Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Reading List 2016: What You Need to Read this Holiday Season

Christmas season is upon us at last! I don't care what anybody says - I love Christmas, and I love singing Christmas songs ridiculously loud in the car when nobody is looking. Or maybe when somebody is. Don't judge me! Christmas is my favorite time of the year, including Thanksgiving, because it's the most magical and joyous occasion of the year. I love snuggling up with a good book on a cold, rainy night, clutching a steaming mug of hot tea. It's every bookworm's dream. This year, I've got a few YA and Adult picks for you guys. The books listed here have either been read by me or will soon be voraciously consumed once I have hit my publication deadlines on Unbreakable SEAL (coming at ya'll December 9th, 2016 - holla for that little bit of self-promotion!).

 If you are interested in any of the books on this year's Christmas recommendations, go purchase these wonderful novels on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! My intent here at Writing Belle is merely to promote and further the appreciation of the written word. 

So here you have it: my annual recommended holiday reads for 2016.

Let's start with some romantic drama...
The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. 

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them. 

Summer's Note:
I absolutely adored this novel, by the way. If you're looking for a refreshing, almost poetic look at both romance and tragedy, I highly recommend this beautiful story. 

Next, let's visit the apocalypse...
H2O by Virginia Bergin 

It's in the rain...and just one drop will kill you.

They don't believe it at first. Crowded in Zach's kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach's parents' frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, "It's in the rain! It's fatal, it's contagious, and there's no cure."

Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who's been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby's only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive.
Summer's Note: 
In the process of reading this one. So far I love the sarcasm of the MC.

How about some dystopian to lighten the mood? 
The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel 
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. 

This year, it is my turn. 

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power. 

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…
Summer's Note: 
Picked this beauty up on Cyber Monday, my one indulgence. I've heard great things about it. 

What's a bookshelf without some YA? 
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
Summer's Note: 
This book look amazing. I can't wait to read it. I recommend that you give it a shot, too. 

A little blend of dystopian/science diction and post-apocalyptic adventure: 
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness
Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
Summer's Note:
There is a bit of a plot twist in this book that I am all too aware of. Word on the bookish street is that this novel will be a full-length motion picture very soon. I hope that's true!

Some brilliant fantasy never hurt anyone! 
The Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.
Summer's Note: 
If you are intimately acquainted with the bookish machinations of my imaginative mind, you will know that I am IN LOVE with and positively HEAD OVER HEELS for this series. It's addicting, it's incredible. Ransom Riggs is a masterful storyteller. 

So there you have it: a list of recommendations to get you through those cold winter nights! If you have a suggestion, feel free to email me. I'm basically game at featuring anything!

Enjoy the Christmas season, folks! 

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