My Year in Books: 2016

How many books did you read this year?

93 books which was pretty good considering my reading dramatically decreased after April.

What was your number one TOP FAVORITE of them?

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The Magician’s Nephew by C. S Lewis, fantastical and hysterical, what’s not to love? Also I actually forgot I read it last year until doing this post so my 2016 favourites post is factually inaccurate, I apologise.

Favorite new-to-you author that you discovered this year?

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Best new-to-you book by an author you already liked?

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I love Hemingway’s writing and was surprised to find this novel a romance! It made me cry on its last page and I’m a huge fan, he also remains one of the only writers to make me care about setting.

 

What book were you surprised to like?

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I was surprised to like this novel simply because I didn’t know too much about its plot, ultimately I’m glad this was the case and I’d like to watch the movie this year.

 

What was the funniest book you read this year?

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I love Mindy Kaling’s humour and how down to Earth she remains. I did a review of this audiobook which you can read here.

What book made you cry?

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It is far too easy to make me cry. In the end it was the relationship between the sisters Rose and protagonist Eilis in Brooklyn that made me cry.

What was the most beautifully written?

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I loved Dostoyevsky’s writing, I also have a review of this novel that you can read here.

 

Most thought-provoking or life-changing?

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Sky Burial by Xinran which also has a beautiful cover.

 

Most unputdownable?

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Fruits Basket was far too charming and lighthearted to want to put down.

 

Most shocking or disturbing?

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And not in a good way.

 

Most imaginative?

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This made my top 10 reads list for last year. Ness’s novel is about a group of teens at a local high school who are not ‘the chosen ones.’ It’s hilarious.

 

Who was the most memorable character of the year?

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People are probably tired of hearing me talk about this fictional character but Leo Denton was my favourite character of the year.

 

Most memorable friendship or romance?

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The Six of Crows gang!

 

What genre or subject matter did you try that you normally don’t read?

Celebrity Autobiography.

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I own more autobiographies and they are mostly by musicians. Bruce did not disappoint!

 

What book can you not believe you waited this long to get to?

1984

 

What books did you read based mostly on recommendation or peer pressure?

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Which of your reads did you recommend most to others?

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Did you start or finish a series?

I started and finished A Song of Ice and Fire, The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games. I finished The Mortal Instruments at the beginning of the year and started reading The Infernal Devices at the end of the year and the latter was quite frankly a waste of my time. I also started Tokyo Ghoul which is AMAZING, Fruits Basket which is good though I prefer Ishida’s series. In addition I began The African Trilogy by China Achebe, The Poirot Mysteries and The Richard Hannay series by John Buchan. As previously mentioned I also started re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia. Clearly it was a year of series for me in 2016.

 

Shortest book?

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Longest?

Probably one from Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series if not an instalment in Clare’s The Mortal Instruments. 

 

Favorite cover of the year?

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What was your favorite reading spot?

The Scottish Highlands on Honeymoon.

 

Did you read anything published within the year?

No

 

Did you watch a movie based on a book you’d read?

I watched all of The Hunger Games films as well as The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials. I also watched the film adaptation of Cirque Du Freak and although I LOVE John C Reilly it left me underwhelmed, if only they put as much time into this series as they did with Harry Potter.

 

Which books were re-reads?

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What are you most excited to read next year?

So many Classics!

 

And lastly… THE LIST! All of your reads from this year, ready, go!

  1. Jan 4th City of Bones- Cassandra Clare
  2. Jan 7th City of Ashes- Cassandra Clare
  3. Jan 10th City of Glass- Cassandra Clare
  4. Jan 10th City of Fallen Angels- Cassandra Clare
  5. Jan 13th City of Lost Souls- Cassandra Clare
  6. Jan 13th City of Heavenly Fire- Cassandra Clare
  7. Jan 17th A Game of Thrones- George R R Martin
  8. Jan 21st The Magicians Nephew- C.S Lewis
  9. Jan 21st A Clash of Kings- George R R Martin
  10. Jan 24th A Storm of Swords 1- George R R Martin
  11. Jan 27th A Storm of Swords 2- George R R Martin
  12. Jan 29th A Feast for Crows- George R R Martin
  13. Jan 3oth A Dance With Dragons 1- George R R Martin
  14. Jan 31st A Dance With Dragons 2- George R R Martin
  15. Feb 1st My Antonia- Willa Cather
  16. Feb 8th Notes From Underground- Dostoyevsky
  17. Feb 11th The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey
  18. Feb 17th The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
  19. Feb 17th A Farewell To Arms- Ernest Hemingway
  20. Feb 18th Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins
  21. Feb 20th Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins
  22. Feb 21st The Maze Runner- James Dashner
  23. Feb 22nd The Last Summer of Us- Maggie Harcourt
  24. Feb 24th The Revenant- Michael Punke
  25. Feb 25th Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling
  26. Feb 26th A Tiny Feeling of Fear- M. Jonathan Lee
  27. Feb 26th Sky Burial- Xinran
  28. Feb 28th A Spool of Blue Thread- Anne Tyler
  29. Feb 29th Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud- Andy Lane
  30. Feb 29th The Old Man of The Moon- Shen Fu
  31. March 4th Paper Towns- John Green
  32. March 7th Oryx and Crake- Margaret Atwood
  33. March 10th The Invention of Wings- Sue Monk Kidd
  34. March 12th The Purgatorium- Eva Pohler
  35. March 15th The Mysterious Affair at Styles- Agatha Christie
  36. March 15th The Scorch Trials- James Dashner
  37. March 15th The Death Cure- James Dashner
  38. March 21st The Year of the Flood- Margaret Atwood
  39. March 22nd The Pilgrims- Mary Shelley
  40. March 26th Scarlet- Marissa Meyer
  41. March 29th Tokyo Ghoul 1- Sui Ishida
  42. March 31st Tokyo Ghoul 2- Sui Ishida
  43. April 1st The Radio- M. Jonathan Lee
  44. April 1st Tokyo Ghoul 3- Sui Ishida
  45. April 4th Cirque Du Freak- Darren Shan
  46. April 4th The Vampire’s Assistant- Darren Shan
  47. April 5th Tunnels of Blood- Darren Shan
  48. April 5th Through the Woods- Emily Carroll
  49. April 5th Fairest Vol 1, Wide Awake- Bill Willingham, Phil Jimenez, Adam Hughes
  50. April 6th Vampire Mountain- Darren Shan
  51. April 7th Trials of Death-Darren Shan
  52. April 8th American Vampire Vol 1- Scott Snyder, Stephen King, Raphael Albuquerque
  53. April 9th Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell
  54. April 13th The Vampire Prince- Darren Shan
  55. April 14th Gate7 Vol 1- CLAMP
  56. April 21st Wolverine and the X-men Vol 1- Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw
  57. April 21st We Need New Names- NoViolet Bulawayo
  58. April 24th The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo Graphic Novel – Denise Mina, Andrea Mutti, Leonardo Manco
  59. April 27th Hunters of the Dusk- Darren Shan
  60. April 28th Allies of the Night- Darren Shan
  61. April 28th Killers of the Dawn- Darren Shan
  62. April 28th Tokyo Ghoul 4 by Sui Ishida
  63. May 4th The Lake of Souls- Darren Shan
  64. May 4th Lord of the Shadows- Darren Shan
  65. May 6th Sons of Destiny- Darren Shan
  66. June 2nd Tokyo Ghoul 5- Sui Ishida
  67. June 7th Six of Crows- Leigh Bardugo
  68. July 11th Tokyo Ghoul 6- Sui Ishida
  69. July 13th Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks
  70. July 14th Wolf- Ales Kot, Lee Loughridge, Matt Taylor
  71. July 19th More Than This- Patrick Ness
  72. July 20th Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café- Fannie Flagg
  73. July 20th Catch 22- Joseph Heller
  74. Aug 6th Throne of Glass- Sarah J Maas
  75. Aug 6th The Man in the High Castle- Philip K Dick
  76. Sep 22nd And the Mountains Echoed- Khaled Hosseini
  77. Nov 8th Brooklyn- Colm Toibin
  78. Nov 8th: Me Before You- JoJo Moyes
  79. Nov 9th: Poison Study- Maria V. Snyder
  80. Nov 15th: Things Fall Apart- Chinua Achebe
  81. Nov 22nd: Born to Run- Bruce Springsteen
  82. Nov 25th: The 39 Steps- John Buchan
  83. Nov 30th: The Art of Being Normal- Lisa Williamson
  84. Dec 1st: The Pact- Jodi Picoult
  85. Dec 7th:The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult
  86. Dec 13th: A Little Princess- Frances Hodgson Burnett
  87. Dec 14th: 1984- George Orwell
  88. Dec 14th: We All Looked Up- Tommy Wallach
  89. Dec 20th: A Possible Life- Sebastian Faulks
  90. Dec19th: Clockwork Angel- Cassandra Clare
  91. Dec19th: The Rest of Us Just Live Here- Patrick Ness
  92. Dec 20th: Fruits Basket- Natsuki Takaya
  93. Dec 23rd: Clockwork Prince- Cassandra Clare

 

 

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Top 10 YA novels

I am by no means an expert in YA (young adult) literature. However, I have read enough to personally compile a list of my current favourites. I am currently reading Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun and have a few other YA novels I want to get to this year. Nevertheless here are my top 10…

 

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

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This book is wonderfully unique, as are most if not all of the books on my favourites list. I respect every book that makes me laugh and this book made me laugh so much. It’s witty and realistic, both uplifting and heartbreaking and never patronising which I find far too many YA novels to be. This book deals with cancer and though some people think it’s insensitive I disagree, I think it’s refreshing. This book is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars (which I hated) and I’ve never met anyone who has enjoyed both. If you’re that person please comment! This was Andrew’s debut novel published in 2012, I would like to read his other novel The Haters. If you’ve read it please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

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Another novel that is truly unique, The Rest of Us Just Live Here focuses on those who are not the ‘chosen ones.’ Its characters and their relationships are well-written and dynamic. Also, this novel is hilarious. It plays with and reinvents the stereotype and I’d quite honestly read anything Ness writes in the future. This was Patrick Ness’s latest novel published in 2015, he now has a new novel Release available for pre-order now. I may very well end up doing so.

 

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

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I love Leo Denton, who is a character in this book, therefore I also love this book. The cover is pretty self-explanatory yet the story is captivating from the first page. Danny is reading this novel at the moment so I won’t say anything more. This novel was also published in 2015 and is also a debut novel! Williamson’s second novel All About Mia was published this year and I’m sure I will read it in the future.

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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A YA Sci-fi retelling of Cinderella. I know you are judging, but I think this book is great. Cinder is a cyborg. This is a four part series which also has a prequel novella. I have since read book two Scarlet and definitely prefer the first book of the series. The world building is perfect and the villain and Cinder’s friendly sidekick are without a doubt the highlights of the novel for me. I will be continuing with the series as soon as Cress is ready to be picked up from my local library. Also, ANOTHER DEBUT NOVEL from Marissa Meyer published in 2012.

 

The Giver by Lois Lowry

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Interestingly, this is the eldest novel on the list published in the year I was/we were born, 1993. This novel is pretty well regarded in the book community and is one I would like to reread soon. This is a YA dystopia which is a genre that has proved extremely popular in the last decade or so.  This book has staying power.

 

The Program by Suzanne Young

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Set in our world with the only difference being a major epidemic of teenage suicides, which is worryingly not as far-fetched as we could hope. The Program is about a society forced to take measures to protect its teenagers against depression where teenagers are, as a result, forced to pretend they’re happy incase their parents or teachers suspect they are depressed, if so they must join ‘the program.’ This is the first novel of a series and was published in 2013. I really must buy the rest of the series as I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, it’s haunting.

 

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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The X-men novel of YA literature. The Darkest Minds also has a ‘problem generation’ expect this time the children HAVE power (at least supernatural power.) The only problem I had with this novel was its ending, although it is the first book in a trilogy therefore its conclusion is less of an issue. It was published in 2012 and the concept of power is interesting. I have yet to read the final book of the series as it was hard to find for a while however I have requested it from my local library and will hopefully pick it up soon!

 

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

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This is the penultimate novel in Clare’s The Mortal Instruments. As you can see, this is my favourite novel in the series and has some truly epic scenes. City of Lost Souls is a Shadowhunter novel, shadowhunters are demon hunters in order to protect the world and its ‘mundanes’ (us.) There are also other magical species/beings in the series such as warlocks, werewolves, vampires and the Fae, this series has it all.

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Another 2015 published novel. Six of Crows has a few really well written characters and I loved the world building, although this is a separate series which is set in the world Bardugo created for her previous series The Grisha Trilogy. This is an action novel about a heist and is very entertaining. I will read its sequel though this novel is low down on my top10 list.

 

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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I read this novel today and liked it more than I expected I would, although I probably don’t love it as much as you would think. I only knew a few quotes and not much of the storyline prior to reading and it was the cheesy quotes that put me off reading it until now. However I found the novel generally well written and I loved Patrick. Other than Patrick I didn’t get emotionally attached to the other characters in Chbosky’s novel and am looking forward to seeing if the movie changes this. What I do love is pretty much all of the songs, books and movies referenced within this novel. Despite the fact I enjoyed but didn’t love The Perks of being a Wallflower I have a deep respect for its originality. I also respect the fact that all of its characters go through real issues and sometimes mental illnesses, it paints a realistic portrait of today’s society. Chbosky’s novel was published in 99.

 

P.S. I decided not to include Zusak’s The Book Thief and Hosseini’s The Kite Runner in this list as they are not always referred to as YA though they would be my all time favourites. I also wanted to feature other novels and was worried I discuss certain novels perhaps too much.

 

Sophie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Update

Throughout February we have both started reading again. I give Mervyn Peake credit for this, as it is Titus Groan the first book of ‘The Gormenghast Trilogy’ that I’m currently reading and adoring.

(S)

Thus far in February I have read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov which you can find my opinion of here, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding  and Deathnote by Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba.  I recently featured Deathnote in my Top5Wednesdays post. I hope to do a review or perhaps a Movie Adaptation review of The Lord of The Flies soon. I am currently reading Titus Groan as previously mentioned, I have 100 pages left so hope to finish this within the next 24 hours.

This month I would also like to finish reading The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, a contemporary dystopia that I’m enjoying so far. As previously mentioned in my February TBR post, I would like to get around to reading my first novel by Daphne Du Maurier and my second Steinbeck novel. Other than this fairly optimistic goal I would like to read Greenmantle by John Buchan on recommendation from an Instagram friend. I read the previous novel The 39 Steps last year and am looking forward to the next instalment. I would also like to read a short story from the collection Legoland by Gerard Woodward.

If, on the rare chance I get through these novels, I have some other books high up on my TBR list- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Dead Poets Society: A Novel by N.H Kleinbaum and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.

(D)

I have most recently finished Tokyo Ghoul 2 by Sui Ishida, I am looking to complete On the Road by Jack Kerouac in the next couple of days and then I will move onto the 5 books I have previously mentioned that I have been challenged to read as well as continuing with the Tokyo Ghoul series.

Annual Reading Challenge meets Judge a Book by its Cover Challenge (Inception)

We did this same Challenge Last year, this challenge is between me and Amy, Sophie’s little sister. Sophie and Christie are also doing the same thing. First of all I will run through my thoughts on each book by judging the cover (I know don’t judge! get it…) I will also read the blurb and pass comment on the same. If you have ready any of these then please do not hesitate to comment you opinions below.

The 5 books Amy challenged me to read this year are:

  1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R.Tolkien
  3. The Art of being Normal by Lisa Williamson
  4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

So down to my reviews

  1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Front Cover

First of all I will say that last year I was challenged by Christie to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and absolutely loved it. I am therefore really excited before even reading the first word on the blurb. The front cover shows a blurred yellow Taxi which kind of reminds me of New York. Other than that there is what looks like another vehicle, potentially another cab going much quicker and therefore is even more blurred. I think from just looking at the front cover all I can assume is that this novel is not set in the same era as Zusak’s other book. If I was to go literally then I would say about a man or woman (maybe a cab driver) in New York who is there to deliver a message. This is probably completely wrong but I am writing this off the cover alone.

Blurb

I am not going to write the blurb down here as I am too lazy however I am happy to say I was right with the Taxi Driver, the blurb makes the character seem younger than I was expecting though I don’t really know what I was expecting. The concept of this, sounds kind of like a vigilante revenge story until it reads “Who’s behind Ed’s Message?” This gives the implication that something either happened to Ed to make him into a good person acting for what he deems is right or on a more sinister turn that someone is forcing him to act in the way he is. Obviously either way I will not know until I read but good news is I am quite intrigued by what I have seen so far.

 

  1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R.Tolkien

Front Cover

I have already read the Hobbit and seen all 6 movies in the Franchise, there is not much I can really say about this apart from the cover of this edition I have borrowed from Amy is pretty cool. It has the ring with elvish written around the circle and what looks like an eye of which I can only assume is Sauron. Either way I loved the Hobbit and am looking forward to reading this too.

Blurb

Again this is a bit pointless as I know what is going to happen however I am excited to see if the film missed any big parts from the book.

 

  1. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Front Cover

The Front cover here shows a Female silhouette (toilet stickman) ripping off an ‘outsershell’ of a male silhouette (toilet stickman) and standing proud. This gives me the impression that it is about gender identity and namely the transition of a male into a female. I am guessing it is about someones sex change and the story of whether or not this is normal in society. It may be about differing opinions on the issue and other peoples definition of being normal. Either way it is an interesting concept and it is probably not something I would generally pick up myself but that is the whole point of this challenge.

Blurb

The blurb has highlighted that this book is about the struggle of a young man in school who is not gay but rather doesn’t feel as though she was born the correct gender. Obviously this is interesting, it is hard to know whether or not the story is true to real expiriences unless of course Lisa was once Liam and then it would have a different meaning completely. Again I am interested however I wouldn’t have picked this myself.

 

  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardogo

Front Cover

This cover is very intriguing. It is is a crow mid flight over cloudy buildings and a phrase “Six Dangerous Outcasts. One Impossible Heist”. I am hopeful that this is going to be like a darker cooler Oceans Eleven. I would be likely to pick something up like this myself and therefore I am quite excited to read. I love books that are quick paced and keep you guessing I feel like this is going to be like that.

Blurb

So my idea of a darker cooler Oceans Eleven is a bit wrong as it sounds more like Lord of the Rings Meets the Italian Job. It has a lot more mythical aspects and creatures and it is more obvious that it is definitely a YA novel than just the cover alone. I am obviously not against YA as some of my favourite reads of last year were YA. I hope it lives up to expectations… I am excited for this but not as much as I am for the final choice.

 

  1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Front Cover

I know this is a classic and the Clothbound edition which I have borrowed from Amy doesn’t give much away. If I were to say what the book was about from the cover I would say it is about a chandelier salesman or maybe a chandelier hoarder. Either one does not seem likely…

Blurb

After finding the blurb online due to the lack of blurb on the Clothbound Classic I am really excited to read my first Dickens. Thank you Amy! I will be looking to review this as well. I know it is like a crazy famous classic with numerous adaptations. I cannot actually wait for this one and would probably put this at the top of my list.

 

Finally I think I will also do the Try a Chapter Challenge and try and rate the books from the first chapter of each. I will do that shortly. Anyway any questions or comments on Amy’s suggestions then let me know.

 

Danny.