Hey all! I’ve been quite busy the past weeks, and to be completely honest I was in a blogging and bookstagramming slump (yes there is such thing), I blame the holiday season. I know we all had that “moment” when all our creative juices seem to fly out of the window, I was having a serious case of it for quite a while, but hey I am back with a blog post! Of course I wouldn’t let the year pass without sharing with you guys my favourite reads of 2016. 2016 was a great reading year for me, I’ve discovered new favorite authors, enjoyed genres I didn’t know I would enjoy and met amazing “bookish” people. It was a year of saying yes to a whole lot of opportunities and discovering myself in the process. It is true what they say, books become part of who we are. And these books truly made a difference in me!
P.S. I did not include poetry books here since I will be making a separate post about it. You can check Top 16 Poetry Books of 2016 here.
Shall we begin?
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life took the cake, this is without an iota of doubt my favorite read of 2016. I have not made a review of it, yes, why you ask? I’m afraid I won’t be able to give it the justice it truly deserves. Imagine yourself inside a house on fire, at first you’ll feel the heat, next moment you’re suffocating from the thick smoke, the next thing you know fire is already enveloping you. Pretty morbid comparison, but that’s how it feels to read A Little Life. It will not immediately hurt you, it will happen in such a gradual manner, an emotional torture, a relentless beating, it was such a slow burn rendering you helpless and emotionally drained. Not that it was a dragging read, it wasn’t, it’s just that you have to feel all of it to fully appreciate the book. This book needs your undivided attention, it may look like it is a tedious job to finish it, but I tell you it is so rewarding you’ll be thanking yourself forever. After reading A Little Life, I feel like I am a different person, I came out maturer and wiser, dare I say. A Little Life is a book that needs to be read even once in a person’s lifetime. Jude’s story may have been hard to digest and at times too much to bear, but you will just automatically be drawn to him just like the proverbial moth to the flame. As Hanya Yanagihara puts it, “Jude’s character is deeply frustrating to read yet easy to write.” I was also happy to have met this amazing author, definitely a highlight of my 2016.
2. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Just by thinking of this book sends endorphins all over me. I am smiling like a lunatic just by the mention of the name Joshua Templeman. I am so in love with this book, it is already bordering obsession. You can check my full review of the book here.
Sally Thorne reminded me of Sophie Kinsella and Cora Carmack’s writing. She surely knows how to formulate the right words to make a funny, romantic and a total page turner story. I super loved Joshua and Lucy’s banters, and the palpable sexual tension. I loved that it wasn’t just a romantic comedy novel, but also it had depth. Everything was just well played out, it had the perfect amount of drama, romance and fun! I think it is my life mission to shove this book down every person’s throat. I feel sorry for those people who have not read this book yet, I mean guys, what is wrong with you? You’re missing half of your life. Like seriously, go and buy this book now!
3. The Radleys by Matt Haig
The Radleys is a book that completely surprised me. It may have a low rating on Goodreads, but that didn’t stop me from reading this one. The Radleys is my first vampire read, yes you read that right. I was expecting something mediocre and something common, I didn’t expect it to offer something new in the table. But boy, this book surprised me. I may not be a wide vampire book reader, but I know good stuff when I read one, and this book did not disappoint. It was well thought out, the characters are engaging and unique. The back story had me hooked I was flying through the pages and finished it in a day. Matt Haig’s writing style is addictive. He sure as hell gained a fan in me. You can check my full review of the book here
4. The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins
Prepare to hold your breath the last 50 pages or so. You are in for some mind blowing, heart racing and gasp inducing ride. This book had the perfect amount of suspense and drama. And though this book is constantly compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, this book is different and worthy of anyone’s time. It is beautiful and engaging in its own right, and quite frankly I liked this one more than Gone Girl.
The Girl on The Train‘s twist is something I did not see coming. It was more like an unexpected smack in the face. Paula Hawkins’ talent on trickery and mind fckery is something you sure wouldn’t want to miss. I have not seen the movie but I heard Emily Blunt did a great job portraying the role of Rachel, I think I will watch that after writing this blog entry. You can check my full review of the book here.
5. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid is another new favorite author, and it only takes one book by her to convince me. Maybe In Another Life is a good take on the dilemmas of being an adult, on the struggle of being stuck in a limbo, of being lost in your life or confused as to what you wanted to be. Maybe In Another Life is an affirmation that though life may have played cruel jokes on you, you’ll still end up where you should be – and that you’ll find happiness in it, wherever it may be and whoever it be with. Maybe In Another Life is an unconventional style of story telling, it offers alternate endings, it is like reading two books in one. This is one of the main reasons why this book appealed to me so much. So much so that Taylor Jenkins Reid instantly became a favorite author. You can see my full review of the book here.
6. The Forbidden by Tabitha Suzama
Forbidden is an incest story, yes, you read that right and no I did not ruin it for you, it is included in the blurb. So don’t go hating on me. And while this book talks about a taboo, it is something so gripping and heartbreaking you couldn’t miss the way the author painted it in such a beautiful and haunting light. This book had me bawling at the wee hours of the night, it is like my heart was barely surviving. That ending shook me to my core, it was bound to have a heart wrenching ending, but boy I was not prepared for it. Tabitha Suzama’s writing style is unflinchingly beautiful, lyrical and too raw. Maya and Logan’s story is something that would stay in my head for a long time, more like forever. I hope everyone would give this book a try. It was a gamble reading this one, but it was worth taking that risk. It challenged me as a reader and as a person, that at least counts for something. You can check the full review of the book here.
7. Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
Renee Carlino is yet another new found favorite author of 2016. I have read three books by her: Swear on This Life, Sweet Thing and Before We Were Strangers. Before We Were Strangers is my ultimate favorite so far. This book is my fantasy put into paper. It is that one book that had me saying “Damn, I wish I wrote that.”. Before We Were Strangers is a story of missed connections, of second chances and forgiveness, of how great love always finds their way back despite the time and distance. The characters are as flawed and as human as they will ever be, I loved how it felt real. I appreciated that it wasn’t forced or just written for the sake of having a story to publish. The one that got away stories always have a special place in my heart. Gahhh it was just so beautiful. You can check my full review of it here.
8. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
This book will lure you into this pit of calmness and plunge you into this unsettling abyss that will stay in your head for days, yes days. It is a book you won’t easily forget. It will inhabit your mind like a guest who has overstayed their welcome. – An excerpt of my review that you can check out here.
The Vegetarian is another book that left me in such a daze. It was different from all I have read before. This book was a good take on the topic of mental illness. Lyrical and haunting. Han Kang’s writing style is on point yet had that power of plaguing your mind like it was an unresolved mystery. Fans of Haruki Murakami will surely enjoy Han Kang’s book. It gave off the same vibe as that of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood.
9. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
While historical fiction isn’t my cup of tea, Burial Rites made me want to try more books under this genre. I thought I would be struggling finishing this one but Hannah Kent’s writing style proved to be something so engaging and enthralling that I couldn’t help but devour the book in a much shorter span of time that what I have anticipated.
Burial Rites is a well researched masterpiece. You will appreciate the author’s hard work and effort in coming up with such brilliant narration of the life of woman accused of murder and her subsequent execution as well as the story that surrounded it. It was written in such a way that was powerful yet gentle. Agnes’ character will simply grow in you, and you’ll develop a sense of empathy. Reading this book will make you think that this isn’t the first book of the author, it was so beautifully written you could very well tell that the author had a long experience writing novels, but no, this book is Hannah Kent’s first novel and it was amazing. Nothing short of perfect to me. Imagine if she has more books under her belt, imagine how much beautiful her books could get. We are in for some huge treat! Hannah Kent sure is an author to watch out for. You can check my full review of the book here.
10. Kyland by Mia Sheridan
Mia Sheridan has been a household name when it comes to New Adult books. I have heard so many great things about her that it is just natural to read one of her works. And boy I was not disappointed. Now I know why Mia Sheridan is loved by many. Kyland has just solidified that. Kyland is not just a love story, it was so much more! It was about two people who tried to make ends meet despite the struggles they face day in and day out. It was about sacrifices and choosing the happiness of the other over yours. Kyland ripped my heart out, I think I have cried a week’s worth of tears over this book. I had to stop in between chapters since I literally can’t deal with all the pain I was feeling. To say this broke my heart into tiny million pieces would have been the understatement of the year. You can check my full review here.
11. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
This is now included in my favorite books of all time list! I swear Chuck Palahniuk is a genius for writing such ridiculously good novel. It was so twisted yet so profound at the same time. It is the kind of book that will have you pondering on life and the grandness of it all. It may be considered as something “too masculine” yet I am still enamored by how it was conjured, of how everything unfolded. That twist made my jaw drop! I have not watched the movie so I had zero idea of what’s to go down, and boy that was some serious stuff. It was so good I was left in awe. And while it may be short, it was definitely a book that packed a punch (haha pun intended). You can check my full review of the book here.
12. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Should I even bother explain why this book made it to my list? This is a no-brainer. But let me state three reasons why I loved this book. First, it tackles something so profound, something larger than life. It was thought-provoking at best. Second, it wasn’t just a love story, it wasn’t just about two people falling helplessly in love with each other – it was unconventional, poignant yet still captivating. And lastly, it will rip your heart out, you’ll cry buckets, o boy yes you will, and as if your heart can’t take anymore beating it will happen all over again. It was the kind of cycle you’ll be willing to participate. And though there are some issues surrounding this book, I still think that it was well played out, it was written in a such a way that you would understand the choices that characters made. You can check my full review of the book here.
13. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
Of course this blog entry wouldn’t be complete without this book. Finishing this book is an accomplishment! I think it is already an established fact that I am a huge fan of the TV Series, and because I wanted to understand it more, I have vowed to read all the books, and 2016 was the year I started. I may be taking a really long time to read all the books, but everything is worth it. It wasn’t called a hit for nothing, and I tell you the book is always better. George RR Martin’s writing prowess is quite like no other, how could such a man think of all these convoluted plot lines, only a genius could do that, and George RR Martin sure is one hell of a genius writer!
14. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
It was about damn time to read this book, and I did just that in 2016. I know I am late in the bandwagon, but still here I am. It is true that the word depressing doesn’t even begin to cover this book. It was a good take on the topic of depression. Esther’s character is relatable in more ways than one. You will feel her underneath your skin, it is as of you are the one experiencing everything that she has been going through. It was a perfect depiction of someone spiraling into the pits of depression, and while it is a sad read, it was also powerful and compelling. You can check my full review here.
15. The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Pirate’s Wish is definitely a great conclusion to this duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke. You can check my full review of Assassin’s Curse here.. While Assassin’s Curse didn’t quite live up to my expectation, as I had a lot of issues surrounding the characters and the character build up, The Pirate’s Wish definitely made up for it. In the second book, everything became coherent, there was also a huge improvement on the characters. I devoured the pages like it is nobody’s business. I highly enjoyed the world building. Cassandra Rose Clarke is definitely someone to watch out for. Can’t wait to read more of her works. You can check my full review of the book here.
16. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Last but definitely not the least, It Ends With Us. This book!!! I know not all people loved this book. It was the kind of story that people will either hate so profoundly or love it with all their heart, I am part of the latter. This book is the Colleen Hoover I fell in love with. Colleen Hoover was bold and brave in writing this story. There is something commendable on how the book turned out. When it comes to Colleen Hoover books, always expect the worst, wait for the other shoe to drop – but even then, even when you thought you are prepared for all the emotional beating it will still be a shocking and ultimately heartbreaking revelation. This book needs to be read because this book encapsulated something so precious and powerful you have to share it to the world. Just be warned though, I believe this caters more to adult readers as it talks about sensitive topics. You can check my full review here.
So there you have it guys! Thank you for sticking around this 2016 and tolerating my sometimes lack of creativity and my incessant fangirling. Here’s to hoping 2017 will be kinder to all of us and to hoping we could take down our TBRs! Haha happy new year and have a blessed year ahead!