Under Appreciated Books of 2015

December 29, 2015

SpeculativeHerald-Header-UnderAppreciated

So amidst all the lists at the end of the year, we wanted to focus on some of the books we’ve read that we really think need a bit more love and attention. I asked each of our contributors to highlight a few of their favorite reads of the year that they feel fell under the radar. Some of these rated high enough to make our Best of 2015 list, and some of them were nominated/ranked in the list we used for the Best Of list, but just didn’t quite make the final cut. Books that only one of us read were at a bit of a disadvantage. So this is a great chance for each of us to highlight books we felt were wonderful reads and deserve another mention as the year draws to a close.

 

BOB’S PICKS

 

Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher
Published by Harper Voyager on June 16th 2015
Pages: 512
Our reviews of this author: Beyond Redemption

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Forget grim dark, this is mad dark . . . and it's awesome. The pacing here is just about perfect, the narrative is exceptionally strong, and the action is intense, with awe-inspiring feats of madness and delusion


 

The Dragon Engine (The Blood Dragon Empire, #1) by Andy Remic
Published by Angry Robot on September 1st 2015
Pages: 382
Our reviews of this author: The Dragon Engine, A Song for No Man's Land, Twilight of the Dragons

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The Dragon Engine is a traditional quest tale that subverts the usual tropes while going extremel dark. It’s a more mature, more adult, no-hold-barred kind of fantasy that rivals any big screen R-rated action.


 

Trial of Intentions (The Vault of Heaven, #2) by Peter Orullian
Published by Tor Books on May 26th 2015
Pages: 672

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The story is once again well-written, with even stronger dialogue than the first, and even more incredible visuals. The characters continue to thrive here, with even greater depth and diversity, while the world-building and the mythology are developed much farther and much deeper.

 

LISA’S PICKS

 

Reign of Iron (Iron Age, #3) by Angus Watson
Published by Orbit on September 29th 2015
Pages: 560
Our reviews of this author: Reign of Iron

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The final two books of the Iron Age trilogy released this year and I’m including them both. I really feel this series should get more love and attention. It is a brutal but that is tempered quite well with some amazing dark humor. For me to laugh out loud at a book? That’s high praise.


 

The Shards of Heaven (The Shards of Heaven #1) by Michael Livingston
Published by Tor Books on November 24th 2015
Pages: 416
Our reviews of this author: The Shards of Heaven, The Gates of Hell

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I loved how the speculative aspect was woven into the story in such a way, that it just felt natural. It takes real events and adds just a dash of something fantastical that helps explain well known stories revolving around gods and religion while giving us an Indiana Jones type of excitement.


 

Wake of Vultures (The Shadow, #1) by Lila Bowen
Published by Orbit on October 27th 2015
Pages: 342
Our reviews of this author: Wake of Vultures

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A western fantasy doused with folklore, and complete with vampires, werewolves and shape-shifters. Just don’t go into this expecting the sparkling variety of vampires or the happy, hunky type of werewolves. This is a darker book that left me mesmerized by the world and characters.

 

 

LYNN’S PICKS

 

Without Light or Guide (Los Nefilim #2) by T. Frohock
Published by Harper Voyager Impulse on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 128

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Teresa Frohock is a lovely author, Miserere definitely should be more widely read! Hopefully in Midnight’s Silence and Without Light or Guide will gain her the attention she very much deserves.


 

The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson
Published by Talos on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 288
Our reviews of this author: The Girl With Ghost Eyes

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Just because The Girl With Ghost Eyes (which I think is a debut) was so good.


 

The Bloodforged (Bloodbound, #2) by Erin Lindsey
Published by Ace on September 29th 2015
Pages: 368
Our reviews of this author: The Bloodforged, The Bloodsworn

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Erin Lindsey started out very strong with Bloodhound but then took the series to the next level with Bloodforged – loving this series and hope it receives recognition


 

Dark Ascension (Generation V, #4) by M.L. Brennan
Published by Roc on August 4th 2015
Pages: 308

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The Generation V series is such a good series but hasn’t received the attention it deserves!

 

 

STEPHENIE’S PICKS

 

The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp
Published by Gallery Books on July 28th 2015
Pages: 400

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Sometimes you just have to give a book 5 stars because it was so damn fun and you couldn't put it down. This was one of those. Heist, horror and humor - it was a winning combination.


 

Evensong by John Love
Published by Night Shade Books on January 6th 2015
Pages: 352

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No one was more surprised than I was at how much I enjoyed this one. By all accounts it shouldn't have been my kind of book at all, but it ended up destroying my emotions anyway. It made such an impact on me that I immediately shelved it under "Favorites".


 

Master of Plagues (Nicolas Lenoir, #2) by E.L. Tettensor, Erin Lindsey
Published by Roc on February 3rd 2015
Pages: 368
Our reviews of this author: The Bloodforged, The Bloodsworn

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Both this book and its predecessor got top marks from me, and that's rare for me when it comes to series. E.L. Tettensor/Erin Lindsey is one of my favorite authors and her stories definitely deserve more attention.

 

 

TAMMY’S PICKS

The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson
Published by Talos on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 288
Our reviews of this author: The Girl With Ghost Eyes

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This book made my top ten this year, and I can’t stress enough what a wonderful fantasy it is! In my opinion, this book deserves to make it onto some award ballots, and it certainly deserves more attention. If you’re looking for an authentic story based on Chinese mythology, you won’t find anything better.


 

Dark Star by Oliver Langmead
Published by Unsung Stories on March 30th 2015
Pages: 224

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Here's another gem from a small press that i'm quite sure isn't being read by enough people. It's a novel told in verse, which I don't normally read, but Langmead's evocative prose and addictive noir science fiction tale was riveting.

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Cash Crash Jubilee: Book One of the Jubilee Cycle by Eli K.P. William
Published by Talos on May 5th 2015
Pages: 392

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And finally, I was pleasantly surprised by this completely original science fiction story. It’s the start of a series, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next book. At times, William’s dense prose was a little too much, but by the end of the story I was hooked.

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Lisa Taylor
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Lisa Taylor

I read. Mainly fantasy. Sometimes horror or science fiction. I like books that have a dark side and am not a fan of happy fairy tales. I also have a tendency to tell people what I think of these books (and hopefully why!)

You can also find me blogging about books at Tenacious Reader
Lisa Taylor
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