One of the hardest tasks I have each year is to choose which books are my Top Books of the year. This year was an amazing reading year filled with books by favorite authors, authors new to me and debut authors.
Here are the Great Thoughts’ Top Books of 2016:
Great Thoughts’ Top 4 Books of 2016
I could not choose just one so I am thrilled to announce that Falling by Jane Green, The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield, The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman and The Two-Family House by Lynda Loigman, are my Top Four Books of 2016.
Falling by Jane Green is now my favorite of her books. It is a beautiful love story and reminds us that family is what we make it. It is simply wonderful. Everyone I have recommended it to has also loved it.
The Flood Girls is a debut novel by the amazing Richard Fifield. This book really should be catalogued as Fine Literature as it is much more than a fiction novel. You will feel all range of emotions in this book and be very glad you read it.
The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman is a masterpiece. Richman’s poetic writing never ceases to amaze. You can literally feel and see the apartment in Paris. I predict that like her book, The Lost Wife, this too will be a movie.
The Two-Family House by Lynda Loigman is also a debut novel. This is a VERY special book about two families sharing one house and the consequences therein. The character development in this book is unbelievable. A masterpiece!
The following are the Great Thoughts’ Top Books of 2016, alphabetically by author.
This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger is funny, poignant, sweet and so good. Prepare to fall in love with 5 year old Caleb.
The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner is a very layered book. On the surface it is the story of three sisters getting married. On a deeper level, it speaks to relationships and family. I loved the grandmother!
Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White is a book you cannot stop reading and then cannot stop thinking about. You can literally feel a bipolar mind in this book.
Lies And Other Acts of Love by Kristy Harvey is a beautiful book. This is Southern fiction at its best and you will want a grandmother named Lovey.
Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany channels a Jodi Picoult book. The characters are flawed and real. Yet, the story is hopeful as only Hatvany can write.
The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth address alzheimers, love and family in a magnificent book. You must read to the very end as you cannot predict where it goes.
The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke is another gem by the Liz and Lisa duo. It examines where the road not taken is the road you should take. Light and funny yet thought provoking!
Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes is Hughes’ best to date. It is downright charming, funny and the perfect holiday novel. The perfect stocking stuffer!
The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz captures family holiday dysfunction perfectly. Her writing is light and funny. Loved it!
The Language of Sisters by Cathy Lamb is another Lamb masterpiece. No one can write characters like Cathy Lamb. No one. From heartache to joy, this book has it all.
Some Women by Emily Liebert reminds us of the power of girlfriends and why we need them. I love stories of women’s friendships.
The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda is a must-read for any mom of high schoolers. Rouda captures the angst of a mom facing an empty nest.
Where We Fall by Rochelle Weinstein has it all- love, depression, tragedy and joy. This book is expertly written and leaves you thinking. An important portrayal of depression and its effects.
Flight Patterns by Karen White is such a wonderful story. White brilliantly takes a story of a flawed family and ties it to the past. You will want a china teacup after this book and you won’t stop thinking about the story.
In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch feels like a book version of The Big Chill. It is the story of college dreams and 40 year old realities. So well-written!
Top Intense/Grit Lit of 2016
It seems as if there were a zillion psych thriller and/or grit lit books this year. While I know this is “the” genre right now, I think it is being overrun with some poor books. These 5 are the standouts, in my opinion, that have excellent plot and writing which still capturing the intensity.
The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle is outstanding domestic suspense. Lies combined with twists and turns make this a book you must finish in one sitting.
The Choices We Make by Karma Brown portrays infertility, friendship and the consequences therein. It is an intense but satisfying read.
Secrets of Worry Dolls by Amy Impellizzeri is a masterpiece. It features tragedy and joy both in an intricate story.
Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica is a page-turner beyond belief. Kubica is the queen of the psych thriller.
The Vanishing Year by Katie Moretti is another outstanding domestic suspense novel. It makes you question if people are who you think. Brilliantly written!
Top Historical Fiction of 2016
As always, historical fiction if my sweet spot. This was an incredible year for historical fiction so, as you can see, I could not narrow the list down to just a few.
Belgravia by Julian Fellowes (the Downton Abbey Julian Fellowes) is a wonderful tale full of surprises. I read the serialized version but recommend the book version.
The Girl From The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor is an upstairs/downstairs war tale centered at The Savoy hotel in London. Gaynor reminds us that life does not go as planned but works out.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is epic. It is the story of three women and how their lives intertwine in World War II. Epic!
The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff was re-released this year. It was the first of the great World War II novels. I re-read it and continue to marvel at Jenoff’s characters, research and storytelling. A must-read!
The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris fictionalizes Alcatraz. The research and story telling in this book are McMorris perfect. A wonderful family saga! Loved it!
Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson perfectly captures post World War I Paris. I loved the characters and the story so much.
The Summer Before The War by Helen Simonson feels like Downton Abbey with a dose of Jane Austen thrown in. She perfectly captures small town Britain in a very English way. Loved it!
The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig is a masterpiece by this trio. It is a brilliantly crafted story of three characters, three time periods in one house. SO good!
A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams has my favorite cover of 2016. (I really want that necklace!) It is a witty and clever portrayal of the roaring 20’s.
The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig is an intricate tale of family and the act of revenge. Willig is an amazing storyteller!
The Longest Night by Andria Williams is the fictional account of a nuclear reactor accident in the early 1960’s. Williams captures the time period perfectly with flawed characters. I love the paperback cover of this book.
Great Thoughts’ Top Debut Novels of 2016
2016 was an exceptional year for debut novels. Here are my favorites:
The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller is a wonderful story that will leave you hungry for more- literally and figuratively.
Modern Girls by Jenny Brown is such a great story that it demands a sequel. Set in the 1930’s on the Lower East Side of New York, the book is a gem.
The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis is the fictionalized tale of the Barbizon hotel. Such an amazing read!
The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield is so good that it is one of my Top 4 Books of 2016. See above.
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale was the blockbuster debut of the year. Full of twists and turns, it is an outstanding book.
The Memory of Us by Camille DiMaio is a wonderful historical fiction debut. I finished it in one sitting. I am expecting many more great books from DiMaio.
The Two-Family House by Lynda Loigman is so good that it is one of my Top 4 Books of 2016. See above.
Root Petal Thorn by Ella Olsen is a wonderful story of Emmeline Rose, a house and the stories of its inhabitants. So good!
Great Thoughts’ Top YA Novels of 2016
I do not read much YA but I live with two teens who do. We all agree that these two are the best of 2016.
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum asks the question, “What if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met?” It is funny, romantic and poignant. Every teen (and their mom) should read!
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight is her first YA novel and the first of a series. It is super fast-paced and leaves you on the edge of your seat. A thriller that my teens and I both loved. (If you haven’t read Reconstructing Amelie by McCreight, I command you to do so.)
There you have it my friends. My Top Books of 2016.
I received review copies of many of these books in exchange for an honest review. I also do some marketing and pr for various books and authors. All opinions here are my own and are not paid reviews.