The Best Books I Read in 2016

The year has come to an end. Finally, most people will say, given that 2016 has been a pretty tough year. But as I said, it has been a good year for me, and these books made it better. Books have the power to do that sometimes. I divided them into categories and linked to my reviews where they’re available – I’m still behind with writing them, oops.

It has been a year of comfort reads and losing myself in fantasy worlds, so the list reflects that, I think. The lists themselves are in random order.

Best of Fantasy

Best of Romance

  • To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne – this one spawned a binge of Layne’s backlist. I haven’t reviewed any others yet but I fell in love with her stories! I especially loved Blurred Lines.
  • How Not To Fall and How Not To Let Go by Emily Foster – maybe the only romance that made me cry? I *loved* them!
  • Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn – I read this one twice and I still think it’s great!
  • Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie – okay so it’s not just a romance but it was laugh-out-loud hilarious.
  • The Year We Fell Down and the entire Ivy Years series by Sarina Bowen – sports NA romance at its finest, really.
  • Act Like It by Lucy Parker – very good + bantery.

Best of Other

  • When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore – gorgeous writing and packs a real punch.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – this was fantastic. Not my usual fare but so good!
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I loved the book so much but the movie just wasn’t that good.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – one of the few Sci-Fi titles I read this year. I loved it!
  • Saga by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan – I really need to catch up with this one.


Which books will you remember most from 2016? 

Was it a good reading year for you?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • Greg Hill

    Books can make a lot of things better, and I always love losing myself in fantasy worlds too. :) Six of crows/ Crooked Kingdom seem to get a lot of love, I think I’ve been talked into trying these! And the No Good Dragon books I WILL get to at some point, since I’ve seen good things about them here and elsewhere.

    Saga gets so much attention and while I’m not sure it’s my thing I may just try it at some point. I’ve been MIA on graphic novels lately…

    • Ohh, if you read Six of Crows, let me know how you liked it. And the Good Dragon books are great, fast reads. I know a 5-part series (yeahhh) is hard to get into but so far, it’s really been worth it.

      I haven’t read many graphic novels, either, and I need to catch up with Saga, but it’s great fun! Can you get it at your library or something?

      • Greg Hill

        I think I can, I know a lot of people get graphic novels from their libraries. I don’t think mine carries very many… I used to buy quite a few but not so much anyway. Maybe in 2017…

  • so many of these are on my wishlist. The demon King… anything by VE Schwab – I can’t wait to have time to start reading!

    • Schwab is one of my all-time favourite authors so I really can’t recommend her enough! Have fun discovering her books! :)

  • Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

    Okay, I’m officially reading everything on this list I haven’t read yet. I did love Six of Crows too -and Crooked Kingdom. And I still have to read No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished, but I adored One Good Dragon Deserves Another!

    • Ditto! I saw Salt to the Sea on your list and then saw it as a Kindle deal the same day and I thought DESTINY!! So now I have that to read soon! :)

      I hope you give some of these a try, they’re really good.

  • Hopefully Iron Cast will be getting more attention. It was a wonderful debut, thanks so much for recommending!

    • Ahh, I’m always glad when recommendations work out. And yeah, I hope the book will slowly accumulate enough of a fandom. And I can’t wait for her next book!

  • Great list! I just read Six of Crows and absolutely loved it! I’ve already bought Crooked Kingdom, so that’s definitely going to be my next read! I loved The Name of the Wind too, and I definitely need to read Son of the Shadows soon if it’s even better than the first book. Daughter of the Forest was one of the best books I’ve read this year! :)

    • I need to buy Crooked Kingdom soon. I kind of want to splurge on the boxed hardcover set but it would make a huge dent in my book budget.

      And yes, Son of the Shadows is GREAT! I’ll be looking out for your review.

  • You’ve had a terrific year with books and ooh I see lots of recommendations that I need to add to my TBR. I so adored Act Like It too! I forgot to mention it in my list, but I’ll make sure to include it in my books you may have missed post. I also need to pick up the Dragon books just because their titles are so witty!

    • The Dragon books are fantastic, it’s one of the best UF series I’ve ever read. They feature a really nice protagonist (he’s the NICEST dragon out there).

      And I re-read Act Like It just last week, it’s fantastic. I need more of her books!

  • Sydney West

    Glad you had an awesome reading year!

    • Thank you! :) I really enjoyed these. I hope 2017 will be a great one for you, too!

  • Noelle Stevenson and Cinda Williams Chima, yaaassss. Love both of them to bits! The last two books in the Seven Realms series are among my favourites of 2016, for sure.

    Next year, I really want to read Son of Shadows (it’s one that I own, after all) as well as Iron Cast. Act Like It is also pretty high on my TBR, since Becky has nothing but good things to say about it. Plus I’ve been learning that the only kind of romance novel I really care for is the bantery kind. Over the top and angsty ones are just not for me!

    • I need to finish Chima’s series and also read more Stevenson, I’ve been saying for a year now that I need to read Lumberjanes.

      Oh if you already have Son of the Shadows, give it a try, it’s fantastic. I have the third book as well, I need to get to it soon. Maybe I’ll make it my next read! And I re-read Act Like It last week and I still love it, so it’s definitely one of the best romances I’ve read lately.

      And I agree, angsty, over the top stuff makes me roll my eyes too often. It just throws me out of the story if I can’t empathise with the characters! But How Not To Fall is SUPER dramatic but I loved it! You know I don’t often rate romances with 5* but I did here.

  • You know how much I loved Act Like It. It’s just that kind of book that I will read and read again. I’m so glad you loved Nimona too.

    • I just re-read Act Like It. It was my last read of 2016 and the perfect book to end the year with. :) I can’t wait for more of Parker’s books!

  • Iron Cast is one is at the top of my list to read – I’ve heard so many good and intriguing things about it. Your fantasy list is overall really fabulous – I either love the books or am dying to read all of them. And I must read the new Julia Quinn toot sweet – especially if it was so good your read it twice!! I’m glad your 2016 was good despite all the unfortunate events it brought for the wider world.

    • Yes, the new Quinn story is fantastic. I didn’t like her last series that much so this one was a really good surprise!

      And Iron Cast is so good. I can’t wait for more books from the same author (it’s her debut).

  • Maraia

    Woohoo, I’m glad to see Son of the Shadows on your list! And Schwab’s books, The Demon King, The Martian, Saga, and The Name of the Wind.

    My reading year was fairly mediocre, but I did put together a list of my top 10 books, which Sebastian posted on his blog. ;)

    • I saw your list, will be commenting soon(ish), as soon as I work my way through this huge backlog of posts and comments.

      Yeah, of course I loved Son of the Shadows, it’s GREAT! I’ll be forever grateful to you for recommending this series. :)

  • That looks like a great year of reading! Whenever your “best” list is that long, you’re doing well. And dragons!

    This is horrible, but I feel like I can barely remember anything I read this year off the top of my head. I’ll have to consult GR when I draft my 2016 wrap-up post. ^^; Though I have an inkling I read a couple of really good books at the beginning of the year and then…read freebie ebooks, most of which weren’t good, during school semesters. We’ll see how the stats play out. :)

    • Yeah freebie ebooks and review books can be hit or miss, I like to always mix them up with books other people recommend and new releases from favourite authors.

      I hope 2017 will be a good reading year for you! :)

  • Sara Letourneau

    Nice list! I also read The Martian and This Savage Song this year, and really enjoyed them. The Name of the Wind and Six of Crows were two of my favorites in 2015, so I was happy to see you liked them as well.

    As for my reads of 2016… some of my favorite new titles were Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin, Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin, and The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May. And some of my favorite pre-2016 reads were Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson, The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, The Martian, and… gosh, I was working on my list earlier this week, and now I don’t remember the others. XD

    • Oooh, I’ve had Jemisin and Graudin on my TBR list for a while now. I need to finish some other series first (it’s a resolution I made to finish more series before starting new ones) and then I’ll give those a try.

      The Martian was great, right? I’m not usually so into sci-fi but I loved Mark’s snarky personality.

  • Wow, this is a whole lot of books. I thought my list of favourite books was getting a bt long but now I’m feeling a bit better. You know I am going to check out the books on here I’ve not read yet. Although, I still haven’t gotten around to The Accident Season so when I say that I mean, in the next 5 years I will definitely have acquired these books if nothing else.

    You know I loved a lot of books on here and there are others which are sat on my shelf unloved for no reason but it’s totally your fault I bought them. I’ve heard good things about Agnes and the Hitman, it’s one of the few Jennifer Crusie books I’ve not read and I’ve just added to my basket. And The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society sounds amazing. It’s the kind of book I don’t often buy for myself but I’ve checked I can get it for £1.99 on Amazon so I may sneak it onto my Kindle before the new year and my spending restrictions begin (I’ve done that for a few books, I need to get my spending impulses out now while I have a chance).

    • Eh, your list of favourites can be as long as you please, it’s YOUR list, right? :) And good books deserve to be shouted about. I’ll be checking out your list, too, apart from Locke Lamora (Still heartbroken about that one) and Illuminae, we have pretty similar tastes! :)

      Agnes and the Hitman was HILARIOUS. I’ll be reviewing it sometime soon and it was fantastic, just the book I needed. It reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, only with Italian mob and Southern cooking! :D I loved it.

      The Guernsey book is great, so sensitive about WWII and so powerful, but also light-hearted enough for me.

      • This is true, they are my favourites after all. And I know, I’m still sad I didn’t like Locke Lamora, I feel like I need to try reading it again to just make sure I wasn’t wrong.

        And this is good, I’m glad it’s funny, it makes me feel justified in buying it. I mean, I have no reasonable reason for not reading because I adore Crusie books I just haven’t bought it and my library hasn’t ever had it available. It definitely sound like a book I’ll enjoy anyway.

  • I NEED to get my hands on Goblin Emperor and Nimona PLUS crack open my copies of Six of Crows, This Savage Song, Demon King and Name of the Wind. I mean, obviously I already want to read all of those (otherwise I wouldn’t own so many of them) but seeing them on your favorites list is really motivating :D As for The Martian well I saw the movie beforehand (le gasp!) BUT I still really want to read the book! Here’s to many bookish successes in 2017 ♥

    • Lady, you seem to have your TBR all worked out for January if you already own those awesome book! :D I know, I know, I’m the last person who should be telling people to read the books they already own but these are seriously good.

      And I understand seeing movies before reading books, sometimes it just happens, especially if the book isn’t in the genre you usually read. But I liked the book better than the film – what a shock, huh? :)

  • I got Six of Crows, This Savage Song, and 8 other books for Christmas! I’m already almost done with Savage Song and it is AMAZING!

    • OOOooh, that’s a fantastic book haul! I’m glad you’re loving This Savage Song, and I hope the other books will be just as good for you!