Taylor’s Top 12 Books of 2016

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I read 156 books in 2016 and quite a few of them were absolutely amazing. Many of them have become some of the best books I’ve ever read and one has completely changed my life. I’ve picked out my top 12 books that I’ve read this year. These 12 books have become some of my favorite books of all time and I highly recommend them all.

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You by Caroline Kepnes

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

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I was not expecting this book to be this amazing.
I’d heard only positive things about You but this book blew me away. I read this book in one day and I couldn’t put it down. The second I finished it, I ordered the sequel.
I expected this book to be creepy but I had no idea that it would scare me like it did. The whole concept of this book is so terrifying, especially as a women. I couldn’t put this book down because I just had to know what was going to happen. I had a feeling about what the ending would be and I was right but the anticipation was intense.
The characters were so perfectly written. I don’t know how Caroline did it but she wrote these characters phenomenally. They were so complex and flawed and interesting to read about.

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It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

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I loved this book from very first page and even though I knew I was jumping on an emotional roller coaster (what CoHo book isn’t an emotional roller coaster?!), I never could have prepared myself for how this book would change my life. This book is everything I expected from Colleen Hoover but it’s also nothing I expected.
This book showed me a perspective that I never seen before and showed me new ways of looking at things. It’s honest and real and raw. Reading It Ends with Us was more than just reading a book. It was an experience and I’ve learned so much from it. I’ve never cried so much while reading a book (and I’ve never cried while writing a review but here I am, crying while writing this review).
This is probably the most meaningful book I’ve ever read and it’s change me life. I can never thank Colleen enough for this book and everything it’s given me.

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Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Layken’s father died suddenly, leaving her to gather every ounce of strength to be a pillar for her family, in order to prevent their world from falling apart. Now her life is taking another unexpected turn…

Layken’s mother gets a job which leads to an unwanted move across the country. However, a new home means new neighbours… and Layken’s new neighbour is the very attractive Will Cooper.

Will has an intriguing passion for slam poetry, and a matching passion for life. The two feel an irresistible attraction but are rocked to the core when a shocking revelation brings their romance to a screeching halt. Layken and Will must find a way to fight the forces that threaten to tear them apart…or learn to live without each other.

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Slammed was 100x better than I expected and I expected it to be great so my mind is blown right now.
I laughed, I cried, this book had it all for me. I did predict a thing or two but honestly, it doesn’t matter. I loved this book and I enjoyed reading it so much.
I loved Will and Layken’s relationship. Even though it moved so fast, it was genuine and organic. It felt real.
I loved how this book was about more than just Lake finding a boyfriend. The story was about so much more than just a romance relationship. It was about family and friendship and Lake learning how to deal with what life is throwing at her. It was about her finding friendship and opening up to others and knowing that she didn’t have to go through everything alone.

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November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

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Colleen Hoover is such an amazing writer. I don’t know how she does it but she creates these amazing stories that just blow my mind and give me all the feels. November 9 is only the second book of hers (I’ve also read Ugly Love) that I’ve read but she’s definitely one of my favorite writers.
I’m not a fan of insta-love but I actually didn’t hate that aspect of this book. It was written in a way that seemed real and believable. And it wasn’t exactly insta-love either, at least I didn’t think so. It was quick love. And I actually really liked it.
I loved the characters and how quick the book jumped from year to year. I feel like as the reader, I got to know Ben and Fallon at the same pace that they got to know each other.
While I did find this book to be really sad at times, it wasn’t the crying until you can’t breathe that Ugly Love was. I laughed more while reading November 9 than I cried. I was expecting to be a teary eyed mess all while I was reading but I wasn’t and that was kind of nice.

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Too Late by Colleen Hoover

Sloan will go through hell and back for her little brother. And she does, every single night.

Forced to remain in a relationship with the dangerous and corrupt Asa Jackson, Sloan will do whatever it takes to make sure her brother has what he needs.

Nothing will get in her way.

Nothing except Carter.

Sloan is the only good thing to ever happen to Asa. He knows this and he never plans on letting her go; even if she doesn’t approve of his lifestyle. But despite Sloan’s disapproval, Asa knows what it takes to get what he wants. He knows what he needs to do to remain on top.

Nothing will get in his way.

Nothing except Carter.

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This book is so insane and I loved it so much.
I’ve loved every book that I’ve read from Colleen so I knew when I started Too Late that I would love it. But I didn’t know what I would be staying up until 2am reading this book because I couldn’t put it down. This book is such a wild ride and has such complex characters. This book brought out every single emotion in me.
I think what really takes this book to the next level is the characters. They’re so complex and interesting and different. You’ll love some characters and hate others but either way, you’ll be sucked into this emotional rollercoaster.

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Fortune by Tia Giacalone

A painter, a poet, a publicist, and a punk-rock princess… the boys of High Road Divide have no idea that this tour will change everything.

Tommy Fortune hadn’t realized he was looking for something different until he meets Cassandra Ryan. Soon their connection blurs the line between fame and reality, and it doesn’t take long for Cassandra to follow her inspiration into his world, where paint-stained hands and guitar strings become the basis of their future. But nothing is as perfect as it looks from the outside, and even the most exposed still have secrets to keep. When tour life gets complicated, loyalties will be tested on the road, and they’ll both learn that some harsh realities can’t be painted over.

What happens when an artist stuck in black and white falls for a musician who only lives in color?

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I read this book during a really busy couple of days and I had barely any time to read. But every spare second I had, I was reading Fortune. Whenever I had to put this book down, I was so upset because I just wanted to keep reading.

This book was so amazing. I knew that I would love it and I was super excited to read it but somehow this book was even better than I was expecting. This book blew me away.
I loved the characters so much. They’re so well written and developed. I loved how Tommy didn’t droned on and on about Cassandra’s looks. He cared about her as a person and he always put more value on her personality. He appreciated Cassandra no matter how she looked. And the same was for Cassandra. She didn’t go on about how hot Tommy was. Their relationship was so healthy and realistic. The banter and dialogue between the characters was perfect and I normally don’t really notice those things but I did with Fortune and I think that really shows how well written this book is.
I’m so picky with New Adult books because the plots usually suck and the characters and relationships are so problematic. But Fortune, and Tia’s other two books, are perfect examples of the New Adult genre. They showcase everything that this genre is supposed to be about. Every NA author, every author who wants to create incredible characters, should look to Tia’s books as examples because she has done everything right with her characters. I don’t think it gets any better than Tia’s books.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
by J.K. Rowling

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

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Even though I was super excited about the Fantastic Beasts movie, I also was a bit hesitant. It’s not a secret that I loathed The Cursed Child and I had lost a bit of faith in the wizarding world.
However, Fantastic Beasts (both the movie and screenplay) reminded me of why I love J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world so much.

I was very excited to see the wizarding community in America and to see the differences between the two cultures. I loved being able to see the wizarding community in a way that we never got to see in the original 7 books. Harry never really got to experience the wizarding world in the 7 books and neither did the readers. I feel like we really got the chance to see the wizarding world in a new light in Fantastic Beasts.

The characters are so bomb. I loved how driven Tina is and how she didn’t let Newt sidetrack her from what she thought was the right thing to do. I really loved how her and Queenie worked together and had such a great relationship. They’re very different people but they really appreciate each other.
Newt is beyond words. He’s such a wonderful character (total cinnamon roll, y’all). He loves his creatures so much and will do anything for them, which I loved and related to as well.
Don’t even get me started on Credence Barebone. His story was so heart breaking and I’ve never wanted to hug a fictional character so much.

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Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

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There are very few books that I recommend to every single person, regardless of what genre they like to read or their taste in books. But Salt to the Sea is one of them. From the moment I read the first page, I knew that this book would stick with me for the rest of my life.
Salt to the Sea is incredible. The characters, the writing, the plot. Everything is unparalleled.
It’s shocking and honest. It’s eye opening and emotional.
This book is perfect in every way. I highly recommend it.

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Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

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I don’t know what else to say other than I loved it.
I honestly loved everything about this book. I was a little weirded out by the writing style at first but after I got used to it, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was different and fit the story really well.
I really liked the characters. They weren’t over the top or crazy original but they weren’t bland. They were normal but interesting.
I was very unsure about the love triangle (you know how much I loathe love triangles) but holy crap. I didn’t hate this one. I actually kind of liked it. I know, it’s shocking. But it actually adds to the story.
But the thing that I loved most about this book, the thing that makes this book one of my all time favorite books, is the concept. This is blurbed as a “A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice”. And let me tell you, that’s a perfect blurb. It’s confusing, I know, but trust me. It’s amazing. There’s mammoth hunts and saber tooth cats and it’s amazing.

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The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

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I seen The Bird and the Sword randomly on Amazon and the Kindle copy was less than $5 so I bought it not knowing what it was about or seeing any reviews. I went in completely blind and not really expecting much. But this book blew. Me. Away.
I loved it from the first page and I could barely put this book down. I read it in less than 24 hours and I wanted to reread it the second I finished it.
I loved everything about this book. The plot, the writing, the characters were all incredible. The characters were beautifully flawed and had some amazing and realistic development.
I’m rarely as emotionally invested in books as I was with The Bird and The Sword but I was basically shrieking the entire time I was reading this book.

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A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls 
by Jessica Spotswood

Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

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I loved A Tyranny of Petticoats! I really liked the diversity of the characters and I loved the writing styles of all the stories. I found all the stories to be compelling and interesting. I did think that pretty much all of the stories could have been full length novels and they would have been a bit better that way because a few of them were a little rushed and underdeveloped. But overall, I loved of the stories and I would definitely recommend.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

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There’s so much development and change in this book. This isn’t any normal sequel. This is the perfect example of what a sequel should be. Sarah is an absolutely incredible story teller and creates such a magical and epic world in this series with amazing characters and draws the reader deep into the book and never let’s go. This book changed everything that I felt from the first book in the best possible way. Sarah let’s the plot develop in an organic way and breaks the walls of every stereotype that surrounds the YA/NA genres. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.

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One thought on “Taylor’s Top 12 Books of 2016

  1. Leyanis M says:

    Everytime I see a post with The Bird and The Sword I fangirl a bit (cough/ a lot) the book is also one of my top of this year. Lark and Tiras are <3 otp 💕

    Like

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