If I go to my shelves, I can tell you which books were gifts and who they are from. I remember them because books are the best gifts you can give anyone, it's a known fact, pleasedon'tquestionmeonthis. [In fact, one of my Christmas fantasies is that someone (read: Daniel!) has given me several pretty books, and they are wrapped underneath the tree, and I read them in quiet moments when I'm stretched out on a chaise. Coming back to Earth now....]
Sometimes you want to give someone a book but you're not sure which one. That's why I've assembled a gift guide with some of my favorites* below. Have you read--and loved--any of these?
Someone who wants to read a classic, re-imagined: Jo Baker’s Longbourn. I loved seeing Pride and Prejudice re-written and focused on the servants in the Bennet household. This book is so luminous, so marvelous, that I think about it now with great fondness.
Someone who likes their romance extra spicy: Tessa Bailey’s Getaway Girl. This is one of my favorite romance novels ever. Tessa Bailey knows how to write a sexy, dirty story (does she ever!). This story is also so lovely it might make you cry, and the heroine makes dirty Christmas ornaments, so there’s a Christmas connection.
Someone who wants to read a mind-melting thriller: Cristin Terrill's All Our Yesterdays, reviewed here, a pulse-pounding YA sci-fi read. Or try Blake Crouch's Dark Matter, a book that gave me all the feelings, and that was, for all its brilliant plot, ultimately a love story.
Someone who wants to read an unconventional historical romance: Looking for a super original slice of historical romancelandia? Try Minerva Spencer’s Dangerous, reviewed here. Or try Elisa Braden, a historical romance author I discovered last year who writes beautiful love stories about people with lots of baggage.
Someone who wants a mystery with a healthy helping of sexual tension: Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White, the latest installment of Strike and Robin. Also recommended: one of my favorites, Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series, starting with A Curious Beginning. You all, I think that Veronica Speedwell is one of my favorite characters being written today. She's acerbic. Brilliant. Brilliantly independent, but loyal to a fault. Honest about who she is and what her needs are. She is fantastic.
Someone who wants a heart-grabbing, heart-stopping fantasy: Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses, reviewed here. This was the year of Sarah J. Maas for me, and it has been incredible. I could go on and on about how fantastic these books are. (Give me a drink, and I will).
Someone who wants an enemies-to-lovers romance with more heat than a volcano demonstration at a hibachi restaurant: Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. Reviewed here. This book is for anyone, I mean anyone, who might love a love story. I’ve never read enemies-to-lovers done so well. The tension that Thorne creates between the characters is insane, and the characters's eccentricities are endlessly amusing and endlessly lovable. This story is hilarious and full of heart (and also stratagems, mind games, and banter). Also recommended, Lucy Parker’s Act Like It, which is set in London’s theatre world and features the grumpiest of grumpy heroes and a fake romance plot. So good!
Someone who wants to read an incandescent book about the relationship between a child and a parent: Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, reviewed here, or Hannah Tinti’s The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, reviewed here. Both of these books had me in a state of wonderment. The haunting images each author evokes—the tenderness and the fury of each story—the fragile and yet strong young female protagonists. It’s all done so brilliantly that these books will stay with me for life, I think.
Someone who loves YA: You all, I’m kind of cheating with this broad heading, but I read so many great YA books this year, including Flight Season, a book that I consistently return to. This gem is about finding out who you are when the chips are down (is this a gambling expression?) and the grace we can extend ourselves and others. So beautiful. And Adrienne Young's Sky in the Deep, reviewed here, which left me feeling like I’d been sitting under the stars for hours. Also, Julie Buxbaum's Tell Me Three Things, reviewed here, a book that felt like I could have written it, if I were an amazing writer who could write from the grief-stricken soul, and Jenn Bennett's Alex, Approximately, reviewed here, a book about falling in love that I fell in love with.
*the nerdiest part of me wants you to know that I have a million favorite books, and this is not an exhaustive list.
Give me that HEA, please.
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