Wrapping Up: Best Books of 2016

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2016 is coming to an end. Time has flown fast – as usual. Even though a lot of bad things happened this year, there were also good things. I graduated from uni, became a bookseller, saw Aladdin the musical and met the lead cast members, and recently an agent requested a full manuscript!

Also I’ve read 187 books this year. There were so many books that I fell in love, so here’s my list of best books of 2016:

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1) Crooked Kingdom (Leigh Bardugo). This book along with Six of Crows blew me away with a high stakes plot and amazing diverse characters. It deserves the top place.

2) The Sun is Also a Star (Nicola Yoon). This is a sweet and feels-filled diverse contemporary that mixes with serious issues deportation and cultural clashes. Shipping Natasha and Daniel forever.

3) A Court of Mist and Fury (Sarah J Maas). The book that gave me a book hangover for weeks. I thought A Court of Thorns and Roses blew me away but this one tops it. Everything was much stronger and beautifully written, and the characters developed well.

4) The Crown’s Game (Evelyn Skye). Gladiator but with magic and set in 1825. This book created a special place in my heart because it’s set in Russia and has a poc/biracial main character from the Asian portion of the country.

5) A Torch Against the Night (Sabaa Tahir). This one is just mindblowing and explores the fantasy more than the first book.

6) The Midnight Star (Marie Lu). The Young Elites trilogy took up my life. It’s everything. Anti-heroine, squads, unique concept of special powers, a sweet love interest, importance of family and just free reign of power. Midnight Star is a bittersweet ending to the trilogy that redefines character development and high stakes.

7) Iron Cast (Destiny Soria). Fantastic Beasts if it was a little more diverse, had subtle use of magic, and better. I was pulled in by the 1920s atmosphere, high stakes plot and the gifted characters.

8) My Sister Rosa (Justine Larbalestier). The creepiest book I’ve read this year. What’s it like to be a sibling to a charismatic psychopath who has your life on a tight leash? I guess you have to read it.

9) Fantastic Beasts (JK Rowling). This brought the magic back to the HP world. It has some flaws but I enjoyed it.

10) Gemina (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff). What can I say about this one? It made me laugh, cry and happy. Plus illustrations by Marie Lu are amazing.

11) The Reader (Traci Chee). A debut that swept me away. Though it can be confusing on whether this is an Asian fantasy since it’s heavily wrapped up with western-inspired things and several blue-eyed characters (I’m guessing it’s a diverse world?), this book has a unique plot and the characters are interesting but hard to grow attachment to. They need more development. But it’s an enjoyable read.

12) Three Dark Crowns (Kendare Blake). Three sisters battle for one throne. One has elemental powers, one is gifted with poisons, and one is one with nature. Enough said.

13) Vassa in the Night (Sarah Porter). A beautiful modern retelling of Vasilissa the Beautiful – one of my favourite Russian fairytales. Imagine being contracted to work at a magical store and have a living puppet as your friend and conscience.

14) Truthwitch (Susan Dennard). A unique tale of witches and friendship. This one made me feel the feels.

15) Passenger (Alexandra Bracken). An amazing time travel story that had me on the edge of my seat literally.

16) Under the Rose-Tainted Skies (Louise Gornall). This book touched my heart as it deals with anxiety and ends with hope.

17) When We Collided (Emery Lord). This book didn’t sugarcoat or romanticise characters with mental health issues. It’s another book that touched me.

18) The Rose & the Dagger (Renee Ahdieh). It’s pure magic that swept me off my feet and then left me in tears.

19) The Savage Song (VE Schwab). Holy crap, give me a violin so I can play a thank you song to this book. It’s a unique scifi fantasy book that took me by surprise.

20) Aerie (Maria Dhavana Headley). A unique read that made me see pirates and seafaring in a refreshing way.

21) Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (Alison Goodman). Buffy meets Pride & Prejudice. Enough to burst my corset.

22) The Girl from Everywhere (Heidi Heilig). A time travel story with amazing diverse characters, and incorporating Chinese and Hawaiian myths and history – I recommend.

23) The Sidekicks (Will Kostakis). Witty and heartwarming, this book opened the seven gates of feels for me.

24) Tales from Shadowhunter Academy (Cassandra Clare). I was hesitant at first but I didn’t regret reading this. It made me miss Simon so much.

25) Lady Midnight (Cassandra Clare). A refreshing entry to the Shadowhunter world and you can tell that Clare’s plotting and writing have improved.

26) The Star-Touched Queen (Roshani Chokshi). This stunning debut pulled me into Indian mythology and beautiful writing that I wanted to drink them up.

27) Fireboy (Sami Shah). Another fantastic diverse/#ownvoices book that I fell in love and sparked my interested in more South Asian mythologies.

28) Girl in Pieces (Kathleen Glasgow). A moving and well-researched story dealing with self-harm and suicide.

29) Heartless (Marissa Meyer). A great origin story on the Queen of Hearts. By the end of it, you’ll be in love and hungry for food.

30) Swarm (Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti). This book gave me the chills and made me love the characters more.

31) Everland (Wendy Spinale). A unique Peter Pan retelling in a steampunk world. Despite some flaws, it’s an enjoyable read.

Non-2016 books that I read this year and love:

Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda (Becky Albertalli). This made me smile, happy, cry, nerdy and hungry for Oreos.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Jenny Han). A book with a MC who is proud of her Korean heritage and loves baking and is romantic? I was sold.

Falling Kingdoms series (Morgan Rhodes). A slow-paced fantasy that surprised me. Also Magnus and Cleo forever.

The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer). A scifi fantasy retelling on popular fairytale princesses is my weakness.

Six of Crows/The Grisha trilogy (Leigh Bardugo). Enough said.

A Court of Thorns and Roses/Throne of Glass series (to an extent) (Sarah J Maas). The former a Beauty & the Beast retelling, the latter a series with a feminine badass warrior, a hot and magically gifted prince, and precious Chaol Westfall who has taken a special place in my heart.

That’s it from me. See you in the new year with my anticipated reads of 2017. Happy holidays and new year!

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