Best Books of 2016

It’s time for my favorite post of the year! I always love rounding up my personal “Best Books of the Year” list.

Narrowing my favorite books down to this list was a struggle this year. I read 52 books, and there were three or four that almost made the list, but in the end, I had to pick the ones I enjoyed the most.

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Each title is linked to my review (or the Goodreads page):

Interested in my ‘best of’ lists from years past? Take a look: 2013 | 2014 | 2015

What were your favorite books of 2016? Share below or link me to your post!

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Monthly Favorites: December

mll blog

Welcome to my monthly wrap up! This is where I share my favorite things from around the web, including author news and favorite blog posts from my friends. This may vary between a few items some months and several things that deserve highlighting other months, depending on what’s caught my eye. Enjoy!

*It’s almost time to post my favorite books of 2016, so this post is going up a bit early! Short and sweet!*

# books read: 5
# books acquired: 4
# books added to TBR: 6

Hannah from So Obsessed With celebrated her 5 year anniversary with all kinds of content on her favorites throughout the years. Our reading tastes don’t overlap much, but I just love her content.

Lori Benton’s next book is coming out in September of 2017. SEPTEMBER?!?! And while it feels so very far away, she recently revealed her book’s title.

Annie F Downs is a non-fiction writer and I love her. She writes blog post that are so real and down to earth. Everything she writes seems to resonate with me, and I really loved this post about calling and Moana.

That’s it! What are your December favorites?

P. S. Today marks my 4-year blogging anniversary. Thank you to all the authors, publishers, bloggers, and friends who have made being part of this community such a joy.

Review: Unblemished by Sara Ella

Unblemished by Sara Ella
Unblemished, Book 1
Thomas Nelson, 2016

I have been really interested in this debut young adult novel since I found out about it months ago. It’s written by Sara Ella, who is a YouTuber. And as someone who is involved in the book-reviewing blogger/vlogger world, it is exciting to see the success of one of my peers.

My hesitation with this book is that it falls under the fantasy/young adult genre, both of which I do not typically read. So my feelings on this book are complex, much like the story that unfolds within its pages.

This book definitely caught my attention as Eliyana grieves the loss of her mother at the opening and is thereafter swept up into a world she never knew existed. What does it all mean for her? I found myself thinking about this book and eager to find time to sit and read the next few chapters.

Here’s the thing: world building in fantasy novels is an enigma to me. It is interesting and creative and so many details have to come together to make sense of this new reality. But it’s also this incredibly difficult thing for me to wrap my mind around. Even now, I’m pretty sure I’m still confused on how the world works in this ‘Reflection’. But I’m trying to figure it out, guys, because I really want to understand how and why things happened the way they did within the context of this world.

We have to talk about the romance. I was fascinated by the love triangle and the dynamics within those relationships. Specifically, I was intrigued by how the world building plays into the triangle and what the consequences of certain actions were. It created an extra complexity to the world and how relationships are bound by actions. I’m really interested in seeing how this will develop in the next book.

Overall, I found the descriptions in this book many times bordered on too flowery. And the one word sentences to describe noises were odd. For example: Click. Bang. Boom. It threw me out of the story. Other than that, the first three acts were interesting. Elyiana learns fragmented pieces of her new reality, which allows the reader to be confused and try to make sense of everything alongside the main character.

Then Act IV arrived, and everything starts to make sense, and it becomes a more cohesive story. So many things were coming together and I was eager to find out how the resolution would come about, how it could possibly end well. I was completely sucked into the story by Act IV, the build up from the previous three acts finally coming to fruition.

I’ve already shelved book two on my Goodreads TBR. I’ve even subscribed to Sara Ella’s newsletter and YouTube channel. So, I guess you could say I’m invested. I’m really looking forward to Sara Ella’s next book and watching her grow as an author.

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Review: A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck
Royal Wedding, Book 4 (Novella)
Zondervan, 2016

From the moment Avery and Colin met in Once Upon A Prince, I wanted more of their story. A couple of years later, and I was delighted to learn we would finally be getting it. Add in the Christmas season, and you get a delightful novella filled with Brighton tradition and renewed love.

Avery and Colin broke up five years ago. They were too young and lived too far apart to make things work. But five years later, neither of them has truly moved on, and who’s to say they were supposed to? This is a love story of second chances and risking your heart… again.

The story revolves around the Harvest Celebration tradition in Brighton, where a man rings the chapel bell at midnight, thereby declaring his love for the woman he intends to marry- on Christmas Day. And let’s just say, I LIKED IT. There is more to the tradition, but suffice it to say, it’s swoon-worthy.

A favorite scene in the novella was when Avery threw a cupcake at Colin (for charity, of course). Inevitably, a crowd formed, and everyone got in line for the chance to throw a cupcake at him. And that’s how you end up with a frosting-covered prince.

Anyone who loved the series will enjoy revisiting Brighton and these characters in this new addition to The Royal Wedding Series from Rachel Hauck. I felt like I had stepped back into a familiar setting, which perfectly blends down-to-earth goodness with a twist of the magical.

Who doesn’t like a story that ends in happily ever after?

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Interested in the series? Check out my reviews for all three books:

Once Upon a Prince | Princess Ever After | How to Catch a Prince