The Best Books of 2016

As promised, this week I am talking about the top 10 books I’ve read in 2016. Full disclosure, it took me ages to narrow it down to ten since I a lot of pretty good books came out this year. I also read a bunch of really bad ones (or ones that I personally think are highly overrated) but that’s a whole different matter. So, shall we start?

10. Ruined by Amy Tintera – I bought a copy of this in LA, having heard great things about Amy Tintera’s previous series. It’s about a girl, whose country is ravaged by war. Her family is killed and her sister is missing. She doesn’t have powers unlike her fellow countrymen but she’s hellbent on revenge and finding her sister. I really enjoyed this book. Was it perfect? No. But it was fast-paced, action-filled and overall incredibly enjoyable. I really liked Em and her chemistry with Casimir. It’s perfect for fans of Red Queen. ruined

9. My Lady Jane by Jodi Meadows, Cynthia Hand and Brodi Ashton – I got an ARC of this one at YALLWEST without knowing anything about it prior to meeting the authors. I have to admit though I really liked it. This is a comical, light-hearted reimagining of the story of Lady Jane Grey. It’s set during the reign of Edward VI but instead of the divide between Protestants and Catholics, there’s an ongoing war between Verities and Eðians, the latter being a form of shapeshifters. I was absolutely charmed by this book. It mocks sexist attitudes and 16th-century society in general. The plot is really well-developed and if you like your historicals with a dash of silliness definitely pick this one up.

8. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – Okay, so I’m a huge fan of TMI and her shadowhunter series in general so naturally, when Lady Midnight came out I delved right in. In this installment, we’re following the life of Emma Carstairs (who we got to meet at the end of City of Heavenly Fire) and the LA institute. This whole book is just a perfect continuation of a beloved series and some of my favorite characters make an appearance so that’s always a plus in my books.

7. And I Darken by Kiersten White – It’s been ages since I read this one and I still cannot fully explain this gem. And I Darken caught me completely off guard. It’s so dark and gritty and unlike anything I’ve read. Lada was such a great if nasty heroine. I simply loved everything about this book. If you enjoy alternate history with a complex tangle of relationships, plus some LGBTQIA this is the book for you. darken

6. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski – The Winner’s Kiss is the third and final book in The Winner’s Trilogy and, in my opinion, the best one. The Winner’s Curse was slow-paced, romance heavy book then The Winner’s Crime was virtually no romance, action-packed rollercoaster.This one though balanced intrigue, action, and romance and it was just a PERFECT conclusion to an amazing trilogy. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out!

5. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton – Well, technically I read a proof of this last December but the book came out in 2016 and I did read it again once the finished copies were out so it still counts! I actually didn’t expect to love Amani’s adventures as much as I did but there it is. I admit I was a bit wary because of the ‘western’ in a Middle Eastern setting thing but apart from Amani being an awesome shot there weren’t many westerny bits so I was able to focus and enjoy it more. shadows

4. A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab – This is the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic and follows Kell as he comes to terms with the potentially lasting effects of what happened in the last book. Also, there’s more of Lila and let’s be honest. I really freaking love Lila Bard. This book goes deeper into a really well-developed fantasy world and the writing skill is superb. A little side note, the whole trilogy has been picked up by Netflix so there may be a potential TV show at some point in the future.

3. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – This book hardly needs any prolonged explanation so really if you loved Six of Crows, well Crooked Kingdom is better! I adore Kaz and fell even more in love with Jesper and Wylan *sigh* dagger

2. The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh – Another conclusion to a series I adore. There’s just something about Ahdieh’s world that keeps me reading until I realize I’ve just finished the whole thing in one sitting. We have a lot more political intrigue and betrayals in this one. We get to see more of Shazi’s sister and some really amazing ‘girls rock’ moments but let’s call it, shall we? We’re all reading it because of Khalid and his way with words…

1. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman – I know a lot of people haven’t actually read this one yet but as we know I’m a huge Alison Goodman fan and it’s really no surprise I fell completely in love with this world. Set in 19th-century London, The Dark Days Club follows Lady Helen Wrexhall as she tries to navigate high society parties with her newfound supernatural abilities. It sounds pretty amazing, right? My only complaint was the sequel was so far away!

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Wednesday Wish List -23rd Nov + GIVEAWAY

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A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

If you want something done right . . . king-pirate

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there’s only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who’s going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it’s down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

I haven’t been as active this month as I would have liked but for Wednesday Wish List this week I thought I’d introduce you guys to one of my most anticipated books of 2017. I am really excited for this because PIRATES! I also think Alosa has the potential to be pretty badass so that’s a huge plus in my books. I have to admit I don’t usually like cover changes unless the cover is exceptionally bad. When I heard the publishers had decided to redesign the cover, naturally I was skeptic about it. I needn’t have worried. This version is so much better and I love the darker background. I cannot wait to pick this beauty up once it’s out. Also thanks to the amazing Tricia I have a spare set of signed bookmarks that are up for grabs. They are pretty awesome and if you want to be in with a chance to win them, enter bellow.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kindle Unlimited: Top 5

I have been meaning to write a post about books I love that are available on KU for some time now and since I’ll be posting mostly reviews next week I thought today’s as good time as any. These are books that I absolutely love, written by ladies that I adore and cannot wait to read more of their works. So without further ado, here’s my top 5 KU books.

 

5. The Fray Theory: Resonance by Nelou Keramati 

Neve Knightly lives in an ordinary world. Where déjà vu is nothing more than a mind-trick. Where premonitions are dismissed as mere coincidence. Where no one thinks twice about the glitches in their reality.

Neve Knightly is living a lie. TheFrayTheory-Resonance-ARC-Cover

But when her nightmare of a tragedy comes true the very next day, she can no longer seek solace in self-deception. The glossy enamel has been shattered, and she has caught a glimpse of what slithers just beneath the surface.

She now has the opportunity to decipher the enigma that’s been haunting her since childhood. But her quest soon becomes deeply entangled with the last two people she could have ever imagined: the love of her life, Dylan, who mysteriously vanished three years ago, and his estranged best friend, Romer, who seems to be guarding a secret of his own.

Romance, rancor, and redemption plummet as priorities, as their lives become riddled with peculiar happenings lying just outside the realm of science. And in search for salvation, they emerge at the brink of unveiling the best-kept secret in human history.

The Fray Theory is the first book in a series and if you love urban fantasy/sci-fi this book is a must. It’s action packed, complex and just overall amazing. You can read my review of it here or if you want to learn more about how The Fray Theory came to be you can read my interview with Nelou Keramati here.

 

4. Chosen by K.F. Breene

It is said that when war threatens the world, one individual will be selected by prophecy to lead the Shadow Warriors out of the Land of Mist and reclaim the freedom which has been stolen. Shanti has grown up under the constant threat of war. Since she helped her people defeat a raiding party by using a special power, she’s been a hunted woman. chosenCarrying rare abilities and an uncanny fighting aptitude, Shanti is the only hope of salvation for her people. The problem is, she doesn’t believe in her own divinity, and when she flounders, she nearly fails in the duty hanging so heavy on her shoulders. It seems like any other day when Sanders and his band of misfit boys find a foreign woman clinging to life in the wastelands. Oblivious to the weapon they now have in their possession, they are content to harbor the mysterious woman until she is well enough to continue her journey. But when the war spreads its arms and lands on her borrowed doorstep, Shanti has no choice but to reveal her secrets, plunging her saviors into danger. If they band with her, they will face certain death. But to trade her to Xandre, the warlord desperate to add her to his war machine, would be to give up their entire way of life.

This is the first book in a series of six novels, five of which are available on KU. The last book comes out on Nov 10th. This is perfect for fans of fast paced, action packed high fantasies.

 

3. Air Awakens by Elise Kova

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war. air-awakens

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

The first in a series of five, this book has been a favourite of mine since it came out last year. The series has been on the USA Bestsellers list and is now, for the first time available on KU. So go check it out ASAP if you haven’t already.

 

2. Fantasy of Frost by Kelly St. Clare 

I know many things. What I am capable of, what I will change, what I want to become. But there is one thing I will never know. frost-fantasy

Being the Tatuma of our world, the next to rule, should have given me a privileged life. One full of friends, love and happiness. If my mother did not hate me, I probably would have had all of that. Instead, she has kept me veiled from birth, turning the possibility of this distant dream into a living nightmare.

Shunned by the court, abused from childhood, I am trapped within this material barrier and will never know my own face. Only two friends and a determination to become Tatum keep me sane.

I am unaware everything in my life is about to change when the peace delegate arrives from the savage world of Glacium. Hidden agendas, past secrets and my struggle to stay alive–while still becoming the person I want to be–careen wildly out of control.

Another favourite of mine. This entire series is completely amazing and so unique. I actually binge read them in a matter of days with little to no sleep in between. For more of my thoughts on the awesomeness that is this series click here.

 

1. Chase the Dark by Annette Marie 

Piper Griffiths wants one thing in life: To become a Consul, a keeper of the peace between humans and daemons. There are three obstacles in her way. SS3

The first is Lyre. Incubus. Hotter than hell and with a wicked streak to match. His greatest mission in life is to get Piper into bed and otherwise annoy the crap out of her. The second is Ash. Draconian. Powerful. Dangerous. He knows too much and reveals nothing. Also, disturbingly attractive — and scary. Did she mention scary?

The third is the Sahar Stone. Top secret magical weapon of mass destruction. Previously hidden in her Consulate until thieves broke in, went on a murder spree, and disappeared with the weapon.

And they left Piper to take the fall for their crimes.

Now she’s on the run, her dreams of becoming a Consul shattered and every daemon in the city gunning to kill her. She’s dead on her own, but there’s no one she can trust — no one except two entirely untrustworthy daemons … See problems one and two.

Oh, man!! The top spot simply HAD to go to one of my all time fave series, Steel & Stone by Annette Marie*. This book, this series in general, is so addictive that read all five books and one novella in TWO DAYS! It has everything. Alternate worlds – check. Kickass female character – check. Demons – check. Action – check and CHECK. If you only download one book on KU let it be this one. Or Fantasy of Frost. Or you know, any on this list, really.

*For you lovely peeps, who have already discovered the awesomeness of Steel & Stone, Annette has released a new book called Red Winter, inspired by Japanese history and culture. Oh, and it has supernatural creatures. What more can you ask for, really? Red Winter is also available for download with you KU subscription.

Wednesday Wish List – 21st Sept

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I want to talk about a book that I have been eagerly anticipating since last year. I’m talking about Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. It’s the third and final book in The Queen of the Tearling series and I’ve been waiting for a year and a half now to find out what is happening next. I read the advance copy of the first book back in December 2013 and while I liked it, I wasn’t in love with it. I mainly pushed through because of my friend who’s obsessed with Emma Watson (who had been cast as Kelsea Glynn) and urged me to finish it. I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t plan on reading the next one. When I received an advance copy for the sequel last spring I was reluctant. After much deliberation I decided to give it a chance. Boy, am I glad I did. The second book was so much better than its predecessor, I devoured it in a matter of hours, which promptly resulted in complete disappointment upon finding out the last one was not due until December 2016. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here’s the synopsis from Goodreads.

 

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Tearling trilogy.

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch.

the-fate-of-the-tearling
The Fate of the Tearling comes out December 1st.

As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.

To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne.

Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.

Wednesday Wish List – 14th Sept.

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For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two “uncivilized” nations remain perpetually at war. Most citizens tour the Continent to see the spectacle and violence of battle—a thing long vanished in the Spire. For Vaela—a smart and talented apprentice cartographer—it is an opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land. 

thecontinent_keiradrake
The Continent comes out 3rd January.

 

But an idyllic aerial exploration is not to be had: the realities of war are made clear in a bloody battle seen from the heli-plane during the tour, leaving Vaela forever changed. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, she has no illusions about the true nature of the danger she faces. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.

I have been waiting patiently (NOT!) for a cover reveal for this week’s WWL pick for what seems like forever now. Finally, FINALLY, the cover was revealed this week and I can show you both the cover and the book that has been plaguing me since I read the manuscript a few months ago. Just look at this beauty!!! This is seriously one of the best covers I have seen in a while and having read the book I can tell you this, it represents it PERFECTLY! I cannot wait to get my hands on a finished copy, which sadly won’t happen until January 2017. For now though I’d be satisfied if I can find an advance copy with the actual cover on it!

Wednesday Wish List – 7th Sept

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Goodreads synopsis:

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

 

I seriously doubt anyone actually needs to be introduced to this week’s Wish List book. I also doubt I’m the only one who’s counting the days until the release of Crooked Kingdom. I’ve read the sampler. I have read and reread Six of Crows so many times my trusty hardback is showing some signs of wear. Do I care? No. It gives it a slight vintage look that I totally dig.

I have pre-ordered Crooked Kingdom twice, actually. Once from Amazon so I could email the confirmation for the amazing pre-order goodies and once at the Strand, where I will be attending the launch party on 26th Sept (there better be some posters available or I WILL cry!). I’m so excited about this event I’ve marked it down in my work calendar!! Only 19 days left if you’re wondering. For now, however, you can join in the re-reading of Six of Crows on Goodreads starting next week. Leigh will be kicking things off with a video and will also be answering questions live. So dust off those Six of Crows tomes and join the fun.

Wednesday Wish List

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BLOOD ROSE REBELLION R3 V5.inddThe thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

Red Queen fan – check.

Interesting remise – check.

Gorgeous cover – CHECK. 

With a synopsis like that it’s really not a mystery why I wished I had this beauty in my hands RIGHT NOW. I find the premise extremely intriguing and the fact that it’s set in Hungary (not your usual location!) is more than enough for me to scream angrily at the release date. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. I just need it to get here faster.