Looking for some fantastic books for your next book club selection? This list includes a wide variety of books ranging from subjects that are thought-provoking, to historical, comedic, fantasy, suspense, and even some romance!
Do you love getting lost in a good book?
I’m always on the hunt for a great read, so let me know some of your favorites in the comment section down at the bottom of this post!
My love of reading began way before I could read on my own.
I can remember sitting on my parents’ laps while they would read to me.
My mom took me to our library every week to bring home a new stack of books.
And I do mean a stack!
I seem to remember the library limiting us to 20 books each trip, and guess how many we would bring home…
Once I learned to read on my own, we continued those weekly trips and I’d go through about 10 new books per week.
You see, we lived in a very rural area where there were no children my age to play with nearby.
So I spent my time with the characters I met in my books: Ramona, Stuart Little, Encyclopedia Brown, Betsy, Laura Ingalls, and my favorite: Anne (of Green Gables, of course!), to name just a few.
As I got older, I had less time to read, but it’s always been a priority for me.
It’s how I unwind before bed and my favorite thing to do on a beach.
A few years ago, I started a book club with some other moms, and we’ve connected so much over the years while discussing books (with a healthy amount of talking about life)!
Choosing Fantastic Books for a Book Club
Over the past few years, we’ve read a lot of fantastic books!
We’ve also read a few duds…
Although that was mostly in the beginning.
One thing we’ve learned: our tastes in books are not high brow.
That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy books that can lead to a great discussion.
But life is busy.
So when we have time to read, we want it to be something enjoyable.
That we don’t have to s-l-o-g our way through.
Just because the book is recommended for book clubs.
After universally disliking several of those “book club” kinds of books, we decided to go a different route.
We chose books by some of our favorite authors.
And we stopped worrying so much about the genre.
During the summer months, we went for beach reads.
Last year, when we ended up meeting virtually for a while, we chose much lighter fiction.
Real life was challenging enough.
Some of the members had never considered anything in the fantasy genre and discovered they loved it!
In fact, our book club selections have all been pretty amazing, which is why I’m sharing them with you.
After all, isn’t that what good friends do?
Speaking of being a good friend, if you’re a member of Amazon Prime (and who isn’t these days?!?), are you taking advantage of the Amazon First Reads program?
Each month you can select one book for free from a variety of books that will be officially released the next month!
I’ve read some great books thanks to this program.
Wait to choose your book until around the 20th of the month so you can check out the reviews first…
Great Book Ideas for Your Book Club
If you’ve made it this far, then you probably know that some of the books suggested below aren’t on your typical book club list.
However, a few of them are!
One of the hardest parts for our club each month is narrowing down to just one selection.
A few of these titles have been in the running but didn’t get chosen.
But they looked so good that I read them anyway.
Some of these books are being offered at a great price at the time I’m writing this post, so be sure to grab them while they’re on sale!
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the books our club has read over the last two years!
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Click on each book below to read the complete description.
An artist is attacked and left for dead in her home. She’s not sure who she can trust. Her number one suspect behind the attack? That would be her well-connected husband, who’s running for governor. Lots of twists and turns make for a fun fast read.
I’ve loved John Grisham’s books from the very first one I read back in 1991 (The Firm). There’ve been a few where he lost his way, but overall they’re so good! This is the third of his books featuring the lawyer Jake Briggance. This time he’s defending a 16-year-old boy who’s accused of murdering a local deputy. The story is fantastic and as always, makes you think.
This is one of those fantasy genre books I was talking about and it’s, um, spicy! Be forewarned: this is the first in a series and you’re liable to get sucked in… There’s a girl who’s living behind a veil in anticipation of her ascension to live among the gods. The entire kingdom’s fate rests on her shoulders. Enter a new guard who both angers her. And tempts her…
Don Tillman, a genetics professor (who reminds me a lot of the character Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory), decides it’s time to find a wife. He approaches the task scientifically and you can probably guess how that turns out… This was such a fun read that had me actually laughing out loud! But while it’s lighthearted in its delivery, it also addresses a variety of topics including love, friendship, loyalty, and the struggle of fitting in.
Imagine you’re a flight attendant and you meet a cute guy on a flight to another country. You connect at the hotel and have a wild night of partying. The next morning, you wake up a little hungover and discover that the guy you met has been murdered. But you don’t remember a thing. That’s how this book starts and it goes full throttle all the way til the end!
Yes, this is a fun beachy kind of read, but the plot gets you thinking and resulted in a great discussion at our club. Have you ever seen the movie, Same Time Next Year? The concept is the same for this novel: a couple spends just one romantic weekend a year together for 28 summers. The book tells their story with each chapter chronicling each year. There’s a fun paragraph at the start of each chapter that took us all down memory lane, recounting the highlights of what’s going on in the world during that year. I still have mixed feelings about how this story plays out, but it was a great read.
The PTA president at an elementary school is charged with the attempted murder of another mom at the 5th grade graduation party. But did she do it, or was she framed? Follow along with the defense attorney as she unravels the truth. Everyone in our book club has either worked at a school or been involved somehow with the PTSO so this was a fun read!
Sometimes we find an author who we really enjoy and end up reading several of their books for our book club!
Just your basic Freaky Friday kind of story, but this time it’s two moms who get switched. One is a working mom who is a productivity consultant. One is a Pinterest-perfect stay-at-home mom. Follow along as they each begin to appreciate the other’s life and enjoy the craziness that ensues as they try to navigate a world they each find extremely challenging. Too often us moms are pitted against one another for the choices we make beginning with how we give birth! But we’re all trying to do our best for our kids. This book was a great reminder that what’s “best” isn’t the same for everyone.
Another book by Kelly Harms that explores motherhood but this time she delves into the life of a single mother. Amy is overworked and feeling underappreciated after her husband leaves her and is living on the other side of the world. When he comes back and offers to take the kids for the summer to reconnect with them and give her a break, she ends up in New York City staying with a friend. Follow along as she rediscovers who she is and has to make a difficult decision at the end of the summer.
This might be my favorite book from 2020! And that’s saying a lot… I read over 40 books in 2020! Evelyn Hugo is an aging movie star who has decided to tell her story to a specific reporter for a magazine: her whole story. The book travels from the 1950s when Evelyn first becomes famous through her decision to leave Hollywood in the 1980s. Her story is intrinsically tied to the seven husbands she marries through those years. Taylor Jenkins Reid is truly masterful at telling a story and this book was so hard to put down!
We all enjoyed the Evelyn Hugo book so much that it was easy to choose our book for the month when Malibu Rising was released! Set in August 1983 at an infamous, star-studded annual party hosted by four siblings in Malibu. Each sibling is struggling with something in their personal lives. By the end of the party, the mansion will be in flames and the family’s secrets will all be revealed. The novel goes back and forth in time to chronicle how each sibling arrives at the situation they’re in the night of the party. Interestingly, their father is one of Evelyn Hugo’s 7 husbands and is a key character in this novel. This is another one I was sad to see come to an end!
Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love. There’s nothing deep or particularly earth-shattering in this book. But it’s a fun read. A great escape from reality. Basically, everything you want in a summer beach read. With a charming message thrown in for good measure.
The book begins with a car accident that leaves one character dead at the end of the summer. The story is told from a variety of characters’ points of view from the beginning of the summer until the night of the accident, and you’re kept guessing who is in the car throughout. On the one hand, it’s a light summer read taking place in a beach town in New England complete with a “mom squad” who you hear from as well. But there are some pretty big secrets being kept by the main characters and issues that will have to be resolved by the end.
Love a good psychological domestic thriller? Then this book is one for you! I love this genre, and this book does it perfectly. The description for the book gives you a clue that there is a pretty big plot twist, so I spent the first half trying to spot it. And when that shoe dropped? My mind was blown! It’s well-written and perfectly paced and will give you lots of topics to mull over at your book club meeting.
The premise for this book was instantly intriguing: what if there’s a library that you access between life and death that’s filled with alternate stories of your life? Each time you make a decision, your life goes in a slightly different direction. When you reach that library you have the chance to step into those alternate lives and see how those choices changed your life. The beginning of this book is extremely depressing but stick with it because the story is so good. The overarching message is one of hope as the main character searches for what makes a life fulfilling and worth living.
After a devastating hit-and-run accident, a stranger steps in and promises to take care of everything. The fixer for a high-powered guilty party makes an offer Holly can’t refuse. The price for never having to worry about money again? Silence. The story is told by a variety of narrators and goes back and forth in time. And watching all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place makes for a great read. How far will each person be willing to go to bury the truth? What is a life actually worth?
This book is touted as a “modern and twisty retelling of Jane Eyre.” While there are some similarities, the story remains fresh. Jane has lost everything and is given the opportunity to move across the country to become the tutor of a wealthy man’s teenage daughter. Evan Rochester is wealthy and a driven entrepreneur whose wife disappeared into the Pacific Ocean and is assumed dead. He’s been accused of murdering her, but there’s no proof. Of course, Jane finds herself falling for him! But what’s going on with the ghostly presence who seems to be haunting her? What really happened to his wife? And is figuring out the truth really worth it? It’s another fun read with lots of twists and turns.
I don’t want to give anything away! A young novelist, Jacob Finch Bonner, who looked to have a promising future has never had another successful book. He begins teaching future writers and one of his students shares an idea for a plot that is a “sure thing.” But that student’s book is never published. Jacob does a little digging and discovers the student died. He decides to write a book using that plot and his life will never be the same. Be ready for a fast-paced read with several significant plot twists. Set aside a chunk of time because you’re not gonna want to put this one down!
A 12-year-old surfing idol goes to Girl Scout camp one summer and never returns. Her body is found 3 months later around the same time that another child in the area is kidnapped. This book is a typical crime novel featuring a former FBI profiler who has just returned to the town and is drawn into the investigation. Not your typical book club read, but one we all enjoyed nonetheless.
This brings me to a more traditional book club selection! We do enjoy these types of books too. This book is just beautifully written and is set on the coast of North Carolina in an area where we’ve all vacationed. Follow the life of the Marsh Girl who has virtually raised herself with the help of the wilderness. It’s a story about love, loss, survival, resiliency, prejudice, loneliness, and ultimately strength. Plus there’s a plot twist. We just loved this book and I’ll bet you will too.
This book is set in a time that is filled with so many compelling stories. This story is about women who played a vital part in the resistance during World War II. The author weaves together the stories of these women, the British leader of this ring of female agents, and an American woman who is widowed because of the war. It is a riveting look into a pivotal time of history that showcases the heroic and courageous women who made a difference in our world.
A tale of two women who become neighbors, and how jealousy and ambition can become dangerous for everyone in their orbit. The book’s description begins: “Welcome to the neighborhood. Watch your husband, watch your friends, and watch your back.” It’s a domestic thriller that will hook you early and keep you turning pages until the wee hours.
Cleo McDougal is a US Senator who is considering running for President. Then an old friend from high school writes a scathing op-ed piece about her that goes viral. It’s time for damage control and Cleo’s private “regrets list” comes to light. Her campaign manager decides she should pick 10 regrets and make public amends in a media blitz. She reluctantly faces her past and makes peace and amends and becomes more empowered to open up to the things that matter the most.
A tale of two sisters. A woman believes her sister has been dead for 15 years, a victim of a terrorist attack. Until one night when she sees her on the TV news. She travels across the world to find her sister in New Zealand where they have to face the past and the trauma that led one of them to disappear and reinvent herself. This family drama examines sisterhood, family, and how those deep-rooted bonds impact us.
A Manhattan lawyer is on-track to fulfill all the goals in her five-year plan. On the night after her boyfriend proposes she goes to sleep, but when she wakes up she’s in a different apartment, in bed with a different man, wearing a different ring. The TV is on and the date on the TV is five years in the future. She falls asleep and when she awakens again she is back in the life she knew. Was it a dream? Her logical self assumes so until 4-1/2 years later she meets the same man from her dream. The book is a beautiful love story about friendship and destiny.
What’s a book club without a little dystopian lit? We all loved the Hunger Games trilogy, so when Suzanne Collins released a book set at the 10th annual Hunger Games featuring a young Coriolanus Snow, we had to give it a read. It did not disappoint! Get a glimpse into how the Hunger Games began and everything that shaped the President Snow we meet 63 years later when Katniss volunteers as the tribute of District 12.
This novel of historical fiction takes place in the 1860s at the beginning of the Carnegie empire. An Irish immigrant finds herself in dire circumstances and becomes a lady’s maid in the home of Andrew Carnegie. While working in his home, they fall in love, but then she disappears. He searches for her and the things he learns are perhaps what caused him to transform from a ruthless industrialist to one of the first philanthropists.
By now you probably noticed that our book club enjoys psychological thrillers… This one was a great read! It explores the friendship of four women that began when they were students at a boarding school. They were inseparable and known for playing “the lying game” where they would lie to fellow students and faculty about all sorts of things. The game had consequences when they were all expelled during their last year at school because of mysterious circumstances related to the death of a teacher. They are reunited as adults when a body is found in the marsh near the school and they have to come to terms with what happened while they were students.
Just as we enjoy those thrillers, historical fiction is another favorite. This novel is the untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph. The novel is a sweeping story that begins when she is just a child and follows her to France and back as she devotes her life to her father and his reputation. Her sacrifices shape his political legacy and even the nation. This book is so well-researched and the story is fascinating. While the authors take some liberties and this is a fiction novel, it all feels so plausible! We all wanted to take a trip to Monticello when we finished this one.
In 1714 a desperate young woman makes a deal with the devil: she’ll live forever, but she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. As soon as she is out of sight, she is forgotten. The implications of that curse could be devastating, but Addie LaRue lives a life filled with adventure, sometimes having affairs that last for months with people who believe they’ve just met her each day. The book spans centuries, cities, and continents as she tries to leave her mark on the world any way she can. Then, in 2014, she meets a young man and he remembers her name… We haven’t discussed this one yet, but it’s one of my favorite choices from 2021!
Have I mentioned any books you’ve loved too?
Are there any books we should add to our list to read in 2022?
Tell me your favorites in the comment section below!
If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!