My Year in Books: 2016 Reading Recap

Book Roundup, Discussion
Read: My year in books. The best, the worst, and everything in between.

I read a LOT of books in 2016.

Some were great.

Some were not.

From the best to the worst and everything in between, these books made an impression on me. Here’s how I felt about the books that made it through my TBR stack in 2016.

Read: My year in books. The best, the worst, and everything in between.

*This blog post contains affiliate links.


Best Read of the Year

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Hands down, this was the best book I read all year. I still can’t get over how much I loved this book. The author slowly peeled back the layers of the story to reveal a mystery and a twist that you don’t see coming. I went into this book with no expectations and it blew me away.

Amazon | Book Depository


Biggest Disappointment

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Every once in a while, I think that I should care more about celebrities and pop culture. So I get a book like this and then I realize why I don’t care about celebrities or pop culture. It’s so boring! I don’t care about someone else’s spray tan, make-out sessions, or day-to-day routines. Yawn and double yawn. Long story short—I won’t be reading celebrity memoirs in the near future.

Amazon | Book Depository


Longest Book

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

Almost 700 pages! That thing was a beast.

Amazon | Book Depository



Most Conflicted Feelings After Reading

The Wonder by Emma Donaghue

I read this book months ago and I still can’t decide how I feel about it. Since I was so conflicted about it, I gave it to my neighbor to see if she could make something of it. On the one hand, it was an amazing story, on the other hand, I felt very affronted by the attitudes of the characters. I couldn’t figure out if it was simply the characters in that time period or if the author was putting her own agenda into the book.

Amazon | Book Depository


Most Educational Book

Awesome America by TIME for Kids

This fabulous book taught me (and my kids) all about America, the history of our country, all about our government, and all about the different geographical areas. It was a fascinating book and a great read.



Saddest Book

Free Verse by Sarah Dooley

This book was sad from beginning to end. It was sad in the middle and sad in the good parts and sad in the bad parts. Sad, sad, sad. It didn’t make me cry, but the entire atmosphere emanated sadness.

Amazon | Book Depository


Most Depressing Book

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Ho-ly smokes! What a depressing book. I quit halfway through because I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s such a downer. Everything bad that can happen to a person happens in this book. Apparently, I’m in the minority on disliking this book (it won a National Book Award, Oprah loves it, it’s one of Amazon’s best books of the year, etc), but wow. I dragged myself around for weeks while I slugged my way through it.

Amazon | Book Depository


Cutest Book

Textrovert by Lindsey Summers

There isn’t a better word for this book than “cute”. It was definitely the cutest book I read all year. Young love, text messages, and an easy-to-read plot. Definitely a winner. It’s not coming out until May 2017, but it’s available for pre-order.

Amazon | Book Depository


Favorite Series

Jackaby by William Ritter

I read the entire series back-to-back. I loved these books and couldn’t put them down. If there had been three or four more books in the series, I could have easily devoured them as well. There will be a new installment in the series in 2017 and I can’t wait!

Amazon | Book Depository


Most Unusual Book

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

This was such an unusual book I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. I gave it to my neighbor and she had the same thoughts on it that I did. It was interesting. Not amazing. Not horrible. Interesting.

Amazon | Book Depository


Curio by Evangeline Denmark

This is another book that I wanted to like because the cover was so pretty. The story itself was very strange and the writing was unusual. It was a good story, just different. I didn’t understand some aspects of the book and some things weren’t explained well enough, which added to the unusualness of it.

Amazon | Book Depository


Best Memoir

He Wanted the Moon by Mimi Baird

A doctor who documents his own descent into madness. Oh, yes. This book was amazing, beautiful, crazy, and everything in between. It’s the actual journal of a doctor with manic depression and his experiences with the disease and with the mental hospitals at the time.

Amazon | Book Depository


Best Humor Novel

Holding Court by K.C. Held

I laughed my guts out while reading this book! After I finished, I loaned it to anyone that would take it. It was so funny. It’s one of my favorite books of the year.

Amazon | Book Depository


Most Motivational Book

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

I loved reading about Sophia’s experiences. She has a way with words. This was one of those books that made me look inside and find my own strengths. It’s a great read if you’re looking for some motivation or inspiration.

Amazon | Book Depository


Most Disturbing Read

Massacre at Mountain Meadows

Wow. Can I just tell you how much sleep I lost after reading this book? It made me sick to my stomach. Partly because I’m a Mormon, and partly because my husband’s great-great-great-grandfather was driving one of the wagons and (may or may not have) participated in the massacre. I couldn’t even write a review after I read it. I just put it back on my shelf and left it there.

Amazon | Book Depository


Favorite Reread

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

My kids and I have read this book at least half a dozen times together. It’s one of our favorite books. We have the big combo version, so we devour the entire series all at once. We’ll definitely be reading this one again in the future.

Amazon | Book Depository


Most Likely to Reread in 2017

Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon

2016 was a great year for YA thrillers. I couldn’t stop reading them. Gilt Hollow was one of my favorites and I would love to reread it in 2017.

Amazon | Book Depository



Series I’m Most Looking Forward to Continuing

Enchanted, Inc by Shanna Swendson

This is SUCH a cute series. It’s like Harry Potter for grownups. I’ve read the first three books in the series and I’m looking forward to continuing with it.

Amazon | Book Depository



New-to-Me Author I’m LEAST Likely to Read Again

Emma Cline (The Girls)

Yikes. With all the hype around this book, I expected a lot more. I was sorely disappointed and didn’t even make it 100 pages into the book before I gave up. What a disappointment. Revisiting this author in the future is highly unlikely.

Amazon | Book Depository


New-to-Me Author I’m MOST Likely to Read Again

Michelle Krys (Dead Girls Society)

I already bought her other two books, so it’s pretty safe to say that I plan on reading more of her work. Dead Girls Society was such a thrill ride. I can’t get it out of my head and I can’t wait to dive into Michelle’s Hexed series.

Amazon | Book Depository


Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)

The Thirteenth Tale knocked my socks off. Of course, I’m going to read more books from this author! It would be crazy-pants not to.

Amazon | Book Depository



What books left an impression on you in 2016?


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  • Reply
    Paige @ Between Reality
    January 5, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I’ve seen “Why Not Me?” by Mindy floating around, but it never interested me enough to read it. I just don’t find much interest in most non-fiction books. It seems like you had a pretty good reading year! I think if there’s ONE book that really left an amazing impression on me, it’s “How I Fall” by Anne Elliot. It was a beautiful book that had excellent characters and an amazing plot.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    I tried Why Not Me? but I don’t think I know Mindy Kaling enough to care about it. I think I have to like the celebrity first to read their book; if Emma Watson wrote a memoir, I’d be up for that! I haven’t read any of the other books on your list, but #Girlboss and Enchanted, Inc sound great!

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 5, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      I’d definitely read an Emma Watson memoir too. I have a feeling that her book would be more interesting than the typical celebrity memoir.

      #Girlboss and Enchanted, Inc were great! I loved both of them.

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
    January 6, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    I had to check out a few of these books after reading this post. Massacred does sound very disturbing. I have a vague remembrance of hearing about Holding Court at some point, but it didn’t capture my attention enough to make me take a second look. Now I definitely think I’ll give it a try! Feel free to link this up to my Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up if you’re interested—I’m hoping to get year-end wraps as well as December wrap-ups this month!

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 6, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Holding Court was a blast to read. I would highly recommend it if you need a laugh and have a good sense of humor.

      I added my link to the wrap-up linky! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review
    January 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    I recently read Jackaby (finally!) and really enjoyed it. He Wanted the Moon sounds very interesting – I hadn’t come across that before. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Geraldine @ Corralling Books
    January 7, 2017 at 4:46 am

    Oh no, I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy Why Not Me, by Mindy Kaling! I know I really enjoyed her first non-fiction book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, so it’s disappointing to hear that this was a miss 🙁
    Thanks for stopping by Corralling Books

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 7, 2017 at 10:42 am

      I didn’t read her first book, so I can’t compare the two. I was really disappointed in this one, though. Apparently, I’m the only one, so you might like it. Most people do. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 7, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    I occasionally try to read celeb bios, and invariably am disappointed. I read her earlier work, as well as Tina Fey’s and Amy Poehler’s, and while I really admire all three women, none of the books did much for me. (Well, Bossypants has some great bits.) I have finally gotten it into my head to stop picking them up. There are so many terrific memoirs written by people who are good writers! He Wanted the Moon, on the other hand, sounds fascinating!

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 8, 2017 at 11:01 am

      It’s so true. I think I’m done with celebrity memoirs.

      If you like well written memoirs (that are actually interesting) you’ll love He Wanted the Moon. It’s fascinating!

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books
    January 10, 2017 at 6:44 am

    I am SO with you with The Girls. I made it to about 100 pages too & was just NOT feeling the writing at all. I was super excited because I love reading about cults and true crime, but that one was not doing it for me. I am super excited for Textrovert. I love books with unique formats, so I’m definitely going to buy that one 🙂

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! It definitely wasn’t for me.

      I hope you like Textrovert. It was a super cute read!

  • Reply
    Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
    January 10, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I loved The Thirteenth Tale when I read it…and her style. I’m adding Holding Court t my wishlist. I need a good laugh!!

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 10, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      The Thirteenth Tale was awesome! Glad you liked it. You’ll love Holding Court too. It’s hilarious!

  • Reply
    danielle hammelef
    January 18, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Your post reminded me of books that I’d wanted to read but didn’t get to yet. I think my favorites for this year were The Serpent King and The Last Cherry Blossom. I also read I’ll Give You the Sun and fell in love with this author’s writing.

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      There are so many I wanted to read but didn’t get to. I’ll Give You the Sun is one of them. I’ve heard such great things about it.

  • Reply
    Sue @ Crushingcinders
    January 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    I’m wondering what your neighbour thought of The Wonder? I’m looking forward the The Thirteenth Tale

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      January 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm

      The Thirteenth Tale was ah-mazing! You’ll love it. I haven’t heard back from my neighbor yet, but I’m interested to see what she thinks about it too.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Need to check out all of these books! :O

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      February 2, 2017 at 10:51 am

      I hope you do! There are so many good books from 2016 that I didn’t even get to. Happy reading!

  • Reply
    Carmel (@RabidReads)
    February 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I haven’t read a single book on your list, but I definitely spotted a few that have potential. Off to GoodReads I go to do a bit of research to see if any are worthy of being added to my TBR pile. 😀

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