2016 Review Retrospective

Alex Aitken
4 min readJan 7, 2017


2016 — What a year!

I thought I’d create a post (in between my reviews) to take a look back at what a year and achievement it has been for me (reading and discussing). I published 35 reviews of books on my website and apparently read 62 books (I put everything into Goodreads so it must be pretty accurate). THIRTY-FIVE! That’s pretty amazing to keep up such a weekly habit of reading and then analysing the books for my readers (if any) and Google. I also started to receive a tonne of book review requests from indie authors (which is awesome), and I love to read and compare the books to published (traditional) authors.

The Good

Firstly, what were my top rated reviews from the 35?

Legend (5 Stars)

I did enjoy reading through Legend. It was fun and fast and had all the elements you need to quickly and quietly finish it. It also left me wanting more, so in 2017 I’ll probably get around to buying the next in the series.

The Fault in Our Stars (4 Stars)

Even though it was one of my first books reviewed on here (and not in depth like most of the news ones), I enjoyed it. I had watched the movie beforehand, so I knew what I was getting into, unlike most other books I’ve read. But I still found it well-written and fun.

The Latina President (4 Stars)

Relevant to 2016 and the future of the American political landscape. I enjoyed the read and learnt quite a bit about United States politics. I think you should check out this book in the new year.

As you can see from the three books above (I’ve only picked from my reviews), I’m a dynamic(ish) reader. Though, I do tend to like Young Adult books better. But, as you can see on the next list, not all Young Adult books are created equal. In 2017, I’ll be concentrating on Young Adult where I can, but a few business books are coming up (one is already in my Goodreads), and there is also a range of other genres flooding in (including a few non-fiction).

The Bad

While I say these books are bad, they’re not necessarily the worst books in the world, nor are they “bad” in the sense of the word. These books just weren’t written for me, and I happened to read them.

The Master Magician (2 Stars)

The problem with rating a book two stars is that you instantly regret it. I read the entire book (and the whole series), so I knew what I was getting into. I guess what I wanted/expected was that the characters would grow with each story and it wouldn’t just repeat the lessons learned from previous stories. I also felt a let down by how some of the magical elements were dealt with and that it wasn’t thought-out.

Reading Like a Writer (2 Stars)

I had to go back into the review to remember why I didn’t like reading this book. Now, my review doesn’t really capture why — at least not as much as I hoped it would. I’m wondering if I should start including quotes in my reviews, to back up good/bad examples. Let me just say this: I forgot everything that was in this book. If it was a good book, I’d still remember what it’s about.

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington (3 Stars)

This book didn’t resonate with me. I just don’t think I could read a book that’s written from the perspective of a young girl in a mining community.

A Young Adult book tops this list too, which I find interesting. You can find good and bad books in any genre, and people will always disagree with you. Everything is subjective because fiction is more about how it resonates with the reader and changes them. In this case, these three books just didn’t work for me. It’s also not the writing style, as I believe all three have completely different styles to them and entirely different audiences. I’ll still be reading all genres this year, so don’t worry about that.

Retro time!

For me, I went out of my comfort zone last year and focused on reading as much as possible. My mornings, before work, I read for about one hour most days (I’m a slow reader) and then I read on the train to and from work. I have found that I enjoyed the time I read and will happily continue this in 2017. However, I did have times where I wrote instead of read (as in the mornings is when you’re most creative supposedly), which may happen again. I will aim for one book (on average) a week again. Although, in Goodreads, I marked my goal as 30 books in 2017.

I will continue to flex my genre capacity. I feel as though in 2016 I branched out a little (not much) into other genres. In 2017, I already have a few books planned that will definitely branch out into several genres.

I hope you all have an awesome 2017 and continue to read my blog/book reviews. I’ll also try to find some time to write a few short stories for those interested in them.

Originally published at www.amaitken.com on January 7, 2017.



Alex Aitken

Writer and engineering manager @ Traveloka // www.alexaitken.nz