Top 10 Books of 2016

top-ten-books-of-2016

As of right now, I’ve read 198 books this year (trying to power through 2 more to reach my goal of 200!), so it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to just ten favourites. But there were quite a few clear standouts on my list and here they are. If you would like to see other lists of my favourites from this year, I posted my top ten contemporary reads of 2016 on Happy Indulgence and was also a part of Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts’ 2016 Thinking Awards.

10. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

This novel took me completely by surprise. It was a highly anticipated book of mine but I had no idea that I would love it as much as I did. This book is set in Alaska in the 1970s and follows four different perspectives. I thought the writing was absolutely beautiful and there was a wonderful balance in themes. I also especially loved how the four perspectives came together and how seamlessly the book tied it all together.

9. Corruption by Jessica Shirvington

Corruption is the sequel to Disruption by Jessica Shirvington. While I really loved the first book in this Aussie YA duology, it was this sequel that completely took my breath away. It was packed full of action and omg the romance in this duology is just off the charts good. Maggie and Quentin are my OTP of the year! If you haven’t read this yet, you have to pick it up.

8. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

I love the Shadowhunter books and Lady Midnight was no exception. In my opinion, it’s actually one of the better books from Cassie Clare. The Infernal Devices is still my favourite but Lady Midnight definitely surprised me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters when I first read about them as pre-teens in City of Heavenly Fire but I absolutely loved the whole cast of characters (yes, even Perfect Diego)!

7. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Trilogy was one of my favourite series that I read this year and The Winner’s Crime was definitely my favourite of the three books. While I really liked The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Kiss, I just thought that this second book had really great tension and political intrigue.

6. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

This book. THIS BOOK. It’s perfect for all fans of magical realism. It had a whimsical and enchanting world and I love Anna-Marie McLemore’s storytelling abilities. The characters were perfection and the themes and messages in the book came across to me so clearly. I thought it was brilliantly executed.

5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

This was my first Ruta Sepetys book and I have no idea why it took me so long to read one of her novels, since I’m a massive fan of WWII historical fiction. What I loved about this book was the research that Ruta Sepetys put into writing her novel. It was obvious from the very first page and I really enjoyed reading about a little-known event in history. This book also transcends time and marketing categories. Even though it’s a YA novel, I can see so many different people appreciating it and loving it.

4. Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

This was one of my most anticipated sequels of this year after I read Wolf by Wolf earlier in the year and it didn’t disappoint at all. There was so much action and the plot twists were almost heart-stopping. There were a few plot points that I didn’t like (not because they were bad but because they hurt my heart) but this book definitely gets all the stars from me.

3. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

This is probably one of the books that I raved about the most this year. I highly, highly enjoyed this Romeo and Juliet-inspired story and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months and months. In fact, I’m still thinking about it. I enjoyed it so much when I read it that I couldn’t bring myself to write a review for it. It’s absolutely beautiful and has a romance that had my heart out of control.

2. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

This is my favourite contemporary read of this year. It had been recommended to me multiple times by different bloggers, so I finally picked it up earlier this year. And it was so good! There was nothing that I didn’t like about this novel. The characters were perfection, the romance was perfection and the plot was perfection.

1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom is without a doubt my favourite book of this year. It was my most highly anticipated book of the year and it definitely lived up to all of my high expectations. It had everything that I wanted from this sequel and it wrapped up the duology in the most incredible way. I didn’t think that I could love it more than Six of Crows but it was absolutely amazing. If you haven’t read this duology yet, I honestly don’t know what you’re waiting for.


What was your favourite book of 2016? Stay tuned for my next post: 2016 End of Year Survey!

Review: Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

between-the-lives

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Release date: May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 336
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For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted… But just what – and who – is she really risking?

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

I am so in love with Jessica Shirvington right now! I read her Disruption duology back in July and absolutely fell in love with it and I’m happy to say that Between the Lives was just as good.

This is a contemporary novel with a paranormal twist. Sabine has lived two separate lives for as long as she can remember. Every night at midnight, she Shifts into her other body and lives that same day again, except as her other self. And her two lives and selves could not be any more different. In one, she’s the slightly rebellious girl from a poor family who runs a small pharmacy. She has a younger sister who she adores but not much else going for her. However, in her other life, she leads a privileged life and has the perfect relationship with the perfect boy. During her entire existence, her Shifts have been governed by the same rule, that anything external or not part of her body cannot be transported from one life to another, but anything internal such as illnesses will appear in both lives. Until one day when her broken arm in her delinquent life doesn’t transfer to her other life. Sick and tired of living two lives as two separate people, and going through the panic that comes with Shifting each night, Sabine runs a series of tests on herself in an attempt to extinguish her delinquent life in order to live only her more privileged life to the fullest. However, things don’t always go to plan and Sabine definitely didn’t plan on meeting Ethan.

The story and plot of this book was just so captivating! I was drawn in from the very first page and I just constantly wanted to know what would happen next. I thought the concept of the book was brilliant and that it was executed extremely well. While Sabine’s two lives were slightly cliched (perfect rich girl vs poor delinquent), the plot of the book drew my attention away from that because I was just so focused on how the story would end. Because the novel constantly alternated between Sabine’s two lives, I found the book to be quite thrilling and exciting because we (and Sabine) were constantly left in suspense until she Shifted back 24 hours later. It was this constant uncertainty and mystery that drove the book and made me so interesting to read. My only small criticism with the book was that there were a few things that I thought could have been resolved a little bit more, but I really loved the last few chapters of the book and thought it was a fantastic ending.

Sabine’s character really made me love the book as well. While she has two different lives that forces her to behave in two different ways, I never felt that she was two entirely different people. Her personality really came across to me, even though who she portrayed herself as was different depending on where she was supposed to be. I really loved the internal struggle that Sabine had. On one hand, she doesn’t want to let go of either of her lives because of the people around her but at the same time, she’s exhausted from having to live each day twice and having to transform into two different people and constantly reminding herself of who she needs to be. I loved this internal conflict that she had and it was so strangely relatable (no, I do not have two lives) that I couldn’t help but just sit in my little corner cheering Sabine on.

And of course there’s Ethan. I can’t say that Sabine and Ethan’s romance is OTP status for me like Maggie and Quentin from Jessica Shirvington’s other work, but I loved them together anyway. I didn’t feel this all-consuming passion but I thought they were wonderful for each other. They each brought something to the other’s life (or lives) and that really hit me hard and made me tear up.

There wasn’t very much that I didn’t like about Between the Lives. It was a quick read, filled with lots of brilliantly executed elements. Highly recommend!

Review: Disruption and Corruption by Jessica Shirvington

disruption-duology

The Disruption duology by Jessica Shirvington was recently rereleased with new covers. Aren’t they just beautiful? I think they’re more representative of the story than the previous covers, even though they were extremely beautiful too! Let’s get into my thoughts on the two books.

Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me review copies of the books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

DISRUPTION

disruptionPublisher: HarperCollins Australia
Release date: June 20, 2016 (originally April 2014)
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 416
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What if a microchip could identify your perfect match? What if it could be used against you and the ones you love?

Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation’s M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loved most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it.

Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer – heir to the M-Corp empire – has become key to Maggie’s plan. But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin’s involvement destroy everything she’s fought for?

In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking.

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

Disruption was a fantastic start to Jessica Shirvington’s dystopian duology. It was fast-paced and engaging, and has characters that you can’t help but root for.

The story begins 9 years after the US government made M-bands mandatory for all of its citizens. M-bands are a magnificent piece of technology that allows you to keep track of all things in life, including your heartbeat and other vitals, your medical history, your car keys (so to speak) and your money. Most importantly, M-bands allow you to find your true romantic match. As soon as you turn 18, your M-band is installed with Phera-Tech, which calculates a rating based on pheromones with everyone who has Phera-Tech activated within a certain distance. While you can have Phera-Tech turned off, each person must log at least four ratings each month and if four or more ratings are negative, you are taken to a rehabilitation camp because you are a ‘Neg’ and a danger to society. Or at least that’s what the public think.

Our main  character, Maggie’s father became a Neg overnight and was taken away two years ago. Since then, Maggie has been trying to locate her father by searching Neg camps and blackmailing people to help her. What Maggie’s discovered is that the rehabilitation camps are fake and the Negs are locked up in underground prisons and recruited into being soldiers and slaves… all controlled by the Mercer Corporation. In order to rescue her father, she must use Quentin Mercer and get him to empathise and open his eyes to the atrocities that his family is responsible for.

I absolutely loved the plot of this book. It was a really well thought out world and I highly enjoyed how the story unfolded. It was filled with twists that I never saw coming and I was really invested in everything that was going on. My criticism of the plot was that it dragged a bit in the middle section of the book. There wasn’t much happening for a large portion and it definitely felt like we had jumped from doing not much at all to the climax where everything was happening all at once. It was just missing a little bit of plot development for me. Having said that, it didn’t bother me too much because there was a lot of wonderful character development going on during this middle section of the novel.

I loved the characters in Disruption. Maggie starts off as a bit of a dislikeable and manipulative character who doesn’t care who she steps on in order to achieve her main purpose of rescuing her father. She blackmails those around her into doing her bidding and doesn’t care that she’s ruining other people’s lives in the process. However, Maggie’s growth throughout this novel was one of the highlights of Disruption for me. She develops lots of wonderful relationships with the people around her and it was wonderful to see her trust in them and confide in them. Her relationship with Gus, the black market computer genius and hacker, was so funny and they fought constantly like siblings. Gus was so snarky and had a great sense of humour. I loved his role in the book and how he became such a big presence in Maggie’s life.

And of course I loved Quentin, the love interest in the novel. He was just perfection – handsome, smart and most importantly, not evil. He brought out so many great qualities in Maggie and taught her to love and care about others. Even though their relationship started off a bit rocky, with Maggie manipulating him, I really enjoyed how their romance developed and I ship these two soooo much! It was a romance that had my heart racing and breaking throughout the book and I wanted to read more and more about them! And luckily, I could because there’s a sequel!

I’M NOW GOING TO GO INTO MY THOUGHTS ON CORRUPTION. THERE NO SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK, EXCEPT FOR THE SYNOPSIS THAT I’VE INCLUDED WITH THE BOOK INFORMATION.

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