My Top 10 Books of the First Half of 2016

I can’t believe we’re already into the second half of 2016! Once again, this is a year in books that will call for two “best of” posts.

Below is my list of the top 10 books I’ve read so far in 2016 that were published in 2016, in rank order:

 

10. The Dutch Girl by Donna Thorland

This novel, set during the American Revolution, really hit the spot after having listen to Hamilton approximately six million times. Additionally, it is set in the Hudson River Valley, and so I read most of the book while on a trip there. I love when I can synchronize my reading and travelling so perfectly!

9. The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The conclusion to the saga that Ahdieh began with The Wrath & the Dawn is just as epic, gorgeous, and cinematic as the first book. Someone make movies out of these books, stat!

8. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

This historical fantasy novel about a duel between two rival enchanters in Imperial Russia hits all of my sweet spots: vivid period detail, romance, lush descriptions, well-rounded characters, and romance. Can’t wait for the second book, which will be out next year.

7. Mrs. Houdini by Victoria Kelly

This historical novel from the point of view of Harry Houdini’s wife Bess is wonderfully researched and brings the period – and the life of one its most notable figures – to brilliant life. The novel also provides a space to meditate on the meaning of magic, and on the fine line between illusion and reality.

6. A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock

This novel about art, artists, and art forgery among the elite and wealthy of 1920s New York City is an absolutely delicious read that you will just sink into. I read this via audiobook, which I highly recommend, as the narrator is just fabulous.

5. I’ll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable

I was a big fan of Gable’s first novel, A Paris Apartment, and so was very much looking forward to this book. I was not disappointed! A big, sprawling novel with storylines in different time periods, long-buried secrets, and one very outrageous duchess make for a read you won’t be able to put down.

4. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Any fan of the smash hit musical Hamilton will surely love reading the “Hamiltome”, and I was no exception. I tore through the massive book, loving the wonderful and epic story of how the musical was conceived, written, and developed before finally making its way to Broadway. Miranda’s annotations on the lyrics to each song in the show are by turns enlightening, fascinating, and humorous. The gorgeous pictures from the show and backstage are an absolute treat as well.

3. Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

This dark yet also funny YA novel is a rollercoaster ride that will have you frantically turning pages until you reach the end. Teenage Lennie’s uncles make moonshine, and before drinking they always make a wish and toast with the words, “May all your wishes come true – or at least just this one”. When Lennie steals some of their shine to take to a high school party, she has no idea that the toast actually does grant wishes. As you can probably imagine, chaos reigns as everyone’s drunken wishes come true. The ultimate tale of “be careful what you wish for”, this book is an original and well-crafted page turner that should not be missed.

2. And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer

This novel, about a woman who discovers a previously unknown Bach cantata with strong anti-Semitic content, is a powerful meditation on the role of music and art in our lives and on the far-reaching repercussions and legacy of prejudice and hate. With two storylines – one set in the present and one tracing the cantata as it moves through various hands over history – this novel poses difficult questions while at the same time still being a riveting read that will keep you turning the pages. This book has made it onto my all-time favorites list.

1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

The second installment in Maas’s fae series, the novel expands on the worldbuilding of the first book in excellent fashion and presents new challenges for heroine Feyre. This book took many turns I did not expect, and I absolutely could not put it down. The new cast of characters is just wonderful and makes the pages fly by, while Game of Thrones level action keeps your eyes glued to the page. I read this book over a month ago now, and I still have a lingering book hangover from it.

 

Honorable mentions:

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell

The BFF Bucket List by Dee Romito

 

Non-2016 books that I loved:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Dressed for Death by Donna Leon

The Woman at the Light by Johanna Brady

The Ludwig Conspiracy by Oliver Potzsch

 

Also, I have to mention these two novels that I was fortunate enough to read early and which will both be out later this year:

Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally (11/29/16)

The Order of the Eternal Sun by Jessica Leake (8/9/2016)

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