Special Feature: Summer Reading List 2016

November 28, 2016 Special Feature, Top Ten Tuesday 3

toptentuesdaybannerThe summer holidays are on their way (and have already arrived for some!). That means it’s time for reading, right?!

Allow me to add a few YA Fantasy and Science Fiction books to your reading list for the holidays. Some are my favourites from during the year that are already available, and some are being released in the next couple of months.

I happened to write this post at the same time as a similar prompt from Top Ten Tuesday – hello, TTT-ers!

I hope you find something here that takes your fancy!

Available now


The Book of Whispers, Kimberly Starr

Tuscany, 1096 AD. Luca, young heir to the title of Conte de Falconi, sees demons. Since no one else can see them, Luca must keep quiet about what he sees.

Luca also has dreams—dreams that sometimes predict the future. Luca sees his father murdered in one such dream and vows to stop it coming true. Even if he has to go against his father’s wishes and follow him on the great pilgrimage to capture the Holy Lands.

When Luca is given an ancient book that holds some inscrutable power, he knows he’s been thrown into an adventure that will lead to places beyond his understanding. But with the help of Suzan, the beautiful girl he rescues from the desert, he will realise his true quest: to defeat the forces of man and demon that wish to destroy the world.

This stand-alone story was the winner of the Text Prize for 2015, and one of my favourites of this year.

Heartless, Marissa Meyer

If you haven’t yet read Marissa Meyer’s first series, The Lunar Chronicles, then you should just drop everything and go and read that, to be honest. But if you’re looking for something new from Marissa then try Heartless out. It’s the origin story of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Yep, before she was the furious queen demanding everyone’s head, Cath was just a young lady, keen to please her parents but also dreaming of opening her own bakery someday. When the King of Hearts shows an interest in courting her, Cath realises her plans could all be ruined, but there’s a newcomer to the court who Cath is more interested in: Jest, the court Joker.

A bittersweet stand-alone with all the brilliant world-building we’ve come to love from Marissa, with plenty of Wonderland about it.

My review will be up next week as part of the blog tour.



Gemina (Illuminae Files #2), Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

The saga that began with breakout bestseller Illuminae continues aboard Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station commander’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

If you haven’t got into these amazing space epics then now’s the time. Don’t be put off by their enormous size – the chat logs and graphics in the epistolary format mean plenty of white space. Plus, they are almost impossible to put down once you get into the action!

Gemina was one of my favourite reads of this year, with plenty of shady deals, space ship battles and nasty critters, mind- and universe-bending physics and sweet romances.

The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

I loved this beautifully-told tale of life, death and betrayal. It’s sort of a cross between Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Alice in Wonderland and A Court of Mist and Fury, with an Indian flavour. There will be a sequel coming during 2017, so get a hold of this one now!


December releases


To the Sea, Christine Dibley (Dec 23)

On a clear summer’s day, Detective Inspector Tony Vincent answers a call-out to an idyllic Tasmanian beach house. Surrounded by family and calm waters, seventeen-year-old Zoe Kennett has inexplicably vanished.

Four storytellers share their version of what has led to this moment, weaving tales which span centuries and continents. But Tony needs facts, not fiction: how will such fables lead him to Zoe and to the truth?

As Tony’s investigation deepens, he is drawn into a world where myth and history blur, and where women who risk all for love must pay the price through every generation.

A fantasy tale set in Tasmania. Sounds amazing, right?

January releases

Wayfarer (Passenger #2), Alexandra Bracken

I really enjoyed the time-travelling adventures of Etta and Nick in Passenger, although if you listen to our joint audio review, there are a few things that Philippa and I thought could be improvedThe ending was a major cliffhanger and I can’t wait to see where things go next, hopefully with less moon-eyed romance and more time-travel excitement.



Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2), Alison Goodman

June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.

Described as “Elizabeth Bennet meets Buffy”, this is demon hunting in the Regency era. Also, awesome.

I loved the first Lady Helen story when it was released at the start of 2016, and I’ve been hanging out for this second book ever since! Hurry up, January!

Carve the Mark, Veronica Roth (Jan 17)

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

We haven’t heard from Veronica Roth in a while – since Allegiant and the subsequent Four novella were released in 2013. Carve the Mark sounds amazing, and, let’s be honest, looks amazing too.



Windwitch, Susan Dennard (Jan 10)

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, a shadow man haunts the Nubrevnan streets, leaving corpses in his wake-and then raising those corpses from the dead. Windwitch continues the tale of Merik-cunning privateer, prince, and windwitch.

Philippa and I read Truthwitch earlier this year and reviewed it on episode 42 of our podcast. We felt that the characters and magic systems were interesting, but the execution of the actual story wasn’t great. It was certainly epic enough for us to want to keep reading though! I’m a bit confused by this blurb though – is this just about Merik? Where are Safi and Iseult?


Anni lives in Brisbane, Australia with her young family. She loves everything fantasy and science fiction and believes sleep is really very underrated.

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