Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gift a Book! (36 Books Worth Giving)

Okay the holidays are here and we are scrambling for those gifts which our loved ones will cherish.  The problem is, most of us have a limited budget and those we buy for already have most of what we can afford.  So think outside the box and start looking between the pages. 
Books are wonderful gifts that give far beyond the holidays. Though, choosing a good book can be tricky.  Most of the time we go along with the lists thrown at us by the bestselling charts, but we aren’t always be confident the recipient will enjoy it or doesn’t already have it. 
So in the spirit of helping you out, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite books (grown up, young adult and children).  Some are well known and some are not.  I have tried my best to give you a brief synopsis (some copied from their Amazon ads and some are my own take).   I have also provided a link to the Amazon page as well as pricing, to make things a little easier.  I used Amazon because I find they tend to have the best pricing, but most of these books are available with other retailers as well.
I wouldn’t be an author if I didn’t include a few of my own titles, but I did limit it to five.  J  I strongly encourage you to include your own suggestions in the comments, for others (myself included) to enjoy. 
Thank you all for being a part of my page this year and I hope many more.  I wish you all a very merry Christmas, happy holidays (however you celebrate them), and a wonderful new year!
Grown up Reads
The Shack by William Paul Young ($20.67 hardcover, $7.20 paperback, & $6.64 Kindle) If you can find someone who hasn’t read this book, then it is a must have.  Mackenzie Allen Phillips's youngest daughter has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in this midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever. (Good for anyone who enjoys mystery, as well as emotional and spiritual tone reading.)
Unchanged by Christy Elkins ($12.56 paperback & $0.99 Kindle) A mutilating disease spreads rapidly across the world, changing most of mankind. Misti longs to find a solution, before it’s too late.  Will she be able to discover a truth which offers healing, or will she simply see that change is inevitable? There will always be those who resist . . . (Good for those who enjoy apocalyptic science fiction, action and mild romance.)
Lilac Hill by Christy Elkins ($8.96 paperback & $0.99 Kindle) Daniel Hardfield is tortured by his past and present. When a horrific murder occurs, he is forced to unravel the truth in a twisted tale of mystery, and deception. Each passing moment is the difference between staying alive and death. What happens when the one thing you fear, truly is fear itself? (Good for those who enjoy psychological thrillers.)
The Goddess Saga by Maria Hammarblad (Paperbacks are under $10 & Kindle under $5) The Goddess series by Maria Hammarblad are wonderfully creative.  A Goddess meets a mortal and falls in love.  They travel the vast realms of space and have wild, nail biting adventures. (Suited for anyone on your list who enjoys science-fiction, fantasy, mythology, or romance.)
Embarkment Series By Maria Hammarblad (Paperbacks are under $10 & Kindle under $5) The Emarkment series by Maria Hammarblad are wonderfully energetic.  An unlikely love between an android and a human; will take you on the edge of your seat adventure. (Suited for anyone on your list who enjoys science-fiction, fantasy, action, or romance.)   
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen ($13.12 paperback & $9.99 Kindle) In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.… (Good for anyone who enjoys magical elements, fantasy, drama and mystery.) 
The Help by Kathryn Stockett ($10.79 paperback & $9.99 Kindle)   Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step to come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times; and sometimes lines are made to be crossed. (Beautifully written.  Good for those who enjoy stories which are moving, funny and just.)
Loves Music Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark ($7.19 paperback & $6.39 Kindle) New York's trendy magazines are a source of peril when a killer enacts a bizarre dance of death, using the personal ads to lure his victims... (Good for anyone who enjoys mystery, thrillers & suspense.)
Silent Night by Mary Higgins Clark ($6.29 paperback & $5.98 Kindle) The "Queen of Suspense," has crafted a very special holiday story about a child's courage in the face of danger, and the power of love. Charged with menace and thrilling suspense, it is the #1 New York Times bestselling author's gift to readers for all seasons. (Suited for those who enjoy suspense, mystery and thrillers…could also be read by those 12 & up in my opinion.)
The Mound by Cullan Hudson & Marilyn A. Hudson ($13.50 paperback & $7.99 Kindle) When a group of strangers converge on an old hotel in a sleepy eastern Oklahoma town to investigate its haunted reputation, no one is prepared for the terror they are about to face. (For those who enjoy paranormal, haunting reads with psychic elements.)
The Hot Flash Club by Nancy Thayer ($12.50 paperback & $9.99 Kindle)  A wise, wonderful, and delightfully witty “coming of age” novel about four intrepid women who discover themselves as they were truly meant to be: passionate, alive, and ready to face the best years of their lives. (I read this book before I was even close to being in this club and still loved it. Good for women who enjoy laughing.)
Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy by Barbara Johnson ($11.47 paperback & $7.99 Kindle) Boomerang blessings.  That's what Barbara Johnson calls the encouraging feedback she has received over the years from readers whose lives have been impacted by the message of this million-copy bestseller. If you need a fresh breath of joy in your life, this book is just the prescription for you. (Good for anyone who needs a laugh in the face of adversity.  This book is almost a self-help guide for showing you how to change your perspective when things aren’t their brightest.)

The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian ($13.52 Hardcover, $10.73 paperback & $9.99 Kindle) Bestselling author Stormie Omartian inspires women to develop a deeper relationship with their husbands by praying for them. This encouraging resource is packed with practical advice on praying for specific areas of a husband's life. (Good for married women of any age.)
Thinner by Stephen King ($7.19 paperback & $5.99 Kindle) When an old Gypsy man curses Billy Halleck for sideswiping his daughter, six weeks later he's 93 pounds lighter. Now Billy is terrified. And desperate enough for one last gamble...that will lead him to a nightmare showdown with the forces of evil melting his flesh away. (Good for those who enjoy horror and suspense.)
The Stand by Stephen King ($13.59 & $6.99 Kindle) Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and tangled in an elemental struggle between good and evil remains as riveting and eerily plausible as when it was first published. (Good for those who enjoy apocalyptic science fiction, suspense, and horror.)
Under the Beetle’s Cellar by Mary Willis Walker ($5.49 paperback & ebook not available) I have to admit this one took me a little bit to get into but once I did I really enjoyed it.  I thought it was going to be a conspiracy theory type situation and I was prepared to be bored but it was actually about an Austin school bus driver and eleven of his young charges being held underground by a religious cult for forty-six days.  It was both nail biting, and tear jerking.  You can’t help but silently root for the driver and kids in this suspenseful tale.  (Good for those who enjoy suspense.)
The Thief of Life Series:  The Chronicles of Daniela by Christi Anna (Paperbacks under $20 & ebooks under $10 most are $0.99) Obviously I am not much of a romance reader, going through my list I suppose I enjoy suspense most of all, but this is a nice romantic series.  It is a vampire themed adventure but not in the usual sense.  These vampires feed on your emotional energy rather than your blood.  The story and characters are easy to get “sucked” into, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.  (Good for those who enjoy paranormal romance.)
No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay ($7.19 paperback & $5.99 Kindle) Fourteen-year-old Cynthia woke one morning to discover that her entire family–mother, father, brother–had vanished. No note, no trace, no return. Ever.  Now, twenty-five years later, she’ll learn the devastating truth.  (Suitable for those who enjoy suspense and mystery.)
Young Adult
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Books range from under $12 for hardcover, under $12 paperback, under $10 Kindle & Under $25 for box sets) Okay, so by now most people know about these books, but just in case you have a reader on your list who has missed one or all of these books, they are a wonderful action adventure to add to anyone’s collection.  (Ages 12 & up)
Bruiser by Neal Shusterman ($13.60 Hardcover, $8.99 paperback, & $8.00 Kindle) There's a reason why Brewster can't have friends—why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained.  (Wonderful coming of age from a male perspective also has elements of mystery. Ages 12 & up)
Parallel by Christy Elkins ($9.95 paperback & $0.99 Kindle) Everything in Luha's world suddenly changes as she discovers that nothing is what she thought. In order to truly understand, she must let go of all prejudice, and come to terms with the deepest secrets in her own heart. What does the future really hold? Is there life after death? Luha asked herself these very same questions; but the answers she found exceeded any comprehendible reality.  (Coming of age story. Ages 14 & up)
Violet Rains Almost Got Struck by Lightening by Danette Haworth ($13.03 hardback, $6.29 paperback, & $4.61 Kindle) Violet’s world is turned upside down when Melissa moves to town from big city Detroit. All of a sudden Violet’s supposed to want to wear makeup, and watch soap operas, and play Truth or Dare! It’ll take the help of Violet’s friends, her Momma, a few run-ins with lightning, and maybe even Melissa, for Violet to realize that growing up doesn’t have to mean changing who you are. (Lovely coming of age story, Ages 8 & up.)
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold ($15.72 Hardcover, $11.26 paperback, & $6.64 Kindle) "My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973." Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, THE LOVELY BONES succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy. (Coming of age.  Ages 14 & up)
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen ($11.26 Hardcover, $8.09 paperback & $6.99 Kindle)  This is a classic romantic comedy reflecting a series of misunderstandings and missed opportunities. But underlying the humor are two teens in transition. They are each learning to look beyond the surface of people, both figuring out who they are, who they want to be, and who they want to be with. (Coming of age.  Ages 10 & up)
Noah’s Mark by Lisa Whitherspoon & Christy Elkins ($13.39 paperback & $4.99 Kindle) Noah's Mark is a refreshing children's book that promotes self-acceptance and confidence.  A portion of the proceeds received on the purchase of this book will be donated to Nevus Outreach, Inc.  (Wonderful children’s book that also gives to charity…two gifts in one.)
Aspen by Christy Elkins  ($14.40 paperback & ebook not available) Aspen is a flower who desperately wants to be a tree. Once she surrenders her own desire for the sake of another, she learns that a little faith can go a long way. (Children’s book.)
Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig ($12.64 hardcover, $6.29 boardbook, & $5.98 Kindle) As soon as the sun goes down, the animals are up! ("Sheep can't sleep. Sheep can't sleep. Sheep can't sleep 'cause they got that beat!") Before long, there's a giant farmyard dance party, complete with funny animal sounds. But what happens when all the racket wakes up Farmer Sue? (Perfect for toddler and preschooler read-alouds.)
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park (These books range from $15 to $4 for both paper back and ebook and about $85 for a box set) There are several books in this series and I for one adore them.  There are mixed reactions among other mother’s I’ve known who’ve read them though.  I find them funny and charming, but some mom’s think Junie is simply naughty.  To me she has a colorful way of seeing the world and is honest in her reactions.  Super fun to read for both grown-ups and kids. (Children’s book 4 & up.)

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Silver Burdett ($14.70 Hardcover, $7.75 paperback, & $6.99 Kindle) Last Sunday, Alexander's grandparents gave him a dollar -- and he was rich. There were so many things that he could do with all of that money! (Fun children’s book that is good for readers of all ages.)

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein ($15.63 hardcover w/ CD & $11.35 Kindle) "Once there was a tree . . . and she loved a little boy." So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.  (A beautiful gift for any age.)

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein ($15.06 hardcover, & ebook not available) Shel Silverstein's masterful collection of poems and drawings is at once outrageously funny and profound. (Fun, creative children’s book of poetry, good for all ages.)

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein ($15.33 hardcover & ebook not available) Another humorous book of poetry;  cheeky, clever and often darkly subversive, the poems are vintage Silverstein, presented in a black-and-white format that duplicates his earlier books. Silverstein's cartoons and poems are humorously seditious, often giving voice to a child's desire to be empowered or to retaliate for perceived injustice. (Children’s book of poetry, good for all ages.)
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein ($15.25 hardcover & ebook not available) “A genius ... his is an enduring influence which resonates beyond words.  Rare to find an adult who can still think like a child.” ---The New York Times (Children’s book of poetry, good for all ages.)
Edna’s Tale by Lisze Bechtold ($24.00 hardcover & ebook not available) Edna has the longest, most fantastically fluffy tail in the neighborhood. It is a sight to behold. Proud of her tail — very proud of it — Edna heads out to the neighborhood party to show it off to the new cat, who is rumored to have a fantastic tale himself. (Fun children’s book.  Ages 5 to 8)
What Will Fat Cat Sit On by Jan Thomas ($11.03 Hardcover & $9.99 Kindle) What will Fat Cat sit on? The pig? (Oink!) The chicken? (Cluck!) How about the dog? (Grrrr.)  This book is fun to read and sure to make your little ones giggle.  (Children’s book Ages 8 and under)
Can You Make a Scary Face by Jan Thomas ($10.33 Hardcover & ebook not available) This exuberant, interactive picture book starring a bossy little ladybug and a GIANT hungry frog will have kids leaping up and down and out of their seats to dance and make silly scary faces of their own. (Children’s book Ages 8 and under.)