Books

Best Books of 2016

The Best Books I Read in 2016

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2016 was an interesting year to say the least. I could say many things about the year in general, but I don’t want to be a downer. Instead, I thought I would share with you some of the best books I read this year because reading is always a good thing. This year I was really able to get back in the swing of things book-reading wise and I am so happy to finally have some time for one of my favorite passions. I hope to read even more books next year, and I think I am going to need to start keeping track because I had a hard time remembering everything I read. But these are the books that stood out the most to me in 2016.




All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: You can read my full review here. This is one of the best books I have ever read and I feel like this is such an important story to tell. Everyone should read this book ASAP.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Not going to lie, I only picked up this book because my version has a pink cover and it’s so pretty. But I really enjoyed reading Fangirl and I’m definitely going to add the companion book, Carry On, to my 2017 reading list.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: So I guess I discovered this year that I really like Rainbow Rowell! I picked up Eleanor and Park because there was a piece in one of my Owl Crate boxes designed around it and I was so happy I did. Definitely a fun and easy read, but also one with a lot of substance.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: I actually read the first four books in the Throne of Glass series this year (still waiting for the last one to come out in paperback), but Throne of Glass was my favorite. I haven’t loved the other three as much as I did the first one.

Cress by Marissa Meyer: So the Lunar Chronicles series is one of the few series where I think I equally enjoyed all four books. I read them all this year (if you haven’t read the series yet, make sure you start with Cinder) and I LOVED them. It was hard to pick a favorite, but Cress and her love interest were my favorite couple so I decided to go with her story as my choice.

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern: Flawed was in my first Owl Crate subscription box and it is one of my favorite books I have gotten from Owl Crate so far. I loved this dystopian novel and I really enjoyed Ahern’s writing style. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Look, I read adult books too! So at first I had mixed feelings about Night Circus, but really the writing is just so beautiful that I had to put it on my list. This is one I really want to go back and reread, so I just need to make it through my TBR list so I have time!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: OMG, another adult book! So Girl on the Train is not in my normal vein of what I like to read, but it was one of those books that everyone was talking about so I figured I had to check it out. It was a fast read for me, and it was entertaining. And even though it was kind of weird and creepy, it didn’t give me nightmares, which I appreciate.




Overall, 2016 was a great year for books in my opinion. I’m currently working on my reading list for 2017. Any recommendations for me to add to my list? Let me know!

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Read, Reading, Up Next

This post contains affiliate links. I was provided with a free copy of some or all of these books in exchange for my opinion. All thoughts are my own.

Hello book-loving friends! I have been doing a lot of reading lately and I have read some really great books that I want to share with you! Here is a look at what I recently read, what I am currently reading, and what is coming up next.

Read: I recently finished reading Winter, which is the fourth and final book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. This was bittersweet for me because I loved reading this series and I was so sad to see it come to an end. However, I really enjoyed Winter and I thought it was an awesome ending to the series. No spoilers, but I really, really liked how this ending differed from a lot of other YA series. I’ll leave it at that. If you haven’t read the series, get all four books because you are going to want to read them all!

Reading: Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson is a little more serious than what I usually like to read, but I was drawn to it because it is a Shakespeare adaptation and I am all about my main man Wills. This book is part of a collection of novels based on Shakespeare plays. This one takes the Merchant of Venice and gives it a bit of a modern spin. I love how the author has made the characters relatable for a modern audience and his spin on the plot is interesting. Definitely not as light and fun as many of my reads, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

Up Next: Today I posted some of my to be reads on my bookstagram account (@coffeebookswinerepeat) and asked my followers what I should read next. It was a pretty close vote between Red Queen and The Raven Boys, but TRB won out. I’m excited to start a new YA series and see what this one is all about!

What are you currently reading and what’s up next for you? 

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Owl Crate: November

Owl Crate Subscription Box: November

Hello fellow bookworms and welcome to another Owl Crate reveal! In last month’s box we got a teaser for the next box letting us know the theme for November would be Wonderland. Not going to lie, I was kind of eh about the theme because Alice in Wonderland is not my favorite. But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the contents of this month’s box! It might actually be my favorite one so far! There were some really cool individual items, and all together the themeing of the box was really well done. Here’s what we got this month!

The book for this month is Heartless by Marissa Meyer (author of the Lunar Chronicles series). This might be the first time I had actually heard of the book before getting it in the box, so that was exciting! I am just about to start the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series and I am loving them so far so I am really excited to read Heartless.

Riddle’s Tea Shoppe created this blend just for the Owl Crate box. I don’t drink tea (give me all the coffee) but the tin it came in is so cute I was excited for it anyway! I handed off the tea to my friend and kept the tin for myself!

I am a big fan of Authored Adornments so I was super psyched to see this gorgeous bookmark in the box this month. I also really love this magnet from Evie Bookish. I really love the quote used on the magnet!

In addition to our copy of Heartless, we also got this adorable version of Alice in Wonderland, designed by Rock Paper Books (who has a collection of Shakespeare covers that I am seriously coveting). The book and the matching bookmark are just too cute for words. I actually haven’t ever read Alice in Wonderland, but I am thinking I have to now!

I am so excited about the contents of the November box from Owl Crate. Everything is so beautiful and I think the themeing of this box was completely spot on. Next month the Owl Crate theme is Epic, and we have been promised goodies inspired by Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Lord of the Rings (hello all my favorites!). What are the chances Richard Madden and Orlando Bloom will be wrapped in my box? No? Well, if you would like to check out Owl Crate for yourself, please use this referral link right here and help a sista out! Happy reading!


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Owl Crate: October

Owl Crate Subscription Box: October

Hello bookworm friends! I received my October Owl Crate a couple of weeks ago, and I have been waiting for the motivation to write about it to come, but it’s taking awhile. While this month’s box contained a lot of cool pieces, it wasn’t as appealing to me personally as some of the other recent boxes so it was kind of an eh month for me. But I do love Owl Crate and I want to continue to share these boxes with you so you are hopefully inspired to check it out for yourself! Here’s what was in this month’s box:

This polka dot paper clip from My Heart My Tribe is perfect for my planner because it is so big. I love the pattern and it’s a really useful piece, so this is one that I was excited for.

This Sleeping Beauty inspired bracelet by The Geeky Cauldron was my favorite item from the October box, and one of my favorites from any of my Owl Crates. I love Sleeping Beauty so I was super excited for this piece and I will definitely wear it all the time, especially at Disneyland.

I also really loved this Wizard of Oz passport notebook from The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild, partially because I am a notebook hoarder. I can never seem to get enough little notebooks!

The other main item in this month’s box was a Peter Pan inspired beanie from Whosits and Whatsits. It seems to be a popular item with other Owl Crate subscribers, but I am not a beanie person so this is one that doesn’t do much for me. This month’s book is Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, which is a retelling of a classic Russian folktale. I don’t know anything about the story itself, but it looks like a really interesting (and kind of dark and creepy) read. I am really behind on my Owl Crate reading, so I gotta find some time to get to my TBR list! The theme for the November box is Wonderland, and I am really excited to see what Owl Crate has in store for next month. If you are interested in checking out Owl Crate for yourself, please use my referral link!

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book review

Read, Reading, Next Up: October

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Hello fellow bookworms! I have seen a few of these types of posts floating around blogland and decided to try it out for myself. I have a feeling this will become a sporadic series here, so I hope you like it! The basic premise is I tell you a little about the book I most recently finished, what I am currently reading, and what is next up on my TBR (to be read) list. And I’ll give you my opinion on them because I like to pretend you care about what I think. Lolz.




Read: Okay, first is the book I just finished reading, which is Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. This is the first book I received from Blogging for Books and I was super excited to read this one. I heard good things about Mindy’s first book, and from what I know of her TV career, she seems like a gal who is funny and smart. I really enjoyed Mindy’s writing style, she is certainly humorous and knows how to entertain her audience. She comes off as very relateable and real, which I appreciate in a memoir writer. It definitely had that “we could be friends” in real life vibe (which given my close proximity to where her show shoots, could actually happen one day!). I had no idea she is a graduate of Dartmouth, which clearly speaks volumes about her intelligence level. There were several chapters in the book that I truly enjoyed reading, but my favorite was the breakdown of a typical day in the life of Mindy Kaling. It was really cool and interesting to see what goes on in her standard day (spoiler alert: it’s a lot). As a writer myself, I particularly liked the glimpse at her writing process for The Mindy Project and what goes into an episode script.

The main thing I found lacking in Why Not Me? was some sort of through-line. The individual chapters and sections tied together, but there was no tangible overall theme to the book. I think that leaves it a little lacking in terms of being a “memoir”–I don’t feel there is a defined purpose to the book as a whole. It was entertaining and enjoyable, but not a book I would say made any sort of lasting impact. Why Not Me? would be great for a day at the beach, or if you are looking for something that is fun and doesn’t require a lot of brain power.

Reading: I know I am way late to the game on the Lunar Chronicles series (what else is new), but I finally picked up Cinder by Marissa Meyer and just started reading it last weekend. So far I am really enjoying it. As you can probably discern from the title and cover, Cinder is loosely based on Cinderella, but this is definitely not your standard re-telling. Cinder is way more sci fi than fairy tale, and it also includes a lot of elements I would associate with dystopian young adult novels. If you have read any of my other book themed posts, you know I am a huge fan of YA lit, in particular YA series, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to read this one. I am about halfway through and I can’t wait to keep on reading!

Next Up: I took Squirt to Barnes and Noble today and was SO EXCITED to see Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas is finally available in paperback. I finished the previous book in her series over the summer, but didn’t want to buy book four in hardback when I had the other three in paperback (my series books need to match, people!). This is definitely next up on my list, though I might have to go back and scan through Heir of Fire to make sure I remember everything that happened. As I stated in my previous review, Heir of Fire was not my fave in the Throne of Glass series, and I am hoping Queen of Shadows gets back on track.




Have you read any of my Read, Reading, or Next Ups? Tell me your thoughts (no spoilers!) and let me know if there is something you think I should add to my TBR list!


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Book Review: All the Bright Places

Book Review: All the Bright Places

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You guys. This book. Seriously.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven has been sitting on my shelf for a while. It’s on my 2016 reading list, and I have been looking forward to reading it. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get to it, but I am so so so glad I read this book. I feel like this should be required reading for all high school students. For reals.




Okay. So the plot. Violet is a cute girl from the cool crowd who has gone through a pretty horrific family tragedy. Finch is the class freak who is dealing with some intense mental health issues. They meet one day at the top of the school’s bell tower as they each contemplate committing suicide. They don’t, but their moment together ties their future in a way that neither could have expected. Their journey together definitely goes beyond the typical high school relationship. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll spend the rest of the review raving.

Violet and Finch are both written so well. They are characters who are real, flawed, make mistakes, and say and do some pretty harsh things. Yet, I love them both. Finch in particular is such a funny guy, he reminds me a lot of several people that I knew in high school. I love Violet’s intelligence and her passion for writing, and I loved watching her grow as a character. I became connected to these characters, which is how you know that they are written well. I cared about what happened to them. I was angry on their behalf. And I cried when they suffered.

In addition to creating two amazing characters, Niven has told a story that I think is so important, and so not talked about in our society. Mental health issues, especially in teenagers, are so taboo, but they are such a vital topic. Finch doesn’t want to deal with his issues because he doesn’t want to be labeled, and it’s honestly a legitimate concern knowing how our society operates. Niven handles the topic so beautifully. It is not cheesy or preachy at all. It’s just real.




One of the reasons I love reading young adult literature so much is that (most of) these books handle tough topics in a way that is much more relatable than adult fiction. All the Bright Places definitely does that. If I were still teaching high school English, this would be a book I would be putting on my class reading list. This is a serious novel about something serious, but it has so much heart. Pick it up and check it out, just make sure you have some Kleenex handy.


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Owl Crate Subscription Box: September 

As you might have figured out by now, I am a wee bit obsessed with my Owl Crate monthly subscription box. If you are new to these parts (welcome!), Owl Crate is designed for lovers of young adult lit. Each month they release a new themed box that contains one hardcover YA read, along with lots of other goodies inspired by popular teen novels. I have been receiving the boxes for a few months now and I feel like they are getting better and better each month. I look forward to each new box and am always excited to see what’s in store. September’s theme was Darkness, which is perfect for the fall weather that everyone but So Cal seems to be experiencing (not that I’m bitter or anything). This month’s box contained tons of good stuff and I’m psyched to share it with you!




One of my favorite items this month was this candle from The Melting Library. It’s inspired by Celaena from the Throne of Glass series (which I really enjoyed) and smells like a super tasty cake. Seriously, it’s one of those candles that smells like you could eat it. I am also loving the gold container.

I am a big fan of Out of Print, so I was stoked to see this canvas pouch with a quote from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I actually just finished the book (I never picked it up before because those pictures of the kids freak me out) and I liked it more than I thought I would.

Another one of my favorite items this month was this fortune-telling bath fizzer from Da Bomb. One, I love that this company was started by two teenage entrepreneurs (though nothing makes me feel lazier than kids with more drive/success than I have!). Two, I think the concept of the magic 8 ball esque bath bomb is brilliant. To use, you simply ask a yes or no question, hold your bath bomb under the tap, and discover your answer inside! Unfortunately, I did not get the answer I was hoping for from my bomb, but at least I got to take a relaxing bath right after to heal my woes.

The book for this month is Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, which looks really interesting. As always, the book came with a signed bookplate and a handwritten note from the author. In addition to all of that goodness, the box also contained a bookmark from Evie Bookish, a copy of the serial Remade, and a mini coloring book featuring the new series Moon Chosen.




And as always, we got a sneak peek into the next Owl Crate subscription box, and the new theme is Once Upon a Dream. I am SO EXCITED for this box. I obviously love fairy tales, and “Once Upon a Dream” is one of my favorite songs. I CANNOT WAIT to see what’s inside! If you are interested in checking out Owl Crate for yourself, please use this link (referral link). I promise, you will not be disappointed!


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