Best and Worst of 2016

It’s a new year and time to start some new reading challenges. But, before I do that, I want to look back at my favorite and not-so-favorite books of the year. I read quite a few excellent books, so I’ll break them up by genre and link to the original review.

Science fiction/fantasy:

Rosewater by Tade Thompson was an ARC I loved because of its Nigerian setting. There were aliens slowly taking over the Earth and providing some people with special abilities.

I reviewed (but didn’t read) a couple of books in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I wholeheartedly recommend the early books in the series. This year I reviewed book four, The Lunatic Cafe, and book five, Bloody Bones.

The Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie, including Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and Ancillary Mercy were a compelling space opera full of political machinations and some interesting gender politics.

The Paradox trilogy by Rachel Bach, including Fortune’s Pawn, Honor’s Knight, and Heaven’s Queen was another great space opera series, although this one had more fighting involved. The books all end on cliff-hangers (except the last one), so be prepared to read the whole series if you start it.


Still Alice was a book club choice that I read a previous year whose narrator was experiencing early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George started out my reading year with an excellent book about a literary apothecary – a bookseller that can find a book for what ails you.


A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle was a surprise hit. I loved her writing as a kid, and found this collection of writing about her early writing career to be delightful and lyrical. I’ll be finishing the series this year.


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – based on how much I enjoyed Eleanor and Park, I’m not surprised I loved this one as well. It’s all about a girl who goes off to college and is worried she won’t fit in, but finds some good friends and writes fanfic in the process. This was one of Mr. Curiosity’s favorite books of the year as well.

Middle grade:

Nearly all of the middle grade I read is for read alouds to my kids or listening in the car, so you can also take this list as a recommendation for bedtime stories.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex was an awesome audiobook. Six months later, we’re still quoting bits from this alien invasion story in the Boov voice. There are illustrations in the book, though, so the hard copy is also worth checking out. This was one of Miss Adventure’s favorite books of the year as well.

Seedfolks was a short read about a neighborhood coming together to create a community garden in an abandoned lot.

Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon is a fairy-tale princess story about a hamster princess who does things her own way.

I did pretty good in not picking bad books since I only didn’t finish three: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco because I just couldn’t handle the writing style; Stay Crazy by Erica Satifka because I stopped caring about the characters; and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving because it was long and boring.

I’m pretty happy with that collection of great books, with just a few that left me wanting something different.


Filed under Book review

3 responses to “Best and Worst of 2016

  1. I had no idea that Madeline L’Engle wrote a memoir. This is really exciting! I loved A Wrinkle in Time when I was young.

  2. Pingback: From Guestwriters 2016 in review | From guestwriters

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