Author Anthony Avina Presents: The Best Books Of 2016!

What’s up my friends? As the holidays quickly approach, so too does the new year, and with that comes a time of reflection over the past year’s
events. One thing I thought I’d do for this blog is talk about the best books I read in 2016, from YA and dark horror to memoirs and more! So
without any further delay, here are my tops books of 2016! Not all of these books were released this year, but I read them all the same and
really enjoyed them. I hope you will enjoy my few thoughts on these, and if you want to read my full reviews of these books and more, be sure
to follow me here on my blog.

1) Saint Odd by Dean Koontz:

The final installment of the Odd Thomas series was such an emotional one. The final battle between good and evil took place, and the book marked
the most heroic character development of the series. The character of Odd Thomas has quickly become one of my favorites, and Dean Koontz fans
will recognize the incredibly powerful story that has been told over the course of several books. Fans of the series will not be disappointed in
this final installment as story lines will close, and the ending will bring a smile to your face as you read the final thoughts of Odd Thomas.

2) The Night of Elisa (Illustrated Edition) by Isis Sousa:

This beautifully Gothic story was brought to life beautifully by author Isis Sousa. The story follows a young girl running away from her past, and
the young man who fears she’ll discover his own dark past. Set in a Victorian era setting, this story is equal parts horror and historical
fiction, and this book quickly became an instant classic that horror fans will not want to miss.

3) Lady Midnight: The Dark Artifices Book One by Cassandra Claire:

The first book of author Cassandra Claire’s The Dark Artifices series brought the world of the Shadowhunters to Los Angeles, advancing the story
years after the events of the Mortal Instruments series. Fans of the original will love returning to the mythology of the original series, while
also loving the new characters that are explored in this story. The book involves forbidden romances, brutal murders and shocking revelations
that promise to bring about a new and intriguing threat to the Shadowhunter world.

4) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins:

The spiritual successor to Gone Girl, this book by author Paula Hawkins was one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read. The psychological thriller
focused on a woman struggling with an alcohol addiction and a traumatic past, who involves herself in a missing persons case and discovers that
some secrets are darker than anyone could imagine.

5) You’re Never Weird On the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day:

This incredible memoir from creative genius Felicia Day was a fantastic way of telling the story of her life. It was a humor filled memoir that
spoke to the creative and geek-loving people of the world, and told of how it’s possible to not only be yourself, but to be yourself and succeed
in life doing what you love. It’s a great memoir that everyone should read.

6) the girl who couldn’t come up with an original title by the Behrg:

One of the more impactful and thought-provoking stories I read this year, the book from author the Behrg was an emotional roller-coaster that
deserves to be read. While I do urge you to read the review since there is a trigger warning for this book, I think this is a fantastic story
about a young girl who traverses the realm known as The Lines. Filled with emotion, heart and an incredibly creative story, this is definitely a
must read book.

7) Zenith: The Androma Saga Part 1 by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings:

This story from authors Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings was a breathtaking new science fiction adventure that explored a brand new galaxy
and characters that all settled into moral shades of grey. The story is fast paced, action packed and does a great job of setting up the larger
story that is set to be told in the coming full novel in 2017.

8) Tales from Alternate Earths Anthology from Inklings Press:

This amazing anthology from Inklings Press featured some amazing works from a group of  fantastic authors that explored one of my favorite
scientific theories and their respective literary genre: alternative universes and alternative history. This anthology was fantastic, exploring
worlds where the Cuban Missile Crisis wasn’t averted or where Dinosaurs didn’t become extinct, but rather evolved and grew into the dominant
species. This was a fun read that was insightful, entertaining and fun to read, and I highly recommend you guys read it.

9) A Life of Death (A Life of Death #1) by Weston Kincade:

This emotional YA story from author Weston Kincade follows a young man who recalls his time as a teen, when he discovered an incredible
gift, but at a time when he was at his lowest. This story explores the ramifications of abusive family lives, and the impact that death has on
our lives. It’s a fantastic read that people will not want to miss.

10) Satan’s Beckoning by Michael K. Foster:

This sequel to The Wharf Butcher from author Michael K. Foster was an incredible read, and delved deeper into the world of DCI Jack Mason and
David Carlisle. The hunt for a serial killer becomes personal as Carlisle begins to get into the mind of the killer, and discovers a dark world
filled with deceit and untold horrors. This is a thriller worth reading, and one of the best thrillers of 2016!

11) Red Death by Jeff Altabef:

This YA dystopian novel explores the impact of religion and the way cultures interact in this futuristic world where a plague known as the Red
Death has impacted the world, dividing the land into tribes and following a group of people from the various tribes who come together and discover
a world shattering secret. Setting up a world filled with action, romance and heart, this is a must read first book in an exciting new series.

12) Where The Dead Ones Play by Kyle M. Scott:

This exciting and dark horror thriller was one of the best stories I read in 2016. The story told by author Kyle M Scott was dark, intense and
incredibly powerful. The imagery used to describe the setting, along with the amazing character development that helped change the story constantly
until the last page, was fantastic to read. The shocking conclusion haunted me as I visualized the outcome, and fans of dark horror will not
want to miss this incredible read.

Special Mention to “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” by Ian Doescher, which was a fantastic read! This early Christmas gift was so fun to get
into, filled with amazing inner monologues from fan favorite characters, and the combination of Shakespearean language and Star Wars mythology
was so incredibly powerful. I definitely recommend this literary classic!

That was my list guys. I hope you guys enjoyed this, and I hope you will not only check out my reviews, but will get these books for yourselves
and check them out. These ranged from big name releases to small, independent publishers and authors, and I’m happy I got the opportunity to
read all these amazing books. Thanks for an incredible year of books, and I look forward to building up this blog and reading even more books next year!
If you haven’t yet, I’d love it if you guys could follow this blog and share this post. I appreciate your support, and look forward to providing
even more book posts next year! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everyone!

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Interview with Author/Illustrator Isis Sousa:


1) Tell us a little bit about yourself and
how you came to be a writer.

Hi Anthony! First of all, I want to thank
you for the great opportunity! I never know what to tell about myself… But I
can start sharing about the things I do. I work as professional illustrator doing
most book covers nowadays and before that I have worked as graphic designer in
the heavy metal music industry. I also do photography as hobby, most
nature/landscapes, I am a woodcarving apprentice and ornament painter and on my
scarce free time I also enjoy climbing/hiking on mountains and nurture a
passion for languages. I begin to write by accident. I had an idea for a story
one day and by the time it was the self-publishing boom… And then I asked myself,
why not publish it? Just for fun? Then, I did it and the story was “The Night
of Elisa.”

2) Where did the inspiration for “The Night of Elisa” come from?

It came from a dream I had 13-14 years ago.
I was there, in this place where the twilight was eternal and discovered the
people around me were all dead… I had a warning about the death of a friend/co-worker
in that dream. Which came true about a week later, and this experience has been
imprinted in who I am to this day. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the book and Francis
Ford Coppola’s movie were also very remarkable to me. Music has also a great
influence in what I do and. I’d say those were the main sources of inspiration
for the story 🙂

3) What other writers or artists have inspired your work?

Oh boy! This list would be endless! I am an
art nuts, I collect art books and images, fiction and a loooot of music. I can
say writers such as Stephen King, Mary Shelley, Clive Barker, Allan Moore, Bram
Stoker, Oscar Wilde, to name a few. (Yes, I am all about classics, both the old
school and the modern.) I love the works of illustrators painters such as Mark
Simonetti, Pierangelo Boog, Corrado Vanelli  and Raphael Lacoste and many, many names of
the classic arts.


4) What do you find is your best creative outlet: writing or artwork, (i.e.
illustration, graphic design, etc?)

Artwork, no doubt! 🙂 Writing is too
tiresome, too slow, and full of letters 😉 Doing art is so free, colourful,
flows like good music.

5) You mention in your bio you are a metal fan. What bands do you listen to
when you are working on your next book or piece of art?

I love many Metal bands and also the
classics in Hard Rock. Some of the most inspirational bands for me are Paradise
Lost, Moonspell, Therion, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation,  and Crematory to name a few.

6) What is your favorite genre to both read and write in?

Gothic, classic Gothic stuff 🙂 I am attracted
to the Dark and the Fantastic, and the Romantic aesthetics.

7) How do you feel social media has impacted your reach as an artist and
writer?

To be honest, it has impacted tremendously.
Art communities such as CGScociety, Sketchoholic, IAMag and Art Station (which
are the social media for digital artists/illustrators) together with Facebook, connected
me to great names of the industry and clients.

As an author, my best social media is
GoodReads and recently, Twitter. Goodreads, specially, has enabled me to
connect with most of my readership and helped me spread the word about my work
and come across a lot of cool authors, such as yourself! And now Twitter is
putting me across a lot of interesting people with common interests.

Without social media, it would be extremely
difficult to show the world the work that I do…

8) What do you find more rewarding when
writing: developing plot or creating your characters?

Characters, characters and characters 😀
Developing plots give me headache 😛 Characters are fun, I can imagine what
they are made of, what do they like, what they look like and how they would
react in given situation… This is such a cosy part of the process.

9) What is one genre you would never write in and why?

Hm, I am kind of an “anti” person, so it
would be most genres! LOL Don’t get me wrong. I love to read most genres and I
like to add a pinch of romance, horror, mystery and anything dark in my work as
a general rule. I think perhaps the least attractive genres to write, would be
in my opinion, a “romantic romance” or a “sweet romance”, also erotica. these genres are just
not me, but I respect  and root for those who write them. Oh and I almost forgot – Young Adult. I dislike 99% of YA stories out
there and I see no fun at all in writing about teen years, ew! 😛

10) What are your future plans for your writing and art careers?

The most selfish of all!!!  – To be able to live out of my illustrated
books someday and to paint ONLY for myself (meaning, as an artist, I would not
need to make commissioned work for any clients, anymore!). I love my clients,
they are smart, fun, great minds to work with, but every artist’s dream is to
paint for him/herself! ^.^

The Night of Elisa by Isis Sousa Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and Booklover Catlady Publicity in return for a fair and honest review.
Many thanks!

If Penny Dreadful and American Horror Story were to be combined into one super project, it would look a lot like Isis Sousa’s “The Night of Elisa”.
This beautifully illustrated horror and suspense novel takes readers through a unique story in a Victorian era setting with a phenomenal
array of various characters. The story follows Elisa, a mysterious girl who is fleeing a troubled past, and Leonhard, the man who finds Elisa
but fears she’ll discover his dark history.

Taking the reader through an almost Beauty and the Beast style story with some more mature and
horror filled elements for sure, this is a story that needed to be told, and the cinematic and visual representation of the story through the
mixture of art and story makes this one of the most unique reads I’ve read in 2016. The interesting take on this story made it almost feel like
a classic novel written in the Gothic era the story is based on, as if it were a manuscript previously unknown to the world and recently discovered
by historians. That is the power of Isis Sousa, and her beautiful tale of Duskland and the characters in this mystery land is one of the most
original horror stories to come out in recent years. Visually, character development wise and settings wise, “The Night of Elisa” is a must
read novel that readers will be fully engrossed in, and this reviewer hopes to see a sequel to this incredible tale.