The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Too soon? As Halloween presses ever closer, the holidays are surely in the back of your mind. They’re in the back of mine, reminding me that at some point I’m going to have to get my shit together and figure out gifts. Of course, I thought books, and that led me here. What are some good books to give as a gift? I’m glad you asked! Because I have opinions! Obviously.
1) For the Petrol head in your life: And On That Bombshell by Richard Porter.
My husband is getting this book. It’s cool you guys, he doesn’t look here, this is a safe place. Richard Porter was a script editor on BBC’s Top Gear for 13 years and the book is supposed to be full of behind the scenes stories. Full disclosure: I haven’t read it yet, it’s new, but promises to excite any car lover.
2) For the Foodie: How to Bake the Perfect Apple Pie by Gina Henning.
This book is part of a scrumptious series, and if you want to start at the beginning, you should. This book will make you want apple pie and a delicious glass of wine. Like, seriously, the cravings. It’s short and sweet, romantic but not graphic and can be read in a weekend if you’re free to veg out.
3) For the paranormal lover: Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
This book was so good. It’s long but it really draws you in. You might want to start earlier in the series but I do think this book could stand alone. And I love Greek mythology.
4) For the Rocker: Color Me Crazy by Carol Pavliska
This book is about Cleo, a rock star fan/groupie who happens to be a loveable disaster and Julian, a guitar playing God. This book is very sexy and very funny but also touches on some serious issues. Julian has synesthesia – he sees sound in colors. Its a real condition, you can look it up. I’ll wait… See? Told you so. I can’t imagine a more perfect or overwhelming job for him than a musician.
6) For Young Readers: Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
Full disclosure: I haven’t read this yet but I did buy it because it sounds so good. A nerdy middle school kid who dreams of working for the CIA. He gets recruited to a science school that is really a junior CIA academy! How will it turn out for him? We’ll have to read to find out. Bonus: There are other books in this series!
Also in this category: The Percy Jackson books, anything by Roald Dahl, and The Chronicles of Narnia (a personal fave of mine.)
7) For Babies: Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
My baby couldn’t get enough of this board book. Granted, I do the animal sounds and sing the “La La La” part but the book has a nice cadence to it. It’s short, easily memorized, and fun. Babies love repetition and this book is perfect. We’re on our second copy of this book actually.
Have a child a little older who doesn’t mind sitting for a slightly longer book? Try The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.
Another HUGE hit on our house. Fun to read, vivid pictures, and a charming story about a mouse and a Gruffalo. I know one year olds and four year olds who love this book, so don’t worry if the kid doesn’t fall under the “infant” category. It’s available as a board book, hardback, paperback and audio!
8) For the romantic: Birthright by Nora Roberts
I love that the main character is an archaeologist. One of those things I think I might have done in another life. Callie is questioning her past and her ex-husband shows up on the dig site complicating matters. It’s so good.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This book is YA, very emotional (read: ugly cry) but so good. Romantic, gripping, emotional, brave, emotional, did I mention emotional? It’s about two teenagers who happen to have cancer, but don’t let that deter you. Get the tissues and read it. Okay? Okay.
9) For the Suspense Lover: Envy by Sandra Brown
So, I love this book, and I recommend it to everyone all the time. I love books, I love reading and writing, so yeah, it’s about a writer and a publisher. MAYBE that’s part of it. Maybe. But it’s woven so masterfully. Two stories collide, the past and the present, with flashbacks here and there that make you question everything going on in the present. It’s so good.
Darker Than Midnight by Maggie Shayne
This will keep you turning pages, I promise. I’ve read it a few times and will surely read it a few more. A prisoner out to prove his innocence, a police officer in a tight spot, a conspiracy… enjoy.
10) For the Mom/Sister/Bff in your life: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The story of Dinah, as in biblical – daughter of Jacob, Dinah. It celebrates the strength and resilience of women in a time when women were looked at as anything but. It’s very good.
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
This was recommended to me and I drug my feet about it because I’m a prat. It’s amazing. I devoured it. I also loved the movie, by the way. It’s lush and rich, it’s gritty and wonderful. I loved it.
Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
Perfect for the new parents in your life who desperately need a laugh to make them forget about all the sleep they’re not getting.
11) For the Forensic or Procedural Fan: A Necessary Evil by Alex Kava
Graphic in the way forensics can be but so good. A who done it mystery with an ending that left me surprised and gobsmacked. I actually need another copy of this book. I loaned mine to a friend and it’s been so long since I’ve read it. But I really liked it. I was taking a forensics class at the time when I first read it and I was super into the forensics, Locard’s Exchange Principle and all that. But you don’t have to be as nerdy as me to enjoy.
12) For the Conspiracy Theorist: The Millenium Series by Stieg Larsson.
I’d definitely start at the beginning and this book gets a big TRIGGER WARNING. There is pretty graphic rape and revenge. The first book is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The books are long but well worth the read. The later books in the series are my favorite.
13) For the Hipster: The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig
This book follows Miriam Black, who can see how someone will die when she touches them. Wendig writes swear words with a connoisseur’s eye, weaving profanity together so artfully you can’t help but smile. It’s like wiping your ass with silk. The Cormorant is a gritty, dark, adventure with a crazy badass main character. It’s action packed and will keep you turning pages.
14) For the Game of Thrones fan: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.
This is a series with all the elements of GoT: a paranormal problem, a corrupt King, power struggles, lies. It also has a badass female assassin as the main character. There isn’t strong language (that I can remember) or any graphic sex, though there is violence (I did mention the word assassin, right?) and a bit of a love story, so I could see this book being perfect for the twenty somethings or teens looking to dive into a series from the beginning. Really well developed worlds, too. As you get further in the series, it’s very well done. I love a good world builder.
15) For the Thrill Seeker: Bag of Bones by Stephen King
I read this when I was home alone, which in hindsight was a poor choice, and scared the crap out of myself. Bonus points for being a book about a writer!
The Good Guy by Dean Koontz
Real talk: My favorite part of this book is the set up, the beginning. But still, I always throw it out there. It’s good.
16) For the Asshole: I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
If you know a douchebag who LOVES being a douchebag, this is the book for them. Be sure and check that they don’t already own it. It’s equal parts funny and cringey.
Books that I’d like to receive for Christmas:
1) Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon
2) Treasure Hunters Series by James Patterson (Always keeping an eye out for kiddo.)
3) The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz: This is the next book in the Millenium Series.
4) Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I’d love to hear if you have any recommendations on books for the holidays. After all I haven’t started shopping yet. Got something perfect for the techie, the naughty bff, or the wine lover? Bring ’em on! Leave book recs in the comments below!