Books I'd Recommend to Friends

I'm a voracious reader. Always have been. I love our local public library. And honestly, it doesn't have to be my current local library, I just love all local libraries! I have lived in a handful of different places in my life and I can distinctly remember every single library in every single place I've lived. Being surrounded by books makes me happy. If I hear a conversation about books, I have the hardest time not diving in. I take notes when people tell me what they are reading and I jump in and share my favorites too. This end of the year book recap has become a reader favorite here at and I look forward to sharing my favorites with you. I'm sharing all the books I read this year, and breaking them down into categories. I even made a running list of books the were recommended to me, but that I just thought were meh, so you can use your own discretion on those! So get out that list and take some'll find some good ones to read in the coming year. I promise!


Books I'd Recommend to Friends


I keep a running list of all of my favorite books on my Amazon storefront. The total books in the shop is up to more than 150! Remember, I love my local library. I don't actually purchase any of the books, I just keep a list rolling so you can find a book to read in whatever manner you like to read. If you want to buy a book, buy a book {and might I suggest you visit a small local bookstore to do so}, if you want to request the book from the library {my favorite method}, do that. If you haven't downloaded the Libby app, do that. It's a great way to get unlimited free audiobooks from your local library {another favorite method!}.

One of the things I hear from people is that they don't know how to find more time to read. If that's you, check out this post on 7 Ways to Find More Time to Read.

Several years ago, I started making this list and breaking it down into a few different categories. I'm going to do that again. 

First up are books I'd recommend for vacation. These are your typical easy beach reads. The ones that are easy to get into and don't require a lot of emotional or mental investment. These are great books to bring along if you have a few hours to read sitting on a beach or if you are curled up cozy in front of the fireplace.

Next up, I'm sharing books I think are good ones to listen to on audiobook. I will almost always recommend listening to a biography especially if the author is reading it. I'm finding more and more audiobooks that have casts of characters and use voices and music. These are far more entertaining to listen to and provide a different experience than a physical book. 

My third category are book club books. I know a lot of readers who are part of local book clubs, and sometimes coming up with book suggestions can be difficult. Book club books offer good group discussion. They are often books that make you think and share a perspective you might not have otherwise thought of or been exposed to.

And finally, I'm sharing books that were just meh. I usually read books on the recommendation of others, and several of these books come highly rated, just not by me. That doesn't mean that you won't like them, it just means that I didn't like them.

I don't write out book descriptions mostly because you can click the links I'm providing and go to the title, the description there is often better than anything I could put together.  I know I said I don't often buy books, but the information you can find on an Amazon listing can be very helpful. If you scroll down past the description, you can usually find books that are frequently bought together. If I like the ones listed, it's usually an indicator that I will likely enjoy the book as well. It also brings up similar titles I can use to create a list of future books I'd like to read as well.

Don't miss this post: Surprising Library Benefits that Will Save You Money!

If you want to skip the list and scroll to the end, I'm adding my top book recommendations from the year. I always like to see what books made it on my favorites list for the year. This is the list you'll want to start with if you are placing books on hold from the library.

Happy reading!


Books I'd Recommend for Vacation

These are the books that will let you escape. They will catch you from the beginning and have you feeling satisfied when they end.

Big Swiss
I Have Some Questions for You
The Hotel Nantucket
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Happy Place
The Spellman Files
This Time Tomorrow
The Measure
Killers of a Certain Age
Safe Haven
Mad Honey
Book Lovers
Bad Mormon
Truly Madly Guilty


Books I'd Recommend on Audiobook

Some books are just better on Audiobook. These are the ones I'd recommend downloading and listening to, rather than reading.

The Anthropocene Reviewed
Running with Sherman
Yours Truly {also would be a good beach read}
The House in the Cerulean Sea
At Home in Mitford {also a good beach read}
Tell me Everything {Minka Kelly}
Something Wild
The Light We Carry {Michelle Obama}
Stories I Only Tell my Friends {Rob Lowe}
Under an Outlaw Moon
Unprotected {Billy Porter}
I'm Glad My Mom Died {Jenette McCurdy}
Spare {Prince Harry}
Navigating Early
Hello Molly {Molly Shannon}
All My Knotted Up Life {Beth Moore}
The Office BFF's
Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting


Books I'd Recommend for Book Club

These books are all a little more thought-provoking. They will spark interesting discussion. They are perfect for reading on your own, but they also offer the opportunity for great discussion.

The Red Tent
The Covenant of Water
When Breath Becomes Air
Hello Beautiful
Under the Whispering Door
The Exiles
The Hearts Invisible Furies
Demon Copperhead
Take My Hand
Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow
I Must Betray You
The Many Daughters of Afong Moy
Ejaculate Responsibly
The Book Woman's Daughter {part of a series}
Razorblade Tears

Books I Thought were Just Meh

These books came recommended by a friend or from a book list, and I just didn't get the appeal. There are even a few from authors I have really enjoyed in the past, but these books fell short for me. It doesn't mean that you won't love them, it's just that I thought they were meh and didn't live up to the hype. Prove me wrong!

Things I Wish I Told My Mother
Same Time Next Summer
Everything Sad is Untrue
All the Dangerous Things
No Time Like the Future {Michael J. Fox}
Change of Heart
Hang the Moon
Becoming Free Indeed {Jinger Duggar Vuolo}
Live Wire {Kelly Ripa}
It Starts With Us
Maybe in Another Life
Our Missing Hearts
All You Can Ever Know
Murder at the Mission
A Woman of No Importance
Tom Lake
The Wind Knows My Name


My Top Book Picks of the Year

These are my favorite books from the year. I've included 11 books that I would consider a 4.5-5 star rating. If it were me, these are the first books I'd put on my holds list to read in the new year. These are the ones I'd tell my friend who was sitting across from me over coffee that she just HAD to read. Start here. I don't think you will be disappointed!

Hello Beautiful
This was such a moving family drama that played out over decades. You really get to see the characters progress and grow over time and while there are several story lines, they all work to create a thread in the whole fabric of the story. 

The Exiles
This story was fascinating to me. Women convicted of minor infractions, were sentenced to serve long sentences after being transported on slave ships to what is now known as modern day Tasmania. It's a historical account of Britain's occupation of Australia in the early 1900's.

The Heart's Invisible Furies
Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out of her rural Irish community, then adopted by a wealthy couple in Dublin, Cyril does his best to try to discover who he really is.

Demon Copperhead
I devoured this book and then recommend it to my husband who devoured it as well. It's set in the mountains of Appalachia and is the story of a boy born to a teenage-single mother in a single-wide trailer. It's a story of coming of age, survival and transformation.

Take My Hand
This book was inspired by true events. A young black nurse in the 70's, noticed an injustice in the healthcare system with girls and women in rural low-income communities she was tasked with helping. This story is part of our history you may not be aware of, but it is so important to learn about so that we don't allow history to repeat itself.

An 80 year old widow is on the cusp of a life-changing trip to his birth city in France. He finds himself the only one able to care for his nephew's 11-year-old son, and this unlikely pair sets off on an adventure together. I loved their banter and their slow progression of trust that was built through their travel. 

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
This was another book I read and then recommended to my husband who really enjoyed it. It is the story of childhood friends who design a hit video game together. The story spans thirty years, and a lot of life happens for these friends during that time. 

I Must Betray You
Not a lot is known about communist Romania, at least, I didn't know much about it. In a country governed by isolation and fear, a young man is blackmailed into becoming a secret informant. 

Mad Honey
This book had me hooked from the very beginning. A mother of a teen is starting over after her picture-perfect life turns out not so picture-perfect. After settling in, her son is accused of murdering his girlfriend. It's a suspenseful story of the unraveling of the secrets that we keep.

Razorblade Tears
This is the story of a black father, a white father and their two murdered sons and their quest for vengeance. These fathers have to come to terms with their shortcomings, especially their treatment of their gay sons, and it's an unraveling of how we are more alike than we are different.

The Covenant of Water
I hesitate to add this to this list, but I saw it on my GoodReads list and I very vividly remembered it, so I know it will be a book that will stick with me for a long time. The only problem with this book is that it should have been a trilogy. It was far too long and would have been better as a 2 or 3 book series. The book spans from 1900-1977. All that to say, if you buy one book this year, buy this one if only for the fact that you can read this book in chunks. 

It's worth your time, I promise, but you will enjoy it better if you can occasionally get a break and cleanse your palate.

books i'd recommend to friends

If you loved this list, you are going to want to check out my top books from last year.

And this list of 50+ Books I Would Recommend to My Girlfriends

Top 10 Books I Always Recommend to Friends
A Complete Collection of Summer Beach Reads

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