My Top Book Recommendations


I loved doing this shoot because Peter White Library is one of my favorite places in Marquette.  I’m a huge reader and love picking out new books for myself and for G.  (I’m one of those dorks who likes the smell of library books . . . please tell me I’m not alone!)  I’ve been reading some amazing books lately and really wanted to share them with you guys.  I would love some recommendations from you!

Top 5 Book Recommendations

1. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

  • Probably my favorite book of all time.  Such a beautifully written novel . . . I’ve read all of Zafon’s other books because of this one. They’re all good, but this one is the best.
  • “ Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind. Really, you should.” Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

2. The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co.) by Jonathan Stroud

  • If you’ve been looking for a Harry Potter-like series, look no further.  I’ve read all of the Lockwood & Co. books so far and have loved them.  It’s kind of like a “Ghostbusters” theme . . . ghosts are haunting England and only children can see them and fight them.  (Stroud also wrote the Bartimeaus Trilogy which I highly recommend).
  • “This story will keep you reading late into the night, but you’ll want to leave the lights on. Stroud is a genius at inventing an utterly believable world which is very much like ours, but so creepily different. Put The Screaming Staircase on your ‘need to read’ list!”
    Rick Riordan

3. Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett

  • History lovers, the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett is amazing.  Spanning from pre-WWI to the fall of the Berlin Wall, his books allow you to see historical events through the eyes of different generations of families and individual characters.   It was such a unique perspective and so very very engrossing.
  • “Follett is masterly in conveying so much drama and historical information so vividly…grippingly told.”—The New York Times Book Review

4. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards) by Scott Lynch

  • I’m currently reading the second book of this 5-book series and I’m so glad that there’s more to come.  I can’t put it down and look forward to reading it every night . . . and it’s gotten praise from George R. R. Martin, the creater of Game of Thrones.
  • “Right now, in the full flush of a second reading, I think The Lies of Locke Lamora is probably in my top ten favorite books ever. Maybe my top five. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, you should probably read it again.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

  • Amazon’s Best Young Adult Book of 2015.  Inspired by ancient Rome, this book is brutally violent but I couldn’t put it down.  It’s kind of in the same vein as The Hunger Games but with a fantastical twist.  (I’m a sci-fi nerd if you couldn’t tell by now).
  • An Ember in the Ashes could launch Sabaa Tahir into JK Rowling territory…It has the addictive quality of The Hunger Games combined with the fantasy of Harry Potter and the brutality of Game of Thrones.”—Public Radio International

Now your turn!  What should I read next??




  1. YA: His dark materials series, Infernal devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, openly straight, a monster calls

    Sci-fi: Red rising trilogy, a handmaids tale

    Fiction: the light between the oceans, perfume, after I do, the mountain story

    Non fiction: between the world and me, strangers in our own land, fives and twenty-fives, one summer in America 1927, American savage, why not me?, the big thing, writings on the wall (Kareem Abdul Jabar),

  2. My current retreads- The Secret History, Donna Tartt, Flannery O’Connor, short stories, We have always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson.

  3. I’m a big sci-fi reader, but more Science than Fantasy, more Arthur C. Clark than George R. R. Martin. My favorite trilogy is the Mars trilogy by John Varley. One of the main characters is an autistic, Cajun genius who invents a world changing technology just because he was trying to keep his gumbo hot!

    • Our library holds have been coming in and the 11 yr old has been to the library every time I get notification. He LOVES the Lockwood & Co books so much he took his Rick Riordan stand-bys back to the library to focus on those! I do not know how to emphasize how *epic* this is (to quote said child)! Thank you thank you thank you!

  4. I love this post, Scotti! I review books on and my five-star books of 2016 are:

    1. A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly (currently in theaters as the movie “Lion”) –
    2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (it’s even better than his spectacular first novel, Rules of Civility):
    3. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (who wrote the amazing Where’d You Go, Bernadette):

    These are truly engrossing, beautifully written books. Game-changers, all of them. Happy reading and happy holidays! xx laura

  5. Thanks for the recommendations!! Sadly, with four young boys, my days of actual book reading are nonexistent. Now , audiobooks, on the other hand… I listen in the shower, in the car, folding laundry, on a run, basically anywhere I can. The Overdrive app has literally kept me sane- its free, connects to your local library and has tons of ebooks and audiobooks. For free. For reals.
    I’ve borrowed and/ placed holds on all of your picks!! Thanks!

    • I can’t do audiobooks! I just can’t pay attention . . . I’m definitely a visual person because I can listen to an audiobook and have no idea what’s going on . . . my mind just wanders way too much!

  6. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. My guilty and much reread pleasure. The ONLY happy news I heard in December was that Lin Manuel Miranda was going to help make it into a movie and…(yay!)…write some of the music!!! Since the main character is a musician, that is actually a big deal. Plus, a good sign that they won’t mess it up.

    And, in addition to A Man Called Ove, another book by Fredrik Backman is utterly worth the time: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.

    Lastly, just to let you know that I pulled The Shadow of the Wind off a shelf in a bookstore a few years ago and started reading it. I read for an hour there, paid, ran home, and read until I just had to sleep. So, so good.

  7. Absolutely agree with The Name of the Wind trilogy, stayed up all night on a red-eye as i couldn’t put it down. Sadly there is no third book…and no real signs of a third book. So reader beware. Loved The Shadow of the Wind. A bit of a stretch from YA, fantasy/sci-fi but one I found amazing none the less was The Power of One, such a great read. The Time Travelers Wife is also an interesting sci-fi read. Just downloaded your suggestions from the library (hoopla and overdrive are great apps for digital borrowing!).

    Fabulous post. TME book club time!!!

  8. Where’d You Go Bernadette? ; The Orphan Masters Son; these are completely opposite of each other, but unforgettable to me.

  9. Okay, so I know this post is a million years old, but I read most of these and loved them, and I need new recommendations from you, Scotti! I’m about to deliver #4, and I’m planning on seriously milking my postpartum nursing sessions (ha!) with good books until my husband goes back to work and real life starts again.

Leave a Reply