Last year I didn’t participate in any reading challenges, read harder, or read many book club books. My only goals were to finish 52 books and read more Fantasy and Science Fiction. With the help of a few Percy Jackson audiobooks in the last few weeks of December I completed my reading goals. I love how I can be productive and get a book finished with audiobooks.

10 books or series I recommend from my 2016 bookshelf


Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown – This series starts off slow and then the writing gets better with each book. There is a good balance of strong male and female characters. The third book, Morning Star, is my favorite book of 2016. I couldn’t put it down and I miss the characters.


Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – I first discovered Cinder on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide. The premise of the book sounds silly, but the world building is intriguing without being complicated. I also love how the books don’t have a lot of romance, so I can recommend it to teens and adults without any caveats. It’s a fun series.


A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (The Tales of Dunk and Egg #1-3) by George R.R. Martin and Gary Gianni – This is definitely for fans of A Game of Thrones whether you have only seen the show or read the books. This book is less violent and appalling than the original series. It’s nice to be in Westeros with a true knight while the Targaryen line rules the iron throne.


My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet – I want my kids to love adventure books and they enjoyed hearing this story. The chapters are just the right length to read one aloud each day.


Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab – The Shades of Magic Series is set in parallel Londons with plenty of magic and consequences. In A Darker Shade of Magic (Book 1) the author spends a lot of time setting things into motion, but she really finds her stride in A Gathering of Shadows (Book 2). The third book in the series comes out in February 2017.


Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn – Katharine Hepburn wrote this book when she was 80 years old. She is not a natural writer, but her history and stories of old Hollywood are fascinating.


Mistborn, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – Mistborn is an Ocean’s Eleven heist story set in a fantasy world where metals are used as magic. Mistborn is a classic Fantasy book and definitely worth reading if you want to explore a unique fictional universe.


Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Uprooted is a stand alone book for when you are tired of books set in a series. Sometimes it’s nice to finish a whole story in one book. This book won’t blow you away, but I felt it had a Lord of the Rings vibe to the story.


Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford – I dipped my toe into the world of netgalleys last year and was able to read an advanced copy of Radio Girls. The story follows Maisie Musgrave in 1926 London at the BBC. It’s exactly what you want from a historical fiction novel – an absorbing story with strings of historical truth running through the plot.


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – My Lady Jane tells an alternate tale of the monarchy in England. It’s a nice light read when you need something frivolous to read. The narrator of the audiobook does a good job with all the voices.

Five books I wanted to love, but I didn’t

The Red Queen and The Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – The first book was good, but I didn’t finish the second book. I couldn’t remember what had happened in the first book and decided to give up on this series.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson – Cryptonomicon is one of my husband’s favorite books. This was my fifth Stephenson book, so I am familiar with his the long form style of writing. I probably would have liked it 1999, but the tech was old and there were zero good female characters. Snow Crash and Reamde are still the best Neal Stephenson books to be read first.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I know this is a classic and many people love this book, but this genre of dystopian is not for me.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell – I enjoy Rainbow Rowell and time travel stories, but I found the story slow and the characters uninteresting.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel – I saw Sleeping Giants on many must-read lists and I bought the Kindle version. The book is light on Science Fiction and focuses more on the relationships of the characters. The book leaves a lot of questions unanswered to keep the reader interested for book two, but it didn’t answer enough questions to make me care enough to pick up the next book.

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Have you read any of these and what did you think? What were some of your favorite books of 2016?