Top 5 Books from the Year this Blog Began

The year was 2015… Okay, I’m not going to actually start this post THAT dramatically. Lately, it’s been hard to meet my self-imposed blog schedule. Life has happened, reading slumps have been all the rage, and I just haven’t wanted any kind of schedule going on in my life. You know?

So, I started to reflect on how consistent my posts have been for the last two years and I have to say, I’m proud of myself! There have only been a few times in two years that I’ve missed scheduling a post. Only a few times! I decided that for this week’s Thursday list, I would go back to the year I started and struggled to establish a routine, looking back at the books I loved most that year. I started writing during June, so I’m going to look at that first full year, from June to June.

For each book, I’ve linked my written to review to the word “reviewed”, as well as the Goodreads page to the book’s title.

On June 14, 2015, I reviewed A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

I gave this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars and I stand by that even today. I’m a big fan of Maas. Granted, I haven’t read the third book in this series yet. Mostly because I’ve heard mixed reviews and I’m scared to throw off how much I love this series! This first book really set up the world they live in and established the magic system. The second book took both those foundations and blew them up (in a good way). One thing I remember about reading this book is how I read it: I was completely engrossed. Pulled in by Maas’ world building and characters and I didn’t want to leave. Those are my favorite kinds of stories, especially with fantasy.

On October 13, 2015, I reviewed Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.

I gave this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. You guys, I’d never read this book until October 2015! My mother is probably ashamed because Anne Shirley is her favorite. I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate these kinds of stories. Since 2015, I’ve not only read this book but I’ve also listened to the audiobook…twice. One was narrated by Mary Sarah, the “classic” audiobook, and the second was the one narrated by Rachel McAdams. I love everything about this story, from Anne to Gilbert to Marilla to Matthew and everyone in between.

On February 16, 2016, I reviewed Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

I gave this book a rating of 5 stars. Even today, it’s one of my favorites and the author is a “go to” writer for me. She writes something, I’m reading it. Sepetys does historical fiction brilliantly. You can tell on every page that she has researched the time period, the people, and the events she’s writing about. I even read her author’s notes at the ends of her books because they’re so fascinating. Salt to the Sea taught me about the Lithuanian experience during WWII, as well as the tragedy that was the ship Wilhelm Gustloff. This is a story that I recommend to my students every year, as well.

On March 1, 2016, I reviewed Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

I gave this book a rating of 4.75 out of 5 stars. What a thrilling ride this book took me on! The way the story was written is really fascinating and, I think, groundbreaking. As you flip through the pages, you see diary entries, IM chats, ship logs, security camera footage, and much more. The story comes to life and it’s totally gripping. It can be hard to figure out what’s going on at first because page 1 just jumps right into a lot of action, but I PROMISE it’s worth it. Even if you aren’t typically a science fiction fan, you’ll enjoy it.

On May 10, 2016, I reviewed Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.

I gave this book 4.75 out of 5 stars. This is another book that has a bit of a different writing style. The very beginning gives us a new fairy tale, setting a stage that we’re not sure about. Then we get three shorter novels, essentially, with different settings, characters, and conflicts. (I say “shorter novels” because they’re longer than short stories, but shorter than novels. They’re fully developed stories…weird to categorize.) The stories are all connected by a magical harmonica. (Don’t let me lose you there. It’s not like a flying, talking, juggling musical instrument kind of situation.) I found this novel to be really beautiful and full of historical implications and human realities.

Happy reading! – Caitlyn


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