Simply the Best

best-of-2015Aaaannnddd… now I have Tina Turner stuck in my head. Sometimes posts have a funny way of making their way “onto the page” – and this one, apparently, is to be accompanied by this old tune.

I know everyone has already made their top ten lists for this year (those of debut authors, new authors, old authors, and so on) and I’m a little late to the party, but I want to share this with you because I like looking back at the end of the year, remembering the great stories (and the not-so-great ones, too). Goodreads says I read 125 books this year, which is pretty damn nice, I think. My average rating was 3.6, which seems quite low, but I had a lot of 5- and 4-star books, so I feel like this reading year was good.

I am fully convinced I wouldn’t have found half of these books if I never started this blog, if you lovely readers never recommend great books, if I never read other book blogs. So thank you all for being the absolute best audience I could ever wish for. *hugs for everyone*


These are some of the best books I read (and mostly even reviewed) in 2015 – in no particular order:

StardustCarry On – Attachments – Heir of FireFangirlAll I WantHalf the WorldThe Handmaid’s Tale – ScarletA Darker Shade of MagicUprootedEvery BreathThe Accident SeasonThe Kiss of DeceptionThe Mad ShipTo Kill a MockingbirdDaughter of the ForestNice Dragons Finish LastNimonaSagaLooking for Alaska


And here are the posts that either got the most comments or ones that I enjoyed writing:

The one that got the most comments was my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Ha.

My Fictional Bucket ListSecond ChancesComfort ReadsIn Defence of Good GuysA Castle and a ParkFan Fic (+ A Ramble on Harry Potter and Sex)Reading Fantasy in a Tiny Country  – How Do You Like Your Romance?


What were your favourite reads of 2015? 

Do you prefer reading reviews or discussions here on Of Dragons and Hearts?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • Greg Hill

    I’ve watched Stardust but haven’t read it- I probably should. Fangirl was good, and the Maas books I may have to read since I’ve heard so much about them. Regan from Fangirl was one of my favorite supporting characters when I read that book … :)

    • Haha, I watched Stardust before I even knew it was a book – it’s a really pretty fairy tale, a very quick and satisfying read.
      Well I have a weird relationship with the Maas books. I didn’t ADORE the first two, absolutely loved the third and was a bit disappointed by the fourth. So I’m not saying you should run to the bookstore to grab a copy but give it a try if you get a chance, you might like it!

      And YES, Regan was amazing, she’s a wonderful friend! :)

  • Simply the best! Better than all the rest! LOL I have it stuck in my head now too XD YAY Heir of Fire and Fangirl! They were favourites of mine last year too <3 SO.FREAKING.GOOD. I need to get my hands on Carry On, Nimona, Stardust and some Robin Hobb in 2016. Awesome picks here Kaja^^ Happy 2016 xx

    • Yeah sorry for that. For me Tina Turner is a nice chance from all kids’ songs that I’ve been singing/listening to lately so I was glad of the change. :)

      Ha, I love spreading the love for Fangirl especially, my husband just finished reading it and liked it a lot!

      Happy 2016 to you, too! :)

  • Maraia

    I’m so happy to see both Daughter of the Forest and Fangirl on here. :D

    I only was able to narrow my favorites down to the top 15 with 10 runners up. I also made a list of my 15 least favorite books, haha. That’s a rather long list, but I’m happy to share. :D

    On most blogs I prefer discussion posts, but your reviews are so reader-inclusive that I enjoy them just as much!

    • Did you post those lists anywhere? I’m always looking for new recs, you know me.

      And that’s really nice to hear! :) I prefer reading discussion posts, too, because I rarely read reviews of books I have no intention to read. And sometimes I avoid reviews if I’m afraid of spoilers (I even avoid those that claim to be “spoiler free”…).

      • Maraia

        No, I just posted my End of Year survey. I will DM you the list!

        Yeah, even just a person’s general impression of a book can influence what I think about it, so it’s good to be cautious. If the reviews are really early, though, my poor memory comes in handy, because I know I’ll forget everything anyways. XD

  • Helia D

    I also read Heir of Fire and Fangirl this year and loved them both! I can’t wait to read Carry On because I’ve heard so many good things. I have Stardust on my kindle but I haven’t got around to reading it yet.

    • Well if you already have Stardust, I can’t recommend it enough! It’s a very quick read and I liked that it’s basically a fairy tale. :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • My goodreads rating is 3.7. I rate a lot of books 3 stars, but that isn’t bad. 3 stars means I liked the book. I just didn’t LOVE it.

    I really want to read Nimona. I don’t read a lot of graphic novels but this one really appeals to me.

    And Fangirl is AMAZING!

    • For me, a 3-star rating is “it was okay but you’re better off reading something else”. I think this is an inherent problem of the star/numerical rating – you never really know what those stars mean to people!

      Nimona was the first graphic novel I’ve read in YEARS and the first one in English – and I can say it was a very good beginner’s choice! I’m really glad I picked it up.

      YES Fangril is … I don’t even know, I think it might be in my top 10 books of EVER, not just 2015.

  • Nicole Hewitt

    I just got Carry On and I’m so excited to read it! And Robin Hobb has been a favorite of mine for many, many years – I’m always excited to see her mentioned because I feel like not that many people talk about her.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • Yeah Robin Hobb’s books are kind of under-appreciated when you see what kind of attention George R. R. Martin gets, for example, but I think she has a huge following nonetheless. I probably just don’t read the right blogs – but you’re right, I haven’t seen her mentioned that often at all.

      I hope you enjoy Carry On! :)

  • 125 books is sooo many! I’m really happy to see that Daughter of the Forest and Nimona were both among your top reads – they’re both going to be on my “best of” list, too. I think I’m always the last one to write those posts, but I like giving myself enough time to squeeze in as many books as possible. ;)

    Your discussion posts are always amazing, but I really appreciate your reviews too. We usually agree on things, and you like your fantasy the way I like mine – not too “manly” and with a dash of romance thrown in!

    • Manly romance is the worst. I can’t even make myself pick up books with mighty warriors on the covers. I’m probably doing some authors real injustice but hey, we all judge books by their covers.

      I think I got to 125 purely on account of romances. :D Not that it’s a bad thing but I don’t think I’d be able to squeeze in 125 500-page fantasies in one year.

      I’ll be looking forward to your “top of 2015” post, I always like researching those for recs (as if my tbr pile wasn’t enormous already). :)

  • I’m still rushing to finish my GR Challenge before Friday (only 2 books to go and a stack of comics from the library to do it!), but I’m sad to say this year didn’t fare quite as well as I’d hoped. I think I have one 4-star (ADSOM), a decent number of 3-stars and twice as many 2-stars, plus a few 1’s. I’m glad you had better luck! Here’s to lots of good books next year! Including Winter, which I still haven’t read. Curse you, law school. :P

    • I hope you finished your Goodreads challenge! :)
      Ooh, your ratings sound pretty harsh. I guess I’m more generous with my 5- and 4-stars but sometimes I feel like I should change the rating after a while because in retrospect, the book just wasn’t as good.
      Good luck with reading in 2016, I hope school gives you time to breathe and read!

  • What a wonderful list! Some of your favorites for this year are mine as well, though not necessarily this year: Stardust, Uprooted (wow!), Scarlet. Several others are on my TBR list: Fangirl, Daughter of the Forest (need to re-read), Nice Dragons Finish Last. That being the case, I should probably check out the ones that aren’t on my TBR list yet!

    • Yeah Uprooted definitely deserves a WOW. It’s such a wonderful story! I’m really glad it’s a standalone, too (ditto for Stardust), I admire authors who know how to say everything in one book – and don’t feel the need to drag things out (as often happens in series).
      Thanks for stopping by, Lark! :)

  • Catherine Laister-Smith

    I agree with so many of these! Nimona was the first graphic novel I ever read and it made me fall in love with them. I really want to read Stardust as I’ve seen the film but never read the book (oops). I’d say I like discussions if I’ve read the books being discussed because it’s nice to know more in depth, spoiler-filled opinions that people have.

    Happy new year!

    Kate AKA

    • Haha, I saw the film version of Stardust first as well! I didn’t even know it was a book back then, I only discovered it later. And I’m glad I did – the movie is pretty faithful but Gaiman’s prose is great. I’d definitely recommend it if you liked the story in the movie.

      A belated happy new year to you, too! :)

  • Nimonaaaaa! I absolutely know that if it weren’t for book blogging, I never would have heard of Nimona, and I consider it one of my absolute favorite books of this year! Fangirl was up there too. It was probably the most character-driven books I’ve ever read, and it kind of blew my mind.

    • Yep, book blogging is definitely a wonderful source of bookish inspiration. I read much more since I started blogging (though I read loads even before then). But I love discussing books with people and unfortunately my friends just don’t read as much/the same stuff as I do.
      Oh, all of Rowell’s books I’ve read so far (all but Landline) are character-driven, I adore her! :)

  • I have at least 50 favourite reads of 2015, but turns out top 50 doesn’t sound appealing to most people (I know, surely you want to find out more books rather than less?) but I’m with you on Uprooted being a favourite, I loved Carry On and A Darker Shade Of Magic. I found a bunch of favourite romance reads this year as well, I still need to read all of Shalvis’s books but I’m pacing myself because there are so many other books I’ve found. Basically, I read a lot of books and I really enjoyed a lot of them.

    And that’s always a risky question to ask, people tend to prefer discussions always because they are posts that a lot more people are likely to read and can get involved in. But then reviews are one of those things I love because I find so many new books. Your blog is one of the few where I actually make the effort to read all reviews (feel special) because I know I’m going to find new books or read about books I’ve read and see what someone else thinks.

    • It’s great that you had so many good reads in 2015. I hope your 2016 reading will be just as satisfying! I am terrible at pacing myself when it comes to reading backlists of romance authors, though, I usually binge read them all and end up getting fed up. :(

      Yeah, reviews are wonderful, I wouldn’t know half as many good books if I didn’t read them. Haha I DO feel special – reviews (especially of less-popular books) never get as many comments/interaction! I try to comment on reviews on other blogs, too, because I know this is the case.

  • Ahh To Kill a Mockingbird was definitely one of my favorites from 2015, glad you loved it too!

    • Yeah, it’s a great book. I’m really glad I read it, I’ve been putting it off for so long. I’ve already recommended it to my entire family and they liked it, too! :)

  • Soudha Parsan

    I love your picks for your best books of the past year. I also read and enjoyed a few of them. I still haven’t read Nimona yet though and I’m hoping to pick it up this year.

    • Nimona is great, I haven’t reviewed it yet but I highly recommend it! :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Sarah Pratley

    I love To Kill a Mockingbird too – such a wonderful book! Have you read To Set a Watchman yet? I haven’t but really need to get round to reading it! x

    • No, I haven’t managed to read To Set a Watchman yet! I am afraid of it, to tell you the truth, both because it’s been so long since the publication of Mockingbird and because I saw some mediocre reviews of it. I don’t know, I’ll probably get to it someday, just not right now. :)
      Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!