Favorite Books of 2015
Hello, Dear Readers and Happy January to all of you! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and/or holiday season. Did you do anything special for New Year's? I spent mine with my granddaughter and grandson and we had a great time! Hope yours was as enjoyable.
For the very first time on More Agreeably Engaged, I am listing my favorite books for 2015! I'm so excited to share these with you and have made a special award seal just for the winning books and authors. I hope you like it even if Colin Firth is not your Darcy of choice. Since my blog title and the drawing I use, depict the scene in the 1995 miniseries where Darcy speaks the line , "My mind was 'more agreeably engaged'", I felt it only fitting that my award seal should bear the same likeness. I do have a few favorite books that are not Austenesque and will list them according to their category but with the same award seal!
My reading time was less in 2015 than it has been in the past few years. I didn't read over 100 books like usual, but I still read quite a few. There are so many good books available now that it makes it difficult to narrow the favorites down to just a few. Of all I read, not one was mediocre or second-rate and I enjoyed each, keeping my mind 'most' agreeably engaged. Several had the same noteworthy premise, but followed completely different paths. I do not have reviews posted for all the winning books but will post links for the ones that I have reviewed.
In the next day or two, I will share with you some of the books on my very long, TBR list. I would love your thoughts on which ones you recommend! I even have a few audible books on the list as I do love those too!
Now, the Envelope, please!
The Unthinkable Triangle by Joana Starnes
Ms. Starnes, you have a magical, uncanny way of getting into the head of Fitzwilliam Darcy and exposing his innermost feelings. Your Colonel Fitzwilliam was charming and made this triangle heart-wrenching. I never doubted a happily ever after for Darcy and Elizabeth and truly appreciated your resolution of the dilemma. Well done, Joana Starnes!
Ms. Lynne, this book is one I treasure. It gave me such a feeling of warmth and happiness as you skillfully tied up all the loose ends for each character. I was mesmerized from the beginning
to the end. Well done, Pamela Lynne.
Review Amazon Goodreads
Ms. Kincaid, your Mr. Darcy was true to canon with his difficulty in expressing himself but your revealing of his inner voice with such wit was delightful! I found myself charmed and laughing at his clever reflections. Well done, Victoria Kincaid
Yours Forevermore, Darcy by KaraLynne Mackrory
Ms. Mackrory, having Mr. Darcy write his thoughts as a letter was brilliant. Not only did it give the reader a chance to 'know him better', it opened the door for those letters to be discovered! Delicious! Thank you for such a delightful novel. Well done, KaraLynne Mackrory.
An Unwavering Trust by L.L. Diamond
I found the reason for the arranged marriage in this book to be very different and unique from any I have previously read. Ms. Diamond, your skillful writing made it seem plausible and I loved it. I adored Darcy's Grandmamma and am eager to read her story, The Earl's Conquest,
the prequel to this one! Well done, L.L. Diamond!
A Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn
Ms. Hahn, this book is one of my all time favorites. You took a challenging plot and made it real and poignant. I could not stop reading. You have a talent for bringing out the raw emotions of the characters with such depth of feeling that your storytelling is unsurpassed. Well done, Jan Hahn.
One Love - Two Hearts - Three Stories by J Dawn King
Ms. King, I simply adore the title of your anthology and the three stories included in it! Thank you for sharing, in print, your love for Pride and Prejudice with your readers. I enjoy your work.
Well done, J. Dawn King!
Well done, J. Dawn King!
The Prosecution of Mr. Dary's Cousin by Regina Jeffers
Ms. Jeffers, I love all of your books and cozy mysteries. Your writing skills are awesome. Not only do you write a good mystery, your historical accounts are excellent and give credence to your plot. In this mystery you tackled a true-to-life problem with finesse and realism. I loved seeing Darcy and Elizabeth work together to solve the puzzle involving Colonel Fitzwilliam. Well done, Regina Jeffers.
Denial of Conscience by Cat Gardiner
Ms. Gardiner, this novel intrigued me from my first knowledge of it. I could see a modern day Darcy as you portrayed him - a precision machine when it came to his profession but vulnerable, as a man. He and the Obsidian team were fabulous as was this fast paced book! It was an unusual premise for our couple but you brought it together perfectly! Well done, Cat Gardiner.
~~~~~~~~~~Favorite Minor Character:
Colonel Fitzwilliam and The Countess of Sainte Toulours by Stanley Michael Hurd
I was so excited to read this book by you, Mr. Hurd. It was everything and more than I expected. Your Colonel Fitzwilliam was wonderful and lovable and his tale was exceptional. Your writing skills are superb and you have captured the essence and style of Jane Austen. (I loved Esparza and wouldn't mind a story about him!) Well done, Stanley Michael Hurd.
Favorite Christmas Novella:
Darcy's Christmas Wish by Penelope Swan
I loved getting to meet a young Fitzwilliam Darcy visiting Rosings with his parents. After an accident he makes a wish that is the premise of this heartwarming story. This is a perfect read
for the holidays or anytime. Well done, Penelope Swan.
Suddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James
for the holidays or anytime. Well done, Penelope Swan.
Favorite Debut Author/Book:
Suddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James
The novel involves a compromise of Elizabeth by none other than Mr. Darcy. Of course, it was a misunderstanding, but Darcy didn't mind at all. The story was captivating
and I look forward to more from this author. Well done, Jenetta James.
This category is for audible books and I am going to do it a bit different than the category for regular books. Although my first choice was actually published in mid-2014, I was unaware of it as an audible until 2015. I actually thought it was a 2015 release so decided to go ahead and include it in the winning category. I hope you will forgive me this one indulgence.
When I draw pictures, it is a perfect time to listen to audible books. I cannot easily watch TV and draw at the same time so I have found this new venue to be perfect for me. I have had the privilege of listening to many good books while working on my art. It makes for a delightful way to spend my time doing two things that I love, drawing and reading.
Most of the books that I have heard, were actually published in years past.
I plan to review some of them on my blog throughout 2016.
The Gypsy Blessing by Wendi Sotis, narrated by Veronica Leckie
~~~~~~~~~~Favorite Audiobook Novella:
Snow Storms and Kissing Games by Sarah Johnson, narrated by Sophie Andrews
The recitation by Miss Sophie Andrews of Sarah Johnson's fun novella made for an exceptional listening experience. I have already listened to it twice and know I will be doing so again. The snow storm set the stage for an interesting set of events and Sophie's voice made the story come alive.
Good writing and good narration! Well done, ladies.
Favorite Audiobook Christmas Story:
The Mission: He Taught Me to Hope Christmas Vignette by P. O. Dixon, narrated by Pearl Hewitt
Book One in this series is one of my very favorite books by Ms. Dixon. Young Ben is adorable and Darcy is awesome. The interaction of the two was moving and showed a different side of Darcy. This Christmas vignette was a wonderful way to continue the story of Book One. Now I cannot wait to read the third book. Well done, P. O. Dixon.
The last section is for books that are not based on Pride and Prejudice. If you have not had a chance to read any of these, I highly recommend them.
Favorite Children's Book:
Brighty's Special Gift by Dee Wallain
This was such a sweet parable with a good lesson about bullying. It is good for children of all ages. It has many features that aid the parent in making the reading time more enjoyable
and helpful for the children. Well done, Dee Wallain.
Favorite North & South Variation:
No Such Thing as Luck by Nicole Clarkston
Ms. Clarkston, I loved this book! I have been searching for and reading anything I could find of North and South variations or re-tellings. I have read several that were good but yours touched my heart. You did the characters justice and the story was superb. I hope you will be writing another.
Well done, Nicole Clarkston.
(Review coming soon)
Favorite Regency Era:
Poldark: Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
Reading this book and viewing the television miniseries was awesome. I loved the miniseries, but found the book to be even better. It didn't hurt having a visual of Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark
as I read either! I cannot wait for the return of the series and reading the rest
of the books that continue this magnificent story.
Days of Future Past by Sally Smith O'Rourke
Ms. O'Rourke, thank you for the privilege or reading this book before it was published and then the edited version after its release. I found your premise both thought-provoking and entertaining.
Your writing captured my imagination, as usual, and I was mesmerized.
Well done, Sally Smith O'Rourke.
Mr. Darcy's Rival by Kara Louise
As always, your books are wonderful, Kara Louise, this one included! It did not disappoint. I found the rival intriguing and Anne's talent at writing gratifying. I liked her.
Thank you for continuing to share your special talent of writing.
Well done, Kara Louise.
The Darcy Brother's by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks, and Abigail Reynolds
What a fun collaborative effort by five fabulous authors. It was delightful to see the relationship between Darcy and his brother, Theo, and witness their reconciliation. I love Theo Darcy!
Enough said! Well done, ladies.
Darcy's Ultimatum by Jennifer Joy
Jennifer, this was such a great debut novel for you. You definitely are following in your mother's footsteps. I love your writing and cannot wait to read more of your work. Well done, Jennifer Joy.
The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen by Shannon Winslow
The parallel between Jane Austen's 'possible' life and her novel Persuasion made for a fascinating and plausible read. This story of a different outcome for dear Jane was inspiring
and thought provoking! Well done, Shannon Winslow.
Inspired by Grace by Jeanna Ellsworth
Jeanna, your debut into Regency romance was truly inspired. I loved your book and your cover. You are a gifted writer with an ability to subtly deliver a message. Well done, Jeanna Ellsworth.
A Sense of Obligation by Rose Fairbanks
Rose, this book took a turn that I was not expecting but readily enjoyed. It was well-written and the premise had a pleasant change. I loved your Mr. Darcy and could hardly wait for him to discover
the truth of the matter. Well done, Rose Fairbanks.
Pride and Proposals by Victoria Kincaid
Ms. Kincaid, you wrote a great love triangle in this novel. It was difficult at times to see Darcy suffer but I felt confident that he would have his happily ever after. I like your style of writing
and the diverse approach to the theme of your stories. Well done, Victoria Kincaid.
I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books. Have you read many of them? If not, I highly recommend each and every one. Do you have suggestions you would like to share?
If so, I would love to hear them.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing my favorites with me. It has been nice to tell you a bit about my choices. It was difficult narrowing my list down to these few as I did enjoy all that I read. I will be posting reviews for a few of the winning novels within the next few days as well as posting my list of books to be read in 2016. As I already mentioned, it is a rather lengthy list
so I best get busy reading and/or listening! :)
Happy New Year and I look forward, with pleasure, to our time shared in 2016 as we are
'more agreeably engaged' with the joys of extensive reading!