Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve read so far in 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly list meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week we’re listing our top ten books of 2015 so far. I’m not even going to put mine in order; I’d try, but it’s summertime and I don’t feel like stressing out about it.

8301077Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory

We’ll start off with my new favorite, ongoing comic book series about a world where an avian flu has made chicken consumption illegal and the crime solving agent with the power to see the history of absolutely anything (emphasis on the anything) he eats. Chew has all the hallmarks of a great crime drama: almost unbelievably creative, socially commentary with empathetic and complex characters. And then it’s hilarious. And then you read it again and you find new, even funnier things in the background.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas16096824

I’m a fan of the Throne of Glass series, so I was expecting to like this, especially after hearing lots of glowing reviews, but I managed to keep my expectations at a pretty reasonable level and was pleasantly surprised by this. It’s definitely a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it takes place in a different, well-crafted fantasy world and takes some turns that are harder to expect. Definitely a must read if you’re looking for fairy tales, tales with actual fairies, and/or some pretty steamy fantasy romance.

15704459Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

This second book in the Reckoners series was a sequel that kept the pulse pounding, action packed fun of the first novel, but raised the stakes and developed the characters without missing a beat. Granted, I’d probably read Brandon Sanderson’s shopping lists and love them, but this was particularly entertaining.

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski20443207

Another sequel done spectacularly, the Winner’s Curse series is smart and unpredictable. More political drama then fantasy, set in a made up place without magic, it deftly explores an unstable empire, the ways in which the conquered and the conquerers interact. The Winner’s Crime in particular didn’t stall and didn’t flinch in the way so many mid-series books do. It was intense and addictive to read

10964Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

It feels weird to say this series is fun, because it’s often very dark, but then I don’t know what word I’m looking for. Engrossing, perhaps. Transportative is great too. The series gets rather large in scope, covering lots of time and very many places, but Outlander is still my favorite of the series so far as a woman from the past settles into the even more distant past and explores all the little details of historical Highland life. Romance, history, politics, and a lot of drama, it’s got something for every mood and I’m having so much fun with it.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin17288631

I’ve started adding a few more literary fiction works to my reading list, and this foray into Baldwin’s work happened this February. I was amazed by this book. Incredulous I hadn’t heard of it before getting into watching booktube and reading blogs regularly because it felt so universal for all that it is hailed primarily as a hallmark of LGBT fiction.

18755048S by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams

S. was time consuming and challenging, but definitely very fun. It completely redefines the phrase “engaging read” with it’s found object quality and interactive text. The novel at its heart is solid literature on its own account, and the characters that study it in the margins are fully formed. I fell in love with them and loved the mystery and the hunt. It was hard work, but it was extremely satisfying.

On Immunity by Eula Biss20613511

Only one of two non fiction books I’ve read this year so far and for such a short little book, it packs a lot of insight. It’s very thoughtful, examining the cultural perception of vaccines and public health. It takes a position, but isn’t particularly argumentative, which is rare in the vaccine fiasco. Just a well composed, thought provoking little gem of a read.

18460392All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Everyone was talking about this a few months ago and I went in with some skepticism, but I thought this was a masterpiece of emotional manipulation. It was very engaging, felt very real and I highly recommend it.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein16250900

So unique in concept and so excellently executed. To have a female friendship at the forefront was so lovely, and the World War II setting was fascinating as well. I felt the world-ending urgency of Europe at war against dictatorship through the intimate tale of two friends and both stories worked so well together.

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Comic Roundup-April, May and June

I’ve been meaning to make these every month mid-month but I missed last month and now I’m backlogged after two months of heavy comic reading. So brace yourselves for a very lengthy catch-up, but if you find yourself needing more of a description of each book, just click on an image to be redirected to it’s Goodreads’ page.

This covers just TPB’s I’ve read, though I have also been keeping  up on single issues of Alex+Ada and Saga. All I have to say about those series is, as usual they’re great, go read them if you haven’t!

The Infernal Devices Manga: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare and HyeKyung Baek

13226173 1322621713226246The Infernal Devices is one of my very favorite book series and this was a quick and lovely medium through which to revist it. I wouldn’t recommend diving into this if you haven’t read the source material, or at least City of Bones, since it would be pretty confusing without some background in the lore of the Shadowhunter world. That said, this was just as heart wrenching and entertaining by turns as the trilogy of novels and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon, et. al.

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If you loved Firefly the television series and have somehow missed these, it’s definitely something you should pick up. This fourth installment in the graphic novel series picks up after the events of Serenity, the movie, and  is a direct sequel to that plot line. I loved another glimpse into the world, but I thought that this volume, despite it’s hefty size, was rather rushed. Should have been a full season of television for sure. I also thought the art in this was a little odd as certain characters features seemed to blur into one another (Kaylee and Inara looked alike, as did Mal and Simon). But, like I’ve said about previous installments in this series, it’s not to be missed for fans of the show, and if you’re not a fan of the show, you clearly just haven’t watched it yet and for that I feel sorry for you.

East of West Vol 1: The Promise and Vol 2: We Are All One by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta

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If any of you have read this and you have any idea what the hell is going on, then I applaud you, because I definitely do not. I think it’s a beautiful book, art-wise. The little I understand of the story is intriguing. However, I don’t think deliberately hiding things from the audience that the characters understand about the culture and history of the world serves as a good mystery plot device. There’s been very little exposition and I find that extremely frustrating. I will probably give this series another volume to get me into it, because it is a big world and a big story, and I liked volume 2 more than volume 1, but 15 issues ought to be enough to have some understanding of the story and if it’s not, then I’ll probably walk away from this one.

Black Science Vol 2: Welcome, Nowhere by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera, and Dean White

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This book is rich with color in its illustrations and it’s absolutely beautiful to look at. I was, however, a bit disappointed in this volume’s plot. It felt like five issues of filler, with no real character development. I think all of the characters are weak in this book, with no personality beyond a cliche (the funny black friend, the gruff Russian, the surly teenage daughter, etc.) and I was hoping they would grow in this second arc, but no luck. But it’s a gorgeous book, with an interesting plot, even if this installment didn’t delve any further than some good action scenes. I’ll continue on with it in hopes it will develop with some more depth, which I think would make it a favorite of mine, given it’s other strengths.

Deadly Class Vol 2: Kids of the Black Hole by Rick Remender, Wesley Craig, and Lee Loughridge

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Deadly Class is quite dark but extremely fun. I think this volume got a bit too mired in teenage angst, which is kind of the point, but fell a little flat to me. Definitely a series I’ll be continuing, it’s got a very distinctive atmosphere, the plot kept me guessing and the characters are growing on me issue by issue.

The Sword Vol 1: Fire and Vol 2: Water by Jonathan Luna and Joshua Luna

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I love Jonathan Luna’s art style, I’m such a big fan of Alex+Ada I had to pick this one up for that reason alone. I like this book, but it feels extremely formulaic and standard–true to the revenge story plotline. Since I’m already halfway through, I’ll probably go ahead and finish this eventually, but knowing where it’s going doesn’t put me in a huge rush.

Chew Vol 2-9 (and Issues #46-#49) by John Layman and Rob Guillory

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So I binge read volumes 4-9 in just over 24 hours after getting totally hooked by volume 3 and I’m over the moon about this series. It’s so weird and so dark and really quite gross (at least until you get used to it–by volume 7 the toe munching was not phasing me in the slightest). It starts off as an excellent crime drama and becomes more and more personal and heart-felt as the series goes on. It doesn’t rest either, expanding the cast, tying together disparate plot lines, and crafting complicated characters that are neither good nor bad. This series is vying hard with Saga as my favorite series of the moment and now that I’m all caught up I’m eagerly anticipating each new installment.

Y The Last Man-The Deluxe Edition-Book 2-4 (Volumes 3-8) by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Geurra, et al.

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It’s been a weirdly long time since I finished the first book of this series and I have no idea why I’ve waited so long. This series is very smart, highly thought provoking, and also very funny. It’s constantly evolving and changing and I’m excited to see where it goes with the conclusion.

Ms. Marvel, Vol 2: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt, Adrian Alphona

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This series seems to be quite popular and highly praised, I see it making the rounds among the graphic novel readers on BookTube, etc. and I do enjoy it. Kamala is a great character: fun, headstrong and determined, and of course putting a Muslim-American girl front and center is wonderful. I don’t even read other Marvel titles and I thought the Wolverine cross-over issue was extremely fun. Hilarious, even, as the new girl and the old hat were forced to work together. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the main plot of this arc. I hope it doesn’t give too too much away to call it too Matrix-y. It was also kind of preachy in this needless way. I don’t know. Superheroes aren’t so much my thing anyway, and so I don’t think I’ll be sticking with this one for much longer. (But proofreading me from the future would like to add that I did just spend the $15 on volume 3, so apparently I will be checking at least a few more issues out)

Sex Criminals, Vol 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

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I heard a lot of great buzz about this from everyone up to and including the cashier I purchased it from at Barnes and Noble (he also got Rob Guillory to sign his Chew #1 and loves Saga–we were fast friends) and it was all well deserved. This was a hilarious and overall solid story. It dove right in, and somehow magically explained everything while keeping the plot pace on track. This is definitely a must continue as soon as possible sort of book for me.

TL;DR? Be sure to check out Chew, Sex Criminals, Y: The Last Man and Deadly Class.