Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Books of 2016

I read over 500 books in 2016. Here are some of my favorites:

Favorite board books:
  1. Hair. Leslie Patricelli. 2017. Candlewick. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy; board book]
  2. Cityblock. Christopher Franceschelli. 2016. Harry N. Abrams. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  3. Hooray for Hat. Brian Won. 2016. HMH. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  4. Mustache Baby. Bridget Heos. 2016. HMH. 36 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Favorite Christmas books:
  1. Stowaway in a Sleigh. C. Roger Mader. 2016. HMH. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  2. Letters From Father Christmas. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1976/1999. 160 pages. [Source: Library] 
Favorite poetry picture book: When Green Becomes Tomatoes. Julie Fogliano. Illustrated by Julie Morstad. 2016. Roaring Brook Press. 56 pages. [Source: Library]

Favorite picture books:
  1. Barnacle is Bored. Jonathan Fenske. 2016. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  2. Strictly No Elephants. Lisa Mantchev. Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo. 2015. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Louise Loves Art. Kelly Light. 2014. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
  4. Lucky Lazlo. Steve Light. 2016. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. I Am A Story. Dan Yaccarino. 2016. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Eat, Sleep, Poop. Alexandra Penfold. Illustrated by Jane Massey. 2016. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Because of Thursday. Patricia Polacco. 2016. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. If You Give A Mouse A Brownie. Laura Joffe Numeroff. Illustrated by Felicia Bond. 2016. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Absolutely One Thing. Lauren Child. 2016. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  10. Dog Loves Drawing. Louise Yates. 2012. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Favorite picture book biographies:
  1. Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy. Richard Michelson. Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez. 2016. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Miracle Man. John Hendrix. 2016. Harry N. Abrams. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Hello, I'm Johnny Cash. G. Neri. Illustrated by A.G. Ford. 2014. Candlewick. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still. Karlin Gray. Illustrated by Christine Davenier. 2016. HMH. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Will's Words: How William Shakespeare Changed The Way You Talk. Jane Sutcliffe. Illustrated by John Shelley. 2016. Charlesbridge. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. Lindsay Mattick. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. 2015. Little, Brown. 56 pages. [Source: Library] [Picture book]

Favorite early readers and chapter books:
  1. Ann Likes Red. Dorothy Z. Seymour. Illustrated by Nancy Meyeroff. 1965. 28 pages. [Source: Bought] [Childhood Favorite]
  2. Posy the Puppy (Dr. Kitty Cat #1) Jane Clarke. 2016. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy] ANIMAL FANTASY
  3. Duck, Duck, Porcupine! Salina Yoon. 2016. Bloomsbury. 64 pages. [Source: Library] 
  4. The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation. Shannon Hale. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2016. Candlewick. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  5. Mango & Bambang: The Not a Pig. Polly Faber. Illustrated by Clara Vulliamy. 2016. Candlewick. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Favorite Contemporary Fiction (Realistic/General), all ages:

  1. Ghost. Jason Reynolds. 2016. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Saving Red. Sonya Sones. 2016. HarperTeen. 448 pages. [Source: Library]  
  3. Raymie Nightingale. Kate DiCamillo. 2016. Candlewick. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  4. Falling Over Sideways. Jordan Sonnenblick. 2016. Scholastic. 272 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Applesauce Weather. Helen Frost. Illustrated by Amy June Bates. 2016. 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Ms. Bixby's Last Day. John David Anderson. 2016. 320 pages. [Source: Library] 
  7. Weekends with Max and His Dad. Linda Urban. 2016. HMH. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  8. Hour of the Bees. Lindsay Eagar. 2016. Candlewick. 360 pages. [Source: Review copy] [Slight fantasy, possible magical realism, definite coming-of-age]
  9. Roller Girl. Victoria Jamieson. 2015. 240 pages. [Source: Library] GRAPHIC NOVEL, MG, YA
  10. Prairie Evers. Ellen Airgood. 2012. 224 pages. [Source: Library] 

Favorite Speculative Fiction:
  1. Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard. Jonathan Auxier. 2016. Harry N. Abrams. 464 pages. [Source: Library]  
  2. The Seventh Wish. Kate Messner. 2016. Bloomsbury. 228 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. The Toymaker's Apprentice. Sherri L. Smith. 2015. 400 pages. [Source: Library] [MG/YA Fantasy]
  4. The Heart of Betrayal (Remnant Chronicles #2) Mary E. Pearson. 2015. Henry Holt. 470 pages. [Source: Library]  
  5. The Beauty of Darkness (Remnant Chronicles #3) Mary E. Pearson. 2016. Henry Holt. 679 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6. Time Cat. Lloyd Alexander. 1963. 206 pages. [Source: Bought]
  7. The House on the Strand. Daphne du Maurier. 1968. 352 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  8. Fantastic Mr. Fox. Roald Dahl. Illustrated by Quentin Blake. 1970. 96 pages. [Source: Library] 
  9. Mio, My Son. Astrid Lindgren. 1954/2015. NYR Children's Collection. 184 pages. [Source: Library] FANTASY, MG, CLASSIC 
  10. Alas, Babylon. Pat Frank. 1959/2005. Harper Perennial Modern Classics. 323 pages. [Source: Bought]APOCALYPTIC ADULT
Favorite Historical Fiction:
  1. Five Children on the Western Front. Kate Saunders. 2014. 318 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. The Beautiful Pretender. Melanie Dickerson. 2016. Thomas Nelson. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  3. Between Shades of Gray. Ruta Sepetys. 2011. Penguin. 352 pages. [Source: Library]  
  4. Salt to the Sea. Ruta Sepetys. 2016. 391 pages. [Source: Library] 
  5. Full of Beans. Jennifer L. Holm. 2016. Random House. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Ruby Lee & Me. Shannon Hitchcock. 2016. Scholastic. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy] COMING OF AGE, MG, CIVIL RIGHTS
  7. Happy Little Family. Rebecca Caudill. 1947. 107 pages. [Source: Bought] [Children's Classic, J/MG Historical Fiction]
  8. By the Great Horn Spoon! Sid Fleischman. 1963. 224 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  9. Emily's Runaway Imagination. Beverly Cleary. 1961. 288 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  10. The Royal Nanny. Karen Harper. 2016. 384 pages. [Source: Library] 
Favorite Mysteries:
  1. The Secrets of Wishtide. Kate Saunders. 2016. Bloomsbury. 352 pages. [Source: Library][Historical mystery series; adult] 
  2. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd. (Flavia de Luce #8) 2016. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  3. The Sins of the Wolf (William Monk #5). Anne Perry. 1995. 436 pages. [Source: Library] [historical mystery, series book] 
  4. A Breach of Promise. (William Monk #9) Anne Perry. 1999. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Murder in the Museum. John Rowland. 1938. Poisoned Pen Press. 250 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Death on the Riviera. John Bude. 1952/2016. Poisoned Pen Press. 250 pages. [Source: Review copy] ADULT, CLASSIC, MYSTERY
Favorite classics:
  1. Cyrano de Bergerac. Edmond Rostand. Translated by Lowell Blair. 1897. 240 pages. [Source: Library]  
  2. The Matchmaker. Thornton Wilder. 1954. 120 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. The Fellowship of the Ring. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1954/1965. Houghton Mifflin. 423 pages. [Source: Bought] [YA/Adult]
  4. The Two Towers. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1954/1965. Houghton Mifflin. 352 pages. [Source: Bought] [YA/Adult]
  5. Return of the King. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1955. 590 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  6. The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. Paul Laurence Dunbar. 290 pages. [Source: Library] [Adult] [Poetry]
  7. Bleak House. Charles Dickens. 1852-1853. 912 pages.  [Source: Bought] 
  8. Testament of Youth. Vera Brittain. 1933. 688 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Doctor Zhivago. Boris Pasternak. Translated by John Bayley. 1957. 592 pages. [Source: Library]
  10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain. 1884. 327 pages. [Source: Library] [MG/YA/Adult Coming-of-Age]
Favorite nonfiction:
  1. Borden Murders. Sarah Miller. 2016. 304 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Ernie Pyle in England. Ernie Pyle. 1941. 215 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  3. For the Glory: Eric Liddell's Journey From Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr. Duncan Hamilton. 2016. 400 pages. [Source: Library] 
  4. Churchill: The Power of Words. Winston S. Churchill. Edited by Martin Gilbert. Da Capo Press. 536 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. In Defense of Food. Michael Pollan. 2008. Penguin. 205 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6. The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor. Mark Schatzker. 2015. Simon & Schuster. 272 pages. [Source: Library] [Adult nonfiction] 
  7. She Is Mine: A War Orphans' Incredible Journey of Survival by Stephanie Fast. 2015. Destiny Ministries. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy] ADULT, MEMOIR 
  8. March: Book One. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. 2013. 128 pages. [Source: Library]  
  9. March Book Two. John Lewis. Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. 2015. 189 pages. [Source: Library]  
  10. March Book Three. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. 2016. 246 pages. [Source: Library]
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Ms. Yingling 9:32 AM  

Dr. Kittycat and Ms. Bit by. Not surprisingly, we share a lot of favorites! What a great reading year!

hopeinbrazil 12:29 PM  

I'm always amazed at how many books you manage to read. I, too, love to revisit Cyrano! I like Ernie Pyle too.

Kailana 8:35 AM  

That is a lot of great looking books!! Hope 2017 is a great year!

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

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