2015 Book Review

image capture from GoodReads

During the month of December I will be spending my Thursdays reviewing 2015. Last week I shared some of my favorite music from 2015 in a "life soundtrack" post. Today I will be looking back at the 30-some-odd books I've read over the course of the year managing to complete my 2015 New Years challenge of reading 2 books a month (or 24 total) for this year. Take a look at the survey below and see how your favorite books fared. You can also click the links to each book, listed under the month in which I read it, to see my reviews (or to buy on Amazon if I didn't review it). Who knows? Maybe you'll find a new favorite! Enjoy!

Books Read in 2015
• the After series by Anna Todd
• A Lion In Paris by Beatrice Alemagna
• Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
• Refinery 29 by Piere Gelardi and Christene Barberich
• Frites by Anne de la Forest
• Summer Rain on Wattpad
• Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer
• Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
• No Capes on Wattpad
• The Bro Code on Wattpad
• He Wanted the Moon by Mimi Baird
• Cookie Love by Mindy Segal
• Sweetapolita by Rosie Alyeah
• Everything You Ever Wanted by Jillian Lauren
• Salsas & Moles by Deborah Schneider
• Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson
• Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady
• All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
• Fatal Vision by Joseph McGinnis
• Color Mixing Recipes for Watercolor by William F. Powell
• Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
• Walking the Highline by Joel Sternfield
• Captive by Ashley Smith
• 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper
• The Conversation Handbook by Troy Fawkes
• The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
• Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy by Dinty W. Moore
The Martian by Andy Weir
• The Photography of Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold

The total number of books GoodReads says I've read this year!

Under 250 pages : 7
Between 400-449 pages: 1
Between 450-499 pages: 0
Over 500 pages: 6
Over 1000 pages: 0
Audiobooks: 0
Re-reads: 0
DNFs (did not finish): 1
Five Star Rating: 3
One/Two Stars Rating: 9
Authors met in 2015: 1
Book events attended in 2015: 1
Books read in one day: 6
Books that made you cry: maybe 1? or 2? I don't cry when reading books…
Book reviews posted this year: 33, I think
Most books read by one author this year: 4

Longest & shortest…
By page number: A Lion in Paris (32 pages), After We Fell (848 pages)
By title: I Sold My Soul to the Devil For Vinyls … Pitiful I Know,  Captive
From buying to reading: Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. AND The Nightingale (4 months), How To Travel the World on $50 A Day (a few days)

Read of 2015: After
Series you picked up & series you quit: the After series? I didn't quit a series.
Book Post of 2015: Exploring France Through Books
Review of 2015: A Lion In Paris

Book plotting

Best & worst… + Favorites
Average rating on Goodreads: 3 stars
Best & worst books on Goodreads that you read and your rating: The Conversation Handbook (4 stars), Everybody Rise (2 stars)
Most disappointing & biggest pleasant surprise: Food: A Love Story or Fatal VisionHe Wanted the Moon
Most lenient & harshest ratings: Dear Mister Essay Writer GuyRefinery 29: Style Stalking
Best Book You Read In 2015? All the Light We Cannot See
Book that became an instant go-to recommendation: Sweetapolita
Forced yourself to finish: Fatal Vision
Best series you started in 2015? the After series? I didn't read many series'.
Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? Anthony Doerr
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read? He Wanted the Moon
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? After? Nothing was truly super amazing, but there were lots of books I couldn't put down … and lots of books I struggled to get through…
Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read? All the Light We Cannot Seeif I re-read any of them. (I won't.)
Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: I hadn't read any of these authors previously.
Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A RecommendationSweetapolita comes closest since I saw reviews on a bunch of blogs before ordering it. As it turns out, while reading All the Light We Cannot See, one of the women I babysit for mentioned that it was a great book. Then, while reading Fatal Vision, a lawyer I babysit for mentioned that he had heard of the story but never read the book… He also told me, as I was in the midst of reading Water For Elephants, that it was good. He has good taste. ;) No one told me to read any of these books. I just picked them based on my interests.
Best 2015 debut you read? Sweetapolita. Yum!
Hidden Gem Of The Year? Frites! Fries all the time. It was amazing and so fun! Justin's fries improved so much after reading through and trying some of these recipes. It seems simple enough and not worth the money, but it totally is!
Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015? All the Light We Cannot See. Anyone noticing a trend?
Most beautifully written book read in 2015? All the Light We Cannot See. Again.

Time to get a new bookshelf! This one looks full!

Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): I don't read on vacation.
Book that took you the longest to read: Fatal Vision
Book that you personally connected with the most: Captive, because it's a true story that took place here in Atlanta.
Book that made you love the villain: the After series, because the main character was such an idiot! (But the villain wasn't incredibly smart either…)
Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again: None this year. Maybe The Secret Garden from when I was a kid?
Book you read waaaay before it’s publication date: none. Unless you count Wattpad books?
Book you read on your birthday: Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford :-/
Book with a character who shares your name: Mandy by Julie Andrews (didn't read this year!)
Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have: none. I return what I borrow.
Book you wish you could go back and read for the first time again: none? Nothing I've read was that spectacular or shocking this year.
Book you read that is red: The Photography of Modernist Cuisine
Starts with X, Y, or Z: none
Book you hugged when you finished it: I Sold My Soul to the Devil For Vinyls … Pitiful I Know or No Capes. Seriously the sweetest tween books ever! :)
Book you wanted to throw across a room (not necessarily because it was bad): All the Light We Cannot See. It was good, but the end made me sooo mad! The After series was badly written (albeit addictive!) and the main character was an idiot, so I had almost the same kind of reaction with those books.
Food you craved while/after reading a certain book: nothing? Skip meals, yes. Crave meals? no.
Furthest out of your comfort zone: maybe He Wanted the Moon?
Series or author’s works you binged (whether all at once or throughout the year): the After series. I think I read the whole thing in about 2 weeks? At just over 500 pages a book for 4 books, I definitely call that binge reading! (Can I do it again? I need another addictive series!)
Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. and Water For Elephants. I had been wanting to read those books for so long!
Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2015? He Wanted the Moon
Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? The Martian
Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015? Fatal Vision (bad way), He Wanted the Moon (good way)
Book That Shocked You The MostAll the Light We Cannot See. The book was good, good, good, good … and then, all of a sudden, bad. Just like that. So disappointing!
Most memorable character of 2015? Maybe Marie Laure from All the Light We Cannot See.
Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: The relationship between Marie Laure and her father (he built a miniature city out of wood for his blind daughter! aww!), Werner and Marie Laure (love by way of friendship), and Werner and his sister (reminded me of my husband and his sister) in All the Light We Cannot See. I also liked the relationship between the sisters (they would do anything for their sibling!) in The Nightingale.
Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? the guy from I Sold My Soul to the Devil For Vinyls … Pitiful I Know. He had language appeal since he was so well-versed in French and German. Made me want to study up and read classics in their original languages. :) Plus I'm pretty sure that he played the piano and painted too! WOW! (But don't worry Justin, I bet he couldn't cook. lol.)
Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? All the Light We Cannot See. I have plans to visit the little town in France where the book took place one year for my birthday. :)
Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? The Martian. Mark Watney is so optimistic!
Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry? There were some intense scenes in The Nightingale that were super depressing. Woot WW2. :(
Book That Crushed Your Soul? The end of All the Light We Cannot See. You have no idea how irritating that was! It was only soul crushing because by the time I got to the end I had expectations. It was good, good, good … then bad. :( Argh! Also, the After series. I had hopes throughout the entire series (!!) that the main character would learn from her mistakes… but [spoiler]. If I knew that girl in real life, I'd … I don't know … be unhappy with her. :-/
Most Unique Book You Read In 2015? Food: A Love Story. I've read books about food, I've read nonfiction, but  a comedic nonfiction book about food? It wasn't good; don't read it.
Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? After

If only my keyboard were that clean…

Books & Blogging
Post with the most views (posted in 2015): Sweetapolita with total views hitting just over 1400.
Post you wish you could re-write: So many. Obviously first posts are never as good as re-writes.
New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015? I don't really read book blogs. I don't need more books that I want to read. I already can go to the library and emerge with 20 or so books that I had never heard of that I now, all of a sudden, have the desire to read. No. No more. I don't have time for that.
Favorite review that you wrote in 2015? He Wanted the Moon. I love that there were some comments and discussion over mental illness. :)
Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? OMG! The Lime post! It was so much fun to write! Maybe I should do another on lemons? ;)
Best book-related event that you participated in? Seeing blogger and author of How To Travel the World for $50 a Day. Didn't like the book too much, but it was fun going to an event and meeting someone I've been following for a few years. :)
Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015? Getting books to read and review for free! Sorry – it's kind of like a childhood dream come true that I wasn't aware I could do until this year! :)
Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog? My review of Sweetapolita.
Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? My review of He Wanted the Moon. It's a very important topic, mental illness, and I really like how I pulled that review together. I wish I could find a way to do that more often. :)
Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? this survey! How fun!
Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? YES! I said I'd read at least 2 books a month, and while I haven't necessarily read 2 books a month, I have read and reviewed just over 30 books this year! That is fantastic since the year before I read maybe 6 books total?

New year, new goals…

The Upcoming Year
One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016? Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman.
Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)? maybe I'll read The Girl On the Train? It was rated really well this year, but I never got around to reading it.
2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? None. I have no idea what's going to come out. It will be fun to be surprised and discover new books in the new year!
Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016? none.
One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016? Since I will be reviewing books from a new company with my new kindle (!!), I hope I will be able to increase how many books I read.
A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: Sorry; haven't gotten any 2016 books yet. :(

Your Turn
What were some of your favorite books of 2015? Are there any you are looking forward to in 2016? Share! I'd love to hear! :)

* Survey is a combination of two taken from The Book Addicts Guide.and Perpetual Page Turner.
** I'm participating in Susannah Conway's December Reflections. Are you? Today's post was a response to #6 on the list "best book of 2015". :)


  1. Hi Mandy and Justin! I enjoyed reading your lists. I agree that Water for Elephants was a wonderful book, and it was also a terrific movie. I just read that it was written during nanowrimo.


    1. Thanks for sharing! I had no idea! That's a really fun fact to know! :)


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