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Monday, December 19, 2016

Our Favorite Books of 2016

Posted by Staff

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva (Amanda E.) 
I devoured this book. The concept is interesting enough but I think for me the main character made it amazing. Zoo, Mae, Sam... She's a fully defined flawed human woman. I really bought into this character. Her experiences and reflections read as very authentic. The writing is good enough for that "I forget I'm reading and just drop into the story effect" which is all I'm really looking for. There were a few times that the elegance of an idea brought me out of it and made me re-read and mull over what I had just read.   

A Murder in Time: A Novel (Kendra Donovan Mysteries) by Julie McLwain (Susan C.) 
Say “time travel” and I am immediately hooked. My only problem with this book is that I read it in record time. Luckily, there is a sequel coming out soon.
After a disastrous raid goes wrong, FBI Special Agent Kendra Donovan suddenly finds herself in an English castle. Unbelievable as that is in itself, the year is 1815, 200 years in the future. As she tries to make sense of her situation, the body of a young girl is found on the estate and her investigative skills kick in.
The sequel, “A Twist in Time: A Novel” is scheduled for release on April 4, 2017. 

A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Mary B.) 
This is a book about a curmudgeon old man who meets his two new young neighbors and is about the relationship that develops between them. It's sad, funny, and heartwarming all at the same time. A good read that will make you laugh out loud in places! 

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden (Tirzah D.) 
This book started out a little slow for me, but once it picked up I was hooked and now it is one of my top favorite five books I read this year. It's "scary and funny" as Eoin Colfer (author of Artemis Fowl) says and of course, one should take the words of Colfer seriously. You care about the characters and feel their emotions. It ends with readers wanting to know more, so it is a good thing a sequel is coming 2017! It is full of adventure and magic similar to Lockwood & Co. and Skullduggery Pleasant. 

Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Katherine R.) 
Snow Child is beautiful story loosely based on a Russian folk tale. It is set in rural Alaska in the 1920s and is about a couple's deep desire to have a child. I adore books that are based on folk tales and fairy tales and this one was no exception.  The writing is amazing and the descriptions are so vivid you'll feel like you are in Alaska.

Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Sam O.) 
I loved this book because it had a good combination of world building, action & adventure, and just a hint of romance without it being the main focus, which I prefer to romantic novels. The main character(Celaena) is an assassin who gets put in a competition to be the king's champion, and throughout the different tests she shows what she lacks in size and stature against the big, burly men, she makes up for in speed, agility, and overall skill. Most of all it made me excited for the next book in the series. 

Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay (Joyce D.) 
It was a favorite because it portrayed a family in the 1920s going through a period of turmoil and change. It shows how our lives can easily be changed by one event and we cannot go back to what we were. 

Redshirts by John Scalzi (Megan J.)
I would not have expected a sci-fi book that pokes fun at the death rate of certain Star Trek crew members to be my favorite read of the year, but this story was not only funny and entertaining, but also thoughtful and philosophical. The story is perfect for sci-fi fans, chockfull of references and winks to readers who are familiar with the Star Trek series, although not two complicated for us casual fans to understand. Mixed in with the sci-fi fun is a story that asks a lot of deep questions about the power of storytellers and the role that fate plays in our lives. Definitely one of the most interesting, but also simply enjoyable reads of my 2016! 

Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (Stephanie M.)
I love how the book read, the character development and the underlying theme of the book. I found it to be a great read. 

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (Kelcey H.)
"Lynn and her mother live in a house by a pond where their entire existence is to defend it. Water is scarce in the world and the more you have access to water, the more people will take it by force. Lynn grew up defending their little pond and thinks nothing of it until some strangers change her viewpoint".
I loved this book because it is not your typical post-apocalyptic story. The main character is not trying to be a hero and it feels so realistic its scary. Growing up in the mid-west, I could really relate and see this being a harsh reality for us. 

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (coming 2/14/17) (Jill S.)
I have never read anything like this before, and I loved it!
The entire story takes place the night that Abraham Lincoln's son Willie is laid to rest. The narrators are some very entertaining ghosts (sounds odd but it works so well) and the story is supplemented with relevant & interesting historical snippets. The format is so creative that I'd have to say it is truly a work of art.
I was hesitant to read this at first, because a book about the loss of a child sounds sad and soul crushing. This book, however, is about hope & possibility and how the choices we make shape our lives.
It is an understatement to say that it is beautifully written & moving. I don't want to spoil any of the passages for you by including them here, and my humble thoughts can't do the book justice. You need to experience it for yourself!

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