2016 Book Wrap Up

♬ ♪ Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? ♫ ♪  

There is something so special about sitting on the cusp of a new year. I find myself reflective on this last day of 2016 and excited about what the year 2017 might bring into my life. As I am on that reflective note, here is a look at what 2016 brought to me in the world of books.

GoodReads Stats

My goal for 2016 was to read 30 books and I am pleased to see that I surpassed my goal. I had a really busy first half of my year as I was working full-time, completing an internship, and finishing up graduate school, so I read 2/3 of my goal in the last half of the year. I have to say that having that goal of 30 books dangling ahead of me kept me motivated to pick up a book whenever I had a spare moment.

2016-stats

I had a pretty solid year of books I enjoyed, many of which made my recommended list. Here is a list of my favorite books of the year along with a link to my post on it.

Below is a complete info-graphic of the books I read this year, 4 of which I gave 5 stars and 14 of which I gave 4 stars. I would say that is a sign of a good year of reading! There are likely still a few books I read this year that I plan to post about in the new year.

2016-books_12016-books_22016-books_32016-books_4

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

fangirl

Image from Amazon.com

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published: September 2013

Rating: ★★★★★


Summary: Cath is in her first year of college, living separately from her twin sister and her fragile dad for the first time. Although some things remain the same, such as her intense fandom for the Simon Snow series and her popular fan fiction blog, she isn’t sure she can handle all of the change that is the college experience.

Why I Am Recommending: This was a delightful read that took me right back to college and the perils of dating during that time of your life. College is a great time to begin the process of finding yourself and Cath is trying to figure out who she is, especially independent from her twin sister. This story had a heavy does of nostalgia for me and I also found it to be very heartwarming, which is a typical description of my experience with Rainbow Rowell thus far. This book also has the bonus of a book within a book as you get to enjoy excerpts from Simon Snow.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson 

Since You've Been Gone.jpg

Image from Amazon.com

Title: Since You’ve Been Gone

Author: Morgan Matson

Published: May 2014

Rating: ★★★★


Summary: This is the story of Emily and her best friend Sloane. Sloane and her family suddenly pick up and leave, leaving Emily to wonder why they left and where they went. Emily had high hopes for a summer filled with she and her best friend, but with Sloane gone, she needs to rethink her plan with the help of some new friends and a mysterious list of things to do sent in the mail.

Why I Am Recommending: Take this novel for what it is, a sweet and breezy story of friendship and young love. It is not going to change your world, but it will likely have you reflecting back on your own formative years. This book was a giant slice of nostalgia for me, which made me think about my own experiences at this age with my best friend. I liked Emily and I liked her taste in music…for the most part. This is a light and enjoyable read.

List: 7 Hidden Gems Worth Reading

The following is a list of books that I have enjoyed, but find that very few others have read. Books that fall into this category are like finding money in a winter coat from last year–total jackpot! I spend a great deal of time scouring Pinterest, Goodreads, and book reviews trying to find the next book that I am going to love and champion. So in no particular order:

poison-study

Image from Amazon.com

Title: Poison Study

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Published: March 2007

Rating: ★★★★

Summary: Yelena is about to be executed for murder when she is given a chance to instead live in a palace and eat the best food in the kingdom as the food taster for the Commander. She becomes immersed in the palace life and starts to discover new skills of her own. Note: This is the first in The Study series, but I can only recommend the first as I didn’t love the second and couldn’t finish the third.

fading

Image from Amazon.com

Title: Fading

Author: E.K. Blair

Published: June 2013

Rating: ★★★★

Summary: This is the story of Candace, a senior fine arts major with aspirations of becoming a professional ballerina. Diligent and hard work has left her little time to experience the traditional rites of passage in college, until one night when she decides to let go. That night goes horribly wrong when she ends up beat up physically and emotionally after being attacked. The story follows her as she goes through the process of trying to heal and allow others into her fragile world. Note: This book has some graphic sexual violence in it.

kitchen-house

Image from Amazon.com

Title: The Kitchen House

Author: Kathleen Grissom

Published: February 2010

Rating:★★★★★

Summary: Lavinia is an orphan found on a ship coming from Ireland. She is scooped up by a plantation owner and put in the care of the master’s illegitimate daughter, Belle, in the Kitchen House. There she learns along side the slaves how to cook and serve the family of the main house. Her skin color, however, gives her access to the main house and the family inside of it in a way different from the people she has come to know as family. She is torn between the two worlds.

Fever Tree.jpg

Image from Amazon.com

Title: The Fever Tree

Author: Jennifer McVeigh

Published: April 2013

Rating: ★★★★

Summary: This book is very much in the vein of Gone With the Wind as it follows Frances from London to South Africa after her family’s fortune evaporates with her father’s death. Frances is journeying to South Africa to marry a Christian man as set up by a Christian service. Along the way to meet her promised husband, she falls for another man. Torn between her heart and what is promised she must live with the choices she makes. All set to the smallpox epidemic that wreaks havoc on her new country and her own life.

falling-home

 

Title: Falling Home

Author:  Karen White

PublishedJune 2002

Rating: ★★★★

Summary: This is a family drama following the perspective of Cassie as she travels back home to Georgia when her sister (who married Cassie’s high school sweetheart) calls to let her know their father is ill. Cassie has to handle the small town she grew up in, the marriage of her sister and high school sweetheart, and a connection to an old classmate. The story has more depth that expected and provides a well-rounded and satisfying experience. There is a sequel called After the Rain that I have been meaning to read.

one-true-loves

Image from Amazon.com

Title: One True Loves

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published: June 2016

Rating: ★★★★★

Summary: Emma is at dinner with her family and her fiance when she receives a phone call that turns her world upside down from her husband. And so begins discovering how Emma got into this predicament and the heart-wrenching journey she must embark on to determine who she will choose. Click here to take a look at my book recommendation post for this book.

 

swear-on-this-lifeTitle: Swear on This Life

Author: Renee Carlino

Published: August 2016

Rating: ★★★★★

Summary: Emiline begins to read a novel by the new novelist taking the literary world by storm, J. Colby, when she begins to discover that the story is her story. Emiline’s childhood was one of struggle and pain, except for her only lifeline, Jase. This book tells the real story of Emiline and Jase and also follow the book’s story of Emerson and Jackson. Click here to read what I wrote in my book recommendation post for this book.

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

truth-according-to-us

Image from Goodreads.com

Title: The Truth According to Us

Author: Annie Barrows

Published: June 2015

Rating:★★★★


Summary: Layla is a spoiled girl looking to prove to her dad her ability to make it on her own when she is set up as a writer for the Federal Workers’ Project. Her assignment is to chronicle the history and present of the small town of Macedonia, West Virginia. While in Macedonia, she boards with the Romeyn family where she begins to learn some of the secrets of this quirky family. Told from the perspective of Layla, the oldest Romeyn, Jottie, and the youngest, Willa.

Why I Am Recommending: Great historical fiction story that is well-written with a touch of mystery, a touch of romance, and a heavy dose of family drama. I grew attached to each of the narrators and especially loved each of their portrayals of the Romeyn patriarch, Felix, who plays a central role in each of their lives. Each brings a unique perspective, Willa the child-like innocence, Layla, the naiveté of a young woman on her own for the first time, and Jottie, someone resigned to the cards life has dealt her. When I read this book I felt transported to the slow-paced, old fashioned town. I felt like I was drinking sweet tea on the porch listening to someone tell a story in a slow, southern drawl.