The Siberian American: Best Books I Read in 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best Books I Read in 2016

Hey, friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. I was so excited Chris was able to have four whole days off this year (it felt like we won the lottery), and we loved getting to spend it with family. Anyways, today I am linking up with Steph and Jana to share the best books I read in 2016. Y’all, deciding on my favorite books was so hard this year. So far this year I have read 145 books (I think that number will increase by one or two before the year is over), which is by far the most I have ever read in a year. Since I was sick for half of the year (and recovering after that), reading really became a huge part of my life. Anyways, because of the number of books I read, I had a hard time picking out favorites.

Best Thrillers

Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake
(c/o NetGalley)
A mother loses her child for 45 minutes...only for her to be taken again three months later. Soon, the parents become the prime suspects. The whole book was suspenseful with many twists and turns. Every time I thought I had the story figured out, it surprised me. If you love psychological thrillers, this is a great read.

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
(c/o NetGalley)
I only read this book a few weeks ago, but it has stayed with me. I've mentioned before I think the best kind of thrillers are the kinds that you can't say much about without spoiling it. This thriller is GOOD. It's insanely twisted and just when you think you know what's going on the author says HAHA and throws another plot twist. It alternates from the girl before (Emma) who was killed in the house the current girl (Jane) is renting. There were a few uncomfortable moments, but the ending really sealed the deal for me. If you love thrillers, you have to get your hands on this one!

Honorable Mention: Find Her by Lisa Gardner (review here)

Best Romance

Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
(c/o NetGalley)
It's been a long time since I've felt this emotional while reading a book. I knew Renee Carlino could write after reading Before We Were Strangers, but this book is a million times better. The story captivated me from the first page. Emiline, a creative writing professor living in San Diego and struggling with her own writing, is recommended a debut novel from J.Colby. From the first page, Emiline realizes the novel is written about her by the boy who was everything to her growing up...who she hasn't seen in 12 years. The past and present is intertwined perfectly with a book within a book format. As you read the book with Emiline, you get to see Emiline and Jase's love develop, and you truly feel all the pain Emiline experienced growing up. The book absolutely consumed me-I could think of nothing else until I finished. It's not perfect. There were several things that bothered me, and the ending felt a bit rushed, but it's five stars for me based on how emotionally invested I got and how much I want to tell everyone I know about it.

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
(c/o NetGalley)
I have always wanted to read a Colleen Hoover book. In fact, I have several of her books that have been hanging out on my Kindle for years waiting to be read. After reading It Ends with Us, I think I need to move them up higher on my list. I went into this book not knowing much about it. I thought it was just a love story. It's not just a love story. It's beautiful, heartbreaking, raw, and truly eye-opening. Even before I got to the Author's Note, I could tell the author had experience with the topic from the way it was written. I started this book blindly, and I don't want to give anything away because I think that's the best way to read it. You go into it not knowing anything and come out shaken by this powerful read.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
This book was such a guilty pleasure! I like the royal family, though I didn't know much about Kate and William's love story (I knew they met at St. Andrews, and it took him a while to propose). Of course, I had to look up more of their story while I read The Royal We, and this novel does loosely follow the same timeline. I really thought this book was fun. As much as I liked Bex and Prince Nick, I thought the supporting characters really made this story. It was longer than I expected, but I didn't really mind. I was in the mood for this kind of novel, and I'm glad I read it.

Honorable Mention: The One You Really Want by Jill Mansel (review here) and One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (review here)

Best World War II Historical Fiction

I usually read a lot of World War II historical fiction, but this year I only read five books. Thankfully, they were all good!

Karolina’s Twins by Ronald H. Balson
(c/o NetGalley)
I love Ronald H. Balson's writing. Last year, Saving Sophie was one of my favorite reads of the year, and I liked Karolina's Twins just as much. Lena's story of her life during World War II and her current search for the twins was beautiful and heartbreaking. I guessed the big "twist" early on in the book, but that didn't detract from the novel. If you're a fan of World War II historical fiction, this one is a must read!

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
(c/o NetGalley)
Even though I've read a lot of World War II historical fiction (and non-fiction), I feel like every time I pick up a WWII book, I learn something new. I had never heard of Caroline Ferriday and barely knew anything about the Ravensbrück "Rabbits." The thing that stands out to me about this book is a decent chunk of the story occurs after the war is over. It was interesting (and heartbreaking) to read a book that truly how difficult it was to glue a life back together after such unimaginable trauma. If you are a fan of WWII historical fiction, I think Lilac Girls is worth a read.

Best Other Historical Fiction

A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock
(c/o Blogging for Books)
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. Alternating between Vera's senior year at university in the 1910s and her socialite life in the 1920s, A Fine Imitation really portrays why there is more to life than money. Even though she has everything she could possibly want, Vera is terribly lonely until she meets Emil Hallan, the artist invited to paint a mural in the pool room of her building. As they begin to get to know each other, Vera begins to question whether her life of privilege is worth being miserable. It's written well, and both timelines were woven together beautifully at the end.

Honorable Mention: The Winemakers by Jan Moran (review here)

Best Books That Don’t Fit a Category

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
(c/o NetGalley)
I think it's almost impossible to review this book without spoilers, so I'm going to be super generic. Jason Dessen is kidnapped one day heading home from the bar and wakes up in a totally different life. This book sucked me in. It's intense and overwhelming at times (the physics parts weren't my cup of tea). I thought the twist was unique, and the ending was interesting.

Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon
(c/o NetGalley)
This is the best time travel book I've ever read. It's a love story, but it's so much more than that. It's a coming of age story. A story about second chances, of feeling stuck and fighting to get out of it. It's slow at first but gets so much better. I loved all the characters. I don't usually tear up while reading, but this book got me. It's truly beautiful.

No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn 
(c/o NetGalley)
No Ordinary Life was a fascinating account of how sudden child stardom affects the child and the rest of her family. Molly is discovered after a viral YouTube video, and her mother Faye becomes her manager while still being a mother to her two other children and dealing with a broken marriage. I loved the behind the scenes look of making a television show, and Faye and Molly were both great characters. No Ordinary Life hooked me in from the first page, and I couldn't put it down!

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

What were some of your favorite reads in 2016?


  1. It still amazes me how much you were able to read this year! I have several of these books on my TBR list already, and quite a few of them from Netgalley, and I really need to get on the ball about reading them! I picked The Girl Before for both the SCWBC16 and Erin's Book Challenge, so I'm even more excited to read it after you're great review!

  2. I still need to get my hands on the Royal We...the thrillers yu read sound interesting. I'm not sure I've ever read a psychological thriller but sounds like a great read.

  3. Holy cow girl 145 books?! I definitely read more this year than ever before and I loved that, I also love getting recommendations from bloggers. I'm adding quite a few of these to my list of books to read. Lilac Girls is one I've seen over and over, I'm adding that for sure. The Royal We, loved that book so much...I was listening to it on CD and didn't want it to end, ever! I'm hoping the rumors of them making it into a movie is real!

  4. I knew you were going to love The Girl Before!! So good. I'm reading Dark Matter right now!!

  5. UGH I can't wait to read The Girl Before!!! I added a few others you mentioned to my list too!

  6. Great list! I added a lot of the to my To-Read list. I can't wait to read Lilac Girls, which I got for Christmas : ) The Girl Before also looks really good and I'll definitely be buying that one!

  7. I enjoyed the supporting characters, too, in The Royal We. I think they made the length tolerable and they pushed the story along. As much as I liked Nick, I just loved Freddie :)
    Quite a few of these are already on my TBR list. Hopefully I get to them this year! :)

  8. You've got me so interested in so many of these!!!
    The Royal We was on my list last year. I loved that book.

  9. I love seeing a lot of the same books pop up! I already added Valley of the Moon and it sounds great. I've never read a Colleen Hoover book so I may have to start one blindly like you recommended.

  10. I just requested it ends with us from the library today!! The girl before sounds wonderful and super intense - thanks for sharing these great books! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  11. I haven't read any of these, but my resolution for 2017 is to read more, so these are all going on my list! xo -L

    1. So glad to hear that! I love that reading is a big part of my life now. :)

  12. Dark Matter is on my list, too!

    I really need to check out Lilac Girls. I generally do not like WWII books but with so many people recommending it and it being on so many lists, I think I'm going to try it anyway.

  13. Chris had four whole days?! that is AWESOME.
    Only Ever You is on my list! i love everything you said about Swear on This Life - and you know i feel the same. so good!
    I adored The Royal We. I got it for Christmas hahaha. Even though I read it in 2015, I didn't own it, so now I can re-read it!
    i haven't read the one you really want yet, but i have read 3 of her books and enjoyed all of them.
    i adored valley of the moon - so cranky i didn't put it on my list. dark matter is on my list!

  14. I really loved Swear on this Life and The Royal We. I really want to read Valley of The Moon and Dark Matter. :)

  15. Glad you had a nice year of reading! That's awesome. :) I really loved Swear On This Life, and I need to read more by the author.


  16. Three in common, I think that's the most for me with anyone on the linkup!

    Dying to get The Girl Before. It comes out soon!

  17. Only Ever You is already on my to read list and I just added The Girl Before. I loved It Ends With Us, which made it to my favorites list along with Lilac Girls. I liked Swear on this Life and No Ordinary Life but thought The Royal We was just okay.

  18. Put The Girl Before on my list.
    I love your graphic at the beginning of the post.

  19. So many great books listed here, Olya! I added Swear on this Life to my TBR already from your earlier review. And now I'm also adding The Girl Before on my list too. I love thrillers where you can't say much about them without giving too much away and that you keep you guessing. I haven't read It Ends with Us yet. It's on my TBR and it sounds like I need to bump it up my list!

  20. A Fine Imitation surprised me too -in a good way.

  21. Yesss, Swear on This Life was so good and one of (if not the only) book I read in one sitting because I could not stop reading! Both of the thrillers sound really interesting! I've gone back and forth on Dark Matter, but you convinced me to add it to my TBR list!

  22. No Ordinary Life is on my to-read list! Glad to hear you loved it so much!

  23. I have so many of these on my list but haven't read them yet! The thrillers sound so good, as do Lilac Girls and Dark Matter. Wow, 145 books is awesome!

  24. oooh so many of these are on my TBR. What a great year in reading! I hope to read more historical fiction and thrillers this year! :) I hate that I missed this linkup hahaha #holidaylazy :P XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things


Thanks for reading my blog! I love hearing from you and respond to every comment. :) If you're a no-reply blogger, I will respond below your comment.