Friday, December 1, 2017

The 6 Best Fiction Books I Read This Year

I've said it before, but I love to read. I love to read pretty much everything and nothing (wink wink). BUT my favorite is without a doubt, fiction. I wanted to share with you guys 6 fiction books that I read this year that I could NOT STOP THINKING ABOUT long after I finished squeezing the words off the last page.

Yes, I have read a lot of good books this year. A LOT. But when you finish a book and immediately scramble to tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW about it...you know it might be something special. I'm a little bit picky about what I read, mostly because I read with the goal of becoming a better writer myself, so when a book impresses me...I get pretty verbal about shouting it from the rooftops.

For me, it was these 6 books this year. I could share more because there really were so many excellent ones, but maybe a second post later?

I figured this might  make a good mini-gift guide for the fiction lovers in your life. Or-- if you are a "read one book a year" type of person, here are some hand-picked ideas!

(Also, if you are wondering why I've started sharing more links and mixing up my content, the honest truth is that we are making some changes around here to badly update the blog. If you make a purchase through one of my links, it helps support that. Blog growth has been crazy good, which I'm super thankful for, but it also means I need to update my web platform. This is a work in progress. I am hoping in the process to also provide a better value to YOU as I widen the view of this blog and let more ideas flow through. Anyway, thanks for understanding my need to switch up the content a bit. I am loving sharing things big and small that influence my days. Today, it is my fav...fiction books!)

So without further ado...

1. The Mountain Between Us, by Charles Martin


(this is an extremely clean read)

This was my #1 of the year (I'm still thinking about this book and I finished it a month ago). Honestly, I don't even know how to describe the awesomeness of this book. For starters, it is about a mountain rescue and I hate books about mountain rescue and yet I COULDN'T STOP READING IT. In addition, the love story woven between the mountain rescue lines was just exquisite. When it got to the end I bawled like a baby. Seriously. I just didn't see it coming. The whole story was so brilliantly crafted that I could not stop thinking about this book for weeks. I wanted to dive back in and spend more time in the moments created by this unique storyline.

2. A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander


(this one is Christian fiction)

I don't know if this is just because I'm a music nerd, but the descriptions and overall storyline on this one really won me over. This talks about how in the post-civil war era, it was considered immoral and scandalous if a woman performed a musical instrument in public. And so professional orchestras were male only. I had never considered this before, so I found this concept quite intriguing. Her musical descriptions were so on point that several times I had to stop reading to get out my violin and go practice. (-; The love story was sweet, and the overall Christian theme was much appreciated. I haven't read both the other books in the series (this is #3), but I didn't need to to understand the entire book just fine.


(this is not Christian fiction, but it is a clean read with only a few questionable behavior elements)

Okay wow. This book. Let's start with the fact that it is 500 something pages, and I read it in 24 hours. The way she shapes her words is nothing short of masterful. I felt like I was in England soaking in the beauty of the landscape and feeling each weather shift. I fell so deeply, became so entangled in the storyline, that when the ending twisted things around just so...I physically felt the blow. I thought I had the answer figured out about eight times, and each time after I said, "Okay I KNOW who did it!" the story twisted again. I love a good story twist!!! After I finished reading this, not only did I go and read and read every single other book by this author (this one was still my favorite), I also texted every single person I know who likes to read and said, "You MUST  READ THIS NOW."  (Trigger warning: this book deals with infant loss)

4. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris


(this is NOT Christian fiction, but a clean...albeit disturbing read)

I have to start by saying that this book is extremely dark. EXTREMELY. On the very disturbing side of dark. This book deals with an abusive marriage, heinous abuse that only happens behind doors. On the outside they are perfection. At home? She is literally locked in her room 24 hours a day. The reason I couldn't stop thinking about this story is because the adult sister with Down syndrome ends up being the hero of this book. I pushed through the dark to get to that happy ending, and I was not disappointed. It was refreshing to see Down syndrome portrayed in fiction. At first I felt like it was going to a bad place, but the author turned it around. If you've read this one, I'd be curious to know your take on this. I could do an entire post about the use of Down syndrome in this very dark storyline.

5. The Handmaiden's Tale by Margaret Atwood



(this is not a Christian fiction but reads in an older, literary style)

The storyline on this one is also on the scary/bizarre side. But fascinating. Disturbing in a different way. (Sometimes I like to read disturbing books just to remind myself that my mundane problems are not really problems at all).  The reason I'm including this one in my list is because of the literary, gorgeous way in which it was written. I felt like each word was chiseled down to just the right size before carefully being set into place. I was wowed by the artistry in the writer's style. I know that this is also a series on Hulu, which is equally as disturbing but fascinating. Ha!  Has anyone watched the series but not read the book? The storyline is the same, although I'm curious where they will take season 2 as the book ends at the end of season 1?

6. Confessions of A Domestic Failure


(this is not a Christian fiction, nor is it 100% a clean read)

Compared to the last two, this is a very light read. It was comforting to read of someone even worse at housekeeping than I am (I had previously thought this was impossible), and it has a feel good wrap up at the end. This book nails the tension of being a stay at home mom in 2017. (Some slight language warning) in addition to having a fun story line. This book stuck in my memory because she is a blogger that I love to follow (The Honest Toddler), and I LOVED seeing a blogger find success in the fiction world. This is not an easy bridge to jump, and so I was just so proud of her! And so proud of this book. The way she phrases things should be in a hall of fame somewhere. Seriously.

So those the 6 books that I read this year that I couldn't stop thinking about long after they were done.

Which books would be on your list? I need ideas of where to go next!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I will b adding these to wish list

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  2. I just read Behind Closed Doors...oh my gosh. So good and disturbing. I could only keep reading because you said it ends up well, otherwise I think I might have quit halfway through. Loved that Millie was the hero. When I think of the cognitive skills that would require, I was amazed. She was portrayed as a kind soul who knows what's going on. And I loved that Grace acknowledged that her language skills held Millie back rather than an innate inability to think on her own. I think this all the time about my daughter, Hope - she knows what's going on, she just hasn't figured out how to communicate it. But she's learning - like you posted about Addison today, volunteering information about the bus ride. They get way more than they are given credit for (sometimes even from me, as mom...I'm ashamed to say...)

    Anyway, loved the recommendations. I've read another of Kate Morton's books, so I have that on my list next. Everything else I'm reading right now is theology related, since I'm in school. It was nice to have a slight diversion into some good fiction! :-)

    Thanks again for all of your thoughts. So many of them could be mine - you just write them better! ;-)

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