At the beginning of every year I make a hard decision: how many books should I try to read this year? Last year I set a lofty goal of 100, and I got no where close. So when January rolled around this year I thought I’d pick a number that felt a lot more doable but would still stretch me a bit, and I ended up setting a goal to read 45 books. That felt like a reasonable number that would encourage me to keep up my reading habit as the months rolled on. Unfortunately, my priorities shifted and I got stuck reading the Mayo Clinic’s pregnancy book for several months, and I ended up not meeting that goal.
Despite not hitting my goal of 45, I still managed to read 17 books. I didn’t love every single one of them, but I thought it would be fun to share the books I enjoyed the most over the past year!
Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner
I was chosen to participate in the launch team for this book, and I’m so happy that I was, though I would have purchased it anyway. If you’ve been following me for a while or know me at all, then you know that I’m all about slowing down and embracing what matters most, so I really loved this book.
I shared my thoughts on chasing slow earlier this year with my email list, and as for the book itself it’s definitely a must read for business owners and women who feel like they’re constantly fighting to keep up in any way. It’s all about focusing on living up to be who we’re meant to be, which is a powerful message, especially in this time of constant comparison thanks to social media.
Cultivate by Lara Casey
If you’re a Lara Casey fan, then you’ll love this one! I was chosen to participate for the launch of this book as well, but I also ended up buying it on Audible because I just love listening to Lara speak. Maybe that’s weird, but it was really enjoyable to listen to her read this book. It’s all about cultivating a meaningful life and what matters most, and it’s wrapped in some really fun gardening references. I particularly loved the story about all of the animals that come and go through their garden.
One thing I will say about Cultivate: this book is wrapped in a lot of writing about faith and God. I’m not going to lie – I’m not a religious person, but I don’t mind listening to people speak about their faith or God, so that didn’t bother me at all in this book. However, I know a lot of people read Lara’s first book and were turned off by it also being a lot about her faith. If you’re not into that, you might want to steer clear of this one.
A Simplified Life by Emily Ley
I literally just finished this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m all about simplifying and organizing, so this book was one after my OCD heart. It’s full of tips about simplifying ten different areas of your life to help create time and space to focus on what matters most to you. Even though I’ve done a lot of decluttering this year, this book absolutely makes me want to walk my house with a handful of trash bags and just get rid of everything.
If you’re interested in reading more about Emily’s story, definitely pick up Grace, Not Perfection instead of this book. (Though I’ll say GNP isn’t nearly as autobiographical as I would have hoped.) This book obviously has gorgeous pictures of her home and family and little tidbits about their life, but it’s more of a step-by-step guide to simplifying than a book about her life or how she got where she is now.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
Holy moly. This book is SO good. I was really intrigued by it the second I read the description, and when I finished Part 1, I was officially hooked. This psychological thriller throws you a serious curveball every time you think you have it all figured out, even down to the epilogue. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to see the response to it once it comes out.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves psychological thrillers like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.
In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
This book starts off grabbing your attention with the very first chapter with our main character, Nora, waking up in the hospital having no clue what has happened to her or what she’s done. From there the story unwinds going back and forth between what happened and her trying to remember more while in the hospital.
I absolutely loved all of this book. I love that it grips you right from the start, and there’s a lot of mystery around Nora’s past that I literally never put together until Ware finally spilled the beans later in the book. There was an amazing twist that I totally didn’t see coming, but I really like how it all played out.
This is a really great introduction to the thriller / mystery genre, and it’s also a fairly quick read since once you get into it, it’s hard to put down. I read 2/3 of it in about half a day, after all.
The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
This book definitely wasn’t what I was expecting – in a good way! Paris did such a great job with Cass’ character, that I couldn’t help but find myself annoyed with the character for the majority of the book. I kept thinking, “Come on!! Stop being so damn flighty!!” I even thought I had it all figured out just over halfway through the book, but the twist totally caught me by surprise.
This book is nowhere near as dark or suspenseful as Paris’ first book, but I definitely want to encourage readers to stick with it, even when you find yourself wanting to shake Cass out of frustration. It’s worth it!
What books have you read this year?
I’m all about adding new books to my to be read shelf, so I’d love to hear what you’ve read this year in the comments! If you have any specific recommendations based on what I’ve included here, let me know. Also, if you want to keep up with what I’m reading throughout the year, feel free to friend me on GoodReads!