Friday, December 30, 2016

Goodbye 2016: A Baker's Dozen of Favorite Reads!!

Wave bye-bye to 2016!! 
See Paul's face there?  I AM PAUL. I am so ready to turn my back on 2016, slam the door in it's wretched face and start anew. 
 Give us something good, 2017, please.

BUT, 2016 definitely delivered us some incredible reading in the world of YA.  So many stunning debuts, as well as a slew of fantastic stuff from those favorite authors that continue to BRING IT.  In this day and age, and also for those personal challenges that we all go through day to day, the escape into fantastic worlds and characters that we all get from reading means so much.  To all you amazing authors out there that give us that gift---
we salute you!! 

Anyhow, as I always do, I'm recapping my favorites of the year---a sweet "baker's dozen" of them (because only picking 5 or 10 requires way more self control than I can ever muster at the end of the year). These are books I read this year, regardless of their publication date ;)  Shown below in no particular order and  with an excerpt from each of my reviews, I give you my best of 2016

So romantic at times, and so danger-filled at others! I definitely think the infamous pirate will finally make his way into a few hearts with this one. I truly enjoyed my trip to Neverland, even if it leaves me with a few night terrors and my idea of Peter Pan will be forever changed! I loved it!  
(read full review)

This book...will tear your ever-loving heart out. But you knew that. You know who the Queen of Hearts is. She's cruel. She's mad. She's...well, she's heartless. This is the story of how she got that way, so you know going in that it's not going to be pretty. But OH was it magical, whimsical, kooky, twisted, very creepy at times---much like Alice in Wonderland. In fact, I adored the wonderful nods to the original stories and characters. It was like seeing new sides to characters I've known my whole life.

Another fun adventure with Jackaby and Abigail! I love that in this installment, Abigail really seems to take center stage, and I love even more that we finally get the story behind of of my favorite characters in these books, Jenny Cavanaugh.  At the end of Beastly Bones, we were definitely left with some burning questions about Jenny and her increasingly erratic behavior, plus I've just loved these stories in general so this read was highly anticipated and did not disappoint!  
(read full review)

This one just took my breath away. With strong themes of family, community, and how our memories, our past, and where we come from make us who we are, The Forgetting dares to show us what humanity might become if we don't have that to learn from. Weave in a romance that is absolutely swoon-worthy, and this is one story not to be missed! 

At it's heart it's a story of a struggle between the classes (shifters vs. non-shifters), a sinister plot to overtake the crown, and of course, the fight to win it back. There are so many great memorable moments, and many a nod to favorite stories that will delight fans of Princess Bride, Tangled, Monty Python, and more. So much fun, guys. Do not miss it.
 (read full review)

What can I even say about this incredible end to one of my favorite series of all time. Wonderful. Heart-stopping. An undeniably satisfying finale. So many amazing things happen that myself and I'm sure the rest of the fandom has been longing for--none of which I can mention without spoiling some of the best plot points! (sorry! :D) But, oh, people, with this final installment, Meyer really brought the GOODS.
(read full review)

Shadow Magic's beautifully imagined world and it's turned-on-it's-head look at the war between darkness and light, along with clever and fun characters easily makes it a new favorite for me. While this cover was initially what made me excited to get my hands on this book, the story quickly held me enchanted.
(read full review)

The sweeping story twists and shocks---there was no part of this that I was able to predict. Several times I found myself gripping the book, furiously turning pages, unable to decide who I wanted to triumph in the end. This first book, honestly, could have stood solidly and quite wonderfully on it's own, but I can't say I'm disappointed in the slightest that there is more to come! It's a definite must-read!!

Rachel and Samuel's secret stolen moments were as romantic as they could be in the middle of a dirty digging site, hiding from fathers and cocky college boys. I liked the realistic take on their romantic experiences ---it wasn't the "perfect first kiss" and the perfect first..etc. ;) And it was all very kind of bumbling, unsure...real.
 (read full review) 

It’s a super fast read, wildly entertaining, that’s about all the littlest things that make us who we are and what we might be without them. It’s about family and friends and fear and trust and power and when enough is enough. The twist ending is fantastic and hopeful and I left the story thinking this Aspen kid, he’s gonna be alright. Phew. ;)
(read full review)

Henrietta is a character to root for. She has this incredible power, but it's Victorian London, so even when she is brought into the school to train, she is constantly having to prove herself among the men. She is feisty and knew what she needed to do---and I loved that when "their way" with magic doesn't quite work for her, she finds a way of her own to still accomplish the same goal, even when she knows the truth could derail everything. (read full review)

The Star-Touched Queen is a gorgeous story of love and power, deception and forgiveness. It’s artfully written in beautiful prose full of lush description and metaphor. It felt like a blend of Alice in Wonderland (with its bizarre creatures and dream-like atmosphere) and the Persephone myth, both deliciously steeped in the colors and flavors and vibrancy of India.
(read full review)

I adored this book, it charmed the pants off me. The characters were fun, the situation was emotional, the stereotypes of the LA private school were at once hilarious and from tales I've heard first hand from my L.A.-raised niece and nephew, not too far exaggerated. But best of all, this was a story of a girl in a pretty crappy situation finding comfort in a mysterious stranger who has reached out to her. It's so very "You've Got Mail" brought into the now.
 (read full review)

These three below are not runner's up---they are three that I read this year and haven't yet reviewed! BUT I absolutely adored them!! Keep an eye out for my reviews coming soon!

So that's my 2016 baker's dozen of best three more as the sprinkles on top ;)  Were any of your own favorites on this list?  Did you do a best-of post of your favorites this year? Please link me up or just tell me in the comments: What were your favorite reads of 2016?? 


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