Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lady C's Best New Books of 2016

As I may have mentioned, "great literary merit" is not a category that resonates with me. I read for love, period. I give every new book I read a rating, from one to four stars. Last year I read 85 new books; here is what I loved (3.5 or 4 stars) — or what at least kept me deeply engrossed:
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (I wrote, "Creepy as all get-out, but I loved the sisters")
  • Now You See Me by S. J. Bolton (YA, maybe? Apparently Jack the Ripper was involved. I remember nothing, as is my wont)
  • Maggie Rose: Her Birthday Christmas by Ruth Sawyer (children's book; very sweet)
  • What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan (my first four-star book of 2016!)
  • The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner (nonfiction)
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (YA? maybe?)
  • Big Girl by Kelsey Miller (nonfiction)
  • The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (YA — I wrote "Loved! I got so anxious as it was ending—I hope there'll be a sequel")
  • Honor Girl by Maggie Thrush (YA graphic novel —my daughter's favorite book last year)
  • American Housewife Stories by Helen Ellis
  • What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross (I wrote, "LOVED. What a page-turner! I can't believe how much I sympathized with THE ABDUCTOR")
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth La Ban
  • Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamison (YA graphic novel)
  • The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
  • But He Doesn't Know the Territory by Meredith Willson (nonfiction)
  • Me Before You by Jo-Jo Moyes
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (YA, and just about perfect!!)
  • Girls Like Us by Gail Giles (YA)
  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey
  • After You by Jo-Jo Moyes
  • Ask the Passengers by A. S. King (YA)
  • The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter (maybe YA?)
  • The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonsen (I could not put it down!)
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA, and crazy good!!)
  • Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (YA)
  • Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (YA)
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (YA)
  • Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
  • The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie King
  • The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
  • The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
  • The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson
  • You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott (YA — I usually find this author over-hyped, but I liked this one a lot)
  • The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson (YA, and awesome!!!)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling et al.
  • Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella (it is absurd that I enjoy books about a shopaholic, given my loathing of that particular activity, but Becky Bloomwood is always a joy)
  • All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
  • Find Her by Lisa Gardner
  • Peeled by Joan Bauer (YA)
  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie
  • Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan by Kate Coyne
  • Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst (I wrote, "A great read! Though foolishly I hoped for a "cure" for Tilly")
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  • Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
  • Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz (YA – forever to be known as "the book I was reading the night I fell asleep in the tub")
  • Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA — the series ran out of steam by book 3, I think, but the first two are divine)
  • The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner (YA)
  • The Lost Girls by Heather Young 
  • Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker (nonfiction)
  • Uptown Thief by Aya De Léon
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (LOVED. Absolutely one of her best)
  • The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller (my last book of 2017, and it's delightful. A little predictable, but a lovely yummy read)

And my ever-popular traditional closing: Here are the one-star books I HATED:

  • Descent by Tim Johnston: "I only finished because I wanted to know.  I don't know WHAT all the hype is about."
  • The Past by Tessa Hadley: "Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Do NOT ask me why."
  • Invisible Fault Lines by Kristen-Paige Madonia, which got 3.5 stars until the ONE-STAR HIDEOUS ENDING.
Here's to lots of great books (and time to read them) in 2017!!!

Lady C, who is currently reading Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Shirley Jackson, and Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin, which is rather serendipitous!


  1. Hey, we have overlap this year!
    The Girl on the Train
    Pretty Girls
    The Hired Girl
    The Girl with All the Gifts
    The Summer Before the War
    Forge (couldn't get past the first few chapters of Ashes)
    The Passenger
    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
    I'm Your Biggest Fan

    I have been plowing my way through Shirley Jackson's 'Novels & Stories' over the past couple of years and her biography is on tap at the library.

    Happy Reading in 2017!

    1. Wow, that is a lot for us! Except — am I crazy? I don't remember you blogging about all of these (some — 2, 5,6, 7, 8, and 10 on your list there — and yeah, Ashes definitely isn't as good as the first two, though I liked it okay). Did you like Cursed Child? Hmm, maybe I should go back and look at your blog! My memory of what you read seems to be as bad as my memory of what I read...!

      I finally filled the marvelous book journal you gave me lo these many years ago, so I have a new one for 2017. And haven't entered a single book yet, I've been catching up on my backlog of magazines. I just read some Thanksgiving recipes!! Busy busy busy.

      miss you, love you!! xxxxx

    2. Whoops! Should have clarified that I read them but not necessarily in 2016 which is all my book blog covers so far. As CPA Boy points out, the Cursed Child entry just posted and I did indeed like it!

      And I just tackled my huge magazine pile at year end!

      I remember that book journal design and am so glad you made such good use of it!


    3. So happy you liked Cursed Child too! It was such a joy to be with these familiar characters again — and liking the story as well was simply icing on the cake. Though I don't especially like icing. Or cake. I clearly need a new analogy.

  2. The blog for Cursed Child just posted. Any book about Roller Derby must be good (Victoria Jamieson). There are many books on the good list with "Girl" or "Girls" in the title, but only one "Woman."

    1. In the immortal words of Rodgers and Hammerstein, "I'm a girl, and by me that's only great!" (though, hmm, I am woman, hear me roar) Read the roller derby book, you'll love it!

  3. I now have an even bigger TBR pile. You eclectic vixen!

  4. Good news book lovers, The Girl On The Train Audio Book is now available on AudioBooksNow.