Top 16 Reads of 2015! 4.5 Star Books

Throughout the month of January (more like February now, I guess) first few months of the 2016 year, I will posting various “best of” lists, ranging from the best books I read that were published in 2015, to my top 5 and 4 stars reads of 2015, to the best short fiction of 2015, and to my favorite foodie quotes!

Today, I am happy to announce my…

Top 16 Reads of 2015! 4.5 Star Books

*Note: I would like to mention that since Goodreads does not have a “4.5” star rating, when I give a book a 4.5 rating, I will either round up to a “5” or down to a “4” when I rate it on Goodreads.

I have included all my 4.5 star books, having the GR 4 stars come before the GR 5 stars, and noted where the division happens.


(#16 – #12 are 4.5 stars I rounded down to a Goodreads 4 star)

16. Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

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About the Book:

On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.

Already remarkably acclaimed in the UK, Dark Eden is science fiction as literature; part parable, part powerful coming-of-age story, set in a truly original alien world of dark, sinister beauty–rendered in prose that is at once strikingly simple and stunningly inventive.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It:  Beckett’s writing is smooth and easy to read, and this an amazing story all by itself, but when one looks deeper, there whole other level to story, exploring sociological and psychological issues.

Read My Review


15. The Folding Knife by K.J. Parker

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About the Book:

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man.

He is ruthless, cunning, and above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he’s only ever made one mistake.

One mistake, though, can be enough.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: A heart-breaking, bitter-sweet story, that despite the potential boring sound of a banking and political focus, will keep you engaged, and biting your nails every page.

Seriously, who thought a low-fantasy, banking economics focused story could be so freaking good?!

Read My Review


14. We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory

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About the Book:

Harrison is the Monster Detective, a storybook hero. Now he’s in his mid-thirties and spends most of his time not sleeping.

Stan became a minor celebrity after being partially eaten by cannibals. Barbara is haunted by the messages carved upon her bones. Greta may or may not be a mass-murdering arsonist. And for some reason, Martin never takes off his sunglasses.

Unsurprisingly, no one believes their horrific tales until they are sought out by psychotherapist Dr. Jan Sayer. What happens when these likely-insane outcasts join a support group? Together they must discover which monsters they face are within and which are lurking in plain sight.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: This books gave me nightmares!!! And it did with the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novella.

Read My Review


13. Firefight (Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson

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About the Book:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Words of Radiance, coauthor of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and creator of the internationally bestselling Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson presents the second book in the Reckoners series: Firefight, the sequel to the #1 bestseller Steelheart.

They told David it was impossible—that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart—invincible, immortal, unconquerable—is dead. And he died by David’s hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there’s no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: Brandon Sanderson; enough said 😛

Sanderson is an amazing storyteller. You’d have to be a complete fool not to pick this up! Go pick up Steelheart (my review) and start this series! (Steelheart will also be in my “Top Reads of 2015! 5 Stars”) 😉

(This book was also #2 on my “Top 9 Published Books of 2015” list)

Read My Review


12. The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley

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About the Book:

Book one in an epic fantasy of intrigue and empire, for fans of George R. R. Martin and Douglas Hulick.

The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . .

The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.

His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.

Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: One of the best “classic” style fantasy trilogies out there, and as soon as I finished this, I needed to know when the final book was coming out because I couldn’t wait to read the whole series.

I’m expecting great things from the next two books of this series, and are predicting big things to come from Brian in the future of fantasy. Keep an eye out for his name 😉

Read My Review






(#11 – #1 are 4.5 stars I rounded up to a Goodreads 5 star)

11. Wizard and Glass (Dark Tower #4) by Stephen King

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About the Book:

The fourth volume in Stephen King’s acclaimed, epic Dark Tower series 

Roland and his band have narrowly escaped the city of Lud and boarded Blaine, a train that will take them to, of all places, Kansas, where the ghost city of Topeka has been depopulated by a superflu and where, alongside Interstate 70, an emerald palace rises enchantingly. Before Roland and the companions of his “ka-tet” continue along the Path of the Bean, Roland must tell his companions the tale that defines him both as a man and hero, a long-ago romance of witchery and evil, of the beautiful, unforgettable Susan Delgado, of the Big Coffin Hunters and Reah of the Coos. And when his tale is finished, Roland confronts a man who goes by many names, a man who “darkles and tincts” and who holds perhaps the key to the Dark Tower.
The stunning Plume edition features full-color illustrations by Dave McKean and is a collector’s item for years to come.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: The fourth installment of King’s Dark Tower series provides us with information regarding Roland’s youth and early life, and, believe it or not, actually gives us some answers!

Read My Review


10. The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien

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About the Book:

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon.

The prelude to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies since its publication in 1937, establishing itself as one of the most beloved and influential books of the twentieth century.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: C’mon – its THE HOBBIT! Do I really need to say why you should read this?

Read My Review


9. Wintertide (Ryria Revelations #4) by Michael J. Sullivan

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About the Book:

A FORCED WEDDING. A DOUBLE EXECUTION. TWO THIEVES HAVE OTHER PLANS.

The New Empire intends to celebrate its victory over the Nationalists with a day that will never be forgotten. On the high holiday of Wintertide, they plan to execute two traitors (Degan Gaunt and the Witch of Melengar) as well as force the Empress into a marriage of their own design. But they didn’t account for Royce and Hadrian finally locating the Heir of Novron—or the pair’s desire to wreak havoc on the New Empire’s carefully crafted scheme.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: This book was an emotional roller coaster that hit me right in the “feels”.

Read My Review


8. The Emerald Storm (Ryria Revelations #4) by Michael J. Sullivan

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About the Book:

A MESSAGE IS INTERCEPTED. A SINISTER PLAN LAUNCHED. TWO THIEVES STAND IN THE WAY.

Ex-mercenary Hadrian Blackwater sets course on a high seas adventure to find the lost Heir of Novron. His only hope lies in confronting the ruthless and cunning Merrick Marius. Fearing Hadrian is not up to the challenge, Royce Melborn joins his ex-partner for one last mission. Their journey finds them adrift amid treachery and betrayals forcing Hadrian to face a past he had hoped to never see again.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: This book had two of my favorite story settings: sea-voyages on ships, and jungle-explorations with the native/exotic tribes. The drama that can happen on a boat out alone at sea, and the excitement and danger of the unknown lands – I could read stuff that like all day!

This was my favorite book in the series.

Read My Review


7. The Waste Lands (Dark Tower #3) by Stephen King

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About the Book:

The third volume in Stephen King’s acclaimed, epic Dark Tower series.  

Roland continues his quest for the Dark Tower, but he is no longer alone. He has trained Eddie and Susannah—who entered Mid-World from their separate whens in New York City in The Drawing of the Three—in the old ways of the gunslingers. But their ka-tet is not yet complete. Another must be drawn from New York into Mid-World, someone who has been there before, a boy who has died not once but twice, and yet still lives. The “Ka-tet,” four who are bound together by fate, must travel far in this novel encountering not only the poisonous waste lands and the ravaged city of Lud that lies beyond, but also the rage of a train that might be their only means of escape.  The stunning Plume edition features full-color illustrations by Ned Dameron and is a collector’s item for years to come.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: This was The Dark Tower I’ve been waiting for! That bleak and depressing atmosphere and setting from the story in Roland’s world from Gunslinger, and those mind-tripping, imaginative features – like the doors – and blending of multiples genres from The Drawing of the Three.

Read My Review


6. Edge of Dark (Glittering Edge #1) by Brenda Cooper

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About the Book:

What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living.  And yet, that life thrived?  It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun.  What if it didn’t share your moral compass in any way?

The Glittering Edge duology describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI’s that it banished long ago.  This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber.

In Edge of Dark, meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once.  Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep.  Meet Nona’s best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body….

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: I can’t describe how must it frustrates and angers me that no one is reading this book and that it is not getting nearly the amount of attention and recognition that is deserves! GO READ THIS BOOK!

This will be the #1 book I am putting on my Hugo ballot this year!

(This book was also #1 on my “Top 9 Published Books of 2015” list)

Read My Review


5. Elantris (Elantris #1) by Brandon Sanderson

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About the Book:

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: Awesome magic system, likable characters, great plot; Sanderson’s writing is slowing become one of my favorites. Highly Recommended!

Read My Review


4. King of Thorns (Broken Empire #2) by Mark Lawrence

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About the Book:

The second book in the Broken Empire series, Lawrence takes his young anti-hero one step closer to his grand ambition.

To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood…

The land burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lords and petty kings fight for the Broken Empire. The long road to avenge the slaughter of his mother and brother has shown Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath the hidden hands behind this endless war. He saw the game and vowed to sweep the board. First though he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them.

A six nation army, twenty thousand strong, marches toward Jorg’s gates, led by a champion beloved of the people. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king.

Faced by an enemy many times his strength Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: Just as Dark! Just as Brutal! Just as More Awesome! All hail King Jorg!

Read My Review


3. The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson

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About the Book:

Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world.This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy to a dramatic and surprising climax as Sanderson’s saga offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith and responsibility.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: That ending… Wow… Simply WOW… One of my favorite trilogies!

Read Coming Soon


2. Emperor of Thorns (Broken Empire #3) by Mark Lawrence

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About the Book:

King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb.

Jorg would be emperor. It is a position not to be gained by the sword but rather by vote. And never in living memory has anyone secured a majority of the vote, leaving the Broken Empire long without a leader. Jorg plans to change that. He’s uncovered the lost technology of the land, and he won’t hesitate to use it.

But he soon finds an adversary standing in his way, a necromancer unlike any he has ever faced—a figure hated and feared even more than himself: the Dead King.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: This ending!!! I don’t… I.. I can’t even!! ALSDJSFHSHDNAS!!!!

The Broken Empire trilogy does get a 5/5 Rating; it gets a FAVORITE/5 Rating!!!

Read My Review


1.Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence

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About the Book:

A stunning fantasy debut from a major new talent!

When he was nine, he watched his mother and brother killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king…

It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he was hung on the thorns of a briar patch and forced to watch Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him-and he has nothing left to lose.

But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce, can the will of one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: Do you know who Jorg is? Have you heard about this character yet? Well, let me tell you: I’ve never read a character like him before, and I doubt I will ever meet one like him again; Jorg is one of my favorite characters!

Read My Review

-DJ

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14 thoughts on “Top 16 Reads of 2015! 4.5 Star Books

  1. I’m reading Dark Eden now and, wow, what a fascinating world with compelling characters. I’m having a hard time putting down.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, I loved Dark Eden! And Folding Knife! 🙂

    Like

  3. Bookwraiths says:

    Damn, some books I haven’t heard of. You, my friend, have added to my to-be-read pile yet again. Curse you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice to see Sanderson and Lawrence well represented 🙂 And some other underrated gems like Dark Eden and Edge of Dark!

    Like

  5. @lynnsbooks says:

    I’ve not read all of these – but three Lawrence! *fist bump*
    Lynn 😀

    Like

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