Cyber Monday: Perfect Gifts For The Book Lover

Today is cyber Monday, and I thought a post about the perfect gift for the reader in your family might be in order.  Each of the books I will suggest here were published in 2015.  And, for honesty's sake, I'll admit that I know each of these authors. That said, I wouldn't recommend these books just because I know the authors.  My recommendations come from the quality of story-telling and the entertainment value.

Every now and then a book comes along that reminds you why you fell in love with books to begin with. Burning Time, by Bob Strother, is just that sort of book. Lots of people write books, but very few writers achieve the elegance of phrasing that turns a simple story into a beautiful tapestry of experience for the reader. After finishing this book (in less than two days), I found the next few books I read paled in comparison. I can’t say enough about the beauty of this novel.  In Burning Time, we meet Louise, at age 8, on the morning of her brother Henry’s birth. Affected by the overheard pain of her mother’s labor, she vows to never have a child and promises her tiny brother that she will protect him forever. The story follows Louise through her youth and early adulthood, as she always finds ways to protect her brother and even her mother. Her family is loving, except for an abusive father, so once he’s out of the picture, life seems perfect. And it is until tragedy strikes her grandparents.

The Perfect Son, by Barbara Claypole-White, drops us into the life of a family on the verge of tragedy.  Ella, the rock of the family, suffers a heart attack, leaving her husband, Felix, to cope with their teenaged son, Harry.  Harry has Tourettes, and Felix kept his distance, always letting Ella handle everything necessary to give their son what he needs when he needs it.  Claypole-White excels at stories where a character suffers from a disease many of us do not know or understand.  In this heartwarming and heart-wrenching story, she uncovers the mysteries of Tourettes and the temptations of a mother to protect her son. The changes in their lives as Ella's health worsens draw Felix closer to his family and awakens a new relationship between a son and his father.

I had the honor of helping John Huddle edit his memoir, Locked In.  This haunting story takes you into the world of an organized cult.  John candidly shares how he and his family were drawn in bit by bit.  He reveals the elements of a frightening cult and how he finally broke free from this bondage.  Although, this is a disturbing story, I think everyone should read it in order to become aware of the simple, and often innocent, methods in which many people find themselves drawn to cults. In a world where the millennial generation is looking for acceptance within a group instead of finding their own identities, this story reveals how easily your own children could be drawn in to disaster.

The three books above receive my all-time votes for must-reads.  If you're looking for something lighter and fun, I suggest the following options:

For mystery lovers, try Susan Boyer's Liz Talbot mystery series set in the Charleston, SC area:
Lowcountry Boneyard
Lowcountry Bordello
(be sure to check out the earlier books in this series, too)

For the Elvis fan in your life, try Phil Arnold's hilarious and light-hearted look at the question, "What if Elvis didn't die?", Big E and the Santa Man.

And, of course, if you like fantasy, anything by the following three authors is a definite yes in my book:
Faith Hunter
David B. Coe
D B Jackson

What books do you recommend this year?
(In the spirit of the season, please recommend other authors, not yourself.)


Thank you so much for including the Fitzwilliam family. Thrilled!
Barbara, I was thrilled to include it. Truly a masterpiece!
Bob Strother said…
Thanks so much, Barbra, for the wonderful review of Burning Time. For an author, there is no greater pleasure than knowing you've reached out to the reader and had an impact.
Susan M. Boyer said…
Thank you so much for including Lowcountry Bordello and Liz Talbot's other adventures! Several of the others are very familiar, but you've given me a new idea or two as well. Merry Christmas!
Bob, it was a pleasure to share your story with others. I really loved your book!
Susan, I'm thrilled that so many people are getting the chance to read about Liz and her investigations. I was glad to share your books.

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