero and heroine on for their happy ever after. Definitely recommended.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.