Thursday, January 21, 2016

2015 Book of the Year Bracket Challenge: Sweet Sixteen

The next few days are going to be a bit of a whirlwind...I can already tell. 

The BOTY Bracket Challenge is well underway! Yesterday, brackets were set up and initial eliminations were completed to decrease the number of overall challengers to 32 or less. In my case, I've filled my bracket with 28 novels and 4 bye slots. It's an interesting year for my bracket. I definitely need to do more reading in 2016. I feel like I was a total slacker last year.

Regardless, the bracket challenge is one of my favorite things to do every year. I love looking back on everything I read in the year prior, reflecting on some really good books, and trying to find out which ones I really loved the most. Further, since last year's event, it's fun to go look at brackets from other readers and add extra books to my TBR based on the awesome books they read.

Today's task is to find the Sweet Sixteen. This is where I'm starting...

The thing that I notice about the randomization of these brackets is that there are usually some serious heartbreakers in the first round of eliminations. This year's bracket is no different. It was obvious right away that the left side bracket was the stronger one, holding a higher majority of my 5 star books for the year. Unfortunately, that also meant that it pitted some incredibly awesome books against one another. The right side was a little easier in this round, but I still lost a couple of decent scorers.

There were three difficult decisions to be made and three fantastic 5-star rated books to be sacrificed in this round. Here were this year's first round devastation match ups...

Alice has long been one of my favorite literary characters. There are a lot of things I understand about Alice that I see in myself. Alice in Wonderland is one of the most imaginative novels out there and I am consistently entertained by the world that Lewis Carroll created so many years ago.

The Little Paris Bookshop was a novel I received direct from the publisher in 2015. It was an amazing read with a lovable protagonist that I just wanted to hug. The writing is beautiful and Nina George does a wonderful job at creating scenery through words. This one is bound to remain a favorite for a very long time. Just a gorgeous love story.

This one tore at me for a while. I was incredibly reluctant to let Alice go in any way. I just love it so very much. But...I had to admit that the draw for Nina George's amazing book just won me over. Winner of this match up... The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. I'm sorry Alice...

Sometimes I am blessed to receive some really good ARCs. That was the case for both of these books. Unfortunately, sometimes those really good ARCs get pitted against each other in first round eliminations. What the crap, random sequence generator? Do you just like to hurt me?

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins was a book that I requested based on cover alone. Usually that turns out to bite me square in the butt. Those of you who have been around for a while will remember my horrible penchant for books with butterflies on the cover that nearly unanimously land me wanting to throw books across the room. Luckily, the curse of the cover was not a problem for Mount Char. Holy freaking amazing. The world created by Scott Hawkins (who, by the actually a technical writer...I know, right?) is seriously just jaw-dropping. Creative does not even begin to describe it. This book was magnificent!

Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen was a hot topic among book bloggers this year. Most either loved it or hated it. There wasn't a lot of middle ground. I was in the former camp. I was highly entertained. The plot line was a little bit predictable, but her writing is really quite good. She created a superbly writeen world and presented elements that reminded me of other novels and imaginary worlds that I loved. There were hints of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and a little historical Tudor fiction all rolled into one. Totally up my alley. I thought it was great and I can't wait to read Glass Sword this year.

And then...well...then I had to say goodbye to one of my beauties. I'm pretty sure I swore when I realized that they were pitted together this early on. Such a crime, really. But I had to make a choice. Thus...moving on... The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The last match up in this trifecta of pain paired together the super cute YA fiction novel of Nothing Like Looking against the creepily awesome sci-fi fiction of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster.

Nothing Like Looking was one of the few books I actually managed to complete a full review on last year here on the blog. Granted, it was given to me direct by the author (who I know from blogging), but I promise you that my review was not swayed by my friendship with her. This girl has some writing chops and I loved this book. It's cute, quirky, and entertaining. 

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster was yet another awesome ARC. This one had a cool mix of science fiction (time travelling element) and historical fiction. It was a super quick read that I couldn't put down and the plot was relatively surprising. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but this novel surely surpassed it. Any book that keeps my attention until 2 am when I have to work the next day is a total winner.

I mulled this pairing over for a while. In fact, I wound up filling out a good chunk of the right hand side of the bracket before I came back to it. These two were fairly neck and neck for me. Ultimately though, the one that stuck with me the longest was the winner. The adorably awkward Nothing Like Looking ambled right along into the Sweet Sixteen.

And thus, with some pretty painful goodbyes, the Sweet Sixteen were chosen. Here's where this year's bracket now stands.

Just a're still very much welcome to take part! Just make sure to add yourself to the linky below or leave a comment with a link to your own challenge. Let everyone see your progress to pick your 2015 Book of the Year!

I'll be back again tomorrow for more challenging book exclusions as we progress into the Elite Eight!

Official Sign-Up Linky

* Remember to include your a direct link to your sign up post, not your blog's main page. 
A direct link should look like this :

* Sign up for the Challenge by entering your Name & Blog Name in the Linky at the end of this post 
(ie. Elle @ Erratic Project Junkie).

* If you have any questions regarding the Book of the Year Bracket Challenge, feel free to contact me at


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