I have been recently looking through my recently read list on Goodreads and thinking over which books I genuinely loved and which were generally okay. I find myself doing this often throughout the year and find the practice to be a great way to learn about the evolution of my reading habits. We all go through phases that include different genres, plots or character types, but we rarely stop and reflect on which of these books really stuck with us.
#1 – Polaris :
The follow up to Avalon, the novel continues the tale of Jeth Seagrave and his crew who are still wanted by the ITA. We learn more about the world, the mystery of why the space travel metatech is dying and the daring rescue attempt for Jeth’s mother who might just have the answer to all the universe’s problems. The only problem is getting everyone out alive.
Polaris delivers with action, adventure, mystery and a tiny bit of tasteful romance to create a world where space ships are powered by living beings, the universe’s biggest power is also most evil and those you love aren’t always who you thought they were. Arnett is a talented writer and her duology was both unique and fantastic!
#2 – How to Clone a Mammoth :
How to Clone a Mammoth was written before the entire DNA sequence was discovered earlier this year. The novel covers the different research methods employed by scientists to map the Mammoth genome and the technology being developed to create clones of this enigmatic species. Shapiro, a leading expert in the field, discusses the uses, benefits and concerns that scientists face while exploring the technological magic that goes into making the world’s first cloned Mammoth.
The scientific explanations of this book along with it’s attempts to grapple with the larger moral picture made this book completely indispensable. Although I personally did not agree with the author’s moral arguments and the cold logic behind her beliefs, I felt that Shapiro’s book is a great introduction to the technologies behind cloning research and the issues scientists must tread now that the map of the Mammoth genome has been discovered.
#3 – Dave vs The Monsters :
Dave is a total screw up. His life is a mess, his marriage is over and the IRS is closing in. A fire on his oil rig brings out the hero in Dave and starts him on a fantastical journey fighting Orc-like creatures from under the Earth’s crust. He’s also got super powers, brand new muscles and his hair might finally be coming back! What happens when one of humanity’s worst examples becomes our most powerful?
Emergence is a gritty, sarcastic and amusing novel. Birmingham writes a story that is a comedy, a tongue and cheek tale and completely farcical. The creatures are ones that we can recognize from any fantasy novel and yet they are like nothing we have read before. The character of Dave reminds us of those in our life who never seem to have it together but with more dramatic flourishes. Dave vs The Monsters delivers satire, fantasy, horror and action masterfully.
#4 – Undertow :
Lyric lives in a world where people really do live under the sea but unlike the Little Mermaid they are not stunningly beautiful, fairy tale creatures. Some of the Alphas look barely human, others are incredibly cruel and all are trained to kill. Lyric is tasked with helping Fathom, the Alpha’s crown prince, assimilate when a special school integration program is put into the works. She finds that sometimes different and dangerous doesn’t mean enemy – sometimes they might just be allies against something even more dangerous on the horizon.
A pleasantly surprising story of first love, family secrets and a nod to racial issues; Undertow is a sweet Young Adult romance. The reader initially is introduced to the Alpha as the outsider and slowly comes to see the Alphas with all their peculiarities as living, breathing creatures with the capability to love just like humans. The uniqueness of the book is emphasized by the character development which continues throughout the book, often aiding in the world building. Nothing is the characters experience or do is unimportant. Undertow tells the story of segregation, fear, hate and magic with a dab of forbidden romance. Plus, its just cool to read about a race of beings who can control the waves.
#5 – Manwhore :
When Rachel’s beloved magazine is running the risk of being permanently closed, her boss provides her with a story that could up their ratings and therefore save the magazine. The mission, if she chooses to accept it is deep under cover, dangerous and tempting. She must get close to Malcolm Saint and find out what makes the city’s most eligible bachelor tick. Although not usually Rachel’s style, she will do almost anything to save her job..even manipulating a man into spilling his deepest dark secrets..
We all know the story: good girl meets the bad boy, he lavishes her in all the best that money can provide, but all she really wants in the end is him. Evan’s novel is unique in that the relationship develops realistically, the inner turmoil over the lies Rachel is creating seems genuine and Saint is pretty irresistible. In the same lines as the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, we see a girl who pursues a guy in attempt to write the perfect magazine article but quickly it becomes less about the article. Manwhore is an astoundingly pleasing read with a feel-good premise and an ending that leaves you wondering whats next?
#6 – Sins of the Angel :
Alex is a Toronto (Canadaaa!) homicide detective with a dark past and a workaholic personality. She finds killers in place of finding herself – delving into the lives and deaths of others to (avoid) her own demons. When she becomes part of a task force to catch a serial killer with her new partner, she throws herself into the fray like always. This case will be very different than any she has ever experienced and her new Angelic partner might just have something to do with that.
Ignoring the fact that this novel takes place in Canada and is exceptionally well written, Poitevin weaves a story where Angels are just as lost as humans, God is tired of the unending role of Creator of Everything and not all humans are entirely human. A novel that is one part human detective story and one part paranormal romance you can understand the popularity of the Grigori Legacy series. Plus, Poitevin is a skilled wielder of the cliffhanger endings.
#7 – The Corridor :
Stel lives in a world where there is more than one Earth. The Mods, a race of genetically modified humans with super powers, created The Corridor between First Earth and Second Earth seventeen years ago. No one knows why they created The Corridor. The Mods are captured for research purposes which means Stel must hide her secret from those closest to her. Stel can also open portals between universes and if she’s discovered her fate will be no better than The Mods. Once The Corridor begins to fail, threatening to destroy First Earth, only Stel can learn the secret behind The Corridor and save First Earth.
The Corridor is a dystopian, science fiction and young adult romance focusing on one girl who is uniquely qualified to save the world. Although sometimes weak, the story is imaginative. A girl who can move between universes at will and a universe filled with realities incredibly different from one another. The fact that The Corridor ends with a giant cliffhanger of an ending probably only adds to the appeal. Seriously, I can’t wait to see what happens next!
#8 – In The Air Tonight :
In The Air Tonight is a story about a woman who spent her entire life trying to fit in. Raye Larsen can see ghosts which in small town New Bergin is more than a little odd. A random attack on her life introduces Raye to Bobby Doucet, New Orleans homicide cop, and the family she never knew. Unfortunately, sometimes being a powerful witch can come back to bite you even when you aren’t aware you’re a witch in the first place.
Handeland created a powerful series about family, secrets and lineage that straddles the line between Paranormal romance and mystery novel. The first of the series In The Air Tonight is without a doubt the best in the series due to it’s world building, romantic development and strong main characters. A quick, fun read perfect for a “glass of wine” night in the bath.
#9 – TAG:
Cali’s dad is a bigwig in the CIA. He makes enemies in other organizations that make the mob look like bunnies and he is always on the run. When Cali’s mother and sister dies she find solace inside herself where revenge is all that matters. It’s not until Tango is tasked to be her bodyguard that she begins to see the world in a different light and learns to trust someone besides herself. Her trust in Tango leads her on a chase to find her father and in doing so, changing Cali’s life forever.
TAG is an adorable story about a girl who finds love after becoming terribly psychologically and emotionally scarred by everyone she ever loved. The alternating view point of Tango, a strong soldier who questions everything he’s ever done, is equally as sweet. The relationship between the two develops mostly realistically and the revelations that propel the story forward are a fantastic side plot to the romance. The clandestine life Cali’s father lead has cost his family everything and Cali must find the strength to face the past head on. A definite beach read with a unique side order of spy action!
So, thats my list for 2015 so far! Got something you read this year you absolutely loved? Or a book that’s an all time favourite read? Why that book in particular? Leave a comment to get the conversation started!