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: Whispers in Autumn

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Title: Whispers in Autumn (Book #1)

Series: The Last Year

Author: Trisha Leigh

Narrator: Brielle Silvestri

Publish Date: July 21st, 2012

Publisher: CreateSpace

Genre: YA/Science Fiction/Dystopia

Reading Format: Audio Book

Summary:

Althea isn’t like everyone else. Surrounded by constantly happy people and the alien race The Others who invaded earth 16 years ago she finds herself different than anyone else on planet earth. Althea’s also finds herself in a different town with different family depending on the season, and all Althea has in her position is a locket with a note from ‘Ko’ who tells her to trust no one. Now that she’s back in Connecticut with the Morgans, Althea’s just trying to get by without anyone noticing she’s different until a boy named Lucas shows up and changes everything.

What I liked about Whispers in Autumn:

I’m not a massive Science Fiction fan or someone who reads books about alien invasions but I’m someone who will choose a book based off of its cover, which is exactly why I chose Whispers in Autumn. Other than the cover the story in general was pretty good and I found myself reacting to the story as I listened to it in my car to and from work.

I really liked Althea and the changes and discoveries she makes in the first book. Her interactions with her Autumn family and the other people in town was a very interesting thing to me as everyone but her only ever seems to emote being happy while Althea is fully capable of feeling all emotions but has to hide it so that she doesn’t stand out. It was a great concept to the book as I would imagine it would be quite difficult to pretend to be happy or contempt all the time even when you aren’t.

What I didn’t like about Whispers in Autumn:

Because I listened to this book  in the audio format sometimes the narration bothered me. In this particular instance the word “won’t” kept distracting me whenever it came up in the story just because it sounded very Canadian and its told from Althea’s perspective who is American, so I felt that it didn’t match with the everything else.

Also for some reason when something was driving Althea crazy or a situation felt crazy she would use the word “Banana balls” which quite frankly would drive me banana balls. (See what I did there)

Overall thoughts:

I really enjoyed Whispers in Autumn and I plan to continue the series. It’s different than any other dystopian books I’ve read and I would easily recommend this book for anyone who likes YA dystopias or Science Fiction.

Rating:

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Happy Reading,

Meghan

My Autumn Reading List


I remember as a kid having a summer reading list or a summer reading program during the break. I also remember not really loving it because they weren’t books I got to choose, but I had the idea why not have a reading list for the fall. It is after all the perfect reading season as it starts to get cooler and days get shorter, curling up with a good book, blanket, and hot cocoa is the best. So here is my reading list for this fall. Enjoy!


Whispers in Autumn By Trisha Leigh

Whispers in Autumn will be my audio book of choice for this fall. Not only does the title and cover scream all things autumn but the story is not what I expected when I read the description. The book follows a 16 year old heroine named Althea who is immune to the alien mind control that has overtaken the rest of the population. That’s right I said alien. It surprised me too because the cover doesn’t look sci fi in the least bit, but the book is set in 2015 where an alien race has conquered earth not by physical force but through mind control. This isn’t a typical book I would read but I have a feeling it makes a great audio book.

Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch by Serena Valentino

My mom and I will be at Disney World this fall, more specifically we will be there on Halloween; and I thought there would be nothing better than to read a book devoted to my favorite Disney villain, Ursula.  Poor Unfortunate Soul is actually from a series of books that tells the story from the villain’s perspective, so this would be focused on the story of the Little Mermaid by how Ursula would tell it. It isn’t a very long book and is geared for the much younger reader but I hope it will be enjoyable none  the less. Plus I’m sure I’ll be super busy on my trip so a short read will be perfect.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I did a TBR Thursday post on this several weeks ago and noted that I planned on reading it in the Autumn time. Staying true to my word I have added it to my Autumn reading list this fall.  Neverwhere could I guess be described as an urban fantasy as the main character lives and resides in modern day London but after rescuing a girl on the side of the street one night he is introduced to an entirely different world that lives under London. I’m excited for this book and I might read it first as I just finished the series Stranger Things on Netflix and while they may be nothing a like I still feel like this will help with the hangover I have from the show.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

I’ll admit that I’m completely late to the whole Harry Potter craze but when the books first came out when I was about ages 11 to 18 I wasn’t as massive a reader as I am now.  But I have slowly (intentionally slowly) been reading through the series and finished Prisoner of Azkaban in July.  I’ll probably take my time with the fourth book, Goblet of Fire, because I don’t want to just breeze through the series. I enjoy each book so much I want them to last forever.

The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

I’m a sucker for two things lately when it comes to books: beautiful covers and buying things from Bookoutlet.com. Seriously I have a problem when it comes to that website because books are so cheap on there. I believe this book was a 50/50 deal so I got it for between $2-$3. How do you say no to that?  The answer is you don’t, so here it is on my bookshelf waiting for Fall. And even if it turns out not to be that great of a book at least it looks beautiful, which can sometimes apply to people too.  With all that aside The Silver Witch is about a woman who moves to a cottage in Wales after her husband’s death and starts to exhibit strange powers and has visions of an ancient witch named Seren. It sounds like and interesting story and perfect for this time of year.

Happy Reading,

Meghan