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Favorite and Least Favorite Books of 2016


I read 79 things this year. That includes novels, memoirs, comic volumes, novellas, and essays among other things. Jaime's book survey is coming later (at some point) so a more comprehensive 2016 reading recap is coming soon! This list won't include rereads, but obviously, books that I reread this year are favorites otherwise, I wouldn't have reread them.

LEAST FAVORITE BOOKS


These first few books are actually DNFs, so I didn't actually finish them but judgment has been passed nonetheless.

  • Captive Prince: I have so many problems with this book. I absolutely hated it, and the main ideas around this series are incredibly romance focused. And, knowing the ship that sails at the end of this series, I just cannot get behind this book, nor could I force myself to read through unnecessarily graphic and gratuitous text. 
  • Second Chance Summer: I really, really tried with this one, probably more so that the other two books on this portion of the list; however, it was just so bad that I couldn't even force myself to finish this book. I thought it was Matson's debut because, for me, the writing itself was leagues beneath the writing in Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. There was absolutely no plot (a person dying is not a plot, sorry) and whatever it was that happened between this group of characters (I didn't even get to that point in the story) . . . I can't realistically see the weight of it because it happened when they were about 12 or 14. 
  • The Wrath and the Dawn: My main issue with this was that it threw you into a story with no explanation or buildup. I didn't relate to the characters because I just felt so distant from them because we don't spend much time with them before the plot starts moving.

Okay, so now continuing on with the books I actually finished.

  • Cursed Child: Just go to the link to read my review of this because I have too much to say about this in such a short space. TLDR: It was basically the My Immortal fanfiction that we all laughed at ten years ago.
  • Slammed: Again, I have too many problems with this, most of which boil down to an imbalance of power in a relationship, and it portrays a horribly unhealthy relationship as something swoon-worthy and healthy. 
  • Lady Midnight: Wow, I'm getting repetitive here, but I had multiple problems with this. After a lot of reflection, I think it's coming down to me growing out of Cassandra Clare's writing style and just a general fatigue of the Shadowhunter world.
  • Can You Keep a Secret?: Again, this one boils down to an imbalance of power in a relationship that is founded on blackmail. Additionally, there is an incredibly harmful and inaccurate portrayal of feminism in this book. I just can't support it.

FAVORITE BOOKS

(there will be a bonus comic round, fret not!)
also, these are roughly ordered from "least favorite favorite" to "most favorite favorite"

  • The Unexpected Everything: For someone who doesn't generally like contemporary novels, I was surprised when I was done making this list that there were so many. The thing about this book that I loved the most about this book was the realistic portrayal of friendship. I mean, obviously, so many of the events are a little classically-crazy-contemporary
  • City of Heavenly Fire: I find it strange that Cassie Clare makes both my favorite and least favorite list, but I would be lying if I said that this wasn't one of the most enjoyable and satisfying books that I read this year. (It was almost City of Glass, but I refused to put two books in the same series on this list.)
  • What We Saw: I want to shout this book from the rooftops and make every single high school English class read and discuss it. If you don't know, this is a book that talks about sexual assault in high school and how sports teams, social class, and social media affect that issue. Extra non-fiction reading material to pick up: Missoula by Jon Krakauer
  • Hamilton: I mean, what did you expect? The insight into Eliza's character alone is enough for me to tell you to grab this from your library if you haven't already.
  • Station Eleven: DUUUUDE. Just go pick this up. It was beautifully written and important and moving and impactful. Please, please, check it out.
  • Six of Crows: *for full flailing, please read my review*
  • Simon: *for full flailing, please read my review*

FAVORITE COMICS

these are in no particular order

  • Giant Days: I actually read the first three volumes of this in 2016, and I loved them all. This is a contemporary comic series that follows a group of girls in their first year of university. I love all the girls in this series (and the guys) and one of the girls in this series is queer, which I thought was only really beginning to be explored; however, I definitely see more of this character being explored in future volumes.
  • Lumberjanes, vol. 3: I live for female friendships and magic in ordinary settings. It's everything I want in a series and more. Distribute it to all the children. 
  • Captain Marvel: I read this during BookTubeAThon, and this character has definitely stuck with me. I constantly think about Carol Danvers and how important the Captain Marvel movie will be for a bunch of girls and teenagers. She is so strong and brave, but flawed and human and breakable. My god, I love Carol Danvers.
  • Spider-Gwen: The theme of these comics (save the next one) is strong female women. Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman and the backstory behind her and how she got her powers and all the shit she goes through prior to this is amazing and it just makes her stronger. She's phenomenal.
  • Doctor Strange: This was my first exploration into Doctor Strange, and I picked it up because the movie was coming out, like, the next weekend. A few things: 1) the art, the art was absolutely stunning and magical and was so much of the story and the explanation of the story and the world (I thought it was explained extremely well) and 2) 
  • Wonder Woman: Another first venture into a popular character for me. I am naming any future female offspring Diana. That's it. Also, I'm a little bit in love with Wonder Woman.

WHEW. Long post is really long, sorry? If you made it through that, *gives you a million chocolate chip cookies* thank you very much! What were your favorite and least favorite books you read in 2016? Have you read any of these? Let's discuss in comments!



Shelved Series to Start in 2017


Hello! Welcome to the third and final day of Series Week here on Tomes Project!

I am exhausted. So many graphics have been born for this. It needs to be a while before I make another.

These are not all but most of the series that have been sitting around unstarted and untouched on my shelves for too long. Too long, I say! Hopefully, I can correct this in the new year. Realistically, I know I won't start and finish all of these series, but as long as I take out a fair chunk, I think I'll be pleased. 

Let's get started!


This is probably the thing I deem "most shameful" in my reading life. I also have never seen the movies. I FEEL ASHAMED. *hides behind my massive piles of books* I did just get new non-mass-market-paperback editions of this with non-hideous covers, so I can actually make myself read them.

Is that shallow? That's shallow.


I actually started the first book earlier in 2016, but didn't get very far in so I'm not counting it. But it's a fantasy series about dragons. I seriously don't know how I haven't read it sooner.


Monsters are not my #1 reading topic, I will admit. However, I am absolute trash for Victoria Schwab's writing. She is a master of words and characters and plot. I will read everything she writes. This story is uniquely interesting to me because it has so much inspiration drawn from the real world. If our actions had direct, physical consequences (in this case, actual monsters) what would happen? It's genius, I tell you, genius.

I've heard great things about this series. I know next to nothing about this series. Nope, scratch that. I know nothing about this series other than that it's a fantasy series. That's literally it. Cinda Williams Chima is slated to come to SEYA in March, which is a book festival in Tennessee, and I own the first book. If I can finish the first book before then, I will be immensely happy.

I actually own this entire trilogy. It's ridiculous, believe me, I understand. Nevertheless, this is another scarily-beloved fantasy series that is comprised of absolutely massive books. 
Ugh. Why am I so weak-willed?

One of my favorite genres--yet least read of 2016--is historical fiction. I really like history; I was raised by a history buff, and I grew up learning about history and going to historical places all around the United States. Essentially, it runs in my blood. It's just hard for me to find one that I know I'll like.

And I know that I will like this because I am a Spanish major in school; I've spent a lot of time studying mainly South America (whereas this book takes place in Spain) and the language in general. As this is a translated piece of fiction, I have no excuses as to why I haven't read this yet.


Can you sense the theme that these are books that everyone loves but I've put off reading because I have an incredible fear of being that one person who hates a book? It's stupid, I know, but that's just me, okay? 

This story supposedly has a ton of political intrigue, which speaks to me on a spiritual level because I am endlessly fascinated by politics. I know, I'm a dork. I've also heard that the romance is great and that the protagonist is more of a wits-over-brawn kind of girl, which again speaks to me on a spiritual level.


Remember all the talk of political intrigue? This series has that too, except it's more adult-oriented. So, The Winner's trilogy can be my appetizer before the main course.


This is an adult fiction series that I have herd zero bad things about. Genuinely. Mari @ mynameismarines is running a readalong for book one in this series in January. I was actually planning on starting this in December (and still might). I have books one and two on my shelves because I've heard they're highly addictive.

What series are you wanting to start in the new year? I really want to know so that I can add more books to my TBR pile. *nervous laughter* *fades into my bookshelves*



Series I'll Never Finish | 2016


I should probably go through the classic disclaimer. *clears throat*

I am not trying to offend you if your favorite series is on this list. (And, to be honest, it probably is.) These series were just not for me. They may, however, be for you.

Also, these are not all series that I read in 2016. In fact, most of them aren't. However, I've never done a post on this, and by this point, some of these series are long overdue some closure. Also, this post was supposed to go up last week, but nonetheless:


Welcome to Day 2 of Series Week


Read: The Giver, Gathering Blue
Unread: Messenger, Son

Speaking of closure, I read The Giver and Gathering Blue both in middle school. I remember absolutely nothing about these books. That is not an exaggeration. I could not tell you a single thing about either of those books, and I did a book report for one and saw the play production of the other. So when I say nothing, I mean nothing. 

At this point, I would have to reread those two books, and I just think it's time to move on. (And I've heard that this series has a very unsatisfying ending, and I'm just not about to put in all that work for a meh ending.)


Read: The 100, Day 21
Unread: Homecoming

The One Where the TV Show Was Better Than the Book. Yeah, this was super disappointing. I think you can find my DNF review of Day 21 somewhere in my archives; however, it's horrendously old and I don't want to embarrass myself, but search on if you must. 

The idea behind these books is amazing. I mean, just look at the success of the TV show. However, the books are too short and too dull. Nothing happens in them. I found the characters relentlessly annoying and completely forgettable since this tiny 220-page book switches between five different points of view. 70 pages with a character is not enough to get attached. I know there are people that enjoy these books, but I'll just stick with the show, thanks.


Read: Cinder, Scarlet
Unread: Cress, Fairest, Winter, Stars Above

This series just wasn't for me for a variety of reasons. 1) I don't really like the story of Cinderella and 2) I don't particularly like space. At all. I might eventually read through the rest of Cress eventually because I do like that it sticks to a bunch of the original fairytale, but I have no interest in the overarching plot of this series. 


Read: The Sword of Summer
Unread: The Hammer of Thor

I only ever read half of the first book in this series, but this is more of a closure for myself about not reading any more Rick Riordan. I read and loved the Percy Jackson series when I was younger; it was responsible for getting me back into reading, so how could I not? However, I think I've outgrown his work. I think what he's doing is fantastic: making history and mythology fun for middle-grade readers. But at this point in my life, I'd rather just read about the mythology itself.


Read: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Unread: The Evolution of Mara Dyer, The Retribution of Mara Dyer

I read the first book of this series this year, and there was nothing wrong with it but it just wasn't anything special. I had a lot of issues with the love interest in this book, which I imagine will only get worse with time, but I did really like the idea behind this story. Also, this has one of the best book brothers ever. I want one of him for myself.


Read: The Kiss of Deception
Unread: The Heart of Betrayal, The Beauty of Darkness

Another book that I DNFed, but wasn't any fault of the book. It just was too romance-focused for my tastes. Also, the cover of the first book always makes me think of The Princess Bride and those are just impossible standards to set.


 Read: The Selection, The Elite, The One
Unread: The Heir, The Crown


I'm never going to read the continuation of this series. Eadlyn was a grade A annoyance, and as the main character, I couldn't stand reading more than the first ten pages of The Heir. 


Read: Throne of Glass
Unread: The Assassin's Blade, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms

*hides* I really, really disliked the first book in this series. I hate Sarah J. Maas's writing style, and after reading A Court of Wings and Ruin I will forever swear off SJM's books. 


Read: The Wrath and the Dawn
Unread: The Rose and the Dagger

This was another one that I DNFed. I just didn't see the appeal of this. It immediately pushed you into the story with no build up or explanation at all.

That's it. Please don't hate me. Are any of these on your abandoned list? What other series are on your abandoned list? Tell me down in comments!



Unfinished Series | 2016


Nearly everything is a series these days. There are the few standalones that, well, stand alone on the shelves, but most books are grouped into two or more books. And I love series. I love getting more time with characters and more books and more depth. More more more!

So, this week on my blog, I'm deeming it "series week" wherein I round up all of my unfinished series, all the series I've abandoned, and a handful of series that I want to start in the new year! One of my new year resolutions (spoiler alert) is to cut down the amount of series that I'm in the middle of or am not caught up on!

Welcome to DAY ONE: Unfinished Series
(note: this will only include series that I am not up to date on, so ongoing series where I have read all the currently published works will not be included)


Read: The Bone Season
Unread: The Mime Order  

I absolutely adored the first book in this series when I read it. So much so that I preordered the second book when it released in early 2015. I've read the first bit of this twice now, but the last time that I tried was--I believe--in mid-to-late 2015. Safe to say, I remember next to nothing from the sequel. And the third book in this series is coming out in 2017, so I need to get to this soon!


 Read: Shadow and Bone
Unread: Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising

Read: Six of Crows
Unread: Crooked Kingdom


I have no excuses with this one. Absolutely none. I've had the Grisha trilogy since last December (thanks, Rachel!) and I won an ARC of Six of Crows in August of 2015. Ugh. I actually hate myself a little for this one because it's one that I really want to finish, but just haven't. Those are the worst. 


Read: Castle in the Air
Unread: House of Many Ways

Howl's Moving Castle was one of the most delightful and refreshing books that I read this year. I'm hoping the rest of the series continues that trend. I know absolutely nothing about the rest of this series. I don't even know if it follows all the same characters from the first book, but I do hope so because I want more of all of them.


Read: Illuminae
Unread: Gemina

The first book in this series was on my favorites list last year, so I think I just needed to let the hype and my own personal anticipation of this book to die down a bit before I read on with this series. Maybe I'll read it closer to the release of the third? I'm not sure when in 2017 this one will be read, but I do know for certain that it will be read in the coming year!


Read: A Darker Shade of Magic
Unread: A Gathering of Shadows

It's completely possible that when this goes life, I may have already finished A Gathering of Shadows because I am listening to the audiobook as I am typing this. Either way, this series is absolutely fantastic. I love the characters and the story and the world and the writing. Just, everything. Also, if everything goes to plan, I will be attending the launch for A Conjuring of Light in February in Nashville. The book is already preordered, so let's hope so. *nervous laughter*



Read: The Magician's Nephew; The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
Unread: The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Last Battle

I don't really know how to start off with this one. I mean, it's one of those things that I'm embarrassed I haven't read? I've read the first and second books countless times in an attempt to continue on with the rest of the series, but everytime that I get to The Horse and His Boy I just completely lose interest because why would I want to read an entire book before I get back to reading about the Pevensie kids?

I've also partially read both Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader when I was in middle school and those second and third movies were coming out, but they were just so similar to the movie that I didn't want to bother.

However, this one is already being rectified because I've already started rereading books one and two. (I might already be on book three by the time this goes up!) I will finish this series in 2017! I will! *slams fist against books* *apologizes profusely*


Read: Girl Online
Unread: Girl Online: On Tour, Girl Online: Going Solo

Not entirely sure why I haven't completely given up on this series yet. I think it's partly that I like Zoe's videos and personality and part that I payed full price for the second book so there's no way I'm giving it away without having at least attempted to have read it. 

Is that enough of a reason to make myself suffer? Not sure, but probably not. Am I going to do it anyway? Probably so.



Read: Outlander
Unread: Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, Written in My Own Heart's Blood

Will I ever actually finish this series? Realistically, no. In my deluded "I can read all the books in the universe" mind, absolutely! 

These are books that I really have to be in the right mood to read. Meaning that I can't be too critical or cynical and need to have a lot of time to devote to them. So, essentially, I may never actually pick up the second book.


Read: These Broken Stars
Unread: This Shattered World, Their Fractured Light

I wasn't expecting to like the first book in this series, but I did. I mean, listen, if you know me then you know that I think space is the most frightening thing in the universe (ha, get it?) and that I despise survival stories above all else. Those two mixed together make These Broken Stars. However, Amie and Jay (Illuminae) were coming to my town on their Gemina tour, and I didn't want my encounter with them to go like this:
Me: Hi Jay! Hi Amie!
Jay and Amie: Hi, thanks for stopping by tonight!
Me: Oh, please. *blushes* I'm a huge fan of your work. *brings out literally every book Jay has ever written* *hands Amie Illuminae and Gemina* *hides in the corner of the store*
Yeah, I wanted to read at least something else of Amie's before meeting her because, in all honesty, I would have felt suuuppeeer guilty. So I read it and really enjoyed it? Now I want to read the rest of this series.

Have I been converted? Stay tuned...


Read: The Cuckoo's Calling
Unread: The Silkworm, Career of Evil

I mean, it's J.K. Rowling. Does this really need excessive explanation? If it does, then here we go. I really liked the first book. I enjoy Cormoran (I genuinely called him Cameron without meaning to for the entirely of the first book) and Robin. I think the second one just got a bit too weird for me? I normally thrive in the weird and strange, but this was kind of a gross weird. Maybe distance has done me some good.

Are you in the middle of any of these series? Have you finished them? Are you excited for series week? (Hint: the answer is yes!) Tell me down in the comments!



Anticipated Releases of 2017 | January to June


There are so many amazing and beautiful books releasing in 2017. Of course, there are more than these that I am excited about, and these dates will probably change because publishing does that a lot.


This year? No. A year ago? I read Josh's memoir, We Should Hang Out Sometime, and I not only found a 4.5 star book but also a YouTuber that I always love to watch. When I heard that he was writing a fiction book, I was all there because Josh is one of those unique humans whose's humor I actually really love and always laugh at. This story is about a blind 16-year-old, Will, who starts at a new high school. I'm excited to see what I think of it.


THIS. IS. A. PHANTOM. OF. THE. OPERA. STORY. That's all I needed to know about this book before adding it to my TBR. I actually have an ARC of this book (*flails about like a madwoman*) and am planning on reading it ASAP. 

So, this is actually more of a "modern spin-off" of Leroux's story, which is one of my all-time favorite books, and not a retelling. Eh. Details. Either way, I'm beyond thrilled to read this book. Hopefully, I will like it; otherwise, I will cry for 64 years.


Another book that I needed zero explanation for before adding to my TBR: it's a feminist scrapbook. It's filled with essays, poems, comics, illustrations, etc. from across media. I really don't need to know more, and neither should you. (But there's still a goodreads link...for reasons.)


So, for those of you that have read The Night Circus, I've heard this is like that.

For those of you who have been meaning to read The Night Circus for 87 years (see also: me), you can read this book come the end of January to prepare yourself for the more adult magic that is The Night Circus. 

I kid. I've head great reviews of this already and can't wait to get my greedy little hands on it.


I've never read Neil Gaiman, but I've heard that he's magic.

I've never read anything about Norse mythology save a few Thor comics, but those don't really count. 

I'm super interested by this, and I'm totally going to read it.



This is an LGBTQIA+ contemporary YA book. I honestly don't know much more than that. I know it's about a girl who goes to college in New York, which I'm stupidly excited about because not enough YA books take place in the college years. Marin, our main character, pretty much left everything behind in California when she left for college, and it's not really until her old friend Mabel comes to visit over winter break that she has to face what she's left behind.

I think?


This is the third and final book in Schwab's Shades of Magic series. I have already pre-ordered this this, and the second book is the next book on my TBR. This series is magic + amazing characters + parallel Londons + pirates. Yes yes yes.


Another third (but not the final) book in a series. Another series that takes place in London, but this is like a science fiction, alternate, future London that is ruled by an organization called Scion. It has people with powers, and hopefully I can get my hands on this gorgeous edition of the book. 


I haven't read anything Mindy McGinnis, but I've heard geniunely amazing things about her and her writing. But this is about a girl who was born to be fed to the water. I don't really know much about this, and I don't want to. It sounds intriguing enough.


I absolutely love, love, love Becky's last book, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, when I read it earlier this year in anticipation of her attending SEYA fest in March. This is another LGBTQIA+ story, and I'm totally down for it. It follows our main character, Molly, who is essentially a perpetual Paris; her "love" is always unrequited. I don't like to know too much going in to contemporaries, so that premise is enough to hook me. 


I don't know why this series is going onwards. I also only have a vague semblance of an idea as to why I'm continuing on with this final installment, and that was my significant dissatisfaction with the ending (and who Lara Jean ended up with) of P.S. I Still Love You. Even though I know the guy that I preferred probably won't turn up in this book, and Lara Jean will still be in a relationship with a guy that I absolutely despise. Here's to character development?


I actually hate myself that this is one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. I actually hate myself a little bit for it. I really disliked A Court of Mist and Fury, in case you're new to this blog or to me. I really dislike Sarah's writing. It's my least favorite writing that I've ever read in the entire world. I just can't stand it. Nonetheless, I want to know what happens. Ugh.


A lot of people's early years of reading were shaped by Sarah Dessen; mine was not. I've never read Sarah Dessen, but this one--for some reason--really speaks out to me. Maybe it's the cover. Maybe it's the fact that it's about the daughter of a wedding planner. Whichever one it is, this is going to be a really fun and light summer read, which is something I'm sure I'll need after next semester.

What books are you looking forward to this year? Which of these are you most excited for? Tell me down in the comments!


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