I consumed over 265 books in 2016 reading and listening to everything from horror to sweet small-town romances. Romance is absent from my top ten as I decided to separate them into their own top ten. I did this when I realized that despite my love of romance, other genres like fantasy, thrillers, and horror pushed them from my overall top ten list. You can see it here Caffeinated Top Ten Romances for 2016. You can also check out Caffeinated’s Top Ten Audio Listens for 2016.
by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #3
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society's mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within. Finally, the time has come. But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied - and too glorious to surrender.
My love for the Red Rising trilogy knows no bounds, and Morning Star delivered with its dark scenes and glorious battles. Brown wrapped the tale in twists and turns tearing my heart out and making me howl. Read my review: MORNING STAR
by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #4
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Length: 15 hours and 21 minutes
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Narration: 5 cups
For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community... Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically. But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…
The Others series is a favorite fantasy series for me. From the characters to exploring Thasia I cannot get enough. This is a series I listen to first, before reading. I own the series in hardcover, audio, and eBook. Yep, fangirl. Read my review: MARKED IN FLESH
by Justin Cronin
Series: The Passage #3
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Horror
In "The Passage "and" The Twelve, "Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity s desperate fight to survive. Now all is quiet on the horizon but does silence promise the nightmare s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? At last, this bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale.
"The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?"
The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future.
But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy – humanity's only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.
One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.
2016 brought us the conclusion to Cronin’s Passage trilogy, and it was glorious. Hands down one of my favorite post-apocalyptic worlds, Cronin’s vivid imagination shines. Read my review: CITY OF MIRRORS
by Blake Crouch
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable--something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
Blake Crouch was a new to me, author, despite knowing of him. I had the chance to meet him at BEA where I picked up this gem. Time travel and mind-bending geekiness await you in this suspenseful thriller. Read my review: DARK MATTER
by Mira Grant
Series: Newsflesh #4
FEEDBACK is a full-length Newsflesh novel which overlaps the events of Feed and covers the Presidential campaign from the perspective of reporters covering the Democrats side of the story. There are two sides to every story... The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we unleashed something horrifying and unstoppable. The infection spread leaving those afflicted with a single uncontrollable impulse: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, a team of scrappy underdog reporters relentlessly pursue the truth while competing against the superstar Masons, surrounded by the infected, and facing more insidious forces working in the shadows.
If you’ve followed me for long, you have heard me recommend the Newsflesh trilogy and all the novellas set in the world created by Grant. When it was announced we would revisit this world in a full-length novel I was nervous, but Feedback offered a fresh perspective and dynamic team. It was suspenseful, funny and I am hoping for more. Read my review: FEEDBACK
by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Narrator: Mia Barron
Length: 14 hours and 45 minutes
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…
Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.
A Promise of Fire was an unexpected surprise and an audio I picked up thanks to other bloggers. I loved the world Bouchet created and thoroughly enjoyed the characters interactions. I am counting down the day until books two’s audio release. Read my review: A PROMISE OF FIRE
by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Genres: Science Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.” Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed. The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion. When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. But relax. They've totally got this. They hope. Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.
Gemina delivered in multiple formats with kick-ass characters, it fed my inner nerd and gave me one hell of a ride. Read my review: GEMINA
by Nora Roberts
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton. Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.
The Obsession captured all the elements I love in a Roberts book. I devoured the book and new instantly it would land among my favorites. Read my review of THE OBSESSION
by Tiffany Reisz
Genres: Southern Gothic
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
From the internationally celebrated author of the Original Sinners series comes a brand-new tale of betrayal, revenge and a family scandal that bore a 150-year-old mystery
When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it's to discover he's been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it's property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris.
In the small hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery that became an empire. But the family tree is rooted in tainted soil and has borne rotten fruit. Theirs is a legacy of wealth and power, but also of lies, secrets and sins of omission. The Maddoxes have bourbon in their blood—and blood in their bourbon. Why Paris wants the bottle of Red Thread remains a secret until the truth of her identity is at last revealed, and the century-old vengeance Tamara vowed against her family can finally be completed.
Despite owning several books by Reisz, this was the first book I’ve read by her. I know shameful right? I loved this tale from the way it was presented to the dark twists that occurred. Fans of Southern Goth and mysteries will enjoy watching this tale unravel. Read my review: THE BOURBON THIEF
by Ruth Ware
Narrator: Imogen Church
Length: 9 hours and 34 minutes
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.
Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.
I love a well-crafted thriller and Ware took me on one heck of a ride from her unique characters to the whodunit mystery. Read my review: IN A DARK, DARK WOODCheck out Caffeinated Top Ten Reads for 2016 Click To Tweet
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