2017 Books Recap

Tell the truth: was everyone dying because it took me a MONTH to get this written and posted? I’m sure. Obviously everyone loves this post. Oh, wait, is that just me? Too bad. My blog, my rules and I love this post. I get geekily excited about it year after year. Also, this is the fifth anniversary of the book blogging recap, so I feel like there shall be some fun ahead.

Alrighty, I could blather here for a while, but what’s the point? We all want the dirty deets, so let’s get right to it.

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2017 Statistics

Total number of books read in 2017: 225(!) (25% increase over 2016)

Average number of books read per month: 18.75

Average number of books read per week: 4.32

Month with the most books read: This goes to September and her 36 books. The most books I’ve ever read in a month is 37 (August of 2016) so this is a perfectly respectable, impressive total.

Month with the least books read: This is a tie between November and December and 3 books each.

Best book I read in 2017:

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner. Wow, I really struggled with this. When I read this book and finally put it down, I said out loud “that was the best book of the year” and it held for months, but then, along came Brigid Kemmerer and I was torn. I almost said a tie because they were both so good but I don’t want to start that. So I made the tough choice. And this book is incredible. It is so brilliantly written and incredibly moving and supremely touching. I love everything about it. And the fact that I met the author and he’s an awesome guy and signed my book doesn’t hurt either. He’s now on the must-read/auto-buy list. He’s that good. He is also the very first male to win in this coveted category, so cheers, Jeff Zentner, and thank you for this unbelievably good book.

Runners up for best book in 2017: (in not much order)

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. I seriously love this book so much I am disappointed it did not win, and wanted to create a second place category just for this book. Instead I am listing it first among the runners-up so it doesn’t get lost. This book blew me away. It is equally as good as this year’s champion and I am sad I read them both in the same year. Love this book.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne if you haven’t heard of this book I’d be surprised. It is everywhere and deservedly so. This book is amazing and funny and smart AND it is her first book ever! Imagine how great she’ll be in a few years. I bet she takes this category in a couple of years.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay is another very strong contender and if not for the three previous books could have won best of the year.

180 Seconds by Jessica Park, I sincerely loved this book. It is so well done and beautiful. Again, in a different year, this could easily have won.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. This is my dark horse pick. It isn’t romance but a swashbuckling adventure and I loved it. The sequel comes out this year and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein. This story, my first by Charlotte Stein, really stuck with me. It was a dark and sometimes difficult read, but it ended up being a beautiful story.

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn. I talk more about this historical romance in the most surprising category, where it did win, but what a great, fantastic book (and I just noticed that the first in this series, Because of Miss Bridgerton, was in this same category last year, I guess if you want historical, you cannot go wrong here.)

Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. This book is an installment in a series, the third and I loved every word. This is not a book I would expect to find on this list but it hung in there and I just couldn’t NOT give it a nod.

Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino. She appears in several categories this year and this is the only one that’s a good one. She also made this category last year with two of her books. And supposedly she has one coming out this year so I wouldn’t be surprised to find her here (or winning) next year.

The Knocked-Up Plan by Lauren Blakely. This is another book I wouldn’t have expected to see on this list. 1. Because the romantic comedy, while fun and easy to read aren’t typically stellar stories and 2. because I don’t like pregnancy storylines but, boy this book was awesome. And beating the stereotypes is reason alone to make the list.

Trust by Kylie Scott. I love Kylie Scott. I loved her rock star series, I love her bartender series and this was her first foray into YA. And you know what? I loved it, too. She’s just awesome. As long as she stays away from zombies (yep, tried those too, not even Kylie Scott could get me on board with zombies) she’s tops in my book.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. Like the pirate king, this is a different sort of book. This one is about time traveling on a ship, through maps. It is an odd premise, but such an engrossing read. I loved it. I also liked its sequel but not quite as much as this one.

Worst book I read in 2017:

Thoughtless by SC Stephens. I have to say that this was on several lists as one of the best YA stories around. And I could not believe it. This is not only the worst book of the year but truly one of the worst books I have ever read. I mean, who did they pay off to get this title on so many lists?

Runners up for worst book in 2017: (in no order)

American Queen – Sierra Simone (This lost the crown by the very slimmest of margins)

The Way We Fall – Cassia Leo

Lucian Divine – Renee Carlino

Retrieval – Aly Martinez

Off-Base – Annabeth Albert

Some Kind of Hero – Suzanne Brockmann

The Story of Us – Tara Sivec

Total number of NEW books read: 219 (97.3% of books read this year, 2.6% increase over 2016)

Total rereads: 6 (2.7% of books read this year, 2.6% decrease from 2016)

Total number of standalone books (do not occur in a series): 74 (32.9% of books read in 2017, 2.2% increase from 2016)

Best series:

Hellcat Canyon Series by Julie Anne Long. This was a hotly contested category this year and I went back and forth, but ultimately, JAL won out because there is so much to love in the three books in this series but the thing I loved best is that each got better and I liked the third the most, which is rare enough in series writing. Plus, they are super funny, which I adore in a good romance.

Runners up for best series: (in no order)

Openly Series by Bill Konigsberg, I was very tempted to pick this as the winner as male authors don’t win much around here (although, best book of the year, Jeff Zentner!), and there was nothing to dislike in this series. If I had to rank, this would be my second favorite series of the year.

Love Unexpectedly Series by Lauren Layne, this could easily have been a winner as one of its books (Walk of Shame) made the best list this year. The final two books were excellent but the first two were just good, which is why it did not win.

Game On Series by Kristin Callihan, as a whole these are not books that will rock your world, but they are enjoyable books and I liked this series (which is ongoing) very much.

Royally Series by Emma Chase, a few years ago, I read a book by Emma Chase and hated it. Not just disliked, but hated, which crossed her off my read list. Then I kept reading about this series, it just kept dogging me until I finally gave in and tried the first, boy am I glad I gave her another chance! This is a great series, especially if you are (as I really, really, am) a fan of royalty in your books.

Most surprising book:

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn. What surprised me about this book is how very much I loved it. I mean, it’s Julia Quinn, and she has long been on my must-read list, as a matter of fact, she is the only historical author I still read religiously, but in general, I’m pretty much over the whole historical romance thing. Yet, this book is one of my favorites of the year. It is on the best list. I’ve gone so far as to recommend this series just to give people a chance to read this book. It is utterly delightful.

Runners up for most surprising book: (in no order)

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, surprising mostly for the fact that I don’t read this sort of book but it crossed my path and caught my attention and I liked it. Enough that I will read the sequel this year. For the curious, it is about assassin nuns. Truth.

The Rule Book by Jennifer Blackwood, this was a surprise because of how I found it. It was my friends at Amazon who said “based upon your choices, try….” and this was at the top of the list. Unfortunately, I had recently just gotten some really bad books from Amazon and the list was based off that. And I’ve tried Amazon recs before and been disappointed. But in this, I was pleasantly surprised. This was a great read. Kudos Amazon.

Biggest disappointment:

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover, oh how I struggled with this. If you follow my reading habits at all, you know Colleen Hoover is at the top of my must read list. In fact, she is an auto-buy for me. That’s rare. I don’t buy that many books. Anyway, this came out and a year with a new Colleen Hoover book is always a good one. Until this one. I just couldn’t connect with this one. It’s not that it’s bad. It isn’t. She couldn’t write a bad book. But I couldn’t connect to the story and it didn’t, in my opinion, deliver the same oomph her other books bring. So while it is weird to list a book that I said was 3/5 stars as my biggest disappointment, every other book of hers has been 5/5 stars, without hesitation, so I guess that’s why. I wanted the oomph and was disappointed I didn’t get it.

Runners up for biggest disappointment: (in no order)

Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren; so one of my favorite things to do is at the end of the year start looking at best of lists and read the best romance books of the year, if I haven’t already. Once those lists came out, they virtually ALL listed this book as the best romance of 2017. I had already read it and was just…meh about it. It’s not bad, but it certainly isn’t great. If you’re going to do office/hate-to-love romance, I feel that everyone will now compare you to The Hating Game (see best list) and this does not come close.

Lucian Divine by Renee Carlino, note this book also appears on the worst of list. It’s that simple, this was not a good book. And Renee Carlino is on my must-read list, she is amazing…this was not.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I loved her Gods and Monsters trilogy and I was so excited for this new series, but I was left feeling a little blah. It’s not bad, there is certainly potential but it fell a little flat for me.

Total number of print books read in 2017: 40* (17.8% of books read this year, 1.2% INCREASE over 2016. *However, with the MN Book awards books, I read what I was given and this accounts for 23 of those print books and two electronic books, so this stat is slightly inflated)

Total number of electronic books read in 2017: 185 (82.2% of books read this year, 1.2% decrease from 2016 see note* above)

Most surprising statistic: I don’t see how I don’t go with “Total number of books read” I mean, TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE books. That is so surprising to me.

5th Anniversary Stats:

(in honor of this being the 5th Anniversary of the recap, here’s some fun stats.)

Total number of books read in 5 years: 879 (Wowza! that means for sure by the end of this year I’ll have read more than 1,000 books, in just over six years. That is nuts!)

Average number of books read per month: 14.65

Average number of books read per week: 3.38

Total number of NEW books read: 769 (87.5% of books I read are new books)

Total number of re-reads: 110 (12.5% of books I read I have read previously)

 

The five worst books I’ve read since 2013:

Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

The Professional by Kresley Cole

Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright

Thoughtless by SC Stephens

The five best books I’ve read since 2013: (this is some good company right here!)

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Honorable mentions (five selected books from all the runners-up):

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Monthly lists:

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Annual recaps:

2016 recap

2015 recap

2014 recap

2013 recap

And there you have it. My fifth annual recap of the books I read. Still love everything about it, including how long it takes me to prep and write this post (but I got it in before January ended!). Congratulations to all the winners. If you found yourself in a less than stellar category this year, don’t worry, just ask Kresley Cole who I think has charted in every single category, it’s easy to recover. She’s still aces in my book. For now, my fair readers, go forth and read!

 

 

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2016 Books Recap

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.

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2016 Statistics

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:

Misterby 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.

Biggest Disappointment:

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!

Monthly lists:

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Annual Recaps:

2015 recap

2014 recap

2013 recap

2013 Books Recap

….and the winner is!

Kelly won. That’s not super surprising, right? I mean, I think we all knew that a few months ago. Kel, pick a topic and I’ll write you the blog of your choice, that’s your prize. Or, if you don’t want that prize, tell me what you do want. I’m pretty flexible.

Here are the stats from the year.

Total number of books read: 155

Average number of books read per month: 12.91

Average number of books read per week: 2.98

Month with the most books read: July (26 books)

Month with the least books read: March (5 books)

Best book I read in 2013: Endless Knight by Kresley Cole. This was no contest. But, if I had to pick a second place….I’d choose Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Worst book I read in 2013: This was harder…I’m going with Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep, of which I had zero expectations, it was just a bad book.

Total number of NEW books read: 128

Total number of rereads: 27

Total number of standalone books (does not occur in a series) read (including rereads): 35

Best new series: I have to choose the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, but honorable mention to the Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout and the Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep (yes, the same author as the worst book of the year, good for her.)

Most surprising book: Even my answer to this surprises me. Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

Biggest disappointment: Losing Hope, Colleen Hoover by the slimmest of margins over Fly Away by Kristin Hannah.

And my final thoughts? This was FUN. I don’t know if it was fun for all of my readers, but it sure was fun for me. I came in 10 books shy of my own guess (165) so I’m pretty happy with that. I guess I know my reading habits pretty well after all these years. Mostly, I just love having these lists. It’s nice to be able to look back and see what I read, and my thoughts on it.

Also, if you want to see them, here’s the complete set of links to the monthly lists:

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Okay, fine friends and readers, that is the final wrap for 2013. I will be doing this again for 2014. Take a moment and hit up the comments section with a guess as to how many books I’ll read in 2014. Let’s try for more than three guesses this year! You have a whole year of information now, I expect some stiff competition!