2015: A Year in Review


2015


| Books by Proxy – A Year in Review |

Welcome to my first end of year post – and what a year it has been! I started this blog on the last day of July and, over the last half of 2015, have found myself as part of a wonderful community of readers and bloggers. In my albeit limited experience, we book bloggers are lucky to enjoy a very friendly and supportive community, where sharing our books, our reviews and our experiences is all done for a love of reading and can be enjoyed by many. So thank you readers and thank you bloggers for making 2015 such an enjoyable year. I hope you all have a fantastic 2016!heart


| A Year in Books |
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I think we can all agree these two very similar and equally profound books, Blood Song by Anthony Ryan and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, deservedly made it into my longest and shortest book categories.heart


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Donna Leon

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Leon 10

with ten books in her Commissario Brunetti series

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2015 - 6

P.G. Wodehouse

with nine books in total including seven from his Blandings series

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Jim Butcher

with eight books in The Dresden Files series

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AC - 6

Agatha Christie

with six books in her Hercule Poirot series

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best fantasyBlood Song

Book One of the Raven’s Shadow Series

by Anthony Ryan

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Best SciFiRed Rising

Book One of the Red Rising Trilogy

by Pierce Brown

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best novellaThe SerpentThe Serpent

The Gameshouse I

by Claire North

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best crimeThe Few

A Leone Scamarcio Thriller

by Nadia Dalbuonoheart

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best historicalLamentationLamentation

Book Six of the Matthew Shardlake Series

by C.J. Sansom

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best classicSomething FreshSomething Fresh

Book One of the Blandings Series

by P.G. Wodehouse

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There were so many more amazing books which deserve to be on this list but then it would just be most of 2015’s books!

Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful 2016!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics of 2015


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Classics of 2015 |

This year i have been determined to read more classics and amongst those dusty tomes I’ve discovered some fantastic literature, many of which are almost poetic in narrative and are often full of understated (if not blatant.. cough… Wodehouse) humour. For this week’s Top Ten, and to avoid any repeats with last week, I’m bringing you my top ten classics of 2015 – and hopefully I’ll unearth many more literary masters in 2016!

| 1. |

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Picadilly Jim

by P.G. Wodehouse

This is the book which started my love affair with Wodehouse. No author has brought tears of laughter to my eyes quite so much as this comedic genius, and with an inordinate number of books to his name, I expect to be crying with laughter for many more years to come!

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| 2. |

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Murder on the Orient Express

by Agatha Christie

I have been an Agatha Christie fan for some time now, dipping into and out of her work ever since I was a child, so it was about time then that I made a concerted effort to make my way through her catalogue in some semblance of order. Murder on the Orient Express most certainly lives up to its reputation as a whodunnit masterpiece and has fuelled my passion for Christie’s crime classics.

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| 3. |

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Sense and Sensibility

by Jane Austen

I had first read Sense and Sensibility as a young girl and, despite my love for both both literary and televised Austen, I hadn’t re-read a number of her novels until this year. Sense and Sensibility is social commentary at its finest, full of wit and humour with a sometimes heartbreaking storyline, which made me fall in love with Austen all over again.

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| 4. |

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Hard Times

by Charles Dickens

I cannot begin to describe how much I love this book. Charles Dickens is a master of the literary charicature and it is done so well in Hard Times. And not only that, we have some of the most beautiful and evocative descriptions of the industrial revolution that I’ve ever come across. A definite highlight in this year’s list of classics.

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| 5. |

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Around the World in Eighty Days

by Jules Verne

I was determined to read more Jules Verne this year but only ended up reading one novel – Around the World in Eighty Days. This delightful adventure, undertaken as a bet and chock full of a multitude of intriguing characters,  has definitely spurred me on to read more of Verne’s work.

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| 6. |

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The Thirty-Nine Steps

by John Buchan

Having never even heard of this novel until this year, The Thirty-Nine Steps took me by complete surprise. Reading just like one of the military escape memoirs I love so much, The Thirty-Nine Steps has me determined to add more John Buchan novels to my 2016 reading list.

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| 7. |

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There

by Lewis Carroll

And no list of classics for me would be complete without the delightful and nonsensical work of Lewis Carroll. This is pure and unadulterated fuel for the imagination, like a fever dream… on acid. And this year’s re-read only re-fuelled my love for this wonderful piece of literature.

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| 8. |

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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde remains one of the most well known classic horror stories so it’s unsurprising that this short book, packed full of mystery, shock and suspense, made its way into this week’s Top Ten.

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| 9. |

SF

Something Fresh

by P.G. Wodehouse

Something Fresh is the first book in the Blandings series which I’ve wholeheartedly devoured in 2015. With the delightfully dotty Lord Emsworth, many an imposter and something of a whodunnit… involving scarabs… this is a fine example of comedic literature which had me reaching for the next book in an instant.


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| 10. |

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The Mystery of the Blue Train

by Agatha Christie

Another Christie classic (and another which involves trains!) tops this week’s list. Full of intriguing (and highly suspicious) characters, exotic jewels and even more exotic locations, this is one of my favourite Christie novels to date.

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Which are your favourite novels of 2015? Do any classics top your list? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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The Monthly Round-Up: September 2015



The Monthly Round-Up - SeptWelcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| Books Read |

I’ve managed to complete a few goals this September but oh no! I still haven’t finished The Daylight War! My excuse is that it’s under a dust sheet whilst decorating… and I think I’ll stick with it! But hurrah I did manage to tick off my goal of reading at least two books featured in my Top Ten… Complete Series I Still Haven’t Finished and in doing so tick two books off my Top Ten… Books on my Fall TBR. It definitely feels good to complete some goals! I didn’t write as many reviews as I should have liked but I’ll definitely be making up for it this October. In some semblance of order, here are the nine books I’ve completed this September:

| 1. |

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

| 2. |

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

| 3. |

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

| 4. |

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

| 5. |

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

| 6. |

Raffles by E. W. Hornung

| 7. |

Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell

| 8. |

The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan

| 9. |

The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin


Book of the Month


The Way of Shadows

by Brent Weeks


| September Goals |

To read at least two books featured in my Top Ten… Complete Series I Still Haven’t Finished with at least one book finishing the series

1 of 2 | The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan

2 of 2 | The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin

Status: Completed

To finish The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Status: p. 286 of 808 (35%)

To read at least two classics

1 of 2 | Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

2 of 2 | Raffles by E. W. Hornung

Status: Completed

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| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 91/100 Books Read (91%)

Status: +9% during September

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 38/50 Books Read (76%)

Status: +4% during September


| Reviews Posted |

4 and a half Stars

The Gathering of the Lost by Helen Lowe


              4 Stars

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas


                  3 and a half stars

The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan


| Other Posts From September|

The Monthly Round-Up: August 2015

The Month Ahead: September 2015

Tough Travelling: Labourers – Blacksmiths

Tough Travelling: Magic Systems – The Magic Systems of Brandon Sanderson

Tough Travelling: Portals to Another Land

Tough Travelling: A Lady and her Sword

Bookish Beats: Assassin’s Creed Unity

Bookish Beats: Elysium OST

Bookish Beats: Belle OST

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Characters I Didn’t Click With

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Complete Series I Still Haven’t Finished

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Fictional Cities in Fantasy Literature

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books on my Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Book Pairings

Teaser Tuesdays: September 01 – Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Teaser Tuesdays: September 08 – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Teaser Tuesdays: September 15 – Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell

Teaser Tuesdays: September 22 – The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Teaser Tuesdays: September 29 – Red Rising by Pierce Brown

The Month Ahead: September 2015


The Month Ahead - SeptIn The Month Ahead, I will be rounding up the books I am currently reading, the ones I will start this month, and the ones I intend getting my mitts on… if I haven’t already! I will also be sharing any news about features or posts on Books by Proxy, and anything in the book world that has me all excited!


| Currently Reading |

Sept Currently Reading

Only three books on my currently reading pile! A drastic improvement from last month that’s for sure. Two chunky fantasy novels sit on the top of the pile, The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks and The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett, and one teeny tiny Flipback classic, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. But oh dear, poor Daylight War hasn’t been opened since January(!!!) and I can’t even give a real reason why… though ‘I love you Arlen Bales’ may have a little to do with it. That must be finished this month before I forget what’s happened!! It’s also a really good book (so far) so I feel quite guilty for having neglected it.

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| Book Haul |

Somehow, despite being quite firm with myself since the last book haul, I found myself acquiring a number of new books! Oops! So new on the bookshelf are The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, The Heresy of Dr Dee by Phil Rickman, The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak, Red Rising by Pierce Brown, The Napoleon of Crime by Ben Macintyre, Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay and Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter. I also received The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins through Blogging for Books and Paris at War by David Drake through NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews. That should keep me going for some time!

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| September Goals |

To read at least two books featured in my Top Ten… Complete Series I Still Haven’t Finished with at least one book finishing the series

Status: 0 of 2 Complete

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To finish The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Status: p. 286 of 808 (35%)

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To read at least two classics

Status: 0 of 2 Complete

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| New Features |

August was a month of new features so here’s a round-up of those not previously featured:

The Rapid Review – Can’t be bothered reading a long review? Just want to know whether a book is worth the effort? The Rapid Review hopes to save you some time and tell you (in my humblest of opinions) whether to give it a go. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of rapidity!

Top Ten Tuesday  – Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish – Expect a new top ten list every week! [Tuesday]

Teaser Tuesdays – Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly feature hosted by A Daily Rhythm – Expect a new teaser every week! [Tuesday]

Tough Travelling – Join me each Thursday for some Tough Travelling with the Tough Guide, hosted by Fantasy Review Barn. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland,‘ we will set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction. [Thursday]

Bookish Beats – Music, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion.This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. [Sunday]

The Monthly Round-Up – The Monthly Round-Up will look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and which book I’ve chosen as my all important Book of the Month!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Characters I Didn’t Click With


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Characters I Didn’t Click With |

This week’s Top Ten is about those irritating, needy, selfish characters that you really didn’t connect with. Included are novels and series I love, those I hate and those which just have incredibly annoying or frustrating characters. I found this Top Ten quite tough so (thanks to Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies) have included character transformations where I  grew to love a character over the course of the novel and a few supporting/side characters to flesh it out.

| The Irritating Ones |

| 1. |

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Jonathon Payne & David Jones

Payne & Jones Series by Chris Kuzneski

I hated everything about this book. The characters were immature and badly written as was the narrative. Never again.

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| 2. |

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Renna Tanner

The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett

I adore this series but if I hear “love you Arlen Bales” one more time…

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| 3. |

twilight

Bella Swan

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Oh get a grip woman. I can’t see why any man, dog or cannibal would go for you let alone several.

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| 4. |

HP

Cornelius Fudge

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Voldemort is back I tell you! He’s back!

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| 5. |

P+P

Mr. Collins

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I know we’re not meant to like you but you really are a disgusting creep.

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| 6. |

tlb

Susan Pevensie

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Narnia or nylons, Susan? Narnia every time!!

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| 7. |

PS

Yelena Zaltana

Study Series by Maria V. Snyder

Meh.

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| The Ones I Grew to Love |

| 8. |

LW+W

Edmund Pevensie

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Oh Edmund, what were you thinking? Turkish Delight isn’t even nice! But you became a good and noble king. Bravo.

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| 9. |

SoM

Malta Vestrit

The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb

Selfish and spoiled little sister to one of my favourite characters. Transformation complete.

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| 10. |

S+S

Marianne Dashwood

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Cruel Marianne! Poor Colonel Brandon. But you saw right in the end.

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What about you? Are there any literary characters you found it hard to connect with? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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