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Favorite Books of 2016!!

According to my Goodreads reading challenge I read 36 books this year! I know that there was at least one book that I did not finish though and I did reread the first and second Harry Potter books because I got the illustrated versions. Most of the books I read this year I really loved. I wrote review for many of them which I will include links to when possible.

I love when I spend the year reading books that I adore. I found some new authors that I will be following and reading their new material. I started some new series which I am excited to finish!

Take a look back with me on some of my favorite books of the year!


We will start with V.E. Schwab, who has become my new favorite author. I read the first two books in her Shades of Magic series. I wrote a review for A Darker Shade of Magic. The third and final book should be coming out in February and I am excited to see how the series ends!

I then read This Savage Song ,which i received in a book subscription box. I was thrilled to see it in the box because I had been wanting it for so long. It was a great story about the difference between good and evil and what makes someone a “monster.” My review on it has more of my thoughts. The second one comes out in June and I can’t wait!

I recently finished Vicious. It was probably my least favorite  of the four but I still really enjoyed it. I love the way she looks at what it means to be good and bad and if there is a true distinction between the two concepts.


I read the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer really quick. It was a great ride. I loved the fresh ways of viewing the fairytale characters. I hope to be able to read Heartless sometime this new year. I wrote a review for Cinder which you can find here.

I also fell in love with the Six of Crows series. This was another one that I got lost in. I loved the characters, they were all unique and felt alive. The story was fast-paced and full of adventure. I wrote a review for the series as a whole which you can find here.


To round out the series I read is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. This was another fun one. I liked the take on time loops, the characters were all fun and interesting and the story kept me turning pages for three books without an issue. I did a review for each of the books which you can find here, here and here.


Now for some individual books. I read More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera after seeing a review for it. It was one of those books that left me in shock and emotional at the end. It so well written and heart breaking. Few things get me choked up but this one was of them.

51yr8-30fdl-_sy344_bo1204203200_We are the ants by Shaun David Huchtinson was just a book I found in passing. It so much more than I thought it was going to be. I fell in love with it quickly. It a good look at why you would want to keep the world around even when it is breaking your heart. I will be adding a review for this one soon.


I technically think I started this one before 2016 but I finished it in 2016 so it counts. This one falls outside my usual genre. If you can’t tell fantasy is the genre I usually read in. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill was a horror book and I was enthralled by it. It was scary yet interesting at the same time. I don’t usually enjoy horror but I did really enjoy this one. You can find my review here.


I know this one probably isn’t landing on many favorites’ lists this year. There are issues with it, and I go into my depth about them in my review here. But I loved this despite the issues. I loved being transported back to the Harry Potter universe and I loved the addition of Scorpious. This was a fun ride and one I did love reading.


So those are just some of my favorites from this year. What did you read in 2016? Did you enjoy the majority? What are some of your favorites?


Heart-Shaped Box- Joe Hill (Review)

153025I am not what you would call a horror person. I do not generally enjoy being scared. I am the person who watches horror films through their fingers. Hell, I can’t even watch the commercials half the time. Halloween is my least favorite holiday, except for the free candy thing. I do not go to haunted houses, preferring not to spend an evening screaming and crying in fright. So picking up this book was a step outside of my comfort zone.

I have read one other book my Joe Hill, Horns. (Which I reviewed here). I initially read Horns because the movie looked interesting to me. I did not think of it as a horror story so I wasn’t that adverse to reading it.

I loved Horns, it was interesting and the one of those books I had trouble putting down. I then looked up Joe Hill’s other books and read some reviews. Many of the reviews stated that Heart-Shaped Box was one of his scarier books. I was hesitant at first to read this book. As I just stated I do not enjoy being scared. But I wanted to see if I could manage a horror book and I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this story a lot. Yes, I did have to read most of it during the day but I found myself pulled in despite the horror elements.

Heart-Shaped Box is about Jude, a kind of death-metal rock musician. He was once part of a successful band but has gone solo because of many of the members of the band dying. He is now on his own and past his rockstar heyday. He fits the stereotype of the death-metal rock genre. He is interested in the macabre, which is why he buys a suit that is said to have a ghost attached to it. He doesn’t think twice about it.

It turns out that the sale was set up as revenge from the owner. He is out to get revenge on Jude for the death of his step-daughter. The ghost begins to haunt and try to kill Jude. Jude and his girlfriend have to run for their lives. As they run they learn there is much more to this haunting than what the auction site stated.

I have stated in a number of reviews is that characters are what draw me into stories. The plot is, of course, important but if I cannot form a connection with a character I tend to not be able to make it through a book.

At first, I was skeptical about Jude’s character. He starts the story as a selfish, almost heartless seeming man. He has a girlfriend but she is just one in a long line of women he has been with. He doesn’t even refer to them by their names, instead naming the women by the states they came from. He takes advantage of his assistant who basically hero-worships him. For the first few chapters, he isn’t a man that I would never spend more than an hour with. He feels like the kind of person you get a bad first impression of and then have trouble seeing past that impression.

But we learn quickly why Jude is this way. Jude grew up in an abusive home and has since had trouble forming any real connections to anyone in his life. Hill does give Jude one redeeming quality though, his care and love for his dogs. We see that while it appears that Jude has a cold heart, that is not entirely true. There is still something inside of him that can show care and love for something in his life.

Joe hill does a great job at setting up Jude’s character for the journey is going to start in this story. In the beginning, Jude appears to be a man who doesn’t seem to be living for anything or anyone. He seems dead inside.

Then the ghost enters his life. Jude is blamed for something that he did not do. But he did have a part in because of his standoff way of taking on life. He has to run for his life. Jude never truly fought for much in his life until this point. He learns that there are things in his life worth fighting for, that his  life itself is worth fighting for. The fight against the dead reawakens the life inside of Jude.

There are points throughout the story where Jude wonders if continuing to run and fight are worth it. The ghost torments him, trying to kill him. For a man who was floating along and just existing for much of his life, this is the journey that gives him a reason to live again. He opens his heart and life is breathed into him.

This was a page-turner story. You get caught up in the story wondering how Jude and his girlfriend are going to manage to get out of this predicament. You wonder where they are going to go next. How far are they going to run and how do you fight a ghost? The descriptions of the ghosts are chilling. There are points that send chills down your back which only heightens the suspense of the story. If you like horror with emotion, as well as  journey of self-discovery you will enjoy this book.

My To-Read List

One of my favorite things is to have a pile of books waiting for me in my apartment. I anticipate the adventures that I will go on when I am able to dive into their pages. There is a certain air of anticipation in the air when I have a pile of books that are waiting to be read. These are not the only books in my apartment that haven’t be read but they are the ones that I am most anxious to dive into right now.

The first book on my list is Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (A.K.A. J.K. Rowling). I have written about my love for J.K. Rowling91PgRZrbnXL
in previous posts. I have also written reviews for the previous two books in her Cormoran Strike series of novels. There was no question that I would be reading this right after it came out. This is probably the one I am most excited to read. While I am not a huge fan of detective novels, the way she dives into the the two main characters lives as well as giving us a intriguing mystery is just fantastic. The summary of this one makes it seem like the mystery here hits much closer to our characters, which means we will be diving deeper into them and learning more their lives which should be great. I am sure it will only take me a few days to finish this one and when I do I will defiantly be posting a review of it!.

51gBHSuI1jL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The second book on my list is The Phantom TollBooth By Norton Jester. I haven’t read it in a long time. I generally try to read new books but sometimes I have to go back to old favorites to see how they have changed for me. I actually dreamt about this book for some reason and woke up with a  very strong desire to read it. I actually had to buy it again because I am not entirely sure where my original copy ended up, (there is a good possibly it is buried in my mom’s teaching closet. It was easier to buy it again then try to dig it out). I am excited to read this one again and see how much different it is for me now that I am older. Many times our favorites books take on a whole new life when we read them with new eyes and minds shaped by age and experience. I am eager to see how this resonates with me now.

517MlmZ7z2L._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_The third book on my list is The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman is another one of my favorite authors. I have reviewed a number of his books. He is a master at looking at the world through intriquing and different eyes. I admire the way he writes and the directions his stories take. I actually saw him speak about a week ago. I have not read his graphic novel series but after hearing him talk I had a strong desire to find out what it was all about. I know it is loved and heard a number of people mentioning it during the talk. I’ve read the summary and love the concept and am eager to meet these unique characters in this story.


The fourth book on my list is Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. I read and reviewed Horns by him and I really enjoyed that book. It was horror but not overly frightening. It was an interesting story about a man’s decent into the darker side of himself. I was hooked by it and wanted to give another one of his book’s a try. I’ve heard good things about Heart-Shaped Box, though I am a little weary of reading this one. That is only because I have heard it is scary and I am not that great with true dark horror. I tend to get scared easily but I still want to give this one a shot and see if maybe I can open the door to more horror stories for myself.


The sixth book on my list is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This is just a classic book that I have never gotten around to reading. I was never assigned it in school and always had something else I wanted to read before this one. But I was in the bookstore getting something else and saw this on the shelf and decided it was time for me to read it. So I bought it. I do love  the dystopian novel genre and I know this is a classic in that area. This is more of me catching up on a book that I have been putting off for too long.


The last book on my list right now is Burning Dawn by Gena Showalter. Showalter is my favorite author in the paranormal romance genre.  It is a genre, that I guess, you could call my guilty pleasure. The Lord of the Underworld is my favorite series but this series is good as well. This is the third in The Angles of the Dark series. It is a series that is in the same universe as the Lord series and concerns the trials and tribulations of angels and their romances. These series give me my romance shot with a fun paranormal twist.

Shameless Plug Time:

IsThereMore_AmazonThat is my current list of what I plan on reading over the next few weeks. Do you need something to add to your to-read pile? Why not check out my new short story collection, Is There More? under my penname Brittney Rz ? If you enjoy stories in the vein of Twilight Zone where reality is just a bit off,you will enjoy these stories. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iBooks. This weekend (Friday-Sunday) the e-book will be on sale for only $0.99! So why not take a chance and check it out? If you do and enjoy it, a review would be much appreciated!

What is on your to-read list? Which is your favorite of the ones on my current list?

Horns- Joe Hill- Review (Spoilers)

Horns_coverThis is another book I picked up because I saw that it was becoming a movie. As I have stated in previous reviews I like to read the books before seeing the movies. I want to see where the original story came from then see how they compare. I did not have a clear idea of what the movie was actually about. I thought it was more a love story. The main idea being having to accept and love someone despite the demon they may have in their soul.

What the book was really about was accepting the darker side of oneself and trying to determine what good can be done with that darkness. A reader learns that avenging a loved one can bring out the darkest sides of someone and sometimes that is necessary. I enjoyed the book so much because I was left questioning my idea of good and evil and what it means to live out a life defined by one or the other. And as I have stated previously as book that makes me question anything is always a book I enjoy.

Ig Perrish wakes up one morning with zero memory of the previous night. He also has a pair of horns growing out of the top of his head. He has no idea where they came from or what they mean. Almost immediately he learns what they do though. The horns compel people to express their darkest desires or confess their worst deeds to Ig. Unless they are in possession of a cross they can’t help telling him the worst sides of themselves.

Naturally at first Ig is confused, lost and upset. This is all made worse by the fact that the horns showed up a day after the anniversary of the murder of his girlfriend Merrin. He quickly realizes that he all those he leaned on and trusted are against him. They all harbor ill feelings or negative opinions that tear Ig apart. He is left alone and desperate to figure out what is going on with his life.
Ig does find a new mission for his life. Under the influence of the horns his brother tells him who killed Merrin, their old friend Lee. Ig instantly decides that he has to kill Lee to avenge the love his life. He becomes consumed with this mission and this mission only. He can’t rest knowing the man is walking around free.

I thought we were going to see Ig striving not to sink under the horn’s influence. I thought it was going to be a story about a man fighting not to kill and not lose himself to the darkness. What we got was a story about Ig learning that darkness and good are part of each other. They are meaningless concepts without each other. You can’t have pure evil without pure good because without one the other is just a word or idea with no reference point. Ig fights to find a balance between his good and evil side.

Ig is human and is not perfect. At first he doesn’t know how to control his urges. He pushes his grandmother down a hill when she confesses she wished she was dead and not dealing with him. He lashes out like many of us have. We all have had that moment when we hit someone with words or fists in anger. We all have a moment where we go too far. Ig realizes that he can’t let himself go around punishing everyone who confesses to him, despite the rush he gets from those actions. He decides to focus his energy on killing Lee instead.

We see his growth when he goes after his own brother. He believes his brother had to have something to do with Merrin’s death. He then sees that his brother had no control over the situation. He was present but not responsible. He wanted to confess was his hands were tied. He can barely live with his actions and decisions.
The easy thing, the devil thing, would have been for Ig to kill him or punish his brother no matter what. He could have stabbed him or tortured him just because he had the information for so long. Instead Ig tries to send him away and to his own life again. He does not want him to suffer anymore. This is the moment when we see Ig taking a step back and realizing that there is a line he has to walk no matter what is poking out of the top of his head.

Even when he is at peak devil he still thinks about others. His ex-girlfriend Glenna comes looking for him. He could hurt her. He could punish her for cheating on him or the number of other negative things she has done in her life. He could do a lot of things but he instead tells her she deserves more and sends her away. He tries to give her a better life. He wants her to get what she deserves in life.

Ig Perrish wakes up with horns believing his turning into the devil. What he learns, as well as what the readers learns, is that the line between being good and being evil is a very hazy line. They are two concepts that are woven together and trying to separate them into two completely separate concepts is nearly impossible. We all have angels and devils inside of us. We just have to determine when to let which side out and how to make them work together instead of against one another.

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