2015 was an off year for me. Lots of Meh. But as 2016 approaches, I can’t help but be hopeful for Good Things to come. And I have a plan to achieve these Good Things, which, ya know, always helps. Besides, the really important things in life, like friends and family, had an overall lovely 2015, and that makes everything better.
You know what else makes things better? Books. I read some great books and watched some great shows and movies based on books – here’s a little recap of some favorites.
Favorite Reads of 2015:
- I *finally* got through my reread of the entire Outlander Series and rewarded myself with Written In My Own Hearts Blood. Excellent, as always. And if you are not a fan of novellas (I hadn’t been, up until this year) I highly recommend filling the gaps until the next book (or until the show returns**) by trying The Space Between and A Leaf On The Wind Of All Hallows Eve. I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy the novellas as much since they’re not Jamie and Claire specific, but damn if I didn’t fall right into that world and love it all over again. Speaking of: I’ve been hesitant to jump into the Lord John series, but I think I’m going to give it a go in 2016. Hopefully it will make my Favorites List next year!
- Lori Lee’s Gates of Thread and Stone series is outstanding. I was lucky enough to win the first two in the series in a contest (thanks Lori!) and was immediately sucked into the world of Kai, Reev and Avan. Add in a sweet romance, cool magic and a unique setting (loved the Grays!) and I was hooked. The second book, The Infinite, was even better, IMO, and I’m really looking forward to the 3rd book in the series.
- Old is new for me in 2015, apparently, as I finally read Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I *thought* I knew where the story was going… boy, was I wrong, and I loved it for that. The title is not misleading: this story is DARK, but engrossing and surprising and worth a look back if you’ve read Gone Girl and haven’t yet discovered the rest of Gillian Flynn’s novels.
Favorite Shows of 2015 Based on Books:
- Three of my favorite shows of 2015 were based on books. The first was, naturally, Outlander** on Starz. Though, I will preference this by saying the first half of the season blew away the second half. Something was off with the pacing when they came back after the mid-season break. But the first half was gorgeous. The writing! The acting! And oh, the costume design! It was all I’d hoped for. Fingers crossed season two in Paris holds its own. If the casting of Roger Wakefield is any indication, it’s going to be great.
- Also: My love Game of Thrones continued, albeit with one or two hiccups. I am really, really, REALLY, torn about continuing to watch as the show moves into Winds of Winter territory though, since I am a huge proponent of reading the books first. Not sure I will have enough self control to NOT watch though. Which brings me to…
- The Leftovers. This is an outlier for me, as I *didn’t* read the book by Tom Perrotta first. And now I won’t until after the series ends (the third and final season is projected for 2016) just in case there are any show spoilers. Listen, this show is not for everyone. The first season was dark. So very dark. A few episodes were so dismal I nearly stopped watching. But I persevered and the second season rewarded me for that. Hands down, the most intricate, unique and twisty storyline out there. And the show’s use of music and overlapping visuals is flat out amazing and groundbreaking.
Favorite Movies of 2015 Based on Books:
- Nothing earth shattering here: my Most Favorite was easily The Martian. All I will say is Matt Damon IS Mark Watney. Best Casting Ever. Both book and movie are beyond excellent.
- Still Alice took me several days to watch. Not because it was slow or poorly acted, but because it was so heart wrenching I had to break it up to get through all my tears. So, so sad. So, so good.
- My guilty pleasure: Fifty Shades of Grey. Okay, hear me out. It doesn’t really belong under Favorite, necessarily, but I think because both book and movie were reviled in pretty much every circle I run, and I watched it with the lowest expectations you can imagine (I mean, we’re talking sludgy bottom of the barrel stuff) it ended up being not as bad as I thought it would be. Okay, I realize I am caveating the hell out of this one, so I’ll end here before I dig any more holes. (-:
How about you? Did anything surprise you in 2015? What were your favorites?