I love examining everyone’s top rated items for the year, whether it be books, movies, songs, or moments. There’s something about getting a fresh viewpoint that reminds me of how everyone sees things differently, and to consistently try new things.
I’ve been doing my own top ten (or five, or whatever) list for a few years, and as usual, here are the things that stood out to me. They are listed in no particular order of importance.
My criteria is simple: I read too many wonderful books to list all of them here. I am a voracious reader, and have been extremely blessed to be friends with so many talented, amazing authors, I read their books regularly and have many opportunities to blurb books. My cup runneth over. The ones I’ve listed below have surprised me in some way, or lingered for some reason, and happened to make the list.
Without further ado…here’s Jen’s TOP FAVE THINGS FOR 2016!
*and no—I will not be giving them all away to any lucky readers. I am not Oprah.*
- Dog Medicine: How my Dog Saved me from Myself by Julie Barton
I love a good memoir, and ever since Wild by Cheryl Strayed (which made my top list years ago!) I enjoy a well written, thoughtful memoir. I think it takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there with all your crap. It’s what good writers do. This one I bought on impulse at an airport store and fell in love. First, because I’m a huge dog/animal lover. Second, because I could relate to this hard journey the author went on, and how love is the greatest thing on earth – both human and canine.
2. The Luckiest Girl Alive – Jessica Knoll
I love a good thriller or mystery to cleanse my palette and was a bit late to jump onto this popular book but so happy I did. I really loved the set up of the story, the characterization, the writing, etc. Def a worthy read.
3. The Hating Game – Sally Thorne
This book is making ALL the top lists this year! It’s a romantic comedy with so much wit, humor, and character development, I couldn’t put it down. I LOVED it. This book inspired me as a romance author. Read it.
4. Mr. President – Katy Evans
I love me some Katy Evans. I happen to love the person she is, too. She was kind enough to send me an ARC of this book because she’s such a sweetheart, and with the political season unveiling, I found great solace and escape with this fab romance. Cannot wait till the second book comes out Commander in Chief. Umm, Katy, are you listening? Hint. Hint. Hint…
5. The Marriage Games – CD Reiss
Another author who hit my top list a few years back with her Songs of Submission series. And now she’s back! Again, another author who was kind enough to allow me to read her ARC and I’m thrilled to see so much love for this book. It’s intense and sexy and cool and everything. Buy it.
6. Rebecca Zanetti – The Dark Protectors series
OMG. Rebecca Zanetti is a literal genius. How did I not know her before this? I know I don’t read much paranormal – except for JR Ward, and Nalini Singh. But damn, I read her fabulous novella, Tricked, from 1001 Dark Nights (pick up any book from this imprint and you will thank me!), and that was it. I hopped over to Amazon and proceeded to read five books in a row of her Dark Protector series and ignored everything else. She’s a genius. Read her. The series has some of the most delicious alpha males and kick ass females ever!
7. End of Watch – Stephen King
I’m a HUGE King fan. Mr. Mercedes made my top list years ago, but I wasn’t as thrilled with Finders Keepers. But then End of Watch blew me away and I was left reeling with King’s genius yet again. One of the best characters he created – a worthy read.
8. It’s Not Okay by Andi Dorfman.
Okay, so I shall preface this as saying I’m a die hard fanatic Bachelor fan. She was one of my favorite leads, and this is her memoir about what happened in the show, but mainly about her break up with a man she truly loved. She is so raw and honest and though I’m happily married, I really could have used her book a decade ago because break ups take everything out of you. If you’re going through a time of change and growth with relationships, pick this one up.
- Not Today – Imagine Dragons
From the movie, Me Before You, this song has been played so many time on repeat it’s almost embarrassing. Almost.
2. Sons of Anarchy soundtracks – Hey, Hey and all the others.
Again, I’m always late to the party. Hubby and I gorged on all seasons of Sons of Anarchy and my life changed. I couldn’t get the show out of my mind, so I downloaded all the songs and obsessively listened to them. Unique to each of the shows, the music is truly gorgeous.
3. Cake by the Ocean – DNCE and Got That Feeling – Justin Timberlake
I danced all summer with these two songs, through every pool party, blasted every night, and still my boys danced with me when I belted out these tunes. They have great memories for me.
- Finding Dory and Zootopia –
A good children’s movie is a work of art. These were my favorites of the year. Again, I won’t forget the memories of watching and enjoying them with my kids. And I laughed a bit too much because I think I embarrassed my older one.
Oh, well. He’ll have to get used to it.
2. Don’t Breathe
Best. Horror. Film. Of. The. Year.
I screamed many times. I couldn’t get it out of my head. See it.
Can’t really think of any others that blew me away. I did like The Light Between the Oceans because I couldn’t get the movie out of my mind, and Fassbender is in it. Yeah, this should be on the list too!
- The Walking Dead
Yeah, this is on the list because of Negan. If you don’t know Negan, watch the Walking Dead. All the seasons were stellar. The real horror is not the zombies. It’s the people.
2. Sons of Anarchy
Like I said above, stellar series, with some amazing acting and constant surprises. Am I going to have to write a romance series featuring bikers now? Hmm…I may have to…
3. The Crown
Who doesn’t love the mystery behind the King and Queen of England? This is Queen Elizabeth’s story, brilliantly acted and so damn interesting, I don’t even realize I’m getting a history lesson.
4. Below Deck and VanderPump Rules:
Bravo. Best reality television. Drama, sex, fighting, drama, heaven. I feel so damn healthy after I watch it. I want so badly to go on a yacht or eat at Sur.
5. OJ Simpson series – both of them: The television series was phenomenal and well acted and completely addicting.
6. This is Us:
Everyone’s watching this show. It surprised me. We are so lacking a good family show like Parenthood. Now we have one again.
- Jeni’s Ice Cream:
I had no idea this ice cream raised the bar for all other ice cream. The flavors are unique. The ice cream is stellar—rich and creamy. The ingredients are organic and fresh. Best of all? They deliver.
Let me repeat.
THEY DELIVER. For $13 bucks flat rate – order as many of these pint sized treats as you want and get them shipped right to your door.
It has changed my life.
2. Sengeance Lipsense:
Thank you Harper Sloan.
You got me completely addicted to the best lipstick I’ve ever wore. Endless colors that mix and match, it NEVER comes off ALL day and keeps your lips healthy with the glosses. You shall thank me once you check it out. Truly. Well, kind of. It’s a good addiction like reading.
3. Rodan & Fields:
My cousin happens to sell this product (skin care) from the makers of Proactive and it has so many cool products for people like me: old people who have both wrinkles and acne. Message me if anyone’s interested in learning more and I’ll hook you up with her. They have the coolest lip serum to plump your lips, lash stuff to grow your lashes, and gadgets that really, really work.
That’s it my lovelies.
I look forward to reading all of your lists, and seeing each and every one of you in the New Year.
Blessings, love, and peace to all of you.