10 Great Books I Read In 2016

Hello my beautiful, badass readers! Guess what? 

It's book week! Woot!

What is book week, you ask? Honestly, I don't really know, I just came up with it. Basically, this week's posts are going to be book related. I mean the word "books" is in my blog's name, so... we probably should talk about the written word every once in awhile. 

Starting with...I have a secret. 

Ready for it? 

I have an intense love for books. I can get lost in the written word and not find my way back for hours. I can sit in a room filled with fifty people and not know they exist because I am dismissing and adoring Mr. Darcy right alongside Elizabeth, I am faking my way through misery and fear with Grace in Behind Closed Doors, I am falling, falling, falling hopelessly in love in Loving Mr. Daniels

**I haven't finished Behind Closed Doors (by B.A. Paris) so I didn't include it on the list. BUT, so far it is pretty good, and ridiculously creepy.**

I will read almost anything set in front of me. Mystery, romance, Women's Fiction, Fantasy, Non-Fiction. Some books I read truly inspire me, some I read because the world around me has become too much and I need a quick, easy escape. 

I sincerely believe a great book can change your life. It can burrow deep within you. It can make you cry. It can make you laugh. 

You probably all get it now, eh? I'm a book nerd. A lover of all things written. 

And because I want everyone to join me in my extreme nerd-dom, I composed a list for you all of some great books I read this past year!

You're welcome. 

10 Super-Duper, Must Read Now, Books I read in 2016

1. The Dinner by Herman Koch

What its about: Two couples, a pair of brothers and their wives, sit down to a fancy dinner in order to discuss an incident that happened with their sons. The book is told in sections related to an actual dinner: Apertif, Appetizer, Main Course, and so on. As the dinner reaches its climax, we begin to realize the boys are connected by one horrific act. 

Why it's great: Have you ever read a book that made you actually say out loud "What in the ever loving hell did I just read?" That was this book for me. Twists, turns, and character development so strong that I actually shuddered by the evilness on the page. 

2. One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Dodd by Jim Fergus

What its about: In 1875, the Grant administration began a program called "Brides for Indians." In an attempt to assimilate Native Americans to the "white mans way," groups of white women, including our main character Mary Dodd, are sent to marry and have babies with Cheyenne warriors. 

Why it's great: Told through the voice of Mary's journals, Jim Fergus paints a beautiful picture of life in the American West. The group of women in Mary's camp are humorous, strong, and given a voice so real, it is as if this ridiculous idea truly happened. 

3. A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

What it's about: Nichole discovers her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, and is understandably devastated. With strength she didn't know she possessed, she takes her son and leaves Jake to start a new life on her own. Leanne, Nichole's mother-in-law, has ignored her husbands' cheating for decades, but finds strength in Nichole's actions and also leaves her life of pain to start anew. With obstacles standing in both women's way, they resolve to stand strong and believe in love once again. 

Why it's great: Debbie Macomber wrote a good book about strong women. Nichole and Leanne grow a friendship and learn to lean on one another in difficult times. A great beachy read, it will make you smile, make you mad, but ultimately renew your faith in love and hope. 

4. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins (or really anything by Kristan Higgins)

What it's about: Faith Holland is back in her hometown after escaping the embarrassment of being jilted at the alter by her high-school sweetheart, Jeremy. Working at her family's vineyard, Faith is having to confront her past head on and deal with the animosity she feels towards Levi, her former fiancé's best man, and the town sheriff. It turn's out Levi was the reason behind Jeremy standing her up. Too bad old anger trumps new, unexpected feelings. 

Why it's great: Kristan Higgins is the master of a great love story. Her characters are hilarious, real, and flawed. I turn to any of her books when I need a quick escape. Are they masterpieces of literature? No. But they make me laugh, swoon, and smile. And there's nothing wrong with that. The Best Man is the first book in The Blue Heron Series and I can attest to them all being great. 

5. Exhume by Danielle Girard

What it's about: Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman is a medical examiner for the San Francisco Police Department. She's smart, gifted, but hiding a dark past. Working with Detective Hal Harris, Dr. Schwartzman's latest case is cause for alarm. The victim looks eerily similar to herself. When more bodies start piling up, Anna must face the reality that the abusive husband she escaped seven years earlier might not only know where she is, but might also be a killer. 

Why it's great: Exhume is a creepy page turner. With every chapter you are trying to figure out what will come next. It is suspenseful, well written, and left me guessing until the end. Was it my favorite murder-mystery of all time? No, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to you all. 

6. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

What it's about: Lo Blacklock, a writer for a travel magazine, is given the assignment of a lifetime: a week trip on a private, luxury cruise line. Lo embarks on the maiden voyage of the Aurora with a handful of other journalists, photographers, and guests. What starts out as a pleasant trip with beautiful cabins, fancy dinners, and posh company, quickly turns into a nightmare when Lo witnesses what appears to be a woman thrown overboard. The only problem is every guest is accounted for the following day. Is Lo crazy, or is something dark and sinister lurking on the ship? 

Why it's great: This was a book that kept me guessing every page. I thought I'd figured it out, but then another twist had me reeling. It's an artfully crafted mystery. At times you're not sure if Lo is losing her mind, or if the murder actually happened. Some parts are slightly unrealistic, but all-in-all, I was impressed. 

7. Descent by Tim Johnston

What it's about: The Courtlands arrive in the Rocky Mountains for a much needed vacation before their oldest child, Caitlin, leaves for college. When Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, decide to take an early morning run, only Sean returns back down the mountain. Can a family survive the pain and anguish of a lost child and sister? And what happened to Caitlin? 

Why it's great: Tim Johnston is a beautiful writer. Descent is raw and gritty, but not particularly violent. It is slow moving and slow burning, but not in a way that frustrates you as the reader. The family's loss feels heartbreakingly real and their relationships with one another as well as the landscape of an unspeakable crime is hauntingly poignant. Pair that with the absolute need to find out what happened to Caitlin makes for a fantastic read. 

8. The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

What it's about: Imagine if everything you ever thought was true turns out to be a lie? That is what happens to Riley MacPherson in The Silent Sister. Riley has spent her entire life believing her older sister, Lisa, committed suicide when she was seventeen and Riley was just two. Now, decades later, Riley has returned to the town she grew up in to clean out her father's house following his death. In doing so, she uncovers secrets never meant to be found, and a trail of clues she's not sure she wants to follow. 

Why it's great: First, I have a confession. I actually just finished this book last night (oops), but I'm including it because I really enjoyed it and its still so close to 2016 I thought why not? Plus this is my blog and I can do what I want! Anywho, I've read other Diane Chamberlain books before and I have loved every one of them. She's not only a fantastic writer, but she can weave an intricate story line with the best of them. This book kept me guessing time and time again. I couldn't put it down. What happened to Lisa? Is she still alive? Read and find out! 

9. The Silent Waters by Brittainy C. Cherry 

What it's about: Maggie and Brooks first meet when they are six-years-old. Their mutual dislike of one another quickly morphs into like until Maggie witnesses a horrific act and never speaks or leaves her house again. Still Brooks is there. As they grow older, Brooks and Maggie become best friends that ultimately fall in love. Unfortunately with love comes heartbreak and separation. Tragedy found Maggie as a young child, tragedy finds Brooks as an adult. Through it all, they have one another. 

Why it's great: I can't begin to tell you my love for Brittainy Cherry's books. Are they the most devastatingly heartbreaking books you'll read? Absolutely, but man can she craft a love story. I know, I know. Love stories? But come on, every one needs an ooey-gooey love story in their life from time-to-time. The Silent Waters is heartbreakingly great. 

10. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

What it's about: Rachel, a broken woman, has the same routine every day. She takes the same commuter train. It makes the same stops. One particular stop places her in front of an idyllic home where Rachel watches a couple breakfasting. She names them Jess and Jason. To her, they have the perfect life. The perfect marriage. Much like the one she lost. But one day, Rachel sees something different. Something that angrily shocks her. Jess kissing a man that isn't Jason. And the next day Jess goes missing. Soon Rachel has immersed herself into the investigation and all of the people involved. 

Why it's great: Man, Rachel is a hot mess. At times in the book she even annoyed me. Like get your shit together, girl. You cray. And stop drinking so much. Other than that, I couldn't put the book down. Honestly, I thought I had it all figured out. But Paula Hawkins weaved an intricate web that left me shocked by the end of the book. This book is filled with tension, betrayal, jealousy, and murder. I still haven't seen the movie, but if it is anything like the book, I won't be disappointed. 

There ya have it! Some of my favorite books of 2016. Did you read any great books last year? Tell me all about 'em...I'm always open to suggestions! 

Until next time, 

Kelly