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Top 10 Books (or Series) That Everyone MUST Read

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

If you're like me, you have an endless TBR list with books from every genre. I have compiled a list of books from my personal list of books I've read multiple times, because let's be honest, if you can read a book more than a couple of times, it's got to be amazing, right? All of these books and series are fiction, but they hail from different genres, from Young Adult to Fantasy, from New Adult Romance to Psychological Thrillers. There is definitely something for everyone on this list. So, here we go...

10. House by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti

So, this was a very strange book that I first read at age 17. It is an intriguing culmination of mystery, horror, psychological thriller, and Christian fiction. Yes, I said Christian Fiction. It is a subtle tone that can easily be overlooked unless you're paying close attention, or have the awareness that Ted Dekker writes a lot of Christian Fiction that overlaps into the Mystery/Thriller genre.

It follows a married couple with marital issues who end up stranded somewhere in rural Alabama where they come upon an old Victorian house. After entering, they realize it's haunted by a man called White. It follows their struggles as they learn to confront their inner demons and work through their problems and escape the house.

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This dark classic is not a necessarily easy read for everyone, but I promise it's worth it in the end. It isn't so light-hearted as so many other classics that focus on the matchmaking part of society. Instead, it sheds light on the social and economic differences within one household. Brontë puts under the microscope the ideas of obligation versus love, desire versus need, and blood over choice. It surrounds the trope of forbidden love and longing and forces the reader to consider the idea that happy endings don't always exist, even in books.

This book focuses on the not-so-love story of Heathcliff and Catherine. It is amazing and my all-time favorite classics.

8. The Latvala Royals Series by Danielle Bourdon

This series, starting with Heir Untamed, is easily one of my favorite adult romance series of all time. It isn't all mush, or explicit content which I appreciate. It doesn't need the fluff to be just as impactful. It is laced with suspense, drama, and a little mystery on top of the romance. I even enjoy the political struggles that take place throughout the series and the reader will find themselves questioning the intentions of nearly all of the characters and seconds guessing some of the ones you felt certain about.

The series follow Chey Sinclair, a struggling photographer, who gets the opportunity to shoot the royal family of Latvala. There, she encounters Sander Fisk, the head of the royal security, but he isn't all that he seems. Chey has to navigate interacting with the royal family and juggling her confusing feelings for the mysterious Sander. As the series goes on, things only get more and more interesting. Trust me, you won't want to put this one down.

7. Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

I have a horrible addiction to true crime shows and they continuously fill up my DVR, but I'm not as big of a fan of true crime novels. I prefer fiction when it comes to my personal reading preferences, so the Dexter series really helps fill that hole. Now, many people have probably watched the Showtime series, and I have binged it many times (I'm a big Michael C. Hall fan), but if you haven't read the books (at least the first one), you are definitely missing out!

Lindsay takes us into the mind of a serial killer, delving into his traumatic past and the damage it left inside of him. There aren't a ton of books out there, especially an entire series, that our narrator is also a serial killer. But Dexter Morgan isn't just a normal serial killer. He follows a code, only killing people who deserve it, usually other murderers of innocent people. But working in forensics for the local police department sometimes gets Dexter into a few binds. This is a fun, dark, witty series that you don't want to miss!

6. The Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard

This quickly became one of my favorite series with all of my favorite tropes. Enemies to lovers, love triangle, forbidden love, it's all here in one fantasy-filled package. This story is unique and I did not put it down until I finished all four books and the short story collection along with the extra content. I devoured every single page. Whether you're Team Cal or Team Maven, it will keep you hanging on until the end.

Red Queen follows Mare Barrow, a Red (normal human), who soon discovers she is capable of much more. Thrust into the life of a Silver (the elite class with amazing abilities), she has to learn to navigate an overbearing king, his not-so-nice queen, and two princes who both seem to be vying for her affection on some level. I fell in love with this book and each subsequent one after. If you like Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse or anything of that nature, you will love Aveyard's Red Queen series.

5. Thr3e by Ted Dekker

I'm sure it's obvious that I'm a Ted Dekker fan considering he's making the list twice. But this book cannot be missed by anyone who enjoys thrillers, especially of the psychological variety.

I can't say much about the plot of this book as I don't want to accidentally spoil anything as it truly keeps you guessing right up to the end. But it follows our MC, Kevin, who receives a phone call threatening to blow him up in his car if he doesn't confess his sins to the world within three minutes. He escapes his car before it blows up, but afterward, chaos ensues and the roller coaster doesn't stop until the last page.

4. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

This book typically gets a bad rap from what I've seen and all I can assume is that some readers were expecting something more Twilight-esque, and The Host is nothing like that. Firstly, it's written to gear a little more toward adults, but it's also more heavily science fiction considering it focusing on an alien invasion. That said, this alien invasion is nothing like you've ever read before.

The Host follows a girl named Melanie who gets implanted with an alien life form that is supposed to take over her subconscious mind and essentially snuff her out of existence. Instead, they end up in a mental battle of wills that takes them on a strange journey of self-discovery, love, friendship, and a strange sort of sisterhood. It's seriously good and if you haven't given it a chance, you need to!

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I can't, in good conscience, make a list of must-read books and not include Austen's most popular novel. Pride and Prejudice is the original enemies to lovers that put into place the need for the brooding love interest and the rebellious girl he can't help but fall in love with.

Everyone knows by now the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. They are the unlikely couple because of his elite status and her less than ideal upbringing. Yet, something about Elizabeth appeals to Darcy despite their constant bickering and supposed repulsion for one another. It's a fun, witty romance that encompasses all the things I love about the enemies to lovers trope. Every girl needs a Mr. Darcy, and if you don't know him, just read Pride and Prejudice and you'll quickly understand.

2. The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air Series) by Holly Black

This is a must-read for any YA fantasy lover. It covers so many tropes and I honestly don't know that I've heard much negativity surrounding this book at all. Brooding love interest? Check. Rebellious heroine who is smart and capable? Check. Unmatched wit and sarcasm? Double check.

Jude is a human living in the world of Faerie where she's hated by one of the princes, Cardan. He tortures her endlessly and she doesn't back down from his challenges, always trying to beat him at his own game. But darker forces are at work and when Jude begins to learn the truth, she realizes that nothing is what it seems.

This series is near perfection for me and I will read this over and over without ever growing tired of it.

1. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

How did this book land in the number one spot on my list? Let me just tell you. I have read Beautiful Disaster over twenty-five times in the past three years. I have yet to get sick of it. I absolutely love this book. This book would fall into the New Adult Romance category as it follows college students, so be warned that it does have some slightly descriptive scenes, but nothing that is over the top or horribly inappropriate. But there is a lot of harsh language, just a fair warning.

Beautiful Disaster follows good girl Abby Abernathy as she starts college with her best friend, far away from her haunted past. Wanting to start fresh and stay on the right path, the last thing she needs is to get involved with the campus player, Travis Maddox. An unlikely friendship begins to form between them, flirtatious and playful, but harmless, so Abby thinks. Until a bet rises to the surface and it changes everything.

This is a must-read. I can't stop reading this book over and over again. And to learn that it's FINALLY being made into a movie, I can't tell you how thrilled I am about that. Read this book and I promise you won't regret it.

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