I can’t believe that 2016 is at an end! It seems like 5 minutes ago it was only January and to think that it’s now 2017 is crazy. This is a round up of my favourite things that I loved throughout the year: my 4 favourite books, 4 favourite films and 3 TV shows that I have absolutely adored over the last 12 months.
Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas
I adore this series and I adored this book. So much stuff happens in this book and it has you sitting on the edge of your seat throughout. The characters are wonderful because they are all so flawed and realistic yet engaging and lovable at the same time. The world is vivid and rich and detailed and every single story line is explored. I love the relationships between the characters, particularly the female friendships, as well as the romances that are slowly brewing. This book was funny and witty and filled with light moments that contrast with the dark and gritty and haunting moments. The last 50 pages of this book are some of the most tense pages of a book that I think I’ve ever read and I think I was just continuously shouting ‘no!’ because Sarah J Maas knows how to torture her readers but I love her for it.
How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran
This year I happened to read a couple of non-fiction books and this book absolutely blew my mind. I adored it. It was such a refreshing and honest look on the feminism that I’d come to know and I found every single page engaging. It weaves stories from Caitlin’s life to prove her points on the world of feminism and it’s because you know that it’s real that it is so interesting. I was not expecting this book to be so moving and emotional and heart-wrenching but it really tugged at my heartstrings as well as making me think. I am so happy that I finally got round to read this book because I absolutely loved it.
Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
I have loved Holly Bourne for quite a while now but this book brought something completely different to my attention and I absolutely adored it. This book brought OCD to my attention in a way that wasn’t glamourized or made fun of but was honest and true to life. This book also breaches the topic of feminism in a funny, engaging and easily understandable way. The characters in this book are all so funny and witty and intelligent and I really love their friendship and they don’t compete for attention or popularity but are just genuinely good friends to each other. I also really liked the subtle romance in this book because it was sweet and sensitive and realistic. I absolutely adored this book and I also love the other books in this series.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I’m pretty sure this is the book that I have read the quickest in all of my years of reading. I absolutely flew through this book because it was just so engaging and thought-provoking and entertaining. Lou Clark is one of my favourite ever characters because she is so lively and vivacious and stubborn, which is a little bit like myself. This book is so funny and witty and engaging but at the same time it is very moving and poignant and inspiring and talks about a lot of issues that I’d never read about in a book before. This book doesn’t have a happy ending, which does physically pain me because I am all for everyone being happy at the end of a book, but the ending just makes this book more important. The characters are funny and relatable and the plot is fast paced and this book is great.
I have not shut up about Joy this year and that is because I think it deserves more love and recognition. Not only is it the amazing true story of an amazingly brilliant woman but it’s also a fantastic film in its own right. This film is inspiring and thought-provoking and moving but it also has its funny moments and I think that Jennifer Lawrence does a brilliant job telling the story of Joy Mangano. The main thing that I liked about this film is that Joy’s family was a completely normal family with it’s problems and it’s struggles – her family fight and argue, she has kids to look after and a job to go to as well as trying to invent something that could change her life forever. It’s such an empowering film about inspiring women helping each other and overcoming adversity and sexism in the 60s and I think it deserves so much more love.
Captain America: Civil War
You could probably predict that the latest Marvel release would be on this list but it actually is one of my absolute favourite films of the year. It manages to pack so much into the film without feeling too full or pushing characters to the wayside in the name of plot. It’s a superhero film so yes, there is a lot of action, but it is also heartfelt and moving and feels more realistic than I think some of the previous Marvel films have been. It has a very simple plot – it takes the characters that we’ve come to know and love across the Marvel films and shows us again how they are human and not their idealized personas and how they feel things and think things and are not just pieces to be moved on a board. And, as per usual, it was absolutely hilarious and filled with witty one-liners and I thought it was brilliant.
Now You See Me 2
This is another film that I think deserves more love because of the entire world that it manages to create and the complexity of everything that goes on. This film is mysterious and intriguing and the plot keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. The characters are all unique and interesting and witty and I love see their interactions on screen together. This film is visually beautiful to watch and the special effects really add another layer to the film and make the magic seem all the more real, even though the audience knows in their heart of hearts that it is not real. All of the performances are excellent and this film really is a mix between a spy thriller and buddy movie. It is brilliant and I really recommend that you check it out.
It was really difficult to chose between Zootopia and Moana but I think I preferred Zootopia just a teeny bit more. It is a really engaging film because it’s so bright and colourful and interesting. I also think that it’s a universal film because it can appeal to both kids and adults – which kids taking the more basic message of the film and older viewers picking up on the deeper meanings of everything that is going on. The film is really funny and witty and I love the main character of Judy as she’s so stubborn but helpful and kind and sarcastic. This is such a current film, despite it being a cartoon, because everything that this film says about race and identity is perhaps even more prominent in our current society. I really love this film and I think it’s great.
This is my favourite ever TV show so it would be silly of my not to include it in this post when I watched the fourth series this year. In my opinion, this show deserves so much more love and attention and acclaim because it is just so brilliant. Firstly, it’s accurate in every sense of the word – it’s historical and surprisingly scientific. The characters are all really engaging and interesting because they are all flawed in several ways but that is what makes them feel so real. This show is also really intriguing because the plots are fascinating and fast-paced and can be quite grisly and dark. But this show is also surprisingly hilarious and this is an element which I think often goes in-noticed. There are snarky comments and laughs in every single episode and I cannot believe there is only one series left because I absolutely love this show.
How To Get Away With Murder
This is a show that I have watched and enjoyed for a very long time but it is one of the only shows that I’ve watched this year that has been consistently on top. There have been no simply ‘filler’ episodes that serve no purpose and are a bit naff, everything serves a purpose and is engaging and is thrilling to watch. Every single episode is crammed with twists and turns and ups and downs and you are constantly sat on the edge of your seat. All of the characters are interesting and complex and they go through so much character development across the series that it really is unbelievable. There are also some particularly strong female characters as well as some good LGBTQ+ representation and this show certainly isn’t afraid to talk about ‘taboo’ issues and that something else that I love about it. It’s hilarious and mind-blowing and extremely stressful to watch but I still love it.
If I had an award for the best discovery of the year, it would most certainly be this. I have fallen completely head over heels in love with show and I think it is amazing. I love that it focuses on the psychological elements of serial killers rather than just the crimes they commit because it makes the show so much more original and interesting than other cop shows. I also adore the characters on this show. They are all so well-crafted and interesting and engaging with their own distinct quirks and personalities and backstories. Every episode is packed with twists and turns and the balance is exactly right between the goriness and darkness of the crimes and the humour and banter between the characters. It’s interesting and complex and deeply enjoyable and I absolutely adore it.
And, even have a look at some of my absolute favourite songs of the year!