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The Best of 2015: Melanie’s List

To be honest, my reading slacked off a lot in 2015. I usually read half again as much as I did this past year, a lot of which were forgettable at best, and absolute stinkers at worst. I didn’t have a “favorite romance published in 2015!” book this year, though there were a few that I did enjoy, for one reason or another.

The summary of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe caught my attention. It’s an interesting historical mystery about a rather ditsy girl who is a lot smarter and more observant than people give her credit for – think Sherlock Holmes meets Cher from Clueless.

The High King’s Golden Tongue by Megan Derr was a surprise for me. Originally published as a novella, the now full-length fantasy M/M story combines romance and political intrigue for an interesting result (and the “Golden Tongue” is about a character’s language abilities, not anything sexual, I promise). I really enjoyed the variety of characters in it, and am looking forward to the sequel, due out July 2016.

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen was, as always, a literary treat. I adore magical realism, and this series does it well. The almost lyrical writing makes much of the story feel dream-like, and while the romance found within is lovely, it’s really about the women in the family, and the magic they possess.

I’ve been reading a lot more historical M/M romances this year, and recently finished A Fashionable Indulgence by K.J. Charles. While I know that homosexuality was illegal, punishable by hard labor, it’s really refreshing to see some M/M historicals written in the same vein as more mainstream ones (which, honestly, aren’t exactly known for their complete historical accuracy, either). There’s a family fortune on the line, a young man trying to escape his past, and another who is drowning in ennui and obsessing over society as he tries to put his military background behind him. Sweet and not-quite-innocent, I liked the characters, enjoyed the story, and am glad for this newer outpouring in LGBTQ romances. It may have been around for a couple of years now, but I feel like everything is really taking off.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson and You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day, while not romance novels, are wonderful memoir/non-fiction offerings from famous online women. What ties them together for me is that both are upfront and honest about their dealings with mental instability and the issues it has caused in their lives, and, most importantly, how they deal with it, and are dealing with it, on a daily basis. Day recounts her childhood and the start of her career, using the internet as a platform one of the first webshows around, The Guild. Lawson, whose site The Bloggess millions follow to an almost religious conviction (no, seriously, there is a Church of Bloggessianism – http://thebloggess.com/2014/11/the-church-of-bloggessianism-choose-your-title-strangelings/ – my unofficial title is apparently “Sanctioned Overseer Of Minion Manipulation”). Lawson uses this book as a platform to talk specifically about her mental issues with anxiety and depression, and her life goal to be “furiously happy” in spite of it all. I listened to both as audiobooks, and I loved hearing the authors read their own work. There’s something about a memoir that is just better when the author reads it. Especially comedic ones.

I do have a favorite book from 2015, but it’s not a romance novel. No, it’s the Hawkeye vs. Deadpool collection from Gerry Duggan. Oh, do you not know Deadpool? Other than the pretty face of Ryan Reynolds (the new movie is coming out just in time for Valentine’s Day 2016. I AM SO EXCITED. Ahem. Excuse me. Back to the book). Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye of the Avengers, teams up with Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, team up on Halloween (one character thinks scarred Deadpool is wearing a Freddy Kruger costume. nope, that’s just his face) to solve an espionage mystery from SHIELD. It’s fun and entertaining, and the artwork is great. Plus, I love Deadpool. So there’s that.

So there’s my 2015 reading in a few short(ish) paragraphs. Has anyone else been in a reading slump? What have you been reading outside of romance? I need some new recommendations for my 2016 reading!



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Beverley Jansen
Beverley Jansen
02/01/2016 10:44 am

Pleased to see the excellent KJ Charles here the sequel A seditious Affair was even better!

02/01/2016 9:49 am

An interesting list that comes from lots of genres. I’m glad you were able to find some books you really enjoyed!

02/01/2016 7:52 am

I’ve read quite a bit less this past year and even the year before as I have in previous years, which bums me out a bit. But we’re raising my 12-year old niece and things are so much busier with a child in the house. Looking back on my reading list from 2015 I have to say that even though I read half of what I used to read, it was a surprisingly strong year for me.

Meredith Duran wrote two really good books back-to-back. Sherry Thomas wrote a contemporary and I was surprised to like it as much as I did. Anne Stuart returned to her romantic suspense with a bang. I stumbled upon Penny Reid, Simone St. James and Eva Leigh through blog and reader posts here. Julie Anne Long, one of my favorites, wrote two really good books and finished up her Pennyroyal Green series. Courtney Milan is back with a new historical series. So despite frequent criticism about overused tropes in romances, I still feel happy with my reading choices and look forward to a good year in 2016!