Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Best Books I Read This Year

fiction, reading, goodreads, books, book recommendations, authors, Kindle,

This year was filled with amazing new releases, debut authors, and fantastic finds at every bookstore and library, every Kindle and Nook, every person you spoke to had their nose in some amazing book and they couldn't wait to tell you about it.

Consider this just that. Except I'm telling you about more than one - because I can't just pick one book for the entire year - that would be nonsense!

*You'll find affiliate links throughout this post to facilitate your shopping experience - thank you for supporting Good Girl Gone Redneck!*

The Best Books I Read This Year

fiction, reading, goodreads, books, book recommendations, authors, Kindle, Lisa Scottoline

Most Wanted was a fabulous read. Not quite a psychological thriller, the story itself was a mystery - and left us guessing and questioning until the very end. Christine and Marcus are unable to conceive and use a sperm donor to get pregnant. Everything seems to be going just fine, until Christine sees someone on the news who looks suspiciously like her donor. Is she carrying the child of a murderer? The journey she goes on to find out the truth, and the decision-making she and Marcus go through leaves you questioning yourself and much of what you thought you knew. Would she keep the baby? Would they terminate? What will they do? Buy the book and find out.

fiction, reading, goodreads, books, book recommendations, authors, Kindle, Jodi Picoult,

I've been a fan of Jodi Picoult since the first time I read her work and trust me when I say this, Small Great Things is one of her best books. Picoult addresses race, prejudice, privilege and hatred in this timely story of Ruth, an African American woman working as a nurse in a Connecticut hospital. The parents of one of the newborns in her care do not want her touching their baby. They're white supremacists. When it's a life or death situation, Ruth has to make the hardest decision of her life. Picoult created a phenomenal story and ran with it. You're going to want to join her. 

fiction, reading, goodreads, books, book recommendations, authors, Kindle, Camille Di Maio

The Memory of Us is without a doubt one of my favorite books this year. It's the kind of story that stays with you and you find yourself thinking about the characters for months to come. In the primary character, Juliette Westcott, we meet a strong-willed young woman with a heart of gold. We meet her family, the young man who seems to be the love of her life, and we follow her on her path to nursing school and beyond. I've written a full review of The Memory of Us that you can read to find out more about the story itself, but I suggest you get yourself a copy and simply dive in. It's just that good.

This is not the first time Claypole White has wound up on a list of my favorite books. She's one of my favorite authors and I was thrilled to have a chance to attend one of her book tour events and meet her this year! Echoes of Family is the story of Marianne. Marianne is a woman dealing with a difficult past and a history of mental health diagnoses. She fled England in her late teens because it was absolutely time for her to make a break for it. We meet her after she landed  in North Carolina, and we love where she is now. We love the support she has. We love her family. We relate to her. We hear her. We feel her. Feel FOR her. You can read my review of Echoes of Family, or you can go buy a copy on Amazon immediately.

fiction, reading, goodreads, books, book recommendations, authors, Kindle, Kerry Lonsdale

Everything We Keep is Lonsdale's debut novel - but because of this amazing read I've already pre-ordered her next one (All The Breaking Waves). We meet Aimee on what should have been her wedding day, but instead is her fiancĂ©'s funeral. Aimee is devastated, as you would expect. She's crushed over the loss of the love of her life. Moving forward through the story Aimee begins to have doubts as to whether James is dead or alive. She wonders if he is missing. Hiding. Being kept from her. Her journey to finding herself and her true love is an adventure you don't want to miss out on - so get yourself a copy of Everything We Keep today. And then come join us in my Facebook book club to discuss!

fiction, reading, goodreads, books, book recommendations, authors, Kindle, Kim Boykin, Southern fiction

A Peach of A Pair was the first book of Boykin's I read, and I am so glad I did. The story of Nettie, and then Emily and Lurleen, and then the three of them - together - well, all of it makes for amazing storytelling. Their tales are the kind that stick with you. The kind you can see taking place when you pause for just a moment. You can imagine it all. Boykin has a flair for Southern fiction, but it's the heart of her characters that stand out the most to me. You won't regret buying A Peach of A Pair and diving right in. You'll find yourself immediately invested and think of these women as your friends straight away.

This book. I don't really know where to begin with why you will love this book as much as I did. Do. Love it. The Two-Family House is just such a fantastic read. It's the kind of book you find yourself enveloped into and don't want to put down. Set in the 1940s, two couples, part of the same family, two brothers and their wives. Close and tight-knit. Closer than blood, these women are. The connection between the two families, stronger than you could imagine in this day and age - as they lived in the same home. The Two-Family House. The secret that they hold for so so many years is one that could tear them apart. Could. Might. Does it? You'll have to read the book to find out. I encourage you, implore you, if you have not yet read The Two-Family House? Buy it now.

I really enjoyed this book. A.J. Fikry is such an interesting character. A quirky and cranky man, we watch Fikry change after receiving an interesting (and surprising) package. I think that the real reason I love this book is the same reason any avid reader will. Because even though the character is an intriguing one, and the story well-thought out, the aspect of being in a bookstore and having things thought through in a process that almost always relates to books and reading? Is why we have a complete winner here. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will not disappoint.

fiction, reading, goodreads, books, book recommendations, authors, young adult, Kindle, Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything is such a good book. So good. I'll admit that over the years I haven't been much of a fan of young adult books. But of late I've found myself a fan of so many YA authors that I can't seem to stop reading them. Nicola Yoon is one of those authors. Everything, Everything is about Madeline - the girl who lives in a bubble. Madeline knows a world that consists of her mother and her nurse. And that's it. Until Olly moves in next door. Madeline's world opens up as she invites Olly into it. Despite the risks. Join her as she figures out what she wants and how exactly to go about getting it. Yoon's The Sun Is Also A Star is another incredible read that came out recently. I had some difficulties choosing between the two for this list, but I wanted to spread the love across as many authors as I can, so I opted for her first release, since that is the book that introduced me to her as a new favorite author.

Twisted. Disturbed. Frustrating. Terrifying. A psychological thriller with one of the most hated characters of the year (for me, and probably anyone else who has read this book!). Paris has nailed this seemingly perfect relationship from the get go, and will have you reading and reading until you've turned the last page. You won't be able to put Behind Closed Doors down. Everyone I've spoken to has finished it in a matter of days. It's just that kind of read. Go get yourself a copy and tell me I'm wrong.

Sister Dear, Laura McNeill

Tell Me Three Things, Julie Buxbaum

I read about 50-something books this year, and while they weren't all amazing and recommendation-worthy, I could certainly keep going and let you know more on what you should consider reading. To see what I've been reading over the years head on over to my list of books and see if any interest you.

And be sure to see what else I have recommended by reviewing these lists:

12 Books To Read in Early 2017

10 Of My Favorite 2015 Reads


  1. Behind Closed Doors was my favorite this year. Adding the ones I haven't read to my tbr list!

  2. Wow! I've read one of them (Behind Closed Doors--LOVED) and heard of a second this year. I am not an exciting reader, but I have made it a goal to read more this year. I am working on John Lescroat book--The Keeper right now!

  3. Thanks for putting this list together for us! I'm going to go check a few of these out!

  4. Thanks for sharing this list! I am working on a list of books I want to read this year and I've added a few of these to my Goodreads list. The only one I have already read is Behind Closed Doors. It was good, but not my favorite. I look forward to finding out more about some of these!

  5. Andrea, I posted this on the My Side of 50 Facebook page and in the Facebook group. It had so many clicks, I put it in today's newsletter. Lots of readers in the MySideof50 group. Great post!


Comments are like air to a writer.

So please - say something - help me BREATHE!