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I don’t have as much time to read as I used to, and that makes me pretty careful with my reading choices. I’m more apt to shelve or abandon a book that doesn’t seem likely to pay off, whether because I can’t get interested, the characters are weakly developed or the prose seems clunky. That said, here were some of my favorite reads from the last year. All were memorable, entertaining and compelled me to turn pages far past my bedtime.

Rabbit in Red, by Joe Chianakas, catered to both my love of horror and appreciation for original storytelling. The quick pace and suspenseful plot could have been enough to satisfy my craving for a thrilling novel. In addition, Rabbit in Red introduced protagonists with whom horror fans could easily identify. In our time of online friendships and rivalries, this novel is a modern tale that felt genuine when describing the bonds quickly formed around common interests. I enjoyed the thrills of the main plot line, but the tangible struggle of the young characters to identify their purposes and places in the world always stood out itself as an integral and equally interesting story. I’m looking forward to the second installment in the series.

The Benevolence Archives, by Luther Siler, quickly found themselves among my favorite reads of 2015. After reading the first volume, I immediately downloaded the second installment. If I tried to describe these tales in general, I would quickly run out of room. Every specific detail I mentioned would have to be expanded upon to convey all of the wahoo I felt while reading them, and somehow Siler packed all of it into two quick reads that still leave me marveling months later. I’ll generalize instead, saying that both the short stories in BA 1 and the novel in BA 2 were chock full of scifi adventure, intrigue and belly laughs. Treat yourself to all of the fun details as soon as you can.

I probably don’t need to go into detail about these bestsellers from big-name publishers, since they enjoyed the benefit of more mainstream attention. The Martian, by Andy Weir, was excellent. Its combination of science, adventure and humor will entice me to re-read it before long. The Gentleman Bastards novels, by Scott Lynch, were a breath of fresh air for me in the fantasy genre. I read all of them, one after the other, which I haven’t done in that genre since Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy. I have the highest respect for any author capable of creating truly original work in that genre, and Lynch definitely delivered.

Please feel free to leave me a comment below with some of your favorites from 2015. Great books are priceless treasures we can all share.

Best to everyone and happy reading in 2016!