2015 Wrap-Up: A Year in Book Reviews

In 2015 I read 30 books of the 50 that I challenged myself to read. This is the first year ever that I’ve failed at my reading challenge. However, I still consider 2015 a success, partially down to the fact that I made a greater effort to read a different type of book.

In 2013 and 2014 I spent a lot of time reading YA and, apart from my degree books, I struggled to branch out of that bubble. I really feel that 2015 was the start of my adult awakening when it comes to books. Don’t get me wrong I still love a good YA romance, but I definitely feel that there is more to see and read in this big world.

A Year in Book Reviews – 2015

So without further ado, here is a list of all the books I read in 2015 and a quick bit about what I thought.

1. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark – Shakespeare

Hamlet Prince Of Denmark Shakespeare

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: As Shakespeare’s longest play this was a very daunting book to start both the year and a Shakespeare course with! A true tragic read.

2. The Rosie Effect  Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Effect Graeme Simsion

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: Brilliant sequel that focuses on character development and follows on nicely from the previous book.

3. The Merchant of Venice – Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Emotive look at religious difference and how it can affect law.

4. Twelfth Night – Shakespeare

Twelfth Night Shakespeare

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: An unusual mix of gender swap to create dimensions of humour and confusion.

5. Tragedy of Richard III – Shakespeare

Richard III Shakepeare

Rating:★★★

One Line Review: Struggled to fully appreciate this book, the plot seemed to all stem from the whim of one character.

6. Henry IV Part I – Shakespeare

King Henry IV Part 1 Shakespeare

Rating:★★★

One Line Review: After reading this I found that Shakespeare’s histories are my least favourite of his genres. Though this book focuses on familial relationships and the role of the father.

7. Othello – Shakespeare

Othello Shakespeare

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: This is a re-read, filled with metaphor and symbolism Othello is a brilliant tragic romance.

8. Antony and Cleopatra – Shakespeare

Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Similar to Othello this tragic romance deals with issues of race and jealousy.

9. A Winter’s Tale – Shakespeare

The Winter's Tale Shakespeare

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: An intriguing concept, this book is split in two with an eighteen year split between them.

10. The Dead House – Dawn Kurtagich

The Dead House Dawn Kurtagich

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Thrilling, terrifying, magical, brilliant and horrid. Dawn Kurtagich’s debut novel is one to read!

Full Review

11. We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

We Were Liars E Lockhart

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: Massive ending twist that I can’t begin to even describe. This book tricked me completely.

12. Read Me Like a Book – Liz Kessler

Read Me Like A Book Liz Kessler

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: Cleverly written YA for teens who want to explore their sexuality with an LGBT focus.

Full Review

13. Hardwired – Meredith Wild

Hardwired Meredith Wild

Rating:★★★

One Line Review: Sexy and well written book but ultimately another book about a rich man imposing his wealth and wants on the protagonist.

14. Landline – Rainbow Rowell

Landline Rainbow Rowell

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Loved the concept and the character of Georgie McCool!

Full Review

15. The Daughter’s Secret – Eva Holland

The Daughter's Secret Eva Holland

Rating:★★★

One Line Review: A different look at the student teacher romance.

Full Review

16. Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill

Only Ever Yours Louise O'Neill

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Absolutely brilliant book about modern beauty standards through a dystopian lens.

Full Review

17. The Tell-Tale Heart – Edgar Allan Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart Edgar Allan Poe

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Dark short stories by brilliant author that have a unique twist.

18. Zeroes, Scott Westerfeld – Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Zeroes Scott Westerfeld Margo Lanagan Deborah Biancotti

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Amazing novel by three talented authors who’ve come together to make a brilliant fantasy novel.

Full Review

19. The Keeper – David Baldacci

The Keeper David Baldacci

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: Sequel in a high fantasy world, the author managed to create a narrative that was referential to the first book but in the same way that any book refers to past events outside the narrative.

Full Review

20. Brooklyn – Colm Tóibín

Brooklyn Colm Toibin

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Insight into 50’s America through the eyes of an Irish young woman. I found it difficult to empathise with her character in the latter half of the novel.

Full Review

21. Asking For It – Louise O’Neill

Asking For It Louise O'Neill

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Another brilliant but harrowing novel by Louise O’Neill, that discusses the very much needed to be spoken about topic – rape.

Full Review

22. Binge – Tyler Oakley

Binge Tyler Oakley

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: Unexpected look into the life of Tyler Oakley, as more than just a YouTuber.

MaximumPop Review

Video Review

23. Carmilla – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: My first audio book experience. The novella itself was somewhat homoerotic for that era but was compelling to read a book that introduces vampires before Dracula was written.

Video Review

24. Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops – Jen Campbell

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops Jen Campbell

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Hilariously, quick read. I learnt that some people are idiots.

25. Featherbones – Thomas Brown

Featherbones Thomas Brown

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: A dark and mysterious novel that creates metaphors of a man’s internalised turmoil.

Full Review

26. Monster – C.J. Skuse

Monster C J Skuse

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: Well-written YA horror with a double twist.

Full Review

27. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Changed the World – Malala Yousafzai

Howling Reviews Review - I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick #DiverseDecember cover

Rating:★★★★

One Line Review: Fascinating book about the struggles of living in Pakistan leading up to the moment that Malala was shot by the Taliban and her journey ever since.

Full Review

28. The Night is Darkening Round Me – Emily Brontë

The Night is Darkening Round Me Emily Bronte

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Sublime collection of poetry that discusses the topics of nature and mortality.

29. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom – Yeonmi Park

In Order To Live Yeonmi Park

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Harrowing memoir about life in North Korea and the horrifying things the author went through in order to gain her freedom.

30. Built – Jay Crownover

Built Jay Crownover

Rating:★★★★★

One Line Review: Brilliantly sexy novel from Jay Crownover. I’ve yet to find one that I haven’t loved. She has a brilliant way of creating flawed but strong characters who come together and help each other grow.

There you have it! My year in review! Let me know what your favourite books were in 2015 in the comments below or tweet me @HowlingReviews.

Hero Image sourced via Pinterest. Credit: hudsonboston.com

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