Books I loved in 2015

Books I loved in 2015

Happy New Year!

Now let’s talk about BOOKS!

I like to read. A lot.

I mean a LOT, a lot.

I am in a book club and we read one book a month, plus I read plenty on my own. I love discussing books with others and getting their take on things.

I thought sharing my favorite reads of 2015 with you would be a fun way to wrap up the year. Please chime in with your thoughts.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

A girl named Ursula relives her life over and over again, dying at different points and ages and always being reborn on the same day in 1910. She lives through two World Wars and has countless amazing experiences, all leading up to her figuring out her purpose, the reason she keeps living again.

I crazy loved this book. I couldn’t stop reading it, and when it was over, I couldn’t stop talking about it. It’s compelling, well-paced, and absolutely mesmerizing. If you’re on the fence about reading it, just get through the first quarter of the book. It takes a little while to get into the groove of it and even understand what’s happening. But believe me, it’s worth it.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This book is told from a dog’s perspective. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really into it when it was suggested, but I read it because that’s what a good book clubber does.

It turned out to be one of my all-time favorite books. The dog is owned by a race car driver and he follows this man, very loyally, through all the twists and crazy turns life throws him. It was unexpected and surprisingly poignant and so real it was profound.

I could not recommend this book more. Go get it today!

The Little Lady Agency series by Hester Browne

This girl Melissa has problems saying no and being assertive in real life. She needs a job and after almost getting sucked into a high-society escort service, she creates a character, Honey, who basically trains men and helps them with life, since she’s so good at giving advice and organizing things and knows literally everyone.

There are 3 books in this series and it is positively delightful! It’s funny, heartwarming, and relatable all at once. The ending was also a bit of a guessing game, which is hard to find in a comedic series. It never goes behind locked doors and is told in first person, and while it’s limiting in some ways, it’s also very freeing in others.

I love this series and will be revisiting it for sure. It’s great for the quick/light read list.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This cannot be explained, it’s that weird and confusing. There’s a circus. It’s open at night. It’s only in black and white. It goes on forever. I don’t really understand it.

This is one of those books that will have you talking for weeks and confused even longer. I still don’t really know what happened at the end. It makes a great club read and we all loved it, but it definitely keeps you on your toes. I recommend reading it without hesitation. And if you figure it out, send me a message, please.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Everything this woman writes is magic. This book is inspiring and fascinating and scary all at once. Read it.


In the world of fan fiction, I read a few new titles this year, both on the boards and the bookshelves. These are the ones I particularly enjoyed. (Because I am a fanfiction writer myself, I want to be clear that no one asked me to write any of this and that these are not formal reviews, just books I liked. If it’s not included, it means nothing. I probably didn’t read it or for whatever reason it wasn’t in my top faves. I most likely forgot about it, so please don’t get offended.)

These were not necessarily done in 2015, that’s just when I read them.

Published Books

The Unthinkable Triangle by Joana Starnes

I really enjoyed it, but it was intense. I suggest reading it with either wine or dark chocolate at hand, maybe both. It is beautifully written and wonderfully poignant.

Sketching Character by Pamela Lynne

Wow. Just wow. Everything this woman writes is at a level so far and above what I expect that I have no words. This was sweet, funny, tragic, and so lovely.


A Will of Iron by Linda Beutler

This was completely out of left field for me. I knew nothing about it going in, but I was delighted all the way through. A mix of naughtiness, intrigue, romance, and pure crazy, this is definitely worth the read.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson

I normally don’t do modern JAFF, but this was so FUN! I am not into dogs, I’m not into any pets really (3 kids is enough!), but this was incredibly entertaining! The chemistry was great, the story was engaging, and the characters were on point. If you haven’t checked it out yet, get on it!

The Madness of Mr. Darcy by Alexa Adams

This is so imaginative and from such a new perspective. It’s very much worth the read. It’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.


On the Boards

  • Brief Encounters and Ghosts in the Attic by SaraPencil over at Austen Underground.

They are both good, and I particularly enjoyed Ghosts in the Attic. I won’t spoil it for you, just go read it! Brief Encounters has some GREAT banter, and everyone knows banter is my absolute most favorite thing.

  • The Third Nephew by Shelby at Austen Interlude

It’s a bit dark, so be prepared. I wouldn’t recommend it for young readers, but for psychological thrills and angst, it’s worth a look.

  • A Literary Courtship by LucyQ at A Happy Assembly

This is one of my new favorite authors. This story is VERY well-written, and so, so lovely. I loved their interactions, the backstory and subsequent unveiling of Darcy’s character, and the way the physical intimacy that a new marriage brings increased the emotional trust and intimacy. I can’t say enough good things.

  • A Lady’s Reputation by Alex9903 at A Happy Assembly

A comedy of errors that had me cringing and laughing. A fun, wily, romp that makes a boring afternoon waiting to pick up kids a lot more interesting.

I don’t know how I missed this for so long, but I finally read it and Oh. My. Word. I sobbed and blushed and hoped and cringed and sobbed again. Amazing tale of the life of D & E through the eyes of her maid. I dare you not to cry.

I love this so much. I’ve read it at least three times so far. There’s just something about it that stays with me. I can’t put my finger on it, and I don’t normally like paranormal stuff, but this one…

Jump in with thoughts or book suggestions for 2016. I’d love to hear from you!

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October 29, 2018 10:25 PM

Was A Literary Courtship by LucyQ ever published or is it still available on A Happy Assembly? I would love to read it.

October 30, 2018 9:08 AM

Thank you for getting back to me. I will try that.

April 27, 2016 2:54 PM

Hi, Elizabeth! I just stumbled across your site and can’t tell you how much your kind words mean to me. Thank you!!!!

A Literary Courtship was purely a personal exercise for me so the fact that a lot of readers, and incredible writers like yourself, appreciated my efforts makes me very, very happy. Just to let you know, I’m attempting a revision/slight expansion of it, and then I’ll re-post the expanded version in its entirety at AHA and possibly another site that is open to the public.

October 10, 2017 5:21 PM
Reply to  LucyQ

Hi LucyQ, is A Literary Courtship still available to read anywhere? I couldn’t find it 🙁

December 31, 2018 10:22 AM

Happy New Year’s Eve, Elizabeth! I thought I’d let you and your readers know that I’ve started posting the revised/expanded A Literary Courtship on Archive of Our Own. It’s still a WIP, but 19 out of 23 chapters of the new version are done. Thank you so much for your kind words and interest!

Jeanne Garrett
Jeanne Garrett
February 13, 2016 9:57 PM

Thanks for your reading list. As I read over it I was happy to see that I had read Unleashing Mr. Darcy…I posted a review on Amazon last December. I loved it. It was so cute and although not canon, it was delightful. Did you notice a nod to the BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances in the naming of the dogs…Violet, Hyacinth, Daisy and Rose. Thanks for all your information.

Joana Starnes
January 6, 2016 12:31 PM

Dark chocolate AND red wine, definitely both 😀 Thanks ever so much for the lovely mention and for the ever so kind words, Elizabeth! I just saw this today, when I got back from getting wet in Devon. Hope you enjoyed the holidays and wishing you all the very best for 2016! Hugs and Happy New Year!

January 5, 2016 6:27 PM

Mostly I read mysteries (cozy and historical). I just looked at The Night Circus on Amazon but I just can’t read books written in the present tense (“he says” instead of “he said”), so I won’t be reading The Hunger Games (but I’ve seen some of the movies). I just think it’s weird when writers write like that. It seems to be a new thing and maybe a little more popular for Y.A. books.

Pam Hunter
Pam Hunter
January 2, 2016 10:42 PM

After reading your list, I promptly went to Amazon and bought two of the books. I’m reading and enjoying one of them right now. Thanks for the recommendations!

January 2, 2016 11:53 AM

A wonderful selection which resonates with me greatly.

January 2, 2016 4:41 AM

How lovely to see recommendations for forum fanfiction. I haven’t had much reading time in the last year and I have so many published books in the TBR that I don’t look on the forums much these days but I know there are some fantastic stories there, some of which will never be published 🙁 I will have to try and check out some of your recommendations.

Jennifer Redlarczyk
January 1, 2016 7:22 PM

Thanks Elizabeth for giving the authors and forums a plug with your favorites. Being a moderator on I am partial to the forums. In addition to reading many published books throughout this past year, I enjoyed reading stories on Darcyand Lizzy. AHA, Beyond Austen, Austen Underground, Bloom and Quill, DWG and FFN. That being said I would like to give a shout our to the Austen Authors who posted with on D&L during 2015. They include: Lennie Brown, Rose Faribanks, Jeanna Elsworth-Lake, Melanie Schertz,Barbara Silkstone, Elizabeth Ann West and of course our own Brenda Webb. With so many authors going straight to publishing now days, I cannot begin to say how grateful the readers and forum moderators are to those authors who continue to share their stories on this venue. Not only do the authors get immediate feedback from the folks who comment, but we as readers get to show our immediate appreciation by sharing out thoughts. Many thanks to authors, published and non-published who continue to satisfy our JAFF addiction with their creativity. Jen Red

Jennifer Redlarczyk
Jennifer Redlarczyk
January 2, 2016 10:57 AM

In reading over my list of AUAU authors who posted with us during 2015 I would also like to acknowledge Diana Oakes and welcome anyone else who would like to join us. Jen

Sheila L. M.
Sheila L. M.
December 31, 2015 8:20 PM

I have read all the books listed as Published Books but none of the “on the board” books…although I am reading some there now. But could you give links to any of those sites? I am subscribed to but not the others.

Sheila L. M.
Sheila L. M.
January 1, 2016 4:29 PM

Thanks. I am a member of a Happy Assembly but will use the other links to sign up. So many good stories!!!!

Sheila L. M.
Sheila L. M.
January 2, 2016 6:57 PM

Thanks for letting me know. Right now I am trying to read through one by Linda Wells,one by Lucy S,one by Suzan Lauder plus one by Rose Fairbanks and another by Brenda Webb Bigbee. The former two are completed works but are so long! The latter three I am sent new posts, usually weekly. So I am not going to open a new story presently but I did copy your info and saved it so that I have it handy when I have time for a new one. Oh, and besides all those WIPs I am reading P&P and Zombies in anticipation of the movie…not my usual tastes but always like to read books on which movies are based.

Sheila L. M.
Sheila L. M.
January 1, 2016 5:29 PM

Thank you. What name do you publish under? I will try to explore that site tomorrow as I am engrossed in a P&P & zombies book at present in anticipation of the movie to be released next month.

December 31, 2015 7:44 PM

Thanks for the list. I read Lawanda Blackwell’s “Tales Of London” Book 1, “Killing Patton” By Bill O’Reilly[very enlightening]. I am going to start book2 in the aforementioned Lawanda Blackwell series. I also read lots of magazines in 2015.
Wishing you and yours a Happy,Healthy New Year full of blessings.

Amy Ilgen D'Orazio
December 31, 2015 6:51 PM

Thank you so much for including the unpublished among us on your list! I appreciate the nod for A Lady’s Reputation!

December 31, 2015 5:55 PM

Where did you find “The Third Nephew” by Shelby?! I didn’t see it in the Pemberley Library, nor the Meryton Reading Room. You MUST tell us how you found it!

January 1, 2016 4:37 PM

Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the correction about “The Third Nephew”. Still, since it’s not currently available on that website anymore, would you be able to provide the link to where you got it, for other readers? I don’t think everyone knows how to find stories with that method.

December 31, 2015 11:47 AM

Loved your list and thanks for sharing fanfic that I haven’t read yet. Happy New Year!

Janet T
Janet T
December 31, 2015 10:46 AM

Happy to hear your thoughts, Elizabeth. Several I have read and loved much! Others I definitely want to read. I will be visiting AHA and DWG too! You have my interest piqued! Thanks and Happy New Year!

Pamela Lynne
December 31, 2015 10:42 AM

Oh my, what a list to be on! Thank you!! Nothing feels better than being recognized by a fellow author. I’m truly touched. I, too, enjoyed Brief Encounters and Ghosts in the Attic. I read Nature of the Beast a couple of years ago. Like you, I don’t usually go for paranormal reads, but it is so good. By far, it is the best paranormal JAFF I have read. Have you read A Touch of Night? My oldest asked me once if there had ever been a dragon Darcy. I was thrilled to be able to say yes. It’s good, too, and still on the boards somewhere, I think. Thank you, again. I’m going to be on a high all day. 🙂

Debbie Fortin
December 31, 2015 6:41 AM

I too absolutely loved The Unthinkable Triangle, Sketching Character, and The Madness of Mr. Darcy. A will of Iron and Mr. Darcy’s Dogs are on my very, very long TBR;

Jeanna Ellsworth
December 31, 2015 1:58 AM

Ohhhh! I love this blog! Amazon may very well get some business today! I have heard of a few of them but many of them are new to me! I can’t wait to read them! I think one of the things I love the most is getting recommendations of books to read from fellow authors because I feel like not only do they love to read too, but they know good writing and tend to be discriminate in what they recommend since people will judge their writing a bit on what they think of others!

Linda Beutler
December 31, 2015 11:49 AM

Wow! To have my oddly macabre rom-com included in such august company is truly an honor. Overall, I think this was a wonderful year for JAFF. I read so many great stories—a couple by a new author who posts as “putitbriefly”. She posted Bruises on AHA, and I understand it will be published in 2016. It will publish under a different name…I would have assumed from the title it was a modern that included spousal abuse (which I would not read), but be assured it is Regency and takes an amazing look and the Darcy/Elizabeth marriage 10 years in—very Romantic! Anyway, thanks so much, everyone for a great 2015!

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