Books that Rocked My Face off in 2015

This year it was hard to narrow it down to just 10 books as there were so many books I really loved this year.  So to narrow it down, I had to ask myself which ones was I still thinking about even after I started reading the next book?  Those are ones I choose for the list. (These are really in no particular order

  1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – This book I really wish I read when I was a teenager as so many of the messages I could have really used.  You would almost think that a book about teenage beauty queens stuck on a desert island would be caricatures but they weren’t.  They were very like girls I know or were me.  I could pretty much identify with all of their struggles.  Plus it was a lot of fun.
  2. Winter by Marissa Meyer -I am really going to miss this series so much.  Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter made me laugh, cheer, angry ( on their behalf) and proud of all of them.  Winter was by far the longest book of the series and it was non-stop action.  There wasn’t any filler or time to relax.  It was the perfect ending.
  3. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell  – A little bit Harry Potter and a little bit of fanfiction.  It was a great final book to an imaginary series.  I was surprised by many of the twists and turns and touched by the romance.
  4. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray – I loved the first book in the series and so I was nervous this one wasn’t going to be as good.  It was better.  Now my only complaint is that she doesn’t write fast enough.
  5. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – It was fun, tense and very interesting.  I thought I knew where things were going and then I didn’t.  I’m looking forward to what lays in store in the next book.
  6. Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow – This wasn’t anything like I thought it would be.  It was surprising.  It was fresh.  It had the sassiest A.I. in the history of A.I.’s.  For that reason alone, you all should read it.
  7. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – It was sorta historical fiction with a dystopian vibe and boy did it work.  It was brutal and it was tense but entertaining.
  8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – This was very much an Ocean 11’s style caper with a little bit of a magic and darkness in only the way that Leigh Bardugo could do it.  It’s set in the same world but after the events of her last series but a completely different vibe.
  9. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson – This is the third book in the series so the stakes are so much higher and it didn’t disappoint.  It’s full of humor, action and ghosts.  What else can I say.
  10. The Rose Society by Marie Lu – This is the second book in the series that tells the story from the villainess point of view (though I’m not convinced that Adelina is the real villain but whatever) It was intense and was surprising, maybe a little problematic but worth the read.

There was two books that I enjoyed so much that I read the other books in the that were out in the series this year too.  So I thought they would get their own category.

  1. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas  – For those looking for a Game of Thrones fill in until George publishes the next book, I recommend this.  It  was has all the twists and turns and is not afraid to kill of a character or two.  I’m never really sure where it’s going to take us next but I know it will be well worth the ride.
  2. Talon series by Julie Kagawa – It has a little bit of everything.  A Romeo and Juliet Love, a love triangle, a betrayal and yeah dragons.  Who doesn’t love dragons?  Ok, the idea isn’t that original but I do love it anyway.

Quick Review: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Featured imageI know that Adelina is supposed to be the villain of this story.  The entire marketing campaign has been how this is from the villainess point of view instead of the usual heroine. I agree that’s unique but I’m having hard time seeing Adelina as a villain or “the villain” of this novel.  If anything she is just one of many bad guys in the story.  Teren is out right terrifying.  His obsession and religious furor makes him so certain that his work camps and plans of eradicating all malfettos from Kennetra is the true villain of the story.  I think we are supposed to see the Daggers led by Enzo and Raffaelle as the heroes but they are committing treason by allying themselves to Queen Maeve of Beldain. Maeve is also an elite with the power to bring back the dead.  For this reason she obviously takes much better care of malfettos or survivors of the blood fever but she is also planning on taking over another sovereign nation.  Queen Guiletta is not exactly a saint either but now that she has ascended to the thrown she is making in effort.  She sees how Teren is treating the malfettos and orders they be treated better.  She wants obedience, not revolution.  She knows that the children of many influential people are malfettos and they would not like to see their children poorly treated.  Unfortunately, Teren sees things differently and by the time she realizes how much power she has given him it’s too late.  Could she have been a more effective leader if it wasn’t for Teren?  Most likely.  But back to Adelina.  She was caste out from the Daggers for betraying them, killing Dante and making the mistake that lead to Enzo’s death.  She and her sister Violetta seek out new allies to help her in her revenge against Teren and his inquisitors.  Throughout the book, Adelina experience illusions of people she has killed that and they get worse as the story goes on. She also hears voices and becomes more and more paranoid.  *Spoiler* We learn in the end that the elites powers are turning against them.  They were given powers of the Gods but their human bodies can’t handle it.  Adelina has the power of illusions. Creating images to make people think, see and feel things that are not there.  For her it makes her see her dead father and hear voices and be paranoid.  I couldn’t help but think this sounds like schizophrenia or another mental illness.  Having your villain show signs of mental illness is a little problematic to me.  I’m pretty sure that is not the author’s intent.  As I said, the elites powers are turning against them.  If Adelina had different powers her side effects would be different but her powers and her dark feelings are what makes her a threat.  Also a little problematic is that Adelina is a victim of domestic abuse.  Since she was a child she was beaten and abused by her father.  She lived her life trying to gain the love of a man who hurt her.  When she kills him and finds the Daggers she does what she can to make them like her and to fit in and they turn on her too.  This is an emotionally scarred woman. I’m not saying that what she has done in the last two books are excusable but I also don’t think that labeling her as a villain is accurate either.  If anything, I find myself rooting for her to succeed then any other character in the book.