Favourite Books of 2015

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”

2015 was a great reading year.  I discovered new authors, enjoyed styles of writing I had not read before, and came across books that soon became a treasured part of my bookshelf.

When choosing my favourites of the year, I selected those that I not only loved but would love to re-read.

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1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Sometimes a book finds you at at the right time, and The Storied Life A.J. Fikry was one of those books.  I went through a long period of time where I fell out of reading, when life started to feel overwhelming.  When I was looking for a book to get back into the swing of things, I ended up picking up The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and it really touched my heart.  A bookstore owner, who is grieving the loss of his wife and isolated himself from others, finds an unexpected package left at his store that changes the course of his life.  It’s a beautiful story, and on top of that, one that serves as a love letter to books.

2. Signal to Noise by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
A charming debut novel that alternates between 1988 and 2009 in Mexico City.  It follows a girl named Meche and her two best friends, Sebastian and Daniela.  Inseparable friends each dealing with personal challenges who discover they can cast spells through music.

3. A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install
Another wonderful debut novel.  This one is about a man named Ben Chambers who is stuck in a rut and dealing with marriage problems.  One day his wife discovers a robot in their garden, which makes Ben embark on a journey that changes his life.

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4. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
The title completely got me with this one, and the book as a whole delivers. A unique story about a girl named Rose who can taste people’s emotions through the food they make.  We follow Rose from the age of eight, when she first discovers her ability, to her early twenties and see the ways it alters her reality.

5. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
The moment I finished the last page of Vicious, it became an all time favourite.  It’s one that has been on my reading list for a while, and I only wish I had read it sooner.  Two best friends turned enemies set on revenge.  The story, the characters, the writing… all brilliant.

6. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
A smart, character driven debut novel that is absolutely brilliant.  It follows a nine-member crew travelling on a tunnelling ship whose job it is to punch holes through space in order to create shortcuts.

Hope 2016 brings many more brilliant reads. 🙂

BOOKSHELF| my comfort books.

img_3316“I have a shelf of comfort books, which I read when the world closes in on me or something untoward happens.”

There are a number of reasons we gravitate towards certain books.  Something appeals, something clicks, something draws us in.  Certain books we end up going back to because they take us back to a certain time or a different world, or they make us smile and laugh.  Each in its own way brings us some form of comfort.  These are the books on my shelf that I would consider my comfort books: Continue reading “BOOKSHELF| my comfort books.”

BREAK TIME| Colouring, it’s a beautiful thing.

IMG_3088A few months ago I was in the midst of one major reading slump.  I always read what I feel like reading and never force myself to read anything I’m not excited about or interested in, which has made reading slumps a rare occurrence.  But sometimes the mind just doesn’t want to focus on a story and needs a vacation.  Since books were not appealing at the time I was searching for something else to keep me entertained, and in an effort to keep myself from binge-watching Netflix, I ended up discovering colouring books for adults.  Wait, what?!  This blew me away and made me absolutely giddy.  I loved colouring books as a child, but with adulthood that somehow stopped being a thing to do.  Until now! The whole concept is brilliant, and when the mind needs to cool off for a little bit a good colouring book is all you need. Continue reading “BREAK TIME| Colouring, it’s a beautiful thing.”

RANKING| Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series Novels

IMG_2917The Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series is based around Armand Gamache, the Chief Inspector of Homicide of the Sûreté du Québec.  It follows him and his partner Jean Guy along with a variety of characters of a small fictional Quebec village called Three Pines.  The novels are well-written, suspenseful, and I have been a big fan ever since I stumbled across the eight book in the series, The Beautiful Mystery a couple of years ago.  Soon after, I had read each book and have continued to follow the series ever since.  Some books I enjoyed a lot, others a little less, and a couple not so much.  Here is my ranking of the books in the series, from my favourite to least favourite.  (no spoilers)

1. Still Life
My favourite book is also the first one in the series.  Still Life introduces us to Chief Inspector Gamache who is called in to investigate a suspicious death in the village of Three Pines.  It is a great introduction to the series and along with getting to know all the characters, the investigation of a very mysterious death makes for a great read.  Continue reading “RANKING| Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series Novels”

Top Book Club Picks

IMG_2754What makes a good book club selection?  It’s not necessarily books you end up loving, but books that make you feel and think.  They may make you feel excited about what you’re reading, or they may leave you feeling confused.  Either way, they produce strong feelings to the point where you just need to discuss.  Here are the books I have found to be great sources of interesting conversations:

1. The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

This is by far one of my favourite books.  Beautiful writing, an engaging story, interesting premise, and an intriguing mystery.  Amazing on all counts.  I cannot recommend this book enough.

2. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I found this book to be quite thought provoking.  The main character’s story splits into two different timelines, and we get to see her life unfold based on a choice she makes.  It brings up so many questions about fate and destiny, and a lot of opinions on the events of each timeline.  There are discussion questions provided at the end of the book.

3. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A world post-apocolypse and a number of different story lines, both past and present.  There is so much to discuss when it comes to this book.  Wonderfully written and put together. Continue reading “Top Book Club Picks”