Niki’s Top Ten Favorite Books of 2015!

top ten tuesday

Okay, I know I missed Tuesday, but this is one of my favorite topics, so I’m doing it anyway:

Niki’s Top Ten Favorite Books of 2015!

I’m sure the caliber of authors doesn’t surprise anyone – they’re popular for a reason, after all. What surprises me is how difficult it was to narrow the list down to just ten titles. “Read the best books first, for you may not have the chance to read them all” really is a mantra worth having. It is really difficult to pick a favorite, but if push came to shove, I select Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb.

What were your favorite reads of 2015?

by Niki Hawkes


Niki’s Top Ten Favorite Audiobook Experiences!

top ten tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This is a freebie week for the TTT feature, and since I’ve had this post up my sleeve for a few months now, I’m tickled to finally have an excuse to share it. When evaluating an audiobook, it seems like you have to consider more than just the basic writing, character, setting, etc. that you usually do with a book. You also have to consider the voice of the reader and their overall performance. I’ve listened to several books that came alive in a way that words on a page just couldn’t. Conversely, I’ve listened to many that seem to take all of the things I loved about the written version and poo all over it. I find myself on an endless hunt for new audiobook series that have the perfect mix of amazing story and performance, but here are the ones I’ve discovered so far:

Niki’s Top Ten Favorite Audiobook Experiences!

The Harry Potter Series – Jim Dale
The Kingkiller Chronicles – Nick Podehl
The Stormlight Archive – Michael Kramer & Kate Reading
The Gentleman Bastards – Michael Page
The Expanse – Jefferson Mays
The Red Rising Trilogy – Tim Gerard Reynolds
The Dresden Files – James Marsters
The Hunger Games Trilogy – Carolyn McCormick
The Game of Thrones Series – Roy Dotrice
The Riley Jensen Series – Justine Eyer

I think taking a chance on an audiobook is almost more risky than taking a chance on a new book – it certainly costs a lot more (generally) and there’s that extra performance-quality factor to consider. Thank goodness Audible offers guaranteed listens, that’s all I’m saying.

What are some of your favorite audiobook experiences?

by Niki Hawkes


Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From!

top ten tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Well, this post is embarrassingly late. I blame over ambition… And a horrifying eye strain issue that kept me from reading, writing, and essentially functioning for three days. :/ In any case, I initially tried to narrow my list down to ten authors, but felt guilty for every one I had to knock off. Long story short, enjoy ALL THE AUTHORS I’ve read the most books from (my favorites, anyway).

Top Ten Fifteen Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From!

1. Richelle Mead

I’ve read everything she’s published and for the longest time have considered her my favorite author. Thank goodness she’s so prolific!

2. R.A. Salvatore

I love this series and think the author is great at sparking a sense of adventure and excitement. Even though Salvatore made the list, I still have several non-Drizzt books on my shelves waiting to be read.

3. Brandon Sanderson

So many amazing stories – it’s difficult to believe they all came from one mind. I have not read a single Sanderson that got lower than 4 stars – in fact, most of them were solid 5s!

4. Kim Harrison/Dawn Cook

I actually read Kim Harrison first as Dawn Cook then got really bummed when four or five years went by where she didn’t publish anything new… Imagine my delight when I discovered her Rachel Morgan series (which is now my favorite urban fantasy series)!

5. Glenda Larke

I love Glenda Larke with a passion, so much so that I was even willing to pay astronomical shipping to buy her Mirage series from overseas. Her world building is phenomenal and her stories are unforgettable – I recommend all of them!

6. Raymond E. Feist

This is the author/series that really ignited my love of fantasy. I’ve been slowly making my way through all the books, savoring each one as I go, for the last fifteen years and am finally getting close to having read them all.

7. Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs is such a cool author – she’s made a huge fan out of me with her Mercy Thompson series, and I have also thoroughly enjoyed her fantasy novels (although I admit I still have a few of those to read). I like her. :-)

8. Daniel Abraham

Daniel Abraham is an author who does not get enough credit for his vast array of works (although, some of that might be due to his many pen names). Regardless, I’ve read most of his works and appreciate all of them.

9. Julie E. Czerneda

Czerneda is my favorite science fiction author, and I have to thank Luis Royo for putting them on my radar with his gorgeous cover art. I am super excited for This Gulf of Time and Stars coming out within the next couple of months!

10. Robin Hobb

It is so difficult for me to declare which author is my all-time favorite, but with every new book by Robin Hobb, that decision becomes easier and easier. She is a remarkable author, and her books stay with me years after I’ve read them.

11. Brian Jacques

I didn’t start taking reading seriously until my eleventh year, when I came across The Outcast of Redwall in my middle school library and decided I wanted to get good enough at reading to tackle a novel of that size. It was a major revelation in my life, and I have enjoyed each of these books countless times throughout the years.

12. Ann Aguirre

Aguirre might not be my favorite author, but she sure as hell makes my top five. I have completely enjoyed everything I’ve read by her and am impressed that she can brilliantly write stories from so many different genres.

13. Jacqueline Carey

I love this series with a passion and have not even made my way through all of them, but only because I take several weeks to savor each one. I am super eager to read her new urban fantasy series, but I’m equally terrified to run out of Carey books to read.

14. Keri Arthur

As many books as I’ve read from this fantastic urban fantasy author, I still have about double that amount before I’ve read everything she’s published. I like her newer stuff better than the older, and her Riley Jensen series is still among my all-time favorites.

15. Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

This was arguably one of the earliest series that I read to completion (not counting all of the spinoff novels, although I did read a bunch of those as well). I think these are an excellent introduction to the realm of fantasy and recommend it often to young readers wanting to tackle the genre without getting into anything too heavy.

I love all of the authors on this list, and would like to pay an honorable mention to Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Mindy McGinnis, Rae Carson, Rachel Aaron, and Melissa Landers. All of these authors would have made the list if they’d had more books out – I completely devour anything new that gets published! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my really long, really late list!

What authors have you read the most books from?

by Niki Hawkes


Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015!

top ten tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Thanks to my “read the best books 1st” philosophy, I’ve had an amazing 6 months of reading so far. Here’s a look at some of my favorites:

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015!

Some of these titles will definitely end up on my “Best of 2015” list! I didn’t do this on purpose, but I’m happy to see there is a little bit of every genre I love on this list. Picking an absolute favorite is kind of like comparing apples to oranges, but I’m leaning towards Havoc by Ann Aguirre. Here’s to another six months of awesome reading!

What books made your list?

by Niki Hawkes


Top Ten Books on My Summer 2015 TBR

top ten tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

These seasonal TBR TTTs have always been my favorites to compose, as figuring which books to read next is one of my favorite pastimes (nerd-alert). That’s why I started a monthly feature called Tackling the TBR, where I prioritize which authors I most eager to read on a monthly basis. Because I’ve been so good at reading the best books first lately, coming up with titles for this list took a little more effort than normal – a sign that tells me I’m doing a good job reaching my goals. I didn’t include many titles from my most recent Tackling the TBR post because I’m hoping to have most, if not all of them read before the end of the month. Here are the other books I am most excited to read this summer:

Top Ten Books on My Summer 2015 TBR

Rachel Aaron and Rachel Bach are the same person, and I absolutely cannot get enough of her – she’s at the top of my list. I included a couple of ARCs, but most of the others are series continuations that I am eager to read (Jacqueline Carey being at the top of that list).

What awesome books made your list? Do we have any in common?

by Niki Hawkes


Top Ten Fantasy Books I Recommend the Most!

top ten tuesday

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There are so many fantasy titles that I absolutely love, but I found that only a few of them have a certain appeal that makes them recommendable to the masses. Whenever I used to hand a book to a customer, I’d always stress about whether they were going to like it as much as I did. I’d always say, “If I see you again, please let me know if you liked it because if you did I can recommend more like it, and if not we can go in a different direction.” More often than not, I would never see that person again and just had to hope that my assessment of their reading tastes was accurate. Over the course of the eleven years I sold books, there were enough repeat customers who came back with positive feedback on these titles I began trusting their recommendability to most people. Now having been a part of the book blogosphere for three years, that opinion has only been reinforced by great reviews from my fellow bloggers. I give you:

Top Ten Fantasy Books I Recommend the Most!

Every once in a while someone will throw me for a loop by saying they totally hated a book from this list, but those people are few and far between. I’m not saying I guarantee you’ll like everything on this list, but if you’re looking for something new to try, I feel like this is a really great place to start. :-)

by Niki Hawkes