Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Nadaness In Motion's Top Books from 2016


I'm thrilled to reveal my top picks from 2016. Not all of these books were published in 2016 – some may have been released in 2015 – but I received and reviewed them last year and they were GREAT.
The books are not in any order whatsoever and are all highly recommended.
To avoid repetition, I've included a link at the bottom with the book reviews page for your leisure, so you can read my full reviews of these amazing books.




To the authors: Thank you for the opportunity of allowing me to read and review your work.

I've read many amazing books this year, here are my top - top - picks! 

The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel

The first instalment in The Oakwood Mystery Series, is a super-paced good read, perfect for a bibliophile and a mystery lover!
The story's main character Charlotte – Charley – Carpenter, joins an elite reading group focused around mysteries to help boost her sales. A murder takes place and the characters discover that the murder takes up after their reading list. 
"Most of the Agathas seemed to be enjoying themselves, as if the poor woman had been killed for their entertainment. Be honest, Carpenter. You're just as curious as the rest of them."

Black Water Tales: The Unwanted by Jean Nicole Rivers

The Unwanted is a horror novel set in the remote city of Borslav. Blaire Baker volunteers as a teacher at St. Sebastian Orphanage, where she will spend a year. St. Sebastian is not an ordinary orphanage. It is a place where people come to leave their 'unwanted' children.
"The loneliness she carried was dark and telling of a grotesque obscurity of the heart, one that haunted her every move and moment."


The Corpse with the Ruby Lips by Cathy Ace
 
A new instalment in the Cait Morgan Mystery Series, this novel is a different mystery by all means. Cait goes to Budapest to teach for a month; there one of her students, Zsofia, asks that she look into her grandmother's death which occurred almost 40 years prior on Cait's university campus.
One of the things I liked about this instalment was Ace's use of books, a saga to be exact, that might mirror what has happened to the family. The author also handles a variety of themes and problems such as Alzheimer's and alcoholism, to keep Cait – and the reader – away from finding the truth.
"'Careful' is my middle name," I mugged.
"Not it's not, and it never will be. Your middle name's much more likely to be 'catastrophe.'"

Jess Under Pressure by E. Graziani
"Just as randomly two human cells come together to create life, it can easily and indiscriminately be snatched away."
Jess Under Pressure is a powerful novella of regaining one's life, overcoming obstacles, breaking free and above all learning to live and love once again.
The story is about Jessica Britton, a renowned psychologist, whose book Give More, Do More, Be Better has inspired thousands of women. However, things are not perfect for the doctor, who discovers her husband cheating on her when he and her publicist die in a car crash.

Set Me Free by London Setterby
 
The theme of being set free does not only apply to the protagonist Miranda but also to Owen and the whole town of Falls Island, all of whom need to be set free from a tragedy that happened seven years before.
Everyone has a secret in the novel.
“I knew enough about grief to know that it never truly went away, even after seven years. Sometimes it was just a stone you carried around with you, hardly remembering it was there, and other times it hit you with its full shrieking malevolent force – always at the strangest moments, like when you were driving or at the bank.”

Kings or Pawns by JJ Sherwood

The first instalment in the Steps of Power series, the novel deals with Hairem, who has ascended the throne after his father's passing, and who has to deal with a council of corrupt members, all working on their personal gains and away from the needs of their respective elven realms.
There is also the army general Jikun, whom we see as a bit selfish but nonetheless skilled and who at least has an idea about the duties of his role as a general and the sacrifices he has to make.
"Unlike the palace treasury, [the personal finances] of the council members were filling up like a halfling's pockets in a treasure trove."
The novel directed my interest towards the politics of running a country, and had me wondering what happens when a good leader is surrounded by corrupt ones.

Dreams of Her Own by Rebecca Heflin

"She'd never been so close to a man before. Unless you counted rush hour on the Brooklyn-Queens Crosstown."
The novel is the third and final instalment in the Dreams Come True Series. This time, the story is about Millie, assistant to best-selling romance author Darcy Butler.
The book is full of beautiful imagery and quotes, as well as comic and silly situations that happen to no one but Millie. They cracked me up and made me want to give her a hug.
I loved Millie and her character development.
(Note: Adult content)

Stake Out by Lily Luchesi
 
Stake Out is the first paranormal, romance and crime novella in the Paranormal Detectives series. Easily read in one sitting, the book is fast-paced, action-packed and highly enjoyable.
Detective Daniel Mancini survives an encounter with a man named Vincent, whom we learn is a 200-year old vampire. The encounter forces him into an early retirement. Two years later, he is approached by a beautiful young-looking woman, claiming she is from a lesser known FBI division called the Paranormal Investigative Division (PID).

The Other Me by Maha Gargash

Written by Emirati author Maha Gargash, the novel has beautiful prose handling the lives of members in one Emirati family and the workings within that family. It is a story of how very different women rebel against one man. 
Set in Egypt and the UAE in 1995, the novel covers various themes such as women, education, love, family, duty, and entitlement. 
"I'd overpowered them. I'd broken them and slashed their resolve."

The Grey Forest by Maureen Griswold (short story collection)
 
It is a collection of nine short stories, spanning several genres from realism to the paranormal to social criticism and current issues. The stories are beautifully written and the style is fairly consistent throughout the collection.
For me the star of the collection "The Neighbour's Girl", which was inspired by the US entering Iraq under various pretexts. The little girl may have almost been silent throughout the story but her silence spoke volumes. "The Neighbour's Girl" is by all means the most profound piece in the collection. 10 stars for this one.

Tales of the Rose Rabbit by Kirsten Weiss
A companion chapbook of poetry and poetic prose for the Witches of Doyle cozy mystery series, the book features a variety of poetic styles and themes mostly dark, but sometimes with a bit hope at the end. The main themes are war, darkness, hope and fantasy.



Metamorphosis by Jennifer Carole Lewis
"Living in the past doesn't change it. It only destroys the present."
Metamorphosis opens with former army corporal Ron McBride escaping from his captors and freezing in the Canadian wilderness. He carries the ashes of a friend, whom he was unable to save in the last book and hopes to give them to her family in a place called "Ekurru".
Almost frozen in the cold, Ron wakes up in Doc's cabin, where he meets his rescuers. He later discovers that the place is home to highly intelligent massive-sized bears.
The novel is quick-paced, paranormal, action, romance. Simply brilliant.
"The warmth hit him like truck, sparking an irrational temptation to crawl directly into the tiny fire to thaw his frozen body."


Full reviews can be found here.