2016 had some powerhouse books. More importantly, I feel those books had some powerhouse characters full of moral ambiguity. I want to tread that fine line between needing to forgive a character and wanting to never see them again.
As always, these books are in no particular order of preference.
1. Rock N Soul by Lauren Sattersby
I’m not usually into ghost books, however; the emotional progression in this book is stunning. I was so wrecked by the end which is also something I’m not usually into. TL;DR I shouldn’t have loved this book, but I did.
2. Maze-Born Trouble by Ginn Hale
This is one of those books where I want to talk for hours about what everything means. The name of the killer almost seems less consequential than the importance of cockroaches as a metaphor. Yeah, cockroaches.
3. Hearts of Darkness by Andrea Speed
This is a wonderfully light hearted book about the nature of evil. For reals. Villainy is about so much more than theft and murder.
4. Wasted Youth (The Secret Art of Mercy #1) by HB Kurtzwilde
This is a spin-off of Kurtwilde’s Secret Art of Failure trilogy. There is so much happening in these books! I wish more people would read them. They are classic tropes done brilliantly. My absolute mostest favoritest tropes overlaid with science fiction and philosophy.
5. Blow Down (The Plumber’s Mate #4) by JL Merrow
This series is on my Best Of list for the third year in a row. No other author or series has achieved that.
6. Kings Rising (Captive Prince #3) by C.S. Pacat
Laurent and Damen’s love story is one of the best I read in ’16, but these books were not that good. The Big Reveal in book 3 was kinda sorta signposted in book 1, and the world building was mediocre at best. I was riveted. Amongst my messages to friends explaining the story problems were messages about not being able to put the book down, and needing to know what would happen next.
7. Strong Signal (Cyberlove #1) by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
This book ticks all the boxes from sappy happy to serious AND doesn’t come across as preachy. Wow. Just… wow.
8. Malachite (Paladin Cycle #1) by Kirby Crow
I enjoyed this book when I read it, but don’t remember being particularly blown away. My mind keeps going back to it, though. I want to know what’s happening. This was a total sleeper for me.
9. A King and a Pawn (Leader Murders #3) by Liv Olteano
This book, whole series really, has so much of what I love. There are lots of contrasts, unresolved questions, and deliciously grey characters. Oh, and the murders are finally solved and all that jazz.
10. First and First (Five Boroughs #3) by Santino Hassell
After Sunset Park I was so smugly satisfied in my status as a stubborn reader I knew I would never love, let alone like, Caleb. Well that took about half a page. Never say never. AND this is the first time my list got two-timed by an author. Congrats Santino Hassell!