So another year is over, I’ve read 100 books this year, which is bang on target. I’m quite pleased with myself, reading a lot of fantasy many of the books I read have page counts to rival the Bible so 100 is quite an achievement! Narrowing down my favourites to just 10 is hard and my list changed at least 100 times itself before I settled on what you see below. These are the one’s which I couldn’t get out of my head, which have lingered and made a long lasting impression.
I’ve linked to the full reviews for those who are interested but have also provided a short comment on why I have shortlisted each book. This list is in no particular order, it contains books I have read in 2016 but they may not necessarily be published in 2016 (although most are).
I know, I know, there are three books here but it’s a trilogy and I read them all this year and it seemed unfair to take up three spaces in a top 10 with a set and I couldn’t choose between them to pick just one so I just decided to put them all in one slot, so that’s just it. These books quite frankly knocked me on my butt. Wydrin, our hero, is easily one of my favourite female characters of all time. She’s feisty, she will knock you on your butt if you look at her wrong, she’s not afraid of much and if she is afraid of it she won’t let it stop her. And she can swing a sword like a beast! Honestly if I could choose to be anyone, it would probably be Wydrin. Yep, this is a serious girl crush you are witnessing here! Aside from the girl crush, these books are just outstanding, they have dragons (did I say I love dragons, no? I do!) evil mages, and world ending events. Jen Williams jumped into first place on my favourite writers of all time list with these books and I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on her next offering…like seriously!
Chasing Embers by James Bennett
Genre: Fantasy | Urban Fantasy | Dragons
There was no doubt in my mind that Chasing Embers was going to be part of this list from the moment I read it. Ben Garston is one of the best characters I’ve ever read, I loved him from the moment my eyes hit the page. He’s a rogue, he’s moody, he drinks too much, he get’s into fights. But he’s also fiercely loyal, he loves with everything he has, oh and yes he’s a dragon, the last dragon. This is an outstanding urban fantasy that is non-stop from the first page to the last. Book two was announced by Orbit a few weeks ago and is coming next summer so do jump on this if you haven’t already!
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Genre: Fantasy | Magic
This is the only 2017 release in my top 10, I read this back in September but it’s release in January. The hype around this novel is not unwarranted and I devoured the book in one sitting starting it one morning and finishing it the next. One of the things I loved most about this book was the fact that reality is completely stripped away and even as the reader you have no idea what is real so many tricks are played on the characters and so much deception is happening there is no way to know what is real and who can be trusted. Stephanie Garber plays this well whilst keeping it thoroughly engaging.
On Thin Ice by Aven Ellis
This is a novel which just pulled on my heartstrings, there was so much in the novel I could relate to and I completely adored the characters, Holly and Matt. Even now over a month after I have finished the book I am still thinking about it and replaying scenes in my head and that says to me this book is worthy of a place in my top 10. It may have been one of the last books I read this year but it has made a big impact.
Poison City by Paul Crilley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
How could I not include a book with an alcoholic dog? Writing this character was just pure genius, plus being able to make me laugh on almost every page is almost impossible! I have a pretty broken sense of humour and I watch and read a lot of things that I’m apparently supposed to be laughing at and I don’t but this had me in stitches. Add to that all the urban fantasy elements, with monsters of all sorts, lots of graphic blood and guts events and a really good crime come mystery story and I was sold. I’m currently pushing my Husband who reads about three books a year to read it so I can talk about the dog to someone other than myself!
The Summer Goddess by Joanne Hall
Genre: Fantasy | High Fantasy | Sword and Sorcery
This was such a hard novel to read, it felt so hopeless so much of the time. Asta our protagonist just has so many awful things happen to her and each time you think her turning point is coming another almighty hit comes and knocks her back down. But what this novel does is show that inner strength is key. Despite all the negativity, all the knocks that are thrown her way Asta just keeps pushing on and finding a way through it. She looks for alternatives to her plan, and on and on. Yes it was damn hard reading but it was also inspiring and I’ve found myself looking back and remembering it fondly.
My Map of You by Isabelle Broom
Genre: Chick Lit | Romance | Women’s Fiction
This completely swept me away to Greece, Isabelle Broom’s writing is mesmerising and through it we are carried through one woman’s voyage of self-discovery. After the death of an Aunt she didn’t even know about she heads to Zakynthos and starts to unravel her Mother’s secret history. The story is at times heartbreaking as she discovers her Father, meets a man who could be the one, and discovers things about herself and her family she never even dreamed.
Giveaway: I’m currently running a giveaway for Isabelle Broom’s new book A Year And A Day over on Rafflecopter.
Fight Like A Girl
Genre: Science Fiction | Fantasy | Dystopia | Steam Punk
I loved this anthology of short stories each of which introduced women as the central character who in some way fight for what they believe, be that with a sword, with magic or in some other way. These are strong stories by strong authors and show that women can kick butt just as well as men.
The Last Dance by Kierney Scott
Genre: Romance | Contemporary Romance | Erotic Romance
Kierney Scott is easily my favourite in the erotic romance genre, she always writes women who are gritty and strong and Georgina Fairly in The Last Dance didn’t disappoint. In contrast her heroes are full of faults and Roman Zakharov is a badly scarred, mean, Russian gangster so he is nothing if full of faults. This novel puts two people together who in any other situation shouldn’t find happiness yet Kierney Scott manages to weave a situation in which they discover the good in each other. This is what I love about her writing, she finds happiness for people who don’t get written about otherwise.
Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson
Genre: Fantasy | Epic Fantasy | Sword and Sorcery
Suzanne Rogerson has created a world which is threatened by ancient dark mages. The only person who can save it is Paddren, a young mage who is plagued with visions from the ancient world. He has no idea how these visions can help in his quest but with the help of his friends Varnia and Leyoch he sets out to attempt his mission. This is a strong debut novel and is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Giveaway: I’m currently running a giveaway for a paperback copy of Visions of Zarua over on Rafflecopter.
Finally…Here are my top five most visited reviews of 2016, these are the posts you, my readers, have visited the most this year…
- Fight Like A Girl by Various
- Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis
- Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
- Chasing Embers by James Bennett
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Happy New Year to everyone, it’s been a pleasure sharing my reading with you, and reading about yours. I look forward to seeing what 2017 holds for us and don’t forget to enter those giveaways!