Almost halfway through the year, over halfway through my Goodreads goal (seriously, I must reassess) and I decided it was time to look back over the 40+ books I have read so far and think about some of my favourites. Despite reading so many great books this year (plus one I did not like, and one I abandoned) there are five standouts to me. Books that I loved, books that stayed with me after the pages had finished, books that I know I will read again. See below for my top five, in no particular order as they are all very different books that captured me for different reasons.
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
After being harangued by a friend about reading this book, I finally read it in late January this year. A science fiction tale packed full over everything, adventure, quests, love, friendship and puzzles I was immediately hooked. It did not take me long to finish reading it and immediately all I want to do was recommend it to everyone, in fact I don’t even have it at the moment as I pressed the book on my mother. I loved the story, the characters and all the references to 80s pop culture and all things nerdy (even if most of it went over my head). Catch it before they make it in to a movie due for release in 2018.
The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
The Nightingale I read back in late February in the course of one day. For much a hyped book that I had heard a lot about I found it not only met my expectations but entirely surpassed them. A historical fiction set in France during WWII the book focusses on two very different sisters and how they cope with day to day life during the war. This book pulled right at my heart strings and I fell desperately in love with the characters, despite how much they frustrated me at times. Definitely a tear-jerker at the end and another one I am currently without because I have forced it on someone else.
A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab
My most recent read, I finally found a fantasy book that has knocked my socks off for the first time since Patrick Rothfuss. This book was not predictable or followed the set format that many fantasy series do (not that I have a problem with it, fantasy is one of my favourite genres). The characters were vivid and memorable, even ones that played only minor roles in the book. I only just finished it yesterday and can’t wait to jump in to the A Gathering of Shadows and am even contemplating trying the author’s other novel, Vicious.
The Martian – Andy Weir
Probably my most surprising read of the year, I was told that only those scientifically minded would enjoy this book – what a load of crap. The scientific explanations in the book are simple and add to the plot rather than make it inaccessible to readers. The main character, Mark Watney, was awesome, hilarious and witty and I thoroughly enjoyed the tone used by Weir. A great addition to anyone’s TBR list – don’t just stop at the movie because all the best bits are in the book.
At The Water’s Edge – Sara Gruen
At The Water’s Edge was one of those books that you expect to go a certain way, and it does for the first half, and then the plot just takes a life of it’s own and goes completely in another direction, one that is better than you ever could have imagined. This book had it all: beautiful scenery, socialites, characters you love, character you hate, action and of course the hunt for the Loch Ness monster. Gruen weaves an enthralling story that had me exclaiming out loud to myself like a crazy person. Give this book a go, particularly if you like her first novel, Water For Elephants.