2015 in Review: A Year of Big Changes and Awesome Fantasy Books!

New Years Eve

Happy New Years everybody! Pop those corks, pump up the music and hug it out. You’ve made it through another year!

It sounds corny, but I’m so appreciative of everything in my life as 2015 comes to a close.
I feel like my relationships with friends and family have only grown stronger this year, and I feel lucky to have a number of amazing, passionate and loyal people in my life. 2015 has been a big personal year for me and I’ve learnt so much. I’m more sure, centred and confident about who I am, to the point where I really don’t care what anyone else thinks! And I’ve stopped obsessing over the what ifs that used to stop me from taking chances.

2015 saw me complete the dreaded dissertation and graduate from university top of my class and in the top 10 of the university with first class honours in psychology. It’s the year I turned 21 and braved driving lessons for the first time despite my terror. I took a chance and dyed my hair brunette… and then changed it back again! I got a job, gave my blog a whole new look and read some amazing ARCs. I gained a boyfriend and we went on some travels to Wales (for the town of books), Belgium, Amsterdam and France, creating some amazing memories. Finally, I went to my first ever bookish convention, YALC, where I got to meet many of the authors I idolized such as Non Pratt, Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness and Samantha Shannon! Here are some of my fave pics from the year:

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PicMonkey Collage

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Unfortunately, it wasn’t such a great bookish year in terms of actual reading.
Although I got through 30 books and 13,794 pages and came across some amazing YA fantasy reads, I only discovered five, 5-star books that I wanted to exclaim to the world about, while most of my reads gathered around the 3 stars mark. 2015 saw me entering one of the worst reading slumps I’ve ever experienced! I’ve never really suffered from them before, but I think it may have been because I had so many other personal things going on. 🙂 However, there were still some reads that blew me away, and here are some of my favourites:

Best books of 2015

  • The Diviners by Libba Bray ★★★★☆ A compelling supernatural murder mystery with vibrant characters and gorgeous creeptastic imagery.
  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (Diviners – Book 2) ★★★★★A spellbinding second installment of The Diviners series which captivates and enthralls.
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon ★★★★★ – An immersive fantasy story with a smoldering romance.
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ★★★★★ – A unique and powerful book unlike any other I have read. Raw, emotional and haunting.
  • All the Bright Places by Jenniver Niven ★★★★★ – A heart-wrenching novel about depression, friendship and survivors guilt. (Yet to be reviewed).
  • Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne ★★★★☆ – The best book on mental health I have ever read, about a girl with OCD fighting to hide the truth. (Yet to be reviewed).
  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling ★★★☆☆ – A slow-paced slog about village politics with a killer, heart-wrenching ending that will have you thinking more than any other novel you read this year.
  • A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold by George R.R. Martin ★★★★★  – With endless pages of non-stop action, twists and shocking deaths this was the best installment of the series so far!

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And how did I do with my 2015 resolutions?
Pretty well as it turns out! I graduated with way over a 2:1, got a job (just) and I not only started having driving lessons but my instructor says I’m almost ready to do a mock test! I also succeeded, much to my surprise, to not worry about my lack of future plans and avoided falling into a post-uni slump (which may or may not have been helped by the distraction that is the new boyfriend)!
I also did pretty well with my bookish resolutions. I finished the House of Night series (at last, huzzah!), and continued to finish off several book series/get up to date with them (managing to catch up/finish 5, and nearly managing a 6th!) However, I completely failed with keeping up to date with review posts. While I did well at the start of the year, I lost my reviewing mojo when the reading slump appeared! I also epically failed at reading 5 books off the Rory Gilmore Challenge, only managing one (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens). However, I found that I wasn’t really in the mood for classics this year and found myself opting for lighter reads, and I didn’t want to force anything for the sake of it!

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And now for my personal and bookish resolutions for 2016!

Personal Resolutions:
1) Pass my driving theory and practical tests so that I can officially drive!
2) Travel, travel and travel some more.
3) To seek out new experiences. –
I’ve had a lot of fun days out this year and it has made life so much more fun. So I want to try and keep this up!
4) Start properly considering a future career path. – This is the only not so fun one on the list *grumble, grumble.*

Bookish Resolutions:
1.) To read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
– I’ve wanted to pick this famous classic up for about 7 years and somehow it never ends up happening. 2016 WILL BE THE YEAR PEOPLES.
2.) Read 3 books off of the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.
3.) Try and reduce my TBR pile. (DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. BUT I REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME.) My TBR currently stands at 154 books and the thing is, there are so many amazing books on there I never get to, and it’s time I did!

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And that’s a wrap! I hope you all have a wonderful New Years Eve and a great 2016. Let’s make it a great one. 🙂
Do you have any personal or bookish resolutions this year? What were your favourite reads of 2015? I’m always looking for recommendations!

27 thoughts on “2015 in Review: A Year of Big Changes and Awesome Fantasy Books!

  1. This post made me smile and laugh :). You’ve had such an amazing year, and I love the fact that you want to travel, travel, travel! Do it now while you can :). There are so many amazing places to see. I laughed at the “catching up on your tbr list” resolution because you and I are twins in that respect Book Buddy :). Happy reading!!

  2. You’ve had such a neat year – I feel like I’ve been living vicariously through you LOL. I find myself as equally impressed with your educational accomplishments as I am with the fact that you finished the House of Night series. 😉
    I like your goals going forward. I’m not setting any for myself this year because my number one priority is to take care of this stupid eye strain injury I’ve been dealing with since June. I haven’t been able to do any reading and have had to rely solely on audiobooks. Woe is me! Once that’s better though, then I will pick up my goals and blogging once more.
    Thanks for being such an awesome blogging friend, and I hope 2016 is a kick ass year for you!

    • Haha, thanks!
      LOL. It’s funny you mention that because I feel the same way. Finishing the House of Night series was one of the most difficult bookish missions I’ve ever had!
      I do like to set goals – but fun positive and realistic ones. I’ve always been into resolutions. Ohh no, that sounds terrible. 😦 That’s the worst nightmare of a bookworm, struggling with eyesight and not being able to read. That must be torture. Audiobooks just aren’t quite the same. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. 🙂

      Thank you, and back at you. 🙂

      • I like your goals! They are very achievable if you’re in the mood and you can always set more if you reach them.
        Thank you for the fingers crossed – anything will surely help! 🙂

  3. Sounds like a great year! I hope it ends, and 2016 begins, on a happy note with friends, fam, and fun! 🙂
    I plan to read Jane Eyre next year as well and to read the Wide Sargasso Sea after to compare them….that was a college class homework I received once but didn’t do because I thought both books were boring. Will see if my opinion has changed.

  4. Reading this post made me smile. I’m so happy for the memories you’ve created and the achievements you’ve made. It really is fantastic. 2015 was a very special and memorable year for me with blogging and my personal life, as well. I hope 2016 will only be even better for us. Good luck on your driving tests, Becky! And do read Jane Eyre. I read it as a freshman in high school and it’s still one of my all time favorite classics (along with Pride and Prejudice, East of Eden, and Lord of the Flies)! And, happy new year! 😀

    • Yay, I’m so glad. 🙂 It really has been the year where everything’s sort of come together. I’m happy that it’s been an excellent year for you too. Let’s hope 2016 is just as good!
      I have seen several adaptations of Jane Eyre and I’ve loved them all, so hopefully I’ll like the book. I just kind of wish I could go into it blind and experience the mysteries of the story as they unfold. I think that’s one of the main reasons I haven’t read it yet.

  5. You look like such a dork in that top right pic.

    Planning a career path is a funny one, because it’s something that tends to fall by the wayside when you get your first full time job.

    I wish you all the best for 2016.

    • That’s because I am a dork! 😀 Haven’t you learnt that by now, Cargill?

      When I say planning a career path I don’t mean a 5 year plan or anything. But I’m being very laid back about the whole thing right now, and at some point I’ve got to start thinking about the future. Hopefully I’ll fall into something that’s good.

      Thanks, back at cha! 🙂

  6. This was a great post and it’s good to see you had such an exciting year! I really hope you get to read Jane Eyre, it’s one of my all-time favorite books, and one of my own goals for the reading year is to read more of Charlotte Bronte’s books, as well as the books of the other Bronte sisters. I’d love to see your reactions to it, whenever it comes. Also I feel like I should mention that your take on Casual Vacancy bumped it up my reading list in a big way… good endings are hard to come by, and I’d love to see JKR’s writing outside Harry Potter.

    • Thanks, Maggie! Nice to see you back in the blogging world. 🙂 Yes, me too. It’s been on my bookshelf unread for far too long and I think it’s highly likely I’ll love it. Ooooh, I love that goal! I’d be interested to see how you get on because I don’t know anything about her other books, or Anne’s. Well, I will definitely be writing a review so keep an eye out. 😉
      Ohh no way, really? I’m so glad! Can’t wait to see what you think of it because people have such divided opinions. I think you’ll like the political aspects and the social commentary!

  7. It sounds like you had a fantastic year, and you’ve achieved so much! Well done, you. =D

    Like you I didn’t do so well on the reading front in the past year, but I’m determined to make up for it in 2016. I also want to travel, travel, travel! 2015 was all about trying to settle in, but 2016 will be about adventure.

    Happy new year, Becky!

  8. You’re my hero.

    I’m ridiculously pleased about how good 2015 was for you. Sounds like you’re in a much better place! I honestly think that when you’re in a better frame of mind, you attract better things into your life.

    I’m looking forward to creepily stalking your posts throughout this year, be warned…

    • Your hero? Shucks. *fist pumps*. Your flattery. I likes it. Please continue. 😉
      I’m really pleased too, I didn’t have high expectations for it and all the things that would be happening made it seem quite scary! So I’m glad it all worked out in the end. I really am. 🙂 And I think your right!
      Haha I look forward to it. I hope 2016 is even better than your 2015. 🙂

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