Bookish Musings: Top Ten Books I Read in 2016


Yay, it’s time for one of my favorite posts of the whole year because this is the post in which I get to talk about ALL the books that I loved most all at once! It’s a post full of happiness and good feelings, and I get to reminisce about the highlights of my reading year. What more can any book blogger ask for?

Anyway, I debated how to do this. I mean, there are standalones, there are complete series, there are incomplete series, sometimes books get a high rating but aren’t as memorable vs other books that get a low rating but are memorable… I eventually decided to go with some sort of combo thing. So here are my favorite books and series from what I read in 2016!

(And if you like this post, don’t forget to check out the rest of my 2016 wrap-up posts, which I’ll link to at the end! Some of these books are even on numerous lists because they’re just that great!)

Black Snow by EAB

Black Snow by EAB | reading, books


This book was a complex, intricate, beautiful M/M high fantasy love story. I was so immersed in the world!
(Black Snow Review)


The Immortal Coil Series by J. Armand

The Immortal Coil by J. Armand | reading, booksShadows of Humanity by J. Armand | reading, booksGospel of the Forgotten by J. Armand | reading, booksThe Alabaster Concordat by J. Armand | reading, books


The first book was good, but, as the series went on, the books just got better and better. The characters are so unique and developed and amazing, and I’m totally hooked. And thankfully this urban fantasy series isn’t over yet, so I still have more to look forward to!
(The Immortal Coil Review)


A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly | books, reading, book covers


This was one of my most anticipated reads because I love both magic and the Prohibition Era, and my expectations were so fulfilled by one of the most unique and well-written books I’ve ever read!
(A Criminal Magic Review)


Immemorial Year Series by TJ Klune

Withered + Sere by TJ Klune | reading, booksCrisped + Sere by TJ Klune | reading, books


It took me a while to read this one after I got it because I wasn’t in the right mood and wasn’t sure it’d be my kind of book and had never read any TJ Klune before so I didn’t even know what his books were like. I did read it though, and HOLY COW this M/M post-apoc/dystopian-ish book just BLEW ME AWAY with its intensity and adorable relationships and amazing writing.
(Withered + Sere Review)


Slowly We Rot by Brian Smith

Slowly We Rot by Bryan Smith | reading, books


I don’t normally like mindf*ck kind of books, but THIS BOOK. It was so emotional, and by the time I finished, I didn’t even know what was happening, but I felt like bursting into tears. And don’t let it fool you, there are a few zombies in the book, but that’s so not what it’s about.
(Slowly We Rot Review)


The Gardella Vampire Hunters Series by Colleen Gleason

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason | books, readingRises the Night by Colleen Gleason | reading, booksThe Bleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason | books, reading, book coversWhen Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason | reading, booksAs Shadows Fade by Colleen Gleason | reading, books


I downloaded the first because it was free, but then it sat on my Kindle for over a year because I wasn’t really into historical fantasy until this year and therefore wasn’t sure if I’d like the book. But I’m so glad I finally gave it a try! The second book was my favorite, but all the books were consistently great and witty with fantastic characters.
(The Rest Falls Away Review)


Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr

Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr | reading, books


This was yet another book that completely surprised me. I was sure this M/M paranormal would be too fluffy for me, but it turned out to be ADORABLE with lovable characters and such a fun, unique take on different types of shifters, and it just made me so happy!
(Wriggle & Sparkle Review)


The Witch’s Handbooks (Books 1 and 2)

How to Date Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser | reading, booksHow to Ditch Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser | reading, books


I was totally drawn in by the title, and it did not disappoint! In fact, it surprised me because How to Date Dead Guys was so much deeper and more emotional than I was expecting and had a very unique paranormal premise.
(How to Date Dead Guys Review)


The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot

The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot | reading, books


This YA historical fantasy inspired by Jekyll & Hyde had so much emotion, the world and characters came alive, and the writing was absolutely beautiful!
(The Heartless City Review)


Thieves Series by Lexi Blake

Steal the Light by Lexi Blake | reading, booksSteal the Day by Lexi BlakeSteal the Moon by Lexi Blake | reading, booksSteal the Sun by Lexi Blake | books, readingSteal the Night by Lexi Blake | books, reading


This urban fantasy series is simultaneously the most hilarious and most emotional series I’ve ever read, and I just adore it.
But Kristen, you put this on your list last year.
I know, but I reread it this year, and that totally counts.
So are you going to include it on your list every year since you plan on rereading it every year?
Yes. Yes I am.
(Steal the Light Review)


Honorable Mentions

Vespers by Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt | reading, booksReal Vampires Don't Sparkle by Amy Fecteau | reading, booksSoul Breaker by Clara Coulson | reading, books


So these got 4 stars instead of 4.5 or 5, but honestly, they deserve to be on this list just as much as all the others. (Ratings are weird, guys, I don’t know.) All three of these urban fantasies were hilarious and memorable, had awesome characters, and are series I am super excited to continue in 2017!
(Vespers Review)
(Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle Review)
(Soul Breaker Review)


Check Out the Rest of My 2016 Top Ten Posts!

Top Ten Male Characters from Books I Read in 2016
Top Ten Female Characters from Books I Read in 2016
Best Book Covers from Books I Read in 2016
Top Ten Books I Read in 2016


Talk to me!

Have you or do you plan to read any of these?
What were some of your favorite books that you read in 2016?


Your Thoughts


46 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: Top Ten Books I Read in 2016

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  1. Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

    Almost all of these are new to me, so I’m definitely checking your reviews out -and the books themselves of course. I love seeing these favorite readsd of the year post, especially when the list is so new to me. I feel like I’m about to discover some gems thanks to you πŸ˜€ Like Black Snow, which looks amazing.

  2. Greg

    Lol about The Thieves series. And Black Snow- nice. I think A Criminal Magic and The Heartless City might be two I want to read. Criminal Magic has an awesome premise but I don’t think I ever added it. How To Date Dead Guys I do like that title.

    The Thieves books have some amazing covers as well.

  3. Wattle

    Oh some of these sound very fun indeed (and have really lovely covers, I am a sucker for a good cover lol), I’ve definitely added a few to my ever expanding TBR. I might have to start with Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle – that title made me smile πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      I am also a sucker for a good cover lol, and I do love some of these. Real Vampires is such a fun book, you’re definitely in for some laughs! Though I should warn you Book 2 ends with a cliffhanger and there’s no Book 3 yet. If you want another vampire rec, Vespers, The Immortal Coil, and the Thieves series also have vamps πŸ™‚

  4. Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews

    Apart from Black Snow – which I first discovered from you, the rest are new to me! I totally thought I was on top of new books but nope, I have to check these out, I just discovered TJ Klune and OMG I need to read all the books! Also, How to Date Dead Guys has a hilarious title and it reminds of American Horror Story for some reason.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well with all the indie books out there it’s impossible to stay on top of new books anymore lol. Ooh, what Klune book did you read?? I’ve only read the series in this post and Murmuration. I’m waiting for book 2 to come out in Lightning Struck Heart before I read that one lol. But yeah, he seems to be a really popular M/M author, and for good reason!

  5. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Ok, so I need to check out The Heartless City, It seems just like the kind of book I’m in the mood for. I’ve added quite a few of these to my TBR this year thanks to your reviews (enabling at its best). I am THRILLED to see A Criminal Magic on this list. I ADORE that book so much and the author is such a nice person (I read an ARC and remember interacting with her a tad on twitter). Wonderful list and I hope your wrist is feeling much better!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well, clearly I recommend it if it sounds like your kinda thing! And hurray for A Criminal Magic! I’m glad you loved it too, it really was a great book. Actually a lot of the authors on this list, including Lee Kelly, were super nice when I tagged them on Twitter, emailed to ask a question, etc. Thank you! I’ve mostly still been resting my wrists a lot.

  6. Bookworm Brandee

    Well, I haven’t read any of these…YET! You will be happy to know that in addition to Soul Breaker, I also own Steal the Light, How to Date Dead Guys, and, of course, the Gardella Vampire Hunters series. ALL of which I’m GOING TO READ IN 2017!!! Great list, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well, obviously I want you to love them all, but I especially think you’re going to love Steal the Light! Actually, I just think you’re going to love them all lol. I am looking forward to seeing what you think πŸ™‚

  7. Lola

    I always love seeing these types of posts around and I have a favorite posts scheduled for tomorrow on my blog. It’s so hard to narrow it down though as I had so many good books this year. Just like you I included a few series as well as sometimes the series as a whole just needs to be listed.

    I am not surprised to see the Immortal Coil series on your list as your early seem to enjoy that one. And it’s the best when you have high expectations for a book and the books is even better than expected, I still remember reading your review for Criminal magic, it sounds like a good one. And Wriggle and Sparkle sounds like such a fun read. I don’t think I’ve read your review for the Thieves series, but that might be because it was a re-read. It does sound like a good series if you re-read it every year. Here’s to a great 2017 with lots of awesome books!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love these types of posts too! Great way to find new books, and it just spread so much positivity πŸ™‚

      Yeah, I read The Immortal Coil books just in time to include them in all my lists, haha. It’s just one of those series I immediately loved once I started getting further into it. You know, Wriggle and Sparkle might be a book you’d actually like if you don’t mind mild tentacle sex lol. My reviews for the Thieves series were posted in 2015 when I still only had like one follower lol, but I plan to rewrite the reviews and repost them next year after reading the books again. Yes, let’s make 2017 an equally great or better reading year!

      1. Lola

        I’ve added Wriggle and Sparkle to my wishlist, maybe if it gets discounted once I can grab it as it’s quite pricey now.

        Glad to hear you’ll be reposting your reviews for Thieves πŸ™‚

        1. Kristen Burns

          I’ve never paid attention to the price since I had an ARC, but I completely understand. Less Than Three Press seems to be pretty good about giving review copies for older books if you wanted to try emailing them, I’ve contacted them via email to request other books (and I think the one who usually handles that is the author of Wriggle and Sparkle, at least she was the one who responded when I requested), but I’m not trying to force you if you don’t want to request a review copy, just you letting know about the possible option πŸ™‚

          1. Lola

            Thanks for letting me know about that! Will check out their website and see if I can get a review copy. It’s 6$ or so for me on amazon, which is a bit high for a new to me author.

  8. Lampshade Reader

    The The Gardella Vampire Hunters Series looks good. I admit I haven’t read any of the books on you list. πŸ™‚ But I guess that’s part of the point, right? Discover new books all the time. ~Aleen

  9. chucklesthescot

    I love the J Armand covers and added them to my wishlist when I first heard about them. I had been sort of interested in the Lexi Blake books but I’m afraid I just won’t go near anything with love triangles as that is a book dealbreaker for me!

  10. Dragonfly

    OMG the covers of Immemorial Year Series! I would read them just because of those covers! and your recommendation makes it πŸ™‚ in GR now! I added Gospel of the Forgotten as well. I think I have one of the The Witch’s Handbooks ARCs so maybe I should finish it. Maybe they’ll take me back in Netgalley one day ;-). Great List!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I TOTALLY THINK YOU SHOULD READ THEM. Obviously lol. Except you should definitely start with The Immortal Coil if you’re interested in that series too because Gospel is the third book πŸ™‚ And I think I remember you requesting the How to Date Dead Guys too lol. I’m sure NetGalley will still be your BFF if you apologize πŸ˜› Thanks!

  11. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I seriously, really want to read A Criminal Magic but the price is still so high for it over here and I just can’t justify it. I may add it as a birthday present request because planning two months in advance is totally acceptable, right? I still need to look at my favourite books of this year. I meant to do a 2016 post last week and I’ve not had the time. I see everyone else’s and then someone features a book I loved and remember another one I forgot. I’ll do it over the weekend and figure out my favourites of the year because who needs to go out for New Year anymore?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Aww sorry it costs so much :-/ Idk what the price is now but I know it was expensive here too but I managed to buy the ebook while it was on sale. But pshh, planning your birthday gifts two months in advance is totally acceptable. Recommended even πŸ˜‰ And last year all the bookworms were just on GR posting our new GR challenge at midnight, so you won’t be the only one sitting on the computer for NYE, haha.

  12. Kazza

    This is a fantastic list, Kristen. I love Lexi Blake, and her other incarnation of Sophie Oak, I’ve read all of SO book, so I have to read these now. Some I don’t know but soon will and more I’ve been on the fence about.

    When you read so many books it’s an honour for these particular writers to be included on a ‘best of’ list and it’s great for you to be able to look back on what you did read – but what a tussle to come up with the books to add, right? . Next year I might do what you did and add re-reads. I re-read a lot of books this year.

    Happy 2017 to you, Kristen πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve never read any of Lexi Blake’s other books since I really only read sci-fi/fantasy and I don’t really care for BDSM, which I feel like is mostly what she writes? If she ever writes another fantasy series I’d read it in a heartbeat. For now she’s still writing the spin-off to Thieves which I’m also loving.

      That’s what I love about these types of posts, getting to give recognition to the authors and books that deserve it. But yes, it can be hard to choose just a few when you read so many! And I say rereads totally count since, if they’re that good that you keep reread them and they still are in your top ten again, they especially deserve the recognition!

      Same to you πŸ™‚

  13. AngelErin

    A Criminal Magic and Wiggle & Sparkle both sound amazing!! Also, there’s so many great covers here. Sounds like you had a great reading year. ?

  14. Lori

    All of these are new to me, but they all look fabulous! I’m going to check out A Criminal Magic. I love a good book with magic!

    Thanks for linking up on Saturday Situation!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s funny because I absolutely loved the Klune books, and a lot of people have really strong opinions about the covers, whether they love them or are freaked out by them, but I really don’t care for them. Slowly We Rot is amazing but… yeah, it’s kind of depressing. Definitely dark. Not something I’d recommend if you’re not able to deal with that right now, but maybe one day in the future πŸ™‚

  15. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    I definitely need to read A Criminal Magic! I have been wanting to for a long time, so I am quite excited to see it on your list! The covers for the Immemorial Year books are intense- especially the second one! I like the title (and cover!) for How to Date Dead Guys, too! So glad that you enjoyed so many books this year, hope that 2017 brings just as many great reads πŸ˜€

    1. Kristen Burns

      You definitely should read A Criminal Magic! Everyone seems to have such strong opinions about the Immemorial Year covers, especially that second one. Some people are completely freaked out by it lol. And I also love the title for How to Date Dead Guys (as well as the book, obviously)! Thank you, same to you πŸ™‚

  16. Literary Feline

    I love Gleason’s books. I need to catch up. I think I am behind one or two in the series. I can’t remember. The Witch’s Handbooks sound so good! I didn’t read nearly as many fantasy novels as I would have liked this year–especially given how much I like the genre (and all the sub-genres). Maybe I can remedy that this year.

    1. Kristen Burns

      The Gardella books are great! You should definitely continue with them πŸ™‚ And the Witch’s Handbooks were amazing and surprised me in a great way. Of course I think you should read more fantasy, but I’m a little biased πŸ˜‰