my favorite books of 2016!

It’s been a few years since I wrote my roundup of favorite books of the year, and I decided it was time to revive the tradition. I read about seventy-five books this year and enjoyed almost all of them, but I limited my favorites to twelve (one per month). My list includes books I read in 2016, but they weren’t necessarily released in 2016. For one thing, I spend so much money on my reading addiction, I often wait for books to come on sale before I purchase them to keep expenses reasonable. Additionally, my TBR includes more than a hundred books and it sometimes takes me a year to read from the time I bought. Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, I present to you, my 2016 favorites list:

My Not So Perfect Life (chick lit) – Sophie Kinsella. This book won’t be published until 2017, but I was fortunate to get an ARC from Netgalley. I loved it. It was deeper than her other books, but still so funny and charming and everything you’d expect from Sophie Kinsella.

Tell me Three Things – (contemporary YA) Julie Buxbaum. I loved everything about this novel. In fact, I love everything Julie Buxbaum writes. This was another book I couldn’t put down, but didn’t want to finish.

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Bond Girl (chick lit) – Erin Duffy –Bond Girl is for 2016 what Party Girl was in 2015 – my favorite chick lit book of the year. From page one, I was drawn in and tearing through the pages like each one contained the secret of life.

Wake-up Call (chick lit) – Amy Avanzino – I am so happy to have discovered this new voice in women’s fiction. This book had all of the feels – funny, sentimental, sad, and romantic. Wake-Up Call struck the perfect balance between humor and depth and I highly recommend it

You (thriller/suspense) – Caroline Kepnes – Creepy, sexy, and Oh so good.

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The Wedding Sisters (women’s fiction) – Jamie Brenner – The content inside the book matched the beautiful cover. I loved it! As the youngest of three girls, the idea of sharing a wedding with them both intrigued and terrified me and so I knew I was in for a treat. The book had everything: humor, sex, romance, betrayal, politics and loss to name a few.

The Summer I Became a Nerd (contemporary YA) – Leah Rae Miller – I’m a huge fan of humorous, romantic (but clean) contemporary YA where the characters act like teenagers as opposed to adults with less birthdays. This book was a perfect example.

Millie’s Fling (chick lit) – Jill Mansell – I only just discovered Jill Mansell in 2016, and I’ve now read about ten of her books.  Her dialogue is consistently brilliant—always original, quirky, and never stilted. As a reader, I love this author’s books for pure entertainment. And as a writer, I learn something new with each one that helps me with my own craft.

The Devil Wear Scrubs (chick lit) – Freida McFadden – This was a free download on Amazon, and I loved it. A fast, witty read with endearing characters. What a pleasant surprise.

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Say What You Will (contemporary YA) – Cammie McGovern – I don’t think I’ve read a book in quite a while that made me laugh almost as much as it made me cry. I chuckled on the subway and I cried on the stair climber. I felt all the feels.

50 Acts of Kindness (chick lit) – Ellyn Oaksmith – it was a refreshing change to read a book in this genre with a “different” sort of main character – Kylie would never be described as “sweet” or “naive” – she was aggressive, strong-willed, and kind of mean at first. But she was real, and her character arc was fantastic and believable.

The Balance Project (chick lit) – Susie Orman Schnall – This novel reminded me a bit of The Devil’s Wear Prada, but in a good way. And there were enough differences that kept it original. I loved the whole premise of whether it is possible to have it all, and I absolutely stand by the conclusion reached in this book.

And there you have them! Have you read these? What were your favorite books this year?

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public service announcement: don’t call me Ma’am

I’m interrupting my regularly-scheduled editing session to write this blog post.

I’m attracted to men with good manners. I find it sexy. I always notice when a man, even a stranger, lets everyone on or off an elevator before exiting himself. I think it’s sweet when a date walks to the passenger side of the car to open the door for me. I like when a man opens a door for me in restaurants or simply directs me to walk through an entrance way before him. While I firmly believe in equal rights for women, I’m not a feminist to the point where I don’t believe in chivalry, and I make no apologies for appreciating being treated like the gentler sex sometimes. I also welcome good manners in general—people who say “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” or any variation of these expressions; individuals who wait their turn, who are mindful of other people around them. Good manners is near the top of my “must-have” list for potential boyfriends.

Yes, I like good manners. What I don’t like is being called “ma’am.”

I’ve had countless discussions with other women, both face-to-face and via social media and this is what I’ve discovered: We hate the term “ma’am” —HATE IT! It makes us feel old and unattractive. As if the media and Hollywood don’t already give us a complex about aging, women in their thirties, forties, and fifties don’t need it from regular people serving us coffee, handing us deliveries, and running up our items at the grocery store. I’ve always been told I look much younger than my actual age, but over the last few months, I’ve been called “ma’am” so many times I’m afraid I went to sleep one night and woke up old and matronly. I’ve been tempted to shout, “Ma’am?? How old do you think I am??” (Confession: I have done this once or twice and immediately felt stupid, but it’s because “ma’am” is a horrible word and one most women abhor.) I’m no longer an ingénue, but I’m a far cry from an “older” woman, yet after I’m called “ma’am,” I confess to questioning whether the person I see in the mirror is the same woman others see when they look at me. I’ve second guessed my own female vitality, and I know I’m not alone, all because some misguided person thought calling me “ma’am” was the polite thing to do. It’s not.

I appreciate that many people are raised to refer to women as “ma’am” as a term of respect or to be polite, but unless the person doing the greeting is a child who thinks any adult over the age of twenty is old, or you are speaking to a woman who is clearly over the age of seventy, it’s MUCH kinder to use another word, for example, “miss.”

Thank you for listening. Now back to my regularly-scheduled evening of edits.

Won’t you pre-order my books?

At long last, I’m thrilled to announce that my five chick lit/romantic comedy novels are available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. If you’ve read the books and enjoyed them, I’d love if you spread the news of their republication. I’d be even more excited if you were so inclined to read them again as they’ve all been modified from their original content to different extents. In particular, Just Friends With Benefits has been re-written in its entirety and A State of Jane has been significantly altered as well. The other three books are basically the same with minor changes and bonus scenes. If you hated Daneen in the original Blogger Girl and Novelista Girl books, wait until you see what she gets up to now!

Whether you download your books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo, you can get pre-order them using the links below for the very low price of $2.99.

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One last thing, if you’re a fan of my style of chick lit—sassy humor with a relatable yet flawed main character and a side of romance, I guarantee you’ll love the rest of the Henery Press chick lit collection. I highly recommend you check them out. Sign up for the Henery Press newsletter for all the latest in new releases and price drops.