Denial ain't just a river in Egypt. -Mark Twain
Question #90942 posted on 02/17/2018 2:30 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My wife is turning 26. I know she would love a good book to read. Any suggestions?

She likes books with action, but a little bit of romance, or just straight up romance novels, as long as they are pretty clean. For example, she loves anything by Anita Stansfield. She also loves anything Brandon Sanderson. She's read all of Mistborn and the Stormlight Archives. Mormon fiction is also pretty good. She's read the Work and the Glory multiple times. She loves Harry Potter, Ember in the Ashes, Artemis Fowl, etc.

Anyway, suggestions?


A Husband


Dear Aziraphale,

The writers beneath me give some stellar recommendations which I wholeheartedly second (such as Alta's plug for The Paper Magician). Here are my own suggestions:


  • Shannon Hale: I'm pretty sure I've read all of her books. Whether you go for The Goose Girl series, Princess Academy, or Book of a Thousand Days, you really can't go wrong.
  • Gail Carson Levine: She is seriously one of my comfort authors. I love Ella Enchanted, Sisters of Bamarre, Princess Tales, and Ever.
  • Anne Perry: Alright, so Anne Perry writes mystery novels, but her Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series has a taste of adventure and romance that I love,so I think it would still fit in with what you're looking for.
  • Robin McKinley: The Hero and the Crown along with The Blue Sword are especial favorites of mine, though I also really enjoy her retellings of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Tamora Pierce: Whether you pick up any of her Tortall series, or Circle of Magic, her writing is captivating.

Single Books

  • East by Edith Pattou. This is a retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and I think it is absolutely enchanting.
  • Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris. This book is so clever and well written.
  • Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.
  • Birdwing by Rafe Martin.
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (this book is probably the most oft recommended book of the Board thanks to The Soulful Ginger--may she rest in retirement peace--but I too can attest to its greatness).



Dear husband,

Wow, your wife has great taste in books!

I just want to echo the suggestion for Tamora Pierce. I grew up on her books and cannot recommend her highly enough.

Here are some other really incredible books she should definitely read:

  • Enchanted, Inc. by Shanna Swendson. I can't recommend this highly enough. This is without a doubt one of my favorite books.
  • Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Full of action and a touch of romance. 
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Dealing with Dragons is the first book) by Patricia C. Wrede. Whimsical and witty and hilarious.
  • A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede. (Patricia C. Wrede is just a great author. I'd suggest anything she's written.)
  • The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle. 
  • The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, in case she hasn't read it yet.
  • The Partials by Dan Wells. This is more of a dystopian YA novel, though really good. (Speaking of which, if she's read a lot of dystopian YA novels, she'd really enjoy the twitter account Dystopian YA Novel.)
  • The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima. Another great author; I've read most of her books.
  • Anything by Sarah Eden. I've never read her stuff but my friend (who has impeccable taste in books) suggested it.
  • Edenbrooke or Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson. 

Happy reading!

-guppy of doom


Dear Husband,

I second anything by Shannon Hale. The Goose Girl series is delightful, but so is everything else she's written (Austenland, Princess Academy, etc).

Your wife might also like The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg. It's very whimsical, and is about love and magic and adventure.

Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George, is another good romance-y adventure-y type book.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is historical fiction about the Tennessee adoption scandal (which, holy cow, who knew that child trafficking was so institutionally protected for so long). It's sort of somber subject material, but it's interesting and well-written, and if your wife likes The Work and the Glory she might like this, too. 

Finally, it sounds like your wife might also be a fan of The Maze Runner series by James Dashner. It's sort of reminiscent of Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl, and if your wife likes those and Brandon Sanderson, I bet she'll like these.



Dear Husband,

If you want to focus a bit more on the action side, I recently read some books from the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy, and they made for an interesting read. It’s definitely not a romance, but there are couples stories chronicled in there.

I am also getting into more classic literature lately, and some of that may qualify. For instance, I’m currently reading War and Peace, which moves smoothly between aristocratic romance and the burdens of war, which provides both love and action. Little Women is also a good one, if she hasn’t read it before.

In the realm of Mormon fiction, I really enjoyed The Children of the Promise series. It’s historical fiction about a Utah family and their varied experiences during World War 2, so it’s full of action and balanced nicely by budding relationships. And if she enjoys them, there is a sequel series called The Hearts of the Children, which follows the succeeding generation.