It’s time for my annual (two years in a row makes it annual, right?) list of books that I read this year, and my personal review of each. I had a goal of reading more this year, but instead, I actually read less. It’s a bit disappointing since reading used to be such a large part of my life. But as long as I get some in, that’s better than nothing. Most of the books I read this year were cozy mysteries, with a couple memoirs thrown in for good measure. I swear I’ll branch out more in my genre choices at some point, but after spending most of my adolescent years consuming every classic I could find, I feel I’ve earned a bit of easy reading. So with that, I give you my 2016 book review.
Last year I didn’t include any books I read that were in the middle of a series because my OCD insists on starting at the beginning. But frankly, my list would be awfully short this year if I didn’t include them. I started my year (or rather, ended last year) reading this cute holiday story. Set in the fictional town of Sea Harbor on Cape Ann, MA, the Seaside Knitters solve mysteries while eating good food and whipping up sweaters against a charming New England backdrop. It’s the 4th in the series.
This book grabs you right from the start. One chapter in and I was reconsidering my stance on not being a serious mountain climber. Everest? Doable. K2? I could make it happen. Annapurna? Pshhhhhhh. Thankfully, I’ve come to my senses, but I still highly recommend this book. It follows Ed’s journey to climb all 14 of the worlds mountains taller than 8,000 meters (26,000 ft). It’s compelling, adventurous and heartwarming. Plus, it documents a rescue on Mt Rainier Ed participated in with Dave Hahn, who I got to meet this year. Pretty cool!
First in a new series, but by the same author of another series I read (featured below). I picked up this book expecting to like it since I like her other series, and I was not disappointed. While her other series is set in Maine, this one takes place on a farm in Texas, with an adorable dog companion and a mischievious cow. I’m looking forward to book number 2!
Have I mentioned before how much I love English pop culture? Their TV shows, their music. I’m pretty sure I just need to move there. Anyway, back in the early 2000’s, there was a pop group called Girls Aloud that became one of the most successful groups of all time. Kimberly was one of the five in the group, and this is her story of growing up, training for the stage, joining the band, and eventually earning the role of Fiona in the UK production of Shrek – The Musical. I really enjoyed it, especially her stories of climbing Kilimanjaro back in 2009, which I can relate to!
Book 6 in the Gray Whale Inn mysteries, these books are set on fictional Cranberry Island off the coast of Maine. Natalie Barnes is an inn owner and somehow always finds herself in the middle of a mystery. I notice as you get further into many series, it’s fairly easy to pick out the villains. They’re usually one of the few new characters introduced in the beginning. Such is the case with this book, but the rest of the charming cast and setting make it still worthwhile to read.
I picked this book randomly because it was $3.99 on Amazon and I needed something easy to read on the beach in Roatan. This fit the bill perfectly. It only took a few days to read and was quite enjoyable. I would guess it falls under the fantasy-romance-mystery genre, if such a thing exists. The main character finds out she’s actually a witch, moves to the land where her people come from and tries to help them solve the mystery of their impending doom, all while falling in love with a hunky yet mysterious guardian. Will she be able to save her world?
This is the second book in the series that starts with the book above. It picks up where the first left off. I read them back to back, then gave them to Emma to read in El Salvador. She enjoyed them as well. I believe there’s one more to round out the trilogy, which I plan to read on my upcoming trip to Cuba. And maybe there will be a fourth? I’m not sure yet at this point.
Remember last year when I read Sparkling Stilettos by Jess Wright and I said it was just okay, but I’d probably read the sequel anyway? Well, this is that sequel and I did indeed read it. And it was every bit as predictable as the first. Yet I’ll still likely read the third book. I’ve made it this far, I can’t quit now. Even though I’m pretty sure I know how it will end. They aren’t bad books necessarily. They’ll just never be a New York Times bestseller, or anything remotely thought-provoking. Only light-hearted fluff.
I did not like this book. The main character was whiny and annoying and completely unrelateable. After finding a genie, she makes the most average three wishes imaginable, and of course ends up regretting them all. Yet everything ends up working out perfectly for her anyway. There’s also some half-assed reasons why wishing for world peace and an end to hunger would be a waste of time. It’s too bad, because I really like this author’s other series of books.
When I was a kid, I read all of the Little House on the Prairie books over and over again. I loved these stories so much. But it turns out that many of them were fictionalized to make it more engaging for children and create drama. This book tells the real story, as Laura originally wrote it and on which her books were based. It’s so much fun to read, to compare to the stories I know so well, and the annotations really put things into historical perspective. If you loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as much as I did, I can’t recommend this book enough.
Do you have any favorite books? I’m always looking for suggestions and would love to hear your recommendations!
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