The Must-Read Books That are Actually Worth Reading

Stop wasting your time on bad books and pick up one of these instead. These are the must-read books that are actually worth reading.

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Would you believe I still remember a time when I could easily read over 100 – 150 books in a year? It was sometime way back when I wasn’t married, didn’t have dogs, wasn’t worried about a career, and my time was all my own. I was one of those people that would finish a book even if it was terrible but I quit doing that years ago. I’ve learned that life is too short (and precious free time too fleeting) to spend reading bad books.

I share a review of every book I read on my GoodReads account (friend me!) but I’ve started sharing some of my favorites here so that you can stop wasting your free time sorting through the clunkers to find the books actually worth reading.

Right now, here are a few of my top favorites. If you haven’t read these, hop over to Amazon and buy them now so you have a few good ones lined up. I adored these and I’m pretty positive that you’re going to love them too.

Historical Fiction

If you enjoy American historical fiction, I highly recommend reading “The Traitor’s Wife” by Allison Pataki. The Traitor’s Wife is a fictionalized story about Benedict Arnold and his wife and it’s fabulous. I wasn’t sure at first because, seriously, Benedict Arnold?! It didn’t sound all that appealing but I was curious about his wife so I gave it a shot. I’ve recommended it to a million people and everyone I know has loved it. Pataki has another book, The Accidental Empress, which is just as good. 

Another favorite of mine is a World War II fiction called Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H Balson. I know that WWII books is a really saturated market but this is one of my favorites. A lot of my blogging friends were talking about it when it first released so I knew I had to read it too.

It’s about Ben Solomon, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, who accuses Elliot Rosenzweig (a wealthy Jewish Chicago philanthropist) of actually being Otto Piatek, a German Nazi war criminal who evaded capture and moved to America under an assumed identity.  Is Ben right or is it all a horrible mistake brought on by his traumatic memories of the camps?  I thought it was fabulous! (Updated to say, my husband wasn’t a fan of this one. It jumps between the past and the present a lot which he found annoying.)


I read I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai the day it released in October of last year.  Do you remember this girl in the news?  She was on her way home from the school when the Taliban stopped her school bus in Pakistan, boarded the bus and shot her point blank in the face.  Unbelievably, she survived.  She was only 15.  She is such an inspiration and is so wise beyond her years.  

If you’re looking for a great book about an unbelievably courageous and remarkable young girl then please read her memoir.


This book made me cry!  I’m definitely not a romance reader but I couldn’t help but fall completely and totally in love with Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen while I was reading it.  If you look for a “and-they-lived-happily-ever-after” kind of book then you may not love this one quite like I did because this is more of a star-crossed lovers aka Romeo & Juliet kind of story.  

Sophie is a young British girl whose family moves to India when she is just a child.  It is in India where she forms a friendship with a young boy, a friendship that transcends time, language, cultures and appropriateness.  Many years later Sophie returns to India as the wife of a foreign diplomat and must come face-to-face with the life and the people she thought she had left behind.  Listen, I cried like a baby when I finished this book.  It is just an incredible beautiful tragedy.

I’ve learned to quit a book that isn’t working for me. I have thousands of books on my TBR list so if I’m not invested by about 20% – 25% I’m done. I know a lot of people still can’t give up on a book they start but I’ve learned to embrace only the things that bring me joy and bad books certainly do not bring me joy.

Ashley LaMar
Ashley bounces between Atlanta, GA + Charleston, WV with her husband and two small dogs for life and work. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. Follow her on Twitter @ashleyfromfbl
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