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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

Library of Lost Souls By: Ransom Riggs (Review)

51jx3zbrjul-_sx320_bo1204203200_(This is a review for the third book in a series so there are minor spoilers for the previous two books.)

Library of Lost Souls is the final book in the Miss Peregrine’s series. I am always worried about final books. I worry that questions won’t get answered or something will be resolved but not in the fashion that I think works for the story. I am glad that this final book was not any of those things. This was a good way to end this series. The loose ends were wrapped up and the story came to a satisfying conclusion. I was not left wondering anything or upset at not knowing what had become of a character.

This final book finds Emma and Jacob having to travel through a dark time loop called Devil’s Acres in order to save their friends. They have to team up with some unsavory characters and make tough decision to save those they care about. They go on a fast-paced adventure to save their world.

Throughout this series Jacob was my favorite character. He started off the series as a naive kid. After his grandfather’s death he is told by his parents and doctors that he has gone crazy. For a short time he believes them, thinking his grandfather’s death has driven him out of his mind. But that doesn’t stop him from trying to find out the secret his grandfather left behind. He finds Miss Peregrine and the peculiar world and his life changes.

This last book was the wrap up of Jacob’s character transformation. In this book he keeps talking about two separate Jacobs. There was the “then,” Jacob and there is the “now,” Jacob. “Then,” Jacob lived in a straight forward world. People did not fly, no one was invisible and there were no monsters. Nothing extraordinary ever happened to him. “Then,” Jacob went to school, hung out with his one friend and spent time with his parents. His life was simple and normal.

“Now,” Jacob lives in a brand new world. All the things he thought were impossible are now possible. The word impossible doesn’t even have a true meaning to him anymore. This new world is one the requires him to be brave and couragous. He can’t rely on anyone else. He needs to make quick decisions and trust himself. He no longer can just sit around and wait for something to happen in life. In this last book it is up to him and Emma to save their friends. He had to grow up fast.

I liked this book because Jacob had to find a balance between the two sides of himself. He couldn’t let his old life intrude too much because then fear would take over. He wouldn’t be able to find his friends and fight to save not only their lives, but their world. He had to find a tougher side of himself.

On the other side though, he couldn’t let “now,” Jacob have full control. He had to remember how to have sympathy and how to be cautious. He couldn’t always act, sometime he had to let others take over. It was nice to see a character that did not go through a total trasnformation. Jacob retains parts of who he used to be and integrates them into this new version of himself.

Most of this book takes place in Devil’s Acres. This is a time loop where those who have been banished or ostracized from the peculiar world live. It is a dark and horrible place. I thought it was a proper place to end this series. This was a series that got darker as it went on and to end here felt right. I liked that this series showed the darker side of the world as well as the light. No matter the world there is always some dark aspect and in the end the dark and light create a balance. I liked this setting, it was interesting and I thought created the right mood for this final story.

I loved almost every aspect of this series. The characters were all unique and interesting. The inclusion of the photographs helped create an eerie and interesting atmosphere. I thought it was paced well, balancing the exposition with action. The only issue I had was the relationship between Emma and Jacob.

I did not think that Emma and Jacob needed to be romantic interests for each other. I felt like their relationship was forced in order to have some romance in the story. I did not feel any real connection between the two of them. I wish they had just become a very close friends.

I think sometimes people forget how powerful a close friendship can be. Romance is not the only way to show a deep connection between two people. And not every girl and boy who meet each other need to fall for one another. Sometime I wish that some of these characters would just become best friends. It would create a new dynamic and I think would have felt more natural for these two.

Despite my issue with that relationship I loved the rest of the series. It is a unique story, one full of adventure. I loved the world. The addition of the photographs gives it a unique feel. If you are looking for a bit dark, yet fun series I would highly recommend this one.

Hollow City – Review – (Minor Spoilers)

images-3(This being a review of a sequel there are some minor spoilers for the first book in the series).

I am not one of those people who can read the first book in a series then a month or two later read the next one. If I start a series, enjoy it and the rest of the books are available, than I will finish it. I loved the first Miss Peregrine’s book, which meant I had to go out and get the rest of the series. The second book, Hollow City, was a good sequel. It expanded on the series; grew the world as well as gave us a deeper look into the peculiar children.

Hollow City takes place right where the first book left off. The children have all left the island and are on a mission to rescue Miss Peregrine. They are in the middle of the ocean and realize very quickly that this mission is going to be a rough one. This is the first time many of them have left their loop since they made it their home. On their adventure they learn more about each other and also learn more about their peculiar world. We meet peculiar animals and find out how desperate the whole situation truly is.

I liked that this book gave us a better idea of the vast nature of the peculiar world. There are many different loops, all populated by a number of different type of peculiars. I loved the idea that there are peculiar animals. Addison became one of my new favorite characters. To me this book helped integrate this peculiar world into the rest of the world. Both live side by side, sometimes not even realizing how they work with one another.

What I loved most about this book was how the focus went from Jacob to the rest of the peculiar children. We still get the story from Jaco’s POV but the story focuses more on the other peculiar children; who they are and what they can do. I liked becoming more familiar with everyone, it helped flesh out the story.

The peculiar children are in an interesting position. They are in children’s bodies but they are all almost a hundred years old. They have this interesting mix of adult ideals and thought but also the innocence of children. They grew up very sheltered in the loop. Miss Peregrine made sure to do everything for them. She watched over them and provide for them. They did not have to do much for themselves. So once they decided to leave they were thrown into this whole new world. They can think like adults but they also tend to see the world as a child does.

There is an interesting scene about 2/3 of the way through the book. In their quest to find Miss Peregrine and keep their world from being taken over by wights and hollowghasts, they encounter two sisters. The sisters are hiding from the bombs that are falling on London. They learn that the older sisters is peculiar. They ask her to join them but she is weary of them.

In the aftermath of the bombing the group is debating whether to steal a ambulance in order to get out of the area faster. The older sister is horrified at the idea. The group shows a callousness for others, mostly because they know where they are is the past. They see it all has having been done and gone. Nothing will ultimately change anything significantly. What the older sister sees is people who care about no one but themselves.

At the end of the chapter Jacob has a few lines of thought that are interesting. “I don’t know why it was so important for her [Emma] to prove to a stranger that we were good-hearted, when we knew ourselves to be – but the suggestion that we were anything less than angels walking the earth, that our natures were made complexly shaded, seemed to bother her. ‘They don’t understand,’ she kept saying.
“Then again, I thought, maybe they did.”

Jacob grew up in the world that the reader knows.We know that the world is one of blurred lines. Nothing is ever as black and white as we want it to be. People are a mix of light and dark and that is what makes us human. Jacob understands the tough decisions they are facing.  He knows they aren’t mosnters, they don’t want to hurt anyone. He is not that bothered by the exchange. The two sisters are unfamiliar with what they are trying to do. They don’t understand how difficult their lives are at the moment. He knows some decisions are tough and the choices made are not always the best ones.

Emma on the other hand has grown up seeing herself and her people as somewhat like heroes. They are good at heart. They do not harm others (though she is unfamiliar with what the children used to do in the village when they got bored). She does not want to admit that they may not all be good people. She does not want to see the dark that exists in peculiardom as it does in the rest of the world. They are not separate, they are just like us. I think that idea scared her.

I like this sequel because I felt a better connection to the characters throughout the story. I like characters were moral grey lines. I also like to watch them learn who they are and how they belong in the world. I am eager to finish the last book and see how everything wraps up.

What Are You Reading Wednesday -Hollow City

51btkmubzbl-_sx320_bo1204203200_What are you reading Wednesday is a feature over at It’s a Reading Thing. It is pretty simple to take part, just answer the following questions about the book you are currently reading.

1.) What are you currently reading? – Hollow City – The second novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series by Ransom Riggs

2.) Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your e-book and share a couple of sentences (I had to go to page 33 cause page 34 was actually a picture):

It occurred to me that it had very likely  saved us once already; without the fog those balloons would’ve spotted us hours ago, in our boats, when we’d had nowhere to run. And in that way, it was one last thing that the island had done to save its peculiar children. 

3.) Would you like to live in the world that exists in the book? Why or why not?

I like the idea of living in a world where you could find peculiar people but it seems to be getting quite dangerous. At this point I would say no, mostly because I don’t think I could do what they have had to do to survive.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – Review

9460487I have passed by this book on the bookstore shelf a number of times. It piqued my interest but never quite enough for me to choose it over whatever other book I was there to get that day. I then started seeing countless reviews for this story when the trailer for the movie came out. I was getting closer to getting it. Then my mom got it from a student as a gift and my chance to read it was in front of me. I am so glad I  was finally able to read this one. It will be added to my list of top books this year for sure.

Jacob Portman has grown up on his grandfather’s outlandish stories about the children’s home that he lived in during World War II. These were tales of the children he lived with all who had some extraordinary power, such as levitation and invisibility. As he grows, Jacob is taught that his grandfather’s stories are just tales used to help his grandfather cope with is rough childhood; one of leaving home and his family in order to save his life from the Nazis.

It isn’t until his grandfather dies that Jacob learns that all his stories are actually true. The children, the island, and the house are all real and they are in danger.

Jacob journeys to the island and is swept away in a new world. It is dangerous but exciting. He must decide which path his life will now take.

Just from looking at the cover I had a feeling this book was going to be on the darker side, which is one of the reasons I avoided it for awhile. While I like dark stories they have a tendency to make me feel a bit scared and apprehensive. As I was reading the word unsettling was used to describe the home and other aspects of the island and it clicked with me. While this novel is darker, it is also unsettling. Turning off the lights after reading at night made me feel a bit nervous, as if there was something waiting in the shadows for me. It actually gave me quite interesting dreams as well.

I think the atmosphere of this book was helped along by the old photographs that were peppered throughout the novel. I loved this aspect. I felt myself become even more emerged in the tale by being able to glance at the faces and look into the eyes of the people in those pictures. You get another level of connection that can only be achieved by including these vey real photographs.

The children all have a peculiarity to them. (Side note: I loved the use of the world peculiar instead of strange or odd. Right away you get the idea that things are a bit off but you aren’t given the preconceived idea of thinking of this kids as freaks or being wrong. They are just different and intriguing). Some of these peculiarities seem quite harmless, such as levitation and invisibility. But others seem more sinister such as the ability to reanimate the dead.

This aspect also enhanced the unsettling atmosphere. I found myself wondering how I would react to meeting these children. I think I would be apprehensive and nervous at first. As I read I found myself not quite sure how to read some of them. Some seemed positive and helpful right away while others made me pause. I wonder where these abilities will go as the series progresses. Are all peculiarities good things? Or will we learn that some can cause harm? I feel it will be more about the person who possesses these abilities and not the abilities themselves.

The book starts with Jacob putting his life into two categories, Before and After. Life as it was before his grandfather died and his life after his grandfather was killed. Before he lives an ordinary life and After he now lives a life full of questions and danger.

Jacob is a teenager and as many teenagers he is at a crossroads. But unlike other teenagers he is not choosing career paths and colleges, he is trying to decided between living in two very different worlds. He is an asset in one which is not only dangerous but requires him to leave all he knows behind him. While staying in his current life is quieter, calmer but not all that much safer, it would be full of paranoia. Jacob is being given a choice. He has to decide where he wants his life to go, how he wants to live. He has no one to answer the question for him and we watch as he struggles with the choice.

Who is Jacob meant to be, seems to be the ultimate question of this book if not the series. He is not weak as he once thought. He is not worthless. He has an ability that can save many and now he has to make the decision about what to do with that ability.

I was wrapped up in this story. I found myself being pulled along even during moments when I was a bit nervous. I wanted to see what happened next. I wanted to see what choices Jacob would make. I am excited to start the next book and to see where this story goes!

What Are You Reading Wednesday – Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

What are you reading Wednesday is a feature over at It’s a Reading Thing. Check out her post and join in if you would like, just answer the following three questions.

94604871.) What are you currently reading? – Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

2.) Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your ebook and share a couple of sentences:

“The barks faded and a chorus of night insects rose up in their place, droning and alien. Sweat trickled down my face. It was dark now, but the breeze had died and somehow the air seemed hotter than it had all day.”

3.) Would you like to live in the world that exists in the book? Why or why not?

I am not too far into this book yet but so far the world seems a bit dangerous and creepy. The book has already given me a few weird dreams so at this point I don’t think I would live here. It just seems somewhere where I would always be on edge and that doesn’t sound appealing to me.

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