My All-Time Favorite Books And Go-To Book Recommendations (Of All Genres)

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I figured since I just posted a list of my all-time favorite thrillers, I would just do a list of my all-time favorite books in general! This has some thrillers on it but since those have a whole post I wanted to only have my very favorites on this list.

This includes all of my favorite books from all genres from thriller to dystopian and YA romance to solo female travel memoirs and everything in between.

It has adult books, YA books, graphic novels, middle-grade, everything. I’ve read everything. on this list (obviously since they’re my favorites) and as I was going through old posts to put the list together, because I can never remember more than two of these at a time, almost all of them had a comment like “I loved this one so much!” or “this is one of my favorite books ever!”

I know not everyone will love all of these, too, but this is just my personal list of favorite books ever and I want them all in one place so when people ask for book recommendations, I have them ready.

So here you have it, all of my favorite books! And I will update this as I find new books I love.

  • If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free.  Get that Audible deal here.
  • If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd!  You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot. Sign up for Scribd here!
  • Shop my collection of bookish goodies on Etsy! These aren’t my shop items, but other shops I’ve curated into a book-themed collection. Shop my Etsy bookish goodies here!
  • If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
  • Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Shop BookOutlet here!
  • Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
  • Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.
  • Shopping internationally? Check out Book Depository!

It Came from the Sky

This is the true account of the time aliens invaded Lansburg, Pennsylvania and the chaos that followed. Except there were no aliens and Gideon Hofstadt knows why. Because one of his science experiments got out of control and his brother blamed extraterrestrials. Things got out of hand from there and the hoax flourishes.

Sea of Tranquility

Edwin St. Andrew arrives in Canada at eighteen where he enters the forest and hears a violin in an airship terminal.

Two hundred years later, Olive Llewellyn writes a strange passage in her book about a man playing his violin for change in an airship terminal as the trees rise around him.

Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is a detective in the Night City on the moon and hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness. Along the way, he uncovers a series of upended lives.

Boy 21

Basketball has always been Finley’s escape from Bellmonyt, his hometown run by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. He takes care of his disabled grandfather at home and is called “White Rabbit” at school since he’s the only white boy on the basketball team. His dream has always been to somehow get out with his girlfriend Erin.

Russ’s life has been turned upside down by tragedy when they move into the neighborhood. Away from everyone he knows, he now only answers to Boy21, his former jersey number, and has an unusual obsession with outer space. In their final year of high school together, Boy21 may be the answer they both needed.

The Muse

Odelle Bastien gets a job at the Skelton gallery in London in 1967 and knows her life will change forever.  She struggled to find her place in London after moving from Trinidad five years before, but she knows her life is about to change when she accepts the job as a typist under the glamorous Marjorie Quick. 

While Marjorie helps her unlock her confidence and find her place, she becomes lost again when a masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

Back in 1936 in rural Spain, we find out the history of the painting with Olivia Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, has secret ambitions of her own. 

Soon we meet Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa who weave themselves into the Schloss family with explosive and devastating consequences.  This is one of my favorite books ever. 

Life As We Knew It

Shock and awe turn to fear not long after the moon is hit by an asteroid and knocked closer to Earth. Miranda, her mother, and her two brothers do their best to prepare before they retreat to the unexpected safe haven of the sunroom where they weather the storms and say goodbye to life as they knew it.

No Exit

Darby is on her way to see her dying mother back home in Utah when she gets caught in a blizzard in the Colorado mountains. She’s forced to wait out the storm at a rest stop with four total strangers.

Trying to find a signal to call home, Darby goes to the parking lot and instead finds a little girl locked in an animal crate in the van parked next to her.

Now she is determined to find a way to get the girl out of the van and escape since one of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. She has to decide who she can trust now.

The Sundown Motel

Every small town like Fell, New York has a place like the Sundown Motel, especially back in 1982. Some guests are out-of-towners and others are locals trying the hide their secrets. Viv Delaney is the night clerk and is determined to uncover all their secrets, but things don’t go as planned and her niece follows her footsteps years later uncovering even more.

The Wood

Winter didn’t want to be the guardian of the wood but she has no choice when her dad vanishes. She has to protect the travelers who accidentally slip through the portals.

The wood is poisoned though and soon the trees are bubbling inky black. Creatures that live there are becoming bolder and torturing lost travelers. With the help of Henry, a young man from eighteenth-century England who knows a little too much about the wood, Winter must find the truth and hopefully those they’ve lost.

Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon

This is part adventure, part education as Paul Rosolie, a naturalist, conservationist, and explorer, takes us into the most remote sections of the Madre de Dios.

His love for the Amazon started in 2006 on his first trip there and over the coming years would return as often as possible. 

He ventured into some of the most inaccessible areas of jungle alone, seeing floating forests, jaguars, poachers, and more.  He raises an orphaned anteater and helps fight to protect the Madre de Dios from developers, oil giants, and gold miners.

Ruthless

Ruth Carver is ambitious, tough, and ruthless, so when she wakes up in a truck bed with a concussion, she will do whatever it takes to get away. 

When the blindfold comes off in a rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, she comes face to face with the man who thinks he needs to teach her a lesson, just like the six girls before.  Ruth escapes into the wilderness, but her captor is hot on her trail and that is when the real battle begins and she has to decide how far she’ll go to survive.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Bee aces school and is promised a trip to Antarctica, but Bernadette, her agoraphobic mother, disappears.  Now Bee sets out to find her on an epic adventure to Antarctica.

The Perfect Stranger

Leah needs to get out of Boston so when her friend Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania together to start over, she jumps at the chance.

Everything starts to fall apart when a woman resembling Leah is assaulted by the lake and Emmy disappears days later.

Leah is determined to find Emmy but along the way, starts to wonder if she ever knew the real Emmy at all.

Ghost Boys

Jerome is just twelve years old and is shot when a police officer mistakes a toy gun for a real one. As a ghost he observes his family, the trial, and the devastation that has been unleashed on them and the community.

Soon he meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a different time but similar circumstances who helps Jerome process what’s happened. He also meets Sarah, the police officer’s daughter, who struggles with her father’s actions.

The Feather Thief

One June evening in 2009, Edwin Rist, a twenty-two-year-old American flutist, boarded a train after performing at London’s Royal Academy of Music.

He was headed to the Tring museum, a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History, which happens to be home to thousands of rare bird specimens with plumes worth staggering amounts of money to people like Edwin: Victorian salmon fly-tyers.

That night he walked out with hundreds of bird skins, some collected 150 years before by Alfred Russel Wallace, a contemporary of Darwin’s who risked everything to get them.

Snapdragon

Rumor has it, Snap’s town has a witch. But Jacks is just a weird old lady that sells roadkill online.

Snap needs a favor from her and starts helping with the strange work when she realizes she may have real magic.

The Mother-in-Law

Diana knew Lucy wasn’t the one for her perfect son from the moment they met. Diana always kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her attempts to win her over. No one had a bad word to say about Diana, a pillar in the community and advocate for female refugees, except for Lucy.

Five years later, Diana is dead with a suicide note near her body claiming she no longer wanted to live with cancer wreaking havoc in her body, but the autopsy only finds traces of poison and evidence of suffocation, no cancer. And Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Pippa Fitz-Amobi’s senior capstone project starts out as an examination of the Andie Bell murder case but quickly turns into a full investigation with the supposed murderers brother who wants to help clear his brother, Sal’s, name.

Things start out innocent enough but quickly go downhill when someone in Fairview decides they don’t want her digging anymore. Now their lives are in danger but they’re determined to get to the bottom of everything.

Sadie

Sadie’s life growing up in a small town, raising her little sister Mattie, hasn’t been easy, but she’s trying her best. But after Mattie is found dead and the investigation is botched, she hits the road determined to bring her sister justice.

West McCray is a radio personality who overhears Sadie’s story in a gas station while working on a story about forgotten towns in America. He becomes obsessed and starts a podcast and tracks Sadie’s journey to try and figure out what happened to her before it’s too late.

Love and Gelato

Lina’s mother is dying and all she wants is for Lina to get to know her father.  In Italy.  But Lina is only sixteen and she really doesn’t want to go.  However, she goes and is given a journal her mother wrote when she lived in Italy. 

Lina meets her charming neighbor, Ren, and they follow her mother’s footsteps around Tuscany and Florence uncovering more than she ever knew about her parents while learning about herself.

The Okay Witch

Moth loves all things witchy but is about to learn they’re not like they are in the movies. When some bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something strange happens. It turns out Moth’s family is at the center of some witchy drama that’s been in Founders Bluff for centuries.

Elsewhere: One Woman, One Rucksack, One lifetime of Travel

Her first life-changing trip was solo to Australia as a young graduate. Over the next 30 years, Rosita became enchanted by travel and visited some of the most remote parts of the world where she carried little more than a beat-up backpack and a diary.

Here are nine journeys from nine different moments in her life spent exploring the world, sharing how these experiences and the people met along the way can shape the course of a life dramatically.

This is another one I’d like to try and read this month!

Sola: One Woman’s Journey Alone Across South America

Amy has left her pleasant narrow life for one rich in experiences with panpipe-playing Zen masters, nighttime jungle boat rides, Incan ruins, Patagonian glaciers, accidental volcano climbs, and even Giardia.

At the center of it all is a quirky surfer with wacky bits of wisdom and one real question: can you ever go home again?

The Ruins

A group of four American friends are on vacation in Mexico when they meet some Greeks, Pablo, Juan, and Don Quixote, and a German, Mathias.

Mathias’s brother is missing after looking for some ruins with an archaeologist he met so the Americans and Pablo set out to look for the ruins and his brother. They get to Coba and what starts as a fun day trip slowly turns into an inescapable nightmare leaving the group hopeless in the jungle fighting the terrifying presence that lurks on the hill.

I loved this one. I understand how people don’t but I loved it, and the ending. So good!

Penpal

I first read this on Reddit NoSleep and I literally couldn’t sleep.  My mom came into my room at like, 4 AM after I had read every part and all the comments and asked why I was up and I actually couldn’t sleep because I was so freaked out.  I re-read this one every couple of years.

In this novel, a man starts investigating a series of unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific events throughout his childhood.  Soon he finds out that these early fragments are really all part of one terrifying story that shaped his entire life, as well as those around him.

Mooncakes

Nova is a teen witch that works at her grandmother’s bookshop, loaning out spell books and investigating supernatural occurrences in their town.

One night she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods and comes across her childhood friend, Tam, battling a demon in the woods as a werewolf.

Together, they take on the dark forces, rekindling their latent feelings.

The Perfect Child

Christopher and Hannah are happily married with everything they could hope for, except for a child. Until six-year-old Janie shows up at the hospital they work at, abandoned. Christopher forms an instant connection with her and Hannah insists they take her home to live with them, but Janie isn’t the perfect child they expect. Far from it.

I’m Glad My Mom Died

Jennette had her first audition at six years old. It was her mother’s dream for her only daughter to be a star. She recounts everything she would do to make her mom happy from restricting food and even being showered by her until she was sixteen and more in this heartbreaking memoir.

Legend

The former United States is now the Republic, a nation always at war with it’s neighbors. June is a prodigy born into an elite family in one of the wealthiest districts. Day was born into the slums and is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motivations aren’t what they seem.

They have no reason to cross paths, at least until the day June’s brother Metias is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect.

Illuminae

Kady thought breaking up with her boyfriend, Ezra, would be the hardest thing she did today but then her planet was invaded and it only got worse. Two mega-corporations are fighting over their inconsequential planet at the edge of the universe and they need to evacuate.

There is a plague and a killer AI and the only person who can help is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

The Rule of One

In a near-future United States, a one-child policy is heavily enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One but Ava and Mira Goodwin slipped through and secretly live as identical twins.

They’ve lived as one for eighteen years but now their worst nightmare is coming true: they’ve been exposed and have to fight for their lives.

The Testing

The Seven Stages of War have left most of the planet a charred wasteland. The elite students of the university are in charge of renewing it and are chosen through The Testing.

Malencia Vale is honored to be chosen for it and eager to prove her worthiness as a student and future leader. But on the night she leaves, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies – trust no one.

How to Hang a Witch

Samantha Mather and her stepmother recently moved to Salem, Massachusetts where they aren’t exactly welcomed with open arms thanks to their last name and its unfortunate connection to the witch trials.

She becomes the target of a group of girls called The Descendants, yes of the other side of the witch trials. As if that weren’t enough, she also encounters a ghost.

A cute but angry ghost. Soon they discover that Sam is at the center of a centuries-old curse and now she has to find a way to get along with the ghost and The Descendants to help break that curse before it’s too late. I just read this and I loved it! If you want a witchy book that takes place in Salem, this is a great choice.

Educated

Tara was raised in Idaho by survivalists. Her childhood was tumultuous at best, full of injuries, abuse, and almost no education.

Her brother was the first in the family to leave for college and she followed in his footsteps, but it wasn’t a smooth ride. This is the story of her life growing up in a survivalist household and the challenges she faced as she moved out into the world.

The Witch Boy

Aster is 13 and part of a magical family where girls are raised to be witches and boys shapeshifters, but Aster wants to be a witch and still hasn’t shifted.

The other boys are being threatened by a mysterious danger and Aster knows he can help – as a witch. His new, non-magical friend Charlie will help give him the confidence to practice his new skills and truly be himself.

Paper Girls

Four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls in Cleveland, Ohio uncover the most important story of all time the morning after Halloween in 1988.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Things haven’t been good for Mr. and Mrs. Wright for a while so when they win a weekend away in Scottland, it may be just what they need.

They exchange traditional gifts on their anniversary every year and every year she writes him a letter she never lets him read. Until now.

They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage. But they didn’t randomly win the trip. One of them is lying and someone doesn’t want them living happily ever after

Have you read any of these? Which ones? What are some of your all-time favorite books?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a cheesehead at heart currently residing in the Sunshine State. You can probably find me reading, watching Forensic Files, or both.

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