Three most "memorable" books I read in 2015...memorable for different reasons, but the ones still stuck in my head at the end of the year.
The Summoner, by Gail Martin: Book 1 in the Chronicles of the Necromancer. It's a classically styled epic fantasy set in an alternative medieval European world. Since it's been out for a few years, it has plenty of reviews calling it a "Paint by Numbers Epic Fantasy" and an "Outline for World of Warcraft." We've discussed tropes at length here on the blog, so I was keen to read something that played to every one of them while still gathering a large audience. Now, I'm not panning the book. I loved the world and the concept of a Necromancer heir on the rise as the hero protagonist. Traditionally, anyone mucking around with necromancy is a villain or anti-hero. This was Martin's debut and there are four books in the Necromancer series. Reviews of the subsequent books all reflect a writer growing and becoming more confident in her style and world. "This one is better than the last," is pervasive among the reviews for books 2-4. Of course, Gail Martin is well known in Fantasy with five series under her belt, so the lady knows how to last in the genre. I have her latest, Blood & Iron, in my 2016 TBR. I learned a lot about style, substance, and genre/fan thresholds from reading The Summoner.
2. Edgar Allen Poe Complete Tales & Poems: Okay, I haven't finished reading this yet, but there are times one must return to the Masters to study how to progress a series of emotions until fear is the only thing a reader can feel. Really, there's no forgetting the Tell-Tale Heart or The Bells.
3. Immortal Vegas Series by Jenn Stark: 2.5 Urban Fantasy books (so far) about Sara Wilde--an artifact hunter who uses Tarot cards to locate her target(s). She quickly learns the Major Arcana exists as actual magic-wielding overseers, a council who manages the balance of light and dark magic from their home base in Las Vegas. The head of the council is the seductive and manipulative Magician, with whom Sara has a highly contentious relationship. Throughout the series Sara is driven to save psychic children from malevolent forces and in so doing tangles with the Council while discovering she's far more than a card-reader. These books are memorable not only for the diverse cast of characters and the way Tarot is so tightly incorporated into the plot, but also because I'm lucky enough to witness the evolution of the stories from concept to final product. Hey, there are benefits to being a CP!