Monday, December 12, 2016

Top Ten Books of 2016

This has been a somewhat interesting year for reading. Interesting as in I read quite a few books I enjoyed, but not very many that kept me up late or got me telling all my friends they HAD to read it. I guess I mostly just ended up reading a lot of mediocre books. That being said, there were some really good ones...some of them just may be unpublished and/or unfinished (you know I'm looking at you, author person whose name starts with a K). 

No, the Jedi Quest series is not going to end up on my top 10 list, and neither are the Monk and Doctor Who books, but I'll definitely tell you about the really good books I read this year. And these will all be books that I've finished and are published--I'm really enjoying The Mysterious Benedict Society (and don't know how I missed it), but I can't pass final judgement until I'm finished. And it wouldn't be fair to tell you about books that it may not be public knowledge I've read.

Pictures link to my Goodreads review.
10. Girl Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird

I'd been following the Girl Defined blog for awhile and learning a lot, so it was an easy decision to preorder their book with a Christmas gift card--the first paperback I've ever preordered. The things they talked about weren't, for the most part, things I've struggled with, but I still learned a lot about what the Bible says about being a woman, and got a lot of value out of it. I also appreciate how their philosophy on Christian non-fiction (they discussed it in this video) isn't just to accept something that sounds good. They want you to evaluate it all--even their book--by the Bible. This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof

It's rare that I download a book and read it right away, but I'd been slogging through a lot of longer books that weren't necessarily page turners and friends' books that I had to edit, so when Amanda recommended it to me, I went for it. It's a super sad, sweet, historical romance that's a sort of prequel to a series I haven't actually read. But while there were a few more modern words that jolted me out of the time period, it was still sweet and heartbreaking and very enjoyable. Not to mention already edited and not very long.
8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I'd expected to be confused...and I really wasn't. I'm not quite sure why everyone says it's so hard to follow, but maybe I just feel that way because I've listened to several Dickens books and he is hard to follow at times. Anyway, I found myself in the peculiar position of disliking basically all the characters and yet enjoying the book immensely. It's so mysterious and intriguing and fascinating. Sure, it's dark, sure there weren't any characters I could relate to, but there's something compelling about it. Something about it that made it endure. After all, it's a classic. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

So I very much did not expect to like this book. I never used to be a big fan of Jane Austen, but I decided to give her another try when I was looking for an audiobook on Overdrive to listen to while sewing. And boy am I glad I did! I relate so much to Elinor, and to tell the truth, I feel like I've discovered a new author. I suppose I just wasn't old enough before. But there's something about it I really loved. Plus it was great to listen to in the car and read on the beach.
6. Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

After intending to read the Princess Academy books for, oh, nearly a year, I finally started them during my lunch break and rather fell in love with the series. Fact is, they're very deep. And as I'd read/was trying to read some rather shallow children's books at around the same time, it was very refreshing to read something like Princess Academy--specifically Palace of Stone. There's a LOT of politics in it, and if you know me at all, you know that will definitely intrigue me. There are also a lot of questions about how you know what's the right thing to do when faced with a difficult decision. Even the romance made me think. And making me think is one of the things that gets a book to stick with me. Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally

I finally managed to read it. I'd wanted to since I was probably about fifteen or sixteen, and while I kinda wish I'd read it then, I'm glad I read it when I did. It really helped solidify my philosophy on purity and relationships. It did teach me things, though I already knew most of it, but mostly it helped me understand the why. Because it's not enough to know what you believe, you have to know why you believe what you believe. On this one, I wrote a pretty long, detailed review, so I won't say more here. If you missed it when it went up and are curious, just click on the cover photo.
4. The Blades of Acktar by Tricia Mingerink

So I'd been meaning to read these books for a year and a half before I finally did. And then I read all three books that are out in a little over a week and was very glad I'd waited until Defy was out. Because let's just say it was a really good thing my sister (whose room is directly above mine) was not yet asleep when I finished Deny. And also that she'd read the books and knew what my problem was. I wasn't totally without complaint, but really, my only one was about worldbuilding. Essentially, Acktar has to be a fictional country in our world because otherwise they couldn't have the Bible. And much of the story is dependent on Old Testament Bible stories (primarily Daniel). Once I made that a headcanon of mine, it stopped bothering me that they had our history, but even so, it's hard to place it in earth's timeline because of the lack of firearms and presence of "pocket Bibles." That aside, these books are FANTASTIC and I TOTALLY see why everyone loves them. Firmament: Reversal Zone by J. Grace Pennington

Of course Grace's book is going to be on my list! I've been a fan of Grace's since I read Firmament: Radialloy back in 2013, and I've dragged several family members along with me. Because while Reversal Zone isn't my favorite of the series, it's still absolutely fantastic. I loved getting to spend more time with Andi...and she was the only one I really got to spend time with because everyone else was so messed up. And That. Ending. I really can't wait to find out what happens next. This one also has a detailed review.
2. Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E. Ardnek

You had to know I'd put this book on here. I didn't think I'd like it. I thought it would just be a book I had to get through while waiting for Kendra to give me more Clarand in Love and Memory.  And. Then. Petra and Reuben showed up and shoved Clara and Andrew to second place in the Kendra's Couples Ranking (yes, I totally just made that up). Seriously, though, this book has so much good about it besides just cute couples. So much about redemption and love and forgiveness and mercy and family and I can't recommend it enough. Also a detailed review when you click on the picture. Samara's Peril by Jaye L. Knight

And surprised is no one. Am I right? Because as much as I may talk about Rizkaland these days, Ilyon is so super special to me and always will be. Those books are highly treasured. They are to me as a young adult what Narnia was to me as a kid. And that really means something. Jace's struggles in this book are so intense. It's so difficult to read, and yet it means so much more when it's over. Not that his struggles are over--far from it--but this book contains a much longed for break-through. So many questions are answered, Jayrin is finally a thing, and it's just so powerful. I just keep thinking of how wowed I was the first time I read it. It's amazing. Full review when you click on the cover photo. ;)

And I'll go ahead and give honorable mentions to the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and Stars Above by Marissa Meyer because I did really enjoy them, despite some worldview differences that keep them off my top ten list.

Please take a moment to help me refine my blog!

What are your favorite books that you've read this year? Have you read any of the same ones I have?

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