Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Help Needed: Book Recommendations

There was a time in my life when I was more on top of getting those Christmas cards written and in the mail, when all my holiday shopping was done by September, and when I was eager to put up the decorations the day after Thanksgiving. Somewhere along the way, other things began to become a priority and I let all that slip. My husband and I haven't decorated for Christmas in two maybe three years. And we won't again this year (why unpack all that stuff when we're trying to pack most of the house up right now?). That will have to change next year when the baby's here, of course. I have sent out the bare minimum of cards in recent years in comparison to the over 100 I sent several years ago, all to family and friends. I just don't have the energy to sit down and fill out all those cards anymore. I've become a bit of a grinch some might say. Or a scrooge. I still love my Christmas music though and I doubt that will ever change.

As for Christmas shopping, money is tight again this year, especially with the pending move and baby coming, but I do have gifts to buy and my mind almost always settles on books. The purpose of this post is to ask for your help in recommendations of old, new or in between books. I appreciate your help!

Woman A
Once an avid romance reader, her tastes seem to have broadened over the years. She enjoys Christian fiction, Dean Koontz, women's fiction, and family sagas. She loves cats (I gave her Homer's Odyssey last year and she really liked it) and family is extremely important to her. She is sentimental but not overly so and has a big heart.

Man A
He loves all kinds of sports and is really into history. He likes both fiction and nonfiction. He will read just about anything you throw his way though. Personality wise, he is funny and charming. He is definitely a family man and loves his sons and wife very much.

Woman B
Cozies are among her favorites. She enjoys a good mystery, especially if it's on the lighter side. She likes women's fiction and historical novels. Some of her favorite authors include Amy Tan, Nicholas Sparks, J.D. Robb, Jude Deveraux, James Rollins, and Diane Mott Davidson. She's a fun loving woman who is always on the go.

Man B
A history buff if ever there was one. He reads both fiction and nonfiction. A particular draw for him are books related to wars, especially World War II and Vietnam. He reads everything from fantasies (traditional) to crime fiction. He's really gotten into J.D. Robb's series and likes James Rollins. J.A. Jance is another favorite. He also enjoys his movies, especially war, action and westerns. He is a thoughtful man and isn't afraid to cry at the end of a book or movie.

Woman C
A bit of a Harry Potter and Twilight fanatic who loves paranormal romance and romance in general. She also enjoys YA novels in the same vein. She would rather stay away from reality when reading. She also loves movies, especially comedies and action flicks.

So have at it! What books might you recommend to these five people on my Christmas list?

© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Has Woman A tried the Cat who books - not romance but lovely cats. Romance saga's - try Belva Plain or Sandra Brown. Gosh I am the cosy queen - try anything by MC Beaton she does the Hamish BcBeth series and the Agatha Raisin series. Woman C - try Kelley Armstrongs other world series or her YA series that starts with The Reckoning :)

    Hope suggestions help some

  2. OOPS - The Summoning is the start of the YA series - Reckoning is the final one!!!!

  3. For the men that enjoy history, I have to recommend Matterhorn (if they have not read it, it is suppose to be terrific). The woman are a bit more difficult, and need more thought; good luck Wendy.

  4. Would Woman B enjoy Tarquin Hall's mysteries? He is really funny. The newest is The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing: From the Files of Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator. The first one is The Case of the Missing Servant.

    I read the first one, and I have been saving the second one for a rainy day.

  5. Has Woman C read the Hunger Games trilogy? I think there are great deals on the boxed set.

  6. For Man A I would recommend "Bringing the Heat" by Mark Bowden. It's about becoming a Philadelphia Eagle and I found it really, really interesting. Bowden (author of Blackhawk Down) is a very good writer too.

    For Man B I would recommend "Blood and Thunder" by Hampton Sides. It's a riproaring history of the move westward, focusing on the story of Kit Carson.

  7. For Woman A, I'd recommend Meg Waite Clayton's The Wednesday Sisters.

    For Woman B, maybe Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series of cozies?

    For Woman C, Gail Carriger's Soulless, the first of the Parasol Protectorate series.

    For both men, I haven't read it yet, but I've heard good things about Stuart Lutz's The Last Leaf.

  8. Woman A definitely need some of Adriana Trigiani's work! Lucia, Lucia is my all time favorite.

    If Woman B likes Southern literature, she might enjoy Saving CeeCee Honeycutt or Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen.

    Woman C might like Maggie Stiefvater's work.

    Good luck with your shopping!

  9. For either guy (or any one who enjoys history) you can't go wrong with anything by Erik Larson. I particularly enjoyed The Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck.

  10. I'm picking up Earth by the Daily Show team for my dad, which may be a good match for Man A, or maybe even Man B. Good luck :)

  11. I see someone already recommended Mark Bowden. I would definitely agree with this one. As for the others, I am so stumped. I'm so bad about trying to match books with people. I'm just so intimidated by the whole process!

  12. Ooo, this is fun! Here are my suggestions:

    Woman A - River Rising by Athol Dickson; Peace Like a River by Leif Enger; Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton

    Man A - Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose; Columbine by David Cullen

    Woman B - The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King; Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

    Man B - No Graves as Yet (Book 1 of World War I series) by Anne Perry; The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli; Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

    Woman C - Soulless by Gail Carriger; Paranormalcy by Kiersten White; City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

  13. I'm a Scrooge, too, and a horrible shopper. I dread Christmas except for my Kylie girl. That's fun. The rest? Blech!

    Sorry, no recommendations except gift cards! That's pretty much what I do to save my sanity.

    Good luck!

  14. For Woman A - anything by Jennifer Donnelly, she has a new one out, Revolution.
    For Woman B - if she hasn't experienced Tracey Chevalier yet, she will love her.
    For Woman C - some Neil Gaiman, the excellent Neverwhere or more recently The Graveyard Book - there was also an anthology of short stories he collaborated on recently, the name escapes me for the moment - Happy Shopping!

  15. Woman A would probably love Pat Conroy's newest book, South of Broad

    Man A would probably like The Financial Lives of Poets

    Woman B: Something by Laura Lippman

    Man B: The new Washington biography

    Woman C: The first book in the Mortal Instruments series.

    Hope that helps!

  16. Woman A - I'm wondering if she would like Robyn Carr's Grace Valley and Virgin River series. She might be interested in Heather Graham's Civil War trilogy, more on the romance side.

    Woman B - Another cozy lover! Yay! Has she tried Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swansen novel's yet? That would be a good series to start.

    Man B - perhaps he would like Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam or Paco's Story. I would suggest The Things They Carried but that's a rather popular read and chances are he has already read it.

    Woman C - Perhaps she would like some of the paranormal romantic suspense novels by Heather Graham, Kay Hooper has a paranormal mystery series too that I like. Um, perhaps the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost or the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I believe another person suggested The Hunger Games for a good YA series, I second that. I've only read Hunger Games but absolutely loved it.

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  18. I have a couple recommendations for Woman A - Cat lovers will appreciate Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown. Beautiful book. And, maybe she'd like God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours by Regina Brett.

    Man B - I'd definitely recommend Craig Johnson's mysteries, beginning with The Cold Dish. They feature a Wyoming sheriff, and Johnson himself is a rancher in Wyoming. Wonderful characters and setting.

    Lesa Holstine - www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com

  19. Woman C - Shiver, by Maggie Stievgater as already recommended.

    Woman B - cozies? I'm not sure if they count as cozies, but a great mystery series is Louise Penny's Three Pines.

    Man A - Stephen Brunt has some great sports books, but he's Canadian, and i'm not sure about his availability for you (Gretzky's Tears, Searching for Bobby Orr, plus others)

  20. woman a - try Cleo by Helen Brown. Apprently really sad at the start but very funny/moving by then end (havent read it myself but have heard good things).

    man a & b - Mathew Riley's sacred stones series. Which is a mix of archeology, and action.

    woman c - Soulless as suggested before um I have heard people rave over Hush Hush but havent read it myself.

    woma b - Oh a really cute detective book is Doggon it. Very cute and funny!

    Good luck!

  21. For Woman A - if she likes family sagas, she might enjoy my favorite book, AND LADIES OF THE CLUB by Helen Hooven Santmyer. It's huge but I think it's terrific.

  22. Wow! So many great recommendations! I will definitely be pulling from them as I get gifts together. Thank you everyone for helping me with my shopping list!

  23. I recommend Gena Showalters Lords of the Underworld books for Woman C.
    The first in the series might have her hooked :)

  24. For Woman A, I was thinking Rosamunde Pilcher who has written some wonderful books such as The Shell Seekers and September and many other books. Anne Rivers Siddons book, Colony is great as is Outer Banks. And I haven't read it yet, but I think a lot of bloggers liked Roses. I also thought of authors such as Gail Godwin and Marisa de los Santos - Love Walked In and Belong to Me.

    For Both of the Men you have to buy for, Gore Vidal wrote a wonderful series of historical novels Lincoln, Burr, The Golden Age, 1876, Washington D.C. Empire, Hollywood, The Golden Age and maybe more. I've been told that Lincoln is fantastic and Burr, The Golden Age and Empire are great too!

    I'm reading a book now, Cleo, about a little black kitten adopted by an Australian family who has just suffered a terrible tragedy and the kitten helps the family heal. It's by Helen Brown and very witty and well-written.

    For Woman B Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series of mysteries are very good, especially the ones set in Three Pines, a quaint, pretty little town, an unexpected spot for murder.

    I hope these help!
    Good luck!
    ~ Amy

  25. You may have already seen these ones but for woman A - The Moment Between by Nicole Baart is a really good Christian fiction novel. Woman B - has she ever read the Joanne Fluke Hannah Swenson series? They are great cozy mysteries - you could always pick up the first one for her. They are kind of along the lines of Dianne Mott Davidson. As for Woman C - I just read a book called Halo by Alexandra Adornetto that is a YA paranormal romance with some Christian elements I would say too. I enjoyed it and hope to have my review up this week.

    On the Christmas side of things I'm not too motivated to put up decorations this year. I'm not even sure a tree is a great idea since Sammy eats and chews absolutely everything.

  26. I love your blog! I have a few suggestions, which you can always save for the next gift giving occasion if they're too late for the holidays.

    Woman A might like Dewey's 9 Lives- the follow-up to Dewey the library cat or C A Belmond's series that starts with A Rather Lovely Inheritance

    Woman B might like Lorna Barret's Booktown mysteries, starting with Murder is Binding.

    Woman C- I'd recommend Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series(starts w/Great & Terrible Beauty)or the Gail Carriger books others have mentioned

    as for the men, I'd recommend Steve Berry's Cotton Malone series (Templar Legacy), which are sort of in the same vein as Dan Brown's Da Vinci books, or maybe Katherine Neville's the Eight.

    Hope some of these are helpful!


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