best-books 2016 bigThe very best of the very best…

QB’s Top 10 Books of 2016!


Oh, 2016.  What a fickle wench you were in so many ways, but when it came to books… you were beautiful, bright, dark, romantic, suspenseful and insightful.  In fact, 2016 gave us some of the best books I have read in years – it was just that good.  But I would be remiss to enter the new year without sharing with you a compiled list of the very best the publishing world offered us. This year’s list blends various genres, authors and settings.  There are clean reads and some seriously steamy couplings.

Get excited.  NO, seriously. GET EXCITED.  Your TBR is about to grow!! 😉

So without further adieu, my Top 10 for you:

image110. One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

This YA contemporary romance caught me out of left field and left me with such a pleasant feeling.  I read it just after returning from Paris, and I was so impressed with the attention to detail of the author. As an adult woman, I loved this clean read, but I also loved it wasn’t awkward to share with my teen girls – even preteen girls would like this. The story arc was sweet, and the book stayed with me, even months later.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00100]9. Bad Judgment by Meghan March

Oh my goodness, Ms. March. You impressed the heck out of the QB with this read!  I mean, you look at the cover and you think, “welp, this is skin fiction,” because the guy on the cover is hot. But then you read the story, and you realize the depth the author goes into with development. It’s clear she was a lawyer in her past because her inferences to classes and the system don’t sound choppy or inserted.  She knows how to bring the reader along for the ride, and WOW on that twist!  Great read!

LoveChloe_FrontCover8. Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre

I could not let this list go without including the most innovative and beautiful layout I saw in all of 2016. Love, Chloe seamlessly blends the storyline with the Instagram images of the main character. This ingenious design gives background, tone and setting without the author ever typing a word. We buy into the main character’s plight, but the baseline of the IG images carries the reader through as Chloe’s life ebbs and flows.  Make sure to check it out.

pretty things7. Oh, You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin

In my daily life, I work in public relations, and in the past I have worked with entertainment clients.  It sucks. I know it sounds glamorous and fun, and in truth, there are moments of that.  But if you want the reality, Mahin pulls back the curtain on the industry in painful detail and you understand the not-so-great elements of this all-consuming existence.  I would call this contemporary fiction but it’s so realistic, I would be remiss to label it that way. Just plain great.

house by lake6. House by the Lake by Ella Carey

This is the second book in the Paris Time Capsule series, though it can be read alone as historical fiction.  I am absolutely in love with this series, which now also has a third book. I chose to include this one solely on the cover art (doesn’t she look like Kat Dennings?) though all the covers are also beautiful. This series gives a fictional background to the very real Paris apartment found in 2010 untouched since World War II.  The blend of history, romance and truly interesting flashbacks have carried me from one book to the next. This is a definite TBR for anyone who remotely enjoys contemporary and/or history.

Take a stretch… we’ve reached the TOP FIVE!
Ready?  Ok… proceed:
The Staff and the Blade5. The Staff and the Blade by Elizabeth Hunter

I am still broken after this book.  Though this is a prequel to Hunter’s much-acclaimed Irin Chronicles series, this was one of the most emotionally-intense books I have read in a very long time.  One section, in particular, remains with me even today.  If you have not done so, the Scribe series is wonderful.  But don’t start with this story; it will break you and you won’t entirely understand why.  You need the whole story. You need to love the people, their history, their culture, their strength.  And then you will cry with them, or raise your voice in the song of the Irina.

Copy of A Stone Kissed Sea - Ebook4. A Stone-Kissed Sea by Elizabeth Hunter

Elizabeth Hunter is QB’s only repeat author appearing, for two differen
t series.  Last year, we honored The Scarlet Deep, of the Elemental World series. While Patrick and Anne are my favorite Elemental couple, Lucien and Makeda definitely gave them a run for their money.  This series continues to impress me with the rich layers of detail, emotion and suspence. Frankly with this many books, I cannot believe I am still hooked, but I love EH’s books so much I am part of her facebook fan group.   In Stone-Kissed Sea,  EH concludes one major story arc, while weaving a nod to her new series into it.  I found the conclusion satisfying, but am so thrilled I don’t yet have to leave this world. Elizabeth Hunter is my #1 most-suggested author, and I suggest her to you… now. Note: This was also one of Melinda’s pics for Top Book of the Year!

3. The Siren by Kiera Casssiren

I need to start by apologizing for not reviewing this book on the site. I really should have done it but I read it during a particularly busy time and it never made it.  This was such an amazingly refreshing book.  Cass rereleased this book (which she originally self-pubbed in 2009) after giving it a polish and a new cover.  The story follows a reluctant siren and her friends in the modern world as they try and cope with the moral implications of taking lives for the Sea. Cass delivers a five-star romance with a completely unique take on a fantasy re-imagining.  This is a YA clean read and is a complete contrast to one of my least loved books this year, The Heir, also by Cass.  It’s amazing one woman can write two such different offerings, but I highly recommend this standalone book and will definitely keep buying her work if she delivers more of this!

iewu2. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

All. The. Feels.  Wow.  I don’t even know if, months later, I can talk about this book with any modicum of clarity. One of the most gut-wrenching books I have ever read, this contemporary fiction novel is wrought with triggers for those ill-affected by physical or sexual violence.  But it’s such an incredible read, you will finish it, and then sit.  You may remain like that for a few days; I did.  It’s hard to put into words the way Hoover pulls the reader into the story, but you will feel so much.  You will cry.  You will be left hollow.  And somehow, you will love this book because it did just what only an inspired author can: break you and build you up in one place.  There was so much hype and secrecy around this release, and when that happens you never know what you’re going to get.  In this case…Pure perfection.

And the BEST Book of the Year, according to QUEEN BEE?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

a_court_of_mist_and_fury_-_uk_coverWhen I compiled this list, I agonized over the other nine books, but there was never a question to me about what was the absolute best book I read in the last 12 months.  A Court of Mist and Fury, the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) series by Sarah J. Maas, is not just one of the best books of the year but easily of this century.  Though I admittedly enjoy her Throne of Glass series (an honorable mention), this sequel even exceeds its predecessor in awesomeness.

In the first book, we meet and get to know Feyre and her love interest (Tamlin), as well as the loathesome Rhysand. By the end of THIS book, you will never want another book boyfriend than that very same miscreant.  Rhysand is the most complex and romantic character I have ever had the pleasure to read, and that fact is especially pronounced due to the complete 180 degree shift you will have in feelings for him from the first book.

Feyre, too, becomes a stronger and more sympathetic heroine.  We fall in love with Rhys’ friends and people, the lands north of the wall and the many courts that make up this incredible High Fantasy world.  By contrast, the Spring Court and Tamlin will change for you.  I was impressed with Maas’ ability to express the emotions and battle of those with PTSD.

Start this series today.  When you get to this book, take the time to appreciate just how epic this world, story and love affair really is…and then back off Rhysand – he’s mine.

Some of the amazing Bees of LitBuzz also weighed in with their favorites so add THESE to your TBR, too:




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