TTT: Top Ten Favourite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books on Top Ten Favourite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

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Built by Jay Crownover 

“I choose you, Sayer. Lover, lawyer, and all the shit you are in between that, I choose it. I choose us. When you’re ready to accept that, you come find me.”

I had been waiting for Zeb and Sayer’s story since we were introduced to them in Rowdy and it did not disappoint. Ahh, Zeb! ❤ Who knew I had a thing for construction workers…or shall I say a specific construction worker. 😉 I had a lot of expectations and they were well met.

Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid
“If they don’t learn about launching rockets at home, then they’ll just learn about it on the streets.” I glowered at him. “That sounds like something Hitler would say.”

I have been obsessed with Greg and Fiona’s story ever since I read Ninja at First Sight. Greg wooed me with his debates, one-liners, banter with Fiona, and the way he appreciated her just the way she is. I knew then that these two would be something special. Happily Ever Ninja did not disappoint, it definitely wasn’t something I’m used to reading but I devoured it nonetheless. Penny Reid takes an unusual turn and makes ordinary married life into something extraordinary yet relatable. (Well not so much for me, but I could get the gist that married couples go through what they did in their everyday lives.) Despite being married for 14 years their love for one another had not diminished one bit, they were smitten with one another as they were when they first met.

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapta

“What if everyone hates me and no one talks to me? What if someone throws something at me?” Aiden snorted, setting the shirt he’d been holding aside and picking up the next one on the pile. “What are they going to throw? Bookmarks?”

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me is one of them books I didn’t know I needed. A friend recommended a few months back and because our tastes coincide I decided to give it a chance. And, boy am I glad I did. I loved every single second of it, I devoured it in a single sitting. I could not get enough of it. I re-read it a few days back because that’s how much I love it.

Cuff Me by Lauren Layne

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She was supposed to have come back from Florida feeling like he had that day he impatiently counted the hours until he saw her at the welcome-home party. She was supposed to feel what he was feeling. If he only knew what that was.

I had been waiting for Vin and Jill’s book since Frisk Me. I love the ‘will they, won’t they’ trope and Lauren Layne executed it incredibly. I am a sucker for subtle romance and this is an epitome of subtly. It was the little things they did for each other and how in tune they are with each other that had me swooning. This was much more than a friends to lovers romance. They were each other’s everything long before they took chance at a romantic relationship.

The Player and the Pixie by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid

“It’s sandalwood,” he replied. “Here, give it to me.”

I handed it across the table and he swiped his fingers in, extracting a small blob. Before I could react he took my hand and smoothed the cream into my wrist. His hands were very….large. My fingers felt completely encapsulated, minuscule by comparison. A tingling, nervous feeling buzzed in my belly as his fingertips massaged my sensitive skin. When he was done he lifted my wrist to his nose and inhaled deeply.

“Smells good on you,” he said. I was momentarily lost for words.

Cosway and Reid are a riot. Alone they produce art, but together they produce a masterpiece (or should I say masterpieces). Their writings complement each other so well, I thought the first book was great but this…this is on a whole ‘nother level. Sean and Lucy were a delight to read. And now I miss them, looks like I need another reading session with them. 😉

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Flying by the Seat of My Knickers by Eliza Watson

“What better place to reinvent myself than a place where nobody knew me. I could be whoever I wanted to be.”

This is one of the cutest books I’ve ever read. It’s a power pack filled with laughter, joy, and growth. Caity is an amazing and relatable protagonist – she had her ups and downs and watching her grow was remarkable. I also loved the romance – it gave off slow burn vibes. 😀 I’m eagerly waiting for the next book, like this, I’m positive it’ll be a riot. I cannot stop smiling thinking about this.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I was a desert girl. I thought I knew heat. I was wrong.

Rebel of the Sands is an interesting and creative book – the mythology and desert combination worked out really well. The story is really well fleshed out – with so many plots and characters everything came together quite nicely. And, Amani is a remarkable protagonist – the blue eye bandit won me over from the start.

Good Girl by Lauren Layne

“You’re playing with fire, little girl,” he says quietly. “I’m not one of your toys, and I’m not interested in what you’re offering.”
“I’m not offering anything.” I retort, even though his words sting. “I like my men more…refined.”
His grin calls my bluff. “You sure about that?”

Good Girl is an all-rounder – I laughed, I cried a little, and I blushed (a lot)! Lauren Layne is one of those authors who cannot do wrong in my books, she understands what I need and she delivers it. This is a little different from her usual but it still won me over. There is nothing LL will write and that I won’t adore. Jenny is an amazing protagonist, I loved her to bits. My heart really went out to her when the paparazzi went cuckoo and when Noah was being an ass.

Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani

Run far, run fast, keep the wind in your hair.

MoA is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I cannot even begin to describe my love for it. This high fantasy is nothing like I’ve read before. Hitomi is a really likeable protagonist – she’s strong, witty, loyal, intelligent, and flawed. Intisar Khanani’s writing is remarkable; she kept me on the edge of my seat, fully immersed in the story, without a care of what was going around me. She has the perfect mixture of plot, world building, and character development. We were introduced to many new characters and they weren’t without reason, everything tied up. I am in awe with her writing.

Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid

“You’ll be tactile, and I’ll be clingy, and we’ll be very happy just as long as we sleep in a twin bed and call each other seventeen hundred times a day.”

Grin and Beard It is an awfully adorkable yet meaningful story. Jethro and Sienna have their own thing going – one has turned his life around for the better and the other is happily living her without the need of a man. They cross paths and the rest is history. Jethro and Sienna are magical together; their chemistry was blazing and they had an easy-going, genuine relationship. They had real obstacles and they were dealt in a mature and beautiful way.

 

Review | Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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Rebel of the Sands
by: Alwyn Hamilton
Rebel of the Sands #1
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

Amazon | Barnes&Nobles

Review
My rating: 4.5 stars

Rebel of the Sands follows Amani, an orphan stuck living with her aunt and uncle. Dustwalk, her hometown, is a dead place and she finds herself suffocating in it; she’s dreamt of running away to Izman for a long time. Soon she finds herself in an unexpected journey with an unexpected companion. Without realising her plans change and so does she.

I LOVED AMANI! She is a kickass protagonist; when everything was crumbling she didn’t whine or cry, she took it in her hands to find a solution. Reading about her dressing up as a guy to earn her way out of Dustwalk was some of my favourite parts. Ahh, my blue eye bandit won me over from the start. And, I loved how she wasn’t one of those sacrificial lambs who always thought about how the outcome of their decisions would affect others. She was selfish, tough, and somewhat naïve, to watch her grow was truly amazing. Even though watching her leave some people behind made me churn a bit, I loved how she didn’t continue to do so in the future – I just really love her development.

The world building was alright, I felt it was a mixture of Middle East and Wild Wild West, not entirely Middle Eastern. Also, the world building could have been executed better – something was missing. (Maybe a map like Six of Crows could have helped.) The magical aspect was interesting as well, it doesn’t come into play until the second half of the book, but when it shows up it does not disappoint at all.

I loved the comrade between Amani and Jin, but I felt the romance on and off. The fact their relationship was built on lies didn’t help. However, I did enjoy their friendship. I kind of felt their feelings for one another were kind of rushed, but they haven’t exchanged I love you’s or made unreasonable/rash decisions for one another, so that was a plus point. I’m hoping in the next book their relationship develops more before they get together. I just really want a slow burn.

The secondary characters were fabulous and I’m eager to see more of them in the future. Shazad is also a strong female character I grew quite fond of rather quickly. Hala was a sweetie pie and I wanted to keep her protected (just like Ahmed). Bahi and the twins were cute as well. I enjoyed Ahmed’s character as well, I’m hoping he as a bigger role in the next book. I loved how Hamilton was able to execute an amazing development with them – they tied perfectly with the story.

And, I almost forgot, the writing is glorious. Hamilton sucked me in with her captivating plot and beautiful writing. I need the second book soon, I really don’t know how I’m supposed to wait. (This is why I like reading series that are complete.)