So we are nearly halfway through 2016. So far, I (Jessie) am not doing too badly on my personal reading challenges. I've read 156 books so far this year, and am about 33 books ahead of where I should be to hit my target of 250 for the year!
While I, Dani, have read 62 books, which sound better if I get to go first. But I am four books ahead of my goal of 120, so yay books!
1. the best book you’ve read so far in 2016
Dani: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. I read it. I audiobooked it. I audiobooked it again with my husband. I waited three hours for Gemina and I've been VERY GOOD and have not read it yet, possibly because I'm thinking about reading Illuminae again first.
Jessie: The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley or Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. I cannot and will not choose between my Kettral baes and my teenage girl Rambo/MacGyver, fighting the battle of Thermopylae against mercenaries and mind-eating legged, fanged snakebeasts, in space, with the world's worst soundtrack playing.
2. the best sequel you’ve read so far
Jessie: So as to not repeat titles, I'm going with Natalie C. Parker's Behold the Bones. I loved Beware the Wild and the author did a great job keeping the atmosphere from the first but built a new story within it.
Dani: Words of Radience by Brandon Sanderson. Oh. My. God. If you're not on the Stormlight Archives train, drop everything and get these books. (But don't ask Jess for spoilers; she's a liar.)
3. a new release you haven’t read yet
Jessie: Your Soul is A River by Nikita Gill. She's a poet I found on instagram and I pre-ordered her paperback. I am so excited to read it that... I just haven't.
Dani: I am so behind on 2016 releases. I was desperate for ACoMaF and A Gathering of Shadows, and I haven't even bought them yet. Even romances - Julia Quinn and Courtney Milan have new historicals out that I haven't gotten to. Who am I?!
4. most anticipated release for late-2016
Dani: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is the first book I have pre-ordered since A Dance With Dragons. If it disappoints me, I might literally die.
Jessie: I'm pretty much willing to fast-forward my life to get my hands on Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. I am also pre-0rdering both the US and the UK covers because... clearly.
5. biggest disappointment
Jessie: I finally read Marianne de Pierre's Night Creatures series and oh boy, I was very disappointed. On the other hand, this does prove not all Aussie YA is perfect.
Dani: Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. As much as I loved Six of Crows, as badly as I want Crooked Kingdom? That's how much I hated S&S. I DNFd and then I cried.
6. biggest surprise
Dani: So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon. This erotic romance was amazing. I've followed Rebekah on Twitter for awhile, so I had absolute faith that her main character, Kayla, would be top notch, but I was not expecting the surprisingly sweet love story between a sugar baby and her sugar daddy, nor just how sexy Michael would be.
behold my mighty photoediting!
Jessie: Wanderlost by Jen Malone! I had passed this over on edelweiss a couple times but then trusted friends started recommending it. I expected a cute story - and got one - but it also had a great sister relationship central to the plot. I loved it.
7. favorite new author
Jessie: My Lady Jane was a very fun read, and it was also my introduction to one of the three authors: Brodi Ashton. Even having read both Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows before, I can't tell who wrote which characters. Still, this was a very entertaining book.
Dani: Anne Bishop. I had kind of written her off after some trusted reviewers told me not to bother with The Black Jewels, but I'm beyond in love with The Others and I'll read anything UF that she puts out.
8. newest fictional crush
Dani: Mira Grant's author picture.
Jessie: Gwenna from The Last Mortal Bond/Providence of Fire/The Emperor's Blades. Also maaaybe Alucard from A Gathering of Shadows.
9. newest favorite character
Jessie: see above. But also Lada from And I Darken, Cas and Bao from The Abyss Surrounds Us.
Dani: Kady and Ezra from Illuminae, Meg from The Others
10. a book that made you cry
Dani: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. First of all, how dare you. Also Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen. Second of all, how dare you.
Jessie: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. A lot, too. And for some really odd reasons, but yeah, that book hit me right in the feels.
11. a book that made you happy
Jessie: One True Loves by TJR, The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas, These Vicious Masks.
Dani: I've raved about it before, but The Countess by Lynsay Sands. It's just so much fun, you guys.
12. favorite adaptation you saw this year
Dani: Hamilton? Hamilton.
Jessie: The sixth season of Game of Thrones has largely been excellent. Much better than five, but also the only adaptation I can think of that I've watched.
13. favorite post you’ve done so far this year
Jessie: I really liked my Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Reasons I Love A Song of Ice and Fire.
Dani: I think it was my BEA Recap and Haul, because I love my friend peoples.
14. the most beautiful book you bought this year
Dani: Jess is going to stop asking me to do posts with her, but it's the Hamiltome.
Jessie: I think the UK cover for Saint's Blood by Sebastien de Castell is def the winner here.
15. what books do you need to read before the end of the year
Jessie: oh hey basically this entire post? #neverendingtbr