MY FAVORITE READS OF 2015

favorite-reads-2015

Once again, we’re approaching the end of yet another year. In that time, I’ve written and published two more novels. One is Devoted to Her, the second entry in the Dream Date series which concludes Amanda Tilley’s and Nathan Ferland’s story. The other is In A Greater Reality, my sci-fi debut. Yeah, 2015 has been a good year for me.
Just as I’ve done since 2013, I made a list of the best books I read this year. Surprisingly, I had a slightly smaller pool to choose from because I re-read the entire Harry Potter series. Those books don’t qualify for this list. Although I like them so much, I prefer not to include uber mega-popular titles here. It’s not really fair. I’ll include a star rating and a short summary about each book that I picked. This time, I’ll start at 12 instead of 1 like I did the previous two years. Here they are:

beautifully-damaged-lafiore12. BEAUTIFULLY DAMAGED BY L.A. FIORE

4 stars: Seriously liked it!

Although the title suggests it, I didn’t think this book would have as much angst as it does. The book mainly centers on Ember Walsh, a bartender at an exclusive Manhattan restaurant. When she goes to a club one night, Ember meets a really handsome guy named Trace Montgomery. He’s known for his womanizing streak. Even though Ember is warned not to go after Trace, she can’t help but be drawn to him. As she breaks through his walls, Ember learns that Trace is not the devil-may-care guy everyone thinks he is. Trace is the most pessimistic and closed-off character I’ve ever read. Will Ember be able to win over his heart? This novel takes place over a long period of time, as there are wide time gaps between most of the chapters. I’ve read very few books like this, but it’s not confusing.

11. DEADLY COOL BY GEMMA HALLIDAYDeadly-Cool-gemmahalliday

4 stars: Seriously liked it!

This isn’t exactly my kind of book, but I couldn’t resist the cover art. The girl is so beautiful, and those eyes! The protagonist is Hartley Grace Featherstone (quite a catchy name), a high school student who becomes involved in a murder case. The suspect turns out to be Hartley’s ex-boyfriend. Hartley knows he’s innocent, so she mounts an investigation on her own. She and her best friend Samantha enlist the help of Chase, a senior who’ll turn out to be a huge help. They’re working against the police, so this mission won’t be easy. As Hartley’s investigation progresses, she starts fearing that she’s in over her head. I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would. Hartley is a Nancy Drew-type character, but she stands out with her charm and witty vocabulary. This book is just perfect if you want a light, fun read.

intothedeep-samanthayoung10. INTO THE DEEP BY SAMANTHA YOUNG

4.5 stars: A stunning page turner!

After reading On Dublin Street and Until Fountain Bridge, I was interested in reading the author’s other books. As a New Adult romance, Into the Deep focuses less on explicit scenes and more on the story and the characters. Despite the number of great reviews this book got, I didn’t like it that much. The book is told from the first-person POV of Charley Redford. The chapters alternate between two time periods four years apart, and in the more recent timeline Charley is studying abroad in Scotland. She is hurt after losing Jake Caplin, the love of her life. A tragic accident ended up slowly pushing them apart. When I found out what the accident was, I thought Jake overreacted. He pushed Charley away over something a little silly. If it at least had happened to…okay, I can’t spoil it. I’ll let you be the judge.

9. OFF THE RECORD BY K.A. LINDEoff-the-record-kalinde

4.5 stars: A stunning page turner!

I’d wanted to read a K.A. Linde book for some time because I thought her writing might be of my taste. Off the Record was great. The book is about Liz Dougherty, an aspiring reporter. When she is introduced, Liz has just landed the reporting assignment that could make her career. She has to go to a press conference organized by Brady Maxwell, a senator. Liz expects not to care much about Brady. Only, they both feel an attraction too strong to resist. The problem is that Liz and Brady can’t have a relationship without putting their careers in jeopardy. They decide to have a secret affair, but things won’t be easy for them. Liz convinces herself that a hidden romance with Brady will always be enough…until she wants more. Whether Brady agrees to date Liz openly, risking his cherished political career, remains to be seen.

impostor-susanne-winnacker8. IMPOSTOR BY SUSANNE WINNACKER

4.5 stars: A stunning page turner!

This is another book that drew my interest due to its cover art. The design is distinctive, and the tagline’s compelling. Impostor centers on Tessa, a teenage Variant (a person born with special powers). She is a trainee with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a division of the FBI. Tessa has the power to transform into any other person, with a small limitation. Because of this power, the FEA assigns Tessa her first field assignment. She has to pose as the latest victim of an elusive serial killer, in the hopes of catching him. Tessa thinks she’ll be too good for that task…until she starts bonding with the victim’s family, especially the brother. I enjoyed this book so much I almost gave it a higher place in this list. Unfortunately, I found out that the series won’t be completed. The author is instead focusing on other projects. If you want to start this series, be warned that the second book ends with a huge cliffhanger that may remain unresolved. I’d say these books are worth the disappointment, though.

7. BLANK SLATE BY TIFFANY SNOWblank-slate-tiffanysnow

4.5 stars: A stunning page turner!

By the time I read this book, I was already familiar with Tiffany Snow. I’d read her entire Kathleen Turner series. Blank Slate is much like those ones, a character-driven romantic suspense. The main character, Special Agent Erik Langston, has been hunting Clarissa O’Connell for a long time. She’s a computer hacker with prodigious skill. Erik’s interest in catching Clarissa borders on obsession. One evening, Erik finally manages to find Clarissa. A car pursuit follows, which ends with Clarissa having an accident. Erik takes custody of her, intending to go back to his superiors right away. Only, Clarissa soon wakes up with amnesia. As if that weren’t enough, she and Erik become trapped in a snowstorm and have to spend the night together. Clarissa has as much beauty as intelligence and Erik has noticed. Could love be in the future for these two?

open-minds-susankayequinn6. OPEN MINDS BY SUSAN KAYE QUINN

4.5 stars: A stunning page turner!

This is one of those books that greatly exceeded my expectations. Although the beginning is a little slow, Open Minds never loses the reader’s interest. The protagonist is Kira Moore, a high school student. She lives in the far future, sometime after 2100. In Kira’s world, almost everyone is a mindreader. She is one of the rare exceptions. Kira is old enough to have gained her power already, so people wonder why she hasn’t. Because of this, she’s an outcast. Kira’s only close friend is Raf, whom she’s known for years. Kira never suspects that she may be more powerful than she could have dreamed. When Kira finally discovers she’s a mindjacker—someone who can control other people—she hides that dangerous power for her own safety and that of others. But another mindjacker knows what she is…and he could lead Kira to a destiny that may change the world.

pivot-point-kasiewest5. PIVOT POINT BY KASIE WEST

4.5 stars: A stunning page turner!

If you enjoy paranormal fiction where the characters have powers, this is the book for you. The main character is Addison Coleman. She lives with her family in a concealed Compound populated by Paranormals, people with mind-based special powers. Addison’s ability is termed Divergence, the ability to see her own future through visions. We meet her just as she’s about to make the most important decision of her life. Addison’s parents are about to divorce, and she must choose who to live with. To find out, Addison looks into her future. Both choices lead to rather satisfying futures, with a love interest in each of them. As Addison comes closer to the end of her vision, she discovers that both futures come with highly dangerous consequences and a betrayal. How can Addison live through either future when the choice comes at the cost of a great sacrifice?

the-moment-of-letting-go-jaredmerski4. THE MOMENT OF LETTING GO BY J.A. REDMERSKI

5 stars: Absolute must-read. It’s amazing!!!

By now, J.A. Redmerski has become one of my very favorite authors. She keeps writing truly phenomenal novels, and they all show pure talent. The Moment of Letting Go is Redmerski’s best New Adult book since The Edge of Never. This new one has event planner Sienna Murphy as the protagonist. She flies to organize a wedding in Hawaii…even though she’s terrified of flying. There, Sienna starts becoming overwhelmed by her job. When she walks off to a rather secluded area of the beach, Sienna meets Luke Everett. This will turn out to be a fateful meeting. Sienna and Luke soon want to spend more time with each other, and they do. Even though she’s a workaholic, Sienna agrees to stay some extra time in Hawaii. The longer Sienna and Luke spend together, the more their attraction grows. Luke also helps Sienna reevaluate her life and enjoy it more. Only, Luke has deep issues of his own that even Sienna may not be able to save him from. With beautiful scenery and great characters, The Moment of Letting Go is yet another Redmerski book you shouldn’t miss.

mistress-jamespatterson3. MISTRESS BY JAMES PATTERSON

5 stars: Absolute must-read. It’s amazing!!!

Believe it or not, I’d never read a James Patterson book before this one. If you’re a bookworm, Patterson is pretty much mandatory. He’s only the most successful author of our times, even more than J.K. Rowling! Mistress was engaging and thrilling, even more when it’s told from the protagonist’s first-person POV. Ben is some peculiar character, though. It was a little hard to stay inside his wayward, dotty mind. Virtually no one can keep a straight train of thought, but Ben keeps going off the track. It is far more entertaining than off-putting, though. You’ll keep turning the page to find out just how a chap like Ben can outrun and outwit a bunch of mercenaries bent on ending his life. Mistress is stellar writing, with an equally good mystery and a few laughs and thrills throughout. I strongly recommend it.

brilliance-marcussakey2. BRILLIANCE BY MARCUS SAKEY

4.5 stars: A stunning page turner!

There are books that may seem like familiar territory to you. That is partially true about Brilliance, but most of it is epic. The amount of stellar reviews this book earned influenced me to buy it. Brilliance is an alternate reality novel, set around the 2010s. In this world, a small amount of people have been born with genetic powers since 1980. The main character, Nick Cooper, has “pattern recognition,” which among other things allows him to detect other people’s intentions at superhuman speeds. He works for the government hunting terrorists, most of them Brilliants like him. One of them is the most wanted terrorist in the country. After Cooper goes on a new mission to catch this man, he’ll uncover revelations that will make him question everything he thinks he knows about the world. Normal people and Brilliants have already been at odds with each other, and now this is about to escalate.

killing-ruby-rose-jessiehumphries1. KILLING RUBY ROSE BY JESSIE HUMPHRIES

5 stars: Absolute must-read. It’s amazing!!!

I discovered this book thanks to Amazon’s Kindle First feature. The titular character is a high school student whose police officer father was killed recently. To try coping with it, Ruby spends time researching some of the criminals her father was investigating. She goes after the first of them one night. Things go awry when Ruby is forced to kill the guy in order to save a girl. This puts in motion an obscure plan that’ll cause Ruby to end up facing the other criminals one by one. Ruby will have to use her intellect to figure out who’s manipulating her…and prevent her loved ones from becoming casualties. For a debut novel, Killing Ruby Rose is amazingly well-written. It kept me turning page after page to find out what would happen to Ruby Rose and who was pulling her strings. The romance subplot and Ruby’s family struggles enhance this book’s enjoyment level and help make Ruby more relatable. She’s a badass with a heart, and there’s enough action to satisfy older readers. That helps make Killing Ruby Rose worthy of first place in this list.

There you have it. Those are the best books that I read in 2015. Even with the somewhat smaller pool, choosing only 12 was difficult. Have you read any of the books in this list? Did you enjoy them? If you haven’t read some of these, they make great Christmas presents for others or for yourself.
You can read last year’s list at this link. And the list for 2013 is here.

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