I am thrilled to present Great Thoughts’ Top Books of 2015. I cannot remember a year with as many amazing books as 2015. Narrowing the list was a great challenge this year as there were so many outstanding choices. Without further ado, here are the Top Books of 2015:
Top 5 Books of 2015
I simply could not choose which book was my very favorite of the year so I chose these 5 as my Top 5 Books of 2015.
The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach– Pam Jenoff is one of my favorite authors. This book is a crossover between historical fiction, Jenoff’s sweet spot, and Summer Fiction. I could not stop thinking about the characters in this book for long after I read it. It is historical fiction and at its heart is a love story. I hope Jenoff’s writing continues in this vein as I can’t get enough.
The Royal We– I truly adored this book! I’ve been a huge follower of the Royal Family since I spent a college semester in London. Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan wrote a masterpiece that will now be a movie. I am still pining for a sequel. The story, the characters, the setting all contribute to make this book both believable and real, a fete when discussing a royal family. I am excited to see what these authors write next given this wonderful book.
The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke– What a book! The authors perfectly capture how we portray our lives on social media and the pitfalls of doing so. This book catapults Liz and Lisa into the big time. I predict that the names “Liz and Lisa” will now be in the Sarah Jio, Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green upper echelon of women’s fiction writers.
Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner- I love all of Weiner’s books and am a big supporter of her activism for female authors. Every time I think she has written her all-time best book, she surpasses it with her next. The story in this book is poignant, believable, and every other adjective I can think of. This is her best book, until her next comes out.
A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan– I cannot say enough about this book. Egan perfectly portrays exactly what it feels like to be in the sandwich generation. She perfectly shows what it is like to be a working mom today. The marriage portrayed is flawed but realistic. I could go on all day about this book but suffice it to say, you should read it.
In choosing my Top Books of the 2015, I considered the 126 books I read in 2015 (a new personal record). This grouping of my Top Books are from the best selling authors who publish one or more books a year and on whom I have come to depend for my favorites. I consider these authors to be Perennial Favorites- ie, I always buy their books and typically always love their books. They are my people!
After You by JoJo Moyes, the sequel to Me Before You, was as good and maybe even better than its predecessor. Only JoJo Moyes can make falling off a roof seem completely reasonable.
Along the Infinite Sea and Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams are each perfect. I love recommending Beatriz Williams’ books to friends as each friend ends up reading everything Beatriz has written and becoming a Beatriz Williams’ groupie. Need I say more?
French Coast and Rome in Love by Anita Hughes are Anita’s fourth and fifth books. It is hard for me to believe how quickly Hughes writes and the beauty of each book. Anita Hughes is the queen of the happy ending. Isn’t it lovely that in our mixed up world there is still a place we can go for beauty, fine travel and love? And that place is in an Anita Hughes’ novel.
My Very Best Friend by Cathy Lamb is yet another perfect Lamb novel. I can say, without a doubt, that the best characters written in any book I read this year are in this book. No women’s fiction writer today writes the depth of character that Cathy does- hands down amazing. And you feel all the feels in this book from laughing out loud to wiping tears away. If you haven’t read every single one of her books, get on it.
Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain is a very moving book. And isn’t the cover simply gorgeous! Chamberlain has long been one of my favorites since I read The Midwife’s Confession. I have read ALL of her numerous books and can say that Pretending to Dance is one of her best.
The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley is the first in Riley’s new series. I adore Lucinda’s books and absorbed this gem in one day. I anxiously await the next installment, The Storm Sister, in early 2016. Riley’s books appeal to me because you are immediately drawn into the story by the end of the first page.
The Sound of Glass by Karen White is such a gem. No one writes dialogue as well as Karen White- no one! The character Loralee is this book is so achingly perfect as she keeps her Journal of Truths where she records her thoughts and witty saying. I have already re-read the book so I could think more about these Truths. Love, love, love this book!
Things You Won’t Say by Sarah Pekkanen is probably the most intense storyline to date of Pekkanen’s books. Yet, Sarah Pekkanen puts a totally human face on police brutality. The depth of the personal relationships in this book and the interaction between the characters are so incredibly well done. A Pekkanen novel never disappoints but this one is just extra special.
This was a tough year to publish a good book given the caliber of books abounding. These books were all excellent and in a “normal” reading year, would have topped my list.
The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall– I cannot say enough about this book. Every working mother should read it.
Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill- Wow- this book is SO incredibly intense and is such a page- turner.
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan is the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, my Top Book of 2013. China Rich Girlfriend is just as good as the first and having a martini with the author remains on my bucket list.
A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin is a peach of a book. There is no way to read this book and not fall in love with the main characters. Love!
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a beautiful book; simply beautiful and deserves to be savored by all book lovers.
Come Away With Me by Karma Brown is such a well-written book. Karma Brown will be an author to watch given the caliber of writing in this book.
Life and Other Near Death Experiences by Camille Pagan is such an interesting novel in that it tackles cancer in a good way. I really enjoyed this book.
Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins was such a surprising book. It starts as a sexy chick-lit feeling book and then turns into a psychological thriller with quite an ending.
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica is another can’t put down bestseller by Mary Kubica. Kubica has such intricate plots and characters that you simply cannot stop reading.
Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff is such a delightful book. It was an out of the box read for me given a fantasy aspect but I absolutely loved it.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. 2015 was such an amazing year for historical fiction. These are just a few of my favorites:
The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris is amazing. I am a huge fan of McMorris and am proud to be her groupie. Love this book!
Even In Darkness by Barbara Stark-Nemon is a holocaust novel with excellent characters. I very much enjoyed it.
Fugitive Colors by Lisa Barr is a beautiful book with one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. The plot and characters in this book are exceedingly well-done.
Henna House by Nomi Eve is a brilliant novel in that you actually feel like you are in early 20th century Yemen. I need henna on my arms soon!
The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor is such a stand out novel. She tackles the Rosenberg espionage scandal in such detail and creates intense suspense and intrigue. Loved it!
The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck is the story of Nathanial Hawthorne and his wife. I adore Robuck’s books because I learn so much about famed literary characters.
Letters To The Lost by Iona Gray was exceptional. I typically shy away from books written via letters but this one is simply excellent.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah was superb. It has been so widely acclaimed that there is nothing I can say that hasn’t been said before. Simply, I say to read it.
Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey is an absolutely delightful novel. My prediction is that Kristy Harvey will be known for Southern Fiction like Beth Hoffman, Karen White, Kim Boykin, Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe. Check back here in a few years and we will see if my prediction is right but I’m confident! Kudos to Kristy for an amazing debut.
Top Debut Novel of 2015
I hope you all had as great of a reading year as I did.
I received review copies of numerous of these books. All opinions are my own.
What are you reading and where are you going?