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What’s On My Nightstand, Vol. 18 (+ the Top Five Books I Read in 2017!)

It’s the first On My Nightstand of the new year! These are some of my favorite posts to put together, and it seems like they’ve also developed a dedicated following over the last couple of years. I love reading and make time to do it nearly every day. There’s just something so great about having another world to escape to at the end of a long day!

I’m going to share my thoughts on the books I’ve been reading below, but before we dig in, I wanted to quickly share the top five books I read in 2017. These are the ones I would have stayed up all night to read—or actually did in a few instances—and recommended to anyone who would listen to me. (Longer descriptions of these books can be found in past OMN posts here.)

  • Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid—this isn’t even my favorite TJR novel, but it’s the one that I still think about, even months after having read it. It propelled me to think about how the little decisions we make can have a big impact on our lives and those around us. It also made me wonder about—you guessed it—what could have been in another life.
  • The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo—I actually discuss this book in today’s round up since I read it at the end of the year, but y’all, this was an amazing read about love and loss, and I was engrossed with the story from the first page to the last word.
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah—I read this while on vacation in Miami last MDW, and I actually procrastinated finishing it because I didn’t want it to end! He does such a good job explaining apartheid South Africa and the impacts it had on his life in an informative, yet captivating way. No matter who you are, I can’t recommend this memoir enough.
  • Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman—I read a lot of chick lit/beach reads, and this one stood out above all the others because the story was so unique and despite my best guesses, I was surprised by certain elements of the plot, which always makes for a great read.
  • One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid—I absolutely tore through this book while on vacation in Palm Beach last June. TJR has a way with words, and there are some beautiful passages in this book about love and heartbreak, and the story was absolutely captivating. This is the type of book you hope never gets made into a movie because no film could do it justice.

A couple of people also asked where I find new books to read, which I thought was a great question! A lot of people recommend books to me since they know I love to read. Otherwise, I find new reads in several ways. Once I find an author I like, I typically try to read all their books, and especially love when characters from one book make a cameo in another. I also check my friend Gentry’s blog for book recommendations since we tend to like the same books (and she always has great recs!) or skim through Krista’s monthly reading lists. And, I absolutely love Grace’s Book Club section of her website and since it’s interactive, it’s easy to filter by the type of book you want to read. If all else fails, I ask my coworkers or friends if they’ve read any good books lately. I keep a running list of the books I want to read on my Goodreads page so that it’s easy to pick a new book once I’ve finished one.

So, without further ado, let’s hop to today’s books, shall we?


The Light We Lost has been on my radar for a while, but I finally picked it up in December. I read it in less than 48 hours because it was that good. The story is told from the present-day perspective of Lucy, looking back on the highs and lows of her relationship with her first love, Gabe. They meet on the morning of September 11, 2001 while studying at Columbia, and decide that day that they need to make a difference in the world because life is too short. Lucy then tells the story of their relationship over the next 13 years—her marriage to another man, his journey to the Middle East as a photojournalist. You can tell throughout the book that Santopolo is working toward an emotional ending, but you aren’t exactly sure what that will be. It’s incredibly written, and I can’t wait to read whatever Santopolo writes next. As a note, this book does not romanticize September 11 in any way, so if that’s a concern of yours, fear not.

Would I recommend it? YES! Borrow it from the library or buy it now!


This is book four in Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Street Series, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this published as the series was originally a trilogy! I love all of Hilderbrand’s books, but I especially love the Quinn family she writes about in these books since they all have depth and interesting storylines. In Winter Solstice, we check back in with the Quinns a year after last Christmas. Youngest son Bart from home from Afghanistan and struggling from PTSD, eldest brother Patrick is out of jail for insider training and his wife is recovering from drug addiction, middle brother Kevin is becoming more entrepreneurial on Nantucket with his young family, and their sister Ava has found love in New York City. Yet their father’s illness brings them all back together for one last Christmas together on Nantucket, and, of course, drama ensues.

Would I recommend it? Yes! But read books one, two, and three first.


In 2017, I read two Kristan Higgins books—On Second Thought and If You Only Knew. I really enjoyed them, and knew that I wanted to read more books by Higgins. So right before Christmas, I dug into the Blue Heron book series she wrote. Five books in total, this series chronicles a small town in Finger Lakes, New York and is starring a lovable recurring cast of characters. Each one is a standalone story and while they can be read in any order, I definitely recommend reading them sequentially if you can.

The first book follows girl next door, Faith, who has to bury the heartbreak her ex-fiancé caused after he comes out as gay at their wedding. The second book is the story of Faith’s sister, Honor, who’s a bit of an old maid until a British professor comes to town. The third book follows Faith’s best friend Colleen’s turbulent relationship with her high school boyfriend, who has just moved back to town. The fourth book tells the story of Faith’s and Honor’s bother, Jack, and how he struggles with PTSD after saving teenagers from a tragic accident. (He, of course, finds love along the way.) And the final book in the series tells the story of when Colleen’s twin brother, Connor, falls in love with Jess, a girl who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.

Would I recommend them? Yes—especially if you like cheesy books and/or the Elin Hilderbrand Winter Series.

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Leave a Comment


  1. Thanks so much for the shout out friend!! Can’t wait to check out some new reads from your list- I’m finishing up my last new book right now 🙂

    Published 1.24.18
    • Katie wrote:

      Yay! I can’t wait to see what you’ve been reading lately :]

      Published 1.27.18
  2. Rachel wrote:

    I need to check some of these out! I read Maybe in Another Life a while ago and it really stood out to me too. It definitely makes you stop and think about a lot of choices you’ve made in life!

    Published 1.24.18
    • Katie wrote:

      Yes! It’s such a great read — and really made me think, which I can’t say for all the books I read.

      Published 1.27.18
  3. Heidi wrote:

    I love love loved The Light We Lost, such a good story and full of emotion.

    Published 1.26.18
    • Katie wrote:

      It was amazing! I want to read it again!

      Published 1.27.18
  4. Read all of Elin Hilderbrands novels. She’s my absolute fave!

    Published 4.5.18