Kristen’s Best of 2016

Now that the trash fire that was 2016 is over, shall we go back and look at my favorite books of the year?! Yes, yes we shall!

2016 was a really good year for me in 2 ways: books and baseball. Let me explain…

No, it is too much. Let me sum up. I am from Toronto, and in my heart I root for the Toronto Blue Jays like my mother before me. But my husband and his family are from a little farming town in Central Illinois. And my Mother-in-Law is the *BIGGEST CUBS FAN EVER* and so, just for seeing how happy the Cubs winning the world series made her, I can’t help but root for the Cubs too. They’re in different leagues, so it’s okay… and I’m not *that* big a baseball fan.

Moving on! 2016 was a fantastic reading year for me. I throttled my goal of 100 books by reading 155 books! I also picked up a load of new favorites and have made some awesome reader and writer friends on the internet. You guys rock!

10 books stood out to me as favorites out of the 155 that I read, and here they are:

Spoiler alert: It’s the best arm.

Arm of the Sphinx – Josiah Bancroft

“We are, each of us, a multitude. I am not the man I was this morning, nor the man of yesterday. I am a throng of myself queued through time. We are, gentle reader, each a crowd within a crowd.”

This was my favorite book of 2016. A lot of people do a countdown to the best. No. I’m going to spoil my surprise for you right away. This book blew me away by how well written it is. It made giggle in parts. It has a bottomless library, and some casual usage of the word ‘oubliette’ to describe a bottomless library. What more could you possibly want in a book?!


“Fuck that, your highness.”

The Wheel of Osheim – Mark Lawrence

“I’ve never had much use for religion, except when it comes to swearing or begging for mercy.”

Jalan Kendeth is my spirit animal. I love characters who aren’t all seriousness, at least not the majority of the time. I like characters who are a bit on the silly side sometimes, and Jalan is outright ridiculous quite a lot. Books that make me laugh within the first couple chapters are always winners, and Mark Lawrence wins, here. Jalan unexpectedly falling out of the sky onto scalding hot sand and cursing and flailing around had me in stitches from the very start, and it only got better from there.


All the bloodydamn feels.

Morning Star – Pierce Brown

“Man is no island. We need those who love us. We need those who hate us. We need others to tether us to life, to give us a reason to live, to feel.”

‘Oh, it’s kind of like the Hunger Games meets Ender’s Game’ they said. Yeah, if the Hunger Games or Ender’s Game were on goddamn steroids, maybe.

So much hope for some characters and loathing for others, and then back and forth on some, and wanting others to die horribly in various fires, etc. I needed bloodydamn reconstructive surgery on my feels after this rollercoaster of emotions. In the best possible way, though.


Paternus – Dyrk Ashton

A mythological smoothie. With whipped cream on top!

“He’s stirred from contemplation of his fuzzy nutsack…”

I’m sorry, Dyrk. That’s just the greatest quote ever. I fucking love Tanuki. I hope he becomes like.. a fuzzy nutsack ninja.

Paternus was the one book this year that I read twice. Or, read and then listened to the audiobook LESS THAN TWO WEEKS LATER WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN!

I have a bit of an obsession with all things mythological, and this one is full of all things mythological. I heard ‘it’s like American Gods…’ so I picked it up, not 100% sure of what I was going to get. I got awesome, is what I got! The audiobook kept me awake for hours and hours. That’s the opposite of what other audiobooks do. This book is MAGIC!


I want to go to there. Terre d’Ange, I mean… yeah.

Kushiel’s Dart – Jaqueline Carey

“It’s funny, how one can look back on a sorrow one thought one might well die of at the time, and know that one had not yet reckoned the tenth part of true grief.”

I went into this book not really having any idea of what it was. I had been told for *years* that this book was basically erotica, by someone who I thought knew what it was about. Don’t get me wrong… I don’t shun erotica and I definitely like sex in fantasy, but this one surprised me by being so, so much MORE than sexy. I fell in love with the world of this book. I’ve never had a love-hate with antagonist quite like this, either. This book made me feel things I was not expecting to feel. I was lied to about this one. I should have read this years ago!



Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson

“I can’t think of another type of illness where the sufferer is made to feel guilty and question their self-care when their medications need to be changed.”

Here’s something about me that I am going to tell you. I suffer from depression and anxiety. Sometimes getting out of bed in the morning and looking myself in the mirror is tantamount to climbing Mount Everest. Sometimes it’s okay. Sometimes it ain’t no thang at all. It depends on the day. This book was hilarious, and it made me laugh more than once. I like Felicia Day’s thoughts on it- “Jenny makes it ok to be you, whatever it is you feel that makes you weird or broken.” Sometimes I just need to know that it’s okay to be me, whatever state of me there is to be, at that moment.


I’d hit it… What?

Best Served Cold – Joe Abercrombie

“You should laugh every moment you live, for you’ll find it decidedly difficult afterwards.”

This was the year of the First Law for me. I listened to the audiobooks because after listening to the audiobook of The Blade Itself, one cannot actually not listen to the rest of the series. Steven Pacey is an amazing narrator of this series.

Best Served Cold was my favorite of the bunch, because I really liked Shivers, and it was just an awesome Grimdark adventure.


I watched the miniseries right after too, for some 90s AF Gary Sinese action.

The Stand – Stephen King

“No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don’t.”

I read my first Stephen King novel when I was 11. It was Needful Things, if you’re wondering. Despite much of my adolescence being full of King’s work, I never got around to The Stand because, while everyone always said that this was his pretty much his best book, it was just so… daunting. This might well be the longest book I’ve ever read. It’s also one of the best books I’ve ever read. Holy fuck this book captured my attention and almost 1500 pages just flew right by.


The Turtle-Bear might also be my spirit animal.

The Blood Mirror – Brent Weeks

“This wasn’t shit creek. This wasn’t no paddle. This was shit ocean. This was I can’t even see land.”

Parts of this book blew my fucking mind, just as others in the series have done. It happened more than once, and quite often. I remember really liking the Night Angel trilogy, but it doesn’t hold a candle to this series for me. This one is on another level. It made me laugh, it made me get all misty-eyed, it grabbed my attention and slapped it around some. I loved it. I love Kip the Lip and… well, his smartass lip. I love Gavin and I absolutely LOVE to HATE Andross Guile. And he was fantastically love-hatable in this particular volume. Some fans were disappointed. I was not. I fucking loved every second.


Wait… what?

The Library at Mount Char – Scott Hawkins

“As illustrated in any number of footnotes, men are almost always 50 to 60 percent dumber in matters involving their crotch.”

This is one of the most bizarre books I have ever read, and I loved every second of it. Honestly.

To this day I still can’t really gather my thoughts enough to give it a review that isn’t “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT OMG I LOVE IT” – but those are the kinds of reviews that I like doing, because when a book makes me love it so much that I can’t talk about it, it’s serious business amounts of good. Srs. Bsns.

So, these were my top 10 books of 2016. I look forward to prattling on about more books throughout the year. Feel free to tune in! 😀

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