Friday, June 26, 2015

My Favorite Fiction Books of 2015 (So Far)

Back in December 2011, I started a blog column, Authors, Alcohol & Accolades, which asked some of my favorite authors about their preferred drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. There have been 11 editions of this column so far, with more coming in the near future. The inspiration for this series is that I am a voracious reader, of both fiction and nonfiction, and I wanted to combine that interest with my love of food & drink. The series has proven popular and it has been fascinating to explore what authors enjoy drinking.

As a special addendum to that series, I've previously posted lists of my Favorite Fiction Books of the Year, such as last years Favorite Fiction Books of 2014. I am going to post a similar list, of some of my favorite fiction books of the first six months of 2015. During this time period, I have read over 130 books. Though there are still a few more days in June, I won't be reading any more fiction as I am immersed in a couple non-fiction books which will take me to the end of the month, As I mentioned, I am a voracious reader, and expect to read about the same amount during the rest of the year.

The following lists of favorites will include books of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Mystery/Thrillers. Though nearly all of these books were published in 2015, there might be a few that weren't, but I first read them in 2015. The books are also not in any specific order of preference. It was hard enough to break the list down as I did without trying to rank it from #1 to #10.

As a special addition this time, I'm also offering some drink pairings for each work, selections which I think are fitting for various reasons. Hope you enjoy.

My Top Ten Favorite Novels of the first six months of 2015:
--The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
(Read with a glass of elegant Junmai Daiginjo Sake.)
--Golden Son by Pierce Brown
(Read with a flute of fine Champagne.)
--Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell
(Read with a large glass of earthy Burgundy.)
--The Awesome by Eva Barrows
(Read with a glass of youthful Zinfandel.)
--The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
(Read with a glass of aged Madeira.)
--He Who Walks in Shadow by Brett Talley
(Read with a glass of savory Mead.)
--The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
(Read with a glass of Argentine Malbec.)
--Take Down by James Swain
(Read with a shot of American Rye Whiskey.)
--Lords of the Sith by Paul Kemp
(Read with a glass of inky-dark, bold Petite Sirah.)
--The Cartel by Don Winslow
(Read with a shot of Anejo Tequila.)

My Five Honorable Mention Novels of the first six months of 2015:
There five books almost made the above list, but I had to make some tough cuts. However, they are still more than worthy of my recommendation.
--The Conformity by John Hornor Jacobs
(Read with a glass of powerful Barolo.)
--One Kick by Chelsea Cain
(Read with a glass of warm Mulled Wine.)
--The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence
(Read with a glass of expensive Bordeaux or a strong, dark Lager.)
--Predator One by Jonathan Maberry
(Read with a glass of two fingers of a peaty Scotch.)
--Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale
(Read with a glass of dry Hard Cider.)

My Top Five Favorite Novellas of the first six months of 2015:
--In Midnight's Silence: Los Nefilim by T. Frohock
(Read with a glass of elegant Fino Sherry.)
--Prisoner 489 by Joe Lansdale
(Read with a glass of brash White Whiskey.)
--Tortured Souls: The Legend of Primordium by Clive Barker
(Read with a glass of sweet, herbal Vermouth.)
--The Shadow of Elysium by Django Wexler
(Read with a glass of Dark Rum.)
--Return To Honor by Brian McClellan
(Read with a glass of Light Rum.)

My Top Five Favorite Anthologies of the first six months of 2015:
--Sharkpunk edited by Jonathan Green
(Read with a big Mai Tai, or any other Tiki cocktail.)
--Operation Arcana edited by John Joseph Adams 
(Read with a small glass of an ethereal Sauternes.)
--Limbus Inc. Book 2 edited by Brett Talley 
(Read with a glass of aged Amontillado Sherry.)
--Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries & Rogues edited by J.M. Martin 
(Read with a cold glass of an intriguing Craft Beer.)
--A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests edited by Josh Reynolds & Miles Boothe
(Read with a shot of smoky Mezcal.)

What do you think of the Drink pairings? Would you choose a different Drink for any of these books?

I am very interested to see which of these books will still be in my Top Ten at the end of the year. I already know there are some potentially excellent books due out during the next six months so there will be serious challengers to those currently on these lists. All of these books would make great summer reading and a number of these authors have also written other worthy books. Please support an author, a small, independent business person, and buy more books.

What are some of your favorite books so far this year?

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