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The Obsessive Bookseller’s Top Ten Books of 2016!

I love looking back at the end of the year and picking out a handful of books that really rocked my world. I read almost sixty books this year, and there were so many good ones that it was hard to narrow it down to just ten. Without further ado, I give you:

The Obsessive Bookseller’s Top Ten Books of 2016:


Shadows for Silence by Brandon Sanderson

Book Info: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: Brandon Sanderson is one of my top authors for his epic world building, amazing characters, and great writing. I’ve read (and loved) almost everything he has published and Shadows for Silence was just as good. I loved it because it had a perfect mix of characterization, setting, story, pacing, action, and resolution, all wrapped up into one neat little package. It felt like a snippet out of a fully developed novel, but was self-contained enough to stand completely on its own. I highly recommend it to Sanderson fans, and lovers of the genre in general. [Read Full Review]


Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Book Info: Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Genre: Science Fiction [adult]

Reason for Recommending:  As the conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy, Morning Star was my favorite of the series. Not only did all the moving parts converge for one epic finish, but it also provided more depth of character and had its fair share of heart-wrenching moments. This series is one of the most unique I’ve ever read, even though it’s comprised of many elements I loved from other top series. A next-generation continuation of the series (Iron Gold) is coming out August 2017, which is really exciting! [Read Full Review]


The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Book Info: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: This series is an experience, and one of the most unique I’ve ever read. The world building is ridiculously creative and the characters are nothing if not atypical. The real brilliance lies in the writing, though. Jemisin weaves her story through three different perspectives, the most compelling of which is told in second person (which utilizes the “you” pronoun – “You walk to the edge of the cliff. You don’t much like heights.”) Which is a writing style you don’t see very often because it’s difficult to pull off. This is one of those books I’ll reread. [Read Full Review]


Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Book Info: Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for RecommendingIt has been a while since I’ve read a new fantasy that I liked as much as Blood Song. Even though the last two books in the trilogy take on a different direction, I still am really glad I read this series. The first one is easily the best of the three. It’s a compelling coming-of-age story that reminded me of the school setting and camaraderie of Harry Potter while being told with the same atmosphere and grit that made Game of Thrones so good. That might be overselling it a bit, but if you like fantasy, Blood Song is a must for your list! [Read Full Review]


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Book Info: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: Uprooted was a fun story about a girl apprenticed (against her will) to the stuffy local wizard. The two main characters had an awesome dynamic and really made the book special. This is the first book I’ve read by Naomi Novik, and I can tell you I liked it so much that it definitely won’t be the last. This stand-alone novel was incredibly well written. [Read Full Review]


Elite by Mercedes Lackey

Book Info: Elite by Mercedes Lackey

Genre: Teen Post-Apocalyptic

Reason for Recommending: I love it when high fantasy authors take on young adult literature. Elite is the second book in Mercedes Lackey’s Hunter series and it shaping up to be one of the best YA’s I’ve read yet. The first book takes a couple of chapters to get going, but after that it boasts smart characters, excellent pacing, and lots of action. This is definitely a great series to pick up if you’re still suffering from a Hunger Games hangover. [Read Full Review]


The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book Info: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Genre: Teen Fiction

Reason for Recommending: Imagine if ABC’s Scandal was re-envisioned as a young adult series, and you’d have The Fixer. It has a ton of political intrigue, interesting (if a little over the top) characters, and great writing. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is responsible for my all-time favorite series (The Naturals, which I think is absolute perfection), and The Fixer is just as good. It takes a few chapters to get going, but once it does, it doesn’t let up! [Read Full Review]


The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Book Info: Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: Yet another Sanderson to make my list. Bands of Mourning is book six in the Mistborn saga, three in the four book Wax and Wayne series. It brought ties from the first trilogy into play and was packed with lots of humor, adventure, and excitement. I know it’s going to be a while before the author has a chance to finish off this branch of the saga, but I can’t wait to see what he has in store next. [Read Full Review


No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron

Book Info: No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Reason for Recommending:  I love this series because it is truly a hybrid of genres – it reads like an urban fantasy, but the inclusion of dragons gives it a very low fantasy story line. And the characters and overall presentation is so fun and accessible that it could also fit in the YA genre. No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished is the third book in the series and my favorite so far because of how deeply it dives into some of the most interesting characters. I loved every moment and highly recommend this author as often as I can. [Read Full Review]


Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Book Info: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: This is a recent read for me, as I just finished it a couple of days ago. It’s a book three in the Kate Daniels series and I have to admit that I thought book one was fairly average and didn’t have a lot of positive things to say about it. Fortunately, my Goodreads friends urged me to keep reading and I am oh, so glad I did. It is shaping up to be one of my favorite urban fantasies – it’s fun, creative, and so funny on occasion that I actually laugh out loud. If Harry Dresden had a female counterpart, I feel like Kate Daniels would be it. I’m very new to this series, but things are looking good… [Review to Come]


There you have it – my best books of 2016! Did any of my titles make your top ten list?

by Niki Hawkes

37 comments on “The Obsessive Bookseller’s Top Ten Books of 2016!

  1. I have read three of the books on your list, and I loved them all. So of course, with my bookshop vouchers in mind, I went to look up every single of the other books up on goodreads. Just added at least four of them to my tbr list! Thanks for the recs c:

    Fleur @ FranklyBooks just posted THE STORY BEHIND MY EMAIL & BOOK EXTRACT

    • Yes!!! I loved it. So many gut-wrenching moments. I can’t remember the last finale I liked more. If you need me, I’ll be hounding the internet for an early copy of iron gold for the next few months haha.

  2. Since you only read books you love, any books that make your top ten must be pretty fantastic! I just bought Arcanum Unbounded with a Christmas giftcard and I’m very excited to see that it contains Shadows for Silence…Great 2016 list! :)

    • Ooooh!! I SO look forward to hearing what you think of it. It’s definitely one of my favs from him and that’s saying something haha. This year was indeed fantastic. I found at least two new all-time favorites, and that list is only about 20 books long. :)

  3. I loved Blood Song, I felt like I was in the hands of the new David Gemmell (my writing hero) whilst I read it. I still have to finish the trilogy in 2017 and I can’t wait.
    Uprooted is my book groups choice for January, I’m glad to hear they’ve made a good choie.

    • I loved Blood Song too! Such a good story. The second two books are very different from the first because the author got picked up by a publishing house at that point, but I still really liked them. I haven’t read David Gemmell yet!! #ultimateshame he’s on my list to pick up soon though. Any thoughts where I should start? And uprooted is an awesome book club book! Mine is coincidentally reading it now too and having a blast! :)

    • Hmmm… I would say about 2-3 hours. I’d already done similar posts where I’d figured out formatting preferences, and THOSE took me 5+ easily, but now I have it down to a science. Writing the blurbs takes the longest. These posts are generally a pain in the butt and I might not have committed the time, but it was requested by the newspaper I review for (www.suindependent.com). The initial pictures with italics is a thumbnail gallery set 5 across with the title info written in the image’ description boxes. THAT only took about 30 seconds because I already had all of the images. :)

      • Thanks! I always like to know HOW things are done that I see people doing with their posts even if I have no intention of ever doing it.
        And time frames give me a good idea if it is something I want to attempt at some future date.

        So you write for a paper? Guess I’d better go read your “About me” section…

      • Haha – I should probably update my about me section with that tidbit.
        I like to know the “hows” too, but never thought to actually ask haha. I’ve been tweaking my site for like 4 years, and I think I finally have it exactly how I want it. Feel free to “borrow” any formatting/post ideas you like. Sometimes I wonder if the juice is worth the squeeze with those longer posts, though. I spent a whole day on a few that are upcoming, but I doubt they’ll get much traffic. Amusing myself seems to be a good goal to stick with, lol.

      • Yep, write for yourself and if it amuses some other people, so much the better. I don’t know how you are as a person, but for me I have a certain number of words that I just HAVE to write each day an since I’m not delusional and thinking I’ll write the Great American Novel, I settle for reviews and blog posts.

        Thank you for the permissions. And as a word of encouragement, I certainly enjoy your posts even if all I do is “like” them.

      • Exactly!! I wish I was working on a novel more lately, but this blog has turned into a passion of its own and diverting a lot of time away. I’m definitely hoping to shift a little focus back in 2017. And I have no such delusions either, haha. That means we are already ahead of the publishing game with expectations, right? :)
        Thank you!! I could always use those. Likewise about your blog!

  4. I agree with you about three on your list, so I’d probably like the others too! Glad you kept reading Kate Daniels, that series gets better with every book. I loved the third Good Dragon book and both Broken Earth books by Jemisin.

    • Yay!! It sounds like we have similar tastes. I’d definitely stand behind all the books on this list, some of which made my long-standing top 20 list. And I am so so so glad I kept reading Kate Daniels – I’m now loving every moment. :)

  5. I have read two books on this list but THEY ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITES of last year!!! (Elite and The Fixer 😍😍 – Thr Naturals is such an amazing series too!). I’m going to have to try some of your other suggestions! (I’ve been reading tons of YA and not much adult books lately. 😭)

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