My top 10 books of 2016

I only gave three books 5 stars this year. But, happily, I gave seven books 4.5 stars which means I can do a top 10!

I read and reviewed 117 this year. Only three of them got 5 stars. I think I may be getting pickier with my 5 stars as I get older!

There were also seven books which came very close to those elusive 5 stars, so I’ve included them here too.

Click on the book title for my full review. Click on the book cover to go to Goodreads.

Here we go!


1/3. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (reviewed 8th March 2016)

I Hunt Killers Jasper Dent 1 by Barry Lyga

The first book in the Jasper Dent trilogy is nail-biting and utterly compelling. Sadly I didn’t enjoy parts 2 and 3 as much as the opening installment, but this is a series well worth checking out if you don’t mind serial killer thrillers and the odd bit of teenage angst.



2/3. Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (reviewed 16th June 2016)

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye book cover

I loved this. And you don’t need to have read or like Jane Eyre to have fun reading Lyndsay Faye’s story.




3/3. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (reviewed 23rd June 2016)

The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerThis is heart-breaking and beautifully written.

That said, if you are completely unfamiliar with the story of Achilles, the background to the Siege of Troy and the fall of the city, the start of the book could be very confusing… I’d encourage you to stick with it if you can!



(so close… just missing something, often something I can’t put my finger on)

1/7. This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by V. E. Schwab (reviewed 18th July 2016)

This Savage Song by V E Schwab book coverA YA fantasy story with a male and female protagonist but no romance? Hooray!

Victoria Schwab continues to produce excellent, imaginative fiction. This Savage Song is violent, creepy and fiercely moral. All in a good way.

I’m looking forward to reading the second half of the story – Our Dark Duet – in 2017.


2/7. A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic #2) by V. E. Schwab (reviewed 25th February 2016)

A Gathering of Shadows book coverAnother great year for Schwab! I didn’t enjoy part two of the Shades of Magic trilogy as much as book 1 – A Darker Shade of Magic – but it was still brilliant.

Can’t wait for the final part of the trilogy – A Conjuring of Light – which is out in February 2017. I will be getting nothing done the day it’s published!



3/7. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo (reviewed 14th January 2016)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo book cover

Truly brilliant. There are so many plot strands and viewpoints here but they are handled superbly. Impressive work. I didn’t love the second part of the story, Crooked Kingdom, quite as much as Six of Crows, but this is a wonderful duology and I can’t wait to see what Bardugo writes next.



4/7. Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff (reviewed 8th August 2016)

Nevernight by Jay KristoffIt takes a little while to get going, but it’s worth staying with this story. This is dark and uncompromising fantasy fiction.




5/7. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce #4) by Alan Bradley

i-am-half-sick-of-shadows-by-alan-bradleyI listened to the audio book and it was wonderful. I didn’t realise this was the fourth book in a series and I’ve since read the rest of the books over the Christmas holidays. They’re all great (series review to come!).

A precocious, chemistry-obsessed 11-year old sleuth sets about beating the police at their own game in this 1950s-set murder mystery. If I’d read these growing up, I might have liked chemistry more.


6/7. Victoria by Daisy Goodwin (reviewed 17th November 2016)

victoria-by-daisy-goodwinI read this because I’d watched and enjoyed the TV series. I was pleased to find the book was just as enjoyable, even if it did end too early for my liking (the TV series gives us another year of events past the end of the book).

I hope Goodwin keeps writing TV screenplays and scripts. Let’s face it: Victoria’s reign was long enough to give her the raw material!


7/7. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (reviewed 8th December 2016)

dark-matter-by-blake-crouchA castaway tale featuring the multiverse and other mind-bending theories? But which also reminded me of Quantum Leap? Step forward Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. A gripping story of one man’s struggle to get home.



Those were my top 10 books of 2016! Did you read any of these? What did you make of them?

What were your favourite books this year? Let me know in the comments and leave me links to your “2016 in review” posts so I can check them out πŸ™‚

Claire Huston / Art and Soul




51 thoughts on “My top 10 books of 2016

  1. The only one I managed to read is Victoria, and it was wonderful! I can’t wait to read the other ones on your list. They are all on my TBR πŸ™‚
    Glad you had many enjoyable reads this year, my dear! Hope the next one brings even more ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ I think I’m getting tougher as I get older!
      I’ve just found out this evening that VE Schwab’s books are on fantastic sale prices on amazon (as long as you want an ebook). I’m recommending anyone who likes fantasy grabs a bargain! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Claire,
    I wanted to wish you a happy New Year and also to let you know about a new writer I am reading: The Sugarmen by Ray Kingfisher. He was born and bred in the Black Country in the U.K. I found him on recent arrival shelf in a Florida library! Looking forward to reading him. Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice list! After many months patiently waiting for Jane Steele to hit BookOutlet, it finally did & I managed to snag a copy while jumping for joy. I heard the opening lines read aloud on SquibblesReads Booktube & knew I had to read it lol. Six Of Crows is one of my fave reads of 2016 as well. I have Dark Matter ready to be read early 2017. I was actually supposed to have read it this mth but some unexpected arcs came through. This Savage Song was just what I needed πŸ™ŒπŸΌ looking forward to Our Dark Duet πŸ’™πŸ–€πŸ’™

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The only two of these that I’ve read are AGOS and Dark Matter but I really loved both of those. I have Jane Steele and This Savage Song – hopefully, I’ll get to both of those in 2017! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh Darn it, every time I’m here I remember that I keep forgetting to read Dark Matter! It’s on my holds list at my library, but I still get excited when I see it on here.

    Six of Crows is another series I have been wondering about. Glad to see it was one of your top reads for this year.

    Hope next year treats you even better than 2016 πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can’t go wrong with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom – the characters are great and the plots are impressive.
      I hope your library copy of Dark Matter comes in soon. I’ve been waiting months for a few of my holds now and I’m starting to give up hope!
      Fingers crossed 2017 is another great reading year for us all πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All bar one of the list is completely new to me – but the one I have read, Song of Achilles, was the best book I read in I think 2014. Though I’d agree that if you don’t know the myth itself you’d need to persevere a tad at the beginning!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I Hunt Killers, This Savage Song, AGOS and Six of Crows are some of my favorite books last year too!! Great list and I’m definitely checking out the others listed here. πŸ™‚

    And, HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and your family, Claire! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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