Since a young age, I have preferred reading a book to just about anything. I would bring books on car rides to the grocery store just down the street, always ask for “ten more minutes” each night before my dad turned out the light, and am always trading book recommendations with friends. While I don’t get through as many books each year as I used to due to work, blog, and general “adulting”, today I am sharing the 8 that I read this year with my review of each. I hope you find your next read in this list!
What was your favorite book of the year? I am looking for my next read and in desperate need of recommendations!
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE: After 15 year old Bee’s mother Bernadette “falls overboard” on their trip to Antarctica, Bee makes it her mission to find her quirky mother. She compiles emails, secret correspondence, official documents, and diary entries, and what ensues is full of twists and turns and an ending I sure wasn’t expecting. It’s an easy read but will keep you guessing.
It is not written as a straight narrative due to all the documents that Bee gathers. It adds a nice element to the read but just know that going in! After having this on my list for over two years, I am so glad I finally got around to it.
CAPTIVATING: Written by a husband and wife team, Captivating is a journey into the feminine heart. The main theme is that there are three desires in every woman’s heart: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil her beauty. While those may sound pretty general, the book continues with biblical scripture, interviews with individuals, and personal experience to back each point. As I read, there were countless times that I was brought to tears because I related so strongly. The most profound book I read this year, I recommend every girl read this book. I think it would also be really eye-opening for the guys to read.
WILD AT HEART: The brother book to Captivating, Wild at Heart is a journey into the masculine heart. Similar to Captivating, the main theme is that there are three desires in every man’s heart: a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. You’ll notice that all three of these complement the desires of the feminine heart, which a beautiful depiction of the fact that God made man and woman for one another. I thought this was a really beautiful way for me to better understand my husband and the ways in which he is inherently different from me.
I will say that this book seemed to be more biased than Captivating, and most men I have heard either love it or hate it. I found that Captivating was more understanding that there were many versions of a woman where Wild at Heart seemed to depict all men as being of the same temperament as the author, so some parts you may take with a grain of salt, but I think the overall message is still very relevant.
LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE: Ani FaNelli seems to have it all, glamorous in NYC, gorgeous fiance, expensive wardrobe, but something that happened in her past continues to haunt her and may just derail it all. The ultimate question is, will breaking her silence destroy everything she worked for or will it set her free?
The basic story line sounds really interesting and maybe I am the only one because people loved this and compared it to Gone Girl (which is why I was all over it) but I HATED this book. I almost didn’t even finish it. I felt like I was becoming a tainted person reading it because the main character just kind of sucks and it read really slowly. It wasn’t interesting until the last third, and even then, I thought the ending was really anticlimactic.
*This one is being produced into a movie by Reese Witherspoon set to release in 2016*
THE GOOD GIRL: Mia Dennett leaves with a man she meets at a bar one night and soon realizes she has made the worst mistake of her life. Turns out the man had been following her every move for days, waiting to abduct her and deliver her to a group of men who will either kill her or put her up for ransom, which one she is not sure. However, when the man suddenly decides to take her to a remote cabin in Minnesota instead, she is completely thrown off. As the story unfolds, the truth comes out about whether he was trying to save her or hurt her, and the rest will truly astound you. I don’t think anyone could see what was coming! One of the best (and easiest) reads this year!
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN: This one is a little hard to explain, but follow me… Rachel is a commuter who takes the same train every morning, rolling right by her ex-husband’s house and everything she lost. A few houses down live a couple that she didn’t know when she lived there, who she has named “Jess and Jason”. She sees them nearly every morning on their balcony and she creates a fake life for them in her head. One day on her morning commute, she sees “Jess” on the balcony with a man that is definitely not “Jason”. A few days later, it comes out that “Jess” is missing.
With the feeling that she knew them and the tidbit of knowledge that she has about the other man, Rachel thinks that she can help solve the mystery, but gets herself intertwined in what can only be described as a hot mess. This one will keep you guessing until the very end! This is the best book I have read since Gone Girl!
*This one is being produced into a movie set to release in 2016*
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP: Every day Christine wakes up not knowing where she is; her memories disappear every time she falls asleep. Each day, her husband Ben has to explain who he is, detail their life together and how she ended up an amnesiac through a freak accident. After getting in contact with a doctor, she begins keeping a journal to help jog her memory every day – keeping detailed track of the day’s happenings. One morning, she opens it and sees something written that she didn’t expect: “Don’t trust Ben” and suddenly everything her husband has told her falls under suspicion. The rest is full of twists and turns that you most certainly will never guess. One of the best books I have read in a long time!
*This one was made into a movie starting Nicole Kidman a few years ago so you may have heard about it*
THE SILENT WIFE: Jodi and Todd have a very interesting marriage: he is a serial cheater and she knows this, but lives in denial. Her thought is that if she just doesn’t ever bring it up and he continues to act as the perfect husband when at home, then all is well. Suddenly, their arrangement is in jeopardy and they essentially self-destruct. The whole novel is essentially background “as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event” (from the back cover).
This was another one that sounded really good and I tore through it waiting for the part where we find out she is a murderer, but when I finally got there, I felt let down. Granted it was a more elaborate death than I would have expected, but I was overall unimpressed; kind of a let down.