1. Best book of 2016
Oh gosh. I read too many that were amazing. Without counting any rereads, which I obviously loved...these are the ones that stand out to me as most memorable. I should probably upgrade some of them from 4 to 5 stars on GR, given that I liked some of them more than those I did give 5 stars before I got all stingy with my star-giving.
-Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts
-Mandrake Root - Janet Diebold
-The Islands at the End of the World - Austin Aslan
-Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop - Jeff Miller
-What Do You Do With a Kinkajou? - Alice Gilborn
-Fifty Acres and a Poodle - Jeanne Marie Laskas
-An Affair With a House - Bunny Williams
-Dreaming in the Dust: Restoring an Old House - Katherine Chrisman
2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more, but didn't
This Raging Light by Estelle Laure. I was all excited for a suburban "girl gets a job to keep the household running and take care of her little sister after single mom splits" story, but then the girl kept obsessing about a guy with a serious (and very nice) girlfriend and OF COURSE he was unable to resist her wounded-bird charms, and somehow I was supposed to find their skanky cheating adventures dreamy and star-crossed?
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2016
Don't Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche. It's the kind of book Tumblr would salivate over due to its layers of diversity, which ordinarily would make my eyes roll out of their sockets, but everything worked so well.
4. Book you read in 2016 that you recommended the most
I practically yanked my mom's arm in my haste to get her to read Fifty Acres and a Poodle, What Do You Do With a Kinkajou?, and Dreaming in the Dust: Restoring an Old House, all of which she ended up enjoying. YOU SHOULD TOO.
Also, because I can't find anywhere else to mention it AND I WANNA, The Fall by Bethany Griffin. If you love The Fall of The House of Usher and/or just cursed families in spooky houses in general, you will dig this.
5 Favorite new author discovered in 2016
JOYCE STRANGER. I can't believe someone can be so prolific and well known in the UK yet so invisible in the U.S. You're like the one country besides our own we accept media from.
6. Best book that was out of your comfort zone
Take Me There by Carolee Dean. I normally do everything in my power to avoid "bad boys" in YA -- but I needed one for the express purpose of casting a teenage Miles Matheson, and this one worked out even better than hoped, what with the best friend who is a total screw-up whom he would nevertheless do anything for, even commit acts of dubious morality, because the friend has always had his back.
Alternatively, 600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster -- an adult-fiction book written by a guy, about a guy? Badness cubed! But Edward was so sweet.
7. Most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2016
The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan. What a great combination of personal quest and survivalist story set in the immediate aftermath of an apocalyptic natural disaster.
8. Book read in 2016 that you are most likely to reread
Hm. None jump out at me right way, but possible contenders include Billie Letts' Where the Heart Is and/or The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, Sarah Pekkanen's These Girls, Scoop by Jeff Miller, or The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace.
[Edit: All incorrect guesses! The true answer ended up being......Mandrake Root.]
9 Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016
I wasn't super enthralled by anything, but this one has such pretty colors that complement the title. And turtles! It is unfortunately whitewashed, but I'm willing to divorce the cover from the content to compliment the image.
10. Most memorable character of 2016
Novalee from Where the Heart Is. Zeeta from the Notebooks trilogy by Laura Resau. Macha from Winner by Maureen O'Donoghue. Leilani from Islands at the End of the World.
11. Most beautifully written book of 2016
I want to say Mandrake Root by Janet Diebold, just because there is probably hardly anyone alive who has heard of it, much less read it, but that setting was extremely enchanting, and I literally bought / read it solely because I liked the first page so much.
12. Book that had the greatest impact on you
I think What Do You Do with a Kinkajou? It wasn't the book so much as my desire to know what happened afterward. Inspired to find out, I threw myself into research about the title subject of that biography for hours, and it left me feeling inexplicably sad afteward, like I'd lost pieces of my own family.
13. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to read
Winner by Maureen O'Donoghue. I bought this in 2012 and it's been on my shelf all this time. So TAKE THAT, Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up author who claims that books on your TBR should be purged because you'll never actually read them! And it was an amazing book, too.
14. Favorite passage/quote
"You're still alive. You have to be. I'd know it, feel it, if you weren't. Wouldn't I?" -- Gabriel in R&I #5, Vanish. We rarely get to go inside his head, and this particular fret made me very hand-claspy.
15. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to someone about it
Vanish had like fifteen scenes. SHIPPITY SHIP SHIP.
16. Favorite relationship in a book read in 2016:
-Jane Rizzoli & Gabriel Dean: Rizzoli & Isles series
-Jeanne & future husband Alex in the Fifty Acres and a Poodle memoir, because #relationship goals
-Maddie & Bennett in The Truth About You and Me, at least up until the point where canon became a disaster bomb, which I have wiped from memory with plans to rewrite the rest someday.
-Anna & a different Bennett in Time after Time and its sequel by Tamara Ireland Stone. What a sweet guy. He's an example of why I keep subjecting myself to terrible YA novels featuring male protagonists, looking for more like him.
-Tamsen & what's-his-face in Young Widows Club. It ticked my age-mismatched-without-legal-consequence
-Emmy & Oliver from the same-titled book by Robin Benway. Soulmate best friends!
17. Favorite book you read in 2016 from an author you read previously
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. She does good historical work.
18. Best book you read in 2016 based solely on a recommendation
I didn't read anything that was personally recommended, but Winner was recommended in general on a horse book blog as a good novel for adults who still love horses, and it really was.
19. Book that was the most fun to read
Fifty Acres and a Poodle had me in constant laughter, alternated with hand-claspy joy about their relationship.
20. Book that made you cry
What Happened to Lani Garver. It's a reread but it still made me cry. As did bits of The Truth About You and Me.
21. Best series you discovered in 2016
Rizzoli & Isles, 100%
22. Best book you read that was published in 2016
Tumbling by Caela Carter. I haven't seen many novels about gymnastics at all, much less one that's basically an Olympics 2012/16 AU (well, Olympic Trials).
23. Book you most anticipated in 2016
As soon as I found out how many great-looking books she had that were actually in our library system, I was super excited to read my first Joyce Stranger novel, Breed of Giants.
24. The most unique book you read in 2016
An Affair With a House by Bunny Williams -- room by room (or area by area) detailing of how each one was furnished, along with some personal history from her 30 years owning it, and full-color glossy photos all over.
25. The book that shocked you the most
In 37 Things I Love by Kekla Magoon, one moment these two girls were having a normal sleepover, and the next minute they were like, groping each other. Despite no previous indications of non-heterosexuality. It was so extremely weird that first I literally didn't understand what I was reading, and then I thought I must have accidentally skipped several pages because the transition was non-existent.
26. Book that made you the maddest in 2016
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios made me want to kill the main character, her love interest and her mother all the way through the book and then for about an hour afterward. "Your mother is a depressed loser who refuses to work even when you literally hand her a job and also sabotages your efforts to get financial assistance for her from relatives. Why are you even THINKING about sacrificing your personal happiness to support her; run away and let her end up on the street if it comes to that. Also, news flash, your boyfriend was a scuzzy player before he went into the Army and that has not really changed. Losing a leg was a good starter punishment, but long-term celibacy would really underscore it NO WHY WHAT ARE YOU DOING IT'S BEEN LIKE TWO MONTHS. Why does being an 18-year-old virgin offend you so when your best friend is literally a walking advertisement for why sex at this age is dumb, a.k.a. a teen mom?" Look how mad I am still getting, right now, at this book I read A YEAR AGO.
27. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year
I really loved the description of Ecuador in Laura Resau's The Indigo Notebook and Aix-en-Provence in France from The Ruby Notebook.
28. Worst book of 2016
As mad as I am about I'll Meet You There, it wasn't horribly written. Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss, on the other hand, was criminally dull and pointless. Boys written by men, I tell ya...
29. Books you are most looking forward to reading in 2017
-This Side of Home by Renee Watson. I am anticipating that so much that I'm waiting until I'm in the Exactly Perfect mood to appreciate it.
-The NCIS: LA tie-in novels that my library has had listed as "on order" since, respectively, freakin' October and the publication date of the 2nd one in November, respectively.
30. How does 2016 represent you in books?
It represents my slow but very real transition into occasionally reading like an adult sometimes. Less than 60% of what I read this year was YA or middle grade, and I read a record-setting 14 (!) general-fiction novels, not even counting the dozen Tess Gerritsen mysteries. It may also represent my growing dependence on reading books so I can imagine my favorite TV characters in better-written and longer AU fanfic, but shh.
Total books read: 101
Month w/ most books read: December (17 -- had to hit that final tally!)
Month w/ fewest books read: April (4) (I have zero excuse, though at least all the books I read were awesome)
By style & age group:
-57% YA/middle grade (51/6% split)
Other stats, and links to the books (which in turn link to my reviews), on Goodreads with Your Year In Books here!
And finally, here is a post I made on Tumblr where I made good on my