Monday, December 28, 2015

Books of 2015

Yes, I know I missed last Saturday. But it was the Christmas weekend, and I'd already put up my Emmanuel post . . . and it only hit me Saturday morning that, oh right, today is Saturday. I have a blog. I have a blog on which I post things every Saturday. Well then. Obviously, such thoughts resulted in nothing. So I thought an impromptu beginning-of-the-week post might be nice to tie us all over until Subplots and Storylines goes up on New Year's Eve. Explanation over. Read on.


I've been keeping track of the books I read for the past four years now . . . not via Goodreads (I'm not on there--yet?), but in a black three-ring binder. I wish I'd started sooner, because it's such fun to keep a record of my reading adventures, to see what genres I've been gravitating toward, and to check whether or not I've actually read that book that looks vaguely familiar but seems somehow new.

So as 2015 is drawing to a close, I've been looking back at the books in which I buried my nose this year. Of course you're curious too, aren't you? Yes you are. You're scrolling down already, I know it. Bookworms love peeking in on other bookworms' bookish lives.

Rereads are starred (*), and my favorite book (or two or three) of each month is pictured.

Viral Execution // Amanda L. Davis
The Hunger Games // Suzanne Collins
*The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe // C.S. Lewis
*Prince Caspian // C.S. Lewis
*The Voyage of the Dawn Treader // C.S. Lewis

A toss-up between these two vastly different books. They're
both amazing in polar opposite ways.

*The Silver Chair // C.S. Lewis
*The Horse and His Boy // C.S. Lewis
*The Magician's Nephew // C.S. Lewis
*The Last Battle // C.S. Lewis
Catching Fire // Suzanne Collins
Asylum // Chantelle J.Z. Storm

One of my favorite Narnia books ever!

Mockingjay // Suzanne Collins
To Kill a Mockingbird // Harper Lee
Sketchy Behavior // Erynn Mangum
The Princess Academy // Shannon Hale
Mockingjay follows close behind, but in
an entirely different way.
(I wrote a guest post on To Kill a Mockingbird, which you can find on Bryan Davis's blog HERE.)

Exodus Rising // Bryan Davis
Whadd'ya Gonna Do? // Joey O'Connor
Eldest // Christopher Paolini
The Outcasts // John Flanagan
Stormbreaker // Anthony Horowitz
The Giver // Lois Lowry

Series finale! Glory! Epicness! Pain!
Outlaw // Ted Dekker
*Divergent // Veronica Roth
11 Birthdays // Wendy Mass
The Storybook of Legends // Shannon Hale
The False Prince // Jennifer A. Nielsen
*Insurgent // Veronica Roth

I couldn't decide! How do I pit a mind-transforming book against a fast-paced bullet of a book against a yummy fantasy
book? How, I ask you?? Answer: I don't. I choose them all. ^_^

The Chance // Karen Kingsbury
Allegiant // Veronica Roth
The Anatomy of a Miracle // Dr. James B. Richards
Eyes Wide Open // Ted Dekker
Gathering Blue // Lois Lowry

Because one's fiction and the other is non-fiction, it's completely fair
to pick both as favorites, right? Both rattled my mind in a very,
very good way.

Pride and Prejudice // Jane Austen
Plain Kate // Erin Bow

I'm sorry, Jane Austen, but Plain Kate is
just an easier read. That's the only thing putting
it ahead of P&P, and only by a very little bit.
Like a millimeter or two.
Paige Torn // Erynn Mangum
The Spirit Well // Stephen R. Lawhead
Golden Daughter // Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Mindwar // Andrew Klavan
Above // Leah Bobet

Words cannot express my love. (The
Spirit Well and Mindwar follow on
this book's heels, though.)

Doon // Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Full Disclosure // Dee Henderson
Captivating // John & Stasi Eldredge


Messenger - Lois Lowry
Paige Rewritten // Erynn Mangum
Mrs. Jeffries Reveals Her Art // Emily Brightwell
Emissary // Thomas Locke

I couldn't get enough of the fantasy

Omega Dragon // Bryan Davis
Point Blank // Anthony Horowitz
During which I sniffled and waved
goodbye to beloved characters...

The Choosing // Rachelle Dekker
A.D. 30 // Ted Dekker
Angels Walking // Karen Kingsbury
Life Is ___ // Judah Smith

(I haven't picked a favorite for this month yet,
because I'm not quite finished the last two books.)


52 books all told! February, April, and May were my biggest reading months--six books each. July and November were my lowest with two books each.

My books-per-year has been going slowly downward since I started keeping track, but a) I'm reading bigger books than I did as a mid-teen, b) I'm working now, and c) I'm writing more. So an average of a book per week makes me happy.


My biggest genre this year was fantasy. Aren't you all shocked? Here, have a slice of pie--that is, a pie graph, because data visuals are fun. After 20 fantasy novels, dystopian takes second place with about half as many books, and romance slides into third with again half as many. (Note: "romance" includes chick-lit and any vaguely romantic contemporaries. "Thriller" includes suspense. They're not quite the same thing, you know.)

Miscellaneous Stats

Most read authors:
C.S. Lewis: 7 books
And then Ted Dekker, Suzanne Collins, Erynn Mangum, Veronica Roth, and Lois Lowry tie with 3 books apiece.

Favorite new (to me) authors:
Harper Lee, Jennifer A. Nielsen, Erin Bow, Thomas Locke, Rachelle Dekker.

Worst book of the year:
Leah Bobet's Above. You can read my reaction in this edition of Subplots and Storylines. It was a strange, off-kilter book whose cover LIED TO ME (because it's not actually about that blonde girl with bee's wings--she's just the whiny love interest of the melodramatic main character) and whose plot leaped gleefully into rather muddy waters near the end.

Best fictional book of the year:
Please don't do this to me. I read so many amazing books this year, I just couldn't single out one over the rest! The month-by-month favorites were hard enough. But here's a few that really stood out to me, in no particular order:

Eyes Wide Open
Plain Kate
Golden Daughter
Exodus Rising
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Hunger Games

(Yay, me. I cut a list of 16 favorites down to 7, and even now I'm still waffling over it.)

Best nonfiction book of the year:
I'd have to say either Anatomy of a Miracle or Life Is ___. (More on the latter in this month's Subplots and Storylines.) The first one shifted the landscape of my thoughts, and the second--which I'm almost done--is written in an accessible style about things we all need to be reminded of often.

I'd say 2015's reads were pretty fabulous, overall. They took me to places I've never been and showed me people I've never seen; and yet many of those places felt like home by the time I reached The End, and many of those people lived in my mind like real human beings. Echoes of our world. And that's what a good book should be. A surprising number of those good books also made an impact on me personally, reinforcing my faith and clarifying my worldview.

I can't wait to see what sort of pages I'll fall into in 2016!

Now's your chance: inundate me with bookish talk! What did you read this year? Best book? Worst? Any surprises, good or bad? And most importantly, do you have any recommendations? Books that Tracey absolutely must read in 2016, or else all life will be dark and meaningless? Chatter away.


  1. That's awesome you keep track of all the books you read! I tried that for a time... I'm not actually sure why I don't anymore... :P I would suggest The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni. I'm not sure if your life will be dark and meaningless without reading it, but it is one of my favorite books. :)

    1. It's been fun keeping track, that's for sure! Ooh, I just looked that book up . . . It looks good! And creepy. (I mean, what's up with putting cages around graves? o.o I like this premise.) Thanks for the recommendation, Bailey!

  2. Loved seeing so many C.S Lewis titles. The Plain Kate cover is adorable.

    1. Huzzah for C.S. Lewis! I SO enjoyed rereading the Chronicles of Narnia. It had been way too long since I last did.

      Isn't it gorgeous? And such a good book. I think it'd be right up your alley.

  3. Hey, I started keeping track of the books I read this year! Fabulous idea for a post. :) My favorite book this year...hmm, probably A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I'm also really enjoying the Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander, not because they're spectacularly written or anything but because it's fun to read a fantasy aloud to little siblings. Ooh, and I also sorta discovered G.K. Chesterton's writing this year. His "Orthodoxy" was really good. Wow, this was a long comment. :)

    1. No way! Awesome! (Heheh, thank you--but I can't claim originality. I've seen a number of other bloggers talking about their 2015 reads.)

      Oh goodness, I admire those who have the courage to delve into those old classics. I'd like to read both of those one day. A Tale of Two Cities for sure. I've heard of the Chronicles of Prydain--every report seems favorable! I'll have to check them out someday. (Some books are just MEANT to be read out loud, aren't they? I always feel that way about Narnia and Dr. Suess books. XD)

      I love long comments! And I could talk about books all day. ^_^

  4. BOOKS. *inner bookworm flails about and throws confetti in the air* You could talk about books all day, and I would still be ready to talk some more.

    I started keeping track of aaaallll the books I read last year but then...yeah. I kinda stopped. Since I didn't have a written record, I decided to look through ALL my bookshelves and racked my brain for the measly amount of titles I have read this year. I came up with a rather depressing figure. Yeah, I haven't exactly read as much as I would like this year :( I'm currently in the midst of reading like six books...Sad but true.

    I'm REALLY hoping to read a lot more this upcoming year. I'm participating in the 12 Month Classics Challenge which I found on this lovely blog called You, Me, and a Cup of Tea. I have shamefully not read very many classics, and I am attempting to remedy that in 2016. Some books I would DEFINITELY recommend would be all of Melanie Dickerson's fairytale retellings. They are just wonderful!!! I'm reading her latest one, The Golden Braid, and it's sooo amazing! I also quite enjoy Wayne Thomas Batson's Dreamtreaders series. It's probably not my favorite of his books, but they're still really good! (I mean, c'mon, they're by Sir Batson. How could they be anything short of fabulous??)

    Really enjoyed hearing about all the books you've read! Here's hoping for a very bookish 2016!

    1. *dances in the falling confetti* Me too! I can't believe how long I can go on about that subject. XD

      That's a good way to salvage reading records, especially if you own many of the books you read. (I stalk the library too often to be able to do that.) I wanted to read more this year too . . . but reading is such a time-consuming hobby, isn't it? When society figures out a way to safely clone people, I want a clone to do nothing but read for me. :P In the middle of six books, you say? How do you keep it all straight? XD

      That challenge sounds intriguing! It looks like a good way to get to all those classics waiting to be read. ;)
      I've read one or two of Melanie Dickerson's books, and have been meaning to read some more. The Golden Braid has a gorgeous cover. And I've also been meaning to read the Dreamtreaders books! My brother got the second one, but hasn't bought the first yet. (That's my excuse, anyway. Waiting for him.)

      Thanks! I hope your 2016 reads are simply wonderful!

  5. "Books, glorious books! I'm anxious to read them!"
    I've only read 15 out of the list, however. I'm including Full Disclosure, but I really shouldn't because I never finished it. (shame)
    But Golden Daughter- Oh! the beauty and the pain! To Kill a Mockingbird is also a favourite. Are you planning on reading Go Set a Watchman?

    If you want more mystery in your diet may I recommend Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express? Yes, it's about murder, two in fact. But the ending is a twist I'll never forget.
    If you want some superhero books in your diet I recommend John W Otte's Failstate books. The first one is about beginner superheroes trying to get their licence on a reality t.v show. (Odd idea, I know. But the book is awesome)
    If you want a filling book that gives you incredible boasting rights when you finish it, I recommend Les Miserables.

    1. 15! Awesome! :D Full Disclosure was so good, though--it's longish, but such a good story. I'll take a level-headed adult romance over spinny teenage flings any day. XD (I mean adult insofar as it pertains to the characters' ages. Not content.) Not to mention the suspense part of the book. My guesses were waaaaay off.
      GOLDEN DAUGHTER. I am forever in awe of how each Goldstone Wood book is as good and rich--if not better than--the ones before. TKaM definitely merits a reread somewhere down the road. I do want to read Go Set a Watchman, partially just to see what all the fuss is about. XD How about you?

      I keep hearing about Agatha Christie books, but have never read any. This I must remedy. (I loveth twists, so.)
      I've also heard about the Failstate books, but I don't think my library has them... Perhaps I'll get a chance to read one someday. :)
      Les Mis. That's another one I've been mentally sizing up, thinking, "Hmmm, I should read you one day..." Thanks for the recommendations!

    Like you said, us bookworms do love to be nosy and see each other's bookshelves. XD

    Oh wow, it looks like you had a wonderful year of reading. All these gorgeous books. *drools* I so need to add so many of these on my ever growing to-read pile.

    So are Dee Henderson's books good? We have a bunch in the bookstore I work at and I keep wondering if I want to try any. They're different from what I normally read, but I've been trying to try new genres, so I was thinking about those.

    52 books! That's one book for each week of the year. YOU ARE AWESOME. This was like my least read year in a long time. It's horrid! I only read like...30. I so hope I can read more next year. I miss reading!

    I adore how much more fantasy you read than anything else. The best. XD

    Best book of the year? Oooh, what a fun question! Well, I would say Howl's Moving Castle, but that was my 3rd reread so I don't know if that counts. XD But this IS the one I'm recommending and saying you absolutely MUST read or your life will totally be dark or meaningless. READ IIIITTT.
    Anyways, best book... Maybe either Entwined by Heather Dixon or Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore. Both so good! Worst book would be Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen, I sadly couldn't get into that one.

    And I could discuss books forever and ever so I better stop there before I write a whole book-worth of a post. XD

      It's true, isn't it? Bookworms seem to be naturally nosy about each other.

      Yes! They're amazing! I read her O'Malley series yeeeears ago, and they are just fabulous. Strong relationships (both romantic and family/friend), intriguing mysteries, and suspense. I'd say definitely try at least one of hers!

      *blushes* I had a higher goal, but I'm quite happy with a book a week! 30 is still great, though, Christine! That's what, two and a half a month? I know people that...*cough*...don't even read that many in a year. XD But I know, I miss reading too.

      Fantasy IS my literary homeland, it feels like. XD

      HMC! Oh my word, I have GOT to read that in 2016. I've been wanting to find it so badly. I must order it from Amazon or something. The other two you mentioned (Entwined and Angel Eyes) sound good too! All the bookish awesomeness. Heh, my brother didn't even finish Aquifer. :P

      As you know, I love books. And long comments. So feel free to write as much as you want on the subject. XD

  7. *gasps* You keep track of the books you read in almost the same way I do! Cool :). I've read 11 of the books on your list, and I now want to read 'Emissary' just because the cover is GORGEOUS.
    Did you seriously ask me to give you book recommendations? Bad idea, Tracey, REALLY bad idea. I could give you a list that's a mile long :D. *sighs* I suppose I'll try to limit myself to half a mile. *hands you book list* (in no particular order) ...

    1. Resistance by Jaye L. Knight
    2. Dare by Tricia Mingerink
    3. The Blue Door by Christa Kinde
    4. Prophet by R.J. Larson
    5. Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good
    6. The Captive Maiden by Melaine Dickerson
    7. The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
    8. Swipe by Evan Angler
    9. The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
    10. The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson
    11. Draven's Light by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

    I probably should stop there. Hopefully I didn't give you a bunch that you have already read :D.
    Best book of the year? Um ... uh ... I read WAY too many books to pick just one favorite! *cough* Plus I didn't start keeping track of them 'till last month, so I forgot half of them. *cough* So I just won't pick :D.

    ~Savannah Perran

    1. Really? Neat! (Am I right in guessing that 7 out of the 11 you've read are the Chronicles of Narnia? ;)) Emissary is AMAZING. It's one of the best fantasies I've read recently. I first picked it up because of that beautimous cover, to tell you the truth. XD

      I seriously did. Nope, it's a splendid idea. I'd take a mile-long list, but half a mile is great too. XD

      Some of those I've been quite interested in reading, like Resistance, Prophet, Swipe, and of COURSE Draven's Light! I've read the Gail Carson Levine one, along with The Door Within (that trilogy was a huge favorite of mine!). Thanks for the list! I shall have to refer to it in the future.

  8. Ooo, these all look like such splendid reads! :)
    I recommend reading THE ANNALS OF LYSTRA and THE LATTER ANNALS OF LYSTRA by Robin Hardy. They take place in medieval times, and mainly tell of people's struggles and their prayers to God. There is a bit of romance in there. Overall, they are AMAZING. :D

    1. Yes, I was happy to read a number of good books this year. :)
      I just looked up your recommendations--they look good! I liked the description of the first book, how surrounding nations want Lystra because of its river. You don't often find such practical reasons for fictional war. XD

  9. The Magician's Nephew is one of my favourites, too. I'm not sure which one I'd put at top. I must reread Narnia soon <333

    I've heard many good things about Jennifer Nielson; I plan to read The False Prince very soon!

    I'm intrigued by Bryan Davis. "Glory! Epicness! Pain!" Aaaand there's a dragon on the cover, so I'm basically in!

    PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!!!! Must reread that book soon, I love it so much <33333

    I read 51 books this year -- you beat me! ~curses~ In terms of best and worst, I know you read my survey thingie so I think you've got a pretty good idea, but worst was The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (kill me) and best was THE GOLDFINCH!!! You MUST read it, or life WILL be dark and meaningless!

    Other books in this category:

    THE ICEMARK CHRONICLES! (A little known fantasy by Stuart Hill that is AWESOME)
    This Side of Paradise (F Scott Fitzgerald)
    The Cuckoo's Calling (JK Rowling)
    A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway)
    The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
    The Mill on the Floss (George Eliot)
    Rapture // The World's Wife (Carol Ann Duffy)

    BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! ~runs about in a happy mania~

    1. The creation of Narnia is one of my favorite parts of TMN! <3 Rereading the series is such a cozy, wonderful thing to do.

      Ooh, I think you might like The False Prince. :)

      Bryan Davis has a few series that feature lots of awesome dragons! The book I mentioned here is the conclusion of The Tales of Starlight, which is linked to The Dragons of Starlight series. You can read them together or separately, but I'd recommend together. :) And probably his most well-known books--Dragons in Our Midst (along with its two sequel series)--are about the human children of dragons, dragon slayers, and an epic storyline that spans history from the Garden of Eden up until the present. Basically: READ THEM ALL! Ahem, sorry, I get very excited about Bryan Davis books. XD

      I need to choose another Jane Austen novel to read this year...

      LOL, I'd say we tied, because one of my December reads lasted a few days into this month. 51 is awesome!

      After all you've said The Goldfinch, I'm thinking I really must read it. :) Thanks for the list of book recs!

      Aaaaand it's no secret that the subject of books gets me blabbering on...and on...ETC.