Books I’m Obsessed With (or: what books to give as presents this year)

But before we get to 2014 (which will be the rest of this month), here are the best books I read this year.  I broke them down by genre so that you can get them for whomever you know who likes that genre.

Note: a lot of what I read this year was general fiction or contemporary YA.  As a direct result, there are much more suggestions in those categories.  :)

Mystery/Suspense

1)  The Burning Air by Erin Kelly.  This book starts a little slow but will grab you and not let go.

2)  Stolen by Daniel Palmer.   Go ahead.  Stop reading before you’re done.  I DARE YOU.

3)  The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian.  I should have you at “Chris Bohjalian,” right?

4)  Brilliance by Marcus Sakey.  The first in a series and is just as perfect as you’d expect a Marcus Sakey book to be.

5)  The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison.  This reminded me a lot of Gone Girl.

6)  The Never List by Koethi Zan.  This will have you jumping at every noise.

7)  Night Film by Marisha Pessl.  Possibly my favorite book from BEA and cemented her must-buy status for me.

8)  Critical Mass by Sara Paretsky.  One of my favorite authors and one of my favorite series.

9)  Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet.  This book is completely unsettling in the best way.

10)  The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton.  SO FUN and so completely creepy.

General Fiction:

1)  The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers.  This book snuck up on me, and is just an absolute delight.

2)  Z by Therese Anne Fowler.  This made me love Zelda Fitzgerald.

3)  Double Feature by Owen King.  Perfect for movie buffs.

4)  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  Historical fiction done so well.

5)  Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.  LOVED THIS.

6)  Fly Away by Kristin Hannah.  This is the sequel to Firefly Lane and is amazing.

7)  Finding Colin Firth by Mia March.  Amazing and fun and will make you want to watch all of Colin Firth’s movies (what a hardship).

8)  Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld.  Possibly even better than her last book (American Wife) and that’s saying something.

9)  The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood.  Ann Hood is a freaking genius.  That’s all.

10)  Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin. Suggested by a friend of mine—this book is AMAZING.

11)  In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl.  Perfect for fans of historical fiction.

12)  The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch.  One of my absolute favorites of the year.

13)  The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.  Transcends genre.

14)  Joyland by Stephen King.  This seems at first to be a suspense novel.  Stick with it.

NOTE: If you have someone who has a strong stomach and loves good books that will get them talking, I recommend Tampa by Alissa Nutting.  But it is not for everybody.  AT ALL.

Horror:

1) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.  PERFECT Christmas read. (Oh, wait.)

2)  Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.  Ask first because they may have this.  If they do, NOS4A2 is a great alternate.

Nonfiction:

1)  Does Jesus Love Me? by Jeff Chu.  Gay man tries to find Christians who are Christ-like.

2)  Stitches by Anne Lamott.  (No description necessary.)

3)  Hollywood in Kodachrome.  This is a coffee table book but is perfect for anyone you know who loves classic movies.

New Adult/Romance:

1) Losing It (and its companion novel, Faking It) by Cora Carmack.  These books are so fun and so sweet.

2)  All the Lauren Blakely books.  (If you’re buying in e-books, they’re also very affordable.)

3)  All the Colleen Hoover books, too.  I love her books but they are dark.

YA (General):

1)  Falling into You by Lisa Schroeder.  Beautiful story, as all of hers are.

2)  Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.  I forced everyone I know to read this book this year.

3)  If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch.  Amazing and harrowing; this is one of those books that changes you.

4)  If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin.  Wrenching, compelling, lovely.

5)  Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown.  Another one of her ripped-from-the-headlines books.  Just as great as I’ve come to expect from her.

6)  When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney.  This book destroyed me.  It may be my favorite of hers.

7)  Golden by Jessi Kirby.  This book is perfect.  If you like contemporary YA, you need to read it.

8)  Just One Day and its sequel Just One Year by Gayle Forman.  If you haven’t read Gayle Forman yet, these are great books to start with.

9)  Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller.  This book will break your heart.

10)  Broken by CJ Lyons.  One of the most fun and unexpected books of my year.

11)  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  This would be a great present with Eleanor & Park.

12)  Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick.  Another must-read by Matthew Quick.

YA (Paranormal):

1)  The Originals by Cat Patrick (technically paranormal, I guess?).  Cat Patrick is a must-buy author.  This book will show you why.

2)  Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney.  Paris! Paintings that come alive! Great love story!

3)  Second Verse by Jennifer Walkup.  Creepy little ghost story.

YA (Dystopian):

1)  The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau.  The sequel is out in January and the third/final book is out in June.  So far, it’s the best successor to the Hunger Games I’ve seen (although it’s possible that Allegient soured me on the Divergent trilogy.  Maybe more than possible.)

Middlegrade:

1)  Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut.  Book two is out in February.  I loved this book (and her series about Griffin).

2)  This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh.  Adorable story.

3)  Jessica Darling’s IT LIST #1 by Megan McCafferty.  Excellent introduction to Jessica Darling.  Get ‘em while they’re young.

So what books are you giving as presents this year?

4 thoughts on “Books I’m Obsessed With (or: what books to give as presents this year)

  1. Eleanor and Park, and If You Find Me would be my choices. I’m giving my first girlfriend (with whom I’ve reconnected on FB) the River Phoenix death book/bio (best bio by far this year), and the Robert Plant bio. I’m doing this because the publisher loved my review and sent me hard copies of both books. I don’t need them, because I wouldn’t reread them, so I’ll pretend that I bought her new First Edition hardcovers of these books, because I’m an awesome friend. ;-) I also loved the books from both Kings. I’m reading a copy of a book the author e-mailed me. I can’t remember the title, now, but I’m definitely giving it to my dad. He’ll love it. Great lists. Merry Christmas!

    1. Best guy friend is getting Dr. Sleep and Double Feature (he doesn’t even know how much he’ll love Double Feature!). Grandparents are getting Hollywood in Kodachrome (I think they’ll love it. I hope. They’re hard to buy for.)

      I haven’t made definite decisions for my other reader friends, but they’ll get some of these. :)

      1. Now that I think about it, there’s a non-fiction book I’ll also get my dad, about the original Sunshine Skyway bridge being hit by a tanker and knocking out 180 feet at the top, leading to the death of 38 or so people (A whole Greyhound bus plummeted the 180 feet into Tampa Bay. Yikes. (I’d hate to die on a bus.)). I wish I had paper copies, but the Skyway book was an ARC, so it’d be unethical. Dammit.

  2. I loved your description of Stolen by Daniel Palmer and The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch. Palmer’s book looks totally awesome. I know one of my friends who will love it. Thanks for sharing your favourites list.

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