That 2016 Round Up Post: Or, Stats and Top Reads of 2016

2016 Stats

During 2016, I read 300 books. I wasn’t that close but a last ditch Herculean effort in December got me to this stretch goal. I do count some novellas in this, because this is my challenge and I make my own rules. My average rating over all of those was 3.44. Here’s my reading broken down by month.

I was curious to see if my ratings changed based on the amount of books that I read, thinking that perhaps when I was reading more, it would be partially because I was reading better things.

As you can see, that’s not really borne out by the results, however. Apparently, if anything, the reverse is true. I’m guessing it’s more random than anything. Though I think the reason the months where I read the least tended to be higher were partly because I was on trips (both business and pleasure) and just didn’t have the patience or mental energy to get through anything that wasn’t amazing.

I always like to include my breakdown of ratings over the year, just in case anyone wants to dismiss me as a hater. If anything, I’m too positive, right? :-p

One of my goals, basically since I began blogging has been to find balance between reading for review and reading for myself. I’m so proud to say that I’ve finally managed to do that. Almost a third of my reads overall were books that weren’t for review. The category Series Prep is what I call it when I have a review book that’s later in a series for review, and I read the prior books to catch up. It’s somewhere between a review book and a free read.

Every year, I struggle to try to put together some sort of best reads post, to award honors for specific things to just one book. When you read as much as I do, that’s really hard to do. So this year, I’m just going to do a giant list of books that stood out to me. I’ve got them broken out into genres for convenience, but otherwise they’re just in the order that I read them.

My most read authors (aka 5 books or more in this year) were:

  • Maggie Stiefvater: 5 books
  • Jenn Bennett: 6 books
  • Julia Quinn: 13 books
  • Meg Cabot: 14 books (two written as Patricia Cabot)
  • Seanan McGuire: 15 books (four written as Mira Grant)
  • Tessa Dare: 17 books

It might be obvious, but one of my goals this year was getting back into binging favorite author’s backlists. That is going pretty well, if I don’t say so myself.

Favorite Books of 2016

I’m not going to be distinguishing between 2016 releases and backlist, though I will try to call out debuts as I go along. Also, be aware that I put this list together very non-scientifically; I excluded a few high ratings and included one with a lower rating. *shrugs* One thing I did very knowingly exclude were rereads; all of these I read for the first time in 2016.

Fantasy

Fantasy has always been my favorite genre, but it really wasn’t that great for me in 2016. There were some I enjoyed a lot that didn’t make this list, but 2016 was not a great year for fantasy I loved.

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater: The best I’ve been able to sum up The Raven King, the fourth and final installment in The Raven Cycle is that it’s very emotionally satisfying but mildly disappointing intellectually. That said, I love the raven gang so much that this book needs to be on my favorites list for the year. This may be my least favorite of the series, but it’s still some of the most beautiful writing and character building out there.

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman: I’m not quite sure I’ve got this one in the right genre, since it’s got claims to a lot of different ones. However, it’s certainly fantastical. Also, the MC is a bisexual, badass librarian soooooo. And there’s a hot Asian dragon guy. Like, basically this was made for me.

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo: Though I’m really bad at narrowing myself to down to favorites, I can say that Crooked Kingdom was my favorite book of the year, one of two that clearly came out on top for me. Six of Crows is one of the best done series ever imo. Leigh Bardugo totally outdid herself.

Historical Fantasy

Can historical fantasy be the new trend? Or maybe not THE trend, but like a sub-trend? So it all stays amazing but I get more of it? Yes? Pls? I’ve been very good! (Sort of.)

The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman: Basically, if Jane Austen were going to write a historical fantasy novel, this would come the closest to being that. The ship is ACES.

These Vicious Masks(These Vicious Masks #1) by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas: If you were into The Dark Days Club, you definitely need to read this one too. They’re similar in a lot of ways, but These Vicious Masks is definitely the easier read, sort of the more consumable pop version. I love both a lot. This ship is also ACES. These Vicious Masks is also notable for being the only thing to come out of Swoon Reads thus far that was actually awesome.

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess: Here’s where I fudged things a bit. All the other books on this list are 4.5 or 5 star reads, but A Shadow Bright and Burning got a 3.5, which I still think was the right rating. The start’s a bit of a mess, and the world building isn’t always great. However, ultimately, I did love the shit out of it. And, oh yeah, the ship is ACES.

Rebel Magisters (Rebel Mechanics #2) by Shanna Swendson: Swendson’s been a favorite since I read her Enchanted, Inc. series way before I started blogging. The Rebel Mechanics books are fun, clever and shippy as all get out. She self-published Rebel Magisters when Macmillan dropped the series, and the quality does not suffer. Also, as a note, I’m pretty sure this one has the most diversity of all of these. Oh, and the ship is ACES. This is why I love historical fantasies so much. Side note, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE buy and/or read (legally) these books because I desperately require book three.

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Paranormal novels are starting to be a thing again perhaps. Being a fad kind of killed this genre, but I think good things are starting to happen here. I’m hopeful that paranormal’s finally starting to recover from having been a fad between this and honorable mention Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar.

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace: Oh look, I can love books that are standalones!  Shallow Graves has really cool world building and an amazing voice. Those were so awesome, I loved this even without romance.

October Daye #1-10 by Seanan McGuire: That’s right, I’m putting the whole series on here. There were standout installments certainly, but I fell in scary place level love with this whole series in the latter part of 2016, and it bears inclusion as a whole. My top favorite books within the series are Ashes of Honor, Chimes at Midnight, The Winter Long, and Once Broken Faith, but they’re all brilliant. Book one’s slow, but this series builds beautifully. The plot of every single one is excellent. There are twists that have shocked the hell out of me. The stakes just continually raise, both plot-wise and emotionally. There’s so much LGBTQ+ rep and there’s diversity. There’s an immense cast of characters that I love FIERCELY. There’s an OTP of OTPs; Tybalt and Toby for goddamn (eternal) life. READ THESE BOOKS. DO IT FOR ME. AND FOR YOU TBH.

Science Fiction

There really isn’t much science fiction that comes out in YA, but at least the good ones are really good. That said, I also don’t read much adult science fiction because too much science ends with Christina bored out of her mind and talking in the third person.

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: Jay and Amie make such a dream writing team. Though they’re massive bricks of books both Illuminae (a favorite last year) and Gemina are incredibly fast-paced and they keep the tension up all the way through. They’re gorgeously put together to boot. This series is not to be missed.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman: This book blew me away. It’s the science fiction version of grim reapers, and it’s beautifully done. Very much encourage folks who enjoy Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, or the Croak trilogy to read this one (or vice versa).

Mystery

Mystery has never been my favorite genre, and it never will be. It’s a remarkable year when I have a favorite in this genre.

The Long Game (The Fixer #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: I read this book on an airplane. That was a mistake. I spent much of the journey trying not to cry noticably. Basically, this series if Veronica Mars meets Scandal but with higher intensity. So yeah, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE buy and/or read these books because I desperately require book three.

CONTEMPORARY

In my blogging years, I’ve gone from being pretty dismissive of contemporary novels to them COMPLETELY DOMINATING. It will become obvious as you scroll that I loved more contemporary in 2016 than I loved books from all the other genres put together. (Well, not quite, because Seanan McGuire and re-reads would throw that off, but still damn contemporary was the genre of the year.)

Openly Straight (Openly Straight #1) by Bill Konigsberg: This is one of those painful, amazing shippy books, and you definitely might want to wait until the sequel from the POV of the love interest comes out early this year. But yes yes very read. (In a sadder side note, The Porcupine of Truth was one of my biggest disappointments/DNFs later in the year, and I do not recommend it.)

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett: Remember up above where I listed my most read authors for the year? I read six books by Jenn Bennett in 2016, all because I loved this book so much I basically immediately had to read her first UF series Arcadia Bell. I plan to finish up the rest of Bennett’s books in 2017. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart was one of the shippiest books of 2016, and the voice is perfection.

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes: Stokes writes some of my favorite contemporary novels. The Art of Lainey was fabulous, but Girl Against the Universe topped it. This shipppppp. Jordy’s one of my favorite book boys, and the mental health element (Maguire has anxiety and PTSD) adds depth to this contemporary romance.

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein: For me, what sets apart a good banterfluff novel from an exceptional one is how well the secondary characters are developed. Shuffle, Repeat has one of my favorite ships of the year (seriously amazing hate to love bantership) and a fabulous cast.

The Memory Book by Lara Avery: The Memory Book isn’t the sort of contemporary I would normally pick up, because I like to avoid sad books. I’m so glad I gave this one a chance, because I was so incredibly impressed by the writing and storytelling. Also, the feels. SO. MANY. FEELS.

Cherry by Lindsay Rosin: Earlier, I mentioned that I had two top stand-out favorites this year, and Cherry‘s the second one. I love the sexiness of Cherry, and the fact that you get four excellent ships (one of them f/f) for the price of one. Even better, all of the girls are brilliantly developed (not easy to do in a short novel), and the friendship feels are aces. Seriously, this book, you guys. I will not stop pestering you all until you just give in.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown: Georgia Peaches is probably my favorite of all the f/f I’ve read in YA. The ship’s adorable; the voice totally steals the show in this one., though. Incidentally, Georgia Peaches would make a great companion to Openly Straight, since they handle a lot of the same issues and have a similar premise, one m/m and one f/f.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson: Cherry does the friendship stuff better than The Unexpected Everything, but the ship is so amazing, and I love (shockingly) that it’s a romance with a nerdy author boy. This one’s a classic rom com style romance, and it’s very well done. For something similar, try Interference by Kay Honeyman, which was a runner-up this year.

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills: There’s little doubt that Emma Mill is going to end up being one of my favorite authors. This slow burn hate to friends to lovers ship is kind of life-ruining. The real stars here, though, are Sloane’s dad’s love affair with fan fiction and Sloane’s character arc, which is perfection. It’s also one of my favorite covers of the year.

The Boy Is Back (Boy #4) by Meg Cabot: First off, unless you’re a weirdo like me, you do not need to read the rest of the Boy books to read this one. The Boy Is Back is Meg Cabot at her best with a primo ship and excellent humor. The advent of more modern technologies really helps with the believability of the Boy series. It’s also nice that Becky’s a bit different from Meg’s usual pop culture-obsessed, kooky heroines.

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine (Trouble #1) by Stephanie Tromly: Let’s get this out of the way: this book is totally ridiculous. But that’s the point and that’s the fun. I laughed my way through this slapstick comedy novel and its sequel (though I didn’t love that one quite as much). If Sherlock meets Ferris Bueller sounds fun to you, get on this.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia: Finished on December 30, Made You Up was my 299th book of the year and the last one to make this list. About a heroine with schizophrenia, Made You Up made me laugh, ship, and feel heart pain. The voice is absolutely amazing and engaged me from the very start. Also, if you’re into unreliable narrators, take note. This review will be up tomorrow.

Romance

Last year, I got back into historical romance novels, and I’ve gone not quite whole hog but certainly partially hog on romance this year. There were a lot I loved, but I’ve picked a few of my favorites to highlight.

When a Scot Ties the Knot (Castles Ever After #3) by Tessa Dare: Don’t get the wrong idea here. I read 17 books by Tessa Dare during 2016, and there could be many more on this list, but I just chose my top favorite. When a Scot Ties the Knot is one of the funniest books I have ever read. That’s why it’s the one being featured. I defy you to not laugh your ass off.

Other Tessa Dare favorites of 2016: One Dance with a Duke (Stud Club #1) (basically the only thing in her pre-Avon days you should bother with tbh), A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove #2), Lord Dashwood Missed Out (Spindle Cove #4.5), Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove #5)

Out on Good Behavior (Radleigh University #3) by Dahlia Adler: Here, hands down, is the shippiest, sexiest f/f book I’ve ever read. Bless Dahlia for f/f banterfluff that overturns some romance tropes.

Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #1) by Julia Quinn: As with Tessa Dare, I chose my very favorite of all the Julia Quinn books I read because I read a LOT. This one took top honors for being the best hate to love and one of the funniest; what I can say, I love romance better when it also makes me laugh a lot.

Other Julia Quinn favorites of 2016: When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons #6), On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons #8), Splendid (Blydon #1) (her debut hits a few sour notes early on, but it’s probably her funniest/banteriest I’ve read thus far, so it makes the list)

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: Without a doubt, The Hating Game is my favorite romance of 2016. It may be my favorite romance ever. If I were trying to convince someone of the literary merits of romance novels, I would probably use The Hating Game. Thorne also makes use of anticipation to make this the hottest book I’ve probably ever. Holy. Shit. Hate to love of two weirdos who appreciate each other’s weirdness = sheer perfection.

So yeah, if you guys just read all of these, I’ll stop shouting at you. Until then READ THESE BOOKS, DAMN IT!!!

Let me know if I’ve convinced you to read any of these!

Now tell me your favorites of 2016!

Save

14 responses to “That 2016 Round Up Post: Or, Stats and Top Reads of 2016”

  1. Dahlia Adler says:

    Awww thank you for the OoGB love! And you did in fact totally get me to bump INTERFERENCE up on my TBR!

    Also, moment of silence for the excellence that was THIS ADVENTURE ENDS and CHERRY and GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT and THESE VICIOUS MASKS and GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE and SHALLOW GRAVES and ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES and THE HATING GAME. It would appear we do in fact quite often have similar taste <3
    Dahlia Adler recently posted…2016 End of Year Book SurveyMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Oh hey! Look at us go having some things in common! I saw your Instagram of faves and it was like half YES LOVE and “that does not look like a Christina book” but differences make life fun.

      Here for OoGB and JV love at all times. <3

  2. Shira says:

    I discovered your blog earlier this year. I used to read many book blogs, but over the past few years, I’ve realized I didn’t have many I was still reading regularly until I found yours. Your blog is now pretty much the only one I read. We have similar taste in books, and I know if you recommend a book I’m probably going to like it. The October Daye series was my favorite new series I read this year. I read then all in way too short a time! I have read so many amazing books this year because of you. I usually go from your post to the library website to request a book you’ve reviewed positively, and I don’t think I’ve been disappointed yet. So I really just want to say thank you for all the great books I have read this year because of you!

  3. Christina Franke says:

    Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for posting, because it means so much to hear this. I’ve started to consider how and when I want to quit book blogging over the last year or so, because I’ve felt very disconnected from the community. It’s nice to hear I’ve been helping someone find so many great reads.

    Also, did you read the October Daye short stories? If you didn’t, you so should, because they are amaaaaazing. You often get details on side ships you might miss otherwise!

    • Shira says:

      I selfishly don’t want you to quit! I loved the October Daye short stories that I’ve read, but I’ve only read the ones available on her website as downloads. The Toby/Tybalt one was so good!!! It made me so happy! I accidentally skipped it when I was reading the books and was a little disappointed when there wasn’t so much of Toby and Tybalt in Chimes at Midnight, but that kind of made it even better when I did read their short story.
      I really like how she gives so much extra detail in the short stories, but if you don’t read them, you can still follow the main books. Would you recommend buying the ones that aren’t free? I usually don’t like to buy anthologies for just one story…but I can probably be persuaded to!

    • Christina Franke says:

      I don’t have any definite plans to quit as of now. It helped a lot when I started doing mini reviews and only posting five times a week.

      Let’s see: Rat-Catcher, which I think was the first Tybalt story was originally in an anthology was republished free online, so you can definitely find that one. The two that you could only get in printed anthologies were the one in Home Improvement, which was pretty eh and about the cleaning out of Goldengreen, and “The Fixed Stars” in Shattered Shields. It’s also not the best of the short stories, though it’s way more interesting plot-wise. I got lucky and found it at the library, but that’s probably expensive if you have to buy it and still not worth the funds.

      However, supporting Seanan’s Patreon, which is however much you want to donate per story (and she only does one a month), is completely worth it. That’s where the Tybalt stories are, aside from Rat-Catcher. TYBALT IS ALWAYS WORTH IT. IMO, anyway. 😀

      • Shira says:

        What?!? How did I not know about her Patreon?? Seriously, thank you again! You’re totally right. More Tybalt is always the answer.

  4. That’s so interesting that your graphs don’t align more! You’d think they would. And hooray that you managed reading balance!!! Must feel more relaxing I would hope 🙂 I think I agree with you on TRK- it’s not my favorite of the series but so many great moments and the writing/characters are still A+. Crooked Kingdom!!! SO glad I finally jumped on the Crows ship. Yesssss ASBAB ship! I need to read more historical fantasy. Anatomical, Shuffle Repeat and This Adventure Ends were all SO WONDERFUL. Loved them a lot. I have lots of catching up to do with your other favorite contemps! THE HATING GAMEEEEEEEEEE <3

    • Christina Franke says:

      I haven’t read too many FAVE books so far in 2017 but I’ve read 17 books in 12 days. I’m starting to suspect I actually get the most reading done when I’m anxious about the world and can’t handle social media. Without Twitter to distract me, I’m getting a shit ton of reading done. It’s not necessarily all anxiety because travel anxiety totally kills my ability to read, as does work anxiety. But when I can’t handle the real world, I need the escapism like a druggie needs their next hit.

  5. omg I love all your stats! I started a whole new reading spreadsheet with lots of formulas and such and I really love seeing the breakdown of my reading year. Which reminds me I should probably stop procrastinating and write my end of year post before we get too far into this one. lol
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (157)My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I loooooooove my reading spreadsheet. I totally stole it from Debby; she did a post on her reading spreadsheets a couple years back, if you want a reference for more ideas. I use her Scrapbook and Series spreadsheets, and I made my own for my various TBR piles. List-making is my fave basically.

      Most years I fail to do an end of year post but I forced myself this time. It feels good even though putting them together sucks. It’s so hard to justify to myself why I might leave off a 4.5 star book from my standout reads and include a 3.5 but whatever fuck it I’m doing it. I need to stop taking myself so seriously haha.

  6. Oooh I will check hers out. I’m not sure where I got my idea from but I love it. I work with all kinds of spreadsheets at work so I’m not sure why I love it so much… likely just because it’s about books and not random ass data. lol

    hahaha I have the same issue with feeling the need to justify my picks. They’re my picks dammit, and I do what I want. Or at least that’s what part of my brain tells me. The other half thinks it’s a nutter.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Life’s Too Short: All Our Wrong Todays, Daughter of a Thousand Years, The Last Adventure of Constance VerityMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I also find that having those lists helps motivate me to get shit done. Most of the other lists I make I tend to write and then not use, but these are so functional and helpful. Plus, Goodreads doesn’t let you filter books my multiple shelves, so I can’t get info back from there as easily, not to mention their refusal to do half stars.

      “Or at least that’s what part of my brain tells me. The other half thinks it’s a nutter.” This. So this. I have so many irrational compulsions about books that even I don’t really understand but they’re important to me. I could deal with them but they’re not really harmful.

  7. My lists also keep me far more organized than I would be normally. I sometimes just sit and contemplate the other spreadsheets that I could make to track stuff (like my purchased books? that I buy and then promptly forget about?) but sometimes I think I’m just going over board and don’t end up making them. haha

    Yeah, I have some weird quirks/compulsions when it comes to keeping things straight and organized. But you’re right… not harmful. I could have worse issues. lol
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Life’s Too Short: All Our Wrong Todays, Daughter of a Thousand Years, The Last Adventure of Constance VerityMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge