Favorite books of 2016

Well, the year is almost over, and though I didn’t achieve my Goodreads Reading Challenge (not officially, though if you add in the 30+ graphic novels I read this year, I blew it out of the park), I still managed to read and discover a number of delightful stories.

I frequently gush about my current read at work with my coworkers, but this year I thought I’d compile a list of all the books I loved this year to share with the rest of the world.

Disclaimer** I’m listing my favorite books I’ve read this year, which may not necessarily translate to books published this year. Still, I’m hoping one or two readers might find a new title or two to enjoy. If you see something you like, click the picture for the Goodreads page, or the title to buy from Amazon!

  1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
    Best book of the year, by far. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)There was just so much to love – the character growth, the emotion, the foreshadowing … I get goosebumps just remembering. This was one of those books where I finished and immediately wanted to read it again. What’s even more incredible? I felt pretty meh about the first book in the series. I mean, it was good, but it didn’t blow my socks off like the sequel has! Now I’m counting down the days until A Court of Wings and Ruin (goosebumps again!) releases this May. FYI – if anyone wants to send me an ARC of ACOWAR they’ll become my favorite person in the universe. Hint, hint, Madam Maas. 🙂
  2. Six of Crows (and Crooked Kingdom) by Leigh Bardugo – Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Now, I will admit: this duology came a very close second to ACOMAF. Interestingly enough, I only picked Six of Crows up because it looked pretty. The pages are black around the edges (at least, for the hardcover they are) with gorgeous red end papers. Then I started reading it while waiting in line to get it signed … and I was thrilled to discover the story was just as incredible as it looked! I may or may not have finished the first in record time and ran straight to a store to buy the sequel … Plot twists, anti-heroes, unexpected romance, and tons of action abound in these two books, making them some of my favorites ever. Again, I had that itch to reread them as soon as I finished them. Always a good sign, in my opinion.
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell –
    I don’t even remember Fangirlwhat made me pick this book up, but boy, am I glad I did! Unlike my first two choices (which are both fantasy), Fangirl is a wonderful new adult contemporary romance. Though, when I first started reading, I didn’t realize it was going to be a romance. I just liked it because the main character, Cath, is the epitome of an introvert and happens to write fanfiction as well. But the romance in this book is sooo sweet, and I love the challenges that Cath has to face regarding her family, her writing, and herself. I actually surrendered to the urge to reread this one … twice! It gets better every time. 🙂
  4. In 27 Days by Alison GervaisIn 27 Days
    I almost didn’t include this title, because it’s technically not out yet. I received an ARC of this incredible contemporary romance (with paranormal elements), and guys: you have to put this on your reading list now. Not only are there the usual comedic or swoon-worthy scenes found in YA romance, but there are some deep messages regarding depression and suicide. Even so, the book is still fun and enjoyable, and I look forward to reading it again and again!
  5. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
    HeartlessProbably the only book on this list that doesn’t have a happy ending … and no, that isn’t a spoiler, because Heartless is the origin story behind the infamous Queen of Hearts from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. I mean, we all know what she’s like in that story, so something drastic had to happen to make her the way she was, right? However, one of the aspects of Heartless that I truly admired was the way Marissa Meyer wove all of the characters from Alice into her story. You learn how the Duchess came to have a pig-child, where the White Rabbit’s housemaid came from, the unfortunate origin of the mock turtle … and why the Queen of Hearts is so obsessed with beheading. And that’s just a few of them.
  6. The Black Orchid by Celine JeanjeanThe Black Orchid (The Viper and the Urchin, #2)
    This steampunk-esque fantasy series is one of my favorites. You have interesting characters (an assassin that can’t stand the sight of blood), a touch of romance (go Rafe!), mystery (poor Longinus and his black silk), murder (bloodless, even) and so much more. The author took the solid foundation of book one and created an even more compelling and incredible sequel – and I can’t wait to read the next installment! Honestly, I love and hate the fact that I fall in love with books in a series … because waiting for the authors to write new volumes is agony.
  7. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi AshtonMy Lady JaneI’ll admit, I wasn’t very thrilled to receive this book in my first ever Owlcrate, because it didn’t seem like something I’d enjoy. Boy, was I wrong. In less than three pages, I was howling with laughter and completely hooked on the story: who wouldn’t be when you learned that this alternate history had shapeshifters in it, and Henry VIII would turn into a lion and eat people instead of beheading them? You know the saying, “Don’t kill the messenger?” In My Lady Jane, it’s “Don’t eat the messenger.” I kid you not. If that’s not good enough, wait until you get to the horse jokes. Seriously, this was one of the most enjoyable books I read this year, in that it had me in stitches throughout the whole thing. I love books that make you laugh out loud!
  8. P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
    Despite the fact that I saw the plot twist coming from a mile away, P.S. I Like You is a sweet romance capturing all the drama of high school. The characters are all identifiable, make ridiculous assumptions and mistakes (just like I used to in high school), and have realistic problems and issues that they work out during the story. This book might not be life-changing, but it was adorable and refreshing and I think folks should read it anyway. 😀
  9. The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
    The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasThis book has everything I could possibly ask for in a fantasy. Magic, royalty, humor, romance, ridiculous attempts for the female MC to masquarade as a boy … well, I guess that last one isn’t a requirement. But it sure made for fantastic tension and great shenanigans! I also really liked the parallel universe setting – though it was a little confusing at first. After all, I knew Eton was in England – but the book starts off somewhere else. Also, the little footnotes scattered throughout the book were a little annoying … but not enough to stop me from enjoying the story and characters! Now I need to stop being lazy and go read the rest of the series …
  10. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)Another book that had me rolling with laughter. Take a typical high school girl, have her (for some crazy reason) write love letters to the guys she’s fallen out of love with because of whatever reason (they’re taken, she’s realized they’ll never like her back, they move away, etc), ADDRESS THEM, only to put them in a box in her closet. That’s not a recipe for disaster, now is it? Needless to say, hilarity abounds in this lighthearted story.
  11. Do Not Wash Hands In Plates by Barb Taub
    Do Not Wash Hands In Plates by Barb Taub My only non-fiction title on the list, and y
    et another book that will have you laughing so hard you might wet your pants. Do Not Wash Hands In Plates is a tongue-in-cheek travel memoir depicting the real-life issues author Barb Taub encountered in India, complete with pictures. My one piece of advice? Make sure you read the prologue, because you definitely need to know about horn sonar. Well, and try not to drink anything when you read … and if you don’t like giggling like a lunatic in public, maybe make sure to read the book in the safety of your own home.
  12. Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson – After My Lady Jane, I decided to give Walk on Earth a Stranger  (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)historical fantasy more of a chance; Rae Carson’s novel did not disappoint. Set during the Gold Rush-era America, it follows Lee Westfall, a girl who can sense gold. When her parents are murdered, she embarks on a journey west to California. Lee’s magic is woven seamlessly into what’s basically a historical novel, complete with all the hardships and obstacles settlers moving west would have encountered. In fact, at times it felt a lot like a fantasy version of Little House On The Prairie meets the Oregon Trail … complete with dysentery.
  13. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
    Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
    Recommended by my favorite author, Sarah Maas, Truthwitch is a classic YA fantasy … and boy, does it live up to its recommendation! The action scenes are awesome, the magic system fascinating, and the characters are wonderful. I particularly liked Merik and Aeduan, though Safi and Iseult are fascinating as well. I still want to know more about Iseult’s abilities and history. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. Even if Truthwitch ended on a heartbreaking note …
  14. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel BandeiraBookishly Ever After One of the most identifiable books I’ve ever read, with a main character eerily similar to … me. Phoebe is a book worm, the type that gets sucked into a story during lunch and is forced to socialize by her best friends. A hard core fan that has outfits designed after her favorite characters, and then wears them in public. The problem is, she’s more in love with fictional boys than real ones … Seriously, this sounds like a transcript of my life! But I honestly enjoyed the story, and the blossoming romance, and the fact that Phoebe learns that one shouldn’t always judge a book my its cover … or a boy by his resemblance to fictional characters.
  15. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
    Another great contemporary romance, The Start of Me and You
    with a dark, serious streak running through the plot. This is another story with incredible character growth, and I particularly liked that – for the first time ever – the main character chooses the guy I rooted for!
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