Stuck on what book to read next?
In 2016 I did a LOT of reading. And I’m not even talking about textbooks! This is thanks to discovering Audible. Most of my rotations were 45 minutes to an hour drive each way, so I started listening to audiobooks to pass the time. (Click here to get TWO FREE audiobooks from Audible!) Here is a list of everything I’ve read in 2016 and my rating.
Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter
A tragic whisper from the past turns into a resounding roar in this gripping thriller. There is no denying the ugly truth that pervades Pretty Girls; it is a truth as real as the bonds of blood, and the bonds of love. You will hear it loud and clear.
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago—and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
Powerful, poignant, and packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful novel that will echo in your mind long after you finish listening.
This was the first Karin Slaughter book I read and I loved it. Very Gone Girl and Girl on the Train.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter – Jeff Lindsay
Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He’s a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likeable: he only kills bad people. And his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught between being flattered and being frightened – of himself or some other fiend.
First, let me say that I absolutely love the TV series Dexter. It is one of my all time favorite shows and I have probably watched the whole series about 5 times. That being said, I did not enjoy this book. It was hard to get into because the book is told through Dexter’s thoughts, and well . . . he’s a deranged serial killer. The thoughts are repetitive and manic and it’s just hard to follow. I loved the series much more. I actually didn’t even finish the book.
Blindsighted – Karin Slaughter
A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear.
Sara’s ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation – a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he’s got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county’s sole female detective, Lena Adams – the first victim’s sister – want to serve her own justice.
But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath…. or mean her death.
Another one by Karin Slaughter, loved it.
In a Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware
What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.
Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her nest of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.
In the tradition of Paula Hawkins’ instant New York Times best seller The Girl on the Train and S. J. Watson’s riveting national sensation Before I Go to Sleep, this gripping literary debut from UK novelist Ruth Ware will leave you on the edge of your seat through the very last tick.
It was compared to The Girl on the Train, but I didn’t think it was as good. Reminds you that females can be CRAY.
The Life We Bury – Allen Eskens
Ever hear a story that just doesn’t add up? What if it was about a man who was possibly wrongly accused of murder?
College student Joe Talbert needs to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person for an English class. At a nearby nursing home, he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran—and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.
As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Aided by his skeptical neighbor, Lila, Joe throws himself into uncovering the truth. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?
The novel—an Edgar Award finalist and a winner of the Anthony Award for best first novel—is told with perfectly low-key style by Zach Villa, and it had us feeling just like Joe and Lila—driven to know the truth.
This book was incredible. Definitely one of my favorites from the year. The characters are believable, relatable, and lovable.
The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
A brilliant mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.
I was looking for a series to get into. While this book wasn’t bad, it didn’t make me hungry for the rest of the series. It’s a mystery, which I like, and the main character is likable enough. Maybe I’ll go back for the rest of the series one day.
You – Caroline Kepnes
How far would you go for the perfect love? A young man’s dark obsession with an enigmatic, gorgeous writer leads to murderous consequences in this erotic psychological thriller.
You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam. You smile, embarrassed to be a nice girl, and your nails are bare and your V-neck sweater is beige and it’s impossible to know if you’re wearing a bra but I don’t think that you are. You’re so clean that you’re dirty and you murmur your first word to me – hello.
When aspiring writer and recent Brown graduate Guinevere Beck strides into the bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: she’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and sexy beyond his wildest dreams. Joe needs to have her, and he’ll stop at nothing to do so. As he begins to insinuate himself into her life – her friendships, her email, her phone – she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom-made for her. So when her boyfriend, Benji, mysteriously disappears, Beck and Joe fall into a tumultuous affair. But there’s more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade, and their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences.
Dark, masterful, and timely, debut novelist Caroline Kepnes’ You is a perversely romantic thriller that’s more dangerously clever than any you’ve heard before. A chilling account of unrelenting passion, this tale of love, sex, and death will stay with you long after the story ends.
Loved, loved, loved this book. Reminded me of Dexter because it takes you into the mind of a killer, but also makes you like him and almost believe in his rationalizations. Also, if you’re going for the audiobook version, the narrator does an incredible job. I couldn’t stop listening.
Hidden Bodies – Caroline Kepnes
Sure, Joe Goldberg is a sociopath and a killer, but the way Kepnes writes him, you’re willing to let that go. Through Fontana’s seductive voice whispering in your ear, it feels like Joe is standing right next to you, delighting you with his scathing wit and his dirty, dirty mind. All the while, the suspense is building.
Joe is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past 10 years, this 30-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.
In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They reemerge like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice….
In this compulsively listenable follow-up to her widely acclaimed debut novel, You, Caroline Kepnes weaves a tale that Booklist calls “the love child of Holden Caulfield and Patrick Bateman,” and Stephen King called “original and hypnotic.” Be thankful it’s an audiobook; no need to risk running into Joe at a bookstore.
Hidden Bodies is the sequel to You, and honestly is just as good. Very different from any book I’ve ever read before. I was left still wanting more of Joe.
Try Not to Breathe – Holly Seddon
For fans of Gillian Flynn, Laura Lippman, and Paula Hawkins comes Holly Seddon’s arresting fiction debut – an engrossing thriller full of shocking twists and turns, richly imagined characters, and gripping psychological suspense.
Some secrets never die. They’re just locked away.
Alex Dale is lost. Destructive habits have cost her a marriage and a journalism career. All she has left is her routine: a morning run until her body aches, then a few hours of forgettable work before the past grabs hold and drags her down. Every day is treading water, every night is drowning.
Until Alex discovers Amy Stevenson. Amy Stevenson, who was just another girl from a nearby town until the day she was found unconscious after a merciless assault. Amy Stevenson, who has been in a coma for 15 years, forgotten by the world. Amy Stevenson, who, unbeknownst to her doctors, remains locked inside her body, conscious but paralyzed, reliving the past.
Soon Alex’s routine includes visiting hours at the hospital, then interviews with the original suspects in the attack. But what starts as a reporter’s story becomes a personal obsession. How do you solve a crime when the only witness lived but cannot tell the tale? Unable to tear herself away from her attempt to uncover the unspeakable truth, Alex realizes she’s not just chasing a story – she’s seeking salvation.
Shifting from present to past and back again, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer until its heart-stopping conclusion. The result is an utterly immersive, unforgettable debut.
This book reminded me of In a Dark, Dark Wood somehow. Has all the parts of a thriller/mystery novel to be good, just not great.
Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong? In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families.
Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.
Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.
Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?
I wanted to like this book more, I just couldn’t get past Moriarty’s storytelling style. You know the whole time there is something major that happened, but don’t find out until the end what it is. You think suspense in a mystery novel is good, but Moriarty somehow manages to make it plain annoying. It would have had 3 stars, but I really enjoyed the psychological aspect behind the main character’s relationships.
Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty
Coming July 29, 2014, the new novel from Liane Moriarty, number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Husband’s Secret.
“What a wonderful writer – smart, wise, funny.” (Anne Lamott)
Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder.
In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families. And in her pitch-perfect way, she shows us the truth about what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.
I liked this more than Truly Madly Guilty. Somehow the suspense wasn’t as irritating. Loved all the characters. And the best part is HBO is turning this into a series coming out on February 19th and I can not wait! SO MANY good actors playing in it. Read the book before the show comes out!
Behind Closed Doors – B. A. Paris
The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.
Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.
Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.
This book was freaky. It makes you question how well you can really know the person you marry. You really root for the main character. I liked it.
The Wicked Girls – Alex Marwood
On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon.
For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives – and unknowing families to protect – will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden? Gripping and fast-paced, with an ending that will stay with you long after you’ve listened to it, The Wicked Girls will appeal to fans of the Academy Award–nominated film Heavenly Creatures and the novels of Rosamund Lupton and Chevy Stevens.
This book was alright. I did want to like it more. The story line was good enough, maybe it was the narrator’s accent that threw me off.
The Sound of Glass – Karen White
The New York Times best-selling author of A Long Time Gone now explores a Southern family’s buried history, which will change the life of the woman who unearths it secret by shattering secret.
It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward’s husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news – Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal’s reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt. Charting the course of an uncertain life – and feeling guilt from her husband’s tragic death – Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life – a new life complicated by the arrival of her too-young stepmother and 10-year-old half brother.
Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country.
Ugh. Freaking tears. This book was so so good. Not my typical genre either. I usually go for the mystery/horror/thriller. This book somehow turned a morbid mystery into a heartwarming tear-jerker. I laughed. I cried. I fell in love with the characters. I also really felt transported to the Low Country. It was great.
The Girl Before – Rena Olsen
In this powerful psychological suspense debut, when a woman’s life is shattered, she is faced with a devastating question: What if everything she thought was normal and good and true…wasn’t?
Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing.
In chapters that alternate between past and present, the novel slowly unpeels the layers of Clara’s fractured life. We see her growing up, raised with her sisters by the stern Mama and Papa G, becoming a poised and educated young woman, falling desperately in love with the forbidden son of her adoptive parents. We see her now, sequestered in an institution, questioned by men and women who call her a different name – Diana – and who accuse her husband of unspeakable crimes. As recollections of her past collide with new revelations, Clara must question everything she thought she knew to come to terms with the truth of her history and to summon the strength to navigate her future.
What if one day you discovered that everything you ever knew was a lie. And your perfect life was actually a nightmare to everyone else. You pretty much know from the beginning what’s happening, but you still can’t wait to find out how it ends.
The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena
How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even yourself?
People are capable of almost anything….
A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors – a twisty roller-coaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives.
Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all – a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets – secrets they’ve kept for years.
What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family, a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.
This book had more twists than I initially thought. Some predictable and some not as obvious.
The Kept Woman – Karin Slaughter
It’s the most dangerous case of Will Trent’s career. He knows this from the moment he sets foot in the abandoned Atlanta warehouse where a body lies on the floor – the body of an ex-cop. Bloody footprints leading away from the scene reveal that another victim, evidently a woman, was carried away and has vanished into thin air. And, worst of all, the warehouse belongs to the city’s biggest and most high-profile athlete – a local hero protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers. A hero married to Will’s ex-wife. A hero whom Will’s superiors at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have spent the last six months investigating for rape.
But for Will – and also for Sara Linton, the GBI’s newest medical examiner – the case is about to get even worse. Because an unexpected discovery at the scene reveals a personal link to Will’s troubled past, and the consequences will wreak havoc on his life and the lives of those he loves, those he works with, and those he pursues.
Relentlessly suspenseful and furiously paced, The Kept Woman marks Karin Slaughter’s triumphant return to her most popular series.
So, I’m dumb. I read this whole book before I realized it was actually number 8 in the Will Trent series. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and feel you don’t need to read 1-8 to understand what’s going on. You will fall in love with Will Trent and want to strangle the people in his life he can’t seem to get rid of. If the rest of the books in this series are this good, then wow.
That was a lot of reading, y’all! Have you read any of these? Do you have any suggestions on what I should add to the reading list for 2017? Let me know in the comments.