Favorite Books of 2016

So 2016 has come to a close and this year has gone by quickly to say the least. My blog has grown more than I thought it ever could in its first year and while I may not have thousands of reads everyday I am happy to know that anyone would choose to read what I type.

I thought to recap 2016, I would give my 10 favorite books of the year. I completed my reading challenge of 30 books by surpassing it by about 6 more and therefore I should have plenty of options to choose from, so here they are:

10. 

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This might be the cutest book I read last year. To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before follows Lara Jean who has always written a letter to each crush she has had but instead of sending them has kept them hidden in a box beneath her bed. That is until one day she discovers the box is empty and all the letters have been sent to there respective recipients including her older sister’s ex boyfriend Josh.  This contemporary YA novel was enjoyable to read and Lara Jean’s character develops throughout the story line as she navigates through coming face to face with old crushes. I will say however that I did not enjoy the second book as much and would have preferred it to end with book one.

9.

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The Rainbow Comes and Goes was one of the few non-fiction books I read in 2016, and yet it is one of two non-fictions that made it into my top 10. This book is a correspondence of emails between Gloria Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper. If you don’t know anything about them, Gloria in her youth was a fairly famous Socialite who later became known for her designer jeans. Anderson is a journalist for CNN and 60 Minutes and I have been mildly obsessed with him since I was 18 (so almost 10 years now!).  In these emails Anderson asks his mother a series of questions about her life from being the daughter and heiress of the famous Vanderbilt family to her many courtships with some of Hollywood’s elites.  Before reading The Rainbow Comes and Goes I didn’t know a lot about Gloria Vanderbilt outside of the fact she was Anderson Cooper’s mother and hailed from the famous Vanderbilt family. In this book you really do discover more about her life and her personally.

8.

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Whispers in Autumn was an audio book I listened to last year.  It involves a girl named Althea who isn’t like everyone else. She isn’t controlled by the alien race that invaded earth in 2015 and all she wants is to go unnoticed by them as she tries to fit in. But all that changes when a new boy shows up named Lucas.  For someone who doesn’t normally read a lot of Sci-fi, I really liked Whispers in Autumn  and the mystery that surrounds Althea as to why she isn’t like everyone else.  I’m getting ready to start the second book in the series as it is set during winter and I figured it would match the current season pretty well, minus the alien invasion and the current 70 degree weather here in the great state of Georgia.

7.

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This was the book that got me out of my book slump in the summer of 2016.  The Antelope in the Living Room is a non-fiction book written by Melanie Shankle who tells hilarious tales from her marriage.  I actually physically laughed out loud at this book and considering I’m not married I still found the stories to be highly entertaining.  Melanie has a great sense of humor that I felt connected with my own sense of humor quite well. I have read one of her other books about her adventures in motherhood and recently picked up her latest book Noboy’s Cuter Than You which I have on my 2017 TBR List.

6.

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For all the controversy that surrounded the movie, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes was a great book and I think carries the message of the story a lot better than the movie.  I really related to Louisa Clark who in the book is the same age as me, 27, and struggles to know what it really is that she wants to do with her life. When she becomes the caretaker of Will Traynor, a once active individual before an accident left him in a wheelchair, Louisa embarks on a journey she never thought she’d take. While I did cry reading this book I genuinely loved everything about. It may not be the love story that everyone looks for but it is worth the read.

5.

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Oh how I love Susanna Kearsley books! A Desperate Fortune combined the past with the present and follows Sara in present day, and Mary who 300 years ago was a Jacobite exile.  Sara is hired to decipher the coded journal of Mary and uncovers the adventure Mary went on throughout France in the 1700s. Once I started this book it was hard to put down and I kept reading it whenever I had a spare moment. It mixed together my love of history and the setting of France so it was easily a top 5 pick.

4.

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The book that started it all! Doon was the first book I reviewed on my blog and it holds a special place in my heart as it kick started my need to read this year.  The entire series is worth the read and sadly it ended with the fourth book in 2016. Doon is about two best friends Veronica and McKenna who go to Scotland for the summer and find themselves in a hidden kingdom (as one does). This book has action, adventure, romance, and musical theater references; really what more could you ask for?

3.

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Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes is a YA High Fantasy read that follows four main characters and the tensions that exist in the world of Mytica. This book was a fantastic read that I literally traveled around with in my car so that I could read it during my lunch break at work. I can honestly say I’ve never done that before but that is how much I wanted to find out what happened next in each chapter of this book. This is the first book in a series also titled Falling Kingdoms and I already bought books 2 and 3, and I’m hoping to get through as much of this series as possible this year.

2.

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Okay so my second favorite book of the year is a series and that might be cheating because it’s placing three books instead of one on my list, but hear me out on why all three books qualify.  First let me point out how late I am to the party of Cassandra Clare’s world of Shadowhunters because the last book in The Infernal Devices series was published nearly 3 1/2 years ago and The Mortal Instrument series that this one is the prequel to was first published long before this one, but I did feel like I was too late to the party if you get what I mean.  Secondly I think that while each book is good on its own they stand stronger together, and as the reader I was more captivated by the three main characters Tessa, Jem, and Will the further along I read in each book. I will personally say that book 2 might by my favorite out of the series, though it has only a slight advantage over the other 2.  This has a great love triangle in the story line along with adventure and a historical fiction twist that pretty much had me sold before I even read Clockwork Angel.

1.

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Is it weird that my top two reads of 2016 are series? Because I think this only proves I’m indecisive and can’t just chose one book over another. Though for The Falconer Series I liked The Vanishing Throne better, so maybe I can make decisions after all. But like The Infernal Devices Series both books in this series are amazing and the 3rd book is easily my most anticipated read for 2017. I’ve reviewed book one on my blog already but haven’t done one for The Vanishing Throne (I haven’t decide if I will yet or not), and I feel like all you really need to know is that Aileana comes from high society in Scotland and she kills evil fairies at night. I mean what really more could you want from a book, unless you don’t like fantasy reads then you probably won’t like this series (or half of my favorite reads for 2016). But if you do like fantasy reads The Falconer Series is highly recommended by myself.


So there you go my favorite reads in 2016. Sorry this took so long to post and that January is about half way over now but the main thing that counts is that I actually did post something on this blog I’ve been neglecting for over a month now.

I hope you all had a lovely New Year and that you haven’t broken any of your resolutions already. My resolution for this blog is to post more content outside of pure book reviews and to interact with more people and read more blogs. If you have any blog recommendations for me please comment below and I’d love to check them out (they do not have to be purely book blogs either).

Happy Reading,

Meghan

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What I Read in September 2016

I was more productive when it came to reading in September, at least when it comes to last month when I only managed to read two and one of those I didn’t particularly cared for so if felt more like one and half.  But I really liked all the books I read and/or listened to this month. So without further ado, here are my reads in September:


 

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1.The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

I listened to the audio version of this book while on my road trip to visit my parents over Labor Day weekend. Out the four books I read this wasn’t my favorite this month but I still enjoyed the book. The story follows Ceony Twill who has been assigned to be an apprentice for paper magic. She is at first upset to learn she will be forced to be a magician for something that was never in her plans but as she spends time with Magician Emery Thane, Ceony begins to change her mind as she literally travels through the heart of her teacher. (The Paper Magician Review)

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2. A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

My favorite book I read this month is A Desperate Fortune. Much like most of Kearsley’s books, the story intertwines the present day wit the past. This book is centered around two women: Sara Thomas, hired to decipher a Jacobite journal; and Mary Dundas, the author of said journal from 300 years ago.  The book has romance and suspense as well as being both contemporary and historical all at once. (A Desperate Fortune Review)

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3. Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh

My second audio book for this month was Whispers in Autumn. Normally I don’t listen to too many audio books but I keep collecting credits with Audible that I’m not using so I figured why not listen to more audio books. Whispers in Autumn was also my first book on the Fall Reading List post I made early last month. The story follows Althea who lives in a time in which The Others, an invading alien race, runs earth now. Althea though doesn’t seem to be as easy going as all of the other humans she is surrounded by and while she tries to hide the fact that she is different the new boy, Lucas, shows up and everything changes. If you like dystopian, sci-fi reads I recommend this book. (Whispers in Autumn Review)

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4. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms was my most anticipated read for me this month. I have been eyeing this book for while now and I’m so glad I finally took the time to read it.  Falling Kingdoms is told from the perspective of its 4 main characters. Cleo is a spoiled princess from Auranos, Jonas is potential revolutionist for his poor land Paelsia, Magnus is the prince who will inherit Limeros from his father the King of Blood, and Lucia, Magnus’ sister, is discovering she posses something all three kingdoms have seen in a while, magic.  I loved this book and from what I read the series just grows stronger with each book so I can’t not wait to get my hands on the next one. (Falling Kingdoms Review)


Happy Reading,

Meghan

 

Book Review: A Desperate Fortune

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Title: A Desperate Fortune

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Publish Date: April 7th, 2015

Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction/Romance

Reading Format: E-book

Summary from the Publisher:

For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread-its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal’s cipher.

But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal’s reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn’t hold the secrets Sara expects. As Mary’s tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take… to find the road that will lead her safely home.

What I liked about A Desperate Fortune:

The first thing I liked about A Desperate Fortune was the way the story was told. We get Sara’s modern day perspective and Mary’s views from 1723; that really made the story interesting to me because while they sometimes intermingled both stories for the most part it felt somewhat separate and as though you were getting two stories for one.

I also really loved Sara’s character because it was the first time for me reading from the perspective of a main character that has Asperger’s.  Getting read how her mind works and the overall development she makes as a character was really satisfying to me. I’ve never read a book from the perspective of anyone who has a disorder or wouldn’t be classified as “normal” but Sara is a lovely main character.

And lastly I really found the romantic story elements were some of my favorite they have the slow build up I’m looking for and they make you feel all warm inside.

What I did not like about A Desperate Fortune:

The only thing I didn’t like was Sara’s cousin Jacqui. She was too overbearing of Sara for my liking and at times I felt she was holding her back more than helping her move forward.

Overall thoughts:

This is one of my favorite stories I’ve read this year. I highly recommend it!

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan