My library in snow
Hellooooooo everyone! It's been forever since I've written anything on here. It was so nice to take a break. But I've also been evaluating what I want to do here in the future. I'm just not feeling as relevant or present in this community anymore, so I'm thinking a lot about what that means for me and this blog. However, do love you allll! And still want to read and talk about and promote books. I've just found that direct communication with people is often a better fit for me, personally. Though I don't know how that translates with my blog. So for now, I'm going to be posting still but more slowly.
Whew. Anyway, enough of all of that. I wanted to give a brief recap of my reading in 2016. I don't think this will be as long as some years, but I wanted to tell you my top most read books of the year out of the 104 I read (aka, on average 2 books a week, though some were less and some were more). Mostly, this post is for my own benefit, so I have a record of what I've read and loved in different years.
My Top Books of 2016 (In no particular order)
I've also included a little note at the end of each book as to whether it's Middle Grade, YA or Adult.
1) Arcadia Bell series by Jenn Bennett -
Ok so right off I'm cheating, because this is not even one book, it's four. But I read this Urban Fantasy series all together and consider it one unit.
When I started this series, I hadn't binge read anything in ages, and I'd forgotten how much I love the fog of reading through a series in one go. This is an entire series where a couple works together without crazy misunderstandings or separations, from when they get together in the first book until the end of the fourth one. Once I got over Lon's mustache (it was a little traumatic LOL), I LOVED every minute of it. The mysteries and danger kept me glued to the pages as well as the secondary characters. Especially Jupe, Lon's son. I adore him so so much. I'm going to miss being inside of Cady's head and tagging along with all her crazy adventures. I read these books in September, and I just can't get over how much I love them. All of Bennett's books are great, but this series is for sure my favorite. (Adult)
2) The Hating Game by Sally Thorne -
This book was amazing! I am a huge sucker for hate to love romances, and am finding it to be one of my favorite romance tropes. This is one of the best I've experienced. I rarely reread, but I read this book twice in a row, almost back to back. One time in print and the other on audiobook. I could watch Lucy and Josh banter forever. I love that this story feels like a mix between chick-lit and romance. It's fun and swoony, without the angst and drama. For me, the hype was 100% true for this book. I cannot wait to find out what Sally Thorne writes next. (Adult)
3) The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron -
With this book, and reading Cameron's Dark Unwinding duet this year, she's cemented herself as one of my go to authors. Whatever she publishes, I want to read it! You can check my full review of this book, HERE. But basically, this story is impossible to talk about without giving much away, and it's more fun to go into it blind. The book has a cool sci-fi element to it that I wasn't expecting. I loved the MC Nadia, a quiet fighter who will do anything to protect her family, and the love interest Gray, who is not what he seems either. Such a good story and not to be missed! (YA)
4) This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills -
I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this one, and didn't have super high expectations. But right away I was hooked. I COULD NOT STOP reading! I would have read this book all the way through from start to finish in one sitting if I'd had the time. It is for sure one of my favorite contemporaries of the year. I love how This Adventure Ends is a light and fun and quickly read on the surface, but it packs a deeper punch that is there all along, though you have to get to know to see. In many ways this parallels Sloane's character and her journey through the book. I enjoyed the sweet and subtle romance with a Darcy like hero, but it's the friendships that stole the show with this one. (YA)
My favorite blog tour post ever was also for this book, where I interviewed the cast. Find it, HERE.
5) The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski -
This book, this series, are going on my all time favorites shelf. What an incredible ending to a story that began when a girl purchased a boy in a slave market. I - and they - had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. But from the first page, I was hooked, and I knew it would be something special. The language alone is so incredible it makes me ache. And the story of Kestrel and Arin - one of tenuous hope, intense heartbreak, and a love that heals the most broken places - has stolen my heart once and for all. Highly, highly recommended. This is another book that I read multiple times this year. I've gotten to dread series conclusions a little bit, but this one does not disappoint in any way. (YA)
6) The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley -
I'm so glad I finally picked up a Susanna Kearsley book this year. I was long overdue, and ended up reading three of them, because they were so good. But this one, which I read first, remains my favorite. Kearsley is incredible at blending historical with contemporary stories, which she does here by exploring women living around the Scottish castle at Slains in both the the early 21st and 18th centuries - the earlier time being during the attempted Jacobite rebellion from England. There is a bit of a mystical quality to the connection between the time periods, but without taking away a sense of true history, and what life was really like in Scotland in the early 1700s. This is a duet, and The Firebird follows up and concludes this tale nicely. (Adult)
7) The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid -
At first The Diabolic seems like a typical dystopian - where the kick butt heroine inhabits a Roman Empire influenced space setting. And the book is those things, but it is also something different than that in a way that is intense and riveting. Maybe it was the way the author pushed the scheming and twists and everything else. But I was hooked from the start, and the story just got more and more exciting the crazier everything became. Of course this book book has a romance. And it is another favorite part. Tyrus and Nemesis are perfect for each other. They both have sharp edges and have had to learn to adapt to survive. That is why they are a great match, but it makes some things harder for them too. I was fascinated by this story ended. It is solid but also a little bit unsettling in a way that made the story more powerful. The book was sold as a standalone, but now will have sequels, and I'm so curious to see what happens next. (YA)
8) The War that Saved My Life by Kimberley Brusker Bradley -
This book was amazing! Ada's voice and emotions were so real. I was completely wrapped up in her life and her words and hooked on her story from start to finish. What surprised me the most about this story is how layered it is, as well as the depth of the emotions of these characters. We see the world through Ada's limited viewpoint, while also understanding a much bigger picture of what was happening around and to her. Alongside Ada's personal journey was a fascinating - and sometimes frightening - look at Britain at the start of World War II. What a harrowing time in history. I am dying for the sequel to this book, which I've been assured is being written. I cannot wait to find out what Ada does next and catch up with all of her friends! (Middle Grade)
9) The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry -
The Passion of Dolssa is one of those stories with a quiet impact that slowly builds as you read it, until you're eventually and unexpectedly slapped with how amazing it is. I enjoyed the story all along, finding it to be addicting, despite taking a while to read it. But months later, I am still l thinking about the vibrant characters, the fascinating - if terrifying - time period, and the the way the author constructed her story as if she'd found a series of historical documents.
I love well researched historical fiction and this was exactly that. I felt like I had a real glimpse into thirteenth century provincial France, especially what life was like for women at that time. Don't let the length of this book or its seemingly slow start or heavy subject deter you in picking this up. The Passion of Dolssa is a beautifully crafted tale filled with characters and a story that you will not soon forget. Although it takes place in the past, this book has many parallels to today. Don't miss this one! (YA)
10) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline -
I know very little about video games and only a tiny bit more of 80s culture (tho I was alive for almost all of that decade), but I was totally hooked on this story. I cannot believe it took me so long to pick this one up, but I'm so glad I finally did. I was rooting for Wade from the start and wanted all the things for him and his friends! My husband read this book as well, and he enjoyed it just as much as I did. I can't wait to see what becomes of the movie that's supposed to come out about this story. (YA)
10.5) The Grift of the Magi by Ally Carter -
I LOVE the Heist Society series and Ally Carter surprised fans (or maybe just me!) with a new holiday novella right before Christmas. It was the best surprise ever! Kat + Hale and co forever. They are never better than when they're outsmarting a smart con, plus lots of swooooonnnnnn. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I hope Ally Carter never stops writing about these thieves. (YA)
BONUS: Two books I read in 2015 but published in 2016, both amazing.
11) Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
I love the way Ruta Sepetys carefully and powerfully gives a voice to little known history, and how she infuses them with strength and hope, despite the heavy subject matter. Without her words I would not have known anything about the Wilhelm Gustloff, or the events surrounding this story.
12) Passenger by Alex Bracken
This is a strong and solid time travel book that completely swept me away in its magic. This story is timely despite taking place in the past, I loved Etta and Nicholas' dual narration and of course the swoon. Plus, anytime I can 'visit' history is a winner for me. I've now read the conclusion of this duet and it is a wonderful and worthy conclusion!
Okay, so actually, I decided to be super wordy above. HA! Although these were my most favorite books of the year, I enjoyed so many others that I feel sad I'm not including more. But I have to cut myself off somewhere. You can see my full list of 2016 titles on Goodreads HERE.
We spent Christmas in Florida and I want to be warm againnn
What were your favorite books of last year?
Happy 2017 and Be well!
Happy 2017 and Be well!