Thank you to everyone who has submitted a book to Britbear’s Book Reviews. I’ve read and reviewed a lot of books in the past year, and hope to read even more in the year to come. To mark the passing of another year online, here are my picks for the top 10 books I’ve reviewed in 2015 (in alphabetical order).
A New Prospect by Wayne Zurl
Zurl’s narrative is easy-going and easy to read, capturing Sam’s persona, which renders the narrator’s voice personable and real. Jenkins is about as honest a narrator as they come, letting the reader in on his every thought, and I do mean every, including his unabashed attraction to the female characters he meets.
Blood to Blood by Ife Oshun
Blood to Blood is a different take on the vampire and paranormal media craze. Though vampires, witches and werewolves exist in Oshun’s world, a Shimshana is something different, which breathes a degree of freshness into the story. And while paranormal tropes are prominent in the novel–such as a love triangle and the co-existence of vampires, witches and werewolves–the story and characters do not suffer, thanks to Oshun’s expert storytelling ability.
Girl of the Book by Princila Murell
Courtney’s is a fish out of water story, and she doesn’t always understand the world into which she so desperately strives to fit. To her (and Murrell’s) credit, Courtney’s journey is told with respect, both for herself and for the people around her, making Girl of the Book a must read for today’s middle-grade and young adult crowd.
Hell and God and Nuns with Rulers by John Collings
I loved Hell and God and Nuns with Rulers from the first page. When Tristan begins with a diatribe on how parents just don’t understand, it is clear he is a young man more mature than his years would seem to suggest. As Tristan struggles with school, the crush his best friend has on him, and the crush he has on the young man he met at the party, the reader feels true empathy for the character.
Kibble Talk by Cynthia Port
Kibble Talk by Cynthia Port is the first in a series of adventures Tawny and Jenny have with their pets. Though I’ve learned from the movies that talking pets are most likely cliche if the viewer is over the age of five, Port’s book is anything but.
Life Unaware by Cole Gibson
I loved Life Unaware. I breezed through it in three evenings–I didn’t want to put it down. Though the issues Reagan faces–anxiety attacks, private texts made public, betrayal by those she thought were her friends–are not necessarily earth shattering by adult standards, to a teenage girl with self-esteem issues, they’re everything. Gibsen does a wonderful job in the way she portrays Reagan as she works through her problems and comes out on the other end.
Only a Kiss by Ines Bautista Yao
In Only A Kiss, nine year old Katie crushes on best friend Chris’s older brother Ethan. Katie takes Chris as her “plus one” to her older cousin’s wedding and demands he kisses her. Though Katie thinks it romantic to duplicate her cousins’ first marital kiss, Chris is terrified, complying only because he’s too scared to tell Katie “no”. It is this totally unassuming kiss that foreshadows the totally expected, yet wholly satisfying end to the story.
Rogers Park by Mark Pople
Mark Pople‘s Rogers Park had me from the first page. The story is quick-paced with plenty of twists that kept me questioning the connections until the very end. Pople’s characters are complex and believable, as is his dialogue, which keeps the reader turning pages.
The Simulations by John Forelli
The Simulations is a veritable Groundhog Day of events, as Ray lives and relives his first encounter with Delilah, hoping to find the magic bullet, that specific series of words, phrases, or conversational topics, that will allow him to worm his way into her heart. Ray and Bob are stereotypical slackers, looking for any excuse not to work. Bob is a crass, Cheeto-eating loser, not your typical sympathetic protagonists.
Troubled Spirits by Teri Lee
In Troubled Spirits, Teri Lee pens a good, old-fashioned ghost story that answers these questions, and forces the reader to question what happens to spirits after people die, particularly those who are…well…troubled. I love that Harmony patterns her ghost adventures after Zak’s. Ghost Adventures is a guilty pleasure of mine, and at times, reading Lee’s book was like finding myself in an episode of the show.
Congratulations to all authors. I’ve loved reading everyone’s books (whether on this list or not), and consider myself fortunate to have worked with each and every one of you. I also look forward to your future projects and the projects of the authors I have yet to read or “meet” yet.
Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you nothing but success, health, and inspiration in 2016!