Five Star Books of 2015

imageI reserve the five star rating on Goodreads for books I truly loved. Books that hooked me and I couldn’t put down. Books I had a connection with, characters I loved or enjoyed, and plots that were unexpected. These are books I’d read again. These are books I’d recommend to others (and then feel heartbroken if that person didn’t love the book as much as I did!).

This year, I marked seven books (out of 54 total) worthy of five stars. Here they are, listed in no particular order:

1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (a re-read)
2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
3. The Martian by Andy Weir
4. Every Day by David Levithan (a re-read)
5. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
7. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

imageIf you have been on the fence about any of these titles, I would highly recommend reading them. Especially The Martian. And Every Day. And The Night Circus. And Graceling. And Fangirl. And…you get the picture. They’re all marvelous.

What were your favorite books to read this year?

Books I’d like to Re-read

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It’s rare for me to go back and read a book again. After all, there are SO MANY books to read! But I haven’t been in love with my reads lately, so I’ve been considering a re-read. These are a few that have been on my mind…

  1. Allegiant: I was pretty harsh on the novel after my initial reading. I’m wondering if I would still feel as strongly about it after a re-read, and I’m curious to know if it was really as bad as I thought it was.
  2. The entire Harry Potter series: I loved each and every book the first time around, but it’s been many years since I read them. Can you believe It has been eight years since the final book came out? I’ve seen all the movies, of course, but I know they left out a lot of details.
  3. Graceling: I really enjoyed this book and the world the author created. I want to go back to that world again, as well as Katsa and Po’s unique relationship. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it.
  4. Cress: The final installment of The Lunar Chronicles just came out this week. I haven’t purchased the book yet because I’m afraid I’ve forgotten where the story left off. A refresher would be nice before reading Winter.
  5. The Bronze Horseman: The history. The romance. Tatiana and Alexander. Simply, I loved this novel and I’d love to revisit it.

What books would you’re-read if you had the time and opportunity?

Entry #14 – Dream cast:

graceling_dreamcast

Entry #14 – Dream cast:  Maybe it’s from a movie that’s already been cast, or it’s one that you wish would be/had been chosen: who embodies your favorite character(s)?

One of my favorite authors this past summer was Kristin Cashore, author of the Young Adult novels Graceling, Bitterblue, and FireBitterblue and Fire are companion books to Graceling, meaning they share a few characters, but they are not a series and do not have to be read in order.  In this way, Cashore has given readers a break from all the trilogies and series, yet sated our appetites for more of the fabulous world she’s created.

As in other Young Adult novels featuring brave female leads with “Ka-” names (Katniss of The Hunger Games and Cassia from Matched), Graceling stars Katsa, a heroine who discovers her life has more meaning than she originally thought.  At first, she believes her special talent, or grace, is her combat kills, which King Randa uses to his advantage.  With the help of some very good friends and a mission to figure out what’s behind all the trouble in the Seven Kingdoms, Katsa learns that there’s a reason behind her special skills.  Along the way, she finds love—but questions the concept of marriage—and encounters plenty of adventure.  A theme apparent through Cashore’s books is that love is love, no matter what form it takes, and that families can come in many shapes and sizes.  This is a lovely message to send young readers.

If you want to find out more about Graceling, as well as Bitterblue and Fire, click here.  There are blurbs about each of the books, as well as excerpts from the first chapter.  I read all three books right in a row and LOVED them.  I even listened to Fire as an audiobook on my kindle fire about a week ago and loved it just as much the second time around. 

Since Young Adult literature has been churning out tons of movie adaptations lately, I’d love to see Graceling on the big screen.  *If I had a hand in helping to cast the film, here’s who I’d pick:

castlist*If you are a hardcore Graceling fan, please take this casting with a grain of salt.  I checked out this book from the library this summer, so I didn’t have references for the characters’ ages or physical descriptions.  I went by feel and overall look, versus staying 100% true to the text—plus there’s always hair dye, right?!