Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Best of 2016: My 16 Favorite Books of the Year


The end of the year - the time when "best of" lists abound. And I'm a sucker for favorites lists (okay, so I'm a sucker for any list, really). And making my own lists? Love it! But that doesn't mean it's easy. And choosing a handful of favorite books from an entire year of reading? Gah! It can only be described as exquisite torture. :)

I read 92 book in 2016 and my intention was to pick a Top Ten. Bahaha! Yeah, that wasn't happening. But, serendipitously, my list had sixteen books so I decided to go with it. These are kinda-sorta in order but don't hold me to it. Especially when it comes to the top four or five. I basically agonized over it and still came to no conclusion so it was practically a coin toss to decide those top spots. So let's get started...


#16 - The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
I listened to this debut novel back in February and was so surprised at how powerful it was. Eden story was difficult to hear and the changes in her over an almost four year period were sometimes infuriating, sometime heartbreaking. This one stayed with me for a long time.

#15 - The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Armentrout has long been one of my go-to authors and I was excited for this release. JLA didn't disappoint. I was immediately drawn into Mallory's story and her struggle to find her voice, both literally and figuratively. Rider was a sweetheart but had his own demons to face. Great secondary characters as well.

#14 - Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
There's not one, not two, but three by Katie McGarry in this year's list of favorites. McGarry is another go-to author and when it comes to YA contemporary she is always my #1 pick. Her Thunder Road series hooked me from the very start and I can't get enough. Breanna is such a relatable, likable character and Razor brought on all the feels.

#13 - Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
I can't believe this one didn't make it to the top ten but I guess that just shows how many great books I encountered this year. I read an ARC of Swear on This Life back in March and was instantly captivated. This story within a story had me hooked and I loved watching as it played out. I knew I had to read more from Carlino and this isn't the only time she appears on this list.


#12 - Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry
Here's the second entry from Katie McGarry. Breaking the Rules continued Noah and Echo's story from Pushing the Limits (the first book in the Pushing the Limits series). Despite loving all the characters from this amazing series, I've always maintained a soft spot for Noah and Echo. Both characters grow so much in this novel and it wasn't always easy. (At one point I tweeted Katie and asked her why she was putting them through this. LOL)
I cried my way through much of the book... but in a good way. That makes sense, right?

#11 - The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
This was definitely one of my big surprises of 2016. I'm not much of a fantasy reader but the Russian setting was just too good for me to ignore. I loved it all. The characters, the setting, the magic, the plot twists I never saw coming... it made for a fantastic ride.

#10 - Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie
My love for this series knows no bounds and I tend to gush about it. A LOT. Three books from the series made it into my 2016 favorites list. Two of them were actually released in 2015 but I put off reading them because I couldn't bear the thought of this series ending. Goodness knows I strung it out as long as I could. This was the final book that was solely from the perspectives of Rose and Connor and it made me love them even more.

#9 - Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
This first book in Katie's Thunder Road series introduced me to a world that was new to me. A motorcycle club and its members that couldn't be more of a family if they were related by blood. I loved Emily and felt for her in this unfamiliar world she found herself in, Oz was an instant new book boyfriend, and Eli broke my heart. This book introduced an incredible cast of characters that I look forward to revisiting as the series continues.


#8 - Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Jamie and Wes. Do I really need to say any more? Reading this one had me asking the question: why did I wait so long? I adored these characters. Bowen and Kennedy created a story that was impossible not to love, with characters that it was impossible not to pull for. There was wit, there was genuine emotion, and I couldn't stop thinking about Jamie and Wes for a long time after I finished their story.

#7 - Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie
I waited a long time before picking this one up because I couldn't stand being one step closer to the end. Long Way Down is told from Daisy and Ryke's points of view and was even more emotional than I anticipated. They were both faced with such obstacles to overcome and many times I didn't see a happy future (which made for many, many tears). These two daredevils had a hard road and seeing them through it made for a remarkable read.

#6 - Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
My second read by Renee Carlino cemented her as a new favorite author. I fell in love with Matt and Grace as their love story unfolded. Set mainly in the 90's, both the time and the place (NYC) play such a role in this story. My heart soared as Grace and Matt came together and my heart broke as circumstances kept them apart. I was utterly charmed by this book (did Carlino sprinkle magic in the pages?) and it became an instant favorite.

#5 - Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
It kind of breaks my heart that this one is "only" #5 but again... just so many good books. Simon was my biggest surprise of the year. To think I was actually going to pass on this one. Ack! Thank goodness I didn't because I fell in love with Simon right away. I don't know how to talk about this book without full-on gushing because I love everything about it. The honesty, the humor, the friendships, the way it felt so utterly real. I've read this book three times (considering I never reread, this is huge) and I'll never tire of it. So freaking adorable (as Simon would say).


#4 - It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is so consistently amazing that is almost feels redundant to rave about her books. It Ends With Us may be her best yet. It had a different feel from Colleen's previous books - deeper, darker, heavier. It made me think. Often it wasn't enjoyable, but it was always moving. 

#3 - One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid 
2016 was a year of discovering new (to me) authors and Taylor Jenkins Reid is at the top of that list. Reid took a plot that could have been overblown and over-dramatized (a presumed-dead husband is found alive and his widow now has a fiance) and instead kept it tightly focused on one woman's journey. I loved everything about this one. I loved getting the background of Emma and Jesse, I loved the writing, I loved that halfway through I was utterly convinced on how I wanted it to end and I loved that I was perfectly happy when the exact opposite happened. 

#2 - A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Last year ACOTAR was in my top 10 of 2015 and I was certain that any follow-up could not top it. I was so wrong that it took wrongness to a new level. A Court of Mist and Fury was EPIC. A total game changer. Everything I thought I knew was turned upside down and all of a sudden it was a whole new story. The addition of new characters was perfection (hello, #squadgoals) and the direction the story took was inspired. ACOMAF put me through the emotional wringer and I was happy for it. 

#1 - Some Kind of Perfect by Krista & Becca Ritchie
And here we are at number one. It is absolutely no surprise to me that my #1 pick of the year was penned by the amazing Krista & Becca Ritchie. Seeing the Addicted series come to an end was bittersweet but this epilogue was 727 pages of sheer perfection. Some Kind of Perfect was one long love letter to these incredible characters who I have loved for so long and seen through so much. Spanning 10 years, I was able to be a participant in their lives through so much change. But some things remained constant: the friendships, the love, and their fierce loyalty to one another. By the time I turned the last page I had cried many tears but my heart was full.

Whew! So there they are... the Top 16 of 2016. 
Are any of your favorites listed here? 
What was your favorite read of 2016?



12 comments:

  1. Oh so many lovely books!!! Him made my list too. BWWS was my number 1 last year. I also loved Simon, It Ends With Us, One True Loves and Swear on This Life. I have The Way I Used to Be and The Problem With Forever to get to. Great list!

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    1. I remember you loving BWWS last year! I was so excited for it I even pre-ordered it... and then waited a year to read it. Story of my life. LOL

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  2. Only read one of these and again, I need to finally read a SJM book, I'm so behind on that! The Ritchies are all over this!

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    1. I wasn't even surprised that KBR showed up 3X. The addicted series is so epic. And yes you need to read SJM! Actually just the ACOTAR series. I never could get into Throne of Glass.

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  3. I love seeing the same authors multiple times on your list. It does indeed mean you had a great reading year and your go-to authors didn't let you down. :) Looks like I need to get back to Katie McGarry and read more from Renee Carlino and Krista and Becca Ritchie. ;)

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    1. Katie McGarry is my go-to when it comes to YA contemporary. I think she is an amazing story teller and writes with such emotion. And Renee Carlino - what a new favorite! She has a new one coming out next week (Lucian Divine) that I am so excited about!

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  4. Great list! Love Him and SO need to read something by Krista and Becca Ritchie! Katie McGarry is definitely amazing, too. Happy New Year Tanya! ♥

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    1. Happy New Year, Eva! Yep, you definitely need to read Krista and Becca Ritchie. It's a truly amazing series.

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  5. 92! Gold star reading lady!

    I am soooo happy to see Simon and Him on here. I mean I knew you would absolutely love both. But very happy to see them making your favourites!
    Of course ACOMAF makes the list. I can understand the hard decision when choosing between it and SKoP because obviously both are GLORIOUSLY PERFECT! Soooo many good books this year. I can't even(Simon reference haha).

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    1. Well, it's nothing like your 206 (!!) but 92 is pretty good for me. :)
      Simon and Us were no-brainers. I need to get a physical copy of Simon and download the audio. I want it in every version. And OMG they better get the movie right! (Love your Simon reference! Freaking awesome. See what I did there? lol)

      I had Robert read ACOTAR and ACOMAF. LOL It was so funny listening to him go on about Rhys during ACOTAR. "I don't trust this guy. He's up to no good." Ha! Now of course he's pissed at Tamlin, pissed at Lucien and asking me when the next book comes out. :)

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  6. *hides in shame because I still need to read ACOMAF and It Ends With Us*
    Looks like you had a great reading year Tanya, you managed to read so many good sounding books!! I hope you have an even better reading year this year =D

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    1. Oh Brittni... *shakes my head in disappointment* No ACOMAF, no It Ends With Us... what are you doing with your life, girl? (says the one who *still* hasn't read Archer's Voice! LOL)

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