Sunday, January 3, 2016

Bel's Top Ten of 2015 (and then some too!)

Oh gosh ... this is always so hard. I'm so thankful for all the 100+ books I was able to read in 2015. I've managed to dwindle it down to this special group of books. So here we go in no particular order ...

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

As I was reading this (all in a matter of hours) I realized that I was holding something precious in my hands. The girl in the bubble looked after by an over-protective mother becomes curious about the world beyond her window when her new neighbour moves in next door. A unique friendship blossoms as she begins to experience life  as opposed to reading about it. This gorgeous debut has all the feels that will wrap around you like a snug, warm blanket.

Stand-Off by Andrew Smith

This was one of the sequels I was so desperate to read. Winger will always be one of my all time favourites and to be able to return to the adorkable Ryan Dean West was such a treat! Ryan Dean is a little more grown up yet still a knucklehead which is what's awesome about him. And the introduction of his new roommate, "The Abernathy" had me in stitches the entire time!

Did I Mention I Love You by Estelle Maskame 

This one hit me by surprise. I couldn't believe how much I fell for this story and its characters. Step-siblings falling for each other would normally illicit an "ew" but somehow that didn't happen here. Along the way they just became real people to me. I was left feeling antsy with the need to get my hands on the next book, stat!

The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase

I still consider myself new to contemporary romance but there was just something so charming about this title and cover that I picked it without hesitation. A smart, successful career-woman with a solid group of friends questioning how her career ambitions and her upcoming nuptials can fit together. Not everything is harmonious and she has the added distraction of the guy from the past that she can't shake. I loved everything about this sweet and engaging story.

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Bachman 

I'm sure you've had those moments when suddenly you're compelled to read a book. That's how it was for me and Ove. Elderly widower Ove is despondent and just wants to be left alone. That's not happening with both new and old neighbours inadvertently getting into his business. This revolving door of unwanted people systematically wears down the curmudgeonly Ove and his rigid routine. It's one of those stories that sticks with you awhile after it's done. I'll always remember reading the final few pages while at the library and quietly shedding a few tears. Simply beautiful.

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

I haven't read many M/M romances lately which is something I must remedy in the New Year. What I did read, I enjoyed which is the case here. In the hands of Bowen and Kennedy, a healthy sprinkling of quick wit and humor help to tell this smart and introspective story of two friends falling in love. 

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

After noticing this on many TBR piles, it eventually made it to mine. In Wallach's stunning debut, several lives intersect as an asteroid hurtles toward earth.  In the weeks leading up to their impending doom, it seems that the impact they have on each other may be even more powerful than that of the fast-approaching asteroid itself.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Another buzzworthy title that caught my eye. An inter-racial family in the 70s faces every family's worst nightmare when one of their children goes missing. The narrative flows seamlessly from one POV to another and also from past to present. All their guilt, secrets and thoughts not said aloud are what haunt this story making it both tragic and painfully beautiful. 

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Usually when every character is unlikable, there's not much of an impulse to keep going with the story. Not so much here. Despite the fact that their wretched behaviours made my stomach churn, I was so intrigued by the plot and how all the details fit together that I was able to overlook all that and simply succumb to the mystery. It's hard to resist that kind of a tale.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

2015 is the year I discovered Colleen Hoover. Of the books I've read so far, Hopeless (and it's counterpart, Losing Hope) are my favourites. I fell so hard for this book so much so that I wish I could re-experience everything about it again as if for the first time. At once sexy and heart-wrenching, Hopeless holds a special place in my heart.

... and then some! Because asking me to limit my faves to just ten is asking the impossible. 

Best Worst Mistake by Lia Riley

I adore Lia Riley and she has succeeded in converting me into a small town romance fan. In this third in the Brightwater series, the gruff Wilder Kane is the "Beast" to sweet Quinn Higsby's "Beauty". They meet, don't get along yet can't get enough of each other. The setting is so not me but Riley had me wishing that I could move to this little town and work in the cute little bookstore and eat at the cute little coffee shop and hang with the Kane family especially Grandma because she's a riot!  

Wicked Restless by Ginger Scott

Ginger Scott can tug at your heartstrings. She had two books out in 2015 and while I liked both, it's Wicked Reckless that has coming creeping back into my thoughts. What's most compelling about this plot is how forgiveness can eventually come but only after all the bitterness and guilt has been hashed out.

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

A love story told from the perspective of everyone but the two people falling in love? Colour me intrigued. When two of those POVs include a squirrel and a park bench? Sold! 

The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

The entire Game On series is simply funtastic and the magic continues here. Why is it that the quietest one is always the one with the juiciest secrets? The Game Plan gave me a whole new level of appreciation for beards, man buns and The Black Keys. Also laughing aloud consistently through the pages is not a bad way to spend your time.

And there you have it - my top picks. I wish I could add more to the list but I've already bent the rules ;) I'm excited to see what exciting reads are to come.  Happy New Year to you all!  

~ Bel

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