Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Favorite Books of 2016

Looking back over the books I read this past year, one thing is clear – I liked a lot of them, but I didn’t love a lot of them. So, my list of favorites of the past year is perhaps a bit shorter than previous years. That said, I did read more books this year than I did last year, which is always good, but will never compare to the one year where I seemed to read a book a week! 

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo 


Synopsis: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Why it made the list: The sequel to Six of Crows had me just as enthralled, if not even more. I think it helps that I already knew the characters and didn’t have any trouble getting back into the world. If anything, I wanted a little more from certain characters, but it’s tough when she has to balance so many different perspectives. Which makes it all the more impressive how easy it is to follow given the number of perspectives. I also liked that it was a clear end to the story rather than making it into a trilogy as is the common thing to do. Duologies are the new thing!

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys


Synopsis: World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Why it made the list: Wow. This one is powerful. I then went and read Between Shades of Gray shortly after this one, and it’s great as well. But, for some reason this one really knocked my socks off. Another book that features multiple perspectives that are distinct and interesting in their own ways. The fact that I knew absolutely zero about the real-life event this was based on made it all the more intriguing (and made me want to look it up to find out what had happened before finishing the book, but I stopped myself!). If you like historical fiction even a little bit, you’ll like this one.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh


Synopsis: Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Why it made the list: I wasn’t sure about this one at first, then it steadily drew me in just as Shazi drew in Khalid. I also read the sequel this year, but I don’t think it’s as strong as this debut. The two leads spend too much time apart in the sequel, though it does end in a very satisfying way. This book is very romantic while also building up a sense of mystery and intrigue and kept me hooked throughout.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith


Synopsis: When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible--and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality. With the police focusing on one of the suspects, Strike and Robin delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them..

Why it made the list: Yes, this is another in the Cormoran Strike series by JK Rowling aka Robert Galbraith. However, I think this one may have been my favorite out of all of them so far. The other books focus more on Strike than Robin, whereas this one really brings Robin to the forefront, delving into her relationships and feelings for the two men in her life. Not to mention she’s basically being stalked by the killer. It ends on a note that makes you want the next one right now as well, which I think is always a good sign!

You can check out all of the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page, but let me know if you’ve had any favorites from this year that I should check out!

My Favorite Books of 2015
My Favorite Books of 2014
My Favorite Books of 2013
My Favorite Books of 2012

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