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I am always recommending books to people. People I know and strangers. I love reading and I love recommending books even more. I get such a thrill when someone comes back to me and says, “This was the best book I’ve ever read. Thanks for the recommendation.” I also get a little excited when people tell me they didn’t like a book I recommended because it leads to a great discussion. As you know I am a member of a book club, so hello, books and talking about books are kind of my jam!
It can be so hard to find good books out in this wide world of all things all the time. I use a combination of techniques for finding good books. I listen to book recommending podcasts (like the What Should I Read Next podcast), I use Goodreads.com, talk to friends about books they’ve listened to and liked, blogs of people I trust, etc. So I hope you trust me enough to take a chance on these books I am always recommending.
Note: Harry Potter is always on my list! HUGE POTTERHEAD HERE, but I have omitted Harry from this list because you should have already read it by now!
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – If you are looking for a little fantasy, a little love story, and a little history then this is the book for you. Actually, then this is the series for you. A Discovery of Witches is a trilogy (1 Discovery of Witches, 2 Shadows of Night, and 3 The Book of Life).
Diana Bishop is a witch with no powers who is working on her historical research at Oxford. When she unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript at the Bodleian Library things get complicated. Diana doesn’t want anything to do with magic, so after she takes a small glance at the book, makes a few notes, she returns the book to the stacks. But, of course, her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring. Soon hordes of daemons, witches, and vampires descend upon the library because Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries and she is the only creature who can break the spell.
If that synopsis didn’t sell you on the book let me just say this… This series is like a grown-up, more sophisticated version of Twilight. And it definitely one of the books/series that I recommend most. Who doesn’t want a little magic?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Here is another book full of fantasy and a little love story mixed in. I am not going to lie to you, the imagery of this book is fantastic! But I know it can also be a little much for some people. I just want to warn you because some people I’ve recommended this book to have said they couldn’t get past it. To them I say, listen to it on audio! The audio version is fabulous because, hello, Jim Dale (narrator of all the Harry Potter audiobooks). Give it a try, the story is fantastic, and you will soon realize that the imagery is like another character.
There is a fantastic circus that arrives without warning. The circus is just there one day and gone another. Le Cirque des Reves (The Circus of Dreams) is like nothing you’ve experienced before. And behind the scenes of this amazingly unique circus full of it’s black and white tents is a fierce competition, a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco. They have been trained since childhood for this competition by their mercurial instructors and only one can be left standing. As luck would have it, Celia and Marco fall in love, a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much a brush hands. But the game must play out, and the fates of everyone (circus performers to patrons) hang in the balance.
Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – I am a fan of who-done-it books and books full of suspense, so this is a lighter version of some of the more gruesome books I like to read. This was also made into a movie, which was pretty good, starring Emily Blunt. Even if you’ve seen the movie, I still recommend the book.
Rachel is a very flawed character who catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows everything about this commute, where it stops, how long it waits at the signal, and the houses. In fact, she starts to feel like she knows the people in a specific house on the route. She’s given them names ‘Jess and Jason’ and she imagines what their life is like, and of course it’s perfect. But then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it is enough. Now everything has changed. Rachel has a chance to become part of the lives she has only watched, but now they will see, she is much more than just the girl on the train.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – I have loved every. single, one, of Gillian Flynn’s books, but this was my favorite, and surprisingly, I think the most messed up one. There are times when I am reading her books I think to myself “how do you come up with this messed up stuff?” And the answer is, I still don’t know but it is fantastic. (Again only if you are into who-done-it books full of suspense and this one is a little gruesome).
Camille Preaker, a reporter for a big newspaper, just got out of a short stay at a psych hospital and now she has been giving a troubling assignment. She has to return to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Now Camille has to return home to a neurotic, hypochondriac mother who she has hardly spoken to and her beautiful 13-year-old half sister that she barely knows. Back in her old bedroom in the family’s Victorian Mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims a little too much. Dogged with her own demons, Camille must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story and survive this homecoming.
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – This book is SO MESSED UP! I will not blame you if you don’t want to pick it up and read it. I mean if you had trouble with either of the books above, do not read this book!
Jack and Grace look like the perfect couple. Jack has the good looks and the wealth, and Grace has the charm and elegance. Grace is the kind of person you’d like to get to know better, but it’s difficult because Jack and Grace are never apart. They host amazing dinner parties in their perfect home all the time. Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch, and Grace wants to go, but she knows she never will. When her friends call, Grace never answers. She cooks such elaborate meals but is still so skinny. Then you notice there are bars on one of the bedroom windows. Is it the perfect marriage, or the perfect lie? You will just have to read to find out.
Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen – I am not typically a big fan of historical fiction, but I really loved this book. I have recommended it a lot and two of my friends recently read it and loved it. WW2 can be such a heavy topic, but what I liked about this book is Killeen wasn’t trying to take on ALL of WW2, he just took a very small sliver of it and made a very intriguing book.
After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, 15-year-old Sarah, blonde hair, blue eyes, and Jewish, finds herself on the run from the government who wants to see every Jew dead. But Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, who happens to be a spy. He needs Sarah to become one too and join him in his mission. She will need to infiltrate a Nazi boarding school, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities in Western Europe. Sarah believes she is ready for this because she has had years of training in the art of impersonation from her actress mother. But nothing prepares her for the cutthroat girls at school, and she finds herself in a battle for survival worse than anything she imagined.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Do you follow Everyday Reading’s blog or her Instagram page? She is OBSESSED with this book and is ALWAYS recommending it. A few months I finally decided to give it a try, and I am so glad I did because I really liked it. It is such a sweet, innocent, lighthearted book that it just gave me a great break from the heavy books I typically read. In fact, I even wrote a review about it.
But here is a quick recap. Lara Jean is a sweet, innocent girl who has never openly admitted she liked a boy before. Instead, she writes each boy a letter about how she felt, seals it, addresses it, but never sends it, putting it in a hat box and never thinking about it again. But one day, her secret letters are mailed out, causing all of her past crushes to confront her about the letters. The crushes range from her first kiss all the way to her older sister’s ex-boyfriend. As she learns to deal with the past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers a few other good things that may come from these letters being mailed out after all. (PS this is a movie on Netflix too.)
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan – This is another light (fluffy) book. And I don’t feel bad throwing in a few light/fluffy books, because sometimes you need some kind of escape. This book was very cute and I loved pretty much everything about it.
Nina Redmond works at a huge library pairing a reader with a perfect book. But now the library is downsizing because they are going digital. Nina decides to make a new life for herself doing what she loves. She moves to a small village far away, buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile. She drives around from neighborhood to neighborhood changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. She has a few adventures along the way helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, sharing picnics with charming train conductors who serenade her with poetry. But in the end, she discovers a place where she is able to make her own happy ending.
The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks – Beside The Notebook this is the only other Nicholas Sparks book I’ve really loved. But I am not going to lie to you, this book is a HUGE tear jerker. I remember sitting in my bed just crying. So I have given you fair warning.
Julie Barenson lost her husband 4 years ago. But not before he gave her a sweet Great Dane puppy named Singer and a promise that he would always be watching over her. Now she is 29 and emotionally ready to make a commitment to someone again. She lives in the small town of Swansboro, North Carolina and there are two guys she can pick. Richard, a handsome and sophisticated engineer or Mike, her husband’s best friend. But instead of picking between the two Julie is soon fighting for her life in a nightmare spawned from jealousy and deception that turns into a murderous desire.
Bared to You by Sylvia Day – Do you remember a few years ago when Fifty Shades of Grey was all the rage? People (mostly women) were obsessed with Fifty and they wanted more and more of it? I fell into the same trap of wanting to read more “sexy” books when I stumbled upon this book. This book is actually a series of 5 books called the Crossfire Series. And if you are looking for a “sexy” book without so much S&M then this is a book/series for you! I can’t give too much away, because it is that kind of book, but I assure you, it’s worth it.
Alright, there you have it, my top 10 most recommended books. I know they span a lot of genres but I am an eclectic reader. Are you going to try any of these books? If so which one? Have you already read some of these books? What did you think of them? What are some of your most recommended books? I am always looking for good recommendations.