Hey guys, Katie here, and Happy New Year! I am really excited to talk with you today about my 2016 favorite and least favorite reads! Last year was kind of an awesome reading year for me. I only read 22 books. The books that I picked were always books that I thought I might like, and that I ended up enjoying, so kind of on the enjoyment scale, I was pretty high up there, which was really great. S o I’m going to start today with my favorite reads of 2016, starting in January and going through the year. There are seven of them (jk only six), which is quite a few if you consider how many I read, but like I said, I had a really great reading year. My first favorite of the year was PLANETFALL by Emma Newman, and if you’ve been watching my videos in the past 12 months or so, then you will have heard about her quite a lot, because i’m a big fan of her writing. Just to give you a quick idea what PLANETFALL is about: it’s about these people from Earth who, in the future, travel to another planet, looking for a creator-type person–like a god. Searching for answers about, you know, the meaning of life and everything. But there’s a lot more going on in this, like, settlement on another planet, and the main character, Ren has a lot of issues that kind of just explode throughout the book. So, I really enjoyed the technology, I thought the characters were complex and interesting, and finally there is a focus on mental health in this book that is just super amazing. And I think it really brought Ren’s character to life. My next favorite book of 2016 was IMAGO by Octavia Butler. This is part of The XENOGENESIS Series or LILITH’S BROOD, and it was the last book in the series. The reason why I picked that as my favorite, despite loving the entire series, is that it is a fantastic conclusion to the series, and I feel like there’s a lot of closure involved, and things are this really super-high level of drama and revelations and things are happening in relationships, so, fantastic end the series. And I don’t really want to talk about that book in particular, but the XENOGENESIS series, or a LILITH’S BROOD, is about a woman who wakes up in a cell and and she is being observed by aliens, and then she comes to find out that they have saved her and some other humans from kind of like a dead Earth, and they want to mate with them. Unfortunately she kind of becomes their guinea pig leader for the humans and things get really complicated. My third favorite of the year was NORTH AND SOUTH by Elizabeth Gaskell. I have started to read this many times, but I never really got through it until last year. And I’m a huge fan of the BBC miniseries, which is so sweet. I just really enjoyed the kind of slow paced, yet building momentum of the story, which is similar to PRIDE & PREJUDICE, but a little bit different. It’s definitely a different take, different time period, it’s set in the Industrial Era. The main character, like Elizabeth Bennet, is more outspoken most women of her time, and also a little bit inexperienced, and a little bit naive about the greater world. So, it’s fun to follow her story and to see her ending, which is different but similar to PRIDE & PREJUDICE. My fourth favorite book of the year– not that this isn’t any order besides chronological–was BINTI by Nnedi Okorafor. I loved BINTI! It is a short story about a young woman who is accepted into a prestigious college, and nobody in her family has gone before, and she kind of goes against their wishes… but something happens on the way that really derails everything. I can I can’t say too much about it, because I don’t want to give it away, I just think it is an incredible story with a unique backdrop and unique world. So I love that about BINTI. I can’t wait to read HOME. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’m very thrilled for that release coming soon. My next favorite of the year was AFTER ATLAS by Emma Newman. I won’t talk too much about this, but it is set in The PLANETFALL Universe, but the main character is this young man whose mother left to go to the other planet, and his father kind of lost it, and he ended up running away and ended up indentured–essentially a slave– because he was not a considered a person. So it really ends up being kind of a murder mystery, but the more he gets into the murder mystery, the more he learns about his own past, his own family, life, and everything that happened with Atlas–which is the ship that took people to the other planet. I really thought it was a great follow-up to PLANETFALL, and Carlos is an incredible character. Once again, he has a lot of issues that he’s working through, and he feels very real. I just appreciate it, about Emma Newman’s writing. I think she’s really great. The best part about the book is that the ending was kind of left open, so hopefully there will be more books. Like I said before, can’t wait to see what she does. My next favorite book was TIPPING THE VELVET by Sarah Waters. I haven’t done my review for this yet but I absolutely loved the story. I think she has incredible writing, and I just felt like I lived an entire life while I was reading this, and it took me completely away which is fantastic. It’s just a great experience. I also felt a lot of feels while reading it, and I loved the setting in Victorian England, which was kind of out of the norm for me–I guess I don’t read a lot of historical fiction actually, so that was super fun. I don’t want to get too in depth into the rest of the books that I’m going to talk about, mostly because I feel like everything I’m about to say has already been said–especially about my least favorite books–but firstI want to mention two books that I really enjoyed last year, but didn’t make my favorites list, and one of those was THE SORCERER OF THE WILDEEPS by Kai Ashante Wilson. Which I talked about several times. It’s just really incredible, and I am planning to re-read that soon, maybe be able to bring a review that is not just me mumbling about how great it was, because that was how my first review that I filmed came out, so. I highly recommend that, and the other one was GOOD MORNING, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton Which is kind of a sci-fi story, but it’s really about family, and people and kind of coming to terms with things that happened in your life. So, that’s a beautiful, slow, quiet book… that’s how I’d put it. And then for my least favorite books of 2016, I put down CURSED CHILD, and I don’t know how much I’ve talked about this, but I really just felt like it just wasn’t great. I’ve heard that the play is really good, and of course I will see it if it is in my powe,r because I do care about Harry Potter–like, it was a big deal for me for a long time–but it didn’t feel like Harry Potter, and I didn’t find it to be authentic to who they were. I understand that people change and grow up, but I felt like some of the changes were just too far and unrealistic. But I loved Scorpius and I really did enjoy Albus and Scorpius as friends or whatever they might have been. The other book I put down for least favorite was THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin. I enjoyed the other stories in this like collection of stories, but THE AWAKENING… I just wasn’t super into. I did love seeing this woman kind of strike out on her own against kind of, all odds, that was amazing. And I think it’s definitely important, but I didn’t have a lot of context. I need to kind of read up a little bit more on, maybe, feminism from that time period. But I think without context, that book was kind of lacking. So, it wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t hate it or anything, in fact I didn’t hate anything I read, except for CURSED CHILD. So anyway, this is shaping up to be a long video! But those were my favorites and least favorites of 2016. It was a great year, and I hope that 2017 is as good or better… and I’m just really looking forward to seeing what amazing reads this year brings! So let me know what your favorites were, or if you made a video or blog post about it, I would love to read them, and that’s about it. I will see you guys later, bye!