LIfe Reviews

38 Book Recommendations You’ll Love

22 May 2017

The silly season is one of the best times to unwind and kick back with a great book as you reflect on the year that was. But it’s always sooo hard to know what to read.
You really don’t want to waste your time starting something that ends up being boring, or so badly written you could have done better.
So here are my top recommendations, and I’ve even popped them into categories cos’ I’m just so darn helpful.
Oh, and I haven’t included The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Gone Girl etc as we all know they’re good.


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling – Hilarious and brilliant. The best biography I’ve read by a comedian. So many moments you’re nodding your head along thinking #word.

How To be A Woman
 by Caitlin Moran – Honest and relevant, Caitlin is my favourite feminist who will shed light on every topic under the sun. This book will have you crying with laughter about everything you’ve ever thought or experienced as a woman.

My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler –
 The pages that spurred my respect and love for CH. Basically a collection of sex memoirs that will have any you thought crazy look tame in comparison.

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi – LOVED this biography, an affecting eye-opener to eating disorders and struggling with sexuality. I bloody love Portia since reading this, she’s had a pretty shitty time. 

The Bell Jar
 by Sylvia Plath – 
A true heroine of our past, I’m in love with Sylvia Plath and the disaster that was her life. If you’ve never read any of her poetry get on that shit cause it’s awesome. The Bell Jar is primarily based on her real life and descent into mental illness. Super dark, it’s a great story and deserves to be known by the sisterhood!

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer – I don’t know why this book got shit reviews, I loved it! Really funny and honest, the book is basically a collection of essays about everything from Schumer’s childhood, her path to becoming a recognisable comedian, and her romantic dalliances.
Bossypants by Tina Fey – As you would expect, this book is razor-sharp and wickedly funny. Although it somewhat follows her life chronologically, this isn’t a memoir. It’s a well-written blend of humour, introspection and critical thinking.


Perfect Victim: The True Story of the Girl in the Box – SUCH a great crime novel which is made more intense by the fact that it is real. Looks at the 1977 kidnapping of Coleen Stan and how she was held as a slave for SEVEN YEARS!!!

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – From the first page you can’t put the bastard down. WHAT HAPPENED!? WHO DID IT!? OH MY LIFE!?

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) – If you want smarter James Patterson novels, JK Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series are your go-to. Can’t. Put. Down.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – This isn’t just a crime novel, it’s a bloody masterpiece. With so much shit happening in the world it will restore your faith in humanity through an intense story of redemption, love, drugs, money, the mafia, and, ultimately, the universal beauty and kindness of people.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – The novel starts with a hit-and-run accident that kills a 5-year-old boy and leaves his single mother shattered, obviously pulling you in as you feel horribly for her. There’s a huge twist in this psychological thriller that is genuinely shocking, a tribute to the talent of the first-time author.
The Good Girl by  Mary Kubica – One of my absolute favourite reads of 2016, this book will leave you breathless and racing through the pages until the very end, WHICH  WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!

Chick lit…

The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell – Sexy AF and beautifully written. Explores sexuality and infidelity.

Summer Secrets by Jane Green – Great girly read, perfect holiday book!  Jane Green (as always) develops characters that draw you in and make you care about how their story unfolds, even if the characters she’s created aren’t overly likeable. The protagonist is Cat, who is an alcoholic, which Jane writes about so aptly, really delving into the intensity of addiction.

Fearless by Fiona Higgens – Six strangers meet in Bali’s idyllic paradise to attend a workshop to confront and overcome their phobias. There’s a giant shock mid-way through the book that leaves you hanging for more after each page.  It’s beautifully written and the interwoven stories make it an easy page turner for the beach.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – This book made me SO happy. Imagine waking up and thinking it was a decade earlier. That’s the central premise for this novel and the story is just amazing, it really makes you think about how you change over time and whether everything that changes for us is necessarily good.

Still Thinking Of You by Adele Parks – Tash and Rich are crazy about each other so they dash towards the French Alps for a romantic elopement. However, five of Rich’s old university friends crash the wedding holiday and bring with them ancient baggage and secrets. A really easy page-turner.

Handbags and Gladrags by Maggie Alderson – Warning, the protagonist of this book is a truly terrible person. A spoilt brat really. BUT it is so trashtastic it needs to be read by every chick lit lover at least once. Fashion, parties, sex and travel -it ticks all the boxes.

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton  Finish this and be prepared to take a good look at your own relationships after reading this insightful novel. It’s so smart and really gets the cogs in your ol’ brain working while still being easy to read. Watch his talks afterwards, the man’s a genius.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – This story is told from the point of view of different characters. It’s a really capturing read that you’ll get through in a weekend because you won’t want to put it down!


Mirage by Soheir Khashoggi – A beautiful story about a woman’s life in the middle east. Really poignant depiction of the Muslim religion and covers many important topics. A real eye-opener to what a woman being brought up in a (strict) Muslim household goes through.

The Beach by Alex Garland – A must, better than the movie and a great holiday read.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult – The first book to ever make me understand WWII and the Nazi regime. So well-written and PHENOM twists and turns.

Room by Emma Donoghue – Written from the perspective of a 5yo, it takes a while to get used to reading broken English ‘child speak’ but a really powerful story. Movie is a pretty good adaptation.

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
 – A harrowing depiction of addiction that will have you anxious and unable to put it down. Originally released as a ‘memoir’, Opera controversially exposed him as a fraud, but I couldn’t care less as the book is beautifully written and sheds light and understanding on a very important issue. If you liked this, ‘My Friend Leonard’ is the sequel and well worth a read.

American Psycho 
by Bret Easton Ellis 
– Sick, twisted and brutally graphic. Not for the faint-hearted, this book is a cult for a reason as it’s so goddamn different and disturbing than anything you’ve read before.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides – Everything written by Mister Eugenides is pretty effing amazing if you ask me and being his first novel, he did a damn good job. Way better than the film. The Lisbon sisters are weird AF.

Looking For Alaska by John Green – ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ shouldn’t have gotten all the attention, THIS is John Green’s masterpiece. It’s written for young adults but I think an important read for all ages.

The Killing Lessons by Saul Black – A serial killer thriller novel, this book hooks you in from the very first page. Two guys go on a killing spree around America who leave weird clues INSIDE their victims and a cop who risks everything she’s got to find them.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – Disturbing and creepy, Camille returns to her hometown after hearing about murders happening in strange circumstances. What she discovers is terrifying. Everything Gillian writes is gold.

The Book Thief 
by Markus Zusak – Narrated by death, the book follows the story of a young girl who is subjected to the horrors and tragedy of WWII in Germany. One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt – Tells the story of a close-knit group of students at a small, elite college who become involved in a murder. A must read!

The Dinner by Herman Koch
 – The whole story takes place at a restaurant where two couples meet for dinner. Slowly, the conversation turns from discussing work and planned holidays to their 15-year-old sons. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera. As the dinner reaches a climax, the couples prove just how far they are prepared to go to protect their loved ones.

Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra – Another book you’ll finish in a day, this is so creepy. In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared. Eleven years later she is replaced by an imposter.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart  – This book actually haunted me, I was visibly shaking as I closed it but in the best possible way.  It is centred on the wealthy, seemingly perfect Sinclair family, who spend every summer gathered on their private island. However, not every summer is the same…

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – I listened to this on a long drive once and it was so captivating I didn’t want the trip to end! The book follows different characters as they start receiving tapes from their classmate, Hannah, two weeks after she’s committed suicide. The tapes reveal Hannah’s account of how each person contributed to her death.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Ugh this book is so beautifully written it makes me feel bad for other writers as they realise their inadequacies. I can’t actually write anything about because it wouldn’t do it justice. It’s set during World War II and centres on a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths eventually cross. Just read it.

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – Creepy, eloquently written and a riveting plot; this book is about a mother who contends with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin.

Words by Kelly McCarren.