If gifting a book to your bookworm Valentine is on your mind, here is a list of eight books across genres that you could consider. Let me make it clear here that I have deliberately included books of various sorts rather than just romance. For, whoever said that only romantic books are to be given to a book lover Valentine! These books are worth every bit of one’s time.
1. The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
A debut novel by the author, yet this book scores on almost all fronts. I loved the narration, the story, and most importantly the brilliance in the execution of the suspense. Anna, psychologist by profession, lives alone. Ten months since she left home, and in a new neighborhood, her days are spent in loneliness, watching old movies, drinking wine, counseling patients through an online portal. Every day Anna stands by the window, watching the world go by. She knows her neighbors-their daily routine, what they do and where they go. Soon the Russell’s move in across the street and Anna from the very beginning is drawn to them. It all seems so perfect, until the evening when she hears it- a scream that gives her the shiver down the spine. She sees it all, witnesses something that’s surely not to be seen. There are secrets she isn’t supposed to know. From false clues, to false leads, the book traces a path that keeps you guessing. What is the real thing? Or has she been hallucinating?
2. The President is Missing by Bill Clinton & James Patterson
Genre: Political Thriller
The President is Missing is a political thriller in every respect. A fictitious US President Jonathan Duncan has to go underground, disappearing for a few days as the country seems to have come under attack by a cyber-crime that is hell bent upon jeopardizing the United States of America in all forms. It may be 500 odd pages; the plot however is spread across just a few days. An impending attack seems inevitable as the President and his close few get alerted. Called the Dark Ages, President Jonathan Duncan seems to be the only man who could unravel what the attack is about, and bring to light who the traitor is. To find the answers the President needs to disappear for a few days, as he puts his life at risk to save his country from this deadly cyber-attack. From some tough decisions to international relations, the book thrills along with giving a peak into what goes on in the life of an American President.
3. Bad girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
This Young Adult thriller is a random pick that took me by storm. Three strong characters were all that was required to write this tale of friendship, love and jealousy. Simple in every way, yet when their lives entangle, the complexities that arise are hard to straighten out. And sometime a single error could trigger a ripple effect and cause devastation. What starts out as a simple love triangle moves on to become a fast paced thriller of sorts. With a plot that’s loaded with twists and turns, be assured, this is one page turner.
4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Some books could be re-read, even if you know how it would end. Ten people, strangers to each other, are invited to a remote island through a mystery letter. They find themselves stranded together, just to figure out that each have a connection- a grave and deep connection. None are aware of their mysterious host, yet all ten have received personal invitations to be on the island. Soon, each of the guests begins to succumb one by one, to fate- to the foulest murder. Each one of them is a victim, and amidst them is the killer too. Each has a secret of a murky past. Who wants them all killed? And who would be next?
5. Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer
Genre: General Fiction
Heads You Win is a typical Jeffrey Archer fiction. For those who are already familiar with his style, this book may seem no different. Expect the usual twists and turns that an Archer fiction often contains. He has this ability to build in a certain momentum towards the end leading up to the most unexpected final twist. Heads You Win comes with one such twist that will take you by storm. Cleverly executed in true Archer style. A tightly woven drama, with politics and history thrown in here and there makes the book a pretty intense read. But hang on till the end and it will turn out to be a satisfying read.
6. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Impact of terrorism on relationships; and this is exactly what the book attempts to speak about. Kamila Shamsie lays the foundation of the book on current events and touches upon a varied set of topics such as extremism, radicalism, xenophobia and racism. The beauty of the book lies in addressing these issues, amidst the relationship entangles. Divided into five sections, the plot is spread out with with each character presenting their point of view. Shamsie surpasses most other contemporary fictions with her fairly descriptive narrative through the remaining pages. I loved the way the conclusion has been played. It seemed to be a perfect summation of the thoughts she wished to communicate, putting me into an introspective mode. Decently played characters, though I would have preferred a more elaborate narrative of Parvaiz, considering he plays quite a crucial role.
In its own unhurried pace, the book focuses on contemporary issues at hand and the difficulties faced when a member of a family is proven to be a jihadist. This makes Home Fire no easy read. It is complex, with multiple loops that twine together in the plot. The book won the Women’s Prize for Fiction for 2018 and was long listed for the Man Booker Prize 2017. If that’s reason enough, then it’s surely is worth your time.
7. Can you Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Chick lit
When a book puts together life’s simplest pleasures, you can be sure that it’s going to be one great read. Can You Keep a Secret is Sophie Kinsella’s finest. This chick lit author is most popularly known for her Shopaholic series. Working as a marketing assistant at Panther Cola, she is hoping to climb the corporate ladder, expecting to be promoted soon. Yet, disappointments are a plenty, when the first marketing deal with a client goes all wrong. On a turbulent flight from Glasgow to London, Emma ends up spilling the beans about her life- her discomfort with G-strings, her dislike for the office coffee, her feelings towards her best friend, relationship with her boyfriend and many other intimate details, to a complete stranger seated by her side. When the flight lands, Emma hopes she would never ever meet the stranger again, only to discover that the young man on the plane is none other than Jack Harper, the CEO of her company. The book is fun and playful with shades of fear, rejection and love experienced by Emma. Sophie portrays issues of an everyday girl- times spent with roommates, squabbles with family members, and office gossips.
8. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You isn’t one of those books with oodles of romance. In fact, I wouldn’t even want to categorize it under this genre. Yet, it is one of those books that give an emotional tug at the heart. Louisa Clark has no great ambitions in life. Nor does she have any great desires. She is pretty much content with the simple life she lives- a close-knit family, a steady relationship and her job at the café. But life surely has other plans for her, and when she loses her job, she is forced to work as the caretaker for a quadriplegic, to sustain her family’s living and expenses. With no experience whatsoever, Louisa is to handle the wheel chair bound Will Traynor, who is nothing short of being bossy, moody and snappy, at most times. Having lived an active life, Will is yet to accept his fate, and consider life worth living. Louisa has a tough task at hand-handling his regime, medical condition as well as his state of mind. Slowly as Louisa learns to manage, and tries to bring in more cheer, she learns of Will’s shocking plans for his life. And that’s when she sets out to show him what life is all about. Would she succeed in this endeavor? What’s their relationship destined to be? Me Before You is a beautiful journey between two distinctly apart individuals, who happen to cross paths in life.