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.


Comic Roundup-March and April

More and more these last few months I’ve gotten more into comics. I used to include little mini-reviews of what I’d checked out with my monthly book wrap-up posts, but as I read more and more comics each month, those posts get longer and longer and I thought it would be fun to split them out, so those of us who want to talk about comics have our own space to do so. Without further ado, here’s what I read in March and this first half of April:

23518316Trees Vol 1 by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard

I liked the idea of this a lot more than I actually liked it. It follows a bunch of characters all over the world, which will probably pay off eventually, but in these opening issues is just really confusing. I couldn’t keep everyone straight and I had a really difficult time trying to understand what was happening overall. I’ll probably give the second volume a go once it comes out as a trade paperback (I’m finding I’m a trade fan anyway and something like this I don’t think I’ll ever be able to keep the story straight month-to-month even if I wasn’t) and see if I can get into it more.20898019

Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal by Willow G. Wilson and Adrian Alphona

I don’t know that I’ll ever be a superhero comic lover, but I enjoyed this quite a bit. It’s funny and fast-paced–even though not a whole lot happens in this one–and has art that I enjoy, so I’ll be sure to continue on with this series.

11279472Serenity: Better Days and Other Stories by Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Will Conrad, Michelle Madsen,Julius Ohta, Patton Oswalt

I love the Serenity graphic novels primarily because it’s like having more Firefly, but it really feels like just a consolation prize…I’d rather have the show. This one was okay. I jaw-dropped at one point at the end (that you’ll know about if you’ve read it) but the whole distraction story leading up to it was boring. And then there were some moments that just seemed out of character. Kaylee at one point was like right in the middle of the action, which is not like her at all. This one was weird, but I’m having fun with it, and I’m not likely to pass up the rest.

Serenity: The Shepard’s Tale by Joss Whedon, Chris Semnee, Dave Stewart, Stever Morris, and Zack Whedon8596384

I enjoyed the layout of this one, moving backward in time from the Shepard’s death in the Serenity movie, and was ultimately satisfied with the story I’d been eager to know, but I thought it felt a little bit rushed. You have to do a lot of reading between the lines to discern things about this world and the character’s relationship with it and it’s not a situation where I really like working hard to figure out what should have had time to be expository.

23920475Saga #25-#27 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Saga was on hiatus for awhile and I was completely oblivious to the fact that it came back over several months ago. Luckily I stopped by the Image section at the comic book store to see if there was new Alex+Ada and spotted an unfamiliar Saga cover a few rows down. (And what a beautiful cover it is…#25 and #26 are probably two of my favorites.) The books themselves were fabulous as always, of course. The stakes are high, the action is amazing, and I have no clue what will happen next.6839093

Chew Volume 1: Taster’s Choice by John Layman and Rob Guillroy

I was having a lovely four-star kind of time with this during issues one through three, enjoying the creative concept, the dark humor, the detailed, but easy on the eyes art style, until I hit issue four, which didn’t make any sense to me, and left me confused and kind of put off. But then it rebounded spectacularly with issue five, the conclusion of this volume. So intense, big action, came back to the plot of the first three chapters and tied everything together. I’m still in awe and I can’t wait to get my hands on volume two and see where it goes. (Fun story: my comic shop only had volumes 1 and 5-9 when I went back there to get more….and already on order but ten days out is not acceptable, my friends!)

Deadly Class Volume 1 by Rick Remender, Wesley Craig and Leigh Loughridge

As usual with the first few issues of a book with an expansive cast, I felt a lot lost. But there’s a really cool, dark but funny atmosphere to this that seems to capture the angst of adolescence in a universal way while staying rooted in the 1980’s. It’s a lot violent, but it all fits with the story and the action moves along at a break-neck pace. I’ve already bought volume 2 and I’m looking forward to this being yet another favorite for me. Definitely one to check out if you have a penchant for high school drama and a very dark sense of humor.

And of course, since I’m new to this whole scene, I’m always looking for recommendations! Especially from other publishing companies, I seem to always be drawn to Image titles, but I’m sure there’s more great stuff out there!