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If you know me or have been following me for a while, you’ll know I love reading and I’ve had a goal for four years now to read 100 books in a year.  I’ve gotten to 95,96, and 90, going on my fourth attempt now.  I read a lot.  And I tend to read the same type of books: travel, YA girly things (think Pretty Little Liars), murder/horror/mystery/thriller, and dystopian things.  This page is for my favorites that I’ve read over the years and gets updated on a semi-regular basis.

I recently discovered Scribd and fell in love.  This is a website/app with over a million books, audiobooks, sheet music, documents, and magazines.  It is $8.99 a month with unlimited reading.  If you’re a voracious reader and devour too many ‘top’ books, they might limit your reading options, but I don’t know how voracious of a reader you need to be for that to happen.  It hasn’t happened to me yet and I think I read seven books in my first month.

A ton of the books on this list are available to read on the app, which is awesome.  I’ve got 132 books saved to read as of writing this and that number is growing quickly.  If you want to try it, you can get two months free here and I would highly recommend it.  I got a free month and will definitely continue to pay for this.

Books About Travel

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

This is probably one of my favorite books.  I read the whole thing in a couple of days.  Young Bee aces school and is promised a trip to Antarctica.  Bernadette, her agoraphobic mother, disappears.  Bee sets out to find her on an epic adventure to Antarctica.

Apologies to My Censor

Mitch is stuck in a rut and decides to apply for a job writing for a newspaper in China.  What starts as a plan for just a year, he finds himself there four years later dancing in a Chinese wannabe pop star’s music video.  We get to follow along on all of his adventures from learning Chinese to experiencing the Olympics.

Today Will Be Different

This is another from Maria Semple (as is Where’d You Go, Bernadette?).  I love her writing style and I finished this in like, two days.  Eleanor Flood decides today will be different.  She will be nice.  She will shower.  She will tackle the little things in life and push her lack of ambition to the side.  Instead, the day takes a wild turn and we’re along for the ride.

Paris, I love you, but You’re Bringing Me Down

Rosecrans Baldwin has always dreamed of living in Paris.  Growing up a self-proclaimed Francophile, when the opportunity to work in Paris arises, he can’t turn it down.  While it may be his dream city, the big move is more challenging than expected, but that doesn’t quell his love for the city.


I think everyone knows Wild, but I was late on the bandwagon.  After her mother’s death and a divorce, Cheryl set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone with no training or experience.  Follow along on her journey of walking with strangers and without boots.

A Walk in the Woods

Head to the other side of the US to follow Bill Bryson’s journey along sections of the Appalachian Trail.  He’s an entertaining guide, teaching you about the history and ecology of the trail, as well as introducing you to some of the hikers of the trail.

Backpacked: A Reluctant Trip Across Central America

This piqued my interest in visiting Central America.  Catherine Ryan Howard invited herself on her friend’s backpacking trip, not sure what she got herself into.  She’s happier reading by a pool and ends up climbing volcanos and throwing up in the street.  This is a funny read.

Happier Than A Billionaire

Another book set in Central America, Nadine and her husband move to Costa Rica.  You get to learn about finding a house, driving, and everything else that happens when you move to Costa Rica.  It’s a lot funnier than it sounds, I promise.


This may look intimidating, and I’ll admit, I got a little lost at some parts, but I LOVE it.  Lin is an escapee from an Australian prison living in Bombay, working in the black market, fighting in wars, and finding love.  The characters are intriguing and enjoyable.  You can laugh and cry during this.

Holy Cow

Another adventure, however much more reluctant, in India.  This is more of a spiritual journey, as in experiencing the countless religions in India after moving there for her husband’s job.  Sarah needs something to do in her free time and goes in search of the meaning of life and death.

The Rope

After living on Lake Powell, I had to read this.  Ann Pigeon takes her first seasonal job at Dangling Rope Marina and goes out hiking on her own.  After waking up in a hole, she has no idea what happened.  After piecing together her memories, she realizes what happens and makes a plan to escape in the hopes of returning to the marina.

Blind Descent

This is another novel starring Anna Pigeon, a National Park Ranger.  This tale takes place in the depths of the Lechuguilla cave system in Carlsbad Caverns.  A friend of Anna’s is in an accident in the depths of the cave and Anna is called in to help solve this mystery and help her friend, only Anna has claustrophobia and has spent her life aboveground for that reason.  Now she is solving two murders above and below ground.

National Geographic Guide to the US National Parks

While the rest of these are for leisure reading, this is a reference book and my favorite at that.  I love this book and bring it every time I go to a national park.  It covers all the parks and tells you about hiking, camping, the best time to visit, what you can see and where.  A great book to go along with it that includes more hikes (but not on all the parks) is the Secrets of the National Parks book.

Finders Keepers

This is for all you archaeology fans out there.  Craig Childs takes us (mostly) to Southern Utah to learn about the looting of Anasazi relics, the debate on proper practice, and sales (legal and illegal) of artifacts around the world.  This is especially interesting if you’re familiar with southeast Utah and the Blanding area.  I blew through this one in two days.

YA Books

The Hunger Games (series)

I’m only what, ten years behind on this?  NBD.  Well, someone left the first book at the lodge and I claimed it.  I think you all know what happens, but Panem is formed in a post-apocalyptic America and forces children to fight for food for their district in the annual Hunger Games.  Don’t want to read it?  Try the movies instead. 

Divergent (series)

I picked this up with no idea what it was about.  The Divergent series takes place in a futuristic Chicago that is split into five factions.  At 16, everyone must choose which faction to live in for the rest of their lives and that decision can change everything.  Beatrice makes the choice and holds a dangerous secret.  You can also try these movies instead if you’re not a reader.


Darcy is off to college but has to put her plans on hold to publish her new teen novel, Afterworlds.  She lands in New York with a contract and nothing else and is taken under the wings of fellow authors.  We also get to read the Afterworlds story, alternating between Darcy’s life and her novel.  This one is kind of long, but I enjoyed it and it’s almost like reading two books at once.

Series of Unfortunate Events

This series is a classic.  I got book 5, Austere Academy, at a book fair in middles school I think.  I read that one and had to read them all.  The Baudelaire children live a dreary life after the unfortunate death of their parents.  Count Olaf, their uncle, is out to steal their fortune any way he can.  If you don’t want the whole series, here’s the first book.  This is also being adapted into a Netflix series.  There are one or two seasons already.

Harry Potter (series)

I’m a little behind here, too.  I saw all the movies when they were first coming out (I don’t remember much after 4 and haven’t finished the books yet, I finished 5, so no spoilers!) Do I even need to describe this?  Doesn’t everyone know HP?  I finally started the books this fall and I love them!  I want to keep reading them, but I don’t want to be done with them.

Pretty Little Liars (Series)

If you’ve seen the show(I’m watching as I write this), you know.  After book four, they get very different.  Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hannah are being tormented by A after their friend Alison goes missing.  The series is about their journey.  It’s ridiculous, but I love it.

The Perfectionists (Series)

By the same author of Pretty Little Liars, four friends in Washington joke around about killing someone, only for him to turn up dead at a party where they played a prank on him.  Someone is framing them, making them look as guilty as possible.

The Lying Game (Series)

The last series by Sara Shepard (the same as above) and also a former TV show.  I watched the show, then it got canceled and I was lost.  Ok not really, but I decided to read the books to find out what happened.  Sutton Mercer is dead and Emma has to take her place and pretend to be her to figure out who did it.

The Amateurs

This is another series by Sara Shepard (can you tell I’m a fan?) but this one is a little different.  A band of Internet friends meets for the first time to look for a killer.  It’s a regular Sara Shepard book with mystery, suspense, murder, and a little romance.  There are two books currently out and a third will be out later in 2018.  If you like Shepard’s other books, definitely, give these a try.

The Heiresses

Yet another Sara Shepard book, this is about the Saybrook diamond heiresses.  The family is cursed and dying off in tragic accidents.  The latest accident is the death of the most remarkable Saybrook.  The rest of the heiresses search for the truth uncovering dark family secrets in the process.  If you like the other Sara Shepard books, you’ll probably like this one.

Fiction Books

Julie and Julia

Julie Powell gives herself a challenge to make all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days.  Through ups and downs of poaching eggs and extracting bone marrow, she pushes on and I won’t ruin it, but it’s full of some bizarre cooking adventures.

The Hidden Staircase

I had to have a Nancy Drew book on this list.  They’re old and easy reads, but every now and then I still enjoy them.  Willie Wharton is missing and it’s Nancy’s job to find him and to solve too many other mysteries.  Only finding the hidden staircase will help.


Set in an unsettling negative Utopia, Big Brother is watching and you’re probably committing thoughtcrime and being sought after by the thought police.  History is rewritten and I don’t even know how to describe this book effectively, it’s just one that you can’t not read.

Gone the Next

Roy Ballard is an insurance fraud investigator going about his job as usual when he thinks he spots a recently missing girl.  He takes investigating upon himself and it ends up being the most important case of his life.

Exposed Darkness

Whether you are a fan of horses or not (like me, usually) this is a great read.  Brooke finds herself in Lexington, Kentucky after a threat of bioterrorism is found.  The Lieutenant governor is murdered and she is sent a video of it happening.  It seems her late husband’s brother is the target and now she is determined to help the FBI solve this case.

Tortured Dreams (Dreams & Reality series)

I read the first book in this series two years ago and loved it.  It’s pretty dark, but I was hooked right away.  I got the first free on my Kindle.  Then a few weeks ago, I found the second (Elysium Dreams) for free as well.  So of course, I got it.  And then I bought the other 9 or 10.  US Marshal Aislinn Cain is part of the Serial Crimes Tracking Unit, called in to track some of the worst serial killers.  She is a sociopath herself and they are all a wild ride.

The Handmaids Tale

I watched this on Hulu before reading it.  (If you haven’t seen it and don’t have Hulu, you can get two weeks free with this link to watch it.) . I really enjoyed reading it though.  Offred is a handmaid for Commander Waterford and his wife in the Republic of Gilead where fertility issues are rampant.  This is the story as told by Offred.  I wasn’t sure about the book before I read it because some of the reviews aren’t great, but after watching the show, I really enjoyed it.

In a Dark Dark Wood

In this psychological thriller, Leonora is invited to a hen weekend in the English countryside.  What is supposed to be a fun weekend turns dark with secrets being dug up from the past.  I really enjoyed this one, but I didn’t think it was near as scary as the cover makes it sound.  It is worth reading though.

Guise of Another

James Putnam is killed in a car accident in Minneapolis, Minnesota (woo!) when a detective whose life is in a downward spiral finds out that isn’t his real identity.  He makes it a personal mission to find out what happened to the real James Putnam years earlier.  When I first started this, I had to push through, but as I read more, I liked it a lot more.

If you’re interested, you can find some of my other favorite things right over on this page, too.

Follow along on Pinterest to see more travel books I’m interested in!