Last year I decided to keep track of the books I read in 2016. GoodReads made this easy as I just added each book to my “2016 Reads” list after finishing. I ended with 116 books read in 2016. Mostly thanks to reading at the gym. I’m a quick reader and spend one hour (5 days a week) on the treadmill at the gym reading. So that’s 5 hours of read time meaning I easily read 1-2 books a week (depending on book length) just while working out at the gym. Plus I read during travel time on trips which we did a lot of this year. So, 116 is where I landed in 2016.
When it comes to rating books on GoodReads, I most frequently rate books at a 3 or 4. A 4 means I really liked the book and a 3 means that it was fine. If I rate it a 2 then I really didn’t like it (I have rarely given out a 1 star rating because I almost feel like it’s mean to the author, ha!) and if it gets a 5 star rating then it means LOVE! So today I want to share with you guys my favorite 5-star reads from 2016
I re-read the Mark of the Lion trilogy this year (A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, & As Sure as the Dawn). These are some of my favorite books so naturally I loved them all over again. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I have read this trilogy since I was first introduced to it as a teenager. I just love all three of these books so much. So so so good!
Also a re-read for this past year was Scarred Faith. I first read this book in 2013 when it was published, but I think I’ve re-read it nearly every year since then (or at least parts of it). This book tackles several big topics (in a short 160 pages), but one of my favorite things about it is that it talks about how important mourning sad times is. We brush over grief so often because it’s uncomfortable and so many of us grieve differently and over different things. but I love this book for the reminder that God is standing with us through every moment of our suffering. And best of all, this book reminds us that the tomb was empty and that death doesn’t win. Jesus wins. And that reminder fills me with such hope for the brokenness in the world.
The final re-read for 2016 was Unafraid. Oh, how I love this book. I read it nearly every December because I love how it tells the story of Jesus’ birth from Mary’s perspective. It humanizes her in such a powerful way. Love it!
I’ve read several of Cassandra Clare’s books and every one of them has landed a 4 star rating from me. I enjoy them for sure, but they aren’t the best ever. Until her latest book, Lady Midnight, which was just above and beyond! A 5 star read for sure! Personally, I think it’s the best she’s written and I am so excited for the next book to come out this May!
I read Crystal Kingdom (the final book in the Kanin Chronicles trilogy) this year and loved it! I loved the original Trylle trilogy that she wrote and this follow up trilogy was equally excellent – especially the final book!
I read The Crown (the fifth book in the Selection series) and I absolutely loved it! I loved the first 3 books in the original trilogy, but was really disappointed in the fourth book (partially because I didn’t know there was going to be a fifth book until the last few pages of the fourth so I was really confused as to why they weren’t wrapping things up better). This fifth book absolutely redeemed the fourth. Loved it! I look forward to seeing what Kiera Cass does next!
I initially had mixed feelings about Harry Potter & the Cursed Child. I had no problem with the script layout, but I didn’t love all the parts of the story or character development. However, when I finished the book I found myself happy to have read it. Happy to have spent some time with characters I had missed. And happy to have met some new ones. It barely squeaked by with a 5 instead of a 4, but in the end all the old Harry Potter feels won out. 🙂
This retelling of Esther is incredible! Like the “Unafraid” book I shared about earlier, this one humanizes Esther in a powerful way. It really helps you imagine what it might have been like to be in her shoes. Such an interesting read!
I can nearly always count on Tessa Afshar for a 5 star read. Her book, Land of Silence, was no exception. She is a powerful story teller and I love that about her! I’m looking forward to her next book in June!
I have loved the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice since I was introduced to it as a child. And when the Kiera Knightley version came out while I was in college, I loved that one too. I obsessively watched every one of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries YouTube videos as soon as I heard about them and I have read countless re-tellings of the story in book form. However, somehow I just never actually read the original Pride & Prejudice. So this year I did. And I absolutely LOVED it!! I thought it might get tedious reading it all, but it was the opposite. Even though I knew everything that was coming, I still couldn’t put the book down. Jane Austen’s wit is just the best.
As many of you know, Christopher and I began volunteering with World Relief last year. We were placed with a family from Syria and spent our Monday nights practicing English with them. Talk about an eye-opening experience. This book, Seeking Refuge, is a great place to start if you are curious about what’s happening with the refugee crisis and ways you can help. (Note: this book was released before the recent temporary ban was put in place so it doesn’t address that topic, but it does give tons of great information).
The Wonderful Things You Will Be is actually a children’s book which is a obviously different from the others on this list. But I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you guys anyway. The message is beyond precious and the illustrations are beautiful. As soon as I saw this book I bought it for Mallory (the little girl who I nanny a few hours a week). And you better believe I’m excited to read this book to Baby Vendetti as well! Such a sweet read. 🙂
What was the best thing you read last year?
Have you read any of these books?