Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 books read

I'm one of those people who keeps lists of things.  Books I've read mostly.  I read exactly 41 books this year from start to finish.  That does not count the books I started, but put down never to finish, or my textbooks for my grad school classes (those I definitely didn't read from start to finish).  I did not include picture books, save for one exception. It also does not include magazine articles or the scriptures which are not read to put on a list, but to live by.

I’ve grouped them into likes and dislikes and from there into loose reading levels.  So, farewell 2016 books, you've brought much enjoyment to the year!

Mild dislike—I didn’t hate them, but didn’t like them either.
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie.  This fantasy fiction book for adults was well written and had a plot that moved along nicely with good character development.  It was, however, very violent.  It takes place in a fictional fantasy world and deals with revenge and war.  It had a too much gore for my liking.  

Hannah by Kathryn Laskey.  A younger fiction book that was written poorly.  Poor character development, resolved issues much too quickly.  It has mermaids in it, so if you like mermaids there is that.  It seemed formulaic and in need of a good editor.

I would still recommend these, but I wouldn’t read them again or continue the series for various reasons.
General Fiction:
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card.  I've tried to read Card before and have never been able to get through any of his books and I’m not sure why, they just did not catch my attention.  I’ve wanted to get over this inability and so I tried this one and listened to the audiobook, which worked well.  I quite enjoyed it, just not enough to try the next dozen books.  

Southern Peach Pie and a Dead Guy by A. Gardner. A Poppy Peter's Mystery that takes place at a cooking school.  I picked this one up trying to find another mystery series to get into. It didn’t quite hit the spot and I didn’t want to continue to read about Poppy’s adventures.  

Young Adult Fiction:
The Siren by Kiera Cass.  Another mermaid book (I read many mermaid books this year, not on purpose).  It was a typical teen fantasy book with a little bit of romance.  

Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst. I've read Durst before and enjoyed her book, Ice, quite a lot.  In this book her characters weren’t quite as likable and the story didn’t resonate with me, I had a hard time connecting with the plot.  Fantasy.

Discern by Andrea Pearson. Mosaic Chronicles, book #1.  Another magic school book, but this time the school is a university. Involves some romance and mythology.  There are 8 books in the series and I was not drawn in enough to wade through all of them.

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble.  A young girl is held captive by Baba Yaga and she happens to be the daughter of the Romanov's.  This is mostly fantasy and a little bit historical, but not much. It seemed to resolve rather quickly. 

The Curse of the Thirteenth Fey by Jane Yolen.  Very loosely based on Sleeping Beauty. I love Jane Yolen, but this book was just average.  

Merrow by Amanda Braxton-Smith.  Here is another mermaid book.  It's not technically fantasy, however, but fits in this genre better than any other genre.  How is it not fantasy if it's about mermaids?  Well if I told you that I'd give away the ending!

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins.  Time travel romance.  Enough said.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter.  Embassy Row, book #1.  I enjoy Ally Carter, but this espionage series wasn’t enough to compel me to continue reading the sequels. 

That Summer by Sarah Dessen.  Realistic fiction dealing with family issues.  More angst than I normally like to read.

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn.  A young girl can be the key to communicating with the dragons who have long been thought violent.  Little romance is thrown in, not a bad choice really, just didn't like it enough.

Junior Fiction:
A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder.  A fantasy novel about two sets of sisters--twin sprites & two human girls, trapped in different worlds.  Interesting connections, just not as interesting as I wanted it to be.

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox.  This book could be in historical fiction as well as fantasy.  Set in World War II, a witch is taking the souls of children and the Nazi's are trying to steal the power. 

I liked these, I enjoyed my time with the characters and will continue to read these authors and series.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. This is a business fable about how to manage a team.  I quite liked it.

An American Plague by Jim Murphy.  This children's non-fiction title is quite good.  The secondary title sums it up: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793.  Truly interesting, just don’t read it at night.  Alone. And think about your son in mosquito ridden Dominican Republic.  

General Fiction:
The Night Circus by Erin Mogenstern. Two people, fated to magically fight each other, fall in love.  What a perfect tag line!  

Her Good Name by Josi Kilpack.  This is a LDS mystery novel, different than many others of the same type.  A bit unbelievable, but enjoyable. 

Young Adult Fiction:
The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. First in the fantasy Red Queen Trilogy. War between silver bloods and red bloods, quite intriguing.  

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page.  Yes, this is that Dorothy of Wizard of Oz fame.  A nice dark twist on the Oz story. First book in the series.

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman. Takes place in India.  A lovely look into Indian culture and the beauty of dance and the human spirit. 

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. Realistic fiction with strong characters.  The son of a Pentecostal preacher in small town Tennessee must deal with a multitude of issues.

Junior Fiction:
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley.  A lovely fantasy book that follows a young man searching for the magical circus his grandfather has been telling him about for years.

The Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke. This author never fails to disappoint me.  I listened to the audiobook as I exercised.  A wonderful tale of ghosts and family connections. 

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.  This graphic novel about a young girl who joins a roller derby team was a joy to read.  The pictures pushed along the story and added an additional dimension to the narration.  A winner!

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  Historical fiction that takes place in England during World War II.  A handicapped girl and her brother are taken into the county side for safety and they and the lady they live with enrich each others lives.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. Another author that does not disappoint.  This is a collection of stories that seem unrelated but come together beautifully in the end. 

Summerlost by Ally Condie. Realistic fiction that takes place in Cedar City Utah at the Shakespeare Festival (although if you weren’t from Utah you probably wouldn’t catch on to that bit of information).  Fun story of two young kids and their summer adventures.  

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown.  I love Peter Brown’s picture books, Children Make Terrible Pets is wonderful.  His foray into fiction is successful with this truly unique book about a robot and the animals it helps.  

Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague. Another audiobook success.  This story follows two story lines years apart.  They come together in a very satisfying way. I love a good ending! 

Picture Book:
The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña.  I had to include this award winning picture book. It won the Newbery Medal for 2016 (unique for a picture book) and received a Caldecott Honor along with a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.  A bus ride that you will want to take again and again.

Loved—this list is longer than in years past.  I liked different things about each one.  Some of these I loved because they will be on my list of rereads and some of them I loved because I read them very quickly, excited to turn the next page.
General Fiction:
Murder on Wheels and Tea Cups and Carnage by Lyn Cahoon.  These are my guilty pleasure.  Tourist Trap mystery series with a bit of romance thrown in.  Cahoon comes out with a couple new titles a year and I have them on automatic order on my kindle. 

Prudence by Gail Carriger.  Custard Protocol #1.  I have loved Carriger’s other steampunk series.  This one is another wonderfully read audiobook, but unlike the other series she has written for young adults, this one is for adults.  Because of this the second book in the series that I started to listen to got a little racy, so I stopped with the first one, which I loved. 

Young Adult Fiction:
Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen. Scarlett series #2. This Robin Hood series is delightful to read, moves quickly and has endearing characters. 

Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger. Finishing School, book 4. Loved this series.  Vampires, werewolves, flying air machines, espionage.  What’s not to love?  A must listen to audiobook.

Junior Fiction:
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo.  I watched a webinar with Kate DiCamillo as she talked about this new book.  She is delightful.  I listened to this audiobook and the three main characters really came alive for me.  A realistic fiction book set in the south. 

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands. The first book in a series (the second book has just come out and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet).  I read this book aloud to my kids and they were hanging on every word!  A fast paced fantasy novel where the only negative thing is waiting for the rest of the series to be published!

Mark of the Thief (Mark of the Thief, book 1) and Rise of the Wolf (Mark of the Thief, book 2) by Jennifer Nielson. These Roman mythology books rival Percy Jackson in my opinion!

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