As I mentioned in my post about my top 10 books of the first half of 2015, this past year was an excellent one for readers, with wonderful books in many genres being released. As such, I knew I’d have to split my top picks for the year into two posts/lists. Here, without further ado, are my top 10 books that I read in the second half of 2015, all of which were published at some point in 2015.
10. The Uninvited by Cat Winters
This historical novel, set during the fraught days of WWI, is wonderfully creepy and unpredictable. There is a great twist to the story that I did not see coming; it was set up and executed perfectly. Impeccably researched, as are all Winters’ books, this is the perfect read for lovers of historical fiction and ghost stories alike.
9. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
This was a lovely, realistic young adult novel about a young woman whose dreams of being a singer are destroyed after an accident cost her her voice. At times heartbreaking, hopeful, and funny, I could not put this gorgeous novel down and read it in a single day.
8. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This non-fiction book about the power of creativity and living a creative life gave me a lot of inspiration, as well as a lot to think about. I just so happened to be reading this book around the time of the release of The Violinist of Venice, and it helped to give me perspective on all the crazy emotions surrounding that time. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the ideas that Gilbert puts forth in this book, but so much of what she says rang true to me as an artist, and on the whole I found her insights very valuable. I know that I’ll be referring to this book in the future.
7. A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
This was a dark and at times disturbing YA historical novel, yet it was just beautifully written and contained wonderfully rendered themes of hope and redemption. The dialogue between the absolutely marvelously drawn characters was a highlight of the novel for me. I was sad to turn the last page and have to say goodbye to these characters.
6. Enchantress of Paris by Marci Jefferson
This historical novel, set at the Sun King’s French court, is meticulously researched and vividly portrayed. I felt almost as though I were watching a movie while reading this novel, so clearly was I able to picture everything happening. I couldn’t put it down!
5. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Probably my most anticipated release of 2015, this follow up to Bray’s exceptional The Diviners did not disappoint. I tore through the massive tome, thrilled to be reunited with old friends within its pages. Bray’s masterful research is again on display here, and 1920s New York City comes to life in all its glory and shame alike. The cast of characters has grown from the first novel, but she manages all the plot threads and storylines well. I can’t wait for the third installment!
4. The Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow and David Ostow
I was really looking forward to this book as well, and it too did not disappoint. Super creepy and with a compelling and interesting plot, I was also completely drawn in by Winnie’s voice and the internal struggles she works through over the course of the novel, and loved the way the novel was formatted as a letter to her best friend. The illustrations add to the wonderful feel and atmosphere of the novel.
3. The Song of Hartgrove Hall by Natasha Solomons
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this novel, which was released in the U.S. on December 29th, and it absolutely blew me away. As a musician and a music lover, it spoke to me in a way that few other novels have; some of the thoughts that main character Fox – a composer and musician – have are identical to ones I myself have often had. I find myself thinking back on this novel often and recalling favorite lines and passages. A must read for musicians, music lovers, and fans of historical fiction.
2. The Silver Swan by Elena Delbanco
Everything about this book was up my alley – musicians, scandal, long-buried secrets, beautiful and rare instruments. Beautifully written, this novel moves along at a slow burn that makes it hard to put down.
- The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Beautiful, poetic, dark, and disturbing, this YA novel is one that I initially thought just wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Yet after hearing glowing reviews of it from two friends, I decided to pick up a copy, and boy, am I glad I did. I have never read anything like this book before, and cannot say enough good things about it. Main character Minnow has escaped a cult, and is forced to grapple with the aftermath of her escape and actions and the horrors she endured while there. Information is masterfully revealed along the way, and keeps you turning the pages even as you’re forced to slow down to appreciate the beauty of the writing. A very powerful novel about faith, choice, trust, and belief, this is an expertly crafted tale that everyone should read.
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
Medicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot
Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett
The Witch of Bourbon Street by Suzanne Palmieri
The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
My favorite non-2015 books that I read:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen