Here are my top recommendations (in no particular order within the same star range — you know how it is with choosing favourites).
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett (5.5/5) — Probably my all time favourite. It is beyond perfect, hence my rating.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (5.5/5) — faced-paced, complex, intriguing, devastating. This book has it all.
- Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James (5.5/5) — compelling, fast-paced and a read that will stick with you for long afterwards.
- Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (5.5/5) — Her writing style is so compelling. I haven’t read an author who writes with such command that draws you in like she can.
- Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) by Stieg Larsson (5.5/5) — by far the best plotted novel I’ve ever read. Simple language, but you will not be able to put this down … even at two am.
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (5/5) — amazing story, characters that pop out at you, a moving story. A must read.
- All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield (5/5) — wow. Her writing is magical. Every fiction writer can learn great techniques from her.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (5/5) — the insight and discrimination of the Afghan people is heartbreaking. You will cry. Changes how you’ll view people.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (5/5) — same as previous review.
- Come Back To Me by Melissa Foster (5/5) – A touching, resonating story on struggle and love. (Also try Chasing Amanda)
- The Green Mile by Stephen King (4.5/5) — one of my favourites of his. If you loved the movie, the book is just as sad.
- Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Linger, Shiver, Forever) by Maggie Stiefvater (4.5/5) — You can almost feel that her writing is poetic, musical, as if there’s a rhythm to it. For the romantics.
- The Twilight Saga (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn) by Stephenie Meyer (4.5/5) — for the romantic ones also. This series is the new Romeo & Juliet.
- The Host by Stephenie Meyer (4.5/5) — slow start the only reason for no 5/5 rating. The character and plot developments in this book are ace.
- Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (5.5/5) — teaches novelists and screenwriters how to create a successful plan without stressing, and how to execute all 6 Core Competencies required to publish a novel. You need to know his information if you want to publish your manuscript. Read the QUICK guide here.
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Dave King and Rennie Brown (5.5/5) — If you want to publish your fiction, then ensure you read this. More insightful into writing than you could imagine.
- A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard (5.5/5) — The journey from eleven through thirty; eighteen years stolen from her family; a memoir of raw and honest experiences through rape and psychological manipulation that shows how love can carry you through the toughest experiences.
- Stieg & Me by Eva Gabrielsson (4.5/5) — heartbreaking and a perfect weekend read.
- On Writing by Stephen King (4.5/5) — this must be on your shelf.
- Writer’s Guide to Psychology by Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD (4.5/5) — if you need to accurately describe your villan or mentally ill character, this book is for you. Don’t bother with others.
- Howdunit: Book of Police Procedure and Investigation by Lee Lofland (4.5/5) — for anyone wanting to write fiction with any sort of crime/authorities involved. Simple and clear.
- Tools of the Writer’s Craft by Sands Hall (4/5) — exercises section is the better half of this book. They are invaluable. Idea of Sense Of Place (SOP) is one of the best writerly advice I’ve heard.