Top 5 Books of 2015

When I got an email informing me there was a comment made to my most recent blog post, I don’t know if I was more surprised that it was NOT a Russian spammer or that someone still visits ol’ HBM.com and hopes for updates.

When I lived in Japan, everything around me seemed so noteworthy and unique, it was easy to share stories like “The Day I Had To Buy a Bus Ticket” and have the narrative of a lovable goofball in a foreign land unfold on its own. So it was easy to get in my own head in the years after I returned, knowing that the sorts of “Gee, Work is Hard” and “Benefits of the Roth IRA” posts that were NOW flitting around in my head were excruciatingly boring by comparison. I’m not going to bring you any late-breaking news about the state of the world that some medium.com thinkpiece hasn’t already tackled better than I could.

Plus, work IS hard. And Roth IRAs are legit — look into them.

Oddly enough, I was just considering writing an update last week about Christmas Carols, but I thought it would be weird that I strolled back on the scene at the end of the year as if I hadn’t been MIA for so long. And prior to THAT, the only update I made was ALSO about the previous year. Hey, I have more time to let the eggnoggy juices flow this time of year!

So, yes, as Superuser Time Lord Lenny pointed out on my last post, I still have time to make a whole ONE post in 2015! On this website I pay for every year! Even though platforms like the Tumbls are much preferred by the kids!

Well, for now, I won’t let that stop me.

Please enjoy my top five books I read in 2015, in no particular order!

51isu9IKUjL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Dreams of Gods and Monsters By Laini Taylor
I’m not going to name names, but too often in trilogies, the third installment sort of fizzles out, unable to rally the momentum of the other two. I’m looking at you, “Maze Runner.” Okay, ONE name. This final installment concludes the logline that’s run through the whole series: “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.” Throughout the entire trilogy, it didn’t seem possible for it to end well, or satisfyingly, or in a way that keeps you from hurling the book out a window with tears in your eyes, but it did and it was perfect. It’s difficult to touch on any aspect of the plot without spoiling the original two books, but the setting of Marrakesh, Prague, and a fantastical world we’ve never seen mixed with the depth of sassy, serious, and romantic characters weaves a rich tapestry of intertwining stories that will rip your heart out. If you like fantasy but are tired of dystopias and stunningly lyrical prose that’s both funny and heartbreaking, give this series a try!

41-YkFaghDL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_The Martian by Andy Weir
Even if you’ve seen the movie, you should give the book a read. Not only does it spell out the science in a way that’s palatable to they lay-est of men, but the film had to cut probably 5 major beats that really added depth to the story. Weir should also be an inspiration to authors around the world, since his book was available for free on his website, then 99 cents on Kindle when people begged to pay him before exploding on the scene. His ability to weave scientific fact with engaging story gives me hope that the Crichton-shaped hole in my heart can be filled.

 

51jjzUPXLcL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Young Elites by Marie Lu
I loved Lu’s first trilogy, Legend, which was another series that got better as the books progressed. The Young Elites is a new series that wraps you up in worldbuilding of Kenettra from page one. Years ago, a blood fever killed a huge portion of the population, and those who survived were horribly scarred and branded as abominations called malfettos. Some are rumored to have powers, including a mysterious group of malfettos called the Young Elites, but even those who don’t are shunned or killed. The protagonist is a scarred blood-fever survivor who has brought her family shame by continuing to exist, but the boiling anger within her threatens everyone around her. Without speculating too much, I have a feeling this trilogy is going to take turns never before seen in books like it. I can’t wait to read the second installment!

51RYeVqlj9L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
I am embarrassed to say I almost didn’t give this book a chance because I’d not enjoyed an early book by the author. Well, thank goodness my writing- and life-partner AunJuli bought it for me — even though I WOULD have just read it on her expert recommendation. Four parallel universes exist, and the book follows one of two people who can traverse between them, a Traveler named Kell, and a cut-purse named Lila. When a dangerous artifact illegally passed between the worlds threatens the balance of each universe, Kell needs to bring Lila along on an adventure she’d only dreamed of. Whimsical and sinister, you’ll be as swept up in the setting as rich as the cast of characters.

51A-A8TT9xL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I’d read a free excerpt of this book and was so hooked in the first couple short chapters, two different copies of the book were given to me for Christmas for how much I must have talked about it. A WASP-y New England family, a summer retreat, and a mysterious horrible accident that no one wants to talk about frame the setting for this page-turner. Looking back at the books that tend to make my end-of-year lists, contemporary fiction is definitely a rare showing, but when it does, it must have blown me away, as this one did. Some reviews have complained about the poetic and sometimes repetitive nature of the prose, but that’s really what drew me in. This book was my yearly “Christmas Book” that I gave to all book-loving friends of mine.

Well, there you have it. Will this be my last post until December 2016? I certainly hope not. I won’t be so foolish as to make a resolution or anything, but I can unofficially aim for a post here and there. I’ll save something up that would have been a righteously angry Tweet or over-excited Facebook post and instead share it here to the last three people who read HBM: me, a lonely google bot, and Time Lord Lenny.

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