Top Ten of 2016 – The Best Books You Aren’t Reading

Posted December 28, 2016 in Event / 22 Comments

Welcome to the last week of 2016!  Around this time every year I enjoy looking back at my year in reading.  For the last 5 years, I’ve joined Rachel from Fiktsun and her various cohosts for their Top Ten event.  This year Rachel is joined by with the very awesome Jaime of Two Chicks on Books and Nancy & Christy of Tales of a Ravenous Reader, and Bridget of Dark Faerie Tales.



Today’s Top Ten of 2016 list was our choice.  So I looked through the books I read and that came out this year for those that had very little love, or in other words, had very few ratings and reviews on Goodreads.  Bear in mind, these are only from the list of books I’ve read.  I had to make an “executive decision” on one of the titles on this list because while it wasn’t rated as highly as some of the others, but I loved the story and would love to see more readers appreciate the story.

It’s always a surprise to me when I look at some great books and see how few ratings they have.  For example, Amanda Bouchet’s A Promise of Fire almost made this list with only 4,221 ratings on Goodreads BUT it only just came out last August 2016 so it may be too new compared to some other books.  In comparison, Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us, which also came out in August of 2016, has 50,865 ratings.   But you’re comparing a debut author vs. a hugely popular author with a fanatic fan base.  Another top read of mine, Elle Kennedy’s The Score has 28,446 ratings and it came out in January 2016 – an entire year to amass ratings.  I geek all over stats…


In ascending order by amount of ratings……



The Rangers of the 1st/75th fight hard, train hard and play hard. They are physically strong and mentally tough, disciplined and courageous. But all their military training hasn’t prepared them for falling in love.

Former Ranger Medic Lucky James feels right at home working long night shifts in the ER, but less so during the day, when his college classes are filled with flirtatious co-eds. When his 19-year-old chem lab partner shows up at his work with dinner for “her Lucky,” he quickly enlists the help of Rachel Dellinger, a nurse and fellow third shift “vampire”.

Rachel is a people pleaser at heart, but she’s finally decided enough is enough when it comes to her on-again, off-again boyfriend. When Lucky begs Rachel to help him ward off the advances of his teenager pursuer, she blackmails him into helping move her things out of the apartment she shared with her ex into a place all her own.

From there a friendship is born between two people just trying to make it through the night. Neither are living in the past or planning for the future. Until one day changes everything.

46 Goodreads Ratings, 4.07 average, My review 4 stars




When a pediatric oncology nurse receives a devastating prognosis—she has just weeks left to live—she finds unexpected comfort from a patient. Her young friend shares a life- and death-changing secret: it is possible to live the same day over and over again until she’s experienced a truly full life. Thus begins a heartbreaking and joyful journey of love, friendship, and self-discovery, as the brave nurse only truly learns how to live in the face of death. Kristin Harmel, whose work has been called “immersive and evocative” (Publishers Weekly), “absorbing…well-paced and warmhearted” (Kirkus Reviews), and “absolutely enthralling” (Fresh Fiction), infuses her poignant, uplifting novella with a dash of magic and a hefty dose of heart.

115 Goodreads Ratings, 3.9 average, My review 5 stars





One night in a moment of sheer madness I confessed my secrets to him. All my life I’ve been pretending. Pretending to be the woman I thought I should be instead of the woman I really am. I’ve been faking it and I am good. No one has ever guessed. Except him. He just looked at me and knew.

Chad Fellows is not the man I want, but he’s fast becoming the man I need.

One night in a moment of sheer madness I held her in my arms and let her cry. I did the right thing, letting her walk away, no matter how much she calls to the part of me that wants to rescue her. We are nothing alike, and she’s a mess of complications in a life I’m trying to keep simple. But then I touched her and made her tremble and now I can’t turn away.

Ruby Stiles is not the woman I want, but she’s fast becoming the woman I need.

150 Goodreads Ratings, 4.31 average, My review 4 stars




Bruised and bloodied on Boston’s mean streets, Chris O’Brien is reeling from the loss of his childhood best friend. But after barely escaping a hit placed on his head, Chris is desperate to live. A safe haven comes to mind – the home of the perfect girl from his childhood, Molly Lachlan. Before he has fully considered what it would mean to involve her in his mess, he finds himself on her doorstep.

When Molly agrees to let Chris inside her home, she realizes she’s also letting him into her life. Danger and desperation are coming off him like steam, and yet she can’t bring herself to turn him away. His bad boy charm always had a hold on her, but now there’s a soulfulness and sorrow in him that she’s never seen before. And despite the heart-stopping risk of helping him, she hopes against all reason that he’ll stay…

172 Goodreads Ratings, 4.03 average, My review 4 stars





How can you imagine forever with someone who’s leaving everything behind?

Callahan, a former army sniper, wants to make an escape from his past and everything he experienced at war, but most of all, just not feel. Feeling leads to pain and he’s suffered enough. When he inherits a house on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island, he packs his bags, lured by the peace and seclusion he thinks it will bring. But, Callahan never counted on meeting anyone like Trinity . . .

Trinity has always been the cute, and funny one, who most guys overlook in pursuit of her “hot” friends. She became used to being everyone’s pal, until the day the young man she was attracted to, was drawn to her in return. He became her first great love, and first crushing heartbreak when she found him in bed with one of her closest friends.

To move forward, and to carry out her commitment to helping those in need, Trinity enlists in the Peace Corps, but not before returning to Kiawah for one last memorable summer. She just never imagined it would be so unforgettable.

Callahan doesn’t want to get close to anyone—let alone Trinity. He finds her perkiness insufferable and her attempts to entice a smile distracting. After all, he’s in Kiawah to leave all feelings behind. But when it comes to Trinity, who feels everything, it’s hard not to feel something.

Neither expected to fall in love. And no one could have predicted how inseverable they’d become.

258 Goodreads Ratings, 4.18 average, My review 5 stars




Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

407 Goodreads Ratings, 4.05 average, My review 5 stars




At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he’s sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

784 Goodreads Ratings, 3.84 Average, My Review 5 stars




Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

838 Goodreads Ratings, 4.17 Average, My Review 5 stars





Everyone makes mistakes, especially in college. But when you’re the daughter of the President of the United States, any little slip up is a huge embarrassment. Maddie McGuire’s latest error in judgment lands her in police custody, giving the press a field day. Agreeing to do community service as penance and to restore her tattered reputation, Maddie never dreams incredibly good looking but extremely annoying vice president’s son, Jake Simmon, will be along for the ride.

Recently returning from Afghanistan with a life-altering injury, Jake is wrestling with his own demons. He doesn’t have the time or patience to deal with the likes of Maddie. They’re like oil and water and every time they’re together, it’s combustible. But there’s a thin line between love and hate, and it’s not long before their fiery arguments give way to infinitely sexier encounters.

When Jake receives devastating news about the last remaining member of his unit, the darkness he’s resisted for so long begins to overwhelm him. Scared to let anyone close, he pushes Maddie away. But she isn’t about to give up on Jake that easily. Maddie’s fallen for him, and she’ll do anything to keep him from the edge as they both discover that love is a battlefield and there are some fights you just can’t lose.

972 Goodreads Ratings, 3.86 Average, My Review 4.5 stars




There’s a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.

1,496 Goodreads Ratings, 4.32 Average, My Review 4.5 stars



Do you have a “little book that could” from 2016? 🙂







About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.



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22 responses to “Top Ten of 2016 – The Best Books You Aren’t Reading

    • I KNOW!! It almost made my Top Ten but I had so many Top Tens that I couldn’t fit them all so some of them ended up over here of all places!!

    • I saw someone else do this so it wasn’t MY idea but go into your Goodreads. Click on “My Books”. What I did to look at the books I read in 2016, I clicked on my “stats”, At the very top right there’s a button “View Books From 2016”. Once there, click the “settings” button at the top and you’ll see options at the top for adding columns. Add the column for “num ratings”. Then when you click on that column heading above your list, it will sort ascending or descending (click once or twice, you’ll get it!!). Got it?? 🙂

    • I KNOW!!! I wish I could read everything out there. You don’t even want to see all the ARCs from Edelweiss I’ve NOT read… it’s really bad 🙁

    • You should read This Adventure Ends – I totally recommend it for you! How to Save a Life might be a bit too, dare I say… too chick lit for you??? 😀

  1. oh I definitely agree with this. Its crazy how many books I just LOVE have some pretty low ratings. i loved Promise of Fire as well, and think that is a book everyone needs to pick up. My choice would be Rosanne Bittner’s book. She is one of the best authors I have ever read, and has pretty low amount of ratings. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. And Happy New Year.
    Lover Of Romance recently posted…Book Review-A Bad Boy For Christmas by Jessica Lemmon

  2. I love this Top 10. So unique. If I decide to do a group of Top 10 lists next year, I might steal this idea. If I was going to this list, I would include: The Gifted Dead by Jenna Black (UF, dark and very complex with a lot of characters. So well written), The Order by A.C. Donaubauer (Fantasy, I think the length scares people off at 913 pages). I’ll have to check out some of yours. I’m looking at Titans, because you know me, fantasy, UF and PNR are my thing.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Review: Make Her Howl by Flora Dare (@mlsimmons, @FloraDare, @celiakyle)

  3. What a good list. I’ve read a few on your list, 738 Days, Inseverable, and Bedmates. I gave them all 4 0r 5 stars. too. I think, I’d add…
    Lessons in Gravity by Jessica Peterson – 4.7 Avg. – 93 Ratings, 38 Reviews, my rating: 4
    The Collectors’ Society by Heather Lyons – 4.23 Avg. – 1,400 Ratings, 347 Reviews, my rating: 5
    Pull Me Close by Sidney Halston – 4.13 Avg – 768 Ratings – 272 Reviews, my rating: 4
    Lauren H. recently posted…Obsessive Bookish Nerd News – Lauren’s Favorite Reads of 2016