Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Books of 2016

2016 was a great book year for me, which is nice since it sucked in other areas. But this post is about books. I read 132 books of varying lengths (plus I re-read a few all the way though which is not in my count). I gave 13 of them 5 stars. I know it's a low percentage but I'm stingy with my five star ratings and kind of feel that I loosened up this year. I got 3 classics in with The Outsiders, The Haunting of Hill House, and The Hidden Staircase (I totally count the original Nancy Drew as classic.) I read 5 non-fiction books, including a book of Mary Oliver's poems that I enjoyed. Ebooks made up 55 of the 132. Nothing can really beat the feel of a book in my hands, but I also love the advantages of ebooks. I've especially loved that now I can borrow them from the library.

So here are my favorite books of 2016 in no particular order:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I decided to read this one before Halloween to get in the mood. I've had mixed results with NG in the past but this hooked me and I just loved it. There might have been a few tears shed at the end when Bod leaves the graveyard.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Definitely tears shed for this one. This book was everything I wanted it to be. One of my most anticipated and I was bereft when it was over.

A Darker Shade of Magic & A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Both of these got 5 stars from me. It amazes me how authors come up with some of this stuff. I loved the four different Londons but I really loved Lila Bard and her determination to live life under her terms. I question some of her decisions in AGOS but I'm dying for the final book next year.

My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart
It's hard to say but this might be my favorite MS book yet. There is a very, very subtle romance and fantastic nail biting scene at the end. I wish so badly that I could visit Mary Stewart's Greece.

Dark Horse, Dark Deeds, & Dark Minds (The Class 5 series) by Michelle Diener
I'm cheating and putting the whole series on here because it was my biggest book hangover of the year. I really just couldn't get them out of my head. Music played a big part of these books and it had me thinking about what songs I would have chosen.

These Shallow Graves, Revolution, & A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
I discovered Jennifer Donnelly this year and all 3 books have to be on the list. They are all so different and every one of them captured me from the beginning and wouldn't let go.
Read These Shallow Graves for a lighter historical mystery with a bit of romance, Revolution for some time travel with a moody teen and a fictional composer that I wish were real, or A Northern Light for an intense historical novel about a girl who has to make some hard choices. If I had to choose, Revolution would be my favorite but all of them are excellent.

Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart
Did I say My Brother Michael was my favorite? Dang! It's so hard to choose. I loved this from the start. It's a great old fashioned caper complete with mistaken identities and a car chase.

Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver
Relationship drama! Plus a society murder. I loved it and can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Marked In Flesh by Anne Bishop
This series is so different from a lot of things I read. it's slow moving with lots of details and I'm on the side of the Others all the way.

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
I loved the final book of this series. Grim is just the nicest guy and so patient and I loved the way the friendship between Blackthorn and Grim progressed in the series. It was rock solid.

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
I read this serial online and then bought the final published version and devoured it again in one night. Right now this series is my favorite of everything they write.

Whew! What a list. Like I said, it was a great reading year. Plus I have some notable mentions that just have to be here.

The Shadowy Horses by Susannah Kearsley
This is a "me" book all the way around. Girl on an archeological dig with a ghost, boy who can see ghost, handsome professor... it hit all the right buttons.

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Two words: Peaceable Sherwood. I love book boys that know exactly what they want right from the start and book girls who are clever enough to fall in with their scheme.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
This one was just plain fun. I think the authors must have had a blast writing it.

Garden Spells & The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Another new to me author. I read 4 of her books this year and they are all keepers but I think these 2 might be my favorites.

As for 2017....

I'm looking forward to Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop, A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner, and Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs. I'm sure there are more that I can't think of.

As for what I'm reading next year, I found an old reading bingo card online that looks like it might be fun so I was thinking about challenging myself to a game of blackout. I changed it up a bit and got my niece and nephew to say they'd play along with me. I just have to think of an appropriate reward.

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