As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve read a lot of things this year. Some were really bad, in my opinion, but others I really enjoyed.
At this current moment in time I’m reading my 102nd book of the year. I know for a fact that that won’t make it into this list because, in my opinion, nothing can beat these beauties. But this wasn’t easy. I was slaving over this for days, trying to figure out which books just didn’t quite make the cut.
But I think i’ve finally done it. So here is my list of my favourite 16 books of 2016.
16. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne and J.K. Rowling
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
Now I know that this book isn’t perfect. Like at all! There are more plot holes than I can count and some of the characters didn’t feel like themselves at all. But, it’s still a Harry Potter book and I absorbed it like sponge in water. And I have no doubt that if I ever get chance to see the play, i’ll be completely enthralled.
15. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win – and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
I don’t care how predictable this book became and how disappointed I was that it wasn’t more like Sword Art Online (the anime). It had a unique plot idea and I was hooked throughout.
14. The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen
An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become Queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness .
Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trail by fire that will either forge a legend or destroy her all together.
Despite the slow burning opening, I couldn’t get enough of this book. I’m actually surprised that I haven’t read any of the other books yet. It might be marmite for some but I rather enjoyed it.
13. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyles
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life – steady boyfriend, close family – who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life – big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel – and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live now that his life’s like this.
But Lou starts to make him realise that his life is still worth living.
My heart actually broke at this breathtaking novel and I was a blubbering mess for a long long time. Sure there was something about the start of the book that I didn’t quite gel with but it was still a good book, none the less.
12. Girl of Ink and Stars, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped.
When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.
But the world beyond the walls is a monster filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.
This is one aesthetically pleasing book. Please go and check out the cover and the pages and tell me how beautiful it is! It’s annotated with such gorgeous illustrations all to do with navigation and there are two intricate maps that I just can’t get enough of. Yes, I couldn’t get into it initially but once I reread it and got past a couple of pages, I couldn’t get enough of this beautiful standalone.
11. On The Other Side, by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Evie Snow is eighty two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded y her children and her grandchildren. It’s the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door to her own personal heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty seven year old self and the door won’t open.
Her soul must be lighter if she wants to finally rest in piece so she has to unburden herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years; before it’s too late.
This book felt like Carrie Hope Fletcher was speaking directly to me. The language she used was almost exactly like her actual speech and I just wanted to plunge headfirst into this novel and enjoy the love story of Evie and Vincent. It was so unconventional in so many ways and I still can’t get over it.
10. Mother, Mother, by Koren Zailckas
An electrifying novel about a family being torn apart by the woman who claims to love them the most.
There’s really very little that I can say about this book other than the fact that it really is electrifying. This book dealt with so many social taboo issues and it really opened my eyes to what it’s like to live in an abusive household; to how controlling people are. There were times that it was slightly confusing but it rounded off perfectly later.
9. The Coldest Girl in Cold Town, by Holly Black
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race agains the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wick, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
Holly Black has such a unique writing style. I truly cannot get over how easily the words flowed off of the page and created this sensual world. And if there’s one thing she’s good at, it’s leaving an ending for interpretation. So many things could have happened and it left me thinking about it for weeks, no months, after i’d finished it.
8. The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson
In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with colour once more?
Another slow burner but I can say this with utter security. Brandon Sanderson is a master if I ever saw one and some of his words were strung like poetry. All I want to know is, how can this be a trilogy with that ending? I’m going to have to read the rest of the books now.
7. Curse of the Sphinx, by Raye Wagner
How long can a monster stay hidden in plain sight?
Hope Nicholas has ben on the run her entire life. But no one is chasing her. No one knows she actually exists. But when her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope’s life shatters. Is this the fulfilment of Apollo’s curse, murder from the shadow monsters of the Underworld, or have the demigods finally found her? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again, but this time there’s no one to teach her who to trust – or how to love.
How is this a debut novel? This was pure perfection in almost every way. Hell, I thought it was going to be my best read. It came close. If I hadn’t read so many great things during the rest of the year. It really did compete for the longest time with one other book but then some other things seemed to take over from it. Such a brilliant book no matter what though!
6. A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at a steep cost. But now, nothing is as it was before and everything she thinks she knows about those she loves … and hates … is a lie.
Now this book wasn’t perfect at all. There were many problems with it. Like the obscene amount of sex and the sudden deterioration of characters that were viewed so highly during the previous book. But if there’s one thing that Sarah J. Maas can do it’s create beautiful characters that you just want to spend days with and, despite the large amount of sex, I did find myself hooked from the get go.
5. Winter, by Marissa Meyer
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, is ready – at last – to face the Evil Lunar Queen Levana and find her own happily ever after. But the only way that she and her allies might have a chance at anything is with the help of the Lunar People and they love only one person; Princess Winter.
A wonderful conclusion to a breathtakingly gripping series. Truly I couldn’t ask for anything more, even though I really really really didn’t want to say goodbye to any of the characters.
4. Empire of Storms, by Sarah J. Maas
As the Kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Celaena Sardothien is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim the world. With war looking on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Celaena holds dear.
I know that this was slightly disappointing for some people but I was beyond satisfied with this book and everything that it had to offer. There were so many moments when I was screaming about things. Though, please understand this note, Ms Maas I really don’t enjoy the added sex in your novels. It just adds a lot of awkward tension that I really don’t enjoy. But other than that, I am sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book! Why are you just under a year away?
These three books were the hardest to list by far. I loved all of them almost equally and it took me the longest time to actually figure out what order these three were going to fit in.
3. Nevernight, by Jay Kristoff
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Will Mia Corvere even survive initiation, let alone have her revenge?
To be honest, I didn’t expect to like this book. It sounded like a really intriguing plot but I didn’t know if it would play off well. I’d only ever read one of Kristoff’s works and that was with another author so I didn’t know what his writing was going to be like. But it was brilliant. It was gory and thrilling and everything a book about an assassin should be!
2. Wolf by Wolf, by Ryan Graudin
The year is 1956, and the Axis power of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hilter and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.
Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance have given Yael one goal: win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skin shift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele’s twin brother, and Luka, her former lover, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.
But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
I was sent a copy of this by Netgalley and the plot really intrigued me. My one fear was that it wouldn’t be well written. I was wrong. The plot was well thought out and I really couldn’t have predicted any of the twists if I wanted to. Not because they were unpredictable, no when I look back there was loads of foreshadowing but it was just well hidden in remarkable writing.
1. Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
On board the Jump Station Heimdall, at the edge of the galaxy, Hanna Donnelly – the captain’s daughter – and Nik Malikov – a reluctant member of a notorious crime family – are about to be thrown in the on going struggle that all but destroyed Kerenza. They don’t know what happened on board the Hypita until an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station and then Nik and Hanna, and Kady and Ezra are going to find that they’ll need each other – and the insane AI – if either ship wants to survive.
Who would have thought that the same amazing duo would write my favourite book of the year two years running? Not me, if i’m honest. And I wasn’t even going to read this this month, I was going to save it till January. This wasn’t quite as good as Illuminae; I wasn’t as shocked at some of the twists as I had been before. But this still held my attention and I was able to read it in two sittings since I wasn’t sat in a dozen and one hospital waiting rooms this December. My mind was still completely blown at two of the major plot points and the third … well I sort of figured that one out already if i’m honest. I loved Hanna and Nik’s relationship (not as much as Kady and Ezra’s but I still loved it) and I’m so glad that Aidan was back! Once again I have to ask myself, why do I have to wait another year to read such a beautiful book and is that the end of the series or are there going to be more? I need to know these things!
There we go, my top 16 books of 2016. I hope you read some amazing books this year. If you could pick one, what’s your favourite read of the year? If not, what are your top 5 favourite reads; they don’t have to be numbered. I’d love to know, it might help me pick something new to read for next year.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Book Total of 2016 – 1o1