A Few Favorite Reads of 2016

So, 2016 has finally come to a close. It’s been a shit year y’all, and frankly, I’m still pretty upset about Carrie Fisher, so it didn’t go out so well either. Anyhow, I thought I’d compile a little list of some of my favorite books I’ve read this year (not necessarily books that came out in 2016, just ones I managed to read this year).

 

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

A Swede named Sara visits a small town in Iowa to meet her pen pal, Amy. However, when Sara gets to Iowa, she arrives just in time for Amy’s funeral. (Sounds more messed up than it turns out to be.) Determined to make the most of her holiday, Sara stays in Amy’s house and slowly becomes a part of the small community of Broken Wheel by opening a bookstore. This is a book for book lovers. It was a bit more Hallmark-movie than I typically enjoy, but it was based almost entirely around the lead character being a bibliophile who isn’t sure what her next move in life should be, sooooo that was enough to keep my interest. There is also a bit of a cheesy/predictable romance, but hey whatever, books!  So, if you consider yourself a book lover, one who likes small town stories, or someone who enjoys cozy fiction reminiscent of a Hallmark movie, this just might be a book for you.

 

 

The Agency Series by Y.S. Lee

The Agency is a YA mystery series about an orphaned Asian-English teenage girl set in Victorian era London. Prior to being discovered by agents of The Agency, Mary Quinn had turned to a life of crime to get by living on the streets. Facing her execution (seriously), she is freed from prison and offered training and a job as an investigator. I loved that this series attempts to take on both gender and racial stereotypes in a Victorian era.It obviously deals with gender norms of the era, and Mary plays the part of a more modern (perhaps too modern for the era) feminist.. or at least very independent women. There is also another fairly predictable romance story line, but when isn’t there in a YA series? Besides, I actually kinda liked this one, there is quite a bit or snark and intellectual burns.

 

 

Bloodline by Claudia Gray

I wrote a more in-depth review for this one a while back, but I felt it deserved to land on my list of favorites for this year. I still haven’t read many Star Wars extended universe books, but I just liked this one so much! It revolves entirely around Senator Leia Organa and her work in the post-Empire Galactic Senate (which, spoiler alert: is basically on the brink of falling apart). This gives us Star Wars nerds a look into what happens in the years between Episode VI and VII. There is scandal, betrayal, secret militias, and even a little bit of Han Solo! Mostly, I just love Leia Organa and think she is a total badass, which certainly contributed to my liking this book so much.

 

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One is a nerd’s paradise. There is so much content to this book, it’s hard to know where to even start. I’m a late comer to this fandom, and once again it’s Hubby’s fault I got into it. But I’m so glad he kept pestering me to read Ready Player One.
RPO takes place in a future America, 2044, where economic crises abound. (Wade’s living situation reminds me of a depression-era shanty town type situation.) This book takes place partly in the real world, but mostly in the virtual reality world called OASIS.
The main plot is quite similar to Willy Wonka, the billionaire creator of the OASIS has left a treasure hunt within the VR world and the prize is his fortune and the largest share in his VR company. (So, yeah very much like Charlie Bucket finding a Golden Ticket and getting to take over the factory).
There are soooo many pop culture references, particularly 80’s pop culture. If 80’s pop culture, RPGs, video game history, and obscure trivia are your thing, this is definitely a book worth trying. I’d say I was a bit lacking when it came to some of the references (especially classic video games and RPG), but I still greatly enjoyed the overall story. And the characters. I hate when characters don’t develop, but I didn’t feel like that was an issue here, we see Wade at his best and his worst on this journey, and while I really wanted to smack him while he was at his worst, in the end I appreciated his fall into ego mania.

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I finally started reading Agatha Christie this year. (Late to the game much?)
And Then There Were None was the first Christie novel I read, and I absolutely LOVED it. It’s creepy, eerie, and keeps you guessing whodunit til the end, AKA my favorite kind of mystery. Honestly, of the other Agatha Christie books I read this year, this was the one I found most thrilling. Ten individuals are invited to a mysterious gathering on an island with a mysterious host, U. N. Owen.. now, why you would show up to a party when you’re not entirely sure you know the host is beyond me, but whatever. Anyhow, they all show up on this island for a weekend of partying, only to find their “host” is not present, and then they all start getting picked off one by one. It’s creepy, with plenty of plot twists; it’s fabulous.