posted at Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 at 12:00 AM | Other Bloggishness, Top Ten Lists
These are basically all going to be shippy, which should surprise no one and also I regret nothing. The ratings for these books vary from 3.5-5 stars, and they all made me feel things. It was less about rating and more about how much the book convinced me that I HAD to read more books by that author.
As per usual, I got ohhhhhh so close to hitting ten right on the nose.
First, let’s talk about the debuts, aka new-to-me-and-everyone. 2016 had some super excellent debuts. Cherry was one of my favorite books of the year, for example. Some of these books weren’t top favorites, but what they all share is strong characterization. I will, without a doubt, read the author’s sophomore books.
The Only Thing Worse Than You Is Me by Lily Anderson: Bantership guarantees my loyalty as a reader to an author, but the fact that Anderson’s sophomore novel is going to be an Importance of Being Earnest modernization just makes everything so much better. Will I ever stop wanting that? Not Now, Not Ever.
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess: Though ASBaB gets off to a clunky start, stick it out. There’s an amazing reverse harem and killer slow burn hate-to-love ship here. Also, the plot gets way more awesome. The sequel’s not on GR yet, but I need more Kingdom on Fire ASAP.
Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia: Garcia’s debut does trend a bit to the melodramatic and drop some plot threads, but the characterization and shippiness are excellent. That’s enough to sell me on her next novel, The Year of Everything.
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard: There were some elements of this book that were deeply frustrating (re: much of it), but it’s one of those books that’s doing that on purpose. Strong characterization and a cute f/f interracial ship = I am here for more M-E Girard.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: TGFE’s sort of the exception to the rest of these. The characterization was the weakest aspect of the story for me, though I do like the characters a lot. However, the story’s so fucking awesome that I very much will read whatever Heilig writes, such as the sequel The Ship Beyond Time.
Cherry by Lindsey Rosin: ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR. WHY HAVE YOU NOT ALL READ THIS? FOUR SHIPS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. Rosin’s sophomore novel has not been announced yet to my knowledge, but I NEED IT. BUY CHERRY SO THE PUBS BY A MILLION MORE BOOKS BY HER, PLS.
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas: I am so here for historical paranormal. And for ships with fakeout makeouts. So. Much. Damn. Fun. I will abandon my schedule to read These Ruthless Deeds as soon as fucking possible.
Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace: Listen, if I love a book without romance, it’s amazing. This was such a cool paranormal debut. City of Islands sounds like it will be more awesomeness, though I wish I didn’t have to wait until 2018.
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch: Pure, 100% banterfluff. Not the deepest story, but the ship is excellent and I felt such nervous butterfly feels reading this one. Her next book is as yet untitled, but it’s a travel romance set in Ireland, so I’m on board.
These authors I’m late to discover. They’ve all had at least one book out before 2016, but I didn’t read it for whatever reason, but now I’m joining this party.
The Memory Book by Lara Avery: Given my dislike of sad books, I wouldn’t have picked The Memory Book up if it hadn’t arrived on my doorstep from the publisher. It’s one of my top books of the year. Such amazing writing and voice. Like, hot damn. Avery’s blurbs don’t typically sound like my jam, but I’m going to try more. I think I’ll start with Anything But Ordinary.
The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine: There is no time I will not be here for bisexual queen action. There are some silly plot elements, but I definitely need The Cursed Queen and added a bunch more Sarah Fine to my to-read list after reading this fun fantasy.
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman: Historical paranormal needs to be a thing that happens more. Because it’s so excellent. Historical ladies with powers plus Austeny romances = Christina’s bookish heaven. The Dark Days Pact is one of the 2017 titles I’m most anticipating.
Interference by Kay Honeyman: This book is so cute! It’s like The Unexpected Everything meets Emma. The ship’s adorable, and the voice is super strong. I’ve had Honeyman’s The Fire Horse Girl for ages thanks to Kara, and obviously I need to get on that.
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: This is a hard one to explain because it’s like the science fiction version of magical realism, but there’s not a term for that. I’ve already purchased The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley and both his upcoming titles sound amazing: At the Edge of the Universe and The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza.
Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein: ADORABLE BANTERSHIP. That’s all you need to know, really. In this case, I’d actually not heard awesome things about Klein’s debut, but I may go back to it at some point. I one hundred percent will be reading Summer Unscripted.
The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts: Though it has some flaws, The Replacement Crush is premium bantership with a nerdy LI. When I finished, I added all of Roberts’ backlist to my to-read list, and I will so be reading her next one out which sounds like Christina catnip.
Cloudwish by Fiona Wood: The magical realism part left me wanting a bit, but the voice is A+++++ and the ship’s very cute. Fans of Melina Marchetta’s contemporaries should check this one out. I already own Wildlife (conference fail), and I need Six Impossible Things too.
Not only did I discover this author in 2016, but I read more than one book. I’m ambitious like that.
A School for Unusual Girls & Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin: These books sounded like Christina catnip, and indeed they were. A house for lady geniuses who don’t care for society’s take on women? Um, yes. Obvs I will be reading Refuge for Masterminds next year, despite some quibbles with the precise storytelling. The ships are adorable, and the plots are great fun.
The Anatomical Shape of the Heart, Kindling the Moon, Summoning the Night, Binding the Shadows, & Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett: TASotH is one of my favorite contemporary romances. Prime, grade-A banteresting book right here. The Arcadia Bell books aren’t as good, but they manage to make a very non-Christina ship work and the plots are awesome. I plan to read her Roaring Twenties series sometime next year, as well as Alex, Approximately.
The Invisible Library & The Masked City Genevieve Cogman: TIL’s also a 2016 debut (at least in the US), but this series is being published much faster than normal, so I’m already two books into it. The Invisible Library series is genrebendy awesomeness with a bisexual librarian heroine. Book three, The Burning Page, comes out in January, and I’m stoked for more.
Make It Count, Make It Right, & Make It Last by Megan Erickson: Despite there being just one image displayed, I actually read three Erickson novels this year. I read the full Bowler University series. Sadly, the only one I loved enough to display in this list is the first book, Make It Count. However, I loved that one enough that I’m totally going to read all of her books eventually, because she can do the bantership. The others aren’t bad, but they don’t play to tropes that do much special for me, and the characters aren’t bantery sorts.
Openly Straight & Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg: I absolutely loved Openly Straight, though that ending was NOT OKAY and I desperately require Honestly, Ben. Out of the Pocket, Konigsberg’s debut, was good as well. Sadly, I did DNF The Porcupine of Truth, but I’m definitely here for any Konigsberg with a queer protagonist.
The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer from a Gentleman, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, To Sir Phillip, with Love, When He Was Wicked, It’s in His Kiss, On the Way to the Wedding, Because of Miss Bridgerton, The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, Splendid, & Dancing at Midnight by Julia Quinn: Clearly I’m not at all obsessed with Julia Quinn since I read twelve of her books in 2016, and I’ve resolved to read ALL the rest. Pictured are the ones that I rated over 3.5 stars. That drops just four, two of which were threes and only one of which (Dancing at Midnight) was actually atrocious. I’ll actually have read at least one more Quinn novel before the end of 2016, but, as of this posting, this is where I’m at. Of what I’ve read so far, I’d say start with Because of Miss Bridgerton, which is the first in a new prequel series, and then go back to the original Bridgerton books.
Do you guys love any of these authors too?