My Top 10 Favorite Books/Series I Read in 2016

It is always good to look back in reflection before moving forward onto new goals. Looking back on 2016 was not the most pleasant of experiences. While I personally had some great things happen in my life—moving back to my hometown and having a job I actually enjoy—mostly the year sucked.

In a highly polarized nation, the one thing everyone agreed on in 2016 was how much we all hated 2016. I don’t want to dwell on that hate though. That is part of the problem, and I choose to see the good surrounding me.

Books have always been a refuge and inspiration in my life. They are simultaneously safe and challenging. Here are the books that helped me keep my head up and heart invigorated in 2016. Some were released in 2016 and others I finally got around to reading. Consider these recommendations if you are looking for some good books!

10) Truthwitch by Susan Denard

2016 Top 10

“Sometimes justice was all about the small victories.”

There were actually plenty of things I didn’t like about this novel. (I have almost no patience for insta-love.) However, this is one of the few new YA novels that have focused on a female friendship. This book really shined there. Safiya and Iseult fight for each other, support each other, and are generally a great example of female friendship. In a world convinced that the only relationship worth writing about is romance, this is so desperately needed.

9) Yes Please by Amy Poehler

2016 Top 10

“However, if you do start crying in an argument and someone asks why, you can always say, “I’m just crying because of how wrong you are.”

Who doesn’t need more laughter in their life? Poehler got me to laugh out loud on almost every page. She mixed her famous brand of comedy into a poignant autobiography that makes you feel oh so many emotions. I want every woman trying to make it in their careers to read this.

8) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

2016 Top 10

“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”

This delved beautifully into mental illness on the journey through a fanfiction writer’s life. I have never gotten into fanfic—I have too many of my own worlds demanding attention—but this was insightful. I also deeply appreciate Rowell’s deftness at writing mental illness. She doesn’t demonize it or glorify it but humanizes it. She shows what it is like to live with it or with someone you love battling these types of illnesses. Brava.

7) An Ember in the Ashes/A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

2016 Top 10

“So long as you fight the darkness, you stand in the light.”

I loved this world building. I’ve been obsessed with Ancient Rome since my teenage years. It was fun to see a new magical world built around some of that culture. These are great YA books. I can’t wait to see where the story takes us, because book two left these characters in quite the pickle.

6) Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

2016 Top 10

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”

These characters are how you do an ensemble cast right. I love each of them so much and they’re not even real! I was hesitant to read Six of Crows because I never really got into Bardugo’s Grisha Series. This duology is set in the same world. But, the blurb sounded like something I’d love. I gave it a chance and haven’t looked back! I know I’ll read these both many times over in the years to come.

5) Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas
Empire of Storms - September Releases

“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”

This is the fifth book in the Throne of Glass Series which is my current favorite series. I wanted to put this book higher in the rankings, but there were things that I didn’t like about it. Don’t worry though, this book is still worth the read! The problem is judging it against some of its better predecessors. I honestly can’t wait to see how my opinion changes after a second reading.

4) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

2016 Top 10

“Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon . . . is not the dragon the hero of his own story?”

This book has so much magic and whimsy. I get why it topped the bestseller’s lists when it came out in 2011. I can’t believe I waited this long to take the plunge. It is a complex narrative. There is a lot you don’t understand for a very long time. But Morgenstern does a fantastic job of keeping you interested. Overall, this magical read is definitely a must for all book lovers.

3) Morning Star by Pierce Brown

“I’m tired of people doubting. Of people choosing to believe they know what is possible because of what has happened before.”

While the second book in this series, Golden Son, is my favorite, this book is one of the few that ended a trilogy well. The main character is humbled and yet empowered. So many other characters go through redemption arcs and grow magnificently. All this in a Star Wars-esque, freedom fighter package. Be inspired.

2) Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor

2016 Top 10

“Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.”

“A dream dirty and bruised is better than no dream at all.”

It’s been a while since I tore through a series so fast. It is a highly imaginative series that turns a few Fantasy tropes on their heads. The romance between the two main characters could have delved into insta-love, but avoided it by adding a rich history and depth of character to both of them. This series may be strange, but it is all the better for it. Also, her writing is simply lovely.

1) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

“There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”

“To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”

I enjoyed the first book in this series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. It was a brilliant retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I could not have imagined the second would be this much better. It was beautiful, powerful, and breathtaking. Between her frank depiction of depression in a main character, the horrors of emotional abuse, and how unconditional love can heal the deepest of wounds, I was sold. Waiting until May for the third book has been a trial.

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