Note – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that I’ll receive a small percentage of any purchase you make using them at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep this blog running. I received some of these books for review from the publisher. I’ll state which books were sent to me in the review–and it’ll be listed in the link to my original review as well. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Dreams, etc.!
I initially planned to share this post during 2016, but I usually get a lot of reading done in the last week of December since I like to relax and enjoy a quiet end to the year. What if I read one of my favorite books during the last week of 2016, but this post had already gone up? So I waited, and sure enough I read a few of my favorite books during that last week of the month. What topped my list of favorite books in 2016? Keep reading to find out!
Please note that this isn’t a list exclusive to books released in 2016. There are definitely some on this list, but some of the books aren’t new releases. Also, this list is ordered by the date I read them.
1 // Illuminae by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The day that Kady and Ezra break up their planet is invaded and each of them escape on different spaceships. As they try to find their way to each other again, they have to survive the outbreak of a plague and a system on the spaceship that might be out to get them.
Told in the format of a dossier of hacked documents including emails, security logs, etc., this is a book to experience and has some absolutely beautiful spreads. It’s not a format that everyone will enjoy, but I think it’s worth a shot to see if you do. I love books that feature unique storytelling methods like this one, so I absolutely loved it. I passed it off to my parents when I was done and both of them sped through it. This is a book that I think you can read multiple times and get something different from each time and this book definitely goes deeper than what you see on the surface. I haven’t read Gemina yet, but I have it and my parents have asked when I’ll be reading it so that they can read it.
Due to the format, I highly recommend picking up a physical copy of this book. I’ve found that formats like this don’t translate as well in a digital version. And the book itself is so beautiful! (See my original review here.)
Read Illuminae if:
>> You like adventure stories.
>> You like futuristic and/or space stories.
>> You like or are interested in stories that are told through unique storytelling methods.
2 // Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson
This story alternates between Mira, a ballerina in the 1970’s who immerses herself in the cutthroat world of ballet as she seeks refuge from the drama of her parents at home and who catches the eye of Maurice, a reclusive man who soon becomes her mentor, and Kate, a college professor who enters into an inappropriate relationship with a student.
I signed up to be part of a blog tour for this one, so I received this for review from the publisher, and I’m so glad I did. I’m not sure if I would have picked it up had I not received a copy, although it would have been one that I’d take a look at. I love dance-related stories! This isn’t at the top of my list of favorites and I honestly didn’t expect to put it in this post, however the characters captured my heart (especially Mira) and my imagination. I read this in two evenings and the day after I finished it I came home from work ready to sit down with my book about the ballerina, only to realize it had ended. I’ve thought about it quite a bit throughout the rest of the year and am holding onto my copy because I expect to read this one again in the future. (See my original review here.)
Read Girl Through Glass if:
>> You’re a fan of dance stories–just keep in mind that this isn’t a flashy dance story. Instead, it takes a look at the darker side of the dance world and I would expect that if there is some exaggeration, it’s not that far from the truth.
>> You enjoy literary fiction.
>> You like books that involve family secrets and drama, but enjoy when it comes through in a more subtle way. This won’t leave you at the edge of your seat, but there are secrets that need to be unraveled.
3 // Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older
Carlos walks the line between the living and the dead as an inbetweener–he’s been partially resurrected after suffering a death he doesn’t remember. He thinks he’s the one and only, until he meets other inbetweeners and discovers one of them has summoned ngks, who are capable of eliminating spirits and are now spreading through New York.
I did a terrible job of explaining this, so go look at the actual synopsis, but I loved this book! Carlos is a character that drew me right in and the story was fun and exciting. If you’re interested in this, be sure to check out the audiobook. Older narrates it himself, and he did a fantastic job! It’s his narration that made this book my top pick out of all of the books by him that I read in 2016. (See my original review here.)
Read Half-Resurrection Blues if:
>> You enjoy urban fantasy.
>> You want to read a story that will take you on an adventure.
>> You like books in a series. This is the first in a trilogy! I also read the second (Midnight Taxi Tango) and the third (Battle Hill Bolero) came out this week!
>> You want a story with a setting that comes alive.
4 // Where We Fall by Rochelle B. Weinstein
Abby, Ryan and Lauren were best friends in college, back when Abby and Lauren were roommates and Lauren and Ryan were dating. Now, Abby and Ryan are married with a sixteen-year-old daughter and Lauren travels around the world photographing waterfalls, and they all have to confront their past when Abby enters treatment for depression and Lauren returns to town.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.) I flew through this book and it’s probably one of the first books I read in 2016 that I just sat down and read through cover-to-cover. I didn’t have a lot of time for that last year, but once I started this book I couldn’t stop reading. I wouldn’t say this book was shocking, but I connected with all of the characters, which is typically the number one thing I look for when reading a book. I loved them all and wanted what was best for them, but was conflicted as to what the best was. The writing was beautiful. I wrote down a ton of quotes from this one, and shared a few of them on Twitter in the days after I finished the book. I loved that this book didn’t shy away from showing Abby’s depression and how that impacted her family. When it was finished, I was incredibly satisfied. (See my original review.)
Read Where We Fall if:
>> You’re looking for a novel that doesn’t sugar coat depression and its impact on a family.
>> You’re looking for a book that has a lot of relationship tension between family members.
>> You enjoy stories where people from the past meet again.
5 // Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
An old man is introduced to a new prostitute, but when she arrives exhausted he gives her a chance to sleep. As he watches her sleep, he thinks about the prostitutes he has been with in the past.
Every time I talk about this book and how much I enjoyed it, it always feels a little… strange. Because, well, subject matter. But don’t let that turn you away because 1) it’s not graphic and 2) it’s a quick read and I felt like it was a great introduction to Marquez’s work, partly because of its size and how fast of a read it was. This is another book that I jotted down a lot of quotes from as I read, and I kept putting off packing for my trip to Colombia in order to read “just one more chapter.” If you, like me, have tried to get into Marquez’s work in the past but haven’t been successful, I’d suggest trying one of his shorter novels, like this one or Chronicle of a Death Foretold. They’re a sampler that could pique your interest in his longer novels…they did for me. I thought I’d like Chronicle better, but Memories was without a doubt my favorite of the two. (See my original review.)
Read Memories of My Melancholy Whores if:
>> You’re looking for a starting point to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s work.
>> You’d like to read more classics and would like to start small.
>> You’d like to enjoy some beautiful writing.
>> You’re interested in reading a novel that takes place in a different country. I know this is often a category in different reading challenges. 🙂
6 // Vicarious by Paula Stokes
Winter and her sister Rose were rescued from the man who trafficked them by Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon. Now, they work for Gideon’s company and perform stunts, recording what they see and feel so that others can have the same experiences vicariously through their recordings. When Rose’s sister goes missing and is believed to be murdered, Winter doesn’t goes through her sister’s old recordings and starts to investigate what happened to her sister.
This is another terrible recap, so you might want to read the official synopsis. I absolutely loved this book! I was intrigued by Gideon’s business and the idea of being able to watch these experiences and actually feel like you were there, but I also felt like there was a really dark side to the recordings–in particular what was being recorded. It provided a nice tension for the book. In the midst of the action there were some beautiful, quiet scenes that I really appreciated and enjoyed. And this book ended in a way that sets up the second (and, I believe, final book) in such a great way that I anticipate the second being even better. I’m excited to see where the story goes!
I will say that I never quite connected with the characters and you know how much I like to connect with them. However, I enjoyed the story enough that it wasn’t a problem for me. (See my original review.)
Read Vicarious if:
>> You like action stories.
>> You’re looking for a story that isn’t afraid to take on tough issues (but isn’t overwhelmed by them).
>> You’re looking for a book with diverse characters.
>> You like heroines that aren’t afraid to go after what they want.
WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS FROM 2016?