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Sunday, January 1, 2017

My 2016 Retrospective

                                             Image courtesy of  arcadante at

 As I predicted in the beginning of 2016, I didn't post as frequently, but at least I can say that my post total was higher than this blog's first year.   My views total was a bit short of 8800, but I believe that I can claim that my views nearly doubled.

Book Babe, where I have been co-blogging with Tara , now has a new title.   This means that my most viewed post in 2016 appeared on Flying High Reviews.  It was my review of  The Last Painting of  Sara de Vos  by Dominic Smith.  My most viewed 2016 post on Shomeret: Masked Reviewer was my review of Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran.  This is not surprising since both books are popular historical fiction from major publishers.  

Now I will present the best books I read in 2016 which are recipients of 

                                 The Golden Mask Awards 

Best Book of the Year

Everfair  by Nisi Shawl

This first novel receives the award for originality and compelling themes.   It portrays an alternate history of the Congo.  It was also the best book published in 2016, the best science fiction book and the best ARC that I received from Net Galley in 2016.  You can read my review here. 

Best Fantasy Novel

The Book of Esther by Emily Barton 

This one was also a first novel and an alternate history.   In our world, the Jewish kingdom of Khazaria was destroyed in the  medieval period, but in Barton's magical novel it survived to fight the Nazis in WWII!   See my review here.

Best Contemporary Fiction

The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes 

This was a book that I nominated on Kindle Scout which ended up being accepted for publication on Kindle Press.   I've been impressed with all my previous Kindle Scout nominees that have been published by Amazon.   This affecting novel deals with an autistic teen who loves trees and becomes an activist to preserve his favorite tree. It's also the best YA novel I read in 2016 and the best indie published book of 2016.  My review can be read here.

Since Amazon is rather dominant in the book business, I gave some thought about whether I should consider Kindle Press an indie publisher.  I decided that my criterion was whether you can obtain titles from the publisher at libraries.  Overdrive only offers e-books from major publishers that have also been published in print formats.   This means that Kindle Press books aren't able to attain the same level of distribution, and should be considered at a similar disadvantage to indie publishers.

Best Historical Fiction

Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones

I discovered this book on the Goodreads group African American Historical Fiction.   It deals with a 1930's African American musician who finds that he can leave racial discrimination behind by going to China.   My review can be found here.

Best Romance

Miss Jacobson's Journey by Carola Dunn

Jewish protagonists are rare in romance.  I certainly wouldn't expect to find them in the Regency sub-genre which tends to focus on the world of British aristocrats.  I was also impressed by the independence of the heroine.   See my review here .

Best Graphic Novel

Wonder Woman: Hiketeia by Greg Rucka

I read other wonderful graphic novels in 2016, but this Wonder Woman book with classical Greek content and structure was a masterpiece.   I read this close to the end of the year and didn't have time to do this title justice in a full length blog review, but it shows why Greg Rucka is eminently qualified to write Wonder Woman.

Best Non-Fiction

Honorary White by E. R. Braithwaite

This memoir of a stay in apartheid South Africa was written by the author of To Sir With Love.  I thought that it was the most thorough depiction of South Africa during this period.  Braithwaite spoke to a cross-section of the population in a number of cities plus Soweto and Transkei.   

I wish you all good reads in 2017!





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