The Top 16 Books I Read in 2016

When I started thinking about what books I was going to put on this list, it was harder than I thought it would be. I had a difficult time choosing ones I loved versus ones I simply enjoyed. Overall, though, the list turned out pretty well.

 

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

5 stars

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is definitely my all-time favorite book of the year, and one of my favorite books in general.

I read this book at the very beginning of the year, so you know it was a great read if it stuck with me for this long. It is set in Barcelona, Spain, during the height of the Spanish Civil War. The story centers on Daniel, a young boy whose father owns a bookstore, who becomes fascinated with a mysterious author named Julian Carax. Only someone is going out of his or her way to destroy all of Carax’s books in print. What’s more, Daniel is surprised to discover that his life mirrors that of the late author.

The writing in The Shadow of the Wind was beautiful and flowed so well. The pacing was not too fast and not too slow. I really liked Daniel and his friend Fermin is easily my favorite side character from any book.

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

5 stars

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I have a whole review of Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco that I posted last month where I am basically gushing about how much I love this book. So, naturally, it deserved a spot on this list.

Stalking Jack the Ripper follows budding forensic pathologist Audrey Rose Wadsworth, who becomes caught up in the Jack the Ripper murders. The writing was great; I was hooked from the first sentence. The depiction of what was happening in London during the Victorian era, both economically and socially, were historically accurate. The issue of women and gender was also brought up frequently. Justice for Jack the Ripper’s victims, all of them unfairly judged prostitutes, was pushed as much as the capture of the killer. I appreciated all these aspects very much.

Audrey Rose, the protagonist, has made it onto the list of my favorite heroines. She’s smart, determined, sassy, and independent. She does not care what others think of her, she rejects society’s expectations of her gender and her social status, and is not afraid to get her hands dirty inside a corpse. And she still loves pretty dresses.

Other characters I enjoyed in this novel are Thomas Cresswell, a fellow forensic pathology student, and Dr. Jonathon Wadsworth, Audrey Rose’s uncle. If you love Will Herondale from Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy, chances are you will love Thomas. Though he still practices the usual manners of the era, such as refusing to say “prostitute” in front of a woman, Dr. Wadsworth does support Audrey in her ambition to pursue a profession society frowns upon for her gender.

 

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

5 stars

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One of my new favorite authors of the year, Dawn Kurtagich writes spectacular horror novels written in some of the most interesting formats. The Dead House is the first book I read by her.

Told through diary entries, police interview transcripts, newspaper articles, video transcripts, and other formats, the novel focuses on a mysterious fire that burned a boarding school to the ground, taking the lives of three teenagers. One student, quiet Carly Johnson, is missing. But there is a piece to the puzzle no one could figure out. In the attic of the school, the charred remnants of a diary belonging to a girl named Kaitlyn are found. Except no one has any idea who this Kaitlyn is.

I thought the format the book would throw me off, but it didn’t. The way the story was told added a new level of creepiness to it. Through her diary entries, you see Kaitlyn slowly losing her grip on her reality, struggling to protect Carly while maintaining her own existence. I thought I wouldn’t like the ending either—there is no straightforward answer. But, somehow, for this book, it worked.

 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

5 stars

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Salt to the Sea pulled my heartstrings like a violin. Set the near end of WWII, the story follows four characters as they flee Eastern Europe and boarding the doomed Wilhelm Gustloff, whose casualties were greater than that of the Titanic.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I never learned about the Wilhelm Gustloff in school. Salt to the Sea was eye opening and emotional. Ruta Sepetys did a beautiful job painting a picture of the heartbreak and the tragedy, never shying away from gory details.

The characters all felt real, too. I got attached to three of the four main characters (the fourth was a dimwit Nazi that I did not like at all) as well as some of the minor characters, like the shoe poet. How could anyone not love the shoe poet? The only problem I have with this whole book is that the ONE CHARACTER I did NOT want to die, died.

 

We Believe You by Annie E. Clark

5 stars

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This book made me uncomfortable, sad, and very, very angry. In other words, it was a good book.

We Believe You is a collection of testimonies from anti-sexual violence activists and college campus sexual assault survivors. It details what these women and men encountered during and after their assaults, the injustice many faced when taking their cases to court, and then taking their lives back by standing up to the sexual violence happening across college campuses.

First of all, I have to say TRIGGER WARNING to anyone that wants to read this book, particularly those who were victims of assaults themselves. While I personally have never been sexually assaulted, several of the accounts in this novel are graphic. Although, given the purpose of the book, that was likely their intent. Let me tell you: it worked.

I was angry with many of the colleges featured in this book. They were more interested in making it go away than getting justice for the victims and protecting the students. I was shocked even more about the lack of support many of the survivors received from friends and family. That made me really, really sad and very, very sick.

Aside from all this, I am so glad I read this book. It was inspiring and thought-provoking. Anyone, whether you are a victim of sexual assault or you know someone who is a survivor, you can find strength in this book, and words of wisdom on how to deal with your own situation, reminding you that you’re not alone in what you are feeling.

 

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

5 stars

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The Wrath and the Dawn was as beautiful as everyone promised it would be. I love Shazi, the protagonist, who could give Aelin from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas a run for her money as a badass lady. She’s smart and brave. She loves her friends and family. She’s not afraid to risk it all to do the right thing, even if others don’t always agree with her. Shazi is what made The Wrath and the Dawn for me.

Another aspect I loved about this book was the world building. Until I read The Wrath and the Dawn, I had not read a lot of books set in the Middle East. I thought I would be confused by the magic system or the mythology behind it. Only it was written in a way I could understand and the explanation behind what was happening was not complicated as some other high fantasy novels are.

Also, can we take a moment to gush about Khalid? Seriously, who would not want to be this boy’s queen?

 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

5 stars

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I loved The Wrath and the Dawn and An Ember in the Ashes in equal measure, so it was hard for me to rank these two on my favorites lists this year. In terms of writing, I would have to say An Ember in the Ashes wins. I found myself rereading passages several times while reading this book.

I was also fascinated by the world: a high fantasy atmosphere mirroring Ancient Rome. The school for the Masks was my favorite part. These kids are trained to be warriors, with both the emotional and mental states of soldiers. Then, you have Elias, one of the main characters, rebelling against everything he’s been taught because he was not entirely brought up within that society. He risked a lot to stand up for what was right—and putting his bitch of a mother in her place.

As for Laia, the other protagonist, I identified a lot with her. Going undercover as a slave to help her brother took guts, but she has such a low self-esteem she still sees herself as weak. I suffer from self-doubt a lot, so that is something I can understand. Plus, I loved how she and Elias worked together, balancing each other out.

 

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

5 stars

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Absolutely my favorite book in the Cormoran Strike mystery series by Robert Galbraith, Career of Evil made me wish JK Rowling would give up writing more Harry Potter stories to focus on her Galbraith books.

Career of Evil is the most thrilling and complex mystery in the series so far. Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin are two of my favorite characters. They are flawed, but likeable characters and smart, determined investigators. While some people say they prefer them as work friends, I personally would like to see them come together as a couple. I detest the people Strike and Robin are currently paired with. But if that never happens, they still make great detective partners.

 

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

5 stars

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I read Queen of Shadows, book 4 in the Throne of Glass series, in January, and Empire of Storms, book 5 in the series, in November. When I read Queen of Shadows, I wrote in my Goodreads review that it was my least favorite book in the series thus far. However, that title now belongs to Empire of Storms.

The writing in Queen of Shadows was great and the world building fantastic. The plot was complex in a good way. But I felt that, at some parts, it dragged on and 100 pages could have been shed off. I cared for all the characters. I grew to adore Manon and I was scared for Dorian. I like Rowan a lot as a character, but I found his relationship with Aelin to be forced. I was concerned for Aelin, but I felt she was making a lot of poor choices that told me she was not ready to be a queen. And I absolutely detested the horrendous character shaming directed at Chaol. But the twist at the end made up for all that.

 

The Muse by Jessie Burton

5 stars

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Jessie Burton is another favorite author I discovered this year. I read two of her books, The Miniaturist and The Muse, and enjoyed both of them in equal measure. But between the two, it had to be The Muse that was my favorite.

Set in alternating time periods, one in London 1967 and the other in Spain 1936, the novel follows the perspective of two different young women, whose lives are connected by a mysterious painting. That is all I’m going to say.

The best way to read a Jessie Burton novel is to go into knowing as little as possible. She writes complicated plots filled with twists. She leaves just breadcrumbs for the reader to put the pieces together for themselves. But, chances are, what you are thinking is about to happen, might not.

Her writing style is beautiful. The Muse is hunker of a book, but Jessie Burton writes in a way that makes the story a breeze, as well as urges you to keep reading. She also has a way of vividly describing historical events, exploring the social and economical issues of the centuries she writes in. The characters are realistic and flawed, but still as likeable as they can be. On a side note, though, don’t make any of the couples in The Muse your next OTP.

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

5 stars

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The most heartbreaking book on this list, Thirteen Reasons Why reminded me of how much I hated high school.

A strange reason to add a book, but I understand why even my friends that don’t read as much as I do love Thirteen Reasons Why. Everyone can see a little bit of himself or herself in either Hannah or Clay. Hannah was the new girl in town that only wanted to make friends and fit in. Then, she makes one silly mistake and everyone turns against her. People targeted her for a perceived slight. She was left alone to deal with the problem. Her secrets and her loneliness pushed her over the edge.

As for Clay, he was a good kid who was only trying to do the right thing. In the end, he does. Instead of letting Hannah’s suicide be for nothing, he stopped history from potentially repeating itself.

Thirteen Reasons Why taught me—and everyone else—that, no matter what “clique” you were a part of in high school, those four years are a bitch to everyone.

 

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

4.75 stars

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My first ever book by Victoria Schwab and it did not disappoint. I received this book in my July Owlcrate box “Good vs. Evil.” I read it a month later and, though the beginning was slow, once it picked up, the story was great.

The writing is some of the loveliest I have read in a book. Victoria Schwab was not trying too hard to be poetic; she just is. The world is fascinating. Monsters born from the violent act of humans is one of the most original ideas I have seen in books. It was enough dystopian and fantasy that it worked. The main characters, Kate and August, were amazing. I loved August and I enjoyed watching Kate grow as a person. No one in this world was strictly good or evil.

 

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

4.5 stars

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The first book I ever reviewed on my blog, The First Time She Drowned is a dark contemporary young adult novel about a girl, recently released from a mental hospital, and her chaotic relationship with her unstable mother. As someone who identified with the main character because of my relationship with my own mother, this book left a lasting impression on me.

The writing was beautiful and the author does a good job at making you question the protagonist’s sanity at several moments. The main character, Cassie, was realistic and flawed, but still likeable. The novel is classified as young adult and there is a romance in the story. However, the relationships Cassie benefits from the most are her friendships and her counselor. And what I love most about this book is that it’s Cassie who saves herself in the end.

 

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

4.5 stars

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I had to put The Women in the Walls on this list, even though I only read it back in October. This is another book I wrote a review on for my blog, if you are interested.

The Women in the Walls is advertised as a horror and fantasy young adult novel, although I would say more under the former than the latter. For most of the book, it would fall under the category of psychological horror. Is Lucy, the main character, hearing things or is the house really haunted?

Most people would be sick of the “haunted house” trope, but Amy Lukavics has a way of making it work. She created an atmosphere that was unsettling and creepy. Anything strange happening in the novel usually surrounded Lucy’s aunt Penelope or her cousin Margaret. It doesn’t get truly gory until the last thirty pages, which is refreshing.

My favorite aspect of the novel, though, was Lucy. She knew something was wrong and she wanted to find out why rather than bury her head in the sand. She was surprisingly determined for someone that grew up sheltered by her wealthy but dysfunctional family. While she struggled with self-harm, Lucy knew it was not healthy and sought help for it, knowing her family would not give her the support she needed. Plus, the ending was not one I ever expected.

 

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

4 stars

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I remember, when I first started reading Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, I wanted to give it 3.5 stars. The writing was very good, only the plot started off slow and it bothered me—until the end of the book really—what the main character’s father asked her to do. Then, I reached the halfway point and I bumped it up to 4 stars.

I really liked Jo, the main character. She was a good person with great values. I love her friendships with Dana, her best friend; B.T.B, a sweet mentally challenged boy she meets at school; and George, a boy with two moms she befriends. They impact the story as much as Jo’s budding romance with Mary Carlson, another character I liked. (Although I was not a fan of how she was pushing Jo to come out to everyone in town, even though Jo lied to her about already being aware of her sexuality). This book was a great diverse contemporary read. It was fun and I highly recommend everyone read it.

 

And I Darken by Kiersten White

4 stars

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When I first heard of this book, a retelling of the Ottoman Empire if Vlad the Impaler was a woman, my first thought was GIMME! While I was not blown away by this book like many others were, I still enjoyed it immensely and I will pick up its sequel, Now I Rise, as soon as it becomes available this summer.

And I Darken was my first book by Kiersten White. The writing was beautiful and the author clearly did her research on the Ottoman Empire, such as what happened in history at that time, what daily life was like for people, particularly women, and the corruption within the different courts. The beginning started off slow, but once the story picked up, it was hard to put down.

As for Lada, the main character, I liked her, except I had mixed feelings about her. She was strong and cunning, and survived by her wits. She was considered unattractive, yet she didn’t care. On the flip side, I did not like how she treated her brother Radu, her polar opposite and my favorite character. He was such a sweet boy and I’m really worried about what’s going to happen to him in the next book. As for Mehmed, the prince of the Ottoman Empire, I have no idea how I feel about him. In a more contemporary novel, I would have called him a sexist prick. But given the time period And I Darken is set in, I have to admit, he is true to character. I’m curious to see what’s going to happen with him the rest of the trilogy.

 

If asked to review my reading in 2016 as a whole, I would have to say it was not the worst but not the best. I read 89 books this year, plus at least five rereads. Compared to 2015, which I read 108 books, that’s significantly low. Although, several of my friends that struggle with reading would roll their eyes at me.

However, 2016 was also when I became more critical of books. Unlike previous years, I didn’t hesitate handing out 2 star ratings, even if I did actually like the book. I learned that you could like a book, but know it’s not something overly impressive and will have problems you can’t get past.

The good news is I haven’t run out of material to read. I have a whole list of books I hope to read in 2017 and I know which ones to read to start the year off right. 2017, if the trend of odd number years sticks, will be another great reading year for me.

December 2016 Wrap Up

Thanks to college, December will be forever called “Epic Reading Slump Month.” I managed to read three books, and then I couldn’t read anymore. I started my new job at Macy’s, spending all day running around a stuffy stockroom, and, when I got home, all I wanted to do was watch Netflix or YouTube. I decided it was time to take a break from reading, at least until the year was over.

Only one of the three books I read in December were on my original “End of the Year TBR” blog post. Reading only three books would not feel so bad, except all of them were significantly low on the rating scale.

 

Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

2 stars

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The third and final book in the Rebel Belle trilogy by Rachel Hawkins, Lady Renegades was my least favorite.

I gave the book 2 stars, but I’m still not entirely sure of how I feel about it or the trilogy as a whole. Lady Renegades still had plenty of fun and hilarious moments. The characters had great witty one-liners and the writing made me want to keep reading. Only the ending was more than a little convenient and it lacked the fantasy element as well as the Greek mythology it was based in. I wanted to give it a chance, but in the end the whole book was a let down.

On a side note, I have a spoiler review of the whole trilogy posted, if you are interested.

 

Invisible by James Patterson

2.75 stars

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I wrote a spoiler-free review of Invisible a few weeks ago. This is the first James Patterson book that I was positively bored reading.

The writing was OK and the story was action-packed enough to keep me reading. Only the plot itself was predictable. The “twist” at the end was totally out there, even for a work of fiction. It felt a lot like a Criminal Minds episode, a very exaggerated one at that. I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I liked only one character, and it was not the main character. Regarding her, she was what I call the “Olivia Benson” trope. The bleeding heart cop that does not use her head, shuts people out, and runs over everyone to get what she wants. I could sympathize with her, but I did not connect with her.

This makes me very worried about any more James Patterson books I pick up in the future.

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

3 stars

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Maybe it’s because of the reading slump I fell into shortly before starting this book, but I honestly am not sure how I feel about The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

The synopsis of it is what drew me in. A grumpy, sarcastic widower, A.J. Fikry, who runs a bookstore, receives a surprising package in the form of a baby girl named Maya. To the surprise of others in his small seaside town, and himself, A.J. adopts Maya and raises her as his daughter. In turn, Maya turns his life around.

Two things I know for certain I enjoyed about this novel: the writing and Maya. The writing was beautiful, not too flowery, and several characters had a great sense of humor. However, there were times I was confused about who was narrating, because the POVs tended to switch without warning or space between paragraphs. As for Maya, she was easily my favorite character: smart, sassy, and lovable. I also enjoyed the book references throughout the novel.

The main con with this book is, to me, it seemed there were times that the novel focused more on characters whose problems had nothing to do with A.J. Some instances I did see a possible connection, others I didn’t. The story was primarily character-driven; which is fine, except all the characters, including A.J. and with the exception of Maya, seemed two-dimensional. When I first read about A.J., I was expecting a 50-year-old, not a 39-year-old. And it seemed he was always ornery, even before his wife died. (Although, I do agree with him about e-readers.)

Again, I blame it on the reading slump, but I just didn’t seem to connect with this book as much as I hoped I would.

Overall, I gave The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin 3 stars. I liked it but didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. Only I will likely be giving this book a re-read in a year or two, so maybe my opinion will have changed by then.

Unfortunately, 2016 ended on a disappointing note. However, given that December is a busy time of the year, whether you are in school or working retail, I’m not too surprised I did not do as well as I hoped I would. The good news is, 2017 has a chance of being another good year reading-wise, since I have plenty more books waiting on my bookshelves I’m super excited to get to.

 

Happy New Year! And happy reading!

My Reading Resolutions of 2017

Who else is amazed that we are six days away from a new year? Raise your hand!

Who else also sets resolutions for the New Year and never completes them? Raise your hand!

Aside the usual resolutions I put in for myself at the beginning of every year, I also have separate lists for my reading and writing goals of the year. Last year, I was an epic fail in a lot of resolutions I set for myself. That was my own fault: I made them too high. I set myself up for failure.

For 2017, I made resolutions I know I can keep and that I can manage as I enter the “adulting” phase of my life. Will I succeed at any of these? We will see when 2017 ends.

 

  1. No Goodreads Challenge for 2017

I realized at the end of 2016 I really do not want to do Goodreads Yearly Reading Challenge again in 2017. I had planned on not doing one for 2016, yet somehow I ended up doing it. I have a whole blog post on that fiasco, if you want to know more.

For me, Goodreads Challenges add unnecessary stress to reading. When life got busy and I was too tired to read—or I simply wanted to binge-watch Justice League on Netflix—knowing I wasn’t reading to complete my yearly goal filled me with guilt. Even if I managed to get ahead, it did not relieve any of the pressure to read. I was reading more because I did not want to fall behind, not because I actually wanted to. I also learned this year that the number of books I read in a year does not account for the quality of the books I read. So, even if I read a lower amount of books in 2017 than these past two years, the most important thing is that the books are good.

Plus, the Goodreads Challenge does not include books you reread. I reread the first two books in the Harry Potter series, but they didn’t have any dates marked on them, so they counted towards my Goodreads. It felt like cheating, which is silly, but you get my point right? It would not have counted otherwise if I didn’t. While I still reread a decent amount of books in 2016, there were still a plethora of others I didn’t get to because they would not count towards my reading goal on Goodreads.

  1. No more monthly TBRs

Most of us active in the book community on social media admit we almost never read all the books we set on our monthly “to be read” piles. In the past year or so, I have become very much a “mood reader.” I almost always lost interest in several books I set myself up to read every month.

Again, guilt plays a role in this, at least for me. There were books I knew I would love and set on multiple TBRs, yet I never picked them up. I don’t know why. But it became annoying. I want to read what I want to read.

  1. Do not read more than one book at a time

Before I started college, I could read five (or more) books at a time. During college, that became impossible. With all the school reading I had to do, I couldn’t keep up with my personal reading. I also found that, by reading more than one book at a time, I was ignoring the other books I wasn’t enjoying as much and putting them off until I couldn’t anymore. In 2017, I want to prevent that from happening by reading only one book at a time. This should be much easier to accomplish without a Goodreads Reading Challenge.

  1. Read books out of the library before buying them

I started doing this the summer of 2016, after graduating college and now without the two campus jobs that I had to provide my book-buying addiction. This practice proved to be especially useful.

By checking books out of the library before buying my own copies, I don’t run the risk of wasting money on a book it turned out I did not like. If I hated the book, I could return it to the library and never have to see it again. Plus, I save money and I am utilizing a great service such as my local library.

  1. Reread books I read in previous years

I used to reread books frequently. But I haven’t in a long time. That has been bothering me lately, especially since I read so many great books in 2015 and haven’t picked up any of my all-time favorites in years.

To make it a little easier for myself, I made a list of the priority books I want to reread in 2017. Will I read all of them? Probably not, but at least I have guidelines on where to start.

Books I want to reread in 2017:

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

           My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

           The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

           The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

           The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

           The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

           The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

           The Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

           The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

           Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

 

These resolutions should be easy enough, right? Of course, we will see what happens at the end of 2017.

Most Disappointing Books of 2016

I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

I have read enough disappointing books this year that I can write a blog post about them. I see these types of entries on blogs and in videos on YouTubers every year, but I didn’t have a lot to contribute until 2016. While I have read other books that were significantly low on the rating scale, more than I have in previous years, the books on this list are on it because they were the ones I had known about for a long time, was excited to read them, and then they let me down. Either I am becoming more critical of books or I have just had the misfortune of reading books that did not meet my expectations.

Anyway, here are my most disappointing reads of 2016.

 

Whitefern by V.C. Andrews

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These books are not in any particular order, but Whitefern by V.C. Andrews is definitely a shoo-in for the number-one spot on this list.

Whitefern is supposed to be a “sequel” to My Sweet Audrina, one of V.C. Andrews’s best novels that was published decades ago (my mom actually read it). It’s a dark, twisted novel about a young girl, an unreliable narrator, living with her wealthy but dysfunctional family in a grand, haunting Victorian mansion. When I found out V.C. Andrews’s ghostwriter was coming out with a sequel to My Sweet Audrina, called Whitefern, I made a whole post on Books Amino gushing about how excited I was.

I had it on my Amazon Wishlist as soon as I found out, but I was reluctant to spend the $20 on the hardcover. Then, I saw my local library had it and I could not wait to read it.

The reviews on Whitefern are mostly negative, but they are well earned.

I expected another dark psychological mystery with the same determined, smart protagonist. Instead, I got a ton of drama, predictable plot, horrendous character development, and a one-dimensional protagonist that sat around waiting for things to happen to her.

Needless to say, I am glad I did not spend that $20.

 

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

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Easily the second most disappointing book I read in 2016. I gave Hidden Bodies, the sequel to the psychological thriller You by Caroline Kepnes, 3.5 stars on Goodreads. Not a bad rating, compared to some of the other books on this list. But if I were to compare it to its predecessor, it would not hold a candle.

Hidden Bodies was not as creepy as You and Joe, the protagonist who is a darkly funny stalker, did not have the same craziness that made him so delightful. The writing was still good, but the plot was boring and I did not like Joe’s new “girlfriend” in this book. Compared to Beck, his obsession in the first book that was not the typical girl you see in stalker films, the girl he falls for was plainly boring.

You was better off as a stand-alone book. There was no need for a sequel.

 

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

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I was expecting this book to be creepy. A family cursed to have accidents, either harmless or fatal, at the end of every October; you would think it would be extremely creepy. Also, there are mentions of a taboo relationship: the protagonist is in love with her former stepbrother. But there were so, so many problems with this book.

It seemed the author could not decide if she wanted the novel to be horror or magical realism. She was definitely trying too hard to make her writing come off as “beautiful” or “haunting.” The romance was absolutely forced, made to add more drama to the story than was necessary. There was no character development and there was too much going on for me to keep up.

In other words, I was not impressed with this book. So glad I got it out of the library.

 

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

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I can’t tell you how long I’ve had Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield on my Goodreads TBR or Amazon Wishlist. I was practically skipping the day I checked it out of the library. (Noticing a trend here yet?)

The only thing I can say that was in this book’s favor was the beautiful writing. I was bored out of my mind, yet I still enjoyed the author’s writing style. As for the rest of the book, I was not impressed. While I appreciated the chapters dedicated to the description of small-town life, I never understood the purpose of them in relation to the plot. It was supposed to be a mystery, for the protagonist to investigate how a girl much like herself became a corpse on the side of the road. Yet, the mystery does not actually come into play until the near end of the book.

As for the main protagonist, I did not like her at all. I know she was only eighteen, but she’s supposed to be this super-smart girl that graduated in the top ten of her class. So, why did she keep making such poor choices? Why did she continue to date a boy that clearly mistreated her, not her equal intellectually, dumped her on the night of her graduation after sex, and then get back together with him the next morning because he said he was sorry, he didn’t know what he was thinking?

I did like the other girl, Amelia Anne—the one who was murdered—and I enjoyed her chapters. She was sassy and knew what she wanted. However, I have to say, I think it was Becca, the main protagonist, who ruined the story for me.

 

The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass

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I knew about this book since it came out summer of 2016. Again, it was on my Amazon Wishlist because it reminded me so much of one of my all-time favorite books: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes.

A teenaged girl and her five siblings are trapped under the thumb of their father, a religious fanatic that is more like a cult leader. The children are pariahs in their town and their father shoves his own crazy interpretations of the Bible down their throats. The children even believe their father when he says they have to marry each other.

Why was I so disappointed in this book? I liked the protagonist, Castley, and the writing was fairly good. However, the book was too short, all the other characters were one-dimensional, the story’s pace was never consistent, and we never know the father’s backstory, particularly a monumental event towards the end of the novel that is never explained to why it happened. That is what absolutely killed it for me.

After I read it, I deleted it off my Amazon Wishlist. Like some others on this list, the chances of me buying them or even reading them again are slim to none.

What disappointing books have you all read this year?

Review of Invisible by James Patterson & David Ellis (Spoiler Free)

I think this is the first time I have ever said I was truly bored reading a James Patterson novel….

If you read my December 2016/End of the Year TBR post, you will know that Invisible by James Patterson was not on my list. I finished Lady Renegades, book 3 in the Rebel Belle trilogy by Rachel Hawkins, with every intention of picking up A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. Then, I entered this strange reading mood where I did not want to touch anything fantasy related. I had been saving Invisible, one of the books lowest on my TBR list, specifically for this reason.

James Patterson’s books can be long, but they are quick and action-packed. The type of book I want when I need a break from the high fantasy. However, in the past few years, I have learned that his books are generally a hit or miss with me. Some of his books, like the Confessions of a Murder Suspect series, I absolutely love. Then, you get to his stand-alone thrillers, Mistress and now Invisible, that start of really good, but in the end make me say “What?” Not necessarily in a good way, either.

Invisible follows FBI research analyst Emma Dockery, who is convinced that a string of accidental fires—one of the victims being her sister—were the work of a serial killer. Of course, no one believes her, because the fires took place in different cities, in different states. She goes to her ex-boyfriend, retired FBI field agent turned bookstore owner Harrison “Books” Bookman, for help in getting the Bureau to believe her theory after she is suspended. At first reluctant, Books looks into the fires himself and realizes that Emma has found something that can’t be ignored. The story takes off from there.

The plot itself is interesting: is Emma going mad with grief or is there really a serial killer using fire to cover up his crimes? Maybe it was just me, but I felt like I was reading an episode of Criminal Minds. The writing was good, and you could tell that James Patterson and his co-author, David Ellis, have similar writing styles that go well together. However, the plot twists were predictable at some points and a little out there at others—not the least bit realistic.

I know it is a work of fiction. Only James Patterson has played the major plot twist he used in Invisible before. The first time I read it, it was in a Women’s Murder Club novel. Back then, I was in high school and new to the world of mystery novels. I was impressed, because I had never seen it before. Now, he repeated that particular twist and had me going: “Is that really believable?”

As for the characters, while I did like them, I did not connect with them. Emma, the protagonist, was definitely motivated by grief and I wondered if she had PTSD from the loss of her sister, who also happened to be her twin. I admired her determination, only I did not like how she stepped over everyone else to get what she wanted and got pissed off at anyone who dared take a break for five minutes.

Emma also fit what I think of as the “Olivia Benson” trope: female cop more invested in her job than her personal life, and terrified of getting too close to people, preferring to be by herself and convinced she was better off that way. Not to mention, she acts irrationally several times throughout the novel, too. In other words, I could sympathize with Emma, but I could not connect with her.

As for the antagonist of Invisible, he was the stereotypical all-evil super villain and mastermind you see on any Criminal Minds episode. Several chapters in between Emma’s are told through his perspective in a video diary the killer keeps. While I did find those chapters one of the more interesting factors of the book, it ultimately led to a conclusion that, to me, in hindsight did not make sense.

My favorite character was definitely Books. His nickname and the fact that he retired from the FBI to open a bookstore aside, he was a great agent, a natural leader, and an overall good person. I felt Emma took advantage of his still-lingering feelings for her. He did not want to get involved in her manhunt, but he still cared about her and his own conscience would not let him rest if there was a possibility a killer was on the loose. Harrison “Books” Bookman is what made this novel for me.

Overall, I gave Invisible by James Patterson and David Ellis 2.75 stars. Up until the end of the book, I wanted to give it 3 stars. It was not a bad book and it was what I needed to get me reading instead of binge-watching Justice League on Netflix. However, the plot twist is what knocked down my rating. Patterson had played it before and I was not as impressed with it the last time I read it in one of his novels. But still, if you enjoy James Patterson as a writer, feel free to check out this book.

17 Anticipated Releases of 2017

I’m normally really bad about keeping track of new book releases, unless it is for a book series I love. Thanks to the Internet, primarily the book community on YouTube and Books a Million, I am more aware of upcoming releases coming out next year. I have to say, it’s been surprisingly fun adding books to my library TBR list once they become available. You can never run out of books to read.

In order, I am most excited for:

 

Garden of Blood and Dust by K.K. Perez

Publication date unknown

This book doesn’t even have a cover on Goodreads, never mind a publication date. All the website says that it is being released in 2017 by Simon Pulse. All I know is I’m slowly dying until I get this book and I am 99% certain this is the only new-to-me author on this list that I will preorder rather than check it out of the library.

Garden of Blood and Dust by K.K. Perez is supposed to be a retelling origin story of Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess of Hungary. Declared as one of the most horrific serial killers in history, she murdered between 400 to 600 young girls and drained them of their blood to preserve her own beauty. Bathory was active for 10 years before she was finally caught and sentenced to live the rest of her life trapped alone inside a room in her castle.

Since I’ve been fascinated with the Blood Countess for years, I’m most excited for this book, out of all the others on this list. Plus, the Goodreads summary also mentions that Garden of Blood and Dust will have elements similar to the movie Maleficent and the TV show American Horror Story. Two of my other favorite things.

I need this book in my life. Now.

Throne of Glass book 6 & the Chaol novella by Sarah J. Maas

Publication: September 2017 / June 2017

I am equally excited for both these new additions to the Throne of Glass series. Chaol is my favorite character (no hate please) and I will definitely preorder his novella coming out in June once it becomes available on Amazon. I missed him in Empire of Storms. Of all the characters, he has one of the hardest journeys to make, both personally and politically. And he will be the one to save everyone’s asses in the finale.

As for the finale, I am expected to have high blood pressure and tears in my eyes. While Empire of Storms was not my favorite book in the Throne of Glass series, the ending still set up for what I expect to be an epic final book.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

At the time I am writing this, I have not read A Court of Mist and Fury. Thanks to college and final exams, December will forever be Epic Reading Slump Month. That, and I always need to take time to emotionally prepare myself before I read any Sarah J. Maas book. A Court of Thorns and Roses is my favorite series by Maas and, even if by some chance I don’t read A Court of Mist and Fury before the year is over, I still won’t have to wait too long for A Court of Wings and Ruin.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

I loved The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, and I expect to love its sequel The Rose & the Dagger once I read it. So, I am fairly certain I will love her next series, Flame in the Mist.

Flame in the Mist is based in Japanese or Chinese mythology and screams Mulan. A young noblewoman is nearly killed en route to her wedding to a prince and disguises herself as a boy to infiltrate the group of bandits that tried to have her killed. Naturally, she learns that nothing in her world is what it appears to be.

I already know this book will be amazing.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Publication: June 13th, 2017

The sequel to This Savage Song, one of my favorite books I read in 2016. It was also the first book I ever read by Victoria Schwab and what added her to my list of favorite newly discovered authors. I am slightly bummed it is only a duology, but I know this book will be a great finale. Kate and August are two of my new favorite fictional characters, and the world of Verity and its monsters is so amazing.

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

Publication: June 27th, 2017

Now I Rise is the sequel to And I Darken, a retelling origin story of Vlad the Impaler if Vlad was a woman. While I was not madly in love with And I Darken, I definitely enjoyed myself reading it. Given how the first book ended, and what I have come to learn about the Ottoman Empire in my own research, I can only expect good things from Now I Rise. I am most curious about how Kiersten White plans to fit a total of 20 or so years of history into three books with teenaged protagonists.

Stalking Jack the Ripper Book 2 by Kerri Maniscalco

Publication date unknown

Another book on this list that does not have a cover, official release date, or even an official summary on Goodreads, but I don’t really care. I loved Stalking Jack the Ripper; it was one of my favorite books I read in 2016. At first, I thought it was a stand-alone, and then I found on Goodreads it will have two more books, the next coming out in 2017. If it means more of Audrey Rose and Thomas, possibly in another country not England, by all means, I’m game.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Publication: January 10th, 2017

I want to thank Emma of emmmabooks on YouTube for bringing A List of Cages by Robin Roe to my attention. It’s about Adam, a high school senior that is an aide to the school psychologist that asks him to track down a freshman that is avoiding his sessions with the doctor. The freshman turns out to be Julian, Adam’s former foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years. As the two boys are happily reunited, Adam discovers Julian is keeping terrible secrets, like what is really going on with him at home. But if Adam gets involved, both boys could be put in danger.

I tend to prefer the darker side of contemporary to the lighthearted and fluffy. Because of the high ratings on Goodreads and the praise from Emma, a book reviewer I trust, I am tempted to put this on my birthday wish list in January. Unfortunately, I work retail.

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

Publication: January 3rd, 2017

Originally published in Germany, The Book Jumper follows Amy Lennox, who moves with her mother from Germany to their family’s ancestral estate in Scotland. Under the supervision of her grandmother, Amy learns she is a Book Jumper: she can transport herself into the world of books at will. (Isn’t that a gift we all want?) Then, she discovers someone is stealing from the books she is reading and teams up with another Book Jumper to catch the thief.

A book about a girl that can jump into the world of any book she reads? Sign me up!

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Publication: April 11th, 2017

Spindle Fire is a Sleeping Beauty retelling of two sisters, one who is the Sleeping Beauty trapped in a horrifying dreamland and the other being her half-sister on a quest to find a prince that can wake the princess before an army of fairies attacks the kingdom. And, according to Goodreads, this is also the first in a duology.

Duologies are apparently becoming the new trilogies in young adult literature these days. But if Spindle Fire is as good as the summary makes it out to be, that is totally fine with me.

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

Publication: January 10th, 2017

In case it has not become apparent by now, I love retellings. This one, RoseBlood, is a retelling of Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera.

As a disclaimer, I have not read the original The Phantom of the Opera, though I do own the book. Thanks to Wishbone, I am aware of the general plot and the outcome of the story. From my understanding of RoseBlood, it is set in modern-day France at a conservatory located in an opera with ties to the Phantom. Rune, a new student at the conservatory, befriends Thorn, another student with a mysterious agenda that comes into question when he falls in love with Rune.

Hailey of Hailey in Bookland on YouTube recently featured this ARC in a video. She described the writing as being heavy in descriptions. That is all I know about it as of late, and I do tend to like that kind of writing style. Particularly if the story is set in a place I have never been, like Paris, France.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Publication: January 31st, 2017

Caraval by Stephanie Garber came to my attention this past summer, when I was seeing it featured in a lot of booktuber’s BEA hauls. Reading the summary online, it is reminiscent of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Two sisters go to a mysterious carnival on a tiny island and one is kidnapped, while the other is forced to go on a scary, magical quest to rescue her before it’s too late.

The summary on Goodreads hints at a possible romance for one or even both of the sisters. But what I am most excited to see is a plot that focuses more on the relationship between sisters. You don’t see a lot of that in young adult literature, at least not from the books I typically read.

Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy by Ameriie

Publication: July 11th, 2017

Who else is totally excited for this book? It’s an anthology of short stories about villains written by some of the current most popular authors, with prompts provided by well-known BookTubers. This is a book I definitely plan on preordering, I think.

So far, the BookTubers that I watch most often—Sasha, Regan, Jesse, Christine, Kat, and Ben—have not said who they were paired with in the anthology. Ben did give away what his prompt was, except the villain he was inspired by escapes me now. But I guess the surprise makes it all the more fun!

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Publication: March 28th, 2017

I don’t remember how I found this book on Goodreads. I think it was recommended to me because I added Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard to my TBR list. I still have not read Red Queen, but Blood Rose Rebellion sounds a lot more interesting.

Anna Arden is a teenaged girl born into an elite family of magic-makers who cannot perform a single spell herself. After a disaster at her sister’s coming-out to magical society, Anna is shipped off to her relatives in Hungary. While there, she uncovers holes in her world and that her supposed non-gifts could actually be the key to fixing what is wrong.

This book is definitely going up higher on my to be read list at the library, as soon as it becomes available.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Publication: January 3rd, 2017

I found Under Rose-Tainted Skies while browsing the “coming soon” section on Books a Million’s website. A teenaged girl, Norah, who struggles with agoraphobia and OCD, meets a boy named Luke that changes her perspective on her place in the world. It sounds a lot like Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Since I enjoyed that book, I’m wondering if there is a chance I could like this book as well. And the cover, with its birdcage and pink clouds, looks really cute, too.

The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

Publication: February 28th, 2017

Another book I stumbled upon on the Books a Million website, this one is about a girl with special abilities she has to keep hidden until her village is under attack by a strange, frightening beast. A nod to the Grimm Brothers and their wild, beautiful fairy tales.

After soul eaters, twin sisters that answer to the Beast, destroy her childhood home, Alys and the other village children are sent to another village close by. There, they are taught the values of good and evil in a black-and-white sense, with no gray area in between. The whole village lives in fear of the Beast and his soul eaters. When Alys is forced to reveal the powers she conceals that connect her to the soul eaters, she goes on a journey to save her village from destruction.

Thankfully, I won’t have to wait too long for this book. Hopefully, I can get it out of my library as soon as it’s available.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Publication: February 7th, 2017

I found out about this book only days ago, but I already know I want to read it. The novel is a retelling of Labyrinth, a story I am not familiar with. But when a human girl must marry a Goblin King to save her sister, to me, that screams A Court of Thorns and Roses or Cruel Beauty, both Beauty and the Beast retellings.

The protagonist, Liesl, is a musically talented nineteen-year-old who gives up her dreams to focus on her family’s inn. Then, her sister is kidnapped and brought to another realm she thought only existed in fairy tales. When she offers herself as the Goblin King’s bride in exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl never imagined that, in the Underground, that the man of her nightmares is the one that inspires her. But she must choose between her life and her love for the Goblin King, or the fate of the entire world.

Yeah, I’m excited for this one.

 

Really, though, I am excited for all these books. Will I get to all of them? Probably not. Still, 2017 looks to be a promising year for books.

Series Review: Rebel Belle trilogy by Rachel Hawkins (Contains Spoilers)

I was introduced to Rachel Hawkins and her young adult fantasy/contemporary trilogy, Rebel Belle, through BookTube. Over a year ago, the first book was featured in several prominent BookTube personalities videos and it was raved as cute, fun, and funny. It was enough for me to check out the series for myself.

The story is told from the first-person perspective of Harper Price, a popular, career-oriented, and bossy high school student in Alabama who is suddenly gifted with superhuman powers in the girls’ bathroom on the night of Homecoming. She discovers she has become a Paladin, a guardian to the Oracle—aka David Stark, editor of the school newspaper, who is Harper’s worst enemy/critic. But when an ancient organization comes after David to kill him, Harper’s new Paladin instincts push her to protect the one boy that gets under her skin like no one else.

I read the first book, Rebel Belle, last summer. I recently read Miss Mayhem, book 2, and Lady Renegades, book 3. I gave Rebel Belle 3.75 stars, Miss Mayhem 3.5 stars, and Lady Renegades 2 stars. In my opinion, which I realized coincided with the opinions of others unfortunately, the series declined with each book.

To begin, the books were way too short. The first book spent more time world building and explaining the mythology behind Oracles, Paladins, and Mages, the magicians that assist the Paladins in protecting the Oracle. These books could have benefited being a few pages longer, particularly with material not involving relationship drama. The fantasy element of the trilogy was based in Greek mythology, but there was not as much depth to it as I personally would have liked.

While there were several fight scenes reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, such as a particular scene where Harper kills an evil teacher with a stiletto heel, it was not very intense. In Miss Mayhem, Harper has to go through a series of trials to prove her worth as David’s Paladin. Only the trials themselves were anti-climatic. All Harper got out of the experience—which was cut short by the Ephors, the organization that was after David—was that she would one day have to make a choice that could ultimately result in David’s death.

Rebel Belle started the series off on a good note. The writing was witty and it was a fast read. It was fun watching Harper, a high-maintenance girly-girl, kick the butts of evil teachers and possessed classmates while wearing heels. On Goodreads, I gave it a 4-star rating; only in the review I write a 3.75 review. This is due to the fact that the ending was a little too rushed, as if the author was writing out of time to produce this specific scene.

Miss Mayhem earned 3.5 stars from me. While it was as humorous as the first book, this one was heavy in the relationship drama. At the end of the first book, Harper starts dating David. She still interacts with her ex-boyfriend, Ryan, who replaced David’s aunt, Saylor Stark, as the Mage. While there is no hint of any lingering romantic feelings between Harper and Ryan, both mutually agreeing their relationship should have ended long before it actually did, the situation becomes awkward when Ryan starts dating Harper’s best friend Bee. This could also be due to the fact that, right as Bee and Ryan get together, David breaks up with Harper because their duties as Oracle and Paladin respectively interfere with their relationship. The majority of Miss Mayhem, in my opinion, seemed to be more focused on the relationships than actually getting to the bottom of what was happening with David and his visions.

Lady Renegades I rated a solid 2 stars. It was not an awful book, but it could have been better. I liked how Harper and Bee had to go on a road trip with Blythe, the Mage antagonist in Rebel Belle, to find David after he runs away at the end of Miss Mayhem. But it was just so boring. The ending, though it was a kind of happy one, was more than a little convenient.

Despite all the criticism, there are still plenty of things about the Rebel Belle trilogy that I liked. The first was the writing style. It was very tongue-in-cheek. The characters had great dialogue. They talked and acted like teenagers.

Harper was a fun protagonist. She was smart and loyal to those she cared about. She was a perfectionist, but she had a reason: she did not want to live in the shadow of her older sister, Leigh-Anne, who died after crashing her car into a tree. Harper also knew when to put herself first. Such as, in Lady Renegades, she gives herself and the others two weeks to find David, rather than take the full month she had before going back to school. Though she loved David, she knew she had to put school and graduating first, even in this situation.

In Miss Mayhem, Harper reveals she has a controlling side. Though her tactics to prevent David from having violent visions, as well as using his abilities to prevent a friend from entering a supposedly disastrous relationship, were not the way to go about things, she honestly thought she was doing the right thing. By no means was there any malice in her actions. She simply went about it the wrong way. Rather than let David deal with his visions but still be there for him or allow her friend to make a mistake, Harper tried to fix the bad before it could happen. And she learned the hard way you can’t do that. Because I have similar traits, I was able to relate to Harper in that sense.

As for David Stark, the Oracle and Harper’s enemy turned boyfriend, he is an underrated YA guy. He’s a dork in his argyle sweaters but wears it proudly like a badge. He’s passionate about the school newspaper and getting to the truth, even if it hurts. He tried to find balance between being an Oracle and being Harper’s boyfriend, even running away so she could have her own life that did not involve protecting him.

If I knew someone like David when I was in high school, I would have crushed on him hard.

Overall, I would rate the whole Rebel Belle trilogy by Rachel Hawkins a 3.5 stars. It was fun and cute, but still had a few problems. These would make good Disney Channel or Freeform movies: not too intense and filled with humor. And they definitely win the award for cutest book covers. If you like fantasy that reads more like a contemporary, I highly recommend you pick up the Rebel Belle trilogy by Rachel Hawkins.

End of the Year (December 2016) TBR

Who else is totally shocked that 2016 is coming to the end?

I am still far off from completing my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge and there are still books I need to read before the year is done. Given that I started a new job, I’m not counting on that I can read 9 books this month. But if I can at least finish the priority books, I will be happy, even if I don’t reach my goal of 95 books on Goodreads.

PRIORITY BOOKS

 

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

I read An Ember in the Ashes this summer and it was one of my favorite books I read in 2016. I bought A Torch Against the Night but I was reluctant to read it. I am worried that if I binge-read it like I wanted to, I would have to wait God-knows how long for the third book.

Is there a third book? I’ll find out soon enough.

 

The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The same situation previously mentioned can be applied to The Wrath & the Dawn and its sequel, The Rose & the Dagger. The first book in this duology by Renee Ahdieh is one of the best books I read this year. Like A Torch Against the Night, I didn’t want to pick this up as immediately as I wanted to. Otherwise, I would hit the worst reading slump imaginable. And since The Rose & the Dagger is the final book, I am definitely in for a roller coaster of excitement.

 

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

I bought Passenger when it came out in January but I still have not gotten around to reading it. I don’t know why. I wanted to read it in the spring, but then I never did. What is even more surprising, is that I am fairly certain I will like this book once I read it. It is a time-travel novel with magical artifacts and pirates. Plus, I loved Alexandra Bracken’s dystopian trilogy, The Darkest Minds. The odds are in favor of Passenger.

But will I read it before 2016 is over? Pray that happens.

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury is the one book on my to be read pile that I am the most terrified to read.

Sarah J. Maas is the queen of writing feels and the ultimate destroyer of ships. I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses; it was my favorite book of 2015. Regarding my history with Maas and the track record of my book boyfriends in her series, I have been scared to pick up A Court of Mist and Fury. The Internet is blowing up with hate of Tamlin, my ultimate book boyfriend, because he apparently does something horrible in this novel.

I am not ready for A Court of Mist and Fury. I’m just not.

 

OTHER BOOKS

 

Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

Lady Renegades is the final book in the Rebel Belle trilogy by Rachel Hawkins. I read Miss Mayhem at the end of November and it saved me from a potential reading slump after reading Empire of Storms. Since Rebel Belle was one of the series I wanted to finish in 2016, I immediately picked up Lady Renegades after finishing Miss Mayhem. I plan on finishing it this month.

The books are not totally amazing, but they are cute and fun. They are the perfect kind of books to read if you are in danger of getting in a reading slump.

 

Half Lost by Sally Green

Half Lost is the final book in the Half Bad trilogy by Sally Green. I read Half Wild in October, loved it, and then picked up Half Lost. I read the first chapter, and then realized I am not emotionally prepared for this finale. It’s kind of silly, I know, but the previous book ended on a dark note. I don’t want it to end. Yet, at the same time, I need to know what happens next.

 

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

I bought this book not long after it came out. I’m not madly in love with the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children books, but I am enjoying the trilogy enough that I want to finish it. I’m sure Library of Souls will be a great read. Only, compared to some of the other books on this list, it’s not as much of a priority for me to read.

 

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead is one of my favorite series and one I want to finish before the end of 2016. I can’t imagine what is going to happen. Unlike the other series, I’m eager to see what Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice has in store for Rose, Lissa, Dimitri, and the others. But I’m not too worried though. Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov always kick serious butt.

What books do you want to read before 2016 is over?