January 1, 2017

2016 End of Year Book Survey

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

I haven't participated in this survey in the past couple years, in part due to the fact that I didn't read very many books for fun when I was in my graduate program. But I had a better reading year this year (I even completed the "Rock My TBR" reading challenge!), so here I am with the 2016 end of the year book survey! This fabulous survey is hosted by Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner. If you want to participate, link up your blog post here.


1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – this reminded me of some of the traditional, high fantasy types of books I read back in my teen years. Highly recommend!

The Bone Season and The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon – The Bone Season is one of those "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" books. I started this book a few times without getting very far; the beginning is confusing, as the book just plonks you down into this world with its strange jargon and expects you to deal with it. However, if you're patient, there's pay-off. The main characters of Warden and Paige, and their relationship, are compelling, and the plot picks up partway through. Bottom line: I'm so glad I gave this series a chance!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Julian Game by Adele Griffin – I've enjoyed and been impressed by most of the other Adele Griffin books I've read. Unfortunately, this one just didn't do much for me; there are so many books now on bullying (including cyber-bullying) and The Julian Game didn't stand out.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton this is definitely my least favourite of all the books I've read by her so far.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – while I could objectively see it was a well-written book, for some reason it didn't really grab me emotionally. I know it won a Pulitzer and is super beloved, and I wish I'd been more affected by it! *slinks away*

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty – I'm sorry to put a Jaclyn Moriarty book in this category, but unfortunately this first book in her new series didn't entirely work for me. It's definitely different from most other YA fantasy, but I never felt really connected to the main characters, and I found the juxtaposition of the modern world–like Cello with the magical elements hard to get used to.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?   

I was surprised I enjoyed Scarlet by Marissa Meyer as much as I did! It had been years since I'd read Cinder, and I hadn't been blown away by the first book anyway. But I really liked meeting the new characters introduced in Scarlet, and I've now ordered Cress from Book Outlet!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I don't think I did very much book pushing this year, and I really doubt any of it had much effect. But I guess I would say, for fiction, The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon, and for non-fiction (once again) Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan.

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Best series: The Bone Season series (sense a pattern here?). I wasn't expecting to get so enthralled by this series, but somehow (after I got past the initial what's-going-on-with-this-world confusion) it completely won me over.

Best sequel: The Mime Order is a great example of a book series in which book 2 does not suffer from sequelitis.

Best series ender: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski. One of the only series enders I read this year, but hey, it was good. I liked how the author didn't make things super easy for her characters.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

 Samantha Shannon, Marie Rutkoski, and Naomi Novik

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I am not a big sci-fi reader but I just got totally absorbed in this book. Loved the innovative format, which made everything seem so real.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Illuminae and The Mime Order

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Illuminae or The Mime Order, because I'm hoping to read the next in the series in 2017!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

Favourite dustjacket/hardcover design: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It is hard to get cooler than that dustjacket and how it works with the cover underneath.

Image from a tweet by Jay Kristoff

Favourite cover image: Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This cover just screams classic fantasy, and the medieval-esque font is beautiful.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

 The Dragon from Uprooted, and Captain Thorne from Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. 

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Uprooted and The Winner's Kiss.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Red Star Tattoo: My Life as a Girl Revolutionary by Sonja Larsen — a really fascinating insider's perspective on what it was like to be deeply involved with a particular branch of the Communist Party during the 1980s.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer — I had this book sitting on my shelf as an ARC, and yet somehow every time I'd think to myself, "I really need to read that book," I'd end up reading or doing something else instead. Well, finally it happened!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016? 


'But happiness... happiness grows at our own firesides,' she said. 'It is not to be picked in strangers' gardens.' - The House at Riverton, Kate Morton

'Princess,' said the guard behind her. Kestrel's muscles went tight. Her shoulders hunched. She couldn't breathe. 'Every new prisoner shines with a little light,' the guard said. 'Your light happens to shine brighter. It's best for everyone if it goes out.' - The Winner's Kiss, Marie Rutkoski

After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this: A man walking fast down a dark lonely street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time. - Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan

The house is silent now and she feels like a stranger here. 'This life was never ours,' she whispers to the dog, who has been following her from room to room, and Luli wags her tail and stares at Miranda with wet brown eyes. 'We were only ever borrowing it.' - Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel


'So even when I'm washing pots I'm helping the war effort?' said Katie in wonderment. 'Not the way you wash them,' Mrs. Townsend said. - The House at Riverton, Kate Morton

But when people are past a certain age, you sort of stop asking them why they do things. It feels dangerous. What if you say, So, Mr. Penumbra, why do you want to know about Mr. Tyndall's coat buttons? and he pauses, and scratches his chin, and there's an uncomfortable silence — and we both realize he can't remember? - Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan

'Do none of you ever walk?' I asked, baffled.

'And how do
you keep from getting all over mud?" she said.

We both looked down. I was a good two inches deep in mud along all the bottom of today's skirt: bigger around than a wagon-wheel and made of purple velvet and silver lace.

'I don't,' I said glumly.
- Uprooted, Naomi Novik


16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: The Fairy Lair: A Magic Place by Anne C. Lemieux (144 pages)

Longest: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (599 pages)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I feel like I didn't read many books this year that shocked me with their unexpected plot twists! I'm going to go with The Winner's Curse for this one, for its interesting twist partway through that really changed things up.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Kestrel and Arin from the Winner's Curse trilogy
Agnieszka and the Dragon from Uprooted
Paige and Warden from the Bone Season series

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Cinder and Captain Thorne in Scarlet. They were awesome as frenemies. Also, Roshar and Arin from the Winner's Curse series (also kind of frenemies).

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

 Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

 Well, Illuminae is a book I might not normally have asked for, but I put it on my Christmas wishlist last year based on all the fantastic reviews it was getting... does that count? 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Warden from the Bone Season series.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

I don't think I read any 2016 debuts (I read very few books even published in 2016!).

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Best worldbuilding: The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon, and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Most vivid setting: shout-out to The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell. I had some issues with this book in terms of characters and plot, but I have to give credit to the author for excellent description of the cottage and its grounds.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Remembrance by Meg Cabot – this put a smile on my face just because it was so much fun to revisit the characters of her Mediator series.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

I don't think I read any particularly heartbreaking books this year!

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovernI found this to be a heartwarming story of friendship and first love between two characters who have issues, but are more than just those issues. As a speech-language pathologist, I appreciated reading about a main character who communicates with an AAC device. The writing style was very readable, and the emotions portrayed felt genuine.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

None of the books I read this year was particularly soul-crushing. Perhaps Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, in a bleak, post-apocalyptic, you-are-all-doomed sort of way...

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

Most unique format: Illuminae

Most unique premise/world: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid – the mother in this book does such unspeakably AWFUL things, so I was angry at her on behalf of her daughter. If you've read it, you know what I'm talking about.


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

Getting my hands on and reading Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff will definitely be a top priority in 2017!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – I pre-ordered the collector's edition hardcover that matches the first two covers, and it will be signed by the author, so I'm psyched for that! 

Also, definitely looking forward to Hunted, Meagan Spooner's Beauty and the Beast retelling. 

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Gilded Cage by Vic James – a star-crossed romance between a commoner and a noble in a world where the aristocrats have magic and the commoners do not. Also featuring revolution and a man with mysterious powers. YES, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

I think perhaps I need to get on board a few more series, because my answer to this one is the same as #2: The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Read more. Blog more. It sounds so simple...

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

I haven't read any 2017 releases yet!


  1. Awesome recap! I love the quote you included for Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (still haven't gotten around to that yet. I was in love with The Winner's Kiss this year as well (Arin & Kestrel are seriously OTP). It looks like you had a pretty good reading year, hope next year is just as good!

  2. I loved Uprooted, The Winner's Kiss (still prefer The Winner's Crime though) and Illuminae (need to read Gemina now). The Bone Season is definitely a book you need to stick with and I ended up loving The Mime Order. I'm looking forward to The Song Rising, Hunted and Gilded Cage too.

  3. What a great way to categories your 2016 reading list. Here's to another year of great reads.

  4. Fun to read your answers- so I am glad you participated in this survey. I have been wanting to read Bone Season for ages. I have to get to it before spring. Uprooted has a beautiful cover!

    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2017. :)

  5. Glad you enjoyed Illuminae so much despite it being outside your comfort zone. I'm also happy to see Uprooted get a few mentions here as I just received that one as a gift and I just know I'm going to love it too :) And as for The Bone Season... I think you're right in that I may need to give that one another chance/reread sometime because it just didn't click with me at the time.

  6. Ooh, you've put me in a good mood for Scarlet! Because I wasn't such a massive fan of Cinder, but hey, maybe I'll like it as much as you did! I'm also keen to read Marie Rutkoski's trilogy, and Uprooted -- it's currently by my bed and I can't wait!

    Emily @ sparrowsflysouth.blogspot.co.uk


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