2016 Book Review!

2016 Book Review

Today’s the day…it’s my 2016 Book Review!  Eeeeeks!  I cannot believe another year of book reading is under our belts.  A few years ago, when I decided to read more, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself in a very long time.  I have turned my habit into quite the passion and I have so enjoyed sharing it with you.  Today, I’m reviewing the three books I read in December along with my top picks for all of 2016.  Thank you so much to all of you who have followed along with me this year as we’ve read together.  Thank you for the book recommendations, author suggestions and more.  YOU guys make this so much fun!  I can’t wait to find out what we’ll be reading in 2017!

So, I read three books in December  and didn’t really love two of them (insert my ugly cry here).  You’re going to find this book review very odd once you read my favorite books of the year portion at the end of this post…because I loved other books by these authors but did not like these books.  Boo. Hoo.

First up, I read…

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover.  So, in September, I read It Ends With Us by Hoover and haven’t stopped thinking about it.  I loved that book.  It was my first Hoover book to read and I loved it so much that I immediately went online to buy another one by the same author and well, I was so disappointed.  Here’s the deal…maybe I would have liked it more if I hadn’t have already read It Ends With Us?  Perhaps I was just holding it in comparison and it fell short?  Maybe I would have liked it more if I didn’t have such high expectations?  I don’t know???  It’s a novel about a college girl who moves in with neighbors after she finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her with her best friend.  One of the neighbors is a hearing impaired musician and their relationship develops through text messages.  It was just okay.  If you haven’t read, It Ends With Us…read that one.  If you’ve read both already, tell me please…did you feel the same way I did????

Erika let me borrow her Max Lucado book/devotional Because of Bethlehem and it was the only bright spot in my book reading month :).  The first part of this book is Lucado (a Christian pastor) relating his own personal stories to the story of Jesus’ birth and then the second part of this book is a monthly devotional.  This was exactly what I needed to read the days leading up to Christmas.  If you haven’t read a Max Lucado book before, you should.  They never let me down.

Oh my goodness…I wanted to quit this book so much.  Sooooo…last month, I read my first Beatriz Williams book, A Hundred Summers, and absolutely loved it.  It was one of my favorite books of the year.  I loved it so much that I just had to read another one of her books this month…and apparently, I picked wrong.  Have you guys read A Certain Age?  I was bored out of my mind.  The story.dragged.on.forever.and.I.just.wanted.it.to.be.over.already.  Am I crazy??? Please tell me!!  This novel is about a woman in her 40s who is married but in love with a man 20 years or so her junior…and of course, there is a weird love triangle thing involved too.  I just kept waiting for the pace to pick up.  I could not put A Hundred Summers down.  It moved so quickly and effortlessly, but for me, this book did not.  It.was.so.slow.

So…December was a bit of a disappointment…but the year as a whole was not!!  Just take a look…
If you click on the book title, you’ll go to Amazon where you can purchase the book.  If you click on the name of the month, you’ll go to the post where I reviewed all of the books for that month.

2016 Reads…
January
The Things We keep by Sally Hepworth
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
February
The French Beauty Solution by Mathilde Thomas
Anchored by Kayla Aimee
Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Hoodwinked by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk
March
Killing Reagan by Bill O’Reilly
Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson
Turning the Tables by Teresa Giudice
Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Ollivier
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
In the Waiting by Marsha Day
April
The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo
Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
The Battle Plan for Prayer by Alex Kendrick
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs
The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts
May
The Life Giving Home by Sally & Sarah Clarkson
Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews
Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman
Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos
The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
June
The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Bonjour Happiness by Jamie Cat Callan
Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
Some Women by Emily Liebert
Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
July
Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson
Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix-Sweeney
Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand
First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
August
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarity
The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Joie de Vivre by Harriet Welty Rochefort
September
Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Diary of a Mad Bride by Laura Wolf
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
October
Diary of a Mad Mom to Be by Laura Wolf
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Island House by Nancy Thayer
Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly
Seinfeldia by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
November
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner
Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand
Hot Flash Holidays by Nancy Thayer
The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber
December
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Because of Bethlehem by Max Lucado
A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
That’s 62 books read in 2016!
So, which were my favorites?  When I think back to this year, here are my thoughts:
I read so many Elin Hilderbrand books this year that I found myself on Nantucket at one point.
Last year, I gushed about Elin Hilderbrand when I read 8 of her books and now this year, I read another 6 and found myself on the little island off of Massachusetts where each novel is set.  I adore Elin Hilderbrand.  If you’re looking for a solid author who (almost) always consistently writes sweet little beach reads that just make you happy, she’s your girl.  Please someone, point me in the direction of her fan club…I should be President.  If you haven’t read one of her books before, I’m going to suggest you start with…
Barefoot.  It’s a sweet little novel about three ladies who go to Nantucket to get away from problems in life.  It’s such an easy read that will just make you happy.
Okay, so I know this may sound silly…but reading reality TV star Teresa Giudice’s book about going to prison stayed with me all year long.  I mean…I always knew I didn’t want to go to prison but golly gee…her very honest memoir of a year spent behind bars (and how it affected her kids) realllllllllly made me think I didn’t want to go to jail.  I’ve thought about this one all year!
The Battle Plan for Prayer was the best faith-based book I read all year.  This one will revolutionize how you approach prayer.  It is encouraging and motivating while also being very direct and blunt.  I will probably read this one again this year too.
If you want a really honest (and hilarious) book about adoption, actress Nia Vardalos’ book Instant Mom is what you should read.  Her book was so raw and real about infertility and adoption…and I loved every page.
So, what are my very favorite books of 2016?  Here they are in order.  As I read each one of them, I thought to myself…this book could be my favorite of the year.  You just know in your heart when you find that perfect book.  I hope you love them all too!!
My third favorite book of 2016 is…
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams.
So, I already said at the top of this post that I read this book in November and absolutely adored it (then read another one of her books this month and did not like it…ironic, right?!).  A Hundred Summers is a fictional tale set on the New England coast before WWII and I could not put it down.  Not only that, but when it was over, it stuck with me and I reflected on it a lot.  This book is for those of you who like beach reads AND for those of you who like a heavier piece of literature.  I really had a hard time placing it at number three because honestly, it could have been my favorite book of the year…if only I hadn’t have read these two…
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover.
Okay, talk about ironic.  I only read two fictional books in December and disliked both of them…yet my #2 and #3 books of the entire year are by the same authors.  #gofigure
It Ends With Us is fantastic.  This fictional story is about a girl in two relationships and because I don’t want to give anything away, I won’t say more.  Here’s the deal…this book is rated R, so please be advised.  That being said, I am still thinking about this book.  The minute I put it down, I called my mom and Erika and told them both to read it right away.  It’s gripping, it’s powerful, it’s graphic, it’s emotional, it’s a good lesson about life and abuse and I cannot say enough about it.  This book will haunt you long after you’ve finished the last page.  I just found it absolutely beautifully written and powerful.
But my favorite book of 2016 was an easy choice.  People ask me all the time what they should read.  Friends, family, blog readers…women are always telling me they’re about to go on a vacation and need a book and they ask me for a suggestion and for some reason, I have suggested this book EVERY. SINGLE. TIME this year.  I blurt it out without even thinking…this book was such a little gem and a wonderful surprise to read this year.
My favorite book of 2016 is…
Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman.
I read this book in May and absolutely fell in love.  This sweet little novel is full of suspense with a plot that moves and changes while keeping you fully engaged the whole time.  I loved the characters, the setting, the relationships…I just loved it.  I believe this is Dingman’s debut novel and I was absolutely smitten the whole way through.  I loved this little book so much and have kind of known in my heart for the last 7 months that it would be my favorite this year.  It’s just a good book…and isn’t that what we want?  A good book.  I hope you love it too!
Whew!  So, that wraps up my readings for 2016.  What was your favorite book this year???  Please comment and share!!  Maybe I’ll read your favorite book of 2016 in 2017?
And don’t forget…
To see the complete list of books I read in 2015 (all 63 of them), click here.
If you want to view my Goodreads Account, click here.
To read all of my posts on books (including my 2014 and 2015 reads), click here.
Happy book day friends!  I’m so happy to share this passion of mine with YOU!
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  • Sally Hepworth December 26, 2016 at 5:34 am

    What a great list! I also count A Hundred Summers in my top reads, but haven’t had that same feeling about her other books. I started reading It Ends With Us but couldn’t get into it, I must try again.
    I’m currently reading All is not Forgotten by Wendy Walker and I’m absolutely gripped. Best book this year for me would probably be The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Merry Christmas to you all xx

    • Sara Wolf December 27, 2016 at 9:58 am

      I loved The Nightingale as well! One of my favorites this year.

    • MK December 27, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      I read the Nightingale months ago and still cannot stop thinking about it. Truly one of my all-time favorites!

  • Jill December 26, 2016 at 5:41 am

    Do you read from a Kindle or actual books? Could you link the product if it’s a Kindle? I’m on the hunt for one, but unsure which to choose. Thank you!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 26, 2016 at 5:46 am

      I use old fashioned books!

      • Gwen H. December 26, 2016 at 9:58 am

        Love that you read “real” books! There’s nothing like actually holding a book in your hands.
        You are amazing! How do you do it? Not only are you a very active mother of little ones, wife, recipe developer, cookbook author, blog author, product reviewer and photographer, among other things, you also somehow find the time to read more than one book a week. I love to read, and don’t have half the schedule that you maintain, yet can’t manage to read even half the number of books you read. I’d love to know what a schedule of your typical day is like.

    • Kim Taylor December 26, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      I have had every Kindle since they came out. The Paperwhite one is my favorite (and current one!) I have had it for I think 1 1/2 years now? Anyway, its awesome! Hope that helps!

  • Tina B December 26, 2016 at 6:05 am

    LOVE B Williams books! My favorite is Along an Infinite Sea. Stumbled upon the book at the library (loved the cover) and started reading it. I was looking for a book after I finished The Nightingale and boy this did the trick! liked also liked Tiny (not as much but it held my attention). The one you reviewed was next up for me and boy am I glad you saved me the 8 hours of reading!

  • Rose December 26, 2016 at 6:11 am

    I’ve read a lot of Colleen Hoover after It Ends With Us and Hopeless is so so good! Try it out!

  • Beth Miller December 26, 2016 at 6:30 am

    One of my favorite books of the year is The a Woman in Cabin 10! So good!!! I also loved The Lake House and American Wife. Definitely my three favorite books of the year! I think my favorite books of all time are The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything. So powerful!

    • Leah December 26, 2016 at 8:46 am

      I agree with you on Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything! Two of my all time favorites ❤

  • Erika Slaughter December 26, 2016 at 6:37 am

    And now I’m ditching all my plans for the day because this post makes me want to do absolutely nothing but READ!!!

    • Sheaffer Sims December 26, 2016 at 8:08 am

      I don’t even understand this.

      • Sanna December 26, 2016 at 10:48 pm

        Neither do I. I so wish I was a reader, because I am always so lost when people talk books. Unless I by chance saw the movie that was inspired by said book. Any time I try and read four things happen: 1: I read the same paragraph five times and still couldn’t tell you what I read, my mind is somewhere else. 2: I feel like I am doing homework when I read, yet I don’t get graded and I don’t pass a class at the end. 3: I lack patience to sit through 300 pages to figure out what happens. 4: something happens south of my knees, when I read. I get really antsy, where you feel like you’re wearing a straight jacket, but HAVE TO move. I am so envious of all of you who can get lost in a book.

  • Samantha December 26, 2016 at 6:55 am

    “One true loves” was one of my favorites this year. I also really liked “what she knew” and “the couple next door” for a more suspenseful read without being too dark. Thanks for your book posts! Happy 2017!

    • Kelly December 26, 2016 at 10:13 am

      I agree – “One True Loves” and “What She Knew” are both in my top 5 books of the year, and I just started reading “The Couple Next Door” today!

    • Danika January 6, 2017 at 12:25 am

      I just finished One True Loves and loved it!! Be sure to read this one Shay!!

  • Jenn December 26, 2016 at 6:56 am

    I felt the same about the Collen Hoover situation. But I’m going to give her another chance!
    Thanks for the reviews, I just added four more books to my list which will put good use to my new Barnes and Noble gift cards!

  • Suzanne December 26, 2016 at 7:04 am

    You have to read Along The Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams. I think you will find she redeems herself. One of my all time favorite books is an older one but it’s Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. Her adult novels are so good but this is hands down my very favorite.

    • Mary December 26, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Totally!!! I love that book (Summer Sisters.) It’s rated PG-13 or R for sure, from what I remember, but it’s a great heavier beach read.

  • Leslie Ann Rowland December 26, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Cancel the Wedding was my favorite of the year too! I set my GoodReads challenge to 100 books this year and I’m currently at 99! I blogged about my favorites if you want to check them out >> http://www.lalalifeblog.com/2016/12/top-ten-favorite-books-of-2016.html I love your book posts every month. That’s how I found out about Cancel the Wedding. Looking forward to a fabulous 2017 reading year! 🙂

  • Sara Burnette December 26, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Have you read Sarah Pekkanen? I just finished The Perfect Neighbors this morning, and I loved it! Let me know if you read it!

  • Leslie Ann December 26, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Cancel the Wedding was my favorite of the year, too! I set a GoodReads goal of reading 100 books this year and I’m currently at 99 (I might have been a bit too ambitious in setting that goal!). I blogged about my favorites of the year on my blog if you want to check them out. I recommended The Hating Game to you earlier this year since both of these are my favorite books of the year, so maybe you’ll like some of my others (There’s a Colleen Hoover in my top 10 that is SO MUCH BETTER than Maybe Someday. That’s the only CoHo book I didn’t like). >>> http://www.lalalifeblog.com/2016/12/top-ten-favorite-books-of-2016.html

  • Ashley Young December 26, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Have you read any Karen Kingsbury books? Her redemption series is amazing! Actually all her books are amazing! She should be on your list for 2017!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 26, 2016 at 7:42 am

      I have!! Years ago, I read a ton of them! They’re fantastic books!

    • Jenn December 26, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      Agree 100%!!!

  • Jennifer December 26, 2016 at 7:30 am

    I totally agree with you about Maybe Someday! I read It Ends With Us at your recommendation, and ready liked it, but was disappointed with Maybe Someday as well. Thanks for doing these book reviews, I enjoy learning about new books.

  • Jen December 26, 2016 at 7:36 am

    My Mrs. Brown by William Norwich is my favorite of the year. It’s a sweet classic story with many different messages…a simple quick read but will stay with you!

  • Whitney December 26, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I have read every one of Colleen Hoovers books and love almost all of them, but that’s because It Ends With Us is the last one I read! ???? I’m sorry you read it first becuse it’s definitely her best one. If you want to try another one I would recommend Slammed. It’s the first one I read that got me hooked on her. Thanks for sharing!

    • Shana December 26, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Slammed was the first one I read of Colleen Hoovers too and I STILL think about it! She’s definitely one of my favorite authors! Don’t give up on her! I agree with others too that It Ends with Us probably shouldn’t have been the first one you read by her, the rest are more YA, but yet still very good.

  • Sharon December 26, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I love Kristin Hannah… the Nightingale is for sure my favourite book of 2016. It has stayed with me all year.

  • Jas December 26, 2016 at 8:05 am

    I checked that book out of the library and returned it after a few pages. I was so excited about Colleen Hoover after reading it ends with us but was disappointed in someday maybe. I read ugly love and liked it much better. Try that one. 😉

  • Jenny December 26, 2016 at 8:16 am

    I just started The Nest last night and am hooked. Trying to figure out how to sneak in some reading time today…

    ~Jenny
    http://www.introvertsguidetosobriety.com/home-decor/christmas-2016/

  • Heather M December 26, 2016 at 8:42 am

    I am friends with Colleen Hoover’s sister. I just shared your post with her. 🙂

  • Kiandra adlong December 26, 2016 at 8:43 am

    November 9 by Colleen Hoover was really good. I’ve also read two books by Kate Morton, The Lake House and Secret Keeper, both enjoyable.

    • Olivia December 28, 2016 at 9:31 am

      Yes I loved November 9! I think Ive read all of Colleen Hoovers books now and that one was in the top favorites of hers. I just finished it ends with us and that is definitely her best best yet!!

  • Erin December 26, 2016 at 8:49 am

    I think I’m suggesting It Ends With Us for my book club next month. This month we’re reading The Woman In Cabin 10. Pretty good, not amazing.

  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog December 26, 2016 at 9:05 am

    I haven’t had much of a chance to really settle down and read this year, so I’ll be checking out your recommendations for the year to come!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Kelli December 26, 2016 at 9:13 am

    I love Elin Hildebrand also…I enjoyed Truly, Madly Guilty, Winter Stroll and Before the Fall this Year. I am looking forward to reading more in 2017 and added your top 3 to my list.

  • Lexie December 26, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Shay–I love the book suggestions you give each month and have read several based on what you love. I was thinking as I read this review how fun it would be if in 2017 you did a Mix and Match Mama book club of sorts where you told us one of the books you were reading that month and we could discuss it in the book review comment section. Hope you and yours had the merriest Christmas. Praying for your sweet friend.

  • Lesley McFarland December 26, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I absolutely love love love your book reviews. I look forward to them each month. Most of my books come these. I am on my last winter street book and another one of her books in my Amazon cart along with your other favs of 2016.

  • Gentry December 26, 2016 at 9:22 am

    My 2017 goal is to get back into reading like I used to, so I just downloaded “Cancel the Wedding” and am looking forward to reading it!! Thanks for all the great reccomendations!!

  • Fran T December 26, 2016 at 9:27 am

    What an awesome list! Thank you for sharing!

  • Allison Miles December 26, 2016 at 9:32 am

    So I went on a Gilmore Girls binge and watched all 7 seasons and loved it! I decided to read Lauren Grahams new book Talking as fast as I can, from Gilmore Girls to GG and everything in between. I thought it was so good! Very funny and easy to read! I would definitely suggest it!

  • emmykate December 26, 2016 at 9:46 am

    are you going to start putting in kid books to review?

  • Kristine December 26, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Thanks for the recommendations! I recently joined a book club with some of my neighbors and have fallen in love with reading again! We just finished Luckiest Girl Alive which was pretty good. I loved Gone Girl and Girl on a Train. I just received The Shack and am excited to start it…has anyone read it? My neighbor loved it so much she gave all of us a copy for Christmas! So sweet!

  • Katy December 26, 2016 at 9:49 am

    I loved Maybe Someday! But I read it before It Ends With Us, so maybe that’s why! Her other books are super hit and miss, and all pull at your emotions! The only other one I really liked was November 9. Hopeless was the other good-ish one. One True Loves and Maybe in Another Life are by a different author but read a lot like Colleen Hoover books (but more well written????). Love reading your reviews!

  • Tamara R. December 26, 2016 at 9:51 am

    You should read I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (same author who wrote Confessions of a Shopaholic). It’s a fun, easy read. I mentioned this in a comment last month so hopefully it’s on your list! By the way did you love watching the Hallmark movies this year? I am still addicted….

  • Linda Henderson December 26, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Have you read “A Fine Romance” by Susan Branch? I loved it. It’s a beautiful book.

  • Jessica December 26, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Added Cancel the Wedding to my book list. Thank you!
    Have you read any Jodi Picoult books? She is one of my favorites. I have read about 10 of her novels, most recently, “Small Great Things”. Our bookclub read it last month, and rated it a 3.9 out of 5 stars.

  • Stc611 December 26, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I enjoyed Cancel the Wedding too, thanks to you! I love your book reviews and it’s because of you I’m a more avid reader. Thank you!

    Nightingale has my heart as my favorite of 2016 and it stands out because I’ve never cried for a set of characters as I did with that book.

    I just finished It Ends with Us, Maybe Someday and Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. I loved It Ends with Us and thought nothing could top it until I read Hopeless. I say try that one! Here’s to more great reads in 2017!!

  • Amy Lawrence December 26, 2016 at 10:50 am

    A girl I grew up with wrote a book about her story of mothering her son who is blind, born without eyes. I just finished it. It is very inspiring. A great book for any parent who deals with special needs or any one at all. Very eye opening. It comes out in January and I know she would appreciate the read and review on your blog. https://www.amazon.com/Through-Eyes-Hope-Worry-Adversity/dp/1629991074

  • Heather December 26, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    I’m impressed that you are able to read so many books considering how much you have going on – 4 kids, cookbook author, travel agent, blogger. Could you maybe write a post sharing when you fit in reading time? Even if I read for an hour each night, I wouldn’t be able to get through 60+ books a year. What is your secret?

    • Mix and Match Mama December 26, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Lots of little bits of found time add up. I read almost exactly the same amount of books last year (63), so whatever I’m doing, it must be consistent! 🙂

  • Becky December 26, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I really enjoyed ‘The Charm Bracelet’ by Viola Shipman. Such a neat story about three generations. Easy reading and a book that I hated to see end.

  • Pvploeg December 26, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Lynn Austin is a fabulous, talented writer! I don’t normally enjoy Christian historical fiction, but her series “Refiner’s Fire” is one I reread every year or two! The first book in the series is “Candle in the Darkness.” SO well written, thought provoking and powerful. Everything I’ve read by her is well worth the time invested.

  • Amma December 26, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    We read so many of the same books this year!! I ended up reading 3 books this week and two of them made my top ten of the year. Kitchens of the Great Midwest was amazing!! It’s a sweet novel that follows a chef from when she was 12 until her 30s. It’s perfect combo of food lover and book lover, I thought about you ☺ I also read Tell Me Three Things this week and LOVED it! Happy reading in 2017, can’t wait to keep following along!

  • Alexis Jalovick December 26, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    You need to read November 9th by Colleen Hoover. I read it right after It Ends With Us and thought it was phenomenal. I’ve already had two of my friends read both It Ends With Us and November 9th and one of them liked November 9th better. I promise it will not let you down. And based on all your book reviews (which I’m obsessed with!), we agree on basically every book! 🙂 Try it!!
    Oh…and I’m definitely getting Cancel the Wedding now that it was your favorite book of the year! Thank you!

  • Natalie December 26, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I feel like we could be book reading twins. I read A Hundred Sumners a couple years ago, and loved it…but I haven’t liked a book by Beatriz Williams since. I was bored with her subsequent books too. And I felt the same way about Colleen Hoover’s books. Love your book reviews and recommendations!

  • Robin Carlino December 26, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I read It Ends with Us after you reviewed and I was addicted!!!! And I could NOT stop thinking about it too. I was with you 100%! I actually did the same thing and went on and ordered another asap! I got November 9th though and actually enjoyed it. It wasn’t the same but still good! Another fave of mine this year was by Lane Moriarty, What Alice Forgot. Try it!!! You may love it!

  • Marcie December 26, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    My favorite book this year was the Nightengale. It was so good! I was begging my friends to read it, so I could discuss it with somebody! I finished Commonwealth while at the beach and I really liked it. I also enjoyed Wonder. It’s a tween novel and was really good! I always look forward to your book posts!

  • Katie @decoratemylife December 26, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Try Confess by Colleen Hoover! It was also good. I just downloaded November 9, but haven’t started it yet. Did you read the SELECTION series by Kierra Cass? I loved all of them and they were such an easy read! It will remind you of the Bachelor with royalty added so I think you’ll like it. If you like the War Room prayer book, try the Armor of God study by Priscilla Shirer. I loved it and could do it again!! My top non-fiction books this year were The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House , and First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s First Ladies both by Kate Andersen Brower. Thanks for sharing your top reads! I just added a few to my to-read list on Good Reads.

  • heidi December 26, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Loved this post !!
    Ok my #1 this year 100% was ‘ the nightingale ‘ by Hannah Kristen. Hands down. Loved it !

  • Angela Ellingson December 26, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    I love this so much! The recommendations and reviews are so helpful and fun. Now I just have to prioritize it!! One of my new year’s goals… 🙂

  • Meggan December 26, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I have read all of Hoover’s books. I love It Ends with Us. Maybe Someday is my least favorite. I would try some of her others. (Skip Never Never).

  • Amanda December 26, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Have you read any Jodi Picoult books? She’s one of my favorites!

  • Nicole DiDonato December 26, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I’m surprised none of Jodi Picoult’s books! Her latest one was released in October. They never disappoint, ever.

  • Michelle Kalustian December 26, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I so look forward to your book reviews! I loved your top pick too. My all time favorite book is The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Ps. I read your blog everyone morning. Thank you for that!

  • Melissa December 26, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Hi, Shay! Would you please link the little book light you clip in and read at night with??!! Thank you so much!

  • Brooke Entrekin December 26, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    My FAVORITE book (out of 78 read) this year was The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Amazing. Have you read it?? I highly recommend it. And I too have also read all of Colleen Hoover’s books, and It End with us was the LAST one I read, and I was like, this ONE was CRAZY good. i do think it was her best one. Can’t wait to read Hundred Summers, just picked it up off Amazon. I always take your recommendations, and they never disappoint!

  • TLG December 26, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    You are going to laugh but I absolutely HATED It Ends With Us, for a number of reasons, and would put it in my “least enjoyable books of 2016” category! Too funny.

  • Cara December 26, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    What a great list! Have you read any Karen Swan books? She has quite a few that are based around the Christmas holiday and are definite page turners! I’ve read two of hers this holiday season and have absolutely loved them! Definitely recommend the two I read which were Christmas at Tiffany’s and The Perfect Present 🙂

  • Tracy December 26, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    One of my goals for 2017 is to read more. Will have to add a bunch of your picks to my GoodReads list. Thanks for sharing!

  • Cara Maloney December 26, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Have you read any Karen Swan books? She has quite a few that are based around the Christmas holiday season. I have read a couple this month and they are definite page turners! I would absolutely recommend both that I have read which were Christmas at Tiffany’s and The Perfect Present 🙂

  • Sam December 26, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    I suggest “The Couple Next Door” by Shari Lapena. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. The ending is so unexpected but actually works for the book. I enjoyed it so much. It’s similar to “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn which is one of the best books I’ve ever read. These authors do such a good job of bringing everything together.

  • Amber December 26, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    The only Colleen Hoover book I’ve read is Ugly Truth and it was really good!! My favorite author right now is Nora Roberts. Her newer ones (Whiskey Beach, The Obsession, The Liar, The Witness, The Collector) are some of my all time favorite books. My favorite book EVER is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I’m not a Stephen King reader, haven’t read any of his other books. I was a history major in college so the topic of this book intrigued me and once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down and have now read it 2.5 times and am having a need to read it again. LOVE it!!!

  • Elizabeth December 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    I love your book reviews! I have found my favorite books – your top 3 and always share with my friends! I just finished When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. It is a memoir and has just stayed with me! Happy New Year and looking forward to your 2017 reviews!

  • Jenny December 26, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Same exact thing happened to me with Colleen Hoover. Same exact!

  • April December 26, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    If you read rated R books I highly suggest Easy Virtue by Mia Asher.
    Great book ????

  • Allyson December 26, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Love your book reviews!! Have you read Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon? It’s a quick read that will leave you thinking about it long after it’s over.

  • Lauren K December 26, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    I LOVE Colleen Hoover (& most of her books)! You have got to read Number 9. I really liked It Ends With Us, but I can’t stop thinking about Number 9! Hopeless & the other books in that series are sooo good too!

  • Kelsi December 26, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    You must read Hopeless by Colleen Hoover! I have read almost all of her books and that one is by far my favorite. I agree with you about Maybe Someday, it wasn’t one of her best. Thanks for the book suggestions!

  • Annalisa December 26, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Don’t give up on Colleen Hoover!!! I’ve read all her books so don’t set your standards so high next time because It Ends With Us is definitely her best book! And Maybe Someday was my least favorite of them all. I highly recommend you read Hopeless next, and then November 9. They both have endings you’d never expect and she’ll totally redeem you then!

  • Brittany December 27, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Do you have in daily devotionals that you recommend? Trying to get started with a devotional every day in the new year!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 27, 2016 at 3:35 am

      Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling 🙂

      • Leiah December 27, 2016 at 8:27 pm

        Did you know Sarah Young has a new devotional that was just released? I got it for Christmas this year and can’t wait to switch!!!

  • Jayme Bender December 27, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Tonight I finished Winter Storms, never have I read 3 books in such a short amount of time! Absolutely LOVED the Winter series, thank you for sharing. Perfect time of year too!

  • nancyabc December 27, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I just spent Friday cleaning up my living room area because I had family coming over I hadn’t cleaned one corner for months because I had stakes of books there. I used to read often but haven’t read in 2 years.
    I came across your blog and read it–I need to read again.
    I just put Cancel the Wedding on my list to get and signed up for your emails. Hope this is a year of good reading again.
    I’ve been wondering if being on a Kindle (or phone) all the time keeps people from wanting to read now?

  • nancyabc December 27, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Can you sign me up for your emails.
    I have a problem with Google because I have a work account .
    They want me to sign up using that account–which I can’t.
    I’ve have had to do this with other blogs–some sign me up and others don’t.
    Any help you can give me is appreciated–Google will not respond to this problem.

  • Nancy S December 27, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I love the diversity of your reading for the year! My top three favorites for 2016 were Shelter by Jung Yun, Homegoing by Ya’a Guadiana and Small, Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

  • Summer December 27, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan!!! It is a series of three books, but the first book is gripping. By far, the book that has stayed with me for years. You won’t be able to put it down!

  • Susan December 27, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I also loved A Hundred Summers and went on to read Tiny Little Thing, Along the Infinite Sea, and The Secret Life of Violet Grant. I enjoyed them all! They have common characters so it was fun to see the different stories expand.

  • Caroline December 27, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Love this round up and love how much you read!

  • Tina December 27, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Just binged It Ends With Us. Started it 4pm yesterday and finished it by noon today. I was so invested and truly loved all of these characters….yes, even Ryle, in all his imperfect glory. I would never have known about this book if not for your book reviews. But now Im conflicted if I should read more of her novels or if I’m going to disappointed. :/ Anyway…thank so much for the recommendation and have a wonderful new year!

  • Erin Sutch December 27, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I’m such a HUGE fan on Colleen Hoover! She tells stories that are out of the box and keep you guessing! I LOVE Maybe Someday, but I read it before It Begins With Us, so I’m not sure if it would have changed my opinion if I had read it after. I encourage you to read Confess…another really good one!

  • Claudia Garcia December 27, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I read both Maybe Someday and It ends with us, in that order. I agree that if I’d read them in the same order as you, I would have been disappointed. Don’t give up on Hoover though! Please read November 9, it is soooo good!

  • Carly December 27, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Shay, not sure if you’ve ever read any Dorothea Benton Frank books or Mary Beth Andrews…both similar to Elin.

    Also, I’m not the biggest Nora Roberts fan but the Bride Quartet and the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy are wonderful.

  • Katie December 27, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Have you tried any Mary Kay Andrews books? She used to write for the Atlanta Journal and now writes fun beach reads. Her Savannah books are my favorite. Savannah Blues, Savannah Breeze, Blue Christmas. I love her other books too, but sometimes it takes a minute to get hooked into them.

  • Megan Garner December 28, 2016 at 2:49 am

    Colleen Hoover is to me as Elin Hilderbrand is to you–I love her books! I find her writing style so captivating and addicting. It Ends with Us is by far my favorite book, but I’ve also read most of her books in order and none of them come close to being as powerful as It Ends with Us. Confess, however, is pretty good. As for recommendations, I just read Trevor Noah’s memoir, Born a Crime and I loved every second of it. It was the first memoir I have ever read and I laughed and cried my way through it. I seriously can’t recommend this book enough–I’ve been reading your blog for several years and this post has always been one of my favorites and it’s also the first time I have ever commented.

  • Lindsay December 28, 2016 at 5:12 am

    I finished “It Ends with Us” yesterday. Oh my, sooooo good. Best book I read all year. I posted it on FB and got a lot of recommendations. Someone said I should read “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult. Have you read that one yet? I picked it up at the library yesterday. I also grabbed “When Breath Becomes Air” about the neurosurgeon who is just completing residency when he finds out he has terminal cancer. I picked up a couple heavy ones but I think they will leave me thinking just like “It Ends with Us” did. Have fun in NYC!

    • Claudia Garcia January 6, 2017 at 11:25 pm

      Small great things is wonderful!

  • Abby December 28, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Have you read anything by Lauren Willig? I have loved everything she has written, and based on your reviews, we have a very similar book style. Her Pink Carnation series is what sucked me in, but her stand alone historical fiction novels are amazing. I recommend The Ashford Affair first.

  • Holly K December 28, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I felt the same way about “A Hundred Summers” so just finished reading “Tiny Little Thing” by the same author, and it just wasn’t the same! Much like you with the second Beatriz Williams book you read, I was bored and felt like it took forever to get through. It did get a little better towards the end but it just didn’t even come close to as good as “A Hundred Summers”. I guess they can’t all be Elin Hildebrand every time huh? P.S. I’ll join that fan club!! 🙂

    • Jessica December 31, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      I loved both A Hundred Summers and Tiny Little Thing but did not care for A Certain Age either. You’ve all convinced me to check out Elin Hilderbrand.

  • Karah Stracener December 28, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I always love reading your book reviews. I vow to get back into reading in 2017. I just finished Winter Street and have already purchased the next 2 books in the series. I am also downloading cancel the wedding on my kindle. Thank you for all your recommendations. Im currently reading Chip and Joanna Gaines book The Magnolia Story and I cant put it down! I just adore them. Another suggestion is Kate Morton The Lake House.

  • Emily December 28, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I just finished Together with You by Victoria Bylin and really enjoyed it! I’ve already added two more of her books to my list.

  • Sidney December 28, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    I’vd read every Colleen Hoover book and I would have to say that It Ends With Us is definitely her best one. I read it in August and I still find myself thinking about it all the time. It’s a powerful story. if this was the first book of hers that I had read and then read others I would have been disappointed as well. Can’t wait to read some of these.

  • Ashely B December 28, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Well, I spend the last three days accomplishing nothing off my too do list after the kids went to bed because I read your top three in three days. I started with It Ends With Us and I’m so glad I did. One of the best books I’ve ever read, and I read A LOT! I downloaded it at 9 pm and planned to just read a few chapters before bed, at 12:30 am finished, but laid awake for another hour because it affected me so much. Texted my mom and two friends when I woke up and told them they had to read it immediately. Liked the other two on your top three, but my order would have been 2, 3, 1. Thanks so much for the recs!

  • Carrie December 29, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Beatriz Williams’ Along the infinite Sea is my favorite book I read this year!

  • Susan MacHugh December 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    You must read any book by Karen White!!! They are the best!!!! ????

  • Whitney December 30, 2016 at 12:37 am

    This week I read A Hundred Summers and It Ends with us per your suggestion. I loved both of them! This month I also read The memory of us and it was a book that I couldn’t put down. I read it in a day and a half. But the book that I would say was my favorite that will stick with me for a long time was A thousand boy kisses by Tillie Cole. It stirred up some many emotions throughout the whole book. I cried through the majority of it. It’s definitely a book that you don’t want to read when you are wearing mascara! It was a book that I found myself reading at 2:00 in the morning. I devoured it. It’s the book that stands out the most to me in 2016!

  • Laura Drury December 31, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I love your book reviews! I also read, Cancel the Wedding because of your review and LOVED it!! I hope the author writes another book soon. I suggest June Bug by Chris Fabry, I promise you will not be disappointed, it is so good!

  • Allison December 31, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    All the missing girls by Megan Miranda – soooo good. It’s a murder mystery told in reverse so you’re dying to know how everything unfolds. Highly recommend

  • Melissa December 31, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I just wanted to reach out and tell you that I absolutely LOVE your book reviews. I struggled for so long finding the perfect book. I fell in love with Elin Hilderbrand before stumbling across your blog and when I went to google her books, your blog came up (so you practically are the president of her fan club haha!). Finding your blog was the greatest!!!! I can’t read as much as you do so I just pick you favorite book of the month. I could NOT wait for your 2016 book review because I am just about to wrap up The Things We Keep by Hepsworth and was going to choose my next book based on your review but I have already read Cancel the Wedding and It Ends With Us. I have to agree, those two books were absolutely incredible! Looks like A Hundred Summers is up next!!!

  • Sarah December 31, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    After reading your post, I felt motivated to start reading a book before the new year. I read your review on “It Ends with Us,” and I wasn’t expecting to finish a book before the new year! I don’t think I have ever read a book that quickly before! I finished it within a day and a half, and am obsessed with the authors writing. I’m going to move onto another Colleen Hoover book, and will let you know how it goes! Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Holly H. January 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I have read so many books over the past couple of months based on your recommendations and have loved almost all of them! I was given “First Women” by Kate Andersen Brower for Christmas and so far – I love it! Its a book that discusses the lives, roles, and relationships between the modern first ladies of the United States from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama. Its spectacular! If you are interested in that type of book, I highly recommend it. Happy 2017!

  • Diana Knocke January 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I just finished reading “This Ends With Us” per your book review recommendation! It was amazing and I finished it in ONE sitting, which I haven’t done for a book in quite sometime! Thank you so much! I laughed, cried, my heart ached, I felt everything the character felt! It was a wonderful read!

  • Cynthia Brewer January 2, 2017 at 12:38 am

    Absolutely loved “A Hundred Summers” because I really liked the main characters. In “A Certain Age” I only felt connected to one character -and her storyline was so unsatisfying. I hate it when that happens – leaves such a “bad taste” after committing all that time to a book. I don’t always have to have a happy ending – but I do need to feel that there was a point to the whole book – some redemption. Just heard Sophie Hudson recommend “Along the Infinite Sea” – so I’m not giving up on Williams yet. Thanks for sharing all your book recommendations! Happy New Year!

  • Holly Hopkins January 2, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Shay, you have steered me towards Elin Hilderbrand’s books with all your reviews and so I’m on my third!! I love her writing style! I am going to buy Instant Mom next as we are now in the process of adoption!

  • Noel M January 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Please try out Cecelia Ahern next year! She wrote (most notably) PS – I love you (so, SO much better than the movie) and Love, Rosie and A Place Called Here (prob my fav). Such a good author!

  • Hannah January 3, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    I really liked the other book by Beatriz Williams, The Secret Life of Violet Grant! Try that one!

  • Amanda January 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Just finished Cancel the Wedding. Oh my… Tops my favorites list. Go, read it now!!!! Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Rebecca January 6, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Consider reading any books by Cathy Lamb. Great characters and stories.

  • Nikki January 6, 2017 at 5:35 am

    I’m loving Along the Infinite Sea and look forward to trying more from Beatriz Williams.

  • Amber Grubbs January 6, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Great suggestions! Looking forward to trying some new authors. There is a very good chance you have read these, but if not, The Slammed series by Colleen Hoover is great, Magic Hour and Firefly Lane- Kristen Hannah and The Breathing Series- Rebecca Donavan

  • Becky Cowen January 6, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Question… do you buy the paper books each time or do you read your books on a device? I work in front of a computer all day and find that my eyes can’t bear to look at another screen at night to read. However, being an avid reader as well, my husband cringes when another Amazon box shows up a the door with more books!

    • Mix and Match Mama January 6, 2017 at 9:38 am

      I read actual books! I just don’t think I could read it off a device. Maybe I’m crazy…but I love holding a book!

    • Leslie January 6, 2017 at 10:20 am

      I love actual books, too so I have been checking out books from the library because I don’t have space to keep more books!

  • Amanda January 6, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Holy moly 60 something books in a year!? That is GOALS. My fave from this year was definitely Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Witty, quirky, and super charming. I highly recommend!!

  • Amy January 7, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    My favorite books of 2016: Me Before You & After You by Jojo Moyes! These books were so great and I hope to read more of her work in the future.

  • Detroit Duchess January 15, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    I really loved Daughters of the Dragon. We read it for book club and I keep thinking about it. While it was a fictional story there was a bit of a history lesson in there too.

  • Amy January 17, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I love your book reviews! After I read this I got A Hundred Summers and It Ends with Us. I was on vacation last week and read both. So, so good. As in, so good I didn’t want to leave my beach chair. Like, not even to get a cocktail 🙂

    Cancel the Wedding is next on my list. And there are a bunch of great suggestions in the comments too.

    Thanks so much!

  • Yvonne January 18, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Just finished Bethany Chase’s debut novel The One That Got Away and I loved it!! Very similar to Emily Giffin, great love story that touches on loss, finding home and making choices and still manages to make you laugh!