Reader Favorites – Marina’s Top 19 Reads for 2015

by Maryse on January 8, 2016 · 18 comments

in Book Recommendations

You guys!!! It’s Marina’s turn! :D I love her book enthusiasm, and I love her book recommendations! Marina’s been with us since 2012, and over the years, we’ve gotten to know her well!! I just love that she tells us why she loves the books she does (or why she doesn’t). ;) A ton of her book favorites from way back when until now are the same as mine.

<— But that one to the left? I haven’t read yet, and not only is this one of her absolute favorites, she considered it RE-READ good!

“Also need to fit in a re-read of I’ll Give you the Sun which I LOVED WITH PASSION!!!! It’s my book club book choice this month so need to get it fresh in my head to review. Looking so forward to a reread. :)

A bit more about her book preferences:

  • “I love everything Tessa Bailey writes. Guaranteed fun, witty, hot reads. Love ‘em all.”
  • “LOVE TIFFANI REISZ and never want her books to end… Her books are in a category of their own. Amazing.”
  • About Cara McKenna: “Love her too!!!! There is something about the mood she creates in her stories. She is great with the slow build. … Cara McKenna books are all great slow burns”
  • A pet peeve? “Whenever, and it definitely seems often, books do this: She. Is. Mine. Separated with periods to make it more powerful? Or maybe the whole him saying she’s “Mine” in general. It’s just been done so much.”
  • She has a HUGE crush on the model on the cover of Ricochet: “When I finish Ricochet I’m going to have to keep clicking on it to keep it up front on my Kindle Carousel. Have you seen that cover? I mean, seriously that may be the hottest guy on a cover EVER. And the book was written with him in mind. Um, yeah… It’s definitely dark but if you like dark reads and can handle some grit, violence, intensity… then go for it! I squirmed a bit through some scenes but I find the book totally captivating. I kind of wish this was a series. Especially so I can see more of that cover model ;)
  • She wants me to make a psych-thriller list. Sidenote… I am ON IT!! :D

Ready for her list?

“Hi Maryse, I’m sending my top 2015 reads in late. … Not necessarily in a particular order but here they are…”

Badger by Cara McKenna <— “So incredibly unique, unforgettable and heartbreaking.” Sidenote: Her official comment: “Just finished Badger. Such an intense and raw story written so beautifully. I could not narrow down my feelings throughout. Just all over the place. I’ll never forget this book. And Cara McKenna’s writing is above and beyond. Everytime I read one of her books I just want to drop everything and read every one of her books. So glad too that she listed all of her titles. Thanks so much for the recommendations!!!!! Any recommendation on how to pick up and carry on now? Whatever to read next… what can follow this?

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff <— This book took a bit to get into but once you do and the story starts rolling it is a journey you cannot leave until you find out how it all resolves. The book and the format is so incredibly unique. Even though it takes place in space and broken up into emails and transcripts the romance still totally sucks you in. I’m a graphic designer and book junkie so I’m in love with the jacket, cover and the inside.The whole thing is so visually and virtually beautiful. Hoping that there will be much more to come!

I’ll Give You the Sun by by Jandy Nelson <— Incredibly awesome. I read it first in 2014 and then reread in 2015 because it was my bookclub choice. It is EXQUISITE. The writing is poetry. Her descriptions are unlike anything I’ve ever read. And the story/storylines were just beautiful. I’m not sure why this book resonates with me so much but it just does. It is not only a 2015 fave for me but up there as an all-time fave.

Forbidden by CD Reiss <— I read Kick and Use first, loved them, couldn’t get enough, needed more. Forbidden came out which pulled all the stories together including the conclusion Break. This is all 3 altogether. CD Reiss’ words, writing and characters are just so well-written, raw, moody, erotic and dark. Love.

End of Day (Jack & Jill Series Book 1) & Middle of Knight (Jack & Jill Series Book 2) by Jewel E. Ann <— This one crept up on me and was a total rollercoaster of emotion and pure awesomeness. So well-written, mysterious, quirky, sexy characters and storylines, funny and sad. This series has all that and so much more. Emotions just all over the place. The feels and writing remind me of both CD Reiss and Tiffani Reisz. Which are all just absolute win-wins. Having said all that… book 2 ends on a major cliffhanger. There is a third, I believe conclusion, on the horizon I’m hoping this year! Something to look forward to! Sidenote: Her official comment on this one: “I just want to note… End of Day and Middle of Night are absolute 2015 Must Reads. I don’t want to build it up too much, but they are really original. They ebb and flow, one moment I can walk away and the next, totally unputdownable. Emotions all across the board. In the middle of Middle of Knight and this morning I was crying laughing so hard. And then again while just talking to my mom remembering? I read that the third is coming out next year. And somewhere else that there’s a fourth? Not sure…”

The Virgin (The Original Sinners Series Book 7) by Tiffany Reisz <— I think it’s understood that Tiffani Reisz is a GODDESS. I think that there are no words to accurately describe her books and writing. There’s no way to say enough. She is in a genre all her own… goddessness. I have intentionally put-off reading The Queen because I absolutely cannot handle this series coming to an end. I need to be ready. And I’ll never be.

Jezebel by K. Larsen <— So different. Mysterious and had me guessing and guessing until the very end.

The Deal (Off-Campus Book 1) by Elle Kennedy <— Best college romance of the year hands down. Think I need to reread!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah <— My favorite Kristin Hannah read. I am a romance junkie so of course would have loved more romance but it was such a great book and especially for women.

The Ground Rules (Book 1) (The Rule Breakers Series) by Roya Carmen <— “Awesome. Mind F. Loved the book discussions too.” Sidenote; Her official comment about this one? “Ummmmmm…… WOWZA. This book was quite the ride. I just now finished and I’m dazed. Immediate funk. I didn’t read your review before reading it. Wanted to go in blind. Just saw the 5 stars and so I had NO CLUE it has a follow-up. I kept looking at the percentage to see how this book was even going to end! SOOOOO GOOOD. I def. could not figure out how I wanted it to end. Absolutely unputdownable. My contacts are glued to my eyes because I’m not sure I even blinked! Not sure if I can do the other POV. Going to the spoiler discussion now!

Vanguard by CJ Markusfield <— This book is the closest book I have come across to The Bronze Horseman. Loved it. Felt like a Bronze Horseman which took place in current times.

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas <— You definitely have to suspend belief for much. But what I loved about it was the vibe and the feels and the haunting quality and the slow build and the hot, alpha jerk… It was raw and creepy and had the chase…. Also found some songs on the book playlist that I liked. So it’s stuck with me.

Amber to Ashes: Part One in the Torn Hearts Series (The Torn Heart Series Book 1) by Gail McHugh <— I loved this one. Felt different and all-consuming. Great writing, and hot….

The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins <— Characters drove me crazy but a sure page turner, twists till the end.

Kyland, Becoming Calder, Finding Eden by Mia Sheridan <— I’ve grouped these altogether because Mia Sheridan’s books are just all so good. They have this otherworldly aura about them that just make them feel so different. From page one, you are immediately transported into this other world and sucked in.

The Play by Karina Halle <— So good. So hot. So emotional. Love her books especially this one.


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Tessa January 8, 2016 at 11:47 PM

I’ve only read two of those, but so many are on my tbr. I loved Corrupt too. Yeah, you have to suspend some reality checks, but it was so goooood. :)

Cindy January 8, 2016 at 11:58 PM

Great list! Badger and I’ll Give You The Sun are definitely calling out to me! I’ve read two by Kristin Hannah (Firefly Lane and Night Road) so I think the Nightingale might be on my list too… She is an amazing writer and I was blown away by these two books! Maryse I would be all over that psych thriller list… This genre has caused me to squirrel this year with amazing reads like Pretty Girls and The Kind Worth Killing to name just a few!

Lisa January 9, 2016 at 1:54 AM

Wow Marina…..5 stars for your book list. You’ve had a great reading year. All those I have read I have adored…Badger, Illuminae, The Deal, Mia Sheridans books, Girl on a Train and The Play. Most of the others are on my tbr list, and based on your list I know I’ll love them too.
Checking out ‘I’ll give you the Sun’…dont know it.
Thank you for sharing.

Fabi January 9, 2016 at 6:36 AM

Marina, I love your favorites list and adore your enthusiasm for these books. I have a few of them left on my tbr and now I’m itching to get to them.

Elizabeth Lynx January 9, 2016 at 8:54 AM

This – “A pet peeve? “Whenever, and it definitely seems often, books do this: She. Is. Mine. Separated with periods to make it more powerful? Or maybe the whole him saying she’s “Mine” in general. It’s just been done so much.””
Thank you for saying that. It is so irritating when that happens. And yes, the Mine thing has been done so much it seems my eyes will bleed when I come across it.
YES – Badger is my absolute favorite read of 2015. If I could marry Cara MCKenna I would, but I am already married and not a lesbian, so unfortunately it most likely won’t happen. But fingers crossed!

bev January 9, 2016 at 8:56 AM

Great list. I read Jandy Nelson for the first time this year. She has such an interesting style.
I loved the setting for Kyland. Wish more books were set in different places around the country like that.

marina January 9, 2016 at 9:35 AM

Thanks so much Maryse for posting and thanks so much gals for your comments! It’s kind of nerve-wracking to see all your comments up there! And the dichotomy between some of these. I forgot to mention that I’ll Give you the Sun is YA. I hope I didn’t built it up too much and if you read it you’ll like it!

Jeannie Smith January 9, 2016 at 12:03 PM

What I love about these lists are that I always find something else I have to put on my “Must Read” list. Or maybe that is not such a good thing!

Maryse January 9, 2016 at 12:17 PM

LOL!!! I love all of these comments, and it was MY pleasure, Marina. I love these lists too. I’ve been reading FROM these lists, in fact. ;)

Thank you for sending it to us!

Grey January 9, 2016 at 1:11 PM

Ooh, great list, I’ve read Badger, The Virgin, The Ground Rules, Corrupt Jezebel and The Deal… so I’m super intrigued by the rest of your list being as though we seem to have so many in common!

Thank you for sharing and thank you Maryse as always!

marina January 9, 2016 at 5:53 PM

Thanks Grey! I think it was one of your “first liners” for Tempting at the end of last year that made me pick it up and read it. And I really liked it! It was a great teacher/student read! I love this blog and the lists and the recs. It is seriously my escape that keeps me sane!

Cheryl January 9, 2016 at 5:57 PM

Great list Marina. I have Amber To Ashes on my tbr. Been waiting forever for book 2 before starting it. Anyone know when that will ever happen?

bev January 9, 2016 at 6:32 PM

Cheryl, lol. I read your post and was thinking An Ember in Ashes. I got super excited cause I just read it. It was great. And I was all I didn’t know Cheryl read fantasy!! And how’d I miss it on this list.
And then I saw it wasn’t so. :-\

marina January 9, 2016 at 7:27 PM

Yes me too Cheryl! Maryse have you heard of timing for the sequel?

MichelleS January 9, 2016 at 9:54 PM

Vanguard is closest thing to Bronze Horseman you’ve read? SOLD!

Marion January 10, 2016 at 8:53 AM

I’m yet to read a Mia Sheridan book that didn’t stay with me….brilliant writer!

Jean January 10, 2016 at 1:23 PM

I love your list marina! Many are my favs too! I was so happy to see Vanguard! I loved that book and it had stuck with me!

Cheryl January 10, 2016 at 8:28 PM

Ha, ha Bev. Maybe this year that’s what I’ll add to my tbr!!

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