1. The Five Hundred Kingdoms series
Mercedes Lackey is really great at creating romantic fantasy novels that are syrupy sweet. If you want a series of books that are based on fairytales, then look no further than the six titles in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. There’s usually a white horse, a happy ending, and some magic.
2. The Stephanie Plum series
So far, Janet Evanovich has 23 Stephanie Plum novels in the series. Which means you have plenty of material to step into this Nancy Drew-meets-Dog-the-Bounty-Hunter world.
3. Tales Of The City series
A handful of post-hippie romantics rent from a cool drag queen in San Fran. It’s a lovable soap opera in serial novel form — fortuitous coincidences, sassy dialogue, convenient deaths, and romantic cringe humor. It’s the group of lovable post-college friends you’ve always wanted in San Francisco.
4. The Princess Bride
Sure, you can watch the amazing movie version, but if the movie is that good, then imagine how awesome the book is. Come on, do it for Inigo.
5. Gossip Girl
Before the CW spin-off, there was the book that started it all. Plenty of backstabbing, and wealthy Manhattan teens, minus the Blake Lively. (But still, somehow, just as fun.)
6. Sookie Stackhouse series
Vampires, fairies, and the south, oh my! Charlaine Harris’ novel series inspired the HBO show True Blood, but the books are fun, because the show has deviated from them so much. There are way more fairies, and a much more complex Eric Northman.
7. The Other Boleyn Girl
I use the term “historical fiction” loosely, as it does focus on two very real sisters — Anne Boleyn and her somewhat forgotten sister, Mary — but plays pretty freely with the fiction element. Regardless, it’s dark, sexy, and totally worthwhile.
8. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series
Warning: these books have plenty of graphic violence, so this is definitely a series to read once you’re in college or older. And the first book will take about 100 pages to really get good, but once they pick up, it’s nonstop.
9. Bridget Jones’s Diary
This reads as if you’ve just opened your own diary. It’s filled with the cattiness you’d expect to find in your own scribblings, plus a ton of British wit.
10. The Georgia Nicolson series
This is the tween version of Bridget Jones’s Diary, as it follows Georgia Nicolson as she navigates school, boys, and her angst-riddled life in the most hilarious way possible.
11. Valley of the Dolls
This is a fabulously trashy and fun book about three young starlets trying to claw their way to the top in New York City. It’s filled with drugs, pills, porn, and more pills.
12. The Odd Thomas series
Everybody loves an underdog, and you will love this series about a small town fry-cook who talks to dead people. Plus, it’s a page turner, like all great Dean Koontz novels.
Set in a dystopian Chicago, the plot may be borderline absurd — everyone is divvied up into their virtues — but so long as you don’t take the whole societal factions thing too seriously, it’s a very entertaining read.
14. The Anita Blake series
The Anita Blake series started out by focusing on her day job as a supernatural cop, (Think The X-Files, but on crack) and has come to revolve more around her sexual prowess. It’s part supernatural vampire hunter, and part tawdry romance. In other words: it’s awesome.
15. Confessions of a Shopaholic
Most of us have an inner shopaholic, and Sophie Kinsella taps into that often cringeworthy part of ourselves in a very skillful way.
16. The Greatest Knight
Elizabeth Chadwick is the master of blending historical fiction, romance, and intrigue. This particular tale follows William Marshall, who rose in stature after saving the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and subsequently being promoted to tutor the heir to the throne.
Poor Jean “Jinx” Honeychurch can’t seem to catch a break. Even when she moves to New York City to start her life over. In fact, it’s almost as if she’s been cursed… or something… (and it turns out, she may very well have been!)
18. Good in Bed
This is a really great book to read when you’re going through a lot of life changes. Because Cannie does just that when she discovers her ex-beau wrote about their relationship in an article titled, “Loving a Larger Woman.” The shock from her life being so publicized forces Cannie to face her past and finally decide who she wants to become.
19. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a book that really examines the idea of keeping secrets. It’s heartbreaking, and riveting.
20. My Sister’s Keeper
This isn’t a light read by any means. My Sister’s Keeper deals with the question of what you would actually do if your child’s life was in danger, and how far you should go if it means compromising your morals.
21. Along Came a Spider
The Alex Cross detective series started with this novel: Along Came a Spider. Pick up this first book, and delve into the plot twists, and surprise turns that comes with a James Patterson piece.
Historical fiction? Scottish warriors? Loads of sex with Scots? Yes, please.
23. Heat Wave
For fans of Castle, the Richard Castle book series is especially fun. Of course, we all know there is no real Castle… but it’s easy and wonderful to read this series while watching a show where he’s currently working on the book!
24. The Vampire Academy series
The vampire market has been pretty saturated, but this series stands out if only because each new book is better than the last. There’s love, death, torture, betrayal and, naturally, some blood lust.
If I’ve learned anything from Harry Potter, it’s that 12 year olds are pretty awesome. Meggie is no exception, especially when she discovers her father’s talent to bring fictional characters from books to life just by reading a book. It’s surprising and often terrifying when it happens, and all super cool to read.
26. Never Go Back
This is the eighteenth title in the Jack Reacher series, so you may want to start from the beginning. But this latest title, like all of the ones before, includes plenty of action and red herrings to keep you turning to the next page.
27. Flowers in the Attic
The plot can be a bit infuriating — after all, four children are locked in an attic by their own mother — but it’s also heartbreaking. (And SPOILER ALERT: Filled with incest.)
28. Kushiel’s Dart
Read this novel alone. With candles lit. Alone. Mainly because it’s an S&M series, but a very smart one.
29. Summer Sisters
If you’ve ever seen a little movie called Beaches, (and loved it), then you’ll relate to this piece about an unlikely friendship that spans a lifetime.
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