Top 12 Books I Read in 2016!

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*comes in singing* Happy blogoversary to meeee!

That’s right, one year ago today, I posted my Foreword first post on this blog!

The Page Dreamer has officially existed for a whole year! *cue excitement* *and Gandalf fireworks* *because naturally*

Today I’m going to look back at this year of books—the reading, the reviewing, and, most importantly, my top favorite reads of the year! Let’s get to it. 🙂

Reading Stats

I read 78 books this year—huzzah!

I was planning for 60 (according to Goodreads) and overshot that a bit because I’m addicted an overachiever.

Check out my Year in Books on Goodreads to see them all listed! 🙂

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9 of those were rereads, 6 were nonfiction (*cue gasps from a shocked audience*), and 63 were new fiction reads.

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Of those 63, I rated 40 of them 5 stars.

*crickets*

I know, I have a problem with being very agreeable to most books. Moving on, then!

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10 books were 4 stars.

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7  books were 3 stars.

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6 books were 2 stars. (We do not speak of 3 of these, For Reasons Of Bad Endings, and one of them I just didn’t believe the romance most of the book [which never happens], and two were just all right.)

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According to my visible stats, I had no 1-stars, but that’s ignoring the fact that one story in a collection is totally a 1-star, even if I chickened out in my review and gave it a medium rating for being good most of the time until the ending WHICH WAS NOT OKAY. So 1 book was 1 star.

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(Seeing a trend here…? I literally rated two-thirds of the books I read in 2016 five-stars.)

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Fun fact: I read 12 books by Diana Wynne Jones this year. Yes, that averages to one every month. Half of those were new reads, and half were rereading aloud, because OH THE FUN. (Hence this being a fun-fact instead of just a fact. Ahem.)

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I also seem to have read 20,000 pages this year??? Um. What is up with that? O.o That’s like the same amount of WORDS I wrote this year (if you ignore the 50K during NaNo).

Okay, enough stats, I can tell I’m boring you. 😉

Without more further ado, I give you (in no particular order because I’m an indecisive otter, except my very favorites are in a special category at the top)…

My Top 12 (more or less) Reads of 2016

(All titles link to their Goodreads pages; I also link to my reviews if one was written.)

BEST OF THE BEST

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1. Paper Crowns – Mirriam Neal

{My Review}

A favorite up there with The Lord of the Rings and Howl’s Moving Castle, I was SO ecstatic when Paper Crowns was published this year! It has literally everything to make it a fantabulous book, including witty writing and banter, characters who are simply my FAVORITE (Hal! Azrael! And Salazar, Asterope, Astryn, Ginger… Just everybody) and Fey and a talking cat and adorable romance on the side and adventure and JUST READ THIS BOOK BECAUSE IT’S PERFECT. ❤ Favorite of the year. 🙂


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2. The Bone House / The Spirit Well / The Shadow Lamp – Stephen R. Lawhead

{My Review of The Bone House} {My Review of The Spirit Well} [review of The Shadow Lamp to come]

THIS SERIES. I haven’t finished it yet (The Fatal Tree was, however, a Christmas present, so that will be read very soon!) but the ones I’ve read so far are simply fabulous. Different eras and settings and cultures, lovable characters, adventure, stunning writing, and all deliciously complex. I can’t wait to finish! Book 4, The Shadow Lamp, may be my favorite of the series yet! Just so much is HAPPENING. (Plus Kit and Wilhelmina and Cass and Giles and even Haven, etc. <3)


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3. Blood Ties / An Earthly King – Hazel B. West

{My Review of Blood Ties} {My Review of An Earthly King}

I’ve done my share of flailing over this series, but REALLY, I just love these modern-Ireland-mixed-with-alternate-history-and-Faerie books! The friendships and adventure and humor and characters and WORLD are just so fabulous! ❤


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4. Fire and Hemlock – Diana Wynne Jones

{My Review}

Yeah, no surprise this is here… there has to be a DWJ book in my top few! 😉 I rambled enough about it in my review, but it was just AMAZING and I can’t wait to reread it this year. 😀 Tam Lin retelling, just brilliant, not to mention bookish things and writer things and modern Faerie things and Tom Lynn and his cello and amazingness. ❤

THE REST OF THE BEST

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5. Deep Secret – Diana Wynne Jones

This one was somehow way darker than any other DWJ book I’ve read before, with some more mature-audience elements, but it just sucked me in so completely and was so original and amazing and the characters and and and… Diana Wynne Jones!!! ❤ I really need to review this one. o.o (The sequel-of-sorts, The Merlin Conspiracy, is amazing too.)


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6. The Rose and the Balloon – Kirsten Fichter

{My Review}

Once again, all my thoughts are in my review (apparently I reviewed most of these?), but this was just a delightful Beauty and the Beast retelling novella and I adored it! ^_^ (Also Dmitri. And the bickering.)


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7. Jackaby / The Map: A Jackaby Story – William Ritter

{Series Review}

Because Jackaby. Jackaby himself is basically all that needs saying here. Also historical fantasy is something I apparently like? And references! Like having banshees and redcaps and allusions to the song Whiskey in the Jar — these things make me happy. 😀


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8. Yorien’s Hand – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

{My Review}

Ohhh my goodness, this book! Dragons and fantasy and Brant the epic warrior and Kiernan Kane (the mysterious minstrel!) and all of the things! ❤ Just… really really good. I’m kicking myself for not having read the rest of the series yet… but that will happen SOON. ❤


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9. Defying Shadows – Ashley Townsend

{My Review}

Flailing is available in the full review, but TIME TRAVEL + ROBIN HOOD RETELLING + WILL + PLOT TWISTS + ADORABLE ROMANCE/CHARACTERS = Yes. ❤


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10. The Beautiful Pretender – Melanie Dickerson

{My Review}

Another Beauty and the Beast retelling, crossed with The Princess and the Pea, this was just an enjoyable book. ^_^ Really well-written with likeable characters; one of Melanie Dickerson’s best, so far!


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11. Moominsummer Madness – Tove Jansson

Standing in mostly for the entire Moomin series, I almost put Finn Family Moomintroll here but decided Moominsummer Madness is probably my favorite, if only because of Snufkin and the woodies and the park keeper. Just. YES. 😀 The Moomin books are DELIGHTFUL, Snufkin is a kindred soul of mine (seriously though. <3) and I just love these books! ^_^ This one has a flood and an abandoned theater stage and all sorts of fun, whimsical, fantastical shenanigans.


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12. The Castle Corona – Sharon Creech

I don’t even know why, but I simply adored this little tale in a vaguely-Italian fairytale kingdom, with a mystery and a Storyteller and all sorts of questions and intrigue and delightful characters! I even started out thinking I wouldn’t really like it but it totally surprised me, and now here it is on my top-reads-of-the-year post! Who would’ve thought! Simply utterly charming and delightful. ^_^

Honorable Mentions go to the following

(because they’re not my “usual” genre — being two Regency Romances and a Contemporary Superpower book — but they were really good)

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  1. Devil’s Cub – Georgette Heyer (BECAUSE GEORGETTE HEYER.)
  2. Emma – Jane Austen (This was unexpectedly extremely well done. Also Mr. Knightley.)
  3. Twinepathy – C. B. Cook (Blaze and Anvil! That is all.) {Read my review}

Bonus Categories

FAVORITE STORY IN A COLLECTION

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  • With Blossoms Gold – Hayden Wand (in ONCE: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales) — A retelling of Rapunzel, I simply ADORED it! It was fun, funny, exciting, and clever, and the banter and humor and character interactions, not to mention Prince Benedict (and Prince Orlando too) were just MARVELOUS. ❤
  • (Runner-up: Death Be Not Proud – Suzannah Rowntree in the same collection, because it was just so so brilliant and clever and this author is apparently amazing.)
  • Read my review for this collection

FAVORITE NONFICTION

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  1. Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman — Brilliant and inspiring and original. Loved it enough to read it 3 or 4 times AND listen to the speech a couple of times. {My review}
  2. If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit – Brenda Ueland — Finally, somebody (even if the book was from 1938) talking about writing the way I think of it, and about writing the way you want, and speaking out against criticism. This book inspired me SO much. ❤

FAVORITE PICTURE BOOK

  • The Water of Life – Brothers Grimm, retold by Barbara Rogasky, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman — I hadn’t read this tale of Grimm’s before, but it was great and I positively adore Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrations!

Blog Stats

Because it’s my blogoversary, so of course I want to look at my stats! 😉

Most popular posts:

(I find it slightly amusing that, for a book-review blog, my most-read posts are mostly non-review posts. XD)

  1. Cover Love: Some 2016 Releases
  2. Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag {2016}
  3. Bookish Book Lover Tag
  4. 25 Bookish Facts About Me
  5. By the Book Tag
  6. The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead
  7. Fantasy Fan-Art
  8. My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)

By the Numbers:

  • 61 posts (woohoo!)
  • 120 followers (you are all awesome! <3)
  • 720 comments (half of these being me replying. XD)
  • 1343 visitors
  • 3549 hits

Top Commenters:

  1. Christine
  2. Madeline J. Rose
  3. Skye
  4. Sarahtps
  5. Jenelle
  6. Savannah Grace

Thanks SO much, all of you awesome people, and just everyone who reads and/or comments — I so appreciate you all! ^_^ ❤


Whew. Now you know all about my year of 2016 — at least the bookish part… but that’s the most important, yes?? 😉

Have you read any of my top 12? (Or… a little more like top 24 if you look at categories and series… BUT STILL.) How was your year of reading in 2016? Tell me all! And I wish you all a fabulous reading year of 2017! Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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19 thoughts on “Top 12 Books I Read in 2016!

  1. Happy 1 year anniversary! And WOW, so many books! I did not meet my reading goal for 2016, but I did read some ones I quite liked. Like the first Jackaby book. Seriously, I read it in a 24 hour time period.

    Hope you have an awesome 2017!

    -Grace

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Grace! 🙂 And aww, I’m sorry you didn’t get as many read as you’d have liked, but glad you had some good ones! Jackaby was pretty great, yep! 😀

      Thank youuu! I hope you have an awesome 2017 too!! ❤ *huggles* Thanks for dropping by! ^_^

      Like

  2. I enjoyed the stats, actually . . . Also, I sympathize with being a probably-too-nice rater, though for me it tends to manifest as rating books that should be three stars four stars more than rating books that should be four stars five stars. (BTW- I think you accidentally put the five-star picture in again in place of the four-star.)

    I was not at all surprised to see Paper Crowns at the top of your list! It certainly is a delightful book! I haven’t read a lot of the others of your top favorites (other than Jackaby, obviously!) but a lot of them are on my TBR list.

    I think the reason for the non-review posts being more popular is that people won’t always read review posts if they have already made up their mind on the book? Like, I have a blogger friend who reads mostly contemporary books, so if a review she posts looks like a contemporary book, I’m less likely to read it because I don’t read contemporary. Also non-review posts are often a little more exciting, just because of the nature of the content.

    (Also- storms yeah I’m one of the top commenters! *fistpump*)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Glad you didn’t find them boring. 😄 (I enjoy stats too, so I’m glad I’m not the only one. ;)) And yeah, I can see that being a problem, but I just… I can’t stop rating books nicely. o.o Unless I’m really mad at them, which fortunately rare. 😄 And ooh, thanks for catching that! I updated the four-star pic. 🙂 (I was super sleep-deprived when I wrote this post… it happens around New Year’s. *cough*)

      Paper Crowns!!! ❤ And Jackaby of course. I hope you'll enjoy the other ones if you read them! 🙂

      Yep, that's largely my reasoning as well… I'm the same where I usually don't read a review unless I'm interested in the book/author/genre, or sometimes just curious, but it just depends.

      (And yes. Yes you are. ❤ Thanks for being so loyal and commenty! :D)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. BOOKS!! 😀

    Yay! 78 books in 2016! ❤ I only managed to read 35, but hopefully this year will be a bit more promising.

    PAPER CROWNSSSSS!!!! 😀 I loves it so much. I REALLY need a sequel…like, yesterday.
    I got the Bright Empire series as a Christmas present, so I'm SUPER excited to read those!
    And Jackaby, of course. Jackaby is wonderful. 😉

    I hope you have a wonderful year of books this 2017! ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES!

      And thanks! ❤ 35 is honestly a lot too, and I know a lot of those were STUPENDOUS books, so. 😉

      Paper Crowns is literally the best. YES, she needs to publish the sequel! It's soooo good! ^_^

      AAHH YOU GOT THE BRIGHT EMPIRES FOR CHRISTMAS! 😀 That's so exciting! I so hope you'll enjoy them! ^_^

      Jackaby always. 😉

      Thanks so much and I hope your own 2017 will be fantastically bookish as well! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. BOOOOOOKS. I LOVE THIS *huggles post* AND IT’S YOUR ONE YEAR BLOGVERSARY. Happy blogversary, The Page Dreamer! *brings out cake as big as Bilbo’s* I LOVE THIS BLOG SO VERY MUCH!!!

    I actually adore reading all your stats like the geek I am. It’s so fun! Congrats on reading 78 books AND winning out on all those 5 stars! 😀 Also, 12 DWJ BOOKS. What a great reading year!

    Isn’t it so great how we read a bunch of the same books this year? PAPER CROWNS (<3333), The Rose and the Balloon, Defying Shadows (WILLLLLL), Twinepathy. All such wonderful books! And all the other books you mentioned are absolutely things I NEED to read. Especially, the Bright Empires series, Blood Ties, and Jackaby! But also ALL the DWJ books! Because duh. But just…ALL THE BOOKS. I absolutely adored seeing your favorites and reading your thoughts on them!

    MEEP. I'm on the list of the top commenters. That just made me all excited seeing that for some reason. xD I do so love chatting with you and flailing over all your fun, brilliant posts!

    I cannot wait for another year of all the wonderful posts! I hope you have the BEST reading year yet! Happy 2017!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aaahhh thank you so much!!! ^_^ *eats cake*

      So glad you enjoyed the stats. 😀 Thank you! And I’m pretty excited about all the DWJ too. 😄

      Yesss, I love how we read a lot of the same ones! It’s been so fun flailing together on those. 😄 You DEFINITELY need to read the Bright Empires, and also Blood Ties and Jackaby and all the DWJ! ❤

      Of course you're in the list of top commenters, because you're awesome! Thank you so muuuch! ❤ I'm glad it got you excited — being mentioned in a blog post does that to a person. 😄 I so enjoy chatting and flailing with you about books tooo! (But goodness, fun and brilliant posts? o.o YOU TOO NICE.)

      Thank you! I hop you have the best reading year too! Happy 2017 to you as well!! 🙂

      Like

  5. Na Fianaaaa! 🙂 🙂 I got my sister book 2 for Christmas, so naturally I had to re-read both books. 😛
    I’m in the process of reading Twinepathy and The Skin Map is sitting on my shelf waiting.
    I love The Water of Life book! The pictures are awesome. The illustrator also does a George and the Dragon that was one of my favorite books growing up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YUSSS. ❤ Awesome! I almost got my sister book 2 for Christmas too… but she still needs to read the first, so. 😛 I am anticipating a reread of both this year myself! Sooo good.

      Oh yay! Hope you're enjoying Twinepathy and that you'll like The Skin Map. 😀

      Aahhh, cool! AND OH MY GOODNESS, YES! I simply adored that Saint George and the Dragon picture book–it's one of the main things that cemented my addiction to the illustrator! In fact the look and "feel" of that book had an influence on the feel of my own novel Heartseeker! 🙂 Such a lovely book. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: My Year in Writing {2016} | The Road of a Writer

  7. Pingback: The Return of the Ishness! | The Road of a Writer

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