Top 10 Best Books of 2016

This is my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post. I don’t usually participate, but it just so happened that the idea I had for my next blog post corresponded with their theme, so I decided to participate.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Brook and the Bookish. Read the original version of this topic here.

These are my top ten favorite books I read this year in no particular order.

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The first two books in the Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin are phenomenal. The world-building is some of the best I’ve seen. I liked the first book more than the second, but the second is still good enough to make this list.

I read the first book in the middle of a massive reading slump and with a lot happening in my life, but it managed to get through to me all the same. That’s impressive.

I wouldn’t recommend this to the younger readers of this blog because this is definitely an adult book, but for everyone else reading this who likes fantasy I highly recommend picking these books up.

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I loved the first book of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crow’s Duology, and the sequel was just as good. I loved the way the cast meshed so well with one another. One perspective never overwhelmed the others. I loved reading from each and every character. The anti-human trafficking message is great as well.

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This book surprised me. I expected it to be terrible, but this prequel is better than the main series. I love the complexity of Darkstalker’s character: how I’m never sure if he is the hero or the villain. It’s something I don’t see a lot of in middle grade novel, but I do wish the author had chosen a name other than Darkstalker.

Darkstalker is a prequel to the Wings of Fire Series, but can be read as a standalone.

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And Then There Were None is my first Agatha Christie novel, and I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. This book is a classic for a reason. Agatha Christie knows how to tell a mystery. My only qualms are that I had trouble connecting with the characters because of the distant narration, and I’m quite glad to have read the modified version as opposed to the original . . .

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These two books are very different but technically part of the same series, so I’m lumping them together.

The Bands of Mourning is the sixth book in the Mistborn Series, and you definitely need to have read from at least the first book in the spinoff, The Alloy of Law,  and preferably the original trilogy too to understand what is happening.

The Bands of Mourning has a different tone from the previous books in the series with more focus on discovery, but was still excellent.

Mistborn: Secret History is a novella that it’s impossible to say anything about without spoilers except that “There is always another secret,” and you need to have read at least the first three Mistborn books before this one, and preferably most of the books in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe too. I highly recommend Mistborn: Secret History to fans of Sanderson’s Cosmere, but no one else because you will be too confused.

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This Savage Song kept me up late into the night, and I read it twice: once in physical form and once in audio because I liked it so much. The sequel is one of my most anticipated reads of next year.

I love August’s internal struggle as a monster who wanted to be human, and can’t wait to see what happens next in this fascinating world.

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Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not asked to put it on this list. Opinions are my own. 

The Diabolic had great timing for me. It’s the book that marked an end to the reading slump I mentioned earlier. It also contains some of my favorite tropes. I love space operas and characters from one social group masquerading as a character from another social group.

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I love Morning Star for similar reasons to the book above as it contains similar reasons to the book I mentioned above as it is also sci-fi and contains a character from one group masquerading as a person from another group.

This is the only book on this list I went to the book store to buy because I couldn’t wait the amount of time it would take for shipping to get this book. I was not disappointed.

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January 2016 Wrap-up

I read eleven books and a novella in January. I’ve been keeping track of how many books I read each month since January of last year. This is the largest number I have on record.

Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)Fire Falling (Air Awakens, #2)

Short Synopsis: A teenage girl might be the only one who can determine the end of a war.

Thoughts: These books are very fast paced and addicting. This would be a good read for people who either haven’t read a lot of fantasy, or are looking for a fast paced fantasy novel. I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy, and these novels contained several common tropes that kept me from loving the story entirely.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

25403108Short Synopsis: Alcatraz discovers most of the world is secretly ruled by a cult of evil librarians. He must stop them by going on a quest to rescue a bag of sand believed to have the potential to allow the librarians to complete their quest for domination.

Thoughts: This book left me conflicted. On one hand, it had me frequently laughing out loud, the way it purposefully broke the “rules” of narration sometimes left me staring in awe, and the concept of a world ruled by librarians was interesting to consider.

On the other hand, the “rules” of narration are “rules” for a reason, and I sometimes found myself annoyed. This is also far from my favorite work by this author, and I’m interested to see what he would have come up with had this book been written more recently.

I listened to this one in audiobook format, and the reader did an excellent job. I looked at the text and saw parenthesis everywhere. I am not a fan of parenthesis, though I know they were used on purpose in this case.

Rating: 4 blue jays

17910048Short Synopsis: An 18-year-old, half-goblin, half-elvish young man who has lived his life in exile inherits an elvish kingdom.

Thoughts: Normally, books that don’t build to a dramatic climax are a pet peeve of mine, but this one just works somehow. I think I just found the court intrigue so interesting that the lack of frequent action and a climax didn’t bother me much.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire, #2)16100976The Dark Secret (Wings of Fire, #4)18527497

Short Synopsis: Books 2 through 5 of a series that follows five young dragons who are prophesied to end a war.

Thoughts: I continue to enjoy that this story is told from the perspective of dragons rather than humans, though parts of it were a little formulatic. It started to break the formula a little towards the end which I appreciated.

The end of book five feels like a complete story arc, and I’m not sure whether I will continue. However, the narrator of the next book is of particular interest to me so there is a high possibility of it.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Invaded (Alienated, #2)

Short Synopsis: Human and space alien exchange program gone wrong. The second book in a trilogy.

Thoughts: The first time I tried to read this book I started reading Mistborn: The Final Empire not long after. Those who frequent this blog are probably familiar with how much I enjoy Brandon Sanderson’s works, and will not be surprised when I say that this book didn’t stand a chance of being finished then.

In January I ended up trying again with this book from the beginning after I learning I would have the opportunity to attend the author’s book signing. I enjoyed this book much more the second time around and am looking forward to reading the author’s newest release.

4 blue jays

Legion (Legion, #1)

Short Synopsis: A man uses hallucinations to solve crimes.

Thoughts: This novella was a lot of fun, and very creative. The Emperor’s Soul remains my favorite of Sanderson’s novellas, but I’m interested to see what direction the sequel takes.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Carry OnShort Synopsis: Magicians try to save the world from the magic depleting creature known as the Insidious Humdrum and solve the mystery behind a murder while sorting out their complicated love life.

Thoughts: There were some aspects of this book that I really liked, and others that I didn’t like so much. The pacing was too slow at the beginning and too fast at the end. Some of the point of views seemed unnecessary. There was also the use of parenthesis, which I actually thought were used exceptionally well in this book, but were still often unnecessary. I think I’ve already mentioned my feelings on parenthesis in fiction earlier in this post.

At the same time, the characters were well developed and really liked the magic system and the concept of the Humdrum.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6)Short Synopsis: Book six in the Mistborn series.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. The characters’ had great synergy, and there were several twists that I didn’t see coming. This is my first five star read of 2016.

Rating: five blue jays

Writing

I didn’t accomplish much in the way of writing last month. Hence the large number of books I had time to read, but I’d like to change that in February. I haven’t written much since the end of November, and the long break has given me a better appreciation of how much I enjoy writing.

This month I plan to either begin rewriting part two of my high fantasy work in progress, or start on the first draft of one of the many ideas I’ve been longing to write.

10 Most Anticipated 2016 Book Releases

I’m anticipating far more books than will make it on this list, but these are the ten I am most looking forward to. This list is in order of my very most anticipated of the ten to least anticipated of the ten. Though if the book has made this list at all it still means that I really want to read it.

Before I begin I would like to give an honorable mention to book three in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. If this book is somehow released this year than it is absolutely my most anticipated.

Morning Star (Red Rising Trilogy, #3)

1. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

Release Date: Febuary 9, 2016

After the end of the second book, Golden Son, I am eagerly awaiting the third book in the Red Rising trilogy.

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6)

2. The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6/Alloy Era #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Few who follow this blog are likely to be surprised in my choice of a Brandon Sanderson novel. Even if Stormlight #3 does not release this year I’ll still be satisfied by a combination of this book and Calamity.

Flamecaster (Shattered Realms, #1)

3. Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1)

Release Date: April 5, 2016

This is the spin-off series of Seven Realms taking place a number of years later. I really enjoyed the world of Seven Realms, and the way the series ended left a few left ends in terms of this fictional world as a whole so I am curious to see what has changed in the time between the two series.

4. The Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 22, 2016

I really enjoyed the first book in Six of Crows, and I’m curious about the direction the second book will take.

A Gathering of Shadows  (A Darker Shade of Magic, #2)

5. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Release Date: February 23, 2016

The first book was addictive and fun. I’m curious to see which direction the second book takes.

6. Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Release Date: Fall 2016

I really enjoyed the first book, and hope that it means more YA novels set in space will gain popularity in the future as I would like to read more of them. I’m also very curious to see the direction the second book takes.

Beyond the Red

7. Beyond The Red by Ava Jae

Release Date: March 1, 2016

I follow this author’s blog, and find the writing advice she gives to be very useful. The setting of an alien planet in a YA novel also interests me greatly.

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)
Not the final cover.

8. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Release Date: September 27, 2016

I really enjoy this author’s writing style, and suspect that this will have continued to grow in her newest series. This book sounds like it has the potential to be very good.

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

9. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Release Date: February 16, 2016

The summary of this book sounds very interesting to me. Time travel interests me, and I figured this list needed more novels from debut authors.

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)

10. The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

Release Date: May 3, 2016

Rick Riordan’s books always have a tendency to put me in a very good mood. It was hard to choose the final book in this list, but in the end I chose this one for that reason.