From a young age, I loved to read. It was a type of escape, something that both inspired and excited me. For a short time, I even thought I wanted to be an author – although eventually I realized that anything I wrote was mostly for fun and not something I would want to pursue professionally.

At some point between high school and college, however, I lost my love of reading. Maybe it was because I was being “forced” to read in school, or because I was discovering another great passage-of-time, Netflix – but in any case, I stopped reading for fun.

Since graduation, I have rekindled (no pun intended) my love of reading. In all honesty, it is largely due to my 30-40 minute commute to and from work. Reading is, again, my escape; my escape from the crowded, humid, (often) smelly subway car that I willingly pack myself onto every morning and every evening.

Across the past year, I had the pleasure of reading some really incredible novels on my commute that I wanted to share with you. I generally go for a specific type of book; fiction, with a female protagonist who gets involved in some incredibly dramatic, unrealistic, and often mysterious conflict. So, if you enjoy a similar genre, these books are absolutely for you!

Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn, 2014

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins, 2015

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Big Little Lies

Liane Moriarty, 2015

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal… A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what? Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads… Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

The Vanishing Year

Kate Moretti, 2016

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

Pretty Girls

Karin Slaughter, 2016

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed. Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago… and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

My Husband’s Wife

Jane Corry, 2017

When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start and leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe, a convicted murderer to whom Lily is strangely drawn—and for whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything. But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets are powerful things. That they can get her whatever she wants. When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep twelve years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way.

Behind Closed Doors

B.A. Paris, 2017

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable. Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows. Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.

The Couple Next Door

Shari Lapena, 2017

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Thought I Knew You

Kate Moretti, 2014

Claire Barnes is shattered when her husband, Greg, goes on a business trip and never returns. Unwilling to just wait for the police to find him, Claire conducts her own investigation. Her best friend Drew helps her look for answers, but all she finds are troubling questions. With every clue, she discovers that Greg may not be the man she thought she married. While battling her growing feelings for Drew and raising her two young children, Claire must learn to live with the knowledge that the truth behind Greg’s disappearance may never be revealed.

What Alice Forgot

Liane Moriarty, 2012

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over—she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…

I am always open to suggestions, too! I would love to know if there are any books you’ve read recently that you just couldn’t put down – share your favorite reads with me!