I enjoyed answering Jamie's (The Perpetual Page Turner) End of the Year Survey in past years and decided to join in again this year. I did alter some of the questions and subtracted a few to make it my own.
Read Part 2 of my 2016: A Year in Review & Looking Ahead.
Overall I felt 2016 was a good reading year. I read less than I have in a while, but, for the most part, I enjoyed what I did read. There's a feeling a reader gets when opening a new book, one of anticipation and maybe a little fear. What if I hate it? What if I love it? Oh, I hope I love it! This year I was swept off my feet, visited new worlds, cried until my eyes were swollen and red, laughed, paced while I read as the tension kept building, and closed many books with an audible sigh of contentment, some of which left me deep in thought for a long time after.
Some Fun Meaningless 2016 Reading Statistics:
Number Of Books Read: 65
Genre Read The Most From:
(Some of what I read falls under more than one genre. Here, I count them under the genre I most identified with the book, Also of note, my categorization of each book by sub-genre using broad definitions).
Fiction - 23
Crime Fiction - 21
- 11 Contemporary Fiction (Literary, Women's, General)
- 9 Historical Fiction
- 2 Young Adult
- 1 Thriller
Fantasy/Science Fiction - 15
- 6 Thrillers
- 5 Historical
- 4 Cozies
- 3 Mysteries
- 2 Science Fiction
- 1 Paranormal/NonCozy
Romance - 5
- 7 Urban Fantasy
- 2 Young Adult High Fantasy
- 1 Middle Grade Fantasy
- 2 High Fantasy Romance
- 3 Science Fiction (1 Dystopian)
Nonfiction - 1
Of the book I read, 6 were audio books.
19 of the 65 books I read in 2016 were written by men.
1 of the 65 was written by a male/female writing team.
Month I Read the Most Books: May (8)
Months I Read the Least Books: March (3)
Best In Books
1. Favorite Reads in 2016?
Five books earned my top rating in 2016 (5 Paws). They each had that "wow" factor that is made up of a combination of good writing, well-developed characters, a memorable setting or world-building, an entertaining or thought provoking story, and one that brings out an array of my emotions. A book that makes me cry is worth its weight in gold. I went back to read my reviews when compiling this list, and I still feel the same excitement and awe I felt when I was reading them.
I had this to say about The Night Parade in my review:
What a delightful book The Night Parade turned out to be! I loved every minute of it. I lost myself in the pages and wished I could join Saki on her adventures through the spirit world. The vivid descriptions, the sometimes quirky and always interesting characters, and the world Kathryn Tanquary has created had me under their spell as I read this novel. The story may seem simple on the surface, but it is quite complex when you look at it more closely.
I had this to say about The Hummingbird in my review:
Healing and forgiveness are at the center of this novel as it deals with the difficult topics of war and dying. Stephen P. Kiernan expertly takes three seemingly different stories, one from the past and two from the present, and weaves them together. The Hummingbird is an emotional and thought provoking novel that will resonant with many readers.
I had this to say about Neverwhere in my review:
A mixed band of individuals going on a quest is not new to the fantasy genre, but I like Gaiman's approach to it in Neverwhere. An astute reader may notice the several literary allusions, although it isn't at all necessary to do so to enjoy the novel. I'm sure I missed half of them at least. Gaiman's sense of humor, the enduring and interesting characters, and the mystery surrounding Door's family's death kept me riveted to the pages of the novel. I found Neverwhere to be extremely entertaining and a fun read over all.
I had this to say about When the Moon Is Low in my review:
I fell in love with this novel from the start. The writing is beautiful. The characters feel so real. The story is such a sad one, intense, and heartbreaking, and yet there is also hope. Hope that they will reach their family in England. Hope that they will find a better life elsewhere. There was breath-holding and tears--both happy and sad.
I had this to say about The Sun Is Also a Star in my review:
Fellow readers, I am so enamored with this book. Eleanor and Park, move over. There's a new young couple in my heart. [...] Nicola Yoon's writing style drew me in immediately. I appreciated the way Yoon told Natasha and Daniel's story. I liked the shifts in perspective, including the side stories of some of the minor characters. It was a good reminder of how our actions or inactions, however big or small, something so simple as a smile or a thank you--or lack thereof--can impact another's day. Our actions have consequences, whether good or bad, intended or not. We are all connected in some way.
Although not in my top five, The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss came close and was my favorite crime fiction novel of the year. It is rare a cozy ends up being one of my favorite, although I do enjoy the sub-grenre from time to time. There was just something about this one that set it above the rest, and I am looking forward to reading the next in the series this coming year.
2. Book I Was Excited About & Thought I Was Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones sounded so good from its description, set in the South around the time of Hurricane Katrina. The writing is beautiful, and it's one of those books I feel like I would have loved if I had been able to get past the animal cruelty and dog fighting. Alas, it was too much for me and it ultimately hurt my enjoyment of the novel.
3. Most Surprising Book I Read?
The Magician's Lie
by Greer Macallister was a surprise to me. Somehow I got it in my head this was more of a mystery than it actually was. I also wasn't expecting it to be a historical novel. I must have forgotten that when I finally picked up the book to read. Regardless, I ended up really enjoying The Magician's Lie
4. Book I “Pushed” The Most People To Read?
Both my mom and mother-in-law received copies of Nadia Hashimi's When the Moon Is Low
for Christmas this year. And I have been recommending The Hummingbird
by Stephen P. Kiernan right and left. Also, Nicola Yoon's The Sun Is Also a Star
. The Invisible Library series is a must read for anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure.
5. Best series I started in 2016?
So many! I am always starting new series (which is bad for all the series I have yet to finish). If I had to pick just one, I would have to say The Invisible Library Series by Genevieve Cogman. I read both The Invisible Library
and The Masked City
. It is such a fun series that features a librarian spy who travels between dimensions. Her home base has a distinct Victorian feel to it, with steampunk qualities.
Seraphina and Shadow Scale, books in Rachel Hartman's duology featuring dragons and humans living side by side, was quite enjoyable as well. I look forward to visiting that world again.
6. Favorite Authors I Discovered in 2016?
I know I should narrow this list down more, but I I find it impossible to do so any further. All of these amazing authors are new to me, and I definitely plan to read more of their books at some point in the future.
Jaime Lee Moyer
7. Best Book From a Genre I Don’t Typically Read/Was Out of My Comfort Zone?
Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age by Katherine Ozment came at the perfect time for me, and I could relate to much of the author's own struggles with faith and religion. While the subject matter has long interested me, it isn't something I often read about and it definitely isn't something I am comfortable talking about on such a public forum as my blog. And yet, I did, and it was worth it.
8. Most Action-packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?
In print, I will have to go with The Invisible Library
and The Masked City
by Genevieve Cogman. Both books had me from the start, and were almost full of nonstop action from start to finish. Another one that comes close to being just as action packed is Charming
by Elliott James, an urban fantasy novel that, once it had me in its clutches, wouldn't let go.
9. Top Five Favorite Covers of Books I Read in 2016?
Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer
Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister
The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary
The Ninja's Daughter (Shinobi Mystery #4) by Susan Spann
The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam
10. Book I Can’t Believe I Waited UNTIL 2016 to Finally Read?
Why did I wait so long to read The Cuckoo's Calling
by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)?! I know why, of course, but my excuse is silly given how much I ended up liking this book. I am eager to read the other books out in the series now.
11. Shortest Book I Read in 2016?
12. Longest Book I Read In 2016?
13. OTP of the Year (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing)?
14. Favorite Book I Read in 2016 From An Author I’ve Read Previously?
It would be easy to say Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman or The Hummingbird
by Stephen P. Kiernan, both books which made my top five list in 2016, but I really want to give some love to Tessa Arlen's Death Sits Down for Dinner
, the second in her Edwardian series, featuring Lady Montfort and her servant, Mrs. Jackson. I adore this series and am anxious to read the next book when it comes out.
15. Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting I Read This Year?
I have so much love for The Night Parade
by Kathryn Tanquary. The world-building is amazing and it's such a good book, combining modern day Japan with mythology and old traditions. Everyone should read it.
Also, Anuk Arudpragasam's writing in The Story of a Brief Marriage
vividly brought to life the conditions Dinesh and his fellow evacuees were living in on the coast of Sri Lanka during the civil war. It's one that stays with you quite a while after reading.
16. Most Unique Book I Read In 2016?
Elan Mastai's All Our Wrong Todays. It was . . . mind-bending. Seriously.
17. Book That Made Me The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn had some pretty ugly mad-making moments. From colorism to the human trafficking and everything else that came with it. Amazing book, but a very difficult read.
Another book that got my ire up rather significantly, but not in a good way, was Salvage the Bones
by Jesmyn Ward.
I really struggled with this one because it hit on a subject matter I have difficulty reading about (animal cruelty).
18. Book That Made Me Cry in 2016?
I say it every year, but it would be easier to ask me which books didn't make me cry. Of all the books I read, the one that made my cry the most was Stephen P. Kiernan's The Hummingbird
. It hit so close to home, and is such a beautiful book.
19. Book That Put A Smile On My Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
20. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. I thoroughly enjoyed it--even gave a copy to my mother for Christmas this year. A dual time period novel set in 1955 and the present, it's set in a grand old house and has a little bit of everything-romance, family drama, intrigue, and even ghosts.
I would love to know what your favorite reads of 2016 were! Please share a link to your favorites list below if you posted one--or just tell me in the comments. Did we read any of the same books? If so, what did you think?
Here's to another great year in reading in 2017!
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