With my husband in grad school, I set off in 2016 to read 30 books (as it is the default goal on Goodreads) in a calendar year. Full disclosure, I didn’t actually read most of these books my journey was largely Audible. It was fun and sometimes frustrating (Cursed Child, I am looking at you). It reminded me how much I love being transported into a story and how much I can walk away with after I finish a book.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone– I truthfully don’t even know how many times I have read this book. It is delightful and fun every single time. Jim Dale does an amazing job narrating.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets– This one had a new meaning this time around in that I noticed how many things in this story end up relating through the rest of the series. Mostly notably we get our first look at a horcrux.
Beautiful Ruins– I listened to this after seeing it on a list of books soon to be turned into movies. Overall I felt conflicted. It has a couple of different storylines going at the same time, one of which takes place in Italy during the ’60s, and modern day. I loved the storyline in Italy. I was less enchanted with the modern-day storyline taking place in Hollywood. However, it all tied together nicely in the end.
Me Before You – I devoured this and then cried a lot.
The Girl with all the Gifts – This book fascinated me. It is not your typical zombie story. It was a little slow in the middle but the ending more than made up for it. I immediately wanted to discuss it with someone and find out if they thought it was as perfect as I did.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban– I had remembered this as my favorite of the whole series back when I read them when they first came out. Going back to it, I strongly disagree with my 13-year-old self.
The Royal We – Attention all Kate Middleton fans! This is total fan-fiction, but I was okay with it because it was perfect fan-fiction. A guilty pleasure that I ate up without shame. Simply put, it was fun. I am incredibly excited about the film/TV series that Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman are working on.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – This one is so different from the movie! I loved it.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Angsty Harry… Probably my least favorite of the series.
Big Little Lies – I bought this because it kept showing up in my “suggested for you” section, and who isn’t intrigued by a murder mystery?? It ended up being very different from I anticipated but I couldn’t finish it fast enough. I needed to know who killed who and why. This was my first book by Liane Moriarty and I fell in love with her writing style.
After You – This wasn’t worth my (or anyone else’s) time. The first one felt real and heart-wrenching, and this plot seemed so uninteresting that I had a hard time caring about the previous darling, Louisa Clark. I understand what the author was trying to go for with “she wont be happy until someone shows her that she is worth living for” concept, but it all felt depressing and contrived.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince– I think I walked away from the series this time around with this as my new favorite. The stories are a bit more mature at this point, but there are a lot of really great moments and good characters that come into play more.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows– She tied up all the loose ends. She is amazing and I loved the ending.
Devil in the White City – Half history of the world’s fair in Chicago in 1893, half the story of the serial killer who saw this as a great opportunity. It wasn’t nearly as dark as I worried it might be. Overall I liked it.
The Martian – The movie is great and Matt Damon did a good job portraying Mark Watney. The book was fun and something different from I usually read. The science really added to the story and gave a better look into the mind of the kind of person that would be chosen for a mission to Mars. He was smart, creative and super nerdy with a bit of an ego.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – (I actually read this one!) I was so happy to be back in this world. That was probably the best thing about this book. It broke the rules that JK made for time travel back in PoA. So many issues. So many holes. ugh.
The Husband’s Secret – Another Liane Moriarty. This one is my favorite of hers. This was a story about forgiveness and loyalty. The epilogue made it for me.
The Elephant Whisperer – I read this at the suggestion of my mom. It took me a little while to get into, but I loved learning about life on a nature preserve in South Africa. I laughed, I cried, I grew to love these people and these animals. Everyday when my husband got home from work I wanted to tell him all the interesting things that had happened since I last told him. This may have gone down as my favorite book of the year.
What Alice Forgot– Another Liane Moriarty. I love her writing style so much. This one was fun and leaves you guessing for a long time.
A Dogs Purpose – Confession: I don’t love dogs. Unless it belongs to a good friend, and I see it often my assumption is that it probably wants to hurt me. They are scary. There. I said it. With that said, I loved this story. It made me think that maybe we should get a dog and be dog people.
Wonder – I am going to make my (currently non-existent) kids read this when they enter middle school. It is the story of a boy born with some facial deformities as he goes to public school for the first time in middle school. It made me ask myself, how kind am I? How judgmental am I? How can I make other people feel better about themselves, not worse?
Boys in the Boat – Wonderful historical fiction about the 1936 Olympic Crew Team from Washington. Once the team got to the Olympics, I kept thinking about them running into Louis Zamperini from Unbroken. Great story.
Behind Closed Doors– This looked like the cheesiest book ever…. But, I finished it in less than a day. I had to find out what happened. It was a great thriller with none of the sex like many of these books have.
A Man Called Ove – This is about a cranky old man and a kind family that moves into his neighborhood. Read it. Right now. Ove is one of my favorite literary characters. He and Anne Shirley would be great friends.
Red Queen – This was the dumbest book I have ever read. It’s a mix of a whole bunch of different books including, but not limited to; The Selection, X-Men, Hunger Games, and some other book with a twist that comes totally out of left field purely for the shock factor. Don’t pick up this book. I have no idea why it has such great reviews.
My Antonia – Beautiful story of an immigrant girl growing up on the American plains. The writing is great, as are the characters.
The Magnolia Story – I love this couple. They are not afraid to be exactly who they are. They are God-fearing, Hard-working, outward thinking people who I want to be more like.
The Rosie Project – A cute and unconventional love story.
Anne of Green Gables – I read this years ago and remembered liking it, but I absolutely loved it this time around. Anne Shirley is one of the greats and will always have a place in my heart, as will Matthew.
Talking as Fast as I Can – This was fine. I thought I would like it more considering how much I love Gilmore Girls. My favorite part was when she talked about working on The Royal We.