Un-put-down-able books for your summer reading | Modern Mrs Darcy

Every once in a while, I pick up a book that’s so compelling I just can’t put it down until I reach the last page. Sometimes it’s because the book is flat-out amazing; sometimes it’s because the book is good enough and the plot is amazing.

Disregarding the “why” for a moment, I polished each of these 7 books off in less than 24 hours because I couldn’t put them down: 

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell. I finished this one on a weekday afternoon when I was supposed to be working, because all I wanted to do was finish this book. (Interestingly, I also inhaled Rowell’s newest, Landline, which just came out yesterday. But I didn’t like it nearly as much.)

The Sea of Tranquility, Katja Millay. I blew through this novel from my YA summer reading list over the weekend, even though it’s almost 400 pages. If you loved Eleanor & Park, read this next. It’s not a read-alike, but it has enough in common with E&P to make it a safe bet. One of the best books I’ve read this year.

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line: a Veronica Mars Mystery, Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. This wasn’t high literature or anything, but it was so much fun (and had such good narrative drive) I didn’t want to stop until I knew how it ended.

The Likeness, Tana French. I’ve flown through every book in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series—though I’ve enjoyed some more than others—because her mysteries are so darn compelling. Can’t wait for her next one to drop this September.

Rules of Civility, Amor Towles. This gorgeous novel can almost be categorized as literary fiction, which too many readers dismiss as inaccessible. Don’t make that mistake. This Gatsby-esque novel pulls several shocking plot twists, and I definitely didn’t see that ending coming.

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty. This novel had me pinned to the couch for two days (or it might have been just one). It reads like the breeziest chick lit, but has a surprising depth that makes me love it even more.

The Expats: A Novel, Chris Pavone. I just finished this debut novel from my summer reading list last night. I’m not sure if it will stand the test of time (will I be recommending it in a year?) but I read it in a day because I couldn’t wait to find out what happens next. (And it’s possible my introvert batteries needed recharging, too.)

Tell us about the last book (or three) you read that you just couldn’t put down.

P.S. How I find time to read, and why it’s so hard to put down the book and go to bed already.

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  1. Sarah M says:

    I loved Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. I almost *never* read YA fiction (or fiction for that matter) but this was a gem. It also won the Newberry this year.
    I recently finished and loved Father Greg Boyle’s “Tattoos on the Heart”, his memoir about his holistic ministry called Homeboy Industries, that strives to lessen gang violence in deep LA. It was laugh out loud funny and teary throughout….very inspiring and encouraging.
    Sarah M

  2. Sarah, I TOTALLY agree about “Tattoos on the Heart.” I have given that book out as a gift to so many people. My husband finally started reading it last weekend and he loves it too.

    I find Kate Morton’s books unputdownable. “The Winter Sea” by Susannah Kearsley is another one that had me riveted. I also really enjoyed “The Fever Tree” by Jennifer McVeigh — it took a few chapters to get going, but once it did, I was totally in its thrall.

  3. Grace says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you read and loved Sea of Tranquility! So good! I recently just blew through Looking for Alaska by John Green. It was the first book I’ve read by him, and now I’ll definitely be checking out more of his work.

  4. Charlene says:

    I just finished The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling. Loved it! It’s a gritty, private detective mystery, the first of a series. I actually wouldn’t let myself finish it in a couple of days which I easily could have (I stretched it out to four) because I wanted to savor it longer. The next in the series is The Silkworm. Hard to believe that these are by the same author as the Harry Potter books. Could hardly be more different. (If you’re a Tana French fan, you’re gonna love these!)

  5. I have a hard time with fiction, because I can get too involved – I stress out about the characters so much I don’t enjoy my own life! However I love a book where you genuinely want to keep reading and also can’t stop. For example Jodi Picoult’s books are un-put-down-able, but I don’t enjoy the experience of reading them (reading my sisters keeper felt like torture).
    However I read “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell” by Susanna Clarke upon a recommendation in the comments of somewhere, I think from Haley of Carrots at Michelmas, who described it as Harry Potter meets Dickens, and I loved it. Loved reading it and couldn’t put it down, and it’s a huge book. Have you read that one Anne?

    • Anne says:

      A trusted friend recommended Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell but I haven’t gotten there yet. I will! (And it’s going to be a BBC series soon-ish; maybe you’re interested if you loved the book?)

    • kathy says:

      I feel the same way about Jody Picoult. Very painful. Eleanor and Park was too, but I LOVED that book. Just read “The Giver” hated it. Loved “the Language of Flowers”

      • beth says:

        I loved Eleanor and Park, too! And I just read The Giver over the weekend and was so disappointed in the ending! Have you tried Reconstructing Amelia (Kimberly McCreight) or Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn). Again in the painful but beautiful area.

      • Lisa Root says:

        “The Language of Flowers” is one of my favorites. I just finished “ What We Lost to Water,” and it’s fabulous.

      • Lisa Root says:

        “The Language of Flowers” is definitely a favorite, and I just finished “What We Lost to Water.” Highly recommend!

  6. Steph says:

    Believe it or not I had never read the Harry Potter series and I’ve blown through them this summer already. After all that I’m not sure I can pick one of these recommendations up right now…too easy to ignore my life!

  7. Laura says:

    What Alice forgot was one of my favorite books. I also loved th storyteller by Jodi picolt and the husbands secret was very good.

    • Charlene says:

      Yes, I also loved What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret. Liane Moriarity is my new favorite writer. I am sort of off of Jodi Picolt since I read Vanishing Acts. Ugh. Not worth the time and effort on that one.

  8. Julia R. says:

    I simply can’t stop reading a Kate Morton book once I start! I also recently blew through Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen and The Likeness by Tana French.

  9. The latest one for me was a surprise because it was non-fiction. Victim of Grace by Robin Jones Gunn. It’s her story of becoming an author and all the stories in between. I think any writer would love her story and any Christian would be encouraged about how God uses every part of our story to fulfill his purposes. I was really shocked I liked it so much, but I gave it to my mom to read and she thought the same thing. She’s just a really compelling storyteller and there is no story she knows better than her own so it was fantastic.

    Eleanor & Park and The Fault in Our Stars also made it on my super short list last year.

  10. Kailey says:

    The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. I read it in three days…all 600 pages! I just got a new job though so now I’m trying to read books that I’m okay with putting down for a little bit so I don’t get fired. 😉

      • Alice Shrewsberry says:

        The forgotten garden … is another awesome book by Morton. Although one of my all time favorites is The Crimson Petal and the White by Micheal Fabre do yourself a favor and read it Wow!

  11. Jeannie says:

    I think I read The Fault in Our Stars in one sitting.

    Also I stayed up WAY too late the other night reading Five Days at Memorial (about how a hospital coped during Hurricane Katrina) — kind of unsettling reading for before bed, but it was absolutely riveting. If it wasn’t so long I think I’d have finished it in 24 hours easily.

  12. Something Other than God by Jennifer Fulwiler: I started this during my homeroom period one morning, read it in between classes and during my lunch break, got home and read it till I finished, right in time for bed. Fantastic book.

  13. Jillian Kay says:

    I loved Rules of Civility and What Alice Forgot. I’m reading The Rosie Project now and moving through it pretty quickly. A few months ago a man walked right into me on the subway, and I was about to yell until I saw he was walking while reading The Hunger Games. I forgave him instantly. 🙂

  14. I blew through The Expats too! So twisty and compelling.

    I tore through Shadow and Bone, then Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo. Now waiting impatiently for book 3 (Ruin and Rising) from the library. And the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries by Dorothy Gilman are usually medium-paced (though I love them), but I could NOT put the 9th one (where she goes to Morocco) down.

  15. Katie Mc. says:

    I always devour Emily Giffin’s books {guilty pleasure}. I don’t always love the storyline, but there’s something SO addictive about the way she writes!

    And I can never put down a Harry Potter or Bridget Jones book – even on the second, third, or fourth reading.

    • Kelty says:

      Agreed! I just read my first EG – The Heart of the Matter. I was mad at the book for most of the story, just waiting for the sadness that I knew was coming. But the story was totally addicting and in the end, I had to appreciate the way she handled everything.

    • Emma says:

      I am glad I am not the only one that loves a good chick lit now and then! Emily Giffin’s are good (although I hated baby proof, I loved her other) and I am also glad that I am not the only one that cant put Harry Potter down again and again!! 🙂

  16. EricaM says:

    I actually have two right now that are so hard to stop reading: House on the Borderland and A Clash of Kings. I read the latter on breaks at work, which is incredibly frustrating, because I inevitably get to an interesting part when I have to get back to work; and the other I read before bed, and wind up reading for far longer than I should. (And having bizarre dreams afterward-thanks, Hodgson!)

  17. Corby says:

    Reading some Maeve Binchy. I liked her earlier stuff better. Also Campy and Jackie – nonfiction about baseball. I love baseball so that is my go to nonfiction right now. Dear Mr Knightley was a cute quick read. I just love this blog it and my new job at the library has my list of books to read ever growing. Now I just need to learn to read faster.

  18. Catie says:

    I just finished Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty, and while it wasn’t awesome I couldn’t put it down. I did like it (her writing is so funny in some places!), but it didn’t compare to What Alice Forgot. 🙂

    • Kelty says:

      so true. Three wishes (and many Moriarty’s other books) have been enjoyable but nothing compares to WAF! I try really hard not to judge the rest of her books by What Alice Forgot but it’s really hard not too.

      • Charlene says:

        Agree as well, Three Wishes was my least favorite. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t un-put-down-able, to use Anne’s phrase, just that it pales in comparison to her others.

  19. keely says:

    In college, it happened with Of Mice and Men. More recently, a reread of A Wrinkle in Time, followed by When You Reach Me have had me devouring pages. I also read The Alchemist in maybe two days, because I found it to be so beautiful.
    Gosh, now I’m remembering lots more: Parnassus on Wheels, Wednesday Wars, and Where’d ya Go, Bernadette.

  20. Lindsey says:

    Good fiction will always take my full attention, including several of the ones you listed. I would also include Me Before You and A Light Between Oceans as un-put-down-able.

    I love good non-fiction as well but don’t generally have that have-to-finish-it-immediately feeling. The one exception to that is The Lost City of Z by David Grann. I blew through it in one afternoon!

      • Anne says:

        I really enjoyed the ones I read. (For some reason, I’ve listened to both The Girl You Left Behind and One Plus One on audio. They were great. The British narrators don’t hurt. 🙂 )

      • Heather says:

        Me before you! I Josie Su finished it and wish I could talk it through! So good! And bad, I’m now very behind on some things

  21. Arenda says:

    I read Gone with the Wind for the first time this year and couldn’t put it down. Scarlett was such a devastating character, and I loved the dynamics between her & Rhett – just riveting!

  22. PaulaH says:

    I read The Martian by Andy Weir in a few hours because I COULDN’T stop! The Winter Sea (pretty much anything by Susannah Kearsley) and The Rosie Project make my list. I also raced through Blood Orchids by Toby Neal, first in a series set in Hawaii -the next one is sitting on my desk to be read soon.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    All added to my to-read list and put on hold at the library! I thought Rules of Civility read like genius – I couldn’t put it down. And the ending fell perfectly, if not as happily as I could have imagined.

  24. Karen R. says:

    I’ve been reading a new YA-to-adult series this summer–The Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. The first novel is Heartless, which I liked, but the series really began to take off (for me) with the second novel, Veiled Rose, after which I pretty much inhaled the subsequent novels. The seventh novel in the series is due out soon, and I hope that they hurry up, because I am currently suffering from what I call the “I Need to Get Back to Narnia Syndrome,” and I’m starting to feel lonely and isolated. I highly recommend these, especially to fans of fantasy.

    • Kris says:

      Gasp! I love that syndrome! I have it tooooo. My “Narnia” is Mercedes Lackey’s world of Valdemar. If you’ve never read “Arrows of the Queen” and the rest of the trilogy, I highly recommend it for a fellow fantasy lover.

      • Shelley says:

        The Valdemar series is wonderful and I often will reread them in a day or two and still love them every time. She has another series that I recommend to everyone as unputdownable. The Five Hundred Kingdom series currently has 5 books and its a very cool twist on the fairy tale rework genre. Start with The Fairy Godmother as it sets up the fantasy world and then after that you can go pretty much in any order.

  25. Kelty says:

    I’ll totally agree with What Alice Forgot, Rules of Civility and Eleanor and Park! Totally adding all of these new suggestions to my book list!

    I’d add Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner (although, most of her other books fall flat) Also, I finished the Help in about 24 hours as I was nursing my #1 and had loads of round the clock reading time on my hands. That book was fabulous company.

  26. melyssa says:

    Right now I’m reading Her Dark Curiosity, by Megan Shepherd. It’s the sequel to The Madman’s Daughter: both YA: the first is a retelling or version of The Island of Dr. Moreau, and the second is a version of Jekyl and Hyde. I’d say I can’t put down the second one, but I’m forcing myself to wait until I’m at the pool this afternoon to finish it! (Hence, the internet distraction at the moment).
    I didn’t find Elenor and Park compelling actually. I read it, but I couldn’t begin to tell you a single plot line or character. It disappeared from my mind the minute I finished it! But yes, The Fault in Our Stars was definitely un-put-down-able.

  27. Rebecca says:

    Just finished Son, the last of Lois Lowry’s Giver quartet. Also, while camping this weekend flew through Francine River’s newest, Bridge to Haven. For every book I read, I find out about 12 more to add to my to-read list!

  28. Anne says:

    Well, I’ll be checking out The Sea of Tranquility then! 🙂 I got Rules of Civility from the library (digital), and I enjoyed how far I got, which wasn’t far. The language was lovely.

  29. Amy says:

    I second What Alice Forget and The Fault in Our Stars. And more recently, I had a hard time putting down Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller – compelling story about WWII and the Nazis, but weaves in lots about storytelling and baking, two of my favorite things!

  30. MelissaJoy says:

    The original Bambi by Felix Salten wooed me into the forest for an afternoon. Just beautiful. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson went in one sitting for me. I love her writing. It’s a long one but A Prayer for Owen Meany was such a page turner and I couldn’t put it down. Probably one of my favorites if I had to narrow it down.
    This was a helpful exercise for me as it seems as though some books, books I really like, end up taking longer than I think they should. It’s good to know I have exercised that book devouring muscle.

    • Anne says:

      “It seems as though some books, books I really like, end up taking longer than I think they should.”

      I think I’ve experienced a version of this. Some of my favorite books are really densely written, with really lovely prose, and while they’re interesting and I want to find out what happens next, I also feel like I’ll be sorry if I rush it.

      • Angie Pearl says:

        Sometimes I just can’t put a book down and must finish it. However, I have also had the opposite reaction where I love the book so much and the writing is so well done that I take my time reading it.

  31. I thought of another one — “The House at Tyneford” by Natasha Solomons. That one had me spellbound for a weekend.

    Sometimes Victorian novels can be unputdownable — titles like “The Dead Secret” by Wilkie Collins or “Lady Audley’s Secret” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Braddock? Am blanking on her name). “The Woman in White” by Collins is also marvelous.

  32. Ginger says:

    I’m ashamed to say that the very first book I ever read in one sitting was The Bridges of Madison County. Not so very literary of me, but I suppose we all have our guilty pleasures.

    I also could. not. put. down Into Thin Air by John Krakauer. It started an Everest obsession in me that still hasn’t died.

    And more recently, I read Eleanor & Park in one day as well.

  33. Dianne says:

    Just finished – and loved – Peter Heller’s “The Painter”. My favorite for 2014, so far. His previous novel, “The Dog Stars” was my 2013 favorite.

  34. Stacy says:

    This is pretty much my favorite post ever. I’m eagerly reading through all the comments and taking notes. The most recent books I read that I couldn’t put down:

    Bridge to Haven, by Francine Rivers
    The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman

    Books I’ve read not-so-recently that I remember I couldn’t put down:
    The Language of Flowers
    early books by Charles Martin
    books by Kate Morton
    Left Neglected
    The Help

    Thanks for the recommendations, all!

    • Terri says:

      I just half-way finished Unbroken. My son and husband said it was very good. I read a lot of first-person biographies set during WWII. I like to read biographies of real people dealing with amazing obstacles. That being said, I found Unbroken to be very traumatic for me. I loved the characters, but the hell they went through in Japanese prison camps was extremely difficult to read. I kept on putting the book down for a few days, then picking it up and trying to finish it. I gave up halfway through the book. I admit that I am sensitive to graphic descriptions of violence and the torture in this just wrenched me. It was not done in a sensational way, it was portrayed in a factual manner. It just matters on who you are and what your limits of tragedy and suffering are.

  35. I’m so excited to read the Million Dollar Tan Line! I downloaded it on audible so I could listen as opposed to read because I figured it’s one step closer to the greatest tv show ever made. Did you enjoy it as a read or do you think audio is the way to go for this one?

  36. Margie says:

    A few I’ve read this month that were very good:

    The Year She Left Us by Kathryn Ma–A story about Chinese adoption told from the viewpoint of the adopted daughter. A little angsty, but a very good read.

    Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead — she always has an interesting twist

  37. Kara says:

    A couple of series that I blew through:
    The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld – The characters were really endearing, lots of adventure, imagination and steampunk to boot. 🙂
    The Glamourist Histories series by Mary Robinette Kowal – Think Jane Austen plus magic plus espionage plus wit. Yes, just yes.

    Other books I absolutely devoured recently:
    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – Books! Secret societies! Fun!
    Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach – Super engaging sci-fi with a female lead. Need to read the rest of the series pronto.
    The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery – Received it and finished it in the same day this week. Loved it!

    I’m loving reading these comments!

    • Terri says:

      I read that book a few months ago. It is now on my favorite of favorite books. I also found it interesting since I teach blind and visually impaired students. The author outdid almost all books I’ve read about blind people. He did not portray the blind girl as any more than herself. He showed the strengths of the blind girl and her father’s understanding without making her sound pitiful. Read! I don’t think you’ll soon forget this book!

    • Molly Mugnier says:

      Definitely my favorite read this year!
      A point that impressed me: For once the French life and setting was really true, not overly romanced or rose colored as books set in France by English speaking authors tend to be.

  38. Kris says:

    I just read “We Are Called to Rise” by Laura McBride. It was one of the most heartbreaking but awesome books I have ever read. Best book of 2014, hands down. I just started a book club in my neighborhood for this book. And I am not a social person, so this is a big deal. One I will probably regret if everyone hates it. Curses.

    Another one I couldn’t put down is “Afterwards” by Rosamund Lupton. The style is a little wacky and takes some getting used to, but holy crap the mystery is good. And the ending. THE ENDING.

    Of course anything by Kate Morton is gold. I also really like Daphne du Maurier’s “My Cousin Rachel.” It was just as good as, if not better than, Rebecca.

    • Kris says:

      But seriously, if you do read Rise, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I’m just so curious, mostly because I’ve been stalking all your book posts via Pinterest for the last month or so. In my head, you and I are best book buds, because we like a lot of the same stuff. Hopefully my imaginary friendship translates to not-so-imaginary if you end up liking Rise. If you hate it, pretend my evil alterego suggested it to you.

      Here’s a review I wrote about it for a book blog I’m a part of: http://awesomebooknuts.blogspot.com/2014/06/book-review-we-are-called-to-rise.html

      Other other good books. I’m a huge fan of Carla Kelly – she writes adorable, clean, engaging romances that have awesome heroines. My favorite is “Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career.”

      A super suspenseful, chilling book is “Life As We Knew It” by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It’s scary, but awesome. (It’s a YA book, so it’s relatively short.)

      If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch is another great YA.

      Phantom, by Susan Kay, is a look at the Phantom of the Opera from his birth to his death. I love that book with all my tiny frozen heart.

      I love Rainbow Rowell, but my favorite book of hers is “Fangirl.” It’s just really cute, and fun, and less Serious Business than Eleanor and Park.

      Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein) will rip your heart out and stomp on it, but in a good way. I made my 16 year old sister read it and she bawled her face off, but we both think it’s incredible. Wein had a sequel come out recently, which isn’t as good, but it’s still amazing.

      I’m sure you’ve read These Is My Words by Nancy Turner, but if you haven’t, get thee to a library!

      Okay. If I don’t stop myself I’m just going to keep going down my ginormous list of Goodreads favorites so this is me signing off. For realsies. Yay books!

  39. Lilli says:

    One of my all time favorite books (which is the start of a fantastic series) is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It is being turned into a cable series on Starz, premiering next month, so it is generating all sorts of attention at the moment. I have been recommending it to people for 20+ years though. It defies being put into a single category-there is history, a touch of the mystic, some romance-really it is just a sweeping epic.

    If you enjoy dystopian future/zombie stories please read the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant starting with Feed. The world-building that happens in this trilogy is amazing. Zombies are part of the landscape-not the central focus of these novels, but they shape the world in which these characters live. It is fascinating.

    • liz says:

      I just finished Written in My Own Hearts’ Blood–quite literally; I finished it ten minutes ago! I always read the last Outlander book before delving into the newest one, to make sure I’m caught up and remember where Claire, et al, left off. I am in no way ashamed to admit that, in advance preparation for a reading marathon, I cooked a lasagna, a dozen enchiladas, three dozen blueberry pancakes, a chicken casserole, and made a batch of granola so that I wouldn’t have to be “bothered” by anyone needing to eat while I devoured the book! (P.S. if you haven’t read this one, yet, I will give no spoilers, but I will warn you that, at the end of the first paragraph on page 691, you will need to put the book down and compose yourself for a moment.)

    • Aisling says:

      My all time FAVORITE book series!!! I reread all of them this year!! Counting the days till the show debuts!!!

      I love most things by Jasper Fforde. Start with the Eyre Affair!

  40. Erin says:

    I rarely used to spend more than a week on a book, but with a demanding job and a full life of “important other things,” I’ve found my reading time whittled down to just those precious few minutes between when I slide into bed and when my eyes fall closed.

    In any event, once in a while I’ll come across a book that is worth staying up past my bedtime for, and I love books that draw me in so completely. Nearly all of Tana French’s books were like that for me. I lost a lot of sleep over The Goldfinch, and polished it off in about a week (which I thought was impressive for a book of that length). I also ran through the entire Millennium Trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, et seq.) in about a week.

  41. Vanessa says:

    I loved The Thousand Dollar Tan Line…I won’t lie I am a huge Veronica Mars fan from way back…I have the TV series and the movie…this is sort of the follow up after the movie, but even if I hadn’t already been a fan of Rob Thomas I would have still not been able to put this book down…it reads like you are watching one of the episodes…I can’t wait for the next one in October

  42. Emily says:

    Can’t wait to pick up some of your suggestions!

    I see many people have suggested The Fault in our Stars, and I have to second that one! Just finished it last night, and it was nothing like I expected it would be. It was also one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.

    Read the Thornbirds too, if you can! Very sweeping epic, incredible characters, and they made a great miniseries out of it as well!

    Also have to recommend World War Z. I know, I know, a zombie book? But believe me, the zombies don’t feature much. Its more of an extremely realistic look at mankind. I have never read a book so quickly, nor been so pleasantly surprised.

  43. liz says:

    I second the “Outlander” series. Anything by Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood.

    I’d mention Potter, LOTR, and Agatha Christie, but in my book (see what I did there?) they’re givens…

    And Bill Bryson.

    Those are just a few.

  44. Mary Ellen says:

    I like to begin a new book when I have enough time and focus to get through the first fifty pages. Today I started reading ‘All the light we cannot see’ by Anthony Doerr. It is telling a story about two different people that you know will connect eventually and I kept reading and reading. It is set in Paris and Germany before and during World War II. I have already finished the first hundred pages and have not stopped yet. It just grabs you with the characters and you have to find out what happens ! Mary Ellen
    I also liked Rules of Civility, What Alice Forgot and the Likeness.

  45. Bev says:

    This past winter, I went absolutely crazy over “The Bronze Horseman” trilogy by Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, The Summer Garden). There’s also a two-volume prequel to the story that has just recently come out. Reading the prequel was heartbreaking because of all the knowledge you have of what is coming. The Bronze Horseman is set in St. Petersburg/Leningrad in 1941, when Hitler invades Russia. I could not put it down.

  46. Allison says:

    Anne (and friends),
    You are KILLING ME!!!! I have so many books of my own I haven’t even touched, and just reading this one blog post and all these comments is making me salivate!! And just to add to the frenzy, should I assume everyone here has read all the Mitford books by Jan Karon? If you haven’t, you must do so. Such lovely books; everyone will want Father Tim to be her priest!

  47. Alecia says:

    Thank you Mrs. Darcy for the book recommendations. I just want to profess by love for Jodi Picoult all her books are spellbindingly awesome!

  48. Sabrina says:

    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Finished it in three days. Also anything by John Green is amazing! But he does use curse words in most of his books.

  49. Evenstar says:

    Okay…my favorite books are part of a series.
    1: Gone
    2: Imprisoned
    3: Hunted
    4: After.

    Author: Christene Kersey.
    Suitable for ages 12+.
    Available on Kindle.

  50. brianne says:

    I could not stop reading Birdbox by Josh Mallerman. On the edge of your seat -heart pounding-anxiety! Fantastic debut novel that leaves you wanting more!

  51. Cassidy says:

    I could put down the book These Things Hidden by Heather Gaudenkauf. It takes place in a small Iowa town and is follows the life of a once-perfect teen, Allison Glenn, convicted of a heinous crime. There are so many plot twists and is very well written. Its definitely one to try out.

  52. Mary Germao says:

    You should read Chris Pavone’s latest novel – The Accident. You won’t be able to put it down! It’s even better than the Ex-Pats.

  53. Kate says:

    I have devoured a bunch of books this summer and enjoyed some more than others. I am a huge fan of Madeleine L’Engle and would recommend just about anything from her. This summer I have read “A Ring of Endless Light” (and all the other Austin books this spring; none of which I could put down), “A Small Rain,” “The Severed Wasp,” (these two go together), and “And They Were Young.” I have “Camilla” sitting on my night stand, and two more of hers in the mail from Amazon. I have withdrawals every time I finish one of her books.

    Other books I love and could not put down:

    “Arm of the Starfish,” “Dragons in the Water,” and “House Like a Lotus” by L’Engle (I told you I love her)
    “Fiddler’s Gun” and “Fiddler’s Green” by A.S. Peterson (Revolutionary War period books including lots of action and some piracy–more withdrawals when you finish these)
    “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte

    I am new to your blog so if you have mentioned these in the past, I apologize.

  54. jane murray says:

    Loved Where’d you go Bernadette,, The Gargoyle was amazing, took a couple of chapters to get hooked, Me before You,,,could not put it down. Great posts here for much more great books,,, thanks

  55. I’d love to borrow What Alice Forgot from you if you have it in the Kindle version (I have a LONG list of books from Amazon that I’ve gotten through the years that I could give you a loan as well if you’re interested.)

    I haven’t been reading as much as working on my blog in my free time. However, I did just finish a great book that I’ll be writing about on my blog this Sunday in my Sunday’s book review. It is a romance book. (I tend to read a lot of those along with self-help and business improvement books.) However, I own a wide range of Kindle books.

    I haven’t quite figured out what my next book I’m going to read is yet.

  56. Jacki says:

    I read the entire Hunger Games Trilogy in 5 days while teaching full time (and have read it about 3x since). I ask read “Gone Girl”, “Good in Bed”, and “Hidden” very quickly this summer. I can’t wait to read the books you suggested!

  57. Darla says:

    Just discovered your site and had to share. Two of my faves were “If You Could See Me Now” and “Thanks For The Memories” by Cecelia Ahern. I discovered last summer at the library. I just could not put them down and suffered from a couple of sleepless nights ( or should I say my family suffered. Lol) . I am writing down some of these other suggestions here for my future reads.

  58. Khirsten says:

    Love Tana French. My husband was horrified at how fast I devoured The Likeness. This is the first of her novels I read, and so when I found out that her books revolve around the same characters I was a little concerned that I did not start at ” the beginning.” Turned out not to be an issue at all, if anything I think it spoke for what a talented writer Ms. French is.

  59. Empathy says:

    I’ve been following these comments and expanding my “to read” list. 🙂 I wanted to mention a book that I read a few weeks ago that I couldn’t put down – Christy, written by Catherine Marshall. It’s amazing!

    • Laura says:

      Loved The Invention of Wings! What an amazing story and it’s true! I would add Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places to this list. It was WAY WAY better than Gone Girl and Sharp Objects. I don’t normally read books like that, and I could not stop. The alternating narrators really make you want to keep reading to find out what happens next!

  60. Chelsea says:

    We Were Liars by E. Lockhart was the last book that I simply couldn’t put down. Despite being an adult with a job that demands my presence fairly early in the morning, I stayed up until 1am so I could finish the book. And then I reread it twice in the span of a few months. I love that book. It swallows you whole.

  61. I love the list of books! I just finished the city of bones series and I have been looking for some new books to read! I’ll definitely be checking some of those out! I’m very glad I came across this post!

  62. Elizabeth says:

    The book I couldn’t put down was The Other Hand by Chris Cleave. I started it after dinner and kept reading all night. Never before or since have I read a book so compelling that I couldn’t sleep, just had to keep reading, then got up and went to work the next day, not tired, just high on how great the book was!

  63. Phaedra says:

    I’ve read all of these except the Ex-Pats and I agree with your post completely (except for The Likeness, I loved it, but loved In The Woods more). I will now be adding Ex-Pats to my To Read list that keeps growing.. and growing.. 🙂

  64. varsha says:

    I love all the books in mortal instruments series. .. by cassandra clare and also Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor. ..
    Couldn’t sleep until I had v finished all books in these series. . N love your reading list. .

  65. Tiffiny says:

    ‘The Commander’s Desire’ by Jennette Green. This book is so good and you can definitely read it in one sitting! In fact, all of Jennette Green’s books are awesome and quick reads!

    • Roberta Temple says:

      You would probably love Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers. Three books in all and they’re terrific! I still haven’t forgotten them. It’s set during the colosseum days and are enjoyably intense!

  66. Heather in VA says:

    A recent book that I couldn’t put down and read in about 24 hours was, The Girl With All The Gifts. Years ago I read the Poisonwood Bible and literally stayed up all night to read it. It’s stuck with me ever since as a book that has to be consumed.

  67. Sarah says:

    I have yet to read most of these books but a few that I have red recently are The Dogs of Winter which had me crying until the end and a very addicting fantasy call the Iron King ( book 1) .I also loved all the books that Maggie Stiefvater wrote, they were dark and powerful.

  68. Terri says:

    For fantasy lovers: The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flannagan. The first volume is The Ruins of Gorlan. It’s YA series set 100s of years ago in an England-type place. A Ranger is an elite set of men who keep the kingdom safe. Not a very good description, but definitely not-put-down-able! There are 11 books in the series.

    Books from my teens that I highly recommend:

    1. The Story of the Von Trapp Family Singers, written by Maria VonTrapp herself. If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ve read one tiny part of the book!

    2. The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss. A true story set in the 1940s about a married couple who could not have children. So they started adopting. After one baby, the agencies refused to let them adopt another child. Not to be held back, they adopted children of different races who were “unadoptable.” You will find what the 1940s were like in a sociological way to be surprising.

    3. Karen by Marie Killilea. Another true story set in the 1940s. The Killilea’s first child was Karen, and she was born with cerebral palsy. It is their amazing journey from discovering their child had problems, to being told to put her in a special home and forget they ever had her and the years until they got a diagnosis. After knowing that she was cerebral palsied, they pulled out all the stops in helping her to have the physical and mental abilities of a “normal” child. Again, an eye-opener about how disabled children were treated and, during WWII, how people of other races were treated.

    More recent favorites:

    Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand–5 awesome stars (romance without all the simpering and heavy breathing!)
    Three Dog Life–5 eye-opening stars (autobiography)
    We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance–5 breathtaking stars (biography)

    ANYthing written by Jason Wright. Start with The James Miracle or The Seventeen Second Miracle. 5 you’ll-want-to-read-them-again-and-again stars. (fiction)

    The Abhorsen Series written by Garth Nix. 4 books, start with Sabriel. 5 “this is by far the very best fantasy series I have ever read” stars.

    Shakespeare Saved My Life by Laura Bates. You’ll be amazed at this true story of a woman with a doctorate in Shakespeare’s Literature volunteers her time to teach Shakespeare to inmates without parole.

    Room by Emma Donoghue. fiction based on a true event. Just read it!

    • Dalis Foglia says:

      I read Helen Doss’s book, the Family Nobody Wanted when I was in 11th or 12 th grade. ( A long time ago…) I admired Helen and her husband and the way they cared for those “unadoptable” kids.

  69. Ana says:

    Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society had me glued to the page until I finished it. I’ve enjoyed everything by Liane Moriarty. And my guilty can’t-put-it-down pleasure… the Sebastian St. Cyr series of Regency mysteries by CS Harris.

  70. Michelle says:

    I have just discovered Colleen Hoover this summer and have read 4 of her books in about 2 weeks!! Her books are great. But I have to say my favorite so far has been Maybe Someday. It’s definitely un-put-downable!! I read the whole book in one sitting. Definitely recommend you give her a try!!

  71. Janet says:

    I read two very different books last week and loved them both!
    The first was “All the Light We Cannot See”- which is WWII as seen from the experience of two children. The other was “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore”. Very different, don’t read it if you don’t relate to computers and Google : )

  72. Anastasia says:

    I’m not a huge “re-reader” so when I do, that’s when I know it’s up there on the list of greats!

    -Sepulchre by Kate Mosse
    Had me in a trance the entire time! The History! The mystery!
    -Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert
    So intrigued by the presence of alchemy and magic in such a seemingly realistic, present-day novel. Didn’t seem far-fetched at all but totally reasonable!
    -David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
    So inspiring! Filled with stats but with just as much heart! Stories of how “underdogs” are actually more successful.
    -The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
    Currently reading and I’m hooked! Another reasonably unreasonable story!

  73. Jenny Combs says:

    I loved The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It was my favorite book I read all summer. I was enraptured with the story and loved learning about that part of women’s history that I didn’t know a lot about. Currently reading Me Before You by JoJo Moyes for my book club. It’s gotten a lot of praise from my patrons at the library I work at. Hope it lives up to the hype! Just finished Fangirl also and liked it more than I thought I would. If you want to crawl into the mind of a gross, awkward, hilarious, crass, teenage boy read Me, and Earl, and the Dying Girl. There were parts in it I laughed so loud the people in other campsites came over to ask me what I was reading. (Warning: lots of swearing!)

    • Anne says:

      If you enjoyed The Nightingale consider giving another Jojo Moyes book a try: The Girl You Left Behind. When I read The Nightingale it reminded me so much of Moyes’s book!

  74. Meredith DuHamel says:

    I’d like to recommend Those Who Save Us and The Secret of Mary Bowser. They’re both historical novels and I am definitely more of a British mystery maven, but these two books are wonderful! Plus, I learned quite a bit while reading them which was an additional bonus. The first book is about WWII but from a German woman’s perspective. The second novel is based on a true story about a freed slave who spied for the Yankees during the Civil War.

    I just finished a book called Me and Emma that I found to be highly engrossing, well-written, and very poignant. A tale of family strife told from a precocious eight year old’s point of view.

  75. Sandra mosolgo says:

    I always look forward to a new Louise Penny, mysteries set in Quebec with multi-layered characters, complicated plots and descriptions of food that will make your mouth water. If you try her, the books must be read in order.

  76. Lauren Hershey says:

    Jane Smiley’s Last Hundred Years Trilogy, which includes Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age, was amazing and I couldn’t stop until I found out what happened to every family member over that century. Each of the three books has a family tree in the front that I referred to many times. I highly recommend it.

  77. Carol B. says:

    My most recent books that I loved were:
    Cinder by Marissa Meyer (the start of the Lunar Chronicles series, it’s YA and fabulous),
    Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (and I would recommend all of her books, she writes paranormal fiction that has action, humor and a little romance on the side) and lastly the book
    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (I had to read it for school but it was honestly the best book that I would never have chosen for myself and I couldn’t put it down! Someone else really liked it too because it’s becoming a movie).

  78. wendy thorburn says:

    I love seeing the books other people rave about! Read you blog from top to bottom. Often cannot get these books , maybe South Africa is a bit behind!! Haven’t got a kindle yet, but know more books are available there and much cheaper than in the book store! Thanks keep the suggestions flowing! Wendy Thorburn

  79. Lisa says:

    Any Sandra Brown mystery/suspense (she used to write romance, also. Romance just isn’t my thing!), and also anything by J.A. Jance. Last week I read 4 books!

  80. Chelsea says:

    So I picked up Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” on Jan 1, 2015 and finished book 8 by the end of the month. Yes, 8 DG books in a month. I guzzled them. My kids fed and watered themselves. My excuse if they have any recurring negative effects of my neglect of them that month is that all of them are girls and I will be the one to gift them the epic story of Jamie and Claire Fraser and the world of Outlander… so in the end, we all win. 🙂

    The most recent books I couldn’t put down – Light Between the Oceans and The Orphans of Race Point. LOVED them!

  81. Vicky says:

    Assigned reading of “Of Mice and Men”, in high school, left a bad taste in my mouth for John Steinbeck. So I didn’t read anything by him until a few years ago. Upon recommendation of a friend I picked up “East of Eden” and absolutely could not put it down till I turned the last page. Absolutely a masterpiece.

  82. Jennifer Kepesh says:

    I am surprised that no one ever mentions Joshilyn Jackson’s fantastic books when they talk about un-put-downable reads or authors you will always read. Jackson’s first book was “Gods in Alabama,” and I highly, highly recommend it. A couple of the other books are related to this one, though they aren’t proper sequels. All of her books have been set in the South; all feature a strong, interesting, woman; most have a pretty important familial legacy, such as a woman raised by maiden aunts (so, where is Mom, and why is she gone is part of the story). I am not doing them justice, because if I read this description, I’d think, “BORing, Chick Lit.” But Joshilyn’s just a great writer, and her main character’s voice (actually, almost all are written in first-person) is always so clear and compelling. Her writing will definitely make you laugh, between the southernisms and the southern manners…but they are not silly books. They are generally fast-paced, easy to devour, yet you’ll be thinking about the characters’ interactions for a long time. Jump in!

  83. Chantel says:

    My latest guilty pleasure has been the Selection Series by Kiera Cass. A little more for the YA reader but a series nonetheless. Another is the Divergent Series – was NOT a fan of the movies at all but absolutely LOVED the books. Spilled Milk was another one that I could not put down!

  84. Pam says:

    Hi Anne! I recently just binge-listened through all your podcast episodes (so you can imagine what my reading list and Amazon wish list look like now!). The podcast and the blog are superb! Thanks for all your great work. And I love how this post continues to get comments!

    I loooove What Alice Forgot and I’ve been trying to read all of Lianne Moriarty’s other books since. The Husband’s Secret is in 2nd place for me, but I did not like The Hypnotist’s Love Story (your thoughts?). I am currently reading Truly, Madly, Guilty and am yet to read the others.

    I read but did not enjoy In the Woods by Tana French some years ago, but I am giving The Likeness a try now just because sooo many people recommend her work that I really had to give her books another chance.

  85. Billie Huntley says:

    I totally love all of Kate Morton’s books. ” The House at Riverton” kept me up all night. If you have not read “Mrs. Mike” it is the most wonderful book. I was 12 when I first read it and now am 70. I think I read it every couple of years.

  86. Carol says:

    Just finished Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House in 2 days…..unputdownable……and I enjoyed it more than the Kitchen House (which I also loved!).

  87. Bridget says:

    The Martian. I wasn’t even sure I would like the book as I am not into super sci-fi/survival stories but I honestly could not put it down and spent a whole summer afternoon/evening reading it outside and then on my couch because I needed to know what happened to Mark Watney. Seriously became one of my fave books! I enjoyed the lunar chronicles and admit to binge reading Winter within a day. and of course Harry Potter series are un-put down-able but I think that goes without saying;) Also so glad to see the Sea of Tranquility. LOVED that book so much! Definitely couldn’t stop reading

  88. Trisha says:

    Hello! I just found you on Pinterest and am exploring your popular posts. Anyway, I’m on a book hunt right now so I’ll be back to check out more of your lists–this one looks great as to some of the mentions in the comments!

    I read books to recommend them to my students who are non-native speakers, so I am constantly reading titles I would not typically choose for myself and find myself loving them–but there was one surprise I couldn’t put down: Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

    I almost stopped reading it after 20 pages because it was too dark for me–and then it sucked me in!

    Anyway, I look forward to reading your blog.

  89. Kathleen Kenna says:

    A while ago, I absolutely could not put down The Hunger Games trilogy. More recently I did not put down The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg. I was charmed by it! Hillbilly Elegy was a compelling read as was Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

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