My favorite books in 2016

Most books I read this year were worth at least three stars. One or two were too slow paced, were made for another audience or took a wrong turn at some point, but most were quite entertaining. So I decided to list here only the ones I found surprising, funny and incredibly smart, because when you have read your share of books you’ll find this important, that special zing. So here they are:

Historical Fiction:

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

I usually don’t read historical fiction, but this book is worth reading even if you aren’t a fan of this genre. Lovely, awesome book, with an amazing story. If you liked Downtown Abbey you are in for a delightful treat.

Paranormal Fantasy:

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

The start of an awesome series, which I was quite happy to read until book eight quite fast. Fun, page-turning, with very interesting characters and world.

Books on writing craft:

5 Secrets of Story Structure by K.M. Weiland (Goodreads Author)

I found this book quite helpful, it’s about story structure in a summarized and easy to understand way. Great if you want an overview of Story Structure before you go into too many details. For me, this was helpful because I usually want to have a look at the whole subject before I look at each element in detail. So, if you are having difficulties to understand story structure read this short and concise book, you’ll get it in no time.

 

Fantasy with Science-fiction elements and LGBT Characters:

Mating Flight: A Non-Romance of Dragons(Mating Flight #1)
by Bard Bloom (Author), Tod Wills (Illustrator)

This book is very entertaining and it’s page-turner reading. I read this book in three days because I didn’t manage to put it down. I liked the main character, a fiery-tempered dragoness and all the witty dialogues and funny situations with the other dragons. I’ll be reading the next book in the Duology to see how this adventure ends.

And if you want to check out which books I read this year, here’s my Goodreads link:

https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2016/31638675

My Book Reading Challenge 2016

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This year I was catching up with my favorite series in Paranormal Fantasy, Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews. In this genre, I also discovered a really entertaining new series, Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, which I was almost binge-reading until book eight. I was reading a surprising amount of Young Adult, from which my favorite was the Throne of Glass series, by Sarah J.Maas. My favorite Fantasy with Science-Fiction elements books was the Mating Flight Duology with dragons and LGBT characters by Bard Bloom. And my favorite book on writing was 5 Secrets of Story Structure by K.M. Weiland due to it giving me a good overview of story structure.

I’ll focus more on this year favorite books on my next week’s post, but for now, let’s talk about this year’s challenge.

I managed to complete my reading challenge of 50 books!

And actually surpassed this number, reading 58 books this year (woo-hoo!)

I was also trying to follow the categories presented in the Reading Challenge of the Facebook group called “The Dragon Rocketship”, which is a group on Facebook about fantasy, science-fiction, (hence the dragon and the rocket ship) and writing. Since this group also has many writers, a couple of the categories included reading books from its members, something I was happy to do since I’ve been friends on Facebook with a lot of them for a couple of years already.

 

So here are the Challenge Categories I was fulfilling:

(though a lot of the books I read aren’t into any and vice-versa)

 

1. A book that was written by a member of The Dragon’s Rocketship:

Taming Shadows (Revelations #1) by Fiona Skye (Author)
This book is way better than more than a couple of traditionally published bestsellers I’ve read last years. I loved Jaguar, (the protagonist alter ego), the characters, the plot, the world, and the story inspired recipes at the end of the book.

2. A book at the bottom of your To Read pile:

Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones.
This was sent to the bottom of my TBR list due to its slow beginning. The characters in this book, especially Howl, are perhaps not always likable, but always intriguing. You’ll go on reading just to know how the story will develop and end.

3. The next book in a series you never finished:

Witch & Wizard (Witch & Wizard #1) by James Patterson (Goodreads Author), Gabrielle Charbonnet.
I’ll probably never finish this series since I feel it’s targeted at much younger readers. Still, it’s an entertaining book if you don’t expect too much depth from the characters.

4. A book you can read in one sitting:

Nail Your Novel Instant Fix: 100 tips for fascinating characters by Roz Morris (Author).
This short book is packed with interesting writing tips. I recommend it also for revision as a helpful character checklist.

5. A book with a dragon:

Mine by Bryan Fields (Author)
I liked the story concept and the Steampunk details very much. The end though was a bit rushed up, and I felt there were not enough pages to develop the characters and the interesting premise. Still, an entertaining short story.

6. A book with a rocketship:

Nine Tomorrows by Isaac Asimov
My opinion is that you can’t go wrong with science fiction from Asimov.

7. A book with an LGBT Character:

Mating Flight: A Non-Romance of Dragons(Mating Flight #1) by Bard Bloom (Author), Tod Wills (Illustrator)
This book is very entertaining and it’s a page turner reading. I read this book in three days because I didn’t manage to put it down. I liked the main character, a fiery-tempered dragoness and all the witty dialogues and funny situations with the other dragons. I’ll be reading the next book in the Duology to see how this adventure ends.

8. Book 1 of a trilogy:

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor (Author). This book has an interesting premise, setting and characters and I’ll go on reading the series. Still, three stars due to the excess of romance in detriment of the fantasy plot.

9. Book 2 of a trilogy:

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor (Author)
I liked this book much more than the first of the series because it had more story and turning points to it. I also like the underlying theme of the book: the peace and war duality. And I’m curious to see where the story is going.

10. Book 3 of a trilogy:

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor (Author)
** spoiler alert ** I found the book quite good, and perhaps the best of the trilogy. But I must say that I found the end frustrating, with a huge hook. Is the series going on? And if not why to leave it like if the trilogy was the prequel to another book? If this is to finish here I think it would have been better to have finished with a proper ending and with the peace Akiva and Karou always looked for and deserved.

11. A book by an author you’ve never read that is a member of The Dragon’s Rocketship:

Salvage (The Land Taking Records Book 1) by M.J. Kobernus
The short-story pacing was too fast at its end, leaving some things lacking development, but the concept was quite interesting and I’ll probably take a look at its sequence to know how it goes on.

12. An anthology:

Small Magics (Kate Daniels 0.5, 5.3, 5.6 ) by Ilona Andrews (Author)
Short-stories from one of my favorite authors, in the same awesome world of a series I love. What’s not to like? 🙂

13. A book with magic:

Magic Study (The Chronicles of Ixia #2) by Maria V. Snyder (Author)
This is the second book of an interesting fantasy series. Still, it’s slower paced and more romantic than what I usually read.

14. A book that scares you:

Sins of the Future by Chasity Nicole (Author), Debbie Manber Kupfer (Author), Jackie Pitchford, Misha Burnett (Author), Matt Lovell, R.L. Andrew, Angela Garratt, Don Miskel (Author) , Boyd Miles, Jen Ponce (Author), Stephen Blake (Author), Kerry E.B. Black (Author), C. Lloyd Brill, Steven Soul, Leticia Toraci (Author), Cleve Sylcox (Illustrator).
I’m glad I was able to join this awesome anthology with scary future scenarios; which are bound to haunt the reader even after the book is finished.

15. A book that makes you laugh:

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi (Author)
Who read and liked “The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #1-5)” will probably like this entertaining book as well. I must say that it’s not my favorite kind of science fiction since I prefer when science-fiction is the main theme. But, like the Hitchhiker’s guide, this is also a book which uses sci-fi to talk about humans themselves.

16. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (1st):

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs
A fun page-turner, I couldn’t put it down.

17. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (2nd):

Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2) by Patricia Briggs
I liked this book even more than the first one in the series. This one has vampires and they are dangerous and mostly evil (as they should be). It was a nice page-turning reading for my Halloween. 🙂

18. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (3rd):

Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson #3) by Patricia Briggs

19. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (4th):

Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4) by Patricia Briggs

20. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (5th):

Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson #5) by Patricia Briggs

21. A nerdy book:

Youth by Isaac Asimov
I don’t know if there is something that can be called nerdy about books since I consider them really cool (probably because I’m a nerd at heart), but if so I think you could call a short story by one of my favorite authors nerdy.

22. A non-fiction book:

5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 6) by K.M. Weiland (Author)
I found this book quite helpful, it’s about story structure in a relatively summarized and easy to understand way. Great if you want an overview of Story Structure before you go into too many details. For me, this was helpful because I usually want to have a look at the whole subject before I look at each element in detail. So, if you are having difficulties to understand story structure read this short and concise book, you’ll get it in no time, it’s awesome!

23. A young adult book:

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare (Author)
This is an entertaining summer reading. It has a couple of plot devices that would fit in a soap opera, but there is nothing wrong with it if you are looking for a young adult reading just to relax.

24. A book you borrow from a friend:

Tales from P.A.W.S. by Debbie Manber Kupfer.

Three interesting background stories from the world of P.A.W.S. that made me quite curious about the book they are based on.

25. A book an older relative recommends:

I was reading Belgravia by Julian Fellowes recommended by my mother. Awesome book, with all the charm of Downtown Abbey and an even more interesting story. Loved it and can’t recommended it enough. It was one of my favorites this year.

 

So, I hope you liked my small challenge list and see you next week with a closer look at my 2016 favorite books!