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Happy New Year sweet friends! I’m so happy to be back here in this space talking to you again. Yay!
So it’s time for my roundup of my favorite books of 2016. It was a record-breaking year for me as far as reading goes…I read 89 books and found my new favorite thing in the world (see more below about that). I read some amazing books, some crappy books, some books that rocked my world, and some I’ve already forgotten about. I am a better person because of what I read!
I’m still using Goodreads to track my books. I don’t always have the energy to leave a review, but I always rate each book. If you’re wondering what I’m reading at any given time, or what I’ve loved recently…following me on Goodreads is always the best way to get that info. When I get emails, FB messages, and texts asking for book suggestions I just send my friends directly to my Goodreads profile. HA!
So above I mentioned that I found my favorite thing this past year. And that’s The Book of the Month Club. I’m OBSESSED. I currently have the six month membership and it’s worth every penny. I have never ever been disappoionted. When I am done with the book each month I donate it to local organizations. Unless I really loved it. Then I keep it!
BOTM has a couple of deals right now.
- $5 for one month – expires the last day of January
- 3 month membership for $9.99 a month + free BOTM tote – expires the last day of January
- $10 off 3 month or 12 month subscriptions with the code BOOK10- never expires
A few observations about my year of reading
- BOTM rocked my world
- Audible helped me reach my goals. I love listening to books while I’m driving, folding laundry, and cleaning. I don’t like to digitally read books, but I do love listening to them!
- I visit the library every week and check out 5-10 books. I don’t read them all, just the ones that keep my attention.
- I read a lot of YA fiction (there are a TON of YA books in my top ten-this surprised me!), a lot of historical fiction, and lost of fiction. I only read a couple of non-fiction books. That said, I am NOT a literary snob and I don’t discriminate. You’ll see YA, fiction, autobiographies, and romance/chick lit on this list. I love it all. A lot of times I like books that others don’t. Or others love books i despise. That’s okay! These books are specific to my tastes and where I was in my life when I read them.
- All these books weren’t written this year.
So In no particular order, here are my favorite top ten (ish) books. I actually have a tie and a bonus book.
1. Bird Box by Josh Malerman.
I found this book after I read somewhere that it scared Stephen King. Holy crap was it good. I still think about this book and how creepy/unsettling/unique it was. It had me on the edge of my seat and I even jumped a few times. The whole premise of this book was so interesting- I’m always a fan of post-apocalyptic books and I devoured this one.
2. Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams
I read two of Williams’ books this year and didn’t realize until the second one that they were part of a trilogy and I read them out of order! It’s because this novel read so well as a stand alone. This was my favorite of the two and I’m currently working on the third, which I really don’t like as much at all. The other book was Tiny Little Secrets and I really liked it too. This book was just beautiful. It’s set in two times and places…Europe in the 30’s and America in the 60’s. Williams is a little bit cheesy as an author but it’s endearing. This was a great read.
3. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Oh.My.Word did I LOVE Dumplin’. It’s technically YA but boy did it resound with me. It’s all about loving yourself and Dolly Parton- even when you don’t look like everyone else thinks you should. It’s a gem of a book and the author’s writing style reminds me a bit of Mary Kay Andrews- I laughed out loud in a couple of spots. It’s just a feel good, authentic read and I adored it- of course it helped that I’m a Texas girl and this book is set in Texas!
4. Like a River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart
Full disclosure- my college sorority sister wrote this book. And thank God I didn’t have to lie about loving it, ha!
This book broke my heart and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m so sorry to say that I didn’t know any thing about Kiev and Babi Yar before I read this book. Sigh. It was so all encompassing, I just couldn’t put it down. Easily my favorite historical fiction novel of all time. Kelli really did her research and you can tell the book is a labor of love. I fell in love with each character for different reasons and I have thought about them every day since I finished the book. This one is a must read.
5. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Another YA read! I loved this book but it broke my heart into a million tiny pieces. I cried my face off at the end.It deals with some pretty heavy topics like depression and suicide and it was hard to read at times. But I thought it was written so beautifully and it really stuck with me.
6. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Oh man, if you are going to read one YA book this year, read this one. Now. It’s quirky and weird and funny and adorable. It talks about immigration and race and fate and science. I know. It sounds so random but it is SO SO GOOD. I didnt’ want i to end.
7. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
I read two books by Sepetys this year and I gave them both five stars- Salt to the Sea and Out of the Easy. I thought about putting both in my top ten, but this one won by a tiny margin.
I truly had no idea that this was a YA historical fiction book until WAY after I finished it. Seriously. I happened to see it in the YA section at the library after I read it and I thought it was shelved in the wrong spot!
There is absolutely no reason an adult can’t read, love, and learn from this book. This book is beautiful, tragic, and inspiring. Set during WW2, the book tells the story of a maritime disaster I literally had no idea about. I really don’t want to spoil the book, so I’ll just encourage you to read it. It’s outstanding.
8. The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell
Ooof. This was another tough one to read. It deals with some really dark topics, like depression, loss of a child, abuse, and sex trafficking. But more than that it is a story of hope, forgiveness, and strength. It’s set in New Orleans (pre-Katrina) and the city is like a living character in the book. That’s part of what drew me to it. It broke my heart. I had to put the book down in one particular part and just SOB.
I don’t read Christian fiction often. I just don’t find it realistic. It was so nice to read a book that addresses real issues. Dark issues…without glossing them over.
Oh boy was this a good one. Probably my favorite Picoult book. I found this book so relevant and timely. Ruth is a black labor and delivery nurse who is ordered not to touch a white newborn baby. She finds out that the baby’s parents are White Supremacists. Random circumstances lead her to be left alone in the nursery with the baby when he stops breathing. As always, Picoult’s books are about moral and ethical dilemmas. But this one goes much deeper. I honestly learned so much from reading this book.
10. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Number ten is a tie, and both are romances.
One True Loves is a tear-jerker of a love story in which the main character realizes that the love of her life, who she thought was dead, is indeed alive. The problem is that she is happily with the second love of her life. The story is sweet and funny and sad and realistic and I adored it.
It Ends with Us seems like it will be fluffy but it’s so much more than that. I love Colleen Hoover. I love to read her books when I’m looking for something fun, sexy, and light. I did NOT expect her latest book to deal with abuse. But it ended up being my favorite CoHo book ever. Disclosure: Her books are cheesy, romantic, and unbelievable in spots. For me, that just contributes to my enjoyment!!!
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
I’m technically cheating here because I finished this book on January 1. I was only like 50 pages away from finishing in on New Year’s Eve. GAH!
I listened to this on on Audible AND read the hardback (Jimmy gave it to me for Christmas).
The Audible version is pretty much amazing because Trevor narrates it and his accent is everything. He actually speaks eight different freaking languages and you hear many of them throughout the book. Incredible!
So how to describe this book? It’s full of hysterical, sad, and unbelievable anecdotes from Trevor’s life in apartheid South Africa. He is seven years younger than I am but has been through one hundred times more than I could ever imagine. The things he’s seen, heard, and dealt with are mind-blowing. And his mom is the definition of #mom goals.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican or Democrat and it doesn’t matter whether you watch The Daily Show. You won’t regret reading this.
So there you have it! Whew! What a post! I hope you enjoyed it- Happy Tuesday!