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Vampire Book Club’s Best Books of 2016

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VBC's Best Books of 2016Narrowing the list of stellar books published each year continues to get harder and harder. For the first time in seven years, VBC is bumping the number of books featured in our Best Books list. Yes, we’ve determined the Top 15 Books of 2016.

We have great fantasy romance (something we got into this year), stellar YA, the very best in urban fantasy, and a few doses of the sexy-sexy. Basically, any book on this list that isn’t already on your TBR should be.

The whole VBC team participated in creating this list, so you’ll find commentary from all of us below. At the very end, you’ll also get to see which book VBC readers selected as the Best Book of 2016!

VBC’S BEST BOOKS OF 2016

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet // VBC

1. A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
(The Kingmaker Chronicles #1)

Jo: A fascinating world, sarcastic banter and ALL THE FEELS made this debut fantasy romance shoot right to the top of my favorite reads of the year. I loved this author’s style and am super excited to read not only the next book in this series, but also what she writes in the future. Highly recommended.

Amy: Snarky Heroine with secrets—check. Hot male lead—check. Witty banter—check. Action—check. All things, and then some, that I look for in my reading coupled with an awesome world/mythology. I was sold before I read the first page. Just sayin’.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin // VBC Review2. The Obelisk Gate
by N.K. Jemisin
(The Broken Earth #2)

Jannelle: I never imagined I would be as invested in an epic fantasy novel the way I’ve fallen into with The Broken Earth trilogy. The Obelisk Gate was a win for me and one of my top books of the year. Jemisin creates no plot point without reason and the plot moves a lot faster in this installment as the chapters consistently shift perspectives, with revelations at every turn.

Chelsea: Like Jannelle, this series caught me by surprise, but now I can’t recommend it hard enough. The Obelisk Gate was a five-star read. Watching the plot come together, the characters grow and change, and getting gobsmacked by twists? Yes, please. I’m eagerly awaiting book 3.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

3. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
(Illuminae Files #2)

Jo: The incredibly unique formatting style of this series once again made for a fast-paced, heart thumping read, with the characters in a constant state of jeopardy. In my review I said this was like Die Hard and Alien had a YA baby—who doesn’t want to read that?!

Beth: Kristoff just had a really good year this year! Gemina was the second book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, and it packed a punch. The format is unusual, and may not be for everyone—but if it works for you, it really amps up the story line. Carrying on immediately after Illuminae ended, Gemina demonstrates just how well Kristoff and Kaufman work their crazy brains together to come up with awesomeness.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

4. Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
(Kate Daniels #9)

Amy: There have been some really good releases this year in established series (shout out Once Broken Faith & Archangel’s Heart) but being the penultimate book in this series, Magic Binds continues to keep its momentum going, not slowing down in the slightest. It was hilarious and at times heartbreaking, but it was great. Also, the wedding!

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab // VBC5. A Gathering of Shadows
by V.E. Schwab

(Shades of Magic #2)

Amy: V.E. Schwab When a first book in a series just blows you away, you always hope the next book will deliver as well, and A Gathering of Shadows certainly does. Events in book one really changed a lot of things for our main characters, things they now have to deal with in AGOS, so we get to see a lot of character growth. Starting off a little slower than its predecessor, it lulls you into a sense of complacency while it builds and builds to an ending guaranteed to make you wish it were the new year already.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

6. Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole
(Arcana Chronicles #5)

Chelsea: I have been a huge fan of the Arcana Chronicles since the first book. Kresley has never been afraid to push her characters, and Arcana Rising proves it. It’s an emotional sucker punch, but that’s a good thing. She’d developed these characters we adore and deftly balances hope and despair. Plus, I got one of those scenes I’ve been waiting books and books for. (Though, I admit to side-eyeing the cliffhanger ending.)

Jenn: One word Aric. OMG, I just love that man! But the whole book is amazing and the ending is a did-that-really-happen kind of ending that will leave you stunned.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

7: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
(A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Jo: Once again Maas pulls no punches, with plenty of twists and turns in this sequel. The world expands and a whole cast of brilliant new characters are introduced. The direction this book took from the first may not have been for everyone but it worked for me.

Jenn: I loved the first book, a Court of Thorns and Roses, but I ADORED the second book. I felt like I learned so much more about the world, the characters, the story and history behind the story. The characters in this book, and the OMG ending had me dying for the next one.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

8. Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
(Soulwood #1)

Margaret: Rick LaFleur’s Psy-LED team, made up of misfit witches and shifters just out of the academy, turns to Nell Ingram, former cult member with mysterious powers, to find a missing person and stop a terrorist. Blood of the Earth features some of the familiar vampires and weres from the Jane Yellowrock series, but Nell’s magic is something is totally new. I love this team and the way they help Nell grow in both skills and confidence.

Blood Vow by JR Ward // VBC9. Blood Vow
by J.R. Ward
(Black Dagger Legacy #2)

Jo: Okay, so I’m slightly cheating here, since this hasn’t come out yet, but I absolutely loved being back in the BDB training center in the first book. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the new recruits and I’m loving the focus being more on the core couple and their romance in this spin off series. I’m sure this will be in my top 5!

Chelsea: SAME. This book looks amazing, and I will love it. (Review to come!)

VBC Review To Come! | Get It on Amazon

10. Hope and Red by Jon Skovron
(Empire of Storms #1)

Amy: Hope and Red was a book I knew I wanted to read the moment I first heard about it, but when it turned into a swashbuckling story about pirates and vendettas, I loved it! But the action, violence, and gore don’t take away from the sweeter aspects of the story, instead they balance each other out quite nicely. Plus, Hope is quite the badass.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

11. The Sight by Chloe Neill
(Devil’s Isle #2)

Jannelle: I was looking forward to reading The Sight before its release and it did not disappoint. The Sight was an absolute page-turner and one of the best—if not the best—book I have read all year. The urban fantasy and paranormal genres are fantastical because of those magical elements—yeah, but the genre lasts because of those tangible qualities we can relate to in “real life.” There were many aspects of Neill’s world here that were unerringly familiar and struck an all-too-real chord for me, making Neill’s story truly come to life. I am currently anxiously awaiting the next book in The Devil’s Isle series.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

Breath of Earth by Beth Cato // VBC Review12. Breath of Earth by Beth Cato
(Breath of Earth #1)

Margaret: Set in an alternate 1906 San Francisco, Breath of Earth has a wonderfully unique magic system featuring geomancers who harvest the earth’s seismic energy and store it in crystals which are then used to power their machines. It features a POC heroine and a diverse cast who set out to save a world that doesn’t value them. It’s action-packed, sometimes harsh, but utterly fascinating.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

13. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
(Six of Crows #2)

Amy: Late on the Six of Crows train, I devoured the first book and started right in on the second. I loved that Leigh Bardugo was able to add so much more depth to the six main characters, and give another pulse-pounding adventure to finish off this duology. I was on the edge of my seat wondering how our group was going to make it out of this one.

VBC Review | Get It on Amazon

14. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
(Nevernight #1)

Beth: In this YA fantasy, Kristoff creates a dark world populated by monsters and assassins. A world in which it can be hard to tell which is which. Having read his Lotus War series, and started his Illuminae files (with Amie Kaufman), I was excited to see what this book would bring. And, true to form, it brought amazing character- and world-building. I truly think Kristoff is tops when it comes to that, and it shows here. A must-read, for sure!

15. Z by Larissa Ione
(Demonica #11.7)

Jannelle: Z is an essential addition to the series that showcases a sweet and steamy romance along with the action-packed and fast-paced plot we have come to expect of Ione’s Demonica series. To say that a novella almost 12 books in is a game changer sounds silly, but if there is no doubt about it; the Demonica Series is back, everyone, and I am craving that next installment.

VBC READER’S CHOICE BEST BOOK

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews // VBC

I love it when the book VBC readers pick also makes our reviewers’ list. Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews, the latest in the long-time favorite Kate Daniels series, was your pick! Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Heart and Darynda Jones’ The Curse on Tenth Grave were close runners up.

5 Responses to “Vampire Book Club’s Best Books of 2016”

  1. Kelsey Cooper says:

    I loved A Promise of Fire, it got me out of my reading funk when I was DNFing everything I picked up.I can’t wait for Breath of Fire in January.

  2. Jen Twimom says:

    Hmmm… I’m reading more and more contemporaries these days, so I haven’t read a lot of those titles. I did really enjoy THE SITE and I always love Kate Daniels. Most of my UF is pre-2016, as I’m catching up on older stuff.

  3. Sharon says:

    Can’t wait to check out these books.

  4. Sarah says:

    A COURT OF MIST AND FURRY WAS SOOOO GOOD, LEGIT ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVOURITES (and I have read a looooottt of books)

  5. Sousym says:

    I’d put in another vote for Court of Mist and Fury. I read the first book and didn’t love it, so many little things just felt “off”. I figured it was a bit of a misstep for Maas, but thought I’d give book 2 a go before abandoning the series. Wow, everything that felt wrong in book 1 was wrong for good reason, and was tied together beautifully. I’ve recommended this series so many times since.

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