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When I first began 2016, I took the Goodreads Challenge for the third year in a row.
Back in 2014, my goal was 12 books and I read 21 books Then in 2015, I upped my goal reading to 20 books and read 24 books.
So for 2016, I once again upped my goal. This time, my goal reading was 24 books.
Well, it is now January 2017 and I have exceeded that goal by far.
But how many books did I read in 2016?
I ended up reading 60 books!
So, I exceeded my goal of 24 books by 250% according to Goodreads.
I have reviewed most if not all those books on Goodreads, as well as shared as many of those books here with my Confessions’ readers, as well.
Well, today I am listing (with republished abridged reviews, except for one new one) my top 10 favorite books that I read in 2016.
Stay tuned as if you missed any of these the first time around, you will not want to miss them now. And if you didn’t read any of these, I highly suggest you add them to your list.
Because they were honestly the best of the best that I read in my humble estimation.
Confessions Top 10 Reads for 2016
1. You, by Caroline Keynes
Along comes a story so twisted and perverse, but leaves you on the edge of your seat just as Gone Girl did in the past. This is one that was recommended all over Facebook kept hearing that it was a must read.
It took a bit of getting used to Kepnes’ writing style, but once I did I just wanted to see what Joe Goldberg would do next. He is definitely this generation’s, Norman Bates. Seriously, he is a sociopath, who thinks that he is doing the world and those around him a service by stalking, murdering and more in the biggest and greatest city, NYC.
He has a perfectly good excuse for each bad misdeed he has done that as you read, you almost begin to believe him and even feel sorry for him that is until he does something else even more crude and revolting to remind and bring the reader to their senses.
2. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
From the description that I first read when learned of Martha Hall Kelly’s first novel, I knew I needed to read as I usually do am a fan of historical fiction, especially those that are set during WWII. I couldn’t have been more right about this and would liken it to that of The Nightingale (which one honestly one of my favorite reads of all-time).
But has the added layer of sisterly bonds, as well as friendship spanning across the continents plus is actually loosely based on real-life people that lived during this era. We also get to see the story unfold through the eyes of three very complex, but different women.
These women’s lives slowly intersect with their stories themselves gripping, captivating and also just a brutally honest portrayal of what life was like during this time as for what really happened in the concentration camps.
3. All The Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda
Ten years later when Nicolette Farrell returns home to try and help tie up loose ends with her childhood home as her father is now in a home for having pretty much lost his mind.
Not only has one missing girl case gone unsolved for over the last 10 years with Corinne’s best friend, but now a new girl goes missing with Annalise Carter. She just happens to be Nic’s ex (Tyler) also goes missing. Once again, all the usual suspects are thought to have possible involvement.
So, we are treated to a turbulent ride told backwards from Day 15 to Day 1 before actually finding out the truth behind both girls disappearances. I was skeptical about the story being told I reverse, but it seriously worked. I truly didn’t see the end coming and was sideswiped by the actual culprit and the reasoning behind it.
4. The Assistants, by Camille Terri
What can I say about The Assistants, by Camille Perri that hasn’t been said in the reviews on Goodreads and more? To be honest, I am a huge fan of the HBO TV show, Girls and it definitely did have a Girls feel to it, but was even more fun than the show could ever be.
Tina Fontana, the main character, was an assistant to a very powerful CEO of a huge multimillion dollar corporation, who does the unthinkable by cashing an erroneous check made out to her by mistake only to pay off her student loan debts. Then, she unknowingly becomes involved in a further financial scheme against her boss to pay it forward to others also in debt with student loans.
That said, this book was such a refreshing and perfectly fun read from cover to cover overall. Truly couldn’t recommend more for all those who have been assistants or are ones now as it truly portrayed the perfect revenge for assistants everywhere.
5. The Weekenders, by Mary Kay Andrews
Set in North Carolina on Belle Island, where some people vacation for the summer, aka “The Weekenders”. As the story begins, it is just so happens to also be Memorial Day weekend and Riley Griggs and her daughter Maggie are returning home to Belle Island to vacation with their family and friends for the upcoming summer season.
But in the blink of an eye, Riley’s world is upended by a mystery involving her husband’s disappearance, who was supposed to meet them on the ferry over, but clearly never did. As it turns out, Riley’s husband, Wendell was found dead and it is believed that he was murdered.
All is not how it seems with Wendell or the couple’s marriage before his demise. Plus, Riley has to deal with her daughter’s anger over the loss of her father. Yet along the way, Riley also rediscovers her first love, Nate Milas and is given a chance to quite possibly find a happy ending with him this time out.
However, before she may actually find that form of happiness, Riley has to deal with her family’s disapproval of Nate, trying to indeed get to the bottom of that happened to Wendell and even a major hurricane striking. Therefore, this book had it all from mystery, suspense, romance, drama, chick-lit and much more.
6. All The Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood
Sometimes you just hear about a book and know it is going to be one to be discussed for a long time to come.
It was exactly that way for me when I first heard about All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. See the thing is on the surface the story of an adult male, Kellen and 13 year old girl, Wavy Quinn having sexual relations, should be very disturbing, especially for a mother of two young girls, such as myself.
The problem is while the underlying story was indeed disturbing, however the overall story of how Wavy, the young girl in question’s world in general, was just tragic and highly controversial. See she is the young daughter of Liam Quinn, a drug dealer, who runs a meth lab and a mother, Val Quinn, who not only is mentally disturbed, but also doesn’t really show any redeeming qualities as a mother to Wavy or her younger brother, Donal.
And while I also saw the comparisons to the classic novel, Lolita, which I read years back, as well, I would say that other than a minor having sexual contact with an adult, is where the similarities end for these two novels.
7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by JK Rowling
I was never more excited to read a new book to a series as I was for this newest edition to the Harry Potter saga. I am not going to lie, but admit that after having read all the earlier books in this series and an overall Harry Potter fan, I was anxiously awaiting this one for some time now.
So when I finally got my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I literally devoured it in less than one day. and as far as the play version of the 8th book in this famous series didn’t disappoint.
I actually loved this novel so much, I did a stand alone review and for the whole review, please click HERE.
8. The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena
The premise of this novel is that a couple, Anne and Marco Conti go out for the evening to their next door neighbor’s home for a get together, but when their babysitter cancels on them last minutest they leave their 6 month old daughter, Cora by herself. You read that correctly! These two parents leave their baby alone while hanging out with their neighbors and friends next door. Their reasoning is that they have the baby monitor to watch her, as well as checking on her every half hour.
But lo and behold, the baby goes missing and is kidnapped from their home during this time. Immediately the detective, who is assigned to the case doesn’t trust nor believe the couple’s story. He believes that there is more to this story and that one or both of the parents are actually involved in the baby’s disappearance.
I had my own theories and honestly wasn’t sure what to believe at first, but as I continued to read truly enjoyed learning what really happened piece by piece. As a mom, myself, also just couldn’t believe that anyone would indeed leave their infant baby alone even if they were only next door for an evening out. But did find myself feeling remorse for the mom as it seemed pretty believable that she didn’t want to do this, but had her arm twisted by her husband and neighbors. But still, admit I never would have been able to have my mind swayed so easily to do this to either of my kids when they were babies.
9. Two by Two, by Nicholas Sparks
I had seen some of the negative feedback, but I truly did enjoy the story of Russ Green, who by appearances sake had it all with a beautiful wife and perfect young daughter. But looks can most definitely be deceiving as in one year’s time, Russ’s whole perfect world comes crashing down when his wife leaves him for her billionaire boss. He is left to pick up the pieces, while almost solely raising their little girl. He thankfully has the support of his family, especially his older sister, Marge. Also, he reconnects with ex-girlfriend from years back.
While some of the story may be predictable to some. There are some plot lines, I didn’t see coming at first, especially with Russ’s sister. The one thing, I can agree with many on Goodreads is that, I truly disliked Russ’s wife Vivian. As a wife and mother to two young girls, I just couldn’t believe how thoughtless, selfish and rude she was throughout most of the book.
That said, I happily gave this one 4.5+ stars as I mostly enjoyed and glad I finally read another Nicholas Sparks’ book.
10. The Girl Before, by JP Delaney
So, I am a sucker for a good mystery novel now. Therefore, when I first stumbled upon The Girl Before, by J.P. Delaney, I immediately started to read other reviews. The reviews were pretty much all glowing and convinced me I needed to give this one a go.
Honestly, couldn’t have enjoyed this book more if I tried. So, the reviews were spot on. The novel centers on two different women, who are more alike than not. But one of the women’s stories, Emma, is in the past and the other, Jane, is occurring in the present. Both women, ultimately decide to take residence in a minimalistic home that built as an architectural masterpiece.
The stories of these two women soon take on a life of their own and even begin to intertwine. To say I was riveted and on the edge of my seat would be understatement. I can also see how this story could become a bestseller movie as many are suggesting. That said, I would highly recommend and see this one becoming a hugs hit, as well.
That sums up my Goodreads reading challenge for 2016. I am now onto a new challenge for 2017. My goal is now 60 books for 2017. I have read one so far already out of the 60.
What books did you read in 2016?
Share with me in the comments…
Seana Turner says
Terrific list. I love seeing what people are reading and how they are feeling about them. I am actually hosting my book group tonight. I had picked an older book called “Appointment in Samarra”… it was set at Christmas time, so I thought it would be a good choice for the holiday season. It was kind of different, so I will be interested to see how the group liked it! Happy reading:)
Thank you, Seana also for sharing, too. And your choice sounded like the perfect holiday selection.Happy Reading to you, too now 🙂
AnnMarie John says
I’ve actually read a few of your books that you shared in 2016 and I plan to read a few more for 2017 as well. I’m really big on reading and have an extensive Kindle library but I’m all for getting a few paper/hard cover editions. There’s nothing like actually turning the pages of a good book. Thanks for the suggestions.
Happy to give some more suggestions here and like you I read on my iPad, but also can’t help, but still love reading actual physical books, too 😉
Meredith Spidel says
60 books! You are a rockstar! I do the challenge too–going for 52 this year! And thanks for this list–excited to check out some of these I haven’t read in 2017!
Aw, thank you again for sharing and for saying that about my reading, too. I bumped it up to 60 since that is what I ended up with last year. Got my fingers crossed, but we shall see 😉
Thanks for all the recommendations, I added a bunch to my to be read list, and I also set my reading goal for this year to 30!
Awesome goal and glad you were able to add some of the ones I had on my list. I always love adding your reading suggestions, as well. Happy reading and 2017, too!! 🙂
Sixty books?! You are my hero! I hope you know how much I love when you do posts like this? Pinned, shared and tweeted 🙂
Aw, thank you Jen for saying that and for sharing, as well! 🙂 🙂
William Holland says
I won’t rest until one of my books makes your top ten list. LOL Happy Tuesday to you, Janine!
Aw, Bill I will try to take a better look this year at your novels. Last year, I got back into reading full-time. Any suggestions which you would recommend to me?? Happy Tuesday right back at you!! 🙂
I’ve added a few of these to my reading list…thanks for the suggestions! Happy New Year, and congrats on 60 books read!
Thanks Jennifer and so glad you could add a few to your list, as well now 🙂
Rabia @ The Liebers says
I need to check these out! Like literally, but my library doesn’t have all of them. I’ll have to check around!
Aw, hope you can find them and know Amazon has a lot and I also use BookBub to let me know when they are on sale, if that helps 🙂
Now that I’m not under the crazy work of 2016 – hanging over my head- I have time to read! I’m taking this list to the library! For my plane trip!
I am so jealous of your upcoming trip. But I just got a reminder email that I am almost 6 months out and have to book dining for our summer Disney trip. So, I am happy that at least I have that to look forward to now 😉
Selena, The Rambler says
I’ve been wanting to read the Two by Two and almost picked it up at the airport yesterday! And I love all the recommendations! And I’m def going to read the new Harry Potter book. I feel so out of the know with books right now.
This is a goal I need to add back to my life. #happynowlinkup
Selena, I absolutely loved Two by Two. So, if you can get your hands on that one, I would say, “Go for it!” as you won’t be sorry. Hope you can indeed get back into reading now 😉
I really want to read All the Missing Girls and The Couple Next Door. YOU as well, but I DO own that, so I’m getting close. I also read and loved Cursed Child this year though. LOVE all things Harry Potter.
Lauren, couldn’t agree with you more on all of the above, especially Harry Potter!! 😉
Mother of 3 says
I loved two by two and the weekenders!
Me too and happy to see I am in good company 😉
catherine gacad says
60 books?! You are my inspiration! My goal for this year is to read 12 and most of them are parenting books!
Aw, thanks Catherine and you have a great goal, as well. 😉
Oh, I always love book suggestions! I’m adding a few of these to my list. They will also be great options for my book club. Thanks for the list!
My pleasure and so happy you can add some of these for your book club, as well Amy!! 🙂
I love your reading lists – always! And you know, I need to read less serious books (I’m always reading personal development books) and chill out with some good reads. Will have to take a look at some of these! I hope you’ve had a wonderful New Year, sweet friend! Hugs all around.
Aw, so glad you may be able to take a look at and Happy New Year once again, my sweet friend right back at you now!! <3
Aunt Gloria says
Very impressive goal Janine. I’m sure you’ll accomplish it. Happy reading in 2017! xxoo
Thanks Aunt Gloria, so very much!!! xoxo 🙂
60 books is pretty incredible! I know I need to read more, but find it difficult to find the time! Just added Lilac Girls to my library list based on your recommendation. Can’t wait to read it!
Leslie, I think you will totally enjoy Lilac Girls and can’t wait to hear what you think when you do read it now! 🙂
I’ve read two of these, and interestingly, they are both in the suspense/thriller genre (You and The Girl Before). I hope you read many more great books in 2017, Janine! I always appreciate your recommendations.
Thanks Dana and I can honestly say the same as I love to see your book and recommendations, as well!! 🙂
I havne’t read any of these, but have almost picked up several of them! I LOVED the Nightingale and will definitely add Lilac Girls to my Goodreads list.
Lisa, you will truly enjoy Lilac Girls, if you loved The Nightingale as I did fall in love with The Nightingale and felt a strong similarity with Lilac Girls to it and yet it totally stood on its own merit, as well.
I am so jealous! I failed miserable at the GoodReads Challenge this year:(. Momma you got me beat! I also loved The Weekenders and The Assistants. I’m working on my 2016 faves, hopefully up next week. eek!
Now, I truly can’t wait fro your 2016 faves and will be stalking your blog next week for sure, Allie!! 🙂
Christine Carter says
Girl, HOW DO YOU DO IT? I cannot believe you read that many books!! WOW WOW WOW.
I’m pinning this one for future reference. I have a list of ‘to read’ that keeps going and going and going…
Thank you so Chris for pinning and I truly just love to read, but I had a few weeks around the holiday time that I just slowed down, but still I find myself coming back to it again. 😉
meghan meade says
I definitely want to read “The Girl Before.” It sounds amazing! I love a good book. We are expecting some snow in our hometown so I’ve been on the search for a great book to read, I will have to try this one out! I read “All the Missing Girls” and I liked it too! Anything thriller/mystery grabs my attention instantly and I love reading them!
If you read and liked All the Missing Girls, then I think you will most definitely enjoy The Girl Before, as they are indeed similar genres, as well as both truly enjoyable. Happy reading!! 🙂
You are amazing! 60 books in a year are amazing too. I’ve hoarded some 7 books from a book sale last month and I should say I’m very excited to read a lot this year too. 🙂
Thanks Rea and I just love reading. I am currently reading an ebook from the library and have three more on my upcoming list, which will probably just keep growing LOL! Hope you can dig in and enjoy a few of the 7 you got, too now 🙂
Ooh, I will be adding some books to my library list — I’ve only read two on the list. (I will admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Weekenders). Can’t wait to see what you read this year!
Aw, I can’t wait to share with you what I do read and stay tuned 🙂
Renata Millet says
Thanks for the suggestion.Will definitely add these to my library . Love to see people feelings and experience about the books.Keep posting and congrats for 60 books.. 🙂
Thanks Renata and will definitely keep posting, too 🙂