I really get excited about this post. I don’t even care that is dorky. I just love it.
It does take me a long time to write, mostly because I deliberate and change my mind and then, of course, I have to crunch the numbers (nerd alert!). But it is fun. This was an interesting year for books for a number of reasons. I either read a ton each month or very little, there wasn’t much middle ground. Reflecting, my instinct is to say this was a good year for books, a lot that I enjoyed, more than the flipside.
But, before we get to the books, let’s do the numbers.
Total number of books read in 2016: 169 (20% increase from 2015!)
Average number of books read per month: 14.08
Average number of books read per week: 3.25
Month with the most books read: This honor goes to August and her 37 books! That is the most books I’ve read in a month in my life.
Month with the least books read: February, with a whopping 2 books, my lowest total since keeping track.
Best Book I read in 2016:
November 9 by Colleen Hoover. I read this book, actually on January 1 of 2016. When I closed the book after the final page I said, out loud, to myself, “well it’s all downhill from here, just read the best book of the year on the first day.” I tried to hope I was wrong, but I was not. There were a lot of good books (wait until you see the runners up) but this one was the best book of the year.
Runners up for best book in 2016: (in no order)
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, this book was my chance at knocking her other book out of first place. And while I liked this a great deal, it was not as good as November 9.
The 5 Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson, man oh man did I love this book, also read in January, and I considered it for best book, but at the end of the day, it didn’t win. Though I did discover a new favorite author.
Your Perfect Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. This was a really different book about two friends, complete opposites who wake up in each other’s lives. A Freaky Friday story. I really liked it a great deal
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, oh new favorite author, write faster please. I’ve now read her entire backlist and can’t wait for her new book this year. This one, a Sliding Doors type of story was so well done. It is perfectly tied with the next one on this list.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid, this one is about choosing between the two great loves of one’s life and honestly, I just loved the hell out of this book. If I had only read this one, or only read Maybe, one of them could have one, but the pair together they canceled each other out for the win.
Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino. Oh my! Another favorite author!?! Yes indeed. This was a really interesting premise and it is just beautifully executed. I liked it enough to read her backlist and, naturally, found another that I loved this much, see the next entry on the list.
Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino. Yes, this book , about college sweethearts reuniting on Craigslist, is amazing. It and Swear on this Life both suffer from the Taylor Jenkins Reid syndrome. They canceled each other out by both being equally awesome.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. This was not something I usually read but it came into my orbit and I idly picked it up. So glad I did. It was incredible. Such a great coming of age story about a teen girl in the south. Loved it.
Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. Ms. Quinn has long been on my favorite author list. She wrote one of my favorite historical series of all time, the Bridgertons. With this book, she begins a new series, starring the generation before the family in my favorite series. I never expected to love it, but I think it might be better than the original. Shh! Don’t tell her I said that.
Paper Princess by Erin Watt. This book came highly recommended. Usually that is a giant no-no in my world because I end up being disappointed. Not so here. I loved everything about this book, especially the slow build. The second one was also good, though less so and the third, well, that should appear elsewhere on this list.
My Life with the Walter Boys by Aly Novak. I don’t really remember how I found her but I read The Heartbreakers by her, which was amazing, then I started this, her other book and it was even better. I love it, I wish she had a larger backlist to read. Now I just wait until she writes another.
Worst Book I read in 2016:
This was a tough call. There were some terrible books this year. But ultimately, it has to go to The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright. It won because it was actually a mystery novel masquerading as a romance. While there is a whole genre of romantic suspense, that was NOT THIS. This was a literal mystery novel with occasional nods to some wan feelings between the leads. Ooh it was awful.
Runners up for worst book in 2016: (these aren’t getting a description, just trust me)
Flat Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy
The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle
School Ties by Tamsin Parker
Random Acts of Crazy by Julia Kent
Trust Honor Love by J. M. Witt
Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James
The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love by Erin Quinn
Total number of NEW books read: 160 (94.7% of the books read in 2016, 20% increase from 2015)
Total Rereads: 9 books (5.3% of the books read in 2016, 80% decrease over 2015)
Total number of standalone books (do not occur in a series): 52 (30.7% of books read in 2016, 17.5% increase from 2015)
Best New Series:
The Ivy Years by Sarina Bowen. It is hard for me to believe that I had never read a Sarina Bowen before this year. I have now read everything she has written. I love her. This series I could not stop reading. It was unbelievable. I am now reading her spinoff series. Loved it.
Runners up for best new series:
The Easy Series by Kristen Proby. Great new series set in New Orleans.
Fusion Series by Kristen Proby. I think I like this one slightly more than the Easy books, but they are so close, they canceled each other out, the TJR syndrome.
Hudson Valley Series by Alice Clayton. Alice is a longtime fave of mine and I enjoy all of her books, but boy, she keeps getting better and better. These books are so smart and funny.
Kingston Ale House Series by A. J. Pine. This was a new discovery where each book gets better than the last. I can’t wait for the next one.
San Francisco Series by Karina Halle. Truly this series missed being best by a hair. In fact, as the author doesn’t list them as a series, but instead as standalones (they aren’t, I mean they are, but this is totally a series, and I had to make up the name), that hurt their chances. But these are great books, starting with The Pact.
Most surprising book:
That seriously has to go to a duology, Him & Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. This is what happens when two authors I love team up. I don’t often, in fact, never before this, read male/male romance. It doesn’t appeal at all. But these two authors are so talented they turned the story of Wesley and Jamie (Jamie is a guy, part of the surprise for me was because I didn’t actually know this was M/M romance) into one of my favorite love stories of the year.
Runner up for most surprising:
Mister O by Lauren Blakely. Okay, this book probably isn’t good enough to make the “best of the year” list but the thing is, I read a LOT of romance novels. Because of that, I am so rarely surprised by them. This one, one of the best I’ve read in years. I just loved it. I actually was going to put it on the best list, but really, it was just the (second) most surprising thing I read, and the fact it was also one of the best? Just makes it even better.
New Leaf by Catherine Andersen. I have read every single book she has written. Most of them many times. I own every book she has written, which is rare, even for me, it is safe to say that I love her. She tends to write these sweeping series and I love them, but I didn’t like this at all. That has never happened with her before. They are not all an A+ but this was more like an F. I could have put it on the worst list, but it disappointed me more than I disliked it.
Runners up for biggest disappointment:
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata. This was a highly acclaimed book. I read it in August. It ended up being on multiple best of the year lists and I am astonished. It was not great. It wasn’t bad, it was just plain boring. What a dull, bland, unexceptional book.
First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. At first I thought this book suffered from my own too high expectations, a favored series that she is revisiting after YEARS away but I don’t think that is it. Her last book was an entry in this same category in 2014. If it takes you two years to write a book, they need to be better than this. They used to be, so now I think it is her, not me.
Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. The conclusion to the Royals trilogy, which started with Paper Princess, on my best list (I told you to watch for this one), I so wanted this to be a great finish to a solid series, but it was not. It was, in fact, such a disappointment that it knocked the series out of the running for best series.
Total number of print books read in 2015: 28 (16.6% of books read in 2016, 12.1% decrease since 2015, 22.1% decrease since 2014)
Total number of electronic books read in 2015: 141 (83.4% of books read in 2016, 12.1% increase over 2015, 22.1% increase since 2014)
Most surprising statistic: This year I have to go with the electronic resources. I’m surprised by how much I prefer it, but I am surprised that it only increases by 10% each year. Feels like a great deal more than that to me.
My final thoughts? It is strange when I look back year after year, to see what I thought about various things. But I love having this record of my thoughts and my love of books. I also feel like this was a strong year of books for me, so I was surprised how many dislikes and disappointments there ended up being. I guess the wonderful books outweighed the terrible ones. That’s a good sign. And another reason to keep on reading. Onward to 2017!