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My Top Reads of 2016

I’m going to be completely honest here and let you all know I didn’t do a lot of “my choice” reading in 2016. I joined a few book clubs and delved into NetGalley, then started my own novel (hence the absence). However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t come across gems this last year. Here are my top 10.

10. The Stolen Throne – David Gaider 

I honestly love all things Dragon age. 

The thrilling prequel to Dragon Age: Origins, the hit role-playing video game from award-winning developer BioWare!

Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne

After his mother, the beloved Rebel Queen, is betrayed and murdered by her own faithless lords, young Maric becomes the leader of a rebel army attempting to free his nation from the control of a foreign tyrant.

His countrymen live in fear; his commanders consider him untested; and his only allies are Loghain, a brash young outlaw who saved his life, and Rowan, the beautiful warrior maiden promised to him since birth. Surrounded by spies and traitors, Maric must find a way to not only survive but achieve his ultimate destiny: Ferelden’s freedom and the return of his line to the stolen throne.

(Copied from Goodreads)

9. The Ritual – Adam Nevill

This one brought the creeps factor. 

Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives.

Lost, hungry and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, they stumble across an isolated old house. Inside, they find the macabre remains of old rites and pagan sacrifices; ancient artefacts and unidentifiable bones. A place of dark ritual and home to a bestial presence that is still present in the ancient forest, and now they’re the prey.

As the four friends struggle toward salvation they discover that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees…

8. The Demonists- Thomas E. Sniegoski 

I have loved his Fallen series for quite some time. This was just as good.

There is more to our world than meets the eye—darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Fogg and his wife, psychic medium Theodora Knight, know what lurks in the shadows. But even they’re not prepared for the worst Hell has to offer…
 
It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora’s thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.
 
John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora’s possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield—and without John and Theodora’s intervention, there is no chance for salvation..

7. The Neverland Wars – Audrey Greathouse

Any fairy-tale retelling will catch my attention and this was no exception!

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance. 

6. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard 

One of the best YA reads of the year!

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart. 

5. Grave Surprise – Charlaine Harris 

One of my favorite authors. I love this series! (Book two)

When I was fifteen, I was struck by a bolt of lightning through an open window of the trailer where we lived…I recovered, mostly. I have a strange spiderweb pattern of red on my torso and right leg, which has episodes of weakness. Sometimes my right hand shakes. I have headaches. I have many fears. And I can find dead people. That was the part that interested the professor…

At the request of anthropology professor Dr. Clyde Nunley, Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver come to Memphis to give a demonstration of Harper’s unique talent. And what better place to have that demonstration than in a very old cemetery?

Dr. Nunley doesn’t bother to hide his skepticism, especially when Harper stands atop a grave and senses two bodies beneath her – one of a centuries-dead man and the other of a young girl, recently deceased. When the grave is opened, Harper’s claim is proven true. The dead girl is Tabitha Morgenstern, an eleven-year-old abducted from Nashville two years previously – a child whom Harper had tried, and failed, to find. The coincidence raises suspicions about her among the police – so she and Tolliver undertake their own hunt to find the killer. They make a nocturnal visit to the cemetery, hoping that Harper can sense something further about the murder.

And then, the next morning, a third dead body is found in the grave…

4. The Novice – Trudi Canavan

Any fan of Harry Potter should pick these up immediately! (Book two)

“Even if a magician’s powers surface of their own accord, he will
soon be dead if he does not gain the knowledge of how to control
them.” Alone among all the novices in the Magicians’ Guild, only
Sonea comes from lowly beginnings. Yet she has won powerful
allies—including Lord Dannyl, newly promoted to Guild Ambassador. But
Dannyl must now depart for the Elyne court, leaving Sonea at the
mercy of the lies and malicious rumors her enemies are busy spreading
. .. until the High Lord Akkarin steps in. The price of Akkarin’s
support is dear, however, because Sonea, in turn, must protect his
mysteries—and a secret that could lead a young novice mage deep into
the darkness. Meanwhile, Dannyl’s first order to resume High Lord
Akkarin’s long-abandoned research into ancient magical knowledge is
setting him on an extraordinary journey fraught with unanticipated
peril—as he moves ever-closer to a future both wondrous . .. and
terrible.

3. The Last Days of Magic – Mark Tompkins

Truly magical!

An epic novel of magic and mysticism, Celts and faeries, mad kings and druids, and the goddess struggling to reign over magic’s last outpost on the Earth

What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

2. The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

Couldn’t put this one down!


In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One NightsThe Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.
1. The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

These books are so beautifully written. It is just something you must experience for yourself.


My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view — a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s Road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived…until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

 Thanks for reading!!

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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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5 Fantasy Series For Newbies

Or people who want to delve into the genre but don’t know where to start…

The fantasy genre can be a lot to take if you don’t know what to look for. There are the great epics, sci-fi, any number of different worlds and characters names you have no chance of pronouncing without the aid of an audiobook.

Don’t let this put you off to the genre. Most are a riveting escape from reality. They can grip you and suck you into a crazy, exciting and sometimes infuriating world.

But first let’s address the issue most have with fantasy. There are some long winded authors out there and I will be the first to admit that I never wanted to read the nearly 1,000 page epics until I had already dipped my toe into the world of fantasy. Not all are just wordy, some have epic world building to do and they paint a picture on every page. Some have much to say and character development that you wouldn’t belive. These books are epic for a reason.

Now, the reason you started reading this post…

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1. The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

This series is a fantastic introduction into the fantasy genre simply because it is not too long. The individual books can be read over the span of just a few days. There is also great world building in this novel and characters you can’t help but feel for. This will also introduce you to one of the best authors in the genre. It will help you decide if you really want to pick up his more epic works. (Recently he has added to this trilogy and there are two other books.)

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2. The Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks

Essentially, it would be fair for me to just say… see above, but I won’t. I will give this series more credit than that because I absolutely loved it! This series is a little darker than the Mistborn Series but it is well worth the read. Also, the two worlds are very different. Sometimes with fantasy, worlds will run together or overlap. There is no chance of that with this or Mistborn.

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3. The Kingkiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss

While epic in its own right, The Name of the Wind is 660 pages (in its original hardback), this series is worth picking up. The reason I am suggesting such a long novel as an introduction to fantasy is its lyrical, insanely well written prose. The descriptions and phrasing in this series will keep you mesmerized from beginning to end.

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4. The Black Magician Trilogy – Trudi Canavan

If you loved the environment of Harry Potter and are looking for a bit more grown up version, here it is! The outcast child ends up with epic powers and surpasses all expectations held for her.

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5. Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Good kind

I realize this series is ridiculously long but the first book is worth the read. Even if it takes you a while to get to the second novel it picks up right where this leaves off. The rich world building and character development in this novel was what made me fall in love with the genre.

I know some of these books still seem a bit daunting, but trust me, if you start with these there will be no going back.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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