16 unique gifts for the book lover in your life, from this year’s bestsellers to beautiful prints of their favorite books

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Woman reading Book of the Month copy of "Queenie" by Candice Carty-Williams with a dog, Best Gifts for Book Lovers
From bestselling books to scented candles, here are some of the best gifts you can get for people who love books and reading.

  • Below, you’ll find 16 useful and thoughtful book gifts for the book lovers in your life.
  • While some are physical books, others are book-related – such as subscriptions or artwork.
  • Need more book gift ideas? Check out the best books of 2021 and the best books to read in your 20s.

The Insider Reviews team is full of readers, and we have strong opinions on the best books to gift – whether they’re bestselling self-help books, gripping YA novels, or short essay collections. If you’re here looking for literary gifts for the bookworm in your life, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether your bookworm likes to get lost in a Tolstoy tome or the latest science fiction or romance book, we’ve got you covered.

16 thoughtful and useful book gifts for people who love to read:

A subscription of exciting new books delivered each month

Stack of Book of the Month books; best gifts for book lovers

Gift Book of the Month subscription, available at Book of the Month, from $49.99 for 3 months

Book of the Month (BOTM)’s experts pick five new and noteworthy books every month, and members pick which one they’d like to receive. They get a hardcover of a vetted new read, and you get to give a gift that keeps going for a few months.

BOTM has also been known to pick titles before they become massively popular; you can find the best Book of the Month books of 2021 here.

A Kindle Oasis so they can read on the go

Kindle Oasis and drink by the edge of a pool; best gifts for book lovers

Gift the Kindle Oasis, available at Amazon, $279.99

If they travel or commute, a Kindle can be an extremely thoughtful gift. Books are often heavy and dense, and this Paperwhite can store thousands of books or 160 Audible audiobooks. It’s also water-resistant so they don’t have to be overly precious with it near water. We think it’s the best overall e-reader, and you can read a full Kindle Oasis review here

Plus, they can use Overdrive to borrow books for free on Kindle.

A customized embosser to personalize every book

An embossing tool and stamped piece of paper; best book gifts

Gift a custom stamp, available at Etsy, from $25

This unique, thoughtful gift embosses books with “from the library of [their name]” by pressing down on this device like it’s a hole-puncher. It makes each book feel personal — and can help them track down titles they’ve loaned out.

A framed print of their favorite classic’s first edition book cover

Framed wall art of "Pride and Prejudice" original book cover; gifts for people who love to read

Gift First Edition Book Cover Art Print, available on Uncommon Goods, $65

Gift the bookworm in your life their favorite book’s beautiful and ornate first edition cover in a frame. It’ll serve as a beautiful reminder of something meaningful and enjoyable to them — and that you remembered what they really love.

An Audible gift card for all the audiobooks on their wish list

Collage of books available on audible; best book gifts

Gift an Audible Gift Card, available at Amazon, from $15

If they love a good book — and might appreciate hearing someone else reading it — audiobooks are an excellent gift.

They get all the convenience of hands-free listening (so they can commute, exercise, fold laundry, take a luxurious bath, etc.), and they get to choose their own adventure with the titles on their mind. 

A cute novelty candle, they can light in their reading nook

Homesick "Book Club" and "New York City" Candles; best gifts for book lovers

Gift the Book Club candle, available on Homesick and Amazon, $34

Gift the Byredo Bibliothèque Candle, available on Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, $85

Homesick makes a candle for all the places and things you might feel nostalgia over — including a book club.

But if you’re looking for something more artisanal, atmospheric, and upscale for reading time, we recommend the popular scent “Bibliotheque” by Byredo. (It also comes in a perfume version.)

One of their favorite books, signed by the author

“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie book cover; gifts for people who love to read

Gift an edition of “Americanah” signed by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, available on AbeBooks, from $400

You can find first-edition books, signed copies, and rare books online, too — specifically on AbeBooks or eBay. (Note: You’ll want to be cautious that the individual sellers and their reviews seem trustworthy to you.)

A virtual ticket to a lecture on eight books that changed the world

Graphic of laptop with One Day University logo on screen; gifts for people who love to read

Gift the “8 Books That Changed the World” lecture, available on One Day U, $35

One Day U has a streaming library of lectures from world-renowned professors on diverse topics. This two-hour talk, given by Joseph Luzzi from Bard College, tells us about eight books that changed the world — from the Bible to “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

A longtime book nerd will love the thoughtfulness of a niche gift that deepens both their knowledge and enjoyment of books. You can read a full review of One Day U here.

A collectible edition of their favorite book

Collectible Edition of "Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein book; best gifts for book lovers

Gift the Collectible Edition of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein, available at Barnes and Noble, $25

You can find ornate, collectible editions of beloved books at Barnes and Noble for under $50. Show them that you remember a book they love by giving them a version that will bring them joy just by being displayed somewhere in their home.

Books that could win major literary prizes this year

Book cover for "Bewilderment" by Richard Powers; best book gifts

Gift “Bewilderment” by Richard Powers, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.91

If they love high-brow literature, these are the easiest book lists you should shop from: The books in the running for the 2021 Booker Prize, the 2021 International Booker Prize, and the 2021 National Book Awards (in poetry, translated literature, fiction, non-fiction, and young adult books).

Looking for a crowd-pleaser? We recommend “Bewilderment” by Richard Powers. It was longlisted for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Powers’ earlier book, “The Overstory,” also won the Pulitzer Prize in 2019. 

A celebrity author-led writing MasterClass

Dan Brown in "Writing Thrillers" Masterclass course; best book gifts

Gift the Dan Brown Writing Thrillers course, available on MasterClass, from $15/month

Are they a fan of writing as well as reading? Have they mentioned a desire to write a hit TV show or had a rough outline of a thriller in their head for years?

Give them hours of enjoyment and expert instruction in writing from the best of the best. MasterClass in particular offers a wide variety of online writing classes led by celebrity authors, from TV writing taught by Shonda Rhimes to writing by Malcolm Gladwell. You can find a review of MasterClass here.

A cozy reading bean bag

A woman in a cardigan laying on a Moon Pod bean bag chair listening to headphones; best gifts for book lovers

Gift the Moon Pod, available at Moon Pod, $299

If you want to build a cozy reading nook for your loved one, we’d suggest a bean bag they can snuggle into and reshape to their preferences.

We recommend the Moon Pod as the best bean bag: It changes shape and its high-density beads are supposed to mimic the feeling of weightlessness in flotation therapy. Check out our other favorite bean bags here.

Any book on the Goodreads “Best of the Year” list

"The Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah; gifts for people who love to read

Gift the “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.90

The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah made it onto a lot of high-profile “best of 2021” recommendation lists made by readers this year — from Goodreads to Book of the Month. If they haven’t read it yet, it’s probably on their wishlist.

The New Yorker cartoon literary playing cards

The New Yorker themed playing cards; best book gifts

Gift the New York Puzzle Book Lover Cartoons Playing Cards, available on Walmart, $9.95

Book lovers will get a kick out of these funny playing cards featuring literature-related cartoons from The New Yorker.

Cute socks inspired by their favorite read

Person holding "Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone" book and wearin Out of Print Harry Potter socks; best gifts for book lovers

Gift the Out of Print Harry Potter Socks, available at Amazon, $12

Cozy book socks are the perfect amount of book-related flair. You can shop options from the Harry Potter universe to children’s classics like “Where the Wild Things Arehere on Amazon.

The Insider Reviews team’s favorite books

"The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion book cover; gifts for people who love to read

Gift “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.95

We love to give these 21 books away, including Didion’s searing personal memoir “The Year of Magical Thinking.” 

Personal finance executive editor Libby Kane said she regularly buys copies of “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” to give them away. “I’m often asked to recommend a personal finance book, and pretty much without fail I go straight to [this one].” 

Take a page out of our proverbial books and gift these titles to your favorite bookworms.

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I use this free to-do list app to track my hectic grad school and freelance schedule – it’s taught me how to balance work and personal time

Julia Métraux and Todoist app laptop photo
I use Todoist, a free app, to schedule and track my work, freelance, and grad school assignments.

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  • As a grad student who also works, staying organized can feel like a second job.
  • I use Todoist, a free app to keep track of my assignments and deadlines for both work and school.
  • It helps me break down tasks, set boundaries around time off, and remember how much I get done.

When I started grad school in late August, I had many friends (and people I hardly knew) tell me that I could kiss getting enough sleep goodbye.

This, however, is not an option for me. I have an autoimmune disease and a traumatic brain injury that caused me to develop adult attention deficit disorder. Unfortunately, both also cause me to deal with a lot of concentration issues, which get worse when I don’t sleep enough.

In order to deal with my symptoms and still make sure that I get everything done, I use Todoist, a free app that works on computers and phones that essentially functions, as the name suggests, like a to-do list.

I found Todoist during my last year of undergraduate studies a few years ago when I was trying to balance finishing up that degree with freelance writing work. This app was also a lifesaver for me during the pandemic, when burnout made it difficult for me to concentrate on top of my health issues.

Here’s why I rely on Todoist to manage grad school, part-time work, and freelance assignments:

App (small)

It lets me visually set boundaries around different parts of my life.

The Todoist app on a laptop

I split my Todoist, which I use on my computer, into four different sections: One for university work, one for a company where I have ongoing work, one for freelance work, and one for other responsibilities which don’t neatly fit into one category. Whenever I have a new assignment, I add that task to my list of things to do. I find it helpful to have four different sections, as I try to be aware of the progress I’m making in different areas of my work and school life.

It functions as an easy checklist for all the little tasks that can pile up.

Todoist app checklist

One aspect of Todoist that I like is that it is easy to keep track of ongoing and one-off assignments. For example, I have to review submissions and pitches for a media company by each Monday night. So, I have it marked that the task is a weekly occurrence. If I have a one-time task like making edits to an article, the task will go away after I mark it completed.

It helps me break up daunting deadlines into smaller ones.

Todoist app helping break down tasks

In order to not get overwhelmed by deadlines occurring on the same, I often give myself fake deadlines on Todoist. For example, if I have a reflection post for school and edits for an article I’m writing for class due both on Tuesday at 5 p.m., I’ll mark to complete and submit the reflection on Friday, and to submit the edits on Monday.

The reason why I give myself fake early deadlines is partially due to the fact that my symptoms from my autoimmune disorder and TBI could lead to me taking a half or full day off. Knowing that I still have time to work on or complete a project the next day makes it a no-brainer for me to change the due date on Todoist.

It reminds me how busy my weeks can get – and how much I get done.

Completed tasks in Todoist app

While Todoist helps me keep track of everything that I have to do, it also helps me acknowledge how much work I actually do. I have a goal of the number of tasks I aim to complete each week – at least three per day and 30 per week.

Even with days where I feel like I haven’t done enough, seeing that I finished at least three tasks is a reminder that I do work hard. I also have my account set up so that the app doesn’t expect me to complete work on Saturdays or Sundays (though I have to admit, I often do at least some work on the weekends).

When I need a break, it’s really easy to turn the app off with its “vacation” setting.

Todoist app vacation mode

Todoist also has a vacation setting that I’ll turn on if I’m taking or sick day, or better yet, actually taking a vacation. I could use Todoist on my phone, but I choose not to because I try to save that device for non-work activities.

The bottom line

I definitely could see myself using Todoist for a long time. By helping me remember to get everything done a few weeks before my final deadlines, it makes it easier to stay organized, taking the stress off my already-full plate.

App (button)

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If you want to switch careers during the Great Reshuffle, LinkedIn Learning is offering free courses and a career summit to help

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LinkedIn Learning Logo on a laptop screen with orange background
Through November 30, LinkedIn Learning is offering free online courses in job hunting and leadership, as well as a free, live virtual career summit.

With the Great Reshuffle still underway, many people have been quitting low-paying, dissatisfying, and exploitative jobs in search of something better.

To help with the hunt for more fulfilling work, LinkedIn Learning is making some of its online courses free until November 30, ranging in topics from returning to work after a resume gap to becoming a more inclusive leader.

To access the courses, all you need to do is log in to your regular LinkedIn account.

In addition to these courses, LinkedIn Learning is also hosting a free, live virtual career summit on October 27. You can RSVP to individual events, which include tips on finding recruiters and tapping into your hidden talents to find the right role.

October 27th Career Summit Live Event Schedule:

You can learn more about LinkedIn Learning and some of its most popular online courses here.

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The 20 best Jodi Picoult books, according to Goodreads – from “My Sister’s Keeper” to “The Book of Two Ways”

Collage of the best Jodi Picoult books 4x3
According to Goodreads, Jodi Picoult’s best books include “My Sister’s Keeper,” “Nineteen Minutes,” and “Small Great Things.”

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Jodi Picoult is a bestselling American author who has written 26 novels and is estimated to have sold over 40 million copies of her books. She’s known for writing about emotional, challenging, and even controversial topics in her contemporary fiction.

I started reading Jodi Picoult’s gripping novels in high school and continue to read every new book she releases. Each one is a fascinating page-turner that presents both sides of a moral dilemma and forces me to rethink my own opinions and values.

To rank the best Jodi Picoult novels, we turned to readers on Goodreads. Goodreads is an online platform where over 125 million members can rate their favorite novels and share reviews and recommendations with the community.

So whether you’re a new Jodi Picoult reader searching for your first gripping read or a long-time fan looking to complete your collection, here are the best Jodi Picoult novels, as ranked by Goodreads members.

The 20 best Jodi Picoult books, according to Goodreads members:

“My Sister’s Keeper”

my sister's keeper

“My Sister’s Keeper,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $12.80

With over one million ratings, “My Sister’s Keeper” is the most popular Jodi Picoult novel amongst Goodreads members. It’s the story of two sisters, one with leukemia and the other conceived with a purpose: As a bone marrow donor for her sister. When Anna decides she’s had enough of being her sister’s keeper, she and her family begin a journey of sisterhood, parenting, and the morality of doing everything you can for your family. 

“Nineteen Minutes”

nineteen minutes

“Nineteen Minutes,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $10.35

Sterling is a quiet small town in New Hampshire where a devastating event occurs over 19 minutes, leaving the community shaken. In this dramatic contemporary fiction novel that reads like a thriller, the town must confront their own role in the tragedy if they hope to find justice. 

“Small Great Things”

small great things

“Small Great Things,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $13.58

Ruth Jefferson is a nurse with 20 years of experience who is shocked when a family requests Ruth not touch their newborn, as Ruth is Black and the parents are proud white supremacists. When Ruth is alone in the nursery, their baby goes into cardiac distress and Ruth hesitates before administering aid, leaving her charged with a serious crime in this heart-racing story of race, prejudice, and a gripping trial in this book that feels impossible to put down. 

“The Pact”

the pact

“The Pact,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $7.99

In this emotionally devastating read, Chris and Emily seemed to be made for each other as their families have been closely intertwined since they were born. When the families get a midnight phone call and learn that 17-year-old Emily is dead with a gunshot wound to her head, Chris explains their alleged suicide pact to the police — a plan that doesn’t seem entirely believable. 

“The Storyteller”

the storyteller

“The Storyteller,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $10.55

In “The Storyteller,” Sage is desperately trying to recover from her mother’s death when she meets elderly Josef in her grief support group and the two become unlikely friends. In this historical fiction story about forgiveness, Sage is forced to question her morals and her identity when Josef admits a shocking secret and asks Sage for a staggering favor. 

“Plain Truth”

plain truth

“Plain Truth,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $12.30

When an infant is found dead in a barn in the small Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, the town is even more shocked to find the child did not die of natural causes and the mother is unmarried, 18-year-old Katie Fisher. Ellie Hathaway is a high-profile defense attorney who happens to be staying in Paradise and sees Katie’s case as a way to do something truly good. 

“House Rules”

house rules

“House Rules,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $15.49

Jacob Hunt is a teenager with autism who is obsessed with forensic analysis, listening to his personal police scanner, and offering his (usually correct) opinions to investigators. When someone in their small town is murdered, Jacob doesn’t appear helpful to the police — he appears guilty. 

“Leaving Time”

leaving time

“Leaving Time,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $9.94

When Jenna Metcalf was only three years old, her scientist mother mysteriously disappeared after a tragic accident. Now 11, Jenna refuses to accept that her mother could have abandoned her and studies her journals, meticulously searching for answers.

“Handle with Care”

handle with care

“Handle with Care,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $11.27

Charlotte and Sean prayed for a healthy baby, as all expecting parents do, but when their daughter is born with osteogenesis imperfecta, it feels like their world has been turned upside down. When a series of events force Charlotte and Sean to face the hardest questions, they’re left wondering if something could have been done differently to change the outcome of their lives. 

“The Tenth Circle”

the tenth circle

“The Tenth Circle,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $14.89

“The Tenth Circle” explores the relationship between a father and daughter through a journey that mirrors Dante’s “Inferno.” When high school freshman Trixie accuses her boyfriend of a violent and terrible act, the situation is quickly complicated further as her father fights to protect his daughter while attempting to conceal his own secrets.

“Change of Heart”

change of heart

“Change of Heart,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $10.50

“Change of Heart” uses four perspectives to explore religion and punishment: A priest, a mother who has lost everything, a convicted murderer, and an attorney. Shay Bourne is a construction worker sitting on death row, convicted of murdering June’s husband and daughter. When Shay learns that June’s only surviving child is in desperate need of a heart transplant, he volunteers his own heart to save her. 

“A Spark of Light”

a spark of light

“A Spark of Light,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $11.53

“A Spark of Light” is a gripping and emotional roller coaster — and personally my favorite Jodi Picoult novel that I devoured within a few days. One morning, a gunman opens fire in a women’s reproductive health clinic, taking everyone inside hostage. The novel follows the story of each person trapped inside, from a nurse who risks her life to save a wounded woman, to a pro-life protestor disguising herself as a patient. 

“Vanishing Acts”

vanishing acts

“Vanishing Acts,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $9.99

Delia Hopkins is a missing persons’ investigator who lives a simple life in New Hampshire with her young daughter and her search-and-rescue bloodhound. As Delia begins planning her wedding, she starts having flashbacks to a life she can’t remember, and when a police officer brings her staggering information, Delia’s life is turned completely upside down. 

“Sing You Home”

sing you home

“Sing You Home,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $8.05

When Zoe Baxter loses her baby, she wants to try again but her husband disagrees and asks for a divorce. When Zoe falls in love again, she has the chance to have the family she’d always wanted, but her ex-husband will stop at nothing to keep Zoe from using the frozen embryos they once saved — including standing up in court to declare Zoe an unfit mother. 

“Keeping Faith”

keeping faith

“Keeping Faith,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $10.21

“Keeping Faith” is a fascinating mix between religion and psychology, about a young girl named Faith who begins talking to her imaginary friend, “Guard”, after her parents’ divorce. When she starts citing scripture despite never reading the Bible, everyone is left wondering if Faith is actually talking to God. 

“Salem Falls”

salem falls

“Salem Falls,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $14.99

Former teacher Jack St. Bride has come to the town of Salem Falls to quietly reinvent himself after a student’s crush ruined his reputation and career. Working at Addie Peabody’s diner, Jack and Addie form a comfortable connection until a group of teenage girls force history to repeat itself and Jack’s past quickly catches up to him. 


“Lone Wolf”

lone wolf

“Lone Wolf,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $10.56

Luke Warren is a passionate zoologist who left to live amongst the wolves in the woods, leaving his wife and two children behind, each of whom went in different directions during his absence. Now, as Luke is lying comatose in a hospital bed after a car accident, the family returns home and must confront the secrets of their past as they juggle the best decision for Luke’s medical care. 

“Perfect Match”

perfect match

“Perfect Match,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $10.35

Nina Frost is a district attorney who prosecutes child molesters, so when her own five-year-old son is sexually assaulted, she’s devastated and all too aware of the twisted legal system that can make it difficult to secure justice. As Nina hatches a plan to reach justice for her son, she knows she will stop at nothing to protect her child. 

“Picture Perfect”

picture perfect

“Picture Perfect,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $14.99

“Picture Perfect” is Jodi Picoult’s third novel about Cassie, a renowned anthropologist who wakes up in a graveyard with no recollection of who she is or how she got there. When her famous movie star husband retrieves her from the hospital, Cassie is told she’s living a picture-perfect life, until an unsettling pattern emerges in the marriage and Cassie must decide if she can stay — or how she must leave. 

“The Book of Two Ways”

the book of two ways

“The Book of Two Ways,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, $13.31

As Dawn Edelstein prepares for a crash landing during her flight home, her rushing thoughts are not of her husband, but a man named Wyatt Armstrong who she last saw 15 years ago on an archaeological dig in Egypt. When the airline offers all the survivors transportation wherever they want to go, Dawn considers how fate, life, and forks in the road led her to where she is now — while imagining the two possible futures that seem to be laid out in front of her. 

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Kristin Hannah’s 22 most popular books, based on Goodreads reviews

Collage of the best Kristin Hannah books, according to Goodreads 4x3
According to Goodreads, the best Kristin Hannah books include “The Nightingale,” “The Great Alone,” “Firefly Lane,” and “The Four Winds.”

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  • Kristin Hannah is the bestselling author of over 20 books, most recently “The Four Winds.”
  • She writes romance books, historical fiction novels, and stories with magical twists.
  • Goodreads members’ top favorites include “The Nightingale” and “The Great Alone.”

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author perhaps best known for “The Nightingale” and “Firefly Lane,” the latter of which has become a hit Netflix show. Though Hannah primarily writes moving romances with devastating twists, her more recent works have been vivid historical fiction stories that transport readers through time.

To rank Kristin Hannah’s best books, we turned to Goodreads members. With over 125 million users, Goodreads lets readers rate, review, and recommend their favorite novels. So whether you’re a new Kristin Hannah reader wondering where to start, or a long-time fan looking for a new read, we’ve ranked the best Kristin Hannah books, according to Goodreads members.

‘The Nightingale’

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah book cover

“The Nightingale,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.15

With nearly 600,000 five-star ratings on Goodreads, “The Nightingale” is Kristin Hannah’s most popular book. Set during World War II, this deeply moving novel focuses on two sisters living through the Nazi occupation of France. While 18-year-old Isabelle courageously risks her life to join the Resistance, Vianne is left at home to protect her daughter and herself as a German captain requisitions her home in her husband’s absence.

‘The Great Alone’

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah book cover

“The Great Alone,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.69

When Ernt Allbright returns from the Vietnam war broken and volatile, he impulsively moves his family to the Alaskan wilderness, determined to live off the land amongst other fiercely independent locals. But as the brutal winter darkness sets in, the Allbright family discovers they are far less physically — and mentally — prepared than they thought.

‘Firefly Lane’

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Firefly Lane,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.19

In this powerful story about the magic of friendship, Tully and Kate became inseparable friends during the summer of 1974, forming a bond that would last a lifetime. As the decades pass, Tully and Kate act as buoys in each other’s turbulent lives — until a devastating act of betrayal puts their bond to the ultimate test.

‘The Four Winds’

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah book cover

“The Four Winds,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49

As the Great Depression continues to devastate Americans in the early 1930s, a ruthless drought tears through Texas, leaving families torn between fighting for their land and heading west for the chance of a better life. A portrait of the strength of American women, this historical fiction novel follows young Elsa Martinelli as she agonizes over her own choice during the Dust Bowl era, a particularly dark period of history.

‘Winter Garden’

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Winter Garden,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.56

“Winter Garden” is a novel that explores the intricacies of a mother-daughter bond through Meredith and Nina, two starkly different sisters who are brought home over their father’s illness. With little connection besides old memories and their mother’s disdain, the sisters finally learn the devastating truth of their mother’s past, revealing more about their family and themselves than they ever knew.

‘Night Road’

Night Road by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Night Road,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.56

Jude is a stay-at-home mom who always puts the needs of her children ahead of her own. So when former foster child, Lexi, enters her twins’ lives, she welcomes her in and the three kids become inseparable. But when a terrible accident happens, everyone blames Lexi and she’s forced to leave behind the closest thing to family she’s ever known. Years later, Lexi returns to face Jude, the past, and the night that changed their lives forever.

‘Fly Away’

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Fly Away,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.67

“Fly Away” is the touching sequel to “Firefly Lane” and while it can be read as a standalone novel, it’s recommended to read “Firefly Lane” first to truly understand the depth of heartbreak in this book. As Kate struggles against her battle with breast cancer, her best friend, Tully, promises to be there for her children in any way she can. As Tully and Kate’s family reel from grief, Tully struggles to keep Kate’s daughters safe and come to terms with her own past in this story about forgiveness and redemption.

‘Magic Hour’

Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Magic Hour,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.26

After a sudden tragedy ruined her career as a child psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Cates returned to her hometown to quietly recover. When she meets a peculiar six-year-old girl who seems to have emerged from the nearby woods, Julia dedicates herself to saving the child — even if it means asking for help.

‘Home Front’

Home Front by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Home Front,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.89

Defense attorney Michael and soldier Jolene have been married for 12 years and are already struggling through everyday life when Jolene is sent on a dangerous deployment and Michael is left caring for their daughters back home. In this story of love, loss, war, and duty, Jolene tries to quell her family’s fears from the other side of the world until tragedy strikes and leaves Michael living his worst nightmare.

‘True Colors’

True Colors by Kristin Hannah book cover

“True Colors,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.39

“True Colors” is a heartfelt family story that follows the Grey sisters, whose bond strengthened as they leaned on each other when their mother passed away. After a devastating event threatens to tear their sisterhood apart, the girls must fight through the tension to forgive each other in this compelling and emotional story loved for its romantic and dramatic elements.

‘Between Sisters’

Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Between Sisters,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.49

When Meg was 16 and Claire was nine, a misunderstanding led the sisters to an estrangement that it seemed would last a lifetime. But as Claire’s wedding day quickly approaches, Meg decides to take time off from her successful law career to help Claire and try to reignite their bond, hoping to become the family they always wanted.

‘On Mystic Lake’

On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah book cover

“On Mystic Lake,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.19

When Annie Colwater’s husband tells her that he’s in love with a younger woman, she returns to her hometown to heal and is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacrox. As Nick recovers from his own loss and tries to help his daughter do the same, the three find comfort in each other — until a shocking twist forces Annie to make an impossible choice.

‘Summer Island’

Summer Island by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Summer Island,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.35

Ruby hasn’t spoken to her famous talk show-host mother in more than a decade, resentful after Nora chose to walk out of their home, leaving her husband and daughters behind. So when a shocking scandal from Nora’s past is exposed, Ruby is offered a small fortune to write a tell-all book. Returning to her family home, Ruby confronts her mother’s past and her own in this exhilarating Kristin Hannah read.

‘The Things We Do for Love’

The Things We Do for Love by Kristin Hannah book cover

“The Things We Do for Love,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.27

Angela DeSaria Malone thought her life would unfold perfectly just as it had for her sisters and cousins: High school, college, marriage, motherhood. But when Angela and her husband divorce after she repeatedly fails to get pregnant, she moves back to her hometown and meets a teenage girl who will change her life forever.

‘Angel Falls’

Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Angel Falls,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.98

“Angel Falls” is an inspirational romance novel about Liam Campbell, who sits at his wife’s bedside every day despite the doctor’s warning that she may never wake from her coma. When Liam discovers a painful secret from his wife’s past — a previous marriage — he knows he must solicit the help of her ex-husband in the desperate hope for her recovery.

‘Distant Shores’

Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Distant Shores,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99

Elizabeth and Jackson Shore appeared to live a beautiful and happy life but when their daughters leave home, the couple finds themselves slowly drifting apart. When Jack gets an amazing job opportunity, Elizabeth decides to follow him — until a horrible tragedy forces her to question everything about her life and decide who she wants to be.

‘Home Again’

Home Again by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Home Again,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99

Dr. Madeline Hillyard is a famous heart surgeon whose teenage daughter feels more like a stranger to her every day: Angry, resentful, and desperate to find the father that abandoned her so many years ago. When her father, Angel DeMarco, comes back into their lives despite his devastating betrayal, it’s in search of help as a patient.

‘Comfort & Joy’

Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Comfort & Joy,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.36

In this holiday-themed story, Joy Candellaro is struggling to find her Christmas spirit after her divorce and spontaneously buys a ticket to the Pacific Northwest, hoping for an adventure that will reignite her enthusiasm for life. In a small town, Joy meets six-year-old Bobby who, along with his father, is struggling to celebrate the holidays after losing his mom. Together, Joy, Bobby, and Daniel help each other heal and find the courage to believe in love and family once again. 

‘If You Believe’

If You Believe by Kristin Hannah book cover

“If You Believe,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.27

“If You Believe” is a demonstration of the emotional intensity Kristin Hannah is able to convey in a novel. When professional fighter Mad Dog Stone answers an ad to live and help on an apple farm before his next fight, he meets Mariah Throckmorton, self-exiled and hiding from a scandalous past. Against all odds, the two begin to fall for each other. As they confront their pasts, they must decide if they should stay in each other’s lives or let their love fade with the season. 

‘Waiting for the Moon’

Waiting for the Moon by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Waiting for the Moon,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.69

Selena can’t remember who she is or how she came to be in a beautiful mansion on the Maine coast, but she finds comfort in a strange physician-turned-recluse she meets nearby. Ian Carrick is haunted by a telepathic gift that destroyed his career but when he meets Selena, he finds she’s the only one whose thoughts he can’t hear. Selena and Ian bring light into each other’s dark lives and help each other heal, even as a figure from the past threatens to end their fantasy romance.

‘Once in Every Life’

Once in Every Life by Kristin Hannah book cover

“Once in Every Life,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99

When brilliant research scientist Tess Gregory suddenly dies before she can fulfill her longings for a husband and child, an angel allows her to choose the life into which she’d be reincarnated. Waking in a hospital bed, Tess finds herself in the body of a post-Civil War woman with a husband, children, and plenty of family and marital problems that she must conquer if she wants to find her magical love story after all.

‘When Lightning Strikes’

When Lightning Strikes by Kristin Hannah book cover

“When Lightning Strikes,” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99

In this time-travel romance, Alaina Costanza, a romance writer, is thrust straight into the wild west of her most recent novel during a peculiar storm. When she’s kidnapped by her own character, the handsome outlaw Killian, the two fall into a whirlwind romance that they know must end if Alaina has any chance of reaching her child, left behind in the present.

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‘Scythe,’ a super popular dystopian YA book, is perfect for anyone who loved ‘The Hunger Games’

Hand holding Scythe by Neal Shusterman on patterned background
“Scythe,” by Neal Shusterman, is the first book in a popular young adult, dystopian sci-fi series that fans of “The Hunger Games” will love.

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  • Scythe” is a bestselling young adult science fiction novel.
  • I don’t read many sci-fi novels, but I loved the world-building and fast-paced plot in this one.
  • I recommend it to anyone who likes “The Hunger Games.

To be honest, I don’t read science fiction or fantasy novels often. No matter how well-written they are, I sometimes struggle to imagine the elaborate worlds built by the authors, enriched with advanced technology or complex magic.

But it took me only three days to completely devour “Scythe,” a wildly popular dystopian novel.

“Scythe,” a young adult sci-fi book by author Neal Shusterman, was published in 2016 and is the first in a completed trilogy followed by “Thunderhead” and “The Toll.” It’s also currently being adapted into a movie by Universal Pictures.

by Neal Shusterman (small)

Before I opened the book, all I knew was that it’s about a world where humanity has conquered mortality and now the only way humans die is by the hands of a scythe – humans who are designated, trained, and spend their lives in charge of “gleaning” people for population control.

Reading “Scythe,” the story follows two reluctant teenagers, Citra and Rowan, who are chosen to apprentice a scythe, even though neither of them wants the role. As they begin to understand the intricacies of scythedom, their journeys are complicated by a stipulation: Only one will become a scythe – and their first act will be to glean the other.

I’m not the only one who’s obsessed with this book. “Scythe” has great reviews – 84% of its nearly 200,000 reviews on Goodreads are 4- and 5-stars – and I couldn’t agree more. This novel is fast-paced, involves excellent world-building, and – you heard it here first! – has the potential to become the next “Hunger Games.

Here are the three things I loved the most about “Scythe”:

The fantastical world feels a lot like our own, making it easy for non-fantasy fans to follow along.

I generally have a problem with the elaborate world-building in most fantasy and science-fiction novels. Even with beloved high fantasy series like “Game of Thrones” or “The Lord of the Rings,” it’s too difficult for me to keep track of all the different magic, characters, family trees, and histories that are crucial to the plot, making them personally not very enjoyable for me to read.

But in “Scythe,” the dystopia (or utopia, depending on how you see it) is built swiftly and easily: It’s reminiscent of the world we currently live in, but a few hundred years into the future. 2042 was the year the world decided to combine all the information that’s currently stored in the “cloud” into one massive artificial intelligence system known as the Thunderhead.

As the Thunderhead immediately knew the collective knowledge of humanity, it was able to solve world hunger, wealth inequality, and all the other problems in the world. (Sure, you could poke some holes in this, but it’s a YA science fiction novel. I just rolled with the information I was given.)

A post shared by Kat’s Book Stacks (@kats.stacks)

In this world, there are public cars that drive themselves, people have “nanites” in their bodies that regulate pain and emotion, and there are machines that can reset your age to any time in adulthood. Because this futuristic world felt plausible and familiar, it helped me become obsessed with the premise as quickly as I did.

“Scythe” presents a series of ethical dilemmas that kept me invested in the story.

Most scythes take the responsibility of taking a life very seriously, acting with a reverence for the gleaned and their families. They glean people in a similar ratio to the present-day mortality rate, randomly choose from a group to eliminate bias, and ensure they’re gleaning the population evenly across gender, race, and age.

Each scythe has their own specific method of choosing who to glean. Some strictly follow the statistics of mortality from before the age of immortality, while others choose based on who seems ready to be done with life. Others mirror mass tragedies from history, wiping out hundreds of people at a time, but only a few times per year.

The book poses many ethical dilemmas that I won’t spoil, but the main one is this: How does one person choose when another one should die? I still find myself pondering this question, which is one of the main reasons I loved the book so much, and can’t wait to read the next ones.

This book is incredibly fast-paced and full of plot twists, which made me order the sequel.

I absolutely couldn’t put this book down. Every time the apprentices would seem to conquer a challenge, another one arose. Even in the short moments that seemed like lulls, there were huge overarching problems that needed to be resolved and kept me turning the pages.

My only critique is the book didn’t end in a very gripping cliffhanger. I know which problems will be addressed in the next book (not spoiling anything, promise!) but I didn’t feel the immediate urge to open the next one until I read the description of the sequel.

That being said, I’ve already ordered the sequel, “Thunderhead,” and recommended “Scythe” to every single one of my sci-fi-loving friends.

If you’re looking for a fascinating dystopian science fiction book with all the page-turning excitement of “The Hunger Games,” read this book (and the whole “Arc of the Scythe” series).

by Neal Shusterman (button)

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This $15 murder mystery game brought me and my friends hours of fun on my birthday

Collage of people playing Murder Mystery Party with the game box and pamphlets 4x3
I bought the “Death By Chocolate” murder mystery game from University Games and had so much fun playing it for my birthday.

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  • Murder mystery games are popular party activities and great for Halloween.
  • Our two-hour-long Death by Chocolate game was filled with good backstories and lots of accusations.
  • If I could change the game, I would let the murderer know their role earlier.

I spent my birthday accusing my closest friends of murder over chocolate and cheese – and can’t recommend the experience highly enough.

Wanting to do something more special than a simple dinner or drinks, I thought about a murder mystery party with a handful of good friends. Murder Mystery games can vary in price, intensity, and overall format, but all involve a group of participants getting enough information on other party-goers to piece together fictitious murder.

Death by Chocolate (small)

I’d heard good things about University Games from a friend who’d played the Slice of Murder game. Her experience stood out from other sets that I’d heard of because of the detailed instructions (from what dinner to serve and where each guest should sit) and the audio that accompanied their game.

Prepping the murder mystery game and dinner

A week and a half before my birthday, I ordered the Death by Chocolate game and booked an Airbnb that sleeps seven – a quick train ride away from my apartment to set the scene for the big mystery dinner.

The living room of an Airbnb in lower manhattan
Our Airbnb and soon-to-be-spot for our murder mystery dinner.

The invitations for the party in the box (which I decided to send out virtually) gave a quick blurb of each character so that I was able to assign the game out without spoiling anything for myself.

Everything included in the University Games murder mystery box, including name tags, invitations, and several other pieces of paper, laid out
The box came with invitations, name tags for each character, booklets that helped everyone move the story along the night off, secret clues, and a “Party Planner” pamphlet that the host could read through without finding out who committed the crime.

In this particular game, the names were based on well-known characters and people, like Billy Bonka (in keeping with the chocolate theme of the game) or Sigmund Fraud, so just hearing them without the descriptions gave a pretty good idea of who the character would be and which friend to assign to each one.

Image of a table set up with charcuterie and pamphlets
The Party Planner booklet also gave us a suggested menu, though the quail egg dip that required 49 quail eggs seemed a little extreme for us (we opted for a charcuterie board instead).

The food and character assignments weren’t the only prep we needed for the game night. Everyone showed up in costume, and some people even came prepared with their characters’ accents which made the night even more festive and entertaining. I’d thrifted my beauty queen look earlier in the day, and got some fake cigarettes and tape to make a body imprint on the floor.

Group photo of eight people dressed up in costume in a living room
My friends and I all in costume and ready to play our murder mystery dinner game.

Playing the game

The game itself starts off by going to a link to a video included in the party planner’s booklet, which we watched from a friend’s phone. After the introductory video, the characters read lines of dialogue before we get into the free-range part of the discussion.

There are things listed that each character should bring up before the end of the round and new facts that they must disclose about themselves if asked and then challenged.

A collage of murder mystery game participants reading from their pamphlets
The game only needs six characters but has parts for up to eight. For the flow of the game, I’m glad I had all the characters around the table to make the storyline flow better, rather than having someone read the updates on characters not there.

In the story, only a few of the characters knew each other before the crime, so I enjoyed that my friends around the table didn’t all know each other, either – it gave the game more authenticity and worked as a great ice breaker. However, the game relies on players being incredibly confrontational to identify a murderer, so making sure everyone is comfortable enough to really question each other makes the game more fun.

The new facts throughout the game mean that in each round, there are new top suspects and lots of important and distracting information to sort through. The Death by Chocolate storyline did a good job of giving every character a motive, suspicious backstory, or believable opportunity to be the killer.

Murder Mystery Characters standing in a room with steamers and a table
No one is allowed to lie about their backstories unless they’re told they are the killer, but players are encouraged to only give away what they are asked directly about.

I liked that new information came out every round to keep the game moving along, but as in most murder mystery games, there were a couple of times when we didn’t know enough about our characters to answer some of the questions we were asked before that information was even revealed to us.

Most notably, the murderer only finds out they’re the killer in the last round, so there wasn’t much opportunity for them to come up with a fake backstory after so much had been discovered about them already.

The game ends with accusations where each character says who they think the killer or killers were before the video tells us what really happened. Not everyone guessed correctly, but by the end, the majority of us were able to put the pieces together about who we thought could have done it and why.

Forcing everyone to explain who they thought was the killer, see who had picked up on what details, and get in one last accusation was a really fun way to end the night.

The bottom line

Seven people in costume sitting around a table

Despite my few notes about the game, I loved the premise, red herrings, and outlandishness of the experience. Since I can’t play the Death by Chocolate mystery again, I’ve already given the game to a friend who couldn’t make it for my birthday – and can’t wait to play another University Games murder mystery dinner for my next one.

Death by Chocolate (button)

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Tarot cards don’t have to predict the future to be fun – I use mine as daily journal prompts and they’ve helped me self-reflect

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tarot card journal showing nine of pentacles and diary reflection
The classic Rider Waite tarot deck I bought fo Halloween is a great journaling tool.

  • I bought a tarot card deck for a Halloween party and it’s now one of my favorite journaling tools.
  • I’m not into the mysticism of it all or an occult believer, but tarot helps me with self-reflection.
  • Pulling a card each day helps me think deeper about what’s happening in my life.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyOriginal Tarot Cards Deck (small)

I am very much a non-believer when it comes to the occult and predicting the future, so I’ve always shied away from things like crystals, tarot, and astrology; mostly because I just didn’t understand them very well. Imagine my surprise when a deck of tarot cards for a Halloween party turned into one of my favorite journaling tools.

Since purchasing my Rider-Waite tarot deck, I’ve learned a lot more about tarot. Here’s what I learned and why I think it can be a great purchase for journaling and self-reflection.

What are tarot cards?

tarot cards all laid out with The Fool showing

Quite simply, tarot cards are playing cards. Traditionally, they were used for playing card games (and still are in many parts of the world).

Sometime around the 18th century, they gained popularity as a divination tool. The most common decks used for tarot today are 78 cards, consisting of 22 “Major Arcana” cards (the ones you probably most closely associate with tarot, like “The Fool”) and 56 “Minor Arcana” cards that are divided into four suits: Wands, cups, pentacles, and swords.

The imagery most famously associated with tarot cards comes from the classic Rider-Waite deck, which was illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith in the early 20th century.

Major Arcana cards

The Major Arcana cards tell the story of The Fool (the first card of the deck, and the only unnumbered card). Each subsequent Major Arcana card represents a meeting or challenge for The Fool. When used for tarot readings, these represent more significant revelations.

Minor Arcana cards

The Minor Arcana cards are quite similar to your standard deck of cards, but with different suits and imagery. Instead of the five of spades, for example, you may encounter the five of wands. These cards represent minor revelations in tarot readings.

How to use tarot cards for journaling

notebook with deck of tarot cards nearby

There are lots of different ways to use tarot cards for readings or journaling. You can try different shuffling styles or changing up the number of cards pulled and interpreted. If you’re just starting out, I recommend keeping it simple and start with pulling one card to reflect on. Here’s my process:

1. Think of a “query” or something you want to reflect on. This can be about a relationship, your career, your health, a current challenge, or just what the day has in store for you.

2. Keeping this query in mind, shuffle the deck and cut the cards.

3. Pull one card and keep it in the orientation it was pulled (cards can either be upside down or right-side up).

4. Reflect and journal on the meaning of the card in relation to your query (or anything else that comes to mind).

There are lots of ways to interpret the meaning of a card. You can simply look at the imagery and come up with your own meaning, or you can use a book or website to help you interpret traditional meanings. The tarot deck I bought came with a small booklet for interpreting cards that I’ve found useful.

My experience using tarot cards for journaling

hand holding three tarot cards

For me, the cards really act as prompts for journaling. I often get into the habit of only journaling when something is going massively wrong. The cards help me inventory other, less pressing aspects of my life and how they’re impacting my overall well-being.

For example, I recently pulled a card pertaining to money when it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, but the more I reflected on it, the more I realized I felt some low-level stress about bills after a recent vacation. It’s probably not something I would have normally taken the time to journal about or reflect on, but the prompt from the card helped me release some of those thoughts and feelings tucked away in my subconscious.

I also just like to have fun with it: Sometimes I pull cards for other people in my life, and other times I pull cards for my cat. It tickles me to think my cotton ball of a cat is “working through technical problems” or “overcoming treachery” as foretold in two of my recent readings for her.

I used to think tarot was something that was very serious and rigid, but actively using my deck has taught me that it’s really an open-ended tool that can be serious or silly.

The best tarot card deck for beginners

a hand holding a tarot guidebook

If you’re just starting out, I highly recommend this deck from Amazon. The cards are thick and sturdy, feature classic Rider-Waite imagery, and come with a little guidebook for interpreting results. At just under $20, it’s a pretty cheap entry to the world of tarot and tarot journaling.

For best results, I recommend pairing it with a new notebook. I used a standard Moleskine notebook, but you can also buy specialized tarot journals if you need more guidance.

Original Tarot Cards Deck (button)

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Udemy’s running a big sale through October 15, and you can buy in-depth courses in Python or drawing for under $25

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Udemy E learning 4x3
Udemy has a sale on online courses in subjects like computer programming, data science, marketing, art, design, and more.

  • Udemy has over 130,000 online courses that range from drawing to Python and web development.
  • Courses usually include video lectures, downloadable resources, and a certificate of completion.
  • Right now, Udemy classes are on sale through October 15, starting as low as $12.99.

Whether you’re using your free time to pick up in-demand career skills like programming or just want to learn how to play guitar, you may want to take advantage of Udemy’s offerings.

From now through October 15, the site has discounted its courses starting at $12.99. You can browse them here, or find 15 of the most popular ones on sale below. Udemy also has over 590 free online classes, which you can find here.

Free Classes (medium)

Udemy courses typically include hours of video lectures, downloadable resources (like additional readings), and a certificate of completion. There aren’t any deadlines set to begin or complete classes either, so you can go at your own pace. Plus, you have lifetime access to the materials, so you can always go back to refresh your memory.

If you’re not sure if a course is right for you, you can start a free preview and watch a handful of lectures the instructor has selected before committing. And if you buy it and aren’t satisfied, every course from Udemy can be refunded within 30 days of purchase.

The 15 best deals on online courses from Udemy:

Udemy financial health

  1. Character Art School: Complete Character Drawing Course, $20.99 (originally 129.99)
  2. Complete C# Unity Game Developer 2D, $16.99 (originally $109.99)
  3. Become a Game Designer the Complete Series Coding to Design, $19.99 (originally $119.99)
  4. 2021 Complete Python Bootcamp: From Zero to Hero in Python, $21.99 (originally $139.99)
  5. Machine Learning A-Z: Hands-On Python & R In Data Science, $12.99 (originally 89.99)
  6. Microsoft Excel – Excel from Beginner to Advanced, $20.99 (originally $129.99)
  7. The Complete Digital Marketing Course – 12 Courses in 1, $23.99 (originally $139.99)
  8. The Web Developer Bootcamp 2021, $23.99 (originally $149.99)
  9. The Complete JavaScript Course 2021: From Zero to Expert!, $23.99 (originally 149.99)
  10. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate 2021, $12.99 (originally $89.99)
  11. Learn Ethical Hacking From Scratch, $19.99 (originally $129.99)
  12. React – The Complete Guide, $20.99 (originally $129.99)
  13. Angular – The Complete Guide, $12.99 (originally $89.99)
  14. The Data Science Course 2021: Complete Data Science Bootcamp, $14.99 (originally $94.99)
  15. An Entire MBA in 1 Course, $16.99 (originally $109.99)

Shop all Udemy online classes here.

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21 spooky, page-turning mystery books that will keep you guessing until the very end

Best mystery books, including The Silent Patient, Arsenic and Adobo, and The Silent Patient 4x3
From a classic murder mystery tale to new thrillers, these are the best mystery books to read in 2021.

  • Mystery books allow readers to solve crimes alongside the characters.
  • We rounded up books that are gripping, suspenseful, and leave readers guessing until the very end.
  • Want more books? Check out the best Agatha Christie books and best thrillers.

Though I love to sit in the sun with a steamy romance novel or listen to a fascinating memoir on my way to work, mystery books have always been engrossing reads where I race against the characters to solve the puzzle. Perfect for true crime fans or anyone who loves a suspenseful story, great mystery books offer gripping conundrums with a fascinating crime and a puzzling problem that demands to be solved.

To gather these recommendations, I looked at readers’ favorite mystery books on Goodreads, Amazon, and Bookshop. Whether you’re looking for your next thrilling read or a cozy “whodunit” as the weather gets colder, you can find a great mystery novel on this list.

A classic murder mystery

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie book cover

“And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99

“And Then There Were None” is a classic Agatha Christie mystery novel about 10 strangers who are invited by an unknown millionaire as weekend guests to a mansion on a private island. When the guests are murdered one by one (as foretold in a nursery rhyme hung in every room of the home), they must quickly figure out who is behind the killings before none of them are left alive.

A mystery set in 1960s Harlem

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

“Harlem Shuffle” by Colson Whitehead, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.91

This historical fiction mystery book is about Ray Carney, an honest neighborhood furniture salesman, who falls into a disastrous heist with his cousin in 1960s Harlem. Walking the line between upstanding citizen and criminal, Ray finds himself caught in a tangle of mortality in this new novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead.

A cozy mystery perfect for foodies

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala book cover

“Arsenic and Adobo” by Mia P. Manansala, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.40

In this delicious new mystery book, Lila Macapagal is recovering from a devastating breakup when she’s tasked to help save her Tita Rosie’s struggling restaurant. When a food critic (who just happens to be Lila’s ex) dies moments after a confrontation with Lila, she becomes the chief suspect and must begin her own investigation to prove her innocence in this witty mystery.

A complex mystery with a twisted ending

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides book cover

“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99

Alicia Berenson seems to live a perfect life as a well-known painter with her famous photographer husband — until one day when her husband returns home late and Alicia shoots him five times in the face and then never speaks again. Obsessed with Alicia’s case and determined to find a motive, criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber sets out to uncover the truth in this gripping mystery with a fantastic final twist. 

A suspenseful mystery set on an Indigenous reservation

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden book cover

“Winter Counts” by David Heska Wanbli Weiden, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49

Virgil Wounded Horse serves as the community enforcer on his reservation in South Dakota, so when heroin begins to affect his community and a terrible incident hits close to home, Virgil is determined to stop the influx of drugs from hurting anyone else. Teaming up with his ex-girlfriend, Virgil follows a lead to Denver and finds himself in a complex situation — one that will test his identity, community, and loyalties.

An entertaining mystery about four unlikely detectives

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman book cover

“The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.39

In a quiet retirement community, four elderly friends gather every Thursday night to talk about cold case murders, dubbing themselves “The Thursday Murder Club.” When a local man is found dead with a strange photograph left next to his body, The Thursday Murder Club uses their sharp wit and skills from their former careers to defy all the stereotypes and solve the crime in this entertaining mystery loved for its rich and lively characters. 

A murder mystery about a copycat serial killer

A Killer's Wife by Victor Methos book cover

“A Killer’s Wife” by Victor Methos, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.99

In this mystery known for keeping readers on the edge of their seats, Jessica Yardley is a prosecutor who has moved on with her life after her ex-husband went to prison for a series of violent murders 14 years ago. When a string of new copycat murders begin once again, the FBI recruits Jessica to help find the killer, meaning working with her ex-husband and reliving the darkest days of her life.

A suspenseful courtroom mystery novel

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim book cover

“Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.63

In this gripping courtroom mystery with multiple perspectives, a group of people in a small town in Virginia are brought together over a hyperbaric chamber that claims to cure anything from autism to infertility. When the chamber explodes and two people are killed, it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident, but it’s not clear who is at fault. As the mystery unfolds, layers of secrets are revealed in this beautiful mystery about parenthood, healing, and the effects of our choices.

A historical murder mystery

The Mimosa Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu book cover

“The Mimosa Tree Mystery” by Ovidia Yu, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.71

“The Mimosa Tree Mystery” is a historical fiction mystery story set in 1930s Singapore. It follows Su Lin, whose uncle is detained by the Japanese as retaliation for the mysterious murder of his neighbor, a known collaborator and blackmailer. When a former spy named Hideki offers Sun Lin’s uncle in exchange for her help in finding the real killer, Su Lin discovers there is far more resting on this investigation than just one life.

A terrifying mystery about a young girl’s dreams gone terribly wrong

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson book cover

“Grown” by Tiffany D. Jackson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.49

When 17-year-old Enchanted Jones catches the eye of legendary R&B artist Korey Fields at an audition, she’s offered the chance to make all her dreams come true and is ready for stardom, no matter the cost. One day, Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands, Korey Fields’ body next to her, and no memory of the previous night. In this emotional mystery, Enchanted must recount the horrifying details of the months prior in order to understand how something so terrible could have happened.

A murder mystery with a paranormal twist

Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang book cover

“Opium and Absinthe” by Lydia Kang, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.49

Set in 1899 New York City, Tille’s sister is found dead — drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck — and with the recent publication of “Dracula,” Tille can’t help but suspect a vampiric murderer. Tille is desperate to find out what happened to her sister, but as her obsession with the case intensifies, so does her addiction to opium. As each vice consumes her life, Tille struggles to know what’s real in this Victorian-era murder mystery.

An exhilirating mystery focused on Indigenous culture

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley book cover

“Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.23

Daunis Fontaine is an 18-year-old, biracial, unenrolled tribal member who has put her schooling on hold to care for her ill mother. When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she begins her own investigation to track down the criminals and protect her community, all while learning what it truly means to be a strong Ojibwe woman.

The first mystery featuring a famous detective duo

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle book cover

“A Study in Scarlet” by Arthur Conan Doyle, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.99

“A Study in Scarlet” was the first novel to feature the famous detective duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. First published in 1887, this story tells the origin of Holmes and Watson meeting as new roommates and solving their first murder together, which proves far more complex and intricate than either could have imagined.

A gripping mystery about a missing woman

When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris book cover

“When You Look Like Us” by Pamela N. Harris, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.55

When Jay Murphy’s sister, goes missing, he knows the police won’t go looking for her, seeing as they don’t search for most Black kids that go missing from the projects. To make matters worse, the local news picks up the story of his sister’s disappearance and twists it into a scandal. Despite the mountain of obstacles in his way, Jay is determined to find his sister in this gripping and authentic mystery about race and the dangerous power of stereotypes.

An emotional and heartfelt mystery about redemption

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby book cover

“Razorblade Tears” by S.A. Cosby, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $20.10

In this emotional thriller, Isiah and Derek are married and when they’re both found murdered, their fathers each get a knock on the door with the terrible news. Fathers Ike and Buddy are flawed ex-cons with little in common besides their love for their sons, determination to find out who killed them, and a thirst for revenge.

An engrossing mystery that demands to be read in a single sitting

The Push by Ashley Audrain book cover

“The Push” by Ashley Audrain, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.20

In this tense tour-de-force mystery, Blythe Connor wants nothing more than to be the mother she never had, but struggles to make a connection with her young daughter, convinced that something is wrong with her. After Blythe’s son is born, she feels all the maternal love and instincts she’s always longed for, but when her family’s life changes in an instant, Blythe is left struggling to find out what really happened, even if that means confirming her worst nightmares.

An exciting mystery novel by an iconic horror writer

Billy Summers by Stephen King book cover

“Billy Summers” by Stephen King, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.98

Though Stephen King is certainly most well-known for his sensational horror novels, “Billy Summers” is a crime thriller/mystery novel about a man who is an assassin for hire, but only if the target is a bad person who deserves to die. Billy is ready to retire and preparing for one final job, but no matter what he does to prepare, it seems nothing is going how it should.

A romantic and highly suspenseful mystery

Verity by Colleen Hoover book cover

“Verity” by Colleen Hoover, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.99

When bestselling author Verity Crawford is injured in a terrible accident, her husband hires a young and struggling writer, Lowen Ashleigh, to finish Verity’s highly anticipated series. While sorting through notes in Verity’s office, Lowen uncovers a hidden autobiography, full of terrible secrets — including the truth behind her daughter’s death. Deciding to keep the devastating manuscript from Verity’s husband, Lowen begins to search for the truth when it seems everyone has their own secrets.

A bestselling mystery novel

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown book cover

“Angels & Demons” by Dan Brown, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.94

“Angels & Demons” is the first book of the “DaVinci Code” series, which begins when world-renowned symbologist, Robert Langdon, is called to help solve the murder of a physicist who was discovered with a strange symbol seared into his chest. As Robert begins to investigate, he uncovers an elaborate plot against the Catholic Church by the Illuminati.

A classic gothic mystery book

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier book cover

“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.19

First published in 1938, “Rebecca” is a classic mystery story where the unnamed narrator is swept off her feet by a wealthy and famous man named Maximilian de Winter, whose Cornwall mansion is even more famous than he is. When the narrator arrives at the mansion, she soon discovers that the ghostly presence of her husband’s late wife is nearly impossible to escape — and slowly uncovers Rebecca’s story in this mystery of layered revelations.

A murder mystery featuring a vigilante antihero

Win by Harlan Coben book cover

“Win” by Harlan Coben, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.50

When a recluse is found murdered in his New York City apartment, the FBI discovers a clue that not only gives them a lead, but links the crime to two other cold cases including the robbery and kidnapping of an heiress 20 years ago. The clue leads the FBI to Windsor (“Win”) Horne Lockwood III, who has no idea how his family’s stolen painting could have ended up at a crime scene, but is determined to use his personal connections and limitless fortune to solve the dangerous case.

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