Sometimes you just need a really good book to distract you from whatever is going on in either your world or the world in general. For some people that means a thriller, for others it means an involving historical fiction tale. Other times it’s a light and frothy story that is just well written and involving. Whatever you are looking for I have a list of 20+ page turning books to pick from when you need a good book.
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Page Turning Books
In no particular order
The Hunger by Alma Katsu – (read my review)
- Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy…or the feelings that someone–or something–is stalking them. Whether it’s a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.
Ms. Katsu has a new book out featuring the Titanic called The Deep. I hope to read it. I have read all of her books and enjoyed them and she writes in a genre that I don’t read all that often. She is a very talented writer.
What Blooms from Dust by James Markert (read my review)
- Just as Jeremiah Goodbye is set to meet his fate in the electric chair, he is given a second chance at life. With the flip of a coin, he decides to return to his home town of Nowhere, Oklahoma, to settle the score with his twin brother Josiah. But upon his escape, he enters a world he doesn’t recognize—one that has been overtaken by the Dust Bowl. And the gift he once relied on to guide him is as unrecognizable as the path back to Nowhere.
Mr. Markert also wrote Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel which was also a very good read.
Doc by Mary Doria Russell (read my review)
- Born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday arrives on the Texas frontier hoping that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Soon, with few job prospects, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally with his partner, Mária Katarina Harony, a high-strung, classically educated Hungarian whore. In search of high-stakes poker, the couple hits the saloons of Dodge City. And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman named Wyatt Earp begins— before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology—when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety.
I also enjoyed Ms. Russell’s book The Women of the Copper Country
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (read my review)
- The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
Ms. Morgenstern’s new book, The Starless Sea came out this year and I have it and can’t wait to read it.
The Promise by Ann Weisbarger (read my review)
- Young pianist Catherine Wainwright flees the fashionable town of Dayton, Ohio, in the wake of a terrible scandal. Heartbroken and facing destitution, she finds herself striking up correspondence with a childhood admirer, the recently widowed Oscar Williams. In desperation, she agrees to marry him, but when Catherine travels to Oscar’s farm on Galveston Island, Texas—a thousand miles from home—she finds she is little prepared for the life that awaits her. The island is remote, the weather sweltering, and Oscar’s little boy Andre is grieving hard for his lost mother. And though Oscar tries to please his new wife, the secrets of the past sit uncomfortably between them.
ANY of the books by Ann Weisbarger are pageturning truth be told.
The Hollows by Jess Montgomery (read my review)
- Ohio, 1926: For many years, the railroad track in Moonvale Tunnel has been used as a shortcut through the Appalachian hills. When an elderly woman is killed walking along the tracks, the brakeman tells tales of seeing a ghostly female figure dressed all in white.Newly elected Sheriff Lily Ross is called on to the case to dispel the myths. With the help of her friends Marvena Whitcomb and Hildy Cooper, Lily follows the woman’s trail to The Hollows―a notorious asylum―and they begin to expose dark secrets long-hidden by time and the mountains.
The first book in this series, The Widows was just.as.good
Between Earth and Sky by Amanda Skenandore (read my review)
- On a quiet Philadelphia morning in 1906, a newspaper headline catapults Alma Mitchell back to her past. A federal agent is dead, and the murder suspect is Alma’s childhood friend, Harry Muskrat. Harry—or Asku, as Alma knew him—was the most promising student at the “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father, where Alma was the only white pupil. Created in the wake of the Indian Wars, the Stover School was intended to assimilate the children of neighboring reservations. Instead, it robbed them of everything they’d known—language, customs, even their names—and left a heartbreaking legacy in its wake.
I also found Ms. Skenandore’s second book, The Undertaker’s Assistant to be very good.
The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron (read my review)
- Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved woman begins speaking. Of a secret past and castle ruins forgotten by time. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French Resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . .
The second book in the series, The Painted Castle was a good tale too.
Promise by Minrose Gwin (read my review)
- In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that rips through the town of Tupelo, Mississippi, at the height of the Great Depression, two women worlds apart—one black, one white; one a great-grandmother, the other a teenager—fight for their families’ survival in this lyrical and powerful novel
I also read Ms. Gwin’s second book, The Accidentals. It was also good but not as powerful in my opinion as her first.
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash (read my review)
- Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners—the newly arrived Goldberg brothers—white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever work she can find.
The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner (read my review)
- Barely nineteen, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage—as her older sister Alix has done, moving to England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir, Alexander, and once he ascends the throne, becomes empress. When resistance to his reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie—now called Maria—must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.
Mr. Gortner is one of my favorite historical fiction writers. I have read almost all of his books.
The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (read my review)
- When Carly Sears, a young woman widowed by the Vietnam war, receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970, and she is told that nothing can be done to help her child. But her brother-in-law, a physicist with a mysterious past, tells her that perhaps there is a way to save her baby. What he suggests is something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Carly has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage she never knew existed. Something that will mean an unimaginable leap of faith on Carly’s part.
I have Ms. Chamberlain’s next book, Big Lies in a Small Town on my shelf and am looking forward to reading it.
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike (read my review)
- Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world. One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British history, Languoreth ruled at a time of enormous disruption and bloodshed, when the burgeoning forces of Christianity threatened to obliterate the ancient pagan beliefs and change her way of life forever.
The River by Starlight by Ellen Notbohm (read my review)
- Annie Rushton leaves behind an unsettling past to join her brother on his Montana homestead and make a determined fresh start. There, sparks fly when she tangles with Adam Fielding, a visionary businessman-farmer determined to make his own way and answer to no one. Neither is looking for a partner, but they give in to their undeniable chemistry.
The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by Nancy Peacock (read my review)
- I have been to hangings before, but never my own.Sitting in a jail cell on the eve of his hanging, April 1, 1875, freedman Persimmon “Persy” Wilson wants to leave a record of the truth—his truth. He may be guilty, but not of what he stands accused: the kidnapping and rape of his former master’s wife.
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (read my review)
- In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
This is a non-fiction book but it is page turning good.
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (read my review)
- A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.
The Magnificent Mrs. Mayhew by Milly Johnson
- Sophie Mayhew looks like she has the perfect life. Wife of rising political star John F Mayhew, a man who is one step away from the top job in the government, her glamour matches his looks, power, breeding and money. But John has made some stupid mistakes along the way, some of which are threatening to emerge. Still, all this can still be swept under the carpet as long as Sophie ‘the trophy’ plays her part in front of the cameras.But the words that come out of Sophie’s mouth one morning on the doorstep of their country house are not the words the spin doctors put in there. Bursting out of the restrictive mould she has been in since birth, Sophie flees to a place that was special to her as a child, a small village on the coast where she intends to be alone.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was entertaining and well written.
Eliza Waite by Ashley E. Sweeney (read my review)
- After the tragic death of her husband and son on a remote island in Washington’s San Juan Islands, Eliza Waite joins the throng of miners, fortune hunters, business owners, con men, and prostitutes traveling north to the Klondike in the spring of 1898. When Eliza arrives in Skagway, Alaska, she has less than fifty dollars to her name and not a friend in the world―but with some savvy, and with the help of some unsavory characters, Eliza opens a successful bakery on Skagway’s main street and befriends a madam at a neighboring bordello. Occupying this space―a place somewhere between traditional and nontraditional feminine roles―Eliza awakens emotionally and sexually. But when an unprincipled man from her past turns up in Skagway, Eliza is fearful that she will be unable to conceal her identity and move forward with her new life.
Murder in Containment by Anne Cleeland (read my review)
- In this, the fourth installment of the Doyle & Acton mystery series, Detective Sergeant Doyle realizes that several apparently unrelated murders are actually “containment” murders–murders to contain an ominous scandal that could reach into the highest levels of Scotland Yard’s CID. In the process of tracking down the killers, however, she comes to the unsettling conclusion that Chief Inspector Acton has committed a containment murder or two of his own.
The Doyle and Acton series are the only “cop” type books I read. They are well written and very clever.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s.Robin Buss’s lively English translation is complete and unabridged, and remains faithful to the style of Dumas’s original. This edition includes an introduction, explanatory notes and suggestions for further reading.
This is my favorite book of all time. I also enjoyed The Three Muskateers by Mssr. Dumas.