What Novels Are Worth BUYING?

Updated on January 29, 2011
R.W. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
19 answers

I received a giftcard to Barnes & Noble for Christmas, and I'm wondering what suggestions you have for me. I love novels, and if I love it enough, I will go out and buy it, so I've already purchased most of my favorites. What books do you think are worth buying? I like lighter reads, nothing sleazy, but some romance is always fun.


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answers from New York on

I also loved The Help and think it is worth buying. For lighter yet really enjoyable reads, I would say anything by Luanne Rice. She has a ton of books and most are in paperback so perhaps you can get a few. Also Emily Giffin is a great author with a nice series.

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answers from Seattle on

I absoluty LOVE the book called "The Help" great read, it will bring out just about every emotion. Its one of my favorite books.

Also love anything by Mary Higgins Clark. She writes a good suspense, mystery novel without all the dirty etc.

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answers from Rochester on

I have my personal favorites, but if you are looking for lighter reads, I have the PERFECT books for you!

The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella (and before you say anything, the movie was TERRIBLE and NOTHING LIKE THE BOOKS. NOTHING. I promise.)

They are "Confessions of a Shopaholic," "Shopaholic [something] New York (or Big Apple, I forget...it's been a little while)," "Shopaholic Ties the Knot," "Shopaholic and Sister," and "Shopaholic and Baby."

The reason I say buy them is because (at least I have) you will read them over and over...they are seriously laugh out loud funny, time and time again. Like, hilarious. And I have nothing in common with the books...I could care less about shopping, fashion, etc...but I just though they were absolutely hilarious books.

(Also, if you're willing to get into a deeper story, the Dark Tower series by Stephen King (7 books in all) has it all...love, romance, adventure, intrigue, drama, friendship, excitement, sci-fi...everything, and it keeps you hanging until the last words of the last book.)

(Also, I recommend anything by Lincoln Child, Douglas Preston, or anything they've written together.)

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answers from Chattanooga on

Nora Roberts would be a great author for you, as far as romance goes. I have been reading her since I was in high school. They are definitely romance novels, but VERY well written, and the sex parts won't make you blush. ;) Best of all, she has a couple hundred books to choose from. They range from crime and mystery to magic and ghosts. She also has an alter-ego (JD Robb) that is all one series, set in the future about a homicide detective. Very good series. Black Hills is one of her newest ones, and it's really good.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I enjoy Young Adult Fantasy. Goose Girl and it's sequels (by Shannon Hale) are a current favorite. I also like Avalon High (by Meg Cabbot). And then there's the classics. I absolutely LOVE Jane Austin ... my favorites are Persuasion and Emma. Not too heavy a read (in my opinion) and good romance with no sleaze, how can you go wrong?

But what I usually do is go to the library and check out books. If I find myself checking it out more than a couple of times to re-read, then it's worth investing in. As long as the gift card doesn't expire soon (and it shouldn't!), you'd have some time to try books at the library, with no risk, first.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

It never hurts to have a couple of Richard Paul Evans books on your shelf. Some of his books I like better than others-it's a matter of personal preference but he has a LOT of good ones. Most have love involved, some more romantic than others. All are filled w/adventure of some type-either finding oneself, travelling or both. I have liked him for awhile now. He is a local author and started out w/the Christmas Box. Perhaps the best thing to do is check out from the library and then only buy what you really like. I find that I can read certain books over and over again. These other suggestions are great too and I just received some wonderful ideas myself!



answers from Dallas on

Sharon K. Pennman! She has written some great historical novels and I have read them a couple of times. My favorite is " Here Be Dragons" It's about King John's daughter and the Prince of Whales- it's romantic but not cheesy or sleazy. My husband even liked it and he recommends it to everyone(he manages a book store). She has some other ones that are really good also. I also enjoy Connie Willis- "Doomsday Book" is a great read- although you will cry- I also enjoyed "To Say Nothing of the Dog" also by Connie Willis- it's a lighter read and hilarious. She has another one out about the titanic- but unless you want to be depressed for the next month and a half- don't read it! (it's a great book- just very depressing- I cried the last half of the book!)
Books by Robin Hobb are also really enjoyable. The also have some great craft and hobby books there if you are interested in anything like that.
Just go and shop around- I'm sure you will find something that you like!



answers from Chicago on

I love the following. I will try to put them in genre's These are my favorites and I go to the bookstore the day they come out. they are all good reads. if you want just light fluff make you laugh go for janet evanavitch quirky funny characters

Nora Roberts she has a lot of trilogy sets my fav is the chesapeak series
which she later added another one too so there are 4 lol but you can get them all in one book now. she has a vampire series a demon series and a couple of witch series. but they can all be read as stand alones also. she is my #1 favorite author.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has about 20 books which will make you laugh out loud till you cry. has a loosely put together series about a fictious football team called the chicago stars.
Susan Wiggs
Elizabeth Lowell does both current and historical all stand alones with some characters floating between books
Judith McNaught
Judith Michael
Jude Deveraux loads of books with characters from 2 different families floating between as well as a bunch of other stand alone books

Julie Garwood favorite series is called the rose series 2 novels and then 3 smaller novella's
Jayne Ann Krentz loads of trilogies and stand alones with some characters that float between books
Nora Roberts
J.D. Robb (nora roberts writing under different name lol futuristic crime drama starring eve dallas )
Jayne Ann Krentz
Elizabeth Lowell
Julie Garwood
Kay Hooper (really creepy paranormal stuff) the bishop series I think there are about 10 or 12 of them now
Catherine Coulder the fbi thrillers
Lisa Scottoline
Iris Johansen the eve duncan series is great
Lee Child
Harlan Coban
Legal Thrillers
John Grisham
David Baldacci
Historical Romance
Amanda Quick (jayne ann krentz writing under different name)
paranormal futuristic romance
Jayne Castle (jayne ann krentz)
children's literature which I also enjoyed
all J. K Rowling harry potter books
lois lowry

good luck



answers from Denver on

You might consider joining Goodreads (www.goodreads.com). It's a great "social" site for book lovers. I'm a librarian and use it for both personal and work purposes. It allows you to find books by genre (i.e., romance)... read reviews about the books and see how others rated the books. It also allows you track books you've read, want to read, own, etc. I love the site!

As for specific titles... one of my all time favorite romances is the Time Travelers Wife.


answers from Biloxi on

You have gotten so many wonderful answers that I really have nothing to ad. But I want to tell all the Moms that I am going to use this post as a reading list.

I am so darn cheap that I rarely buy books anymore....I use the library like a second home. Like a try before I buy - if I really like one and think I want to reread it I will go to Amazon and purchase it.

I too like Nora Roberts and her alter ego J.D. Robb. I second the Dark Tower series. I also really like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series - they are hilarious.

Had fun reading!!!!!



answers from Salt Lake City on

If you haven't already spent the money yet, I would go rent any and all suggestions from below from the library first, then if you think they're fantastic, go ahead and buy them, but I also was given a gift card for Christmas to B&N and I went and didn't realize that they have lots of games and fun stuff to get -other than books - there too. So keep games in mind for a possible answer to spend your gift cert on as well. :)



answers from Casper on

Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors. Her books are light, romantic and not trashy :)



answers from Kansas City on

You MUST get "The Shack" by William P. Young!! It is a wonderful spiritual journey about a man that goes through an unspeakable tragedy and what happens thereafter in his life. Beautiful story. You will laugh. You will cry. You might grow a little. Or a lot. I HIGHLY recommend it!

If you don't buy it, you should check it out from the library and give it a read. My niece has read it at least three times that I know of.


answers from Jacksonville on

If you've never read "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving I strongly recommend it. I LOVE that book. It has a little of everything and it is NOT a sappy love story book. It is actually written about a guy from his grown up memories of his childhood and his best friend. Moving, funny and deep.
LOVE it.



answers from Denver on

My favorite Authors are Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock, Jodi Picoult.

A few books that I have read and loved are Water for Elephants and the Glass Castle, those are 2 books that always stick in my head.

Thats my opinion!



answers from Wichita on

Do you have any favorite authors? I got a barnes and noble gift card for Christmas and a Borders one, so I decided to see if one of my fav authors of time travel romance (lynn kurland, romance but generally little to no sex) had anything new out and found out that she'd actually written a few since I'd bought any and I was able to buy them all through coupons and gift cards. I was super excited. Maybe you could see if any of your favs have anything new out?



answers from Pittsburgh on

I love anything by Anita Shreve : Sea Glass, All He Ever Wanted, The Pilot's Wife, The Weight of Water, Testimony

Also Jodi Piccoult: My Sister's Keeper, The Pact, Vanishing Acts



answers from Norfolk on

If you've never read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith, do yourself a big favor and get it. In paperback I'm sure it would only be $6 or so and if you have kids (especially daughters) they will enjoy it too around the ages of 11 or 12. Or try "Forever Amber" (a book I've recommended before on this site) by Kathleen Windsor. Romantic but not smutty. Personally I thought the Outlander series by Diane Garabaldon (sp.?) to be a bit...um, explicit. Kristin Hannah is good for lighter reads, and I agree with the poster below who likes Emily Giffin. Oooh, and Marion Keyes is great, really funny. I especially like "Rachel's Holiday" and have re-read it several times. Have fun!



answers from Boise on

I don't buy many books, but I own the entire Harry Potter series. SEveral years ago, I also got a gift card to a book store, and I spent it on a beautiful leather-bound copy of Pride & Prejudice. Classics are always a safe buy!

I also loved the books I've read by Shannon Hale. Like, want to read them again kind of loved them. Usually, I'm a library kind of girl, but I wouldn't object to owning those.

Stephanie Meyer's book "The Host" was really cool, I thought. Big and thick, great story. It's not about vampires, but it is about an alien invasion of Earth. I am SO not into vampires OR aliens, but these are soooooo different, so very human, so very much not gory and freaky and unbelievable. I wouldn't mind owning The Host, either!

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