[Cilla's 2016 Highlight Reels] Books

08:00 Cilla P 16 Comments


I've always loved reading end-of-year best-of lists. Now that I have my own blog, I thought I'd write a couple of my own! Every day from 28 to 31 December, I'll be sharing some of the highlights of my 2016 in music, movies, television shows, books (of course), and life.

This post is the obvious list: best books I've read this year! Blogging has introduced me to some books that I wouldn't have otherwise heard of, and some of those books have been amazing. Here are 7 of them, in no particular order, with snippets of my reviews for each of them:





Wolf by Wolf Duology by Ryan Graudin 
Graudin draws up the global political map as well as the details on the ground so that everything was in line with history, so it was easy for me to accept that it could all have come true. Consequently, I was sucked in from the beginning. It is action-packed and exciting, but it's not an easy story to digest - it wasn't meant to be. It's brutal in its reminder of the human cost of WWII, and there's no reprieve  in the story from that. -- Wolf by Wolf review
Internal screaming wasn't my only reaction to the book. Graudin didn't shy away from the ugliness of her fictional war, or of the very real Holocaust. At one stage of the story, Yael found herself back in the camp, and I think I might have held my breath for her that entire time. It strikes me afresh how horrifying that period of history was every time I read it. -- Blood for Blood review

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis 
I also love how the story looks into how society defines madness. Some of the characters that populate the asylums have what we would today declare as symptoms of mental illness. However, there are some who simply deviate from the expectations of society and others, like Grace, have been traumatised. Perhaps it's because I'm training to be a psychologist that I find this so thought-provoking, but I think it's a fascinating topic in general!  -- Review
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
I could not put this book down. I love how there was so few expositions, yet it was so easy to understand the world the characters operate in, and to understand the characters' back stories too. The plot kept me turning the pages the whole time; just when you think the stakes couldn't be higher, it got worse. I loved it.  -- Review
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
On one hand, I regret not having this book in my life earlier. On the other, I don't think I'd have appreciated it as much when I was younger. I love the writing. There's this sorrow in the narrator's voice, like it's seen it all and knows how futile everything we do is (as one would expect of Death), but there's also this note of wonder. I walked away thinking about how awful and beautiful humans are, and how powerful words and stories can be. -- Review


Vicious by V.E. Schwab 

I haven't written a review for this one! šŸ˜± I knew I forgot something, haha. Anyway, this was my first Schwab book, and it was marvellous. I love the morally gray characters, and her take on superpowers. 

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
The strength of the book, for me, lies largely in the friendship between the two main ladies. Individually, Sammy and Andy are fantastic characters. Both are marginalised girls of coloured trying to break free, and while both have streaks of steel in them, they're also frightened and lost and doing the best they can - which makes them both relatable and real. Together, however, they're even better. I've been looking for a book that depicts strong female friendship, and Under a Painted Sky does it wonderfully. -- Review
A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde
The cast of characters are fabulous, though two in particular stand out to me. Rosalind Thorne is fascinating to read as she navigates the social conventions of the Regency era using the limited means in her disposal. She must carry herself with tact and reverence to others, but she's got steel. Her position in the peripheral of the haute ton (as the book would say) reminds me of Miss Marple; society kind of looks down upon her while still accepting her as their own, which puts her in an excellent position as a sleuth. Honoria is another complex character, whose attitude toward social conventions is refreshingly shocking. -- Review

In case you missed them:
↠ My favourite television shows of 2016.
↠ My favourite music and movies of 2016.

What are your favourite books of 2016? Do we share any favourites?
What books are you looking forward to next year? 

16 comments:

  1. I've read and loved so many of these! I completely agree about Under a Painted Sky - the friendship was the best part. If you like historical fiction with strong female friendship at the core of the story, I'd STRONGLY recommend Iron Cast by Destiny Soria - I read it a few months ago and loved it!

    I also can't believe I've never read a V.E./Victoria Schwab book before! This is only a tiny bit of all the praise I've seen for her books, so why haven't I picked one up yet? Who knows. A Darker Shade of Magic has been on my TBR for the past four months or so, but I haven't gotten around to it yet - I'll probably read it early next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adding Iron Cast to my TBR now! I think there needs to be more books out there with strong female friendships at its heart. Haha, that's usually what I do - it always takes me ages to get to a hyped book. Let me know if you ever want to buddy read A Darker Shade of Magic! I'll need to get it from the library, but I've been meaning to read it for a while too.

      Delete
  2. I have a madness so discreet sittting on my bookshelf i might have to just pick it up soon! its been on my tbr since it came out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get to read it soon! The themes aren't easy, but it's so wonderfully written.

      Delete
  3. I liked Under A Painted Sky WAY more than I expected. I'm not really a western, but Lee really gave a fresh take on the frequently visited scene so I was really grateful for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not usually into Western either! I was mainly drawn to the book by the MC, but I did enjoy the settings.

      Delete
  4. The Wolf by Wolf Duology and A Madness So Discreet are both AMAZING. I also love The Book Thief, but I read that a couple of years ago, and it's stayed with me ever since. All of the other books on your list are ones I'm planning on reading really soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yess, I've been pushing those two to just about every bookworm I know. And The Book Thief does have that effect!

      Delete
  5. Great list of books! I loved These Broken Stars (and the rest of the series is amazing, too!) and Vicious! Under a Painted Sky is on my TBR, glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope you'll enjoy Under a Painted Sky when you get to it!

      Delete
  6. I've read a lot of these, too. I really loved These Broken Stars and The Book Thief. Happy reading in 2017!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wolf by Wolf and These Broken Stars are definite favorites of mine! And I STILL need to read The Book Thief. Yikes!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh you need to read The Book Thief as soon as you can, Nicole! I think you'll enjoy it!

      Delete
  8. The book Thief remains on my shelf as a best ever book. I read it so long ago it seems and always recommend it. My favorite books of 2016 (I wish I'd read more) were The Serpent King, Phantom Limbs, and Summer of Supernovas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *highfives* I need to read your favourite books. I've heard great things about The Serpent King!

      Delete

Thanks for reading! It makes my day to hear your thoughts and I will respond asap. :)