Monthly Wrap Up: December & Best of 2016

Happy New Year!

2016 was a pretty turbulent one for a lot of people, myself included. It was also a landmark year for me in more than one way, but one of the biggest things is that this is the end of my first year of blogging!

I’ve only dipped my toes so far, scratching the surface here at Sea Reads, but I’ve done a little more at my nature blog, Sea Writes. Even though I haven’t accomplished that much yet, I am super psyched to make something of both in 2017.

December Reads

Between work, moving into a new apartment, getting my first pet of my own, and family time (jeez, was December really that busy for me??), I didn’t get a crazy amount read. I did knock out three books, though.

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I read my first Sarah Dessen book when I was a freshman in high school. She won my heart, and she’s a summer staple. She’s from my state. She taught creative writing at my college (but retired from teaching to be with her kids more before I started there; woe is me). She holds a special place in my heart.

The Moon and More was sooo not her best work, though. It was fine. Compared to a lot of other authors’ work, it was pretty good. But by the Sarah Dessen standard, it was mediocre and forgettable. I moved on to more serious fare in…

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…but you can read all about this stunner of a debut in my review.

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I wrapped up with Summerlost, by Ally Condie, the author of the Matched series and Atlantia. This was a cute middle grade book; look for a review in the near future!

Best of 2016

The past year was insanely busy for me, so it was not my biggest reading year ever. It was one of my biggest book years since I started college, though, and my big splash back into making time for pleasure reading. Though my reads were not that numerous, some of them were awesome, so while I ring in the new year, here were the five best books/series I read in 2016, in alphabetical order:

Grave Mercy (& His Fair Assassin)

The His Fair Assassin series took me by complete surprise. Despite my doubts, I let Grave Mercy pull me in with that gorgeous cover, and I am so glad I did. This series is just plain fun, with strong, awesome female assassins and an engaging fantasy twist on the time period. I devoured all three in short order during a summer vacation. The loving detail given to the history and politics of medieval Brittany and France takes this book over the edge from ‘like’ to ‘love’.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds

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A creepy, compelling historical fiction, In the Shadow of Blackbirds had me totally hooked. In the shadow of the Spanish flu and World War I, awesome heroine Mary Shelley must overcome the death of her first sweetheart and the possible reality of ghosts to discover the truth of the unsettling events in her life. Best book that came at me out of nowhere; I would totally recommend!

Outlander

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This series has been featured on prime shelves in bookstores as long as I’ve been going to them. With the current hype regarding the series and the T.V. show, I gave it a shot. The historical setting gives this book a lot of oomph. It’s a sweet, fun romance and adventurous romp through the Scottish Highlands that defied and exceeded my expectations. The second book is for sure on my 2017 TBR list.

The Raven King

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Just like with Sarah Dessen, I read my first Maggie Stiefvater book my first year of high school, and oh!, was I sold. Maggie has been  my #1 favorite author ever since. The Raven Boys absolutely captivated me when it came out. It stole my soul. The journey of the Raven Cycle has been a huge one for me. After convincing my best friend to be as obsessed with it as I was, she and I buddy read it chapter-by-chapter in her room all night long until we were done, sobbing. This book was not nearly all it could have been, or all I wanted it to be, but I love it anyway because I needed to, much like Blue, Gansey, and the rest of the crew needed to believe in their quest for Glendower. A fantastical, vibrant end to one of the most imaginative and memorable YA series in recent memory.

Rooms

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This contemporary standalone was much more adult than the usual fare from Lauren Oliver. Rooms is far from an uplifting read, but it’s a unique concept and a great spin on the ghosts haunting every life. My favorite part of the book is the way Oliver completely surprised me with more than one gut-wrenching twist. By the end, she wraps generations worth of stories, heartaches, and regrets into one another beautifully, giving you hope for the futures of even the most seemingly lost people.

What’s Up Next?

My Kindle is loaded with ebooks from my local library, and my shelves are stocked with oldies that I still haven’t cracked open. I still haven’t decided on my next read. Some top contenders include way-hyped books I still haven’t gotten around to, like An Ember in the Ashes, The Young Elites, and The Fault in Our Stars; book club staples like H is for Hawk; and new-to-me recommendations like Bone Gap and Open Road Summer. So many books, so many genres, so little time.

What are some of the top reads you’re looking forward to for 2017? Which books graced your top of 2016 list? Drop me a comment, I’d love to know!

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2 thoughts on “Monthly Wrap Up: December & Best of 2016

  1. Love The Raven series. I know what you mean by it stealing your soul. It did mine also, though I was somewhat disappointed with the series ending. I like how she rounded up all the loose ends, but it felt rather sudden. Oh well, I’m still in love with Gansey.

    Liked by 1 person

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