As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back at my 2016 Reading Challenge and pick out my 10 favourite books of the year.
2016 was the second year that I have successfully completed my Reading Challenge. I started the year with a target of reading 40 books, and ending up smashing that target. My 2016 Reading list closed with a total of 50 books on it, and I’m really pleased with that result.
I’ve picked out my 10 favourite reads from 2016, listed in the order that I read them. That’s because I find it hard to even draw up a list of 10 favourite books, yet alone pick one single favourite book! I didn’t have many re-reads this year, but I’ve chosen this list just from the books that I read for the first time.
So these are the 10 books that I enjoyed most during 2016. It’s quite a mixed bag, including some romantic comedy, some crime thrillers, and a 20th century classic dystopia amongst others. And there’s also one non-fiction book that made it to the list this year.
Lili: A Portrait of the First Sex Change (Man into Woman) by Niels Hoyer and Lili Elbe
At the end of January, I went to see ‘The Danish Girl’ at the cinema. It’s a beautiful and very emotional film about the life of Lili Elbe. She began her life as the artist Einar Wegener, and underwent the first recorded sex change operation in the early 1900s.
So rather than reading the novel that the film is based upon, I decided to read this book instead. It is based upon Lili’s own letters and diaries, and was compiled by one of her friends after her death. It’s a very emotional book, and one that I highly recommend.
Last Light by CJ Lyons
Last Light is a crime thriller set in a small town in the South of the United States. It’s about a team of private investigators who are trying to prove that the wrong men were sent to prison for a brutal murder committed 29 years previously. This thriller was so gripping that it kept me up late at night to finish it, and you can read my full review of Last Light here.
Paris Mon Amour by Isabel Costello
This is a deeply passionate book about a woman in her forties living in Paris. She discovers her husband is having an affair, and embarks on an affair of her own with a much younger man. Although she tells herself that it’s a one-off, she finds that it’s not so easy to walk away.
You can read my full review here – this book was so good that it made me cry!
Random Acts of Unkindness by Jacqueline Ward
This is a crime thriller with a twist, following the story of DS Jan Pearce as she hunts for her missing 15 year old son Aiden. At the same time, she is also trying to find out what happened to a similar case, 50 years previously. She uses her skill and instinct to track down the missing boys, but it is too late for Aiden?
Garlic and Gauloises by Hemmie Martin
This is a surprising novel with twists and turns as it makes its way to an emotional ending. It’s a story about a timid woman and a cynical man who meet on a writers’ course. But don’t make the same mistake that I did, of thinking that you know how this book will end. You may be in for a surprise!
On the Beach by Nevil Shute
I’ve been meaning to read this novel for years, and I finally read it while I was on holiday in the summer. It’s a great beach read if you’re a fan of dystopia, if not then it might be a bit too bleak. On the Beach is set in Australia after a nuclear war has been fought in the northern hemisphere. A radioactive cloud is sweeping southwards, killing everyone in its path, and the inhabitants of Australia are awaiting the inevitable.
I read this book in one long evening, unable to think of sleep until I had finished it. It has gone straight on to my All-Time Favourites list.
Cut-Throat Defence by Olly Jarvis
I really discovered a love of crime thriller books over the past couple of years, and this was one of my favourites. Olly Jarvis has a background in criminal law which gives his writing a very authentic feel.
Cut-Throat Defence has two threads running through it, interlinked but separated by decades. It’s about an inexperienced barrister who argues a risky ‘cut-throat defence’ in a massive drugs trial. It sets his client against the other defendants, and himself against the more experienced QCs.
This isn’t always a light read, but it’s one that definitely kept me hooked. You can read my full review here.
Love is a Four Legged Word by Michele Gorman
I’ve read some fab romantic comedy novels over the last 12 months. I reviewed Michele Gorman’s Match Me If You Can at the start of the year so I was really pleased to receive her next book for review. It’s a story about Scarlett and Shannon, two friends who run a dog business together. Shannon has also been best friends with Scarlett’s husband since childhood. It’s a cosy set-up, except when it isn’t…
I loved this book and it literally made me laugh out loud at times. You can read my full review here.
The Day She Can’t Forget by Meg Carter
Some books are so compelling that I simply can’t put them down and finish them in one sitting. The Day She Can’t Forget is one of those books. It weaves together two stories which take place 40 years apart. One is a student starting university in London in the mid-1970s. The other is a present day story of a woman who is discovered dazed, covered in blood and missing large parts of her memory.
For about half the book, the stories appear to be entirely unrelated. But you just know that there has to be a link between them. Meg Carter skilfully drip feeds the reader with just enough information to piece together the link between the stories.
I really loved this novel, and you can read my full review here.
Zero by Matt Brolly
Finally, I’m rounding up my top ten with this fantastic crime thriller. I have taken part in several blog tours this year, and was very excited to be the first step on this book’s blog tour
Zero is set in a dystopian near future, when all crime is punished with an effective death sentence. A judge is kidnapped by someone with a grudge, and as more men are kidnapped, the investigation becomes a matter of life or death.
You can read my full review of Zero here.
I loved each and every one of these books. What was your favourite read of 2016?