Best Books of 2016

Welcome one, welcome all, to the inevitable and downright obligatory Best Books of 2016 post that isn’t at all subjective or biased in any way. (Disclaimer: that sentence was entirely a lie.)

(If you’re looking for my more stats-based wrap up of 2016 then please do pop over to my 2016: A Bookish Year In Review post!)

I’m sure you’ve seen enough of these lists floating around in the past week or so but, basically, I’ve decided to draw a line under (let’s face it a pretty crappy) 2016 in the most positive way possible – by celebrating some absolutely brilliant books that I’ve read this past year. They may not necessarily have been published in 2016, but all of them were read by yours truly in these past twelve months and, it’s safe to say, if they made this list and have stuck around despite my patchy memory, then they must have been something special. Each of these books has well and truly earned their place on this list and I’ve detailed the not-at-all-incoherent reasoning behind each choice below so that, hopefully, my flailing might persuade you to read them yourself if you haven’t already.

Right, without further ado, let’s do this like the music charts, in reverse order, shall we?

burialritescoverHonourable Mention: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Why?: When people say a story is “haunting”, I finally know what they mean thanks to Hannah Kent’s novel. Set in Iceland, it follows the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last person to be sentenced to death in the country. From the outset we are told what Agnes has allegedly done and this characterisation of her as a “murderess” haunts her every word and interaction from this opening page. Add onto that Kent’s chilling writing style which masterfully evokes the harsh, bleak, but beautiful, Icelandic landscape, and you have an absolutely astounding book that has stayed with me for many months.

“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.”

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Top Ten Tuesday | All-Time Favorite Fantasy Books

toptentuesdayAnother Tuesday, another Top Ten Tuesday. For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and each week they post a topic for bloggers to respond to. This week’s theme is a tough one if you’re as indecisive as myself, it is: Top Ten ALL TIME Favourite Books Of X Genre and my chosen genre is Fantasy. Now, I’m sure I’ve missed something obvious here, but something has to be said for any book/series that immediately jumps to mind when faced with this theme.

Without further ado, let’s see this list…

10. The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

I can’t stand the author or The Mortal Instruments series, the writing isn’t the most masterful thing ever, and I cringe at times, but I adored the world-building, setting, and character development throughout Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and, especially, Clockwork Princess. If you’re into books set in Victorian London but would like a little bit of supernatural creatures too, then these are definitely worth a read. I can forgive occasionally terrible writing when Jem Carstairs exists.

9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

It’s Neil Gaiman so obviously it comes highly recommended. If that isn’t enough of a reason then let me just say this: it might be a children’s book, technically, but the story of Nobody Owens being raised in a graveyard by its resident ghosts is eccentric, is charming, is chilling, but most of all is beautiful.

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#TBRTakedown 3.5 Wrap-Up

TBR Takedown 3.5 happened this past weekend so I thought it was high time to do a little wrap-up of how the readathon went for me. For anyone who doesn’t know, TBR Takedown is a readathon hosted by Shannon from the booktube channel leaninglights – you can find her TBR video for the readathon here. This round was a shorter format so took place last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and I had a lot of fun with following the #TBRTakedown hashtag on Twitter and, of course, reading the books I picked in my TBR.

 Day Minus One (7th April)

10.30pm – Since I have an important application due tomorrow which I need to stress over, I think I might cheat and start the readathon a little early. Seeing other people do this on Twitter isn’t helping to restrain me!

11.00pm – I cheated and started (and finished) Saga Volume 1 before it’s even hit midnight. Suffice to say, people weren’t wrong, it’s great, I loved it. In fact #damnthatsgoodstuff seemed to be my attempt at a mini-review on Twitter and, as Shannon agreed, it’s as good as any. Think I might read a little of the novel I chose for this readathon, Janet Ellis’ The Butcher’s Hook, until I feel sleepy enough to go to sleep.

Day One (8th April)

8.00pm – I’ve spent most of today working on (or procrastinating working on) my application so it was probably a good thing that I managed to read Saga Volume 1 and some of The Butcher’s Hook last night/this morning. I’m now 112 pages into it and it’s… well… not quite what I was expecting, more upfront about the adult themes than I expected. That’s all I will say for now.

Day Two (9th April)

7.00pm – After visiting family as we do every Saturday, I came home about 5pm and sat down to read the final 1/3 of The Butcher’s Hook. Still not sure what to make of it – it certainly took a turn I wasn’t expecting and it was very evocative, interesting, well-written etc. Just not sure how much it will stick with me… though the description of the butchers at work definitely will. Must review this one asap.

I also came home to a parcel- my pre-order of Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger has arrived finally. I say finally but it’s only been out two days I think, still that’s quite slow for Amazon. In any case I need to decide whether to stick to my TBR and move onto Saga Volume 2 or whether to pick that up instead. I should probably return to the book I was reading before the readathon (Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass) if anything because I was really enjoying that and it reads quite quickly despite its intimidating size. I’ll mull over my options whilst my food cooks I think.

Day Three (10th April)

9.00pm – My brain is not conducive to reading right now, but I’m likewise indecisive as to what film or TV show to fill the time with. Think I might finally try to catch up with what I’ve missed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, namely Age of Ultron.

11.30pm – I did end up watching Age of Ultron – side note, does anyone feel like that film tried to introduce way too much stuff into it? I was confused as to decisions and motivations for a lot of the screen time tbh. Also the decision to pursue Banner and Natasha- I mean seriously why? Anyways, back to the readathon, I have about 30 mins before it finishes where I am so I might read a few more chapters of The Aeronaut’s Windlass until midnight/I fall asleep.

Conclusion

Overall I’m so pleased with what I managed to read over the course of TBR Takedown. I know to some people only reading one novel and two graphic novels might be a little slow-going but for me that’s great! Especially when a readathon takes place over the weekend which are actually the worst times for reading for me because family stuff etc. etc. Also, I finally read Saga which I’ve been meaning to do for months, probably years at this point, but the only problem with that is that I now want to buy the other volumes but am only a semi-book buying ban. Meanwhile The Butcher’s Hook was a very surprising read, though I should have expected it from the title! I even wrote a review already for it – again, for me, that’s good going to have written a review already.

So, overall, I would call TBR Takedown a success and I’m really glad I took part, and once again Shannon from leaninglights did such a great job of hosting. I’d highly recommend you check out TBR Takedown and here’s to the next round!


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