My Favorite Books of 2016

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Heeeeey kind-of dormant blog! I still remember i have you! To be honest, this blog has been pretty quiet lately because I’ve been deep into a re-reading marathon. nothing really sounded good on my TBR bookshelf, so I went back into my older books.

Really quickly, here is what I’ve been re-reading:

  • The Gentlemen Bastard series by Scott Lynch. (One of my favorite series!)
  • The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings. (I re-read these every year)
  • The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher

But this post isn’t about *those* books! This is about my favorite books I read last year. This isn’t all books published last year, just my favorites that I read!

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

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This book was just delightful. I liked it from start to finish, I was utterly charmed by it. It is very much a fairytale but a really cute, endearing one. Plus it takes place in a bookstore which happens to be one of my favorite places in the world.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin Manuel-Miranda

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An amazing look behind the scenes at one f the best new Broadway shows! I have become slowly obsessed with the musical Hamilton ever since i first picked up the cast recording. this book is a great way to immerse yourself in the complexities of the musical itself and what it actually took to get it onstage.

This might be as close as I ever get to seeing the original cast and its an amazing up-close look at it. This is full of great profiles of many of the main cast and a look a the support players. The pictures are amazing as well.

 

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

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I wrote a review of this book (for this blog even!), but I loved it greatly. to quote myself:

I love the whole steampunk aesthetic and I love the idea of airships.  The idea of the book is that society has moved off the planet and now lives completely up in “spires” which are gigantic towers made of stone. People use airships to travel up and down the spires (and also travel to other spires), with the richest and most well off at the top and the poorest closest to the ground. Captain Grimm is one such captain of an airship named Predator and when he has a run-in with a bigger ship that leaves him grounded on Spire Albion waiting for repairs, the Spire is attacked by another,Spire Aurora. Thus starts WAR! Captain Grimm and a band of allies are charged with finding out where a conspiracy starts (and who is involved). Unbeknownst to everyone an old evil is maneuvering and pulling the strings on its puppets for mysterious purposes….

The naval airships with their awesome battles in the mists were the highlight of the book for me. They were very well written. I’ve read other books with airship battles that left me confused and ultimately cold to the story as a whole, but these were thrilling and fast-paced.

Butcher also has a great way of making things very tense and exciting that I really like.

I found this book to be a fast read and I am really looking forward to the next book and the rest of the series.

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe

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I love Alex Bledsoe’s Eddie Lacrosse series so I picked this up on a whim one day, and I wasn’t disappointed!  I really loved this book. I like books about fairies, The Fae, etc. quite a bit but I was looking for something unique, and I think I found it inside this book.

The story is pretty simple, yet it is really compelling. As the first in a series, I expected it to be sort-of clunky and full of world-building exposition, but I was happily surprised. The is world-building but it doesn’t get bogged down in minutiae which I liked a lot


 

There you go! As I said, I didn’t really read too many books this year and what I did read was older books and series I had already read once.

I look forward to new amazing books to read in 2017!

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my Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2057281-sarah

 

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The first two Eddie LaCrosse books by Alex Bledsoe

The Sword-Edged Blonde

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In the kingdom of Arentia the reigning Queen has just been charged with murdering her son (and royal heir) in a particularly brutal way. King Phillip doesn’t want to believe that his wife is capable of such violence but is very low on options. Queen Rhiannon was found in a locked room surrounded by blood and bones after all. The king can only think of one person he trusts enough to look into this horrific crime, his old friend Eddie LaCrosse. Eddie has spent years running from a painful past and now, reluctantly, heads back to the last place he wants to be to help out his friend.

What follows is a reasonably interesting locked-room mystery. Most places will describe this story as a: ” hardboiled noir in a fantasy world”. While that is pretty close to what it is, i felt that it wasn’t as hardboiled as I was led to believe. Oh sure a lot of terrible things happen in this book and the backstory for our main character Eddie is pretty dark the horrors were really low key. Perhaps I’m just so used to everything that happens because of my reading habits. It did read very “realistic” and there was all the good things I like about Hardboiled detective fiction such as corrupt officials and detectives with very gray moralities.

That’s not to say i didn’t like it. Quite the opposite actually. I felt that the story set up the vaguely medieval fantasy setting well and the characters were all pretty well drawn. The mystery held my interest and had some good twists in there that surprised me. It also got pretty mystical and magical which did surprise me, as I wasn’t informed ahead of time that the book contained such things. I liked it though! It’s good to be surprised once in a while, there’s nothing worse than being bored by a book.

The characters are all pretty well drawn. Eddie LaCrosse, our main character, is a little flat in this first book. He is hard-edged and cynical….but only mostly in his own head. He truly cares about others and works hard to protect them and fight for the truth. His angsty back story is dark but thankfully doesn’t consume the whole story or make his too depressing to read about.

The women in this story…..are less well drawn. I felt they were mostly one-dimensional and mostly there to be tragic or sexy or tragically sexy. There are some exceptions, but not very many. My hope is that in future stories that this gets better.

Overall, I’d recommend these stories to read. They won’t set the world on fire with a mind blowing tale, but they are really fun fast reads. The main character is interesting with an interesting backstory that doesn’t drag down the plot and the mystery is interesting with some good twists.

 

Burn Me Deadly

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Eddie LaCrosse is back in a new mystery! Eddie’s on his way back from a routine investigation when his horse almost runs down a half-naked blonde in serious trouble. Against his better judgment, he promises to protect the frightened young woman, only to find himself waylaid by unknown assailants and left for dead beside her mutilated body. Who killed Laura Lesperitt? And Eddie’s awesome horse? And left him for dead beside the both of them? Eddie is out for revenge and nothing will stop him.

I liked this story better than the first one. I felt the plot had more movement to it. The first book had some pacing issues and places where I felt it got bogged down in backstory exposition. I didn’t feel that this book had that problem. It did have a few other problems but nothing that made me dislike the book and I did give it five stars on goodreads. The writing is still as crisp and fast-paced as ever and the story is interesting and fun. The story goes to some interesting places that I really enjoyed.

I like that these stories aren’t afraid to hurt the main character. A lot of stories will have a protagonist that is basically immune to being injured. Those stories always have some sort of save for the main character or deus ex machina that helps them get away unscathed from most of their troubles. Eddie gets hurt….a lot. And so do the people around him a lot of the time.

Eddie is written better here and seems to be less flat than the last book. His issues from the past have mostly resolved and he has dealt with them so there isn’t a need to dwell on them in this book. He seems happier in general and more content with his life. One reason is certainly his new girlfriend Liz who was introduced at the end of book one.

Liz is a pretty good character in her own right. She has her own job and past secrets but they never fall int o the cliche of seriously affecting the relationship with Eddie. These are both older characters (i.e- not angsty teenagers) who know that , well, life happens. And sometimes in life secrets happen that you feel you can’t tell your romantic partner about. Both Liz and Eddie have some serious secrets weighing on their mind, but luckily they come out in to the open and DO NOT affect the relationship they are working on. THANK GOD. I hate books like that, I want people in relationships to deal with things like the adults that they are.

This is a story with lots of murder, crime bosses, secret dragon cults/religions, and some torture. I really did like a lot of it and the points that dragged didn’t do so for long and nothing made me exasperated or roll my eyes. Definitely recommended.