Reading Wrap Ups · Reviews

2016: 5 star books!

So, 2016 is ending, which means a wrap on my year is required, right?

In the order that I read them, I’m going to share the 5 star books that I read (and obviously loved) this year! My 2016 Goodreads challenge can be seen here if you’re interested. Otherwise, LET’S GO!

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The Raven Boys – by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle is such a hyped up YA series, but book 1 is my definitive favourite. I wrote a paragraph of non-spoiler feelings after I finished it: here This series is so character-driven that I find it difficult to sum up, but I’ll try. Blue lives with her mother in a house of psychics and if she kisses her true love, he will die. Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah are four boys on a quest to uncover a secret king to grant them a single wish. The group come together inevitably, their search for the ley lines begins, and their adoration of each other binds them together.

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – by Benjamin Alire Saenz 
Two boys meet one summer and learn the truth about themselves through their blossoming friendship. This book grew in my heart and I adored it. 

My Sister Rosa – by Justine Larbalestier
This YA psychological thriller was terrifying in a lingering way. I initially gave it 4 stars but couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards, so I changed my rating to 5. Reading this book was like reading an eerie contemporary. I have a non-spoiler review here.

Saga – by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples
A sci-fi graphic novel centering on two soldiers from warring planets that have a child named Hazel; you’d think this’d be reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, right? Love? Warring sides? NOPE! This graphic novel series is brutal, hilarious and heart-wrenching. The first volume intrigued me, but volume 2 amped it up to the next level. Hazel, the little girl with wings and horns, narrates the story for you. Her parents are fugitives. What could go wrong? 

Steelheart – by Brandon Sanderson
This YA dystopian is best described as “evil Xmen”. Everyone with superpowers is evil, and the Reckoners – a group of rebels – are intent on taking out these superpowered psychos, starting with Steelheart. David’s father was murdered by Steelheart, and he’s out for revenge. The worlds collide, it’s epic. (Heh.) Legitimately NEVER a dull moment!!

The Stormlight Archive – by Brandon Sanderson
(The Way of Kings and The Words of Radiance
One of the TOP high fantasy series I have EVER read. This series follows five key characters: Kaladin, the soldier branded a slave. Shallan, a thief longing to become a scholar. Dalinar, brother to dead King Gavilar, leader of a legion of soldiers and bearer of Shardplate. And his son, Adolin, a prince with a quick mouth but caring heart who fights valiantly in his own blue Shardplate. I can barely sum this up in a paragraph, I LOVE IT GO READ IT, TRUST ME.

Golden Boy – by Abigail Tarttelin
Max is intersex. He’s also the family’s golden boy: smart, popular, never does anything wrong. But something horrible happens to him at the beginning of this book; so graphic and upsetting. This book is heart-wrenching and I fell in love with Max. I wanted to jump into the book and wrap him in a blanket. Are you looking for a diverse read about gender? You’ve found it.

Nimona – by Noelle Stevenson
This is a delightful, standalone graphic novel that’s magical, fun and funny! It’s definitely perfect for a quick in-between read, or if you’re in a slump, OR if you just want something light and lovely in your life! 

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – by Rick Riordan
This was a reread. Again, I adored it. It’s definitely written for young readers, but nonetheless it was funny, loveable and the plot is excellent!! The mythology is on point, too. I pretty much adore this series and Percy. I finished the entire series in less than 2 weeks – they’re so good, so fast-paced, and so enjoyable.

Legion – by Brandon Sanderson
A novella centring on Stephen Leeds who has a unique mental condition which allows him to generate multiple persona. Like split personality, except he can see them and nobody else can. They’re a part of him, but independent of him, too. They’re also his wisdom. With their help he has to solve a mystery of murder and time travel. The length of this novella made me doubt that I’d love it, BUT I WAS SO WRONG. I ADORED THIS SO MUCH. 

The Sidekicks – by Will Kostakis
Three boys drawn together over the death of their best friend Isaac. That’s the premise, it was all I needed. The swimmer, the rebel, the nerd. What are these boys to each other now that Isaac is gone? 

Nevernight – by Jay Kristoff
I didn’t expect to love this so much. The beginning threw me a little, but once I settled into the story after 50 pages or so, I WAS IN. Mia goes to assassin school, has a shadow cat and can move through shadows at will: WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED? This plot was compelling and I couldn’t get enough of the characters. I predicted the character who acted out the evil plot twist, but that didn’t bother me because I didn’t know what they were going to do!!! Just that they were going to do something! Such an awesome fantasy, I can’t wait for the sequel. 

Our Chemical Hearts – by Krystal Sutherland
I wrote a non-spoiler review here. I adored this contemporary YA book, which usually isn’t my genre. Krystal just unpicked the manic pixie dream girl trope, added pop culture and humour and heartbreak, and it was beautiful and hilarious. Trust me, you’ve got to read this. 

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – by Becky Chambers
We follow wormhole builders on a long haul through space, just trying to make a living. These characters are so whole and lifelike, so are their cultures, and relationships. Plus there was the use of the “xe” pronoun, and also a lesbian relationship…! The representation is amazing, the story got me right in the heart at the end, I was crying ugly snot tears. BUT THEY WERE WORTH IT. I LOVED THIS BOOK. GO READ IT. SPACE AND GAYS AND FEELINGS. Also a beautiful cover. So pretty.

We Are The Ants – by Shaun Hutchinson
I continued right on with this sci-fi novel after Small Angry Planet. A distinctly different feel, as this is YA, centering on one character: Henry Denton. His boyfriend committed suicide, his mother is barely holding the house together, his brother is a drop-out with a pregnant girlfriend, and he gets abducted by aliens. He has to decide: press the button, or not? Destroy the world, or save it? And he has to make up his mind in 144 days.

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) – by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Sequel to Illuminae. Jump station Heimdall, Hanna and Nik’s home. Hanna, the station captain’s daughter and Nik, the station’s… drug dealer. And member of notorious crime family. An elite team strikes the station; Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. This was so fast-paced!!! I thought it’d ease into the story but NOPE, STRAIGHT IN. After that I absolutely could not put it down and it was so quick to read because of the format it’s told in! (IMs, chat logs, surveillance footage.) I loved this book! Please read Illuminae, then jump straight into this one. DO IT. 

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them (screenplay) – J K Rowling
A Magizoologist, Newt, arrives in New York in the 1920s, so naturally his briefcase full of magical creatures is accidentally stolen. They escape, and he runs into magical bedlam trying to get them back again. I loved reading the script after the film, I picked up a few nuances that I missed in dialogue! Like the Quidditch reference to being “more of a chaser, actually” near the beginning. I wrote a spoiler free review! Highly enjoyed it and SO EXCITED for more!! 

There you have it. I’m pretty picky when it comes to giving a book 5 stars, but all of these books definitely earned it!!

I’m so happy with the reading I did this year! My 2017 Goodreads goal is here, if you’re interested. ❤

Can’t wait to jump into 2017, so many books I have to read, and so many new releases coming out!!

Thank you & see you in my next post!

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5 thoughts on “2016: 5 star books!

  1. So many great reads this year! I share quite a few five-stars with you 🙂 And thanks for reminding me that I really need to get to those Sanderson tomes. happy new year, Bec!

    1. See how you go with it, I hope you get to the end! I truly adored it, but I know some friends of mine think it was over-hyped. So it’s definitely a mood/opinion thing. Hope you enjoy it regardless!

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