Jennie’s Best Reads of 2015
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I reviewed this back in June and gave it an A-. Rereading my review, I’m reminded of how much I liked Uprooted and am almost tempted to change my grade to an A. It’s an imaginative and beautifully written fairy tale.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Janine reviewed this and I’m glad she did or I might not have picked it up. It’s a haunting dystopian story, not a romance but (I’d argue), Romantic in the old sense of the word, dealing as it does with the meaning of art and beauty in a ruined world. Really great, and I’m surprised I only gave it a B+ in my book log – I think I’d bump this one up too, to at least an A-.
The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen
I think this is the first book I read by this author though it’s number four in her Ivy Years series (yes, I live dangerously and read out of order). I was drawn to the idea of a romance between a sexually experienced heroine and a virgin beta hero. The Shameless Hour featured many of the elements I like about well done new adult romance: smooth prose, a high readability factor and characters that don’t necessarily fit the old cookie-cutter romance molds (e.g. promiscuous hero and pure heroine). It didn’t change my life, but it was a highly entertaining read and for that I gave it a B+.
It Started with a Scandal by Julie Ann Long
I almost wonder if I graded this one on a curve; I know Janine didn’t care for it and I had problems with the last book in the Pennyroyal Green series, which I read shortly after reading It Started with a Scandal. The reason I wonder if I was grading it too generously is because for several years now historical romance has just bored me so much, and It Started with a Scandal didn’t bore me. Does that mean it deserves a B+ and a place on my “best of 2015” list? I would argue that yes, it does.
Lady Be Good by Meredith Duran
This book and its sequel (see below) were something of a return to what I used to love about historical romance: romantic, with sympathetic characters and strong prose in a historical setting. The subtlety and depth of characterization raised Lady Be Good above the average romance. I gave it a B+, and reviewed it here.
Luck Be a Lady by Meredith Duran
This one was also a B+ and would’ve been an A- if not for my annoyance at some shenanigans on the hero’s part near the end of the book. Actually, in retrospect the grade could’ve been even higher if Duran had allowed the characters to be as flawed (and thus as complex) as they had been hinted at being in the first book. Still, a really good historical romance.