Along with being subscription box addicts and product junkies, Jill and I are voracious readers. We both love thrillers but will mix in other books now and then as well. I thought it would be fun to look over everything we read last year and pick out our favorites we would recommend! I’m not sure if Jill is going to write her own post since some of the books we love overlap, but we’ll see.
Some of these books I read towards the end of 2016 but I loved them so much and never shared them with y’all so I’m just scooting those right in my list also. Now that we are doing this, I won’t cheat next year. 🙂
Speaking of books, I want to give a plug to the app, “Libby.” (This post isn’t sponsored, but hey… if Libby wants to sponsor us… email us. 😉) Using Libby, along with a library card, I am able to digitally check books out from the library and download them directly to my Kindle. I don’t understand the technology, so don’t make me explain it! But once you set up your library details, you’re set! There may only be a few digital copies of each book but if they aren’t available, you are able to add yourself to the waiting list, and once it’s available, they will send you an email that the book has been automatically checked out to you. Because of how easy Libby is, my goal is to not spend so much money on books in 2018. There will be a few exceptions: book club books I need to get in a timely manner or if I’m trying to actively support the author. But otherwise, I’m all about that Libby life.
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter: This was my first Karin Slaughter book, and it made me sit up and take notice. Whoa. If you’ve read this book, you KNOW. This is a thriller that has so many disturbing twists and turns that it will STAY WITH YOU long after you’ve finished reading it. I convinced so many of my friends to read this book last year (and continue to recommend it today) because I just want to continue talking about it with more people! After I read this book from Karin Slaughter, I’ve gone on to read three more of her books since then (and counting, as I am reading another right now.)
The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll: In every review or recommendation for a thriller book with a strong female character, they will say, “THIS IS THE NEXT “GONE GIRL”/”GIRL ON THE TRAIN” etc. All female thrillers go back to Gone Girl/Girl On the Train. Every. Single. One. Since Gone Girl rightfully did so well, every publisher is trying to re-create that magic. Gone Girl is still my favorite book of all time, so it sits on a pedestal. But not every book needs to be the next Gone Girl! It’s OK if they are different! However, “Luckiest Girl Alive” really gave me Gone Girl vibes. So you know I don’t say that lightly. I don’t really want to tell you what it’s about. I don’t really even want YOU to go read a summary about it. I’d rather you just read it. Let the story unfold. And get back to me. We’ll talk. Hit me up in the comments/twitter/facebook. That is how I read it and I really loved it.
Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane: I sort of referenced this above, but I really don’t like reading book summaries. I like reading books to see how they unfold without any preconceived notions about what I think might happen when. So, how in the world do I choose books? Well, mostly friends’ recommendations. I’ll also read books from authors I’ve read already. I will also read Amazon’s recommendations based on books I’ve read before. So I’ll just add these books to my Goodreads “To Read” list and then when I finish a book, I go look to see what I have in my list. I’m pretty sure “Since We Fell” got on my list per my friend Susie Geissler, who has amazing taste in books and is a voracious reader. I had been reading a bunch of thrillers and this book was just so well-written and a breath of fresh air. And then there were several twists and turns I didn’t see coming. This was one of the best books I read last year, FOR SURE.
The Ex by Alafair Burke: This was the book that introduced me to Alafair Burke and then I literally read 10 of her books in a row. She has written several series and I read two of them. What I like about Alafair Burke is that she is actually a prosecutor and writes from her experience in both the courtroom and dealing with police precincts. Since she is clearly smart herself, she is able to write amazing, smart, complicated women so well. I also follow her on Twitter and like to pretend we are friends when she responds to me. “The Ex” is probably her most popular book she has written, so this might be a good introduction to Burke if you haven’t read anything from her. This was a great mystery/thriller that kept me riveted. Highly recommend!
How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell: Oh, Cat Marnell. If you know, you know. But for those of you who don’t, Cat Marnell has been a career beauty editor for Lucky, xoJane, xoVain and others. And she is also a career hot mess. She eventually got fired from Lucky because of her various addictions/issues and then translated her addictions/issues into writing openly about them in xoJane. Under the guise of a beauty article. Like, she would write this long post about a glorious night out in NYC while on PCP and then at the end write about how she was wearing the perfect Chanel lipstick. We sort of read in total fascination and also like… “are we complicit now? This chick clearly has a problem.” Then her issues got her fired from xoJane, and then she went straight into writing about her drug use for Vice with no guise of beauty. That’s when I was like… “OK, this is bad.” But I kept reading. She is a compelling writer and her life just seemed fascinating so I just kept following her around. Then she sort of fell off the radar. So I had a lot of questions. Luckily, she basically answers all of them in this book. Her life has been fascinating and this memoir was sort of ridiculous but still very fascinating. I don’t think this book will be for everyone, but if you are interested in the behind-the-scenes beauty industry in NYC from the point of view of a hot mess who saw it all, you might like this.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult: This is probably one of the most “serious” books on the list, as while it’s a fiction book, it’s also about racism. The chapters alternated between three points of view: an older black woman nurse, a mid-20s male skinhead and a young, white female lawyer. I’ll summarize this one a bit, just because there’s no way to talk about it otherwise. But essentially, this skinhead couple go to the hospital to have their baby. The nurse comes in to help them after the baby was born and when they saw her, they spoke to her manager and said that she was not to help them or touch their baby again, because she is black. However, the baby has some issues and she is the only one around. Even though she was told not to help the baby, she still did try to help the baby because she’s a great nurse. But there were complications, so the couple ends up suing the nurse. So it was really interesting to hear the points of view from the different characters. It also opened my eyes to things that are happening in America right now. I consider myself to be pretty woke but at the same time, I have the experience of being a white girl, raised in a predominantly white area. What I’m trying to say is that I can always learn more about race, and this book just hurt my heart and reminded me that even though it’s 2018, we still have so far to go.
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker: This is a fiction book that Jill kept on recommending to me. And I was like, “LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU’RE NOT MY MOM.” Then I was like, “OK, sure.” Jill knows what books I like, as she likes the same ones: Thrillers with a strong female lead, taking place in some sort of cabin/woods. (Bonus points if the word “girl” is in the title. See above– this happens more than you’d think.) Anyway, this was in that vein but also wound in a bit of non-fiction information about narcissists. I don’t think I really understood the clinical definition of a narcissist prior to reading to this book. I knew a little but I honestly knew more about the true definition of a psychopath versus a narcissist. So while this was definitely a fiction book, I learned a lot. And it was so freaking good– I couldn’t put it down! (Gotta hand it to Jill – she was right.)
What were some of your favorite books of 2017? Do you have any thriller recommendations for Jill and I that have the word “girl” in the title? Let us know! And let us know if reading about our fave books and things of this nature is something that you’re interested in! If so, we can share more of this kind of topic in the future!