Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Favorite Books of 2016

And another year has almost come to an end. And what a year it has been. For me 2016 has been a pretty good year. Best of all it’s the year I got engaged to the man of my dreams, I visited Switzerland again, my home away from home, I’ve had a lot of amazing job opportunities and I’ve changed my lifestyle by exercising more and eating a lot more healthy. It’s strange to have so much good going on for yourself and seeing all around you that the world is getting darker every day!

Reading and blogging wise I had to slow down a little this year. With everything going on in my life I haven’t been able to read as much as I wanted and I didn’t get to blog as much as I wanted. But I’m hopeful I will get back in full force in 2017.

I did read a lot of beautiful books this year. I had to decline a lot of review requests which was really hard for me, but in the end I think I did have a good reading year. I managed to read about 110 books this year, and I’m pretty happy with that. Just like every year there are a view books that really made a big impression on me. Some more than others..  So here’s my Favorite Books of 2016 list!

'Secret Sisters' by Jayne Ann Krentz

Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters - until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.

Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother's mysterious death. And at her family's old, abandoned hotel - a place she never wanted to see again - a dying man's last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.

Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain's new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts . . . and wants.

Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes an intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack's brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth . . .

The New York Times bestselling author of 'Trust No One' and 'River Road' delivers a novel that twists and turns into a read that will leave you breathless. 

'The best part about this book was that in the end, every question had been answered. There were so many questions and I really was afraid that I wouldn’t get all the answers, because that often happens in suspense novels. But thankfully this book answered all my questions and it was so much fun to read.'

'Beloved Poison' by E.S. Thomson

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28933550-beloved-poisonSet in a crumbling hospital in the 1850s, Beloved Poison is a richly atmospheric debut, perfect for fans of Andrew Miller's PURE. 

The object I drew out was dusty and mildewed, and blotched with dark rust-coloured stains. It smelt of time and decay, sour, like old books and parchments. The light from the chapel's stained glass window blushed red upon it, and upon my hands, as if the thing itself radiated a bloody glow. 

Ramshackle and crumbling, trapped in the past and resisting the future, St Saviour's Infirmary awaits demolition. Within its stinking wards and cramped corridors the doctors bicker and fight. Ambition, jealousy and hatred seethe beneath the veneer of professional courtesy. Always an outsider, and with a secret of her own to hide, apothecary Jem Flockhart observes everything, but says nothing.

And then six tiny coffins are uncovered, inside each a handful of dried flowers and a bundle of mouldering rags. When Jem comes across these strange relics hidden inside the infirmary's old chapel, her quest to understand their meaning prises open a long-forgotten past - with fatal consequences.

In a trail that leads from the bloody world of the operating theatre and the dissecting table to the notorious squalor of Newgate and the gallows, Jem's adversary proves to be both powerful and ruthless. As St Saviour's destruction draws near, the dead are unearthed from their graves whilst the living are forced to make impossible choices. And murder is the price to be paid for the secrets to be kept.

'The setting, the medical theme, the mystery and the characters made this book a great one, especially considering that this is the authors debut novel. I loved reading about how things where done in the hospital all those years ago. And I also really enjoyed reading about all those different poisons and herbs. I’m definitely a fan of E.S. Thomson. And have you seen that cover yet??'

'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? 

‘I was definitely a mess after reading this book. Jojo Moyes, did an incredible job writing this book. The story was catching, the writing was nice and good to follow, and the characters were memorable. I also loved reading this book through Louisa’s point of view at the beginning, and later on through some of the other characters point of view.’

'The Orphan Keeper' by Camron Wright

Seven-year-old Chellamuthu’s life is forever changed when he is kidnapped from his village in India, sold to a Christian orphanage, and then adopted by an unsuspecting couple in the United States. It takes months before the boy can speak enough English to tell his parents that he already has a family back in India. Horrified, they try their best to track down his Indian family, but all avenues lead to dead ends.

Meanwhile, they simply love him, change his name to Taj, enroll him in school, make him part of their family—and his story might have ended there had it not been for the pestering questions in his head: Who am I? Why was I taken? How do I get home?

More than a decade later, Taj meets Priya, a girl from southern India with surprising ties to his past. Is she the key to unveil the secrets of his childhood or is it too late? And if he does make it back to India, how will he find his family with so few clues?

From the best-selling author of The Rent Collector, this is a deeply moving and gripping journey of discovering one’s self and the unbreakable family bonds that connect us forever.

'If you’re looking for a beautiful, touching book that really makes you value your own life more ‘The Orphan Keeper’ is for you. This book is definitely one I’ll be thinking of for some time.'

'The One Real Thing' by Samantha Young

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29536923-the-one-real-thingWelcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts...

While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women's correctional facility where she works, she's always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison's library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town's charm-and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.

Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they've owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her.

Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there's only one real thing in life worth fighting for....
'‘The One Real Thing’ is a great, romantic and beautiful story. And I just really love the little town of Hartwell. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series about Bailey, the kind and beautiful Inn owner. March is just too far away!'

My Review

'Relativity' by Antonia Hayes

A tiny baby is rushed to hospital. Doctors suspect he was shaken by his father, who is later charged and convicted. The baby grows up in the care of his mother. Life goes on.

Twelve years later, Ethan is a singular young boy. Gifted with an innate affinity for physics and astronomy, Ethan sees the world in ways others simply can't - through a prism of light, time, stars and space.

Ethan is the centre of his mother's universe. Claire has tried to protect him from finding out what happened when he was a baby. But the older Ethan gets, the more questions he asks about his absent father.

A single handwritten letter is all it takes to set off a dramatic chain of events, pulling both parents back together again into Ethan's orbit. As the years seem to warp and bend, the past is both relived and revealed anew for each of them.

Relativity is an irresistible story about love, unbreakable bonds and irreversible acts.

‘Relativity’ is a beautiful story I will definitely be thinking about for a long time. Bravo Antonia Hayes!!

'Fighting To Be Free' by Kirsty Moseley

Jamie Cole has just been released from juvenile detention. Determined to go straight, he tries to cut ties with crime boss Brett Reyes - but Brett has no intention of letting him go. Jamie's life is already more complicated than it needs to be, yet it's when he meets a beautiful stranger at a bar that Jamie knows he's really in over his head.

Ellie Pearce has just come out of a terrible relationship and isn't looking for anything serious . . . until she meets Jamie. Their attraction is overwhelming and intense - she can't seem to shake her growing feelings for him, even though she's trying to keep it casual.

But when fate goes horribly wrong and Jamie's family is faced with ruin, he's forced to strike a deal with Brett. Despite his struggles, he wants nothing more than a future with Ellie. That's until Ellie finds out that he's been hiding more from her than she could ever imagine . . . 

Although it took me a little while longer than most people to really fall in love with the book, in the end I really did. I can’t wait to read more about Jamie and Ellie and I really recommend this book. 

'Fury' by Charlotte McConaghy

When emotions are erased from the world, creating a civilization of mindless drones, only those with fury can survive.

On the same day each year Josephine Luquet wakes naked, shivering and covered in blood that is not her own. Under the cold gaze of the blood moon she is someone else entirely, but when dawn breaks her memories vanish and she is left with only an icy horror, a burning fury. Amid a sea of 'drones', she alone hasn’t been cured.

Then she meets Luke. He isn’t like the other drones. With secrets behind his eyes, he is the only one determined to help Josephine discover the truth before the next blood moon rises.

But time is running out. Is Luke willing to risk his life to be near her? Does he truly understand what violence she is capable of?

Raw and full of passion, Fury is a story of love in a dystopian world, and how much we are willing to forgive in the struggle to remember our humanity.

This book gets a huge 5 star rating from me. I loved every single word and really couldn't put it down. Although a lot is revealed in the end, there is still a lot we don't know so I can’t wait to start reading the next book. 'Fury' is definitely a new favorite for me.  

'Morgan's Hunter' by Cate Beauman

Morgan Taylor, D.C. socialite and wildlife biologist, leads a charmed life until everything changes with a phone call. Her research team has been found dead—slaughtered—in backcountry Montana.

As the case grows cold, Morgan is determined to unravel the mystery behind her friends’ gruesome deaths. Despite the dangers of a murderer still free, nothing will stand in her way, not even the bodyguard her father hires, L.A.’s top close protection agent, Hunter Phillips.

Sparks fly from the start when no-nonsense Hunter clashes with Morgan’s strong-willed independence. Their endless search for answers proves hopeless—until Hunter discovers the truth.

On the run and at the mercy of a madman, Morgan and Hunter must outsmart a killer to save their own lives.

Just like the other books in this series I read, I loved Morgan’s Hunter. I really enjoyed getting to know Morgan and Hunter. And it was definitely fun to read about their adventures in backcountry Montana.

'The Hurricane' by R.J. Prescott

Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.

Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.

Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the mis-fire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him, but just being around her makes him want to be a better person.

They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.

I loved reading ‘The Hurricane’. The two main characters Emily and Cormac are both easy to love. They both had a rough life and all they want is to have a family of their own and to find someone they love. Emily and Cormac didn’t expect to find love, but from the moment they first interact it’s clear there are meant for each other.


What are your favorite 2016 reads?

Did we have any in common?


  1. I'm so glad your year has gone so well, Maureen. <3 You deserve to be happy. :-) I haven't read any of your favorite books, but several are on my wish list. Especially Beloved Poison. Thank you for sharing! Here's to another great year in reading!

    1. Thank you! ;) That's really sweet of you! Beloved Poison was amazing. I really hope you get to read it next year!
      Cheers for a great new year!! ;)

  2. I'm reading Me Before You now. OMG. Tons of tissues used already.

    1. What a book right? Beautiful.. but definitely needs to be read with tissues in hand!


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