Reader Recommendations – Our Favorite Books That Are NOT Romance

Since I’ve been delving into, and LOVING all sorts of books that are not specifically romance (psych-thrillers, horror and women’s lit are my other favorite genres right now), I thought it would be time to make another favorites list. And yes… I’m being selfish turning all of these recent lists into my “TBR lists” LOL!!! 😉

What’s your absolute favorite book that is NOT romance? Maybe it even surprised you that you loved it so much – because it’s not your usual genre?

Mine is definitely “The Martian“. Not romance at all, and yet I still fell for the hero.  LOL!!

Suanne Laqueur: The Martian was HILARIOUS. I’m not a sci-fi reader but I loved “Sleeping Giants.”

P.S. OMG so many awesome recommendations below (many that I’ve never heard of but that I know I’ll love), and I now have a new audiobook (The Stand by Stephen King – I LOVE post-apocalyptic and this one is almost 1500 pages long AND the audiobook is over $40 but I still had a couple of audiobook credits from a recent sale they had and I got it). YAY ME!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you have one?

Lisa: I really enjoyed Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.

Christina: loved that book!

Kristen: great book

Rae: The Little House by Philippa Gregory…amazing and a book I’ve never ever forgotten…I read it years ago.

Jennifer: Oh. If you want to be utterly wrecked for life in 120 pages, The Woman at Point Zero by Nawal el Sadaawi. … year 26 of that book hang over.

Maryse: OMG GASP!!!! I kinda do!!!!!

Erin: Night by Elie Wiesel. Changed my view on the whole world when I first read it.

Nikki: A little (not so) fun fact. After Elie made it through the holocaust he was crossing the street and got hit by a car. Poor guy. Can you imagine after going through all that, you step off the sidewalk and get hit?

Stephanie: Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

Jennifer: The Mercy Thompson series. It’s considered UF.

Harper: Mercy Thompson (Patricia Briggs) was a truly badass h and that’s what I loved about the first book. She didn’t need any men protecting her and was very smart and independent. I liked her story with Adam too, but there wasn’t much of a romance, only in the last couple of pages.

bev: Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite heroines.

Estrella: I love pretty much anything by Jodi Picoult, but I especially loved The Storyteller.

Brianna: more than anything, I am waiting for Jodi Piccoult’s latest. The moment that book comes out I can kiss all productivity behind.

Lisa: The Pact!!!!! God it still haunts me and read it years ago during a Jodi Picoult binge.

Sheri Z: Handle with Care-my 1st Jodi Picoult & boy did that have me bawling!

Julie: I’m a huge fan of Karin Slaughter and Linda Castillo. So for me it would be the thriller/ suspense genre.

Nicole: I love Karin Slaughter

Lola: I am currently reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. Definitely not my usual genre but loving it.

Lisa: …my most favorite Australian authors are

Tia: The Book Thief. Change your life.

Linda: I have a huge pit in my stomach -haven’t been affected like this since I read “The Book Thief”.

Rebecca: Angela’s Ashes and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 😊

bev: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn made me cry.

Danyel: My favorite book of all time is A tree grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, My aunt gave it to me as a christmas gift when I was 13, and I read it 2-3 times every year, i absolutely love it!!!!

Kristen: Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran. I usually enjoy historical fiction but this book was interesting.

Tanya: Tomorrow when the War Began series

Jan: Tomorrow When the War Began series by John Marsden. A few years old now, but it’s a fantastic series for teens, and a good read for adults too. There’s a decent movie as well.

Ellen: My 3-way tie for favorite book is

Jan: I truly loved the book of Lonesome Dove

Julie O: My Dad loved LONESOME DOVE. Both book and mini series.

Deborah: Gone with the Wind. How did Rhett not strangle Scarlet? Strong, willful, and beautiful. First romance book i read, when I was ten!

Nancy: In high school I read Gone with the Wind. My English teacher was so impressed & told me it was so hard to get students to read any book that long. I had read it more then twice!!! That was my 1st Epic Novel!!

Dawn: my favorite all time love story is Gone With The Wind.

Beth: Where the Crawdads Sing. Not something I would normally read but our librarian gave it to me and I couldn’t put it down!

Kati: Where The Crawdads Sing. At least I do not consider this a love story!

Steph N: I would have given Where the Crawdads Sing 6 stars if I could. I fell in love with the book. I’m from the south and can totally see “back in the day” a young girl going through and surviving what she did.

Michele G: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens… Truthfully, it surprises me how much I’m loving it. Even though it’s received so many good reviews, it looked to be a little different from my typical book choices. However, it is set in North Carolina which is where I’m from (and my parents still live there) – – so that was a big reason that I chose to read/listen to it. Otherwise, I really don’t know if I would have tried it but I’m so glad I did. …It’s a beautifully written story about survival, with a mystery, a love story and so much more thrown in.

Linda: Michele!! I read Where the Crawdads Sing around Thanksgiving on your recommendation and was totally enthralled. Couldn’t read fast enough!!

Dannika Dark: That’s hard, because most of my life I’ve read nothing but non-fantasy and so many were impactful. I guess Earth Abides, but I also was obsessed with The Stand for years.

Carrie: My favorite post apocalyptic book would be The Stand. Post Apocalyptic romance is an under done

Julie O: My favorite “all time” book is The Stand by King. Have read it about 6 times and it’s a huge one! Think that is why I am hung up on apocalyptic books now.

Teri: Julie O I agree. The Stand is one of the best books ever written. I’ve read almost every Stephen King novel out ther and it and the novel It are my favorites. He’s one of the only authors that can write about a huge amount of characters and still capture the intimacy of each individual.

Nikki: I have so many favorites. I am not sure how to pick just one. I guess I would have to pick The Stand by Stephen King. It started my love for the paranormal that soon developed into a love of paranormal romances.

Siobhan: my favorite would have to be The Stand, I love my romance but that really started my love of reading as a teen. It also has a little bit of everything

Samantha: The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester. It’s narrative non-fiction, and nobody does it better than him. I have 2 copies!

Angie: Most of my favorite books are not romances I’ve come to realize. My all time favorite that nothing has ever been able to top is I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb.

Michelle: My second favorite book is I Know This much is True by Wally Lamb.

Eva: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I devoured the full series, and now have a mild obsession with everything Fae!

Grey: The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King…OMG! ❤️ We are talking 5 star love for both of them, for real…

Robyn: I’m glad others are enjoying The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King. I loooove those books!

Nicole: Three women – Lisa Taddeo

Bonnie: The Curse of Chalion. It’s a completely different level of amazing and deep.

Amanda: The Green Mile by Stephen King

Alexa: The Harry Potter series or Lord of the Rings.

Jessica: The Harry Potter series.

Michelle: Evil has a name. It’s an audible original about finding the Golden State killer. It’s amazing! No romance there. 🤣🤣

Tabitha: Flowers in the Attic. Such a sad book!!

Amanda: Tabitha, that was the very first grown up book I ever read. I believe it was your mom’s❤️

Tabitha: it was. Mom made me read it when I was younger. I still reread it all the time.

Nicky: I’m going old school with Flowers in the Attic. That series is the first that really shocked me. Probably because I was 13😳😳.

Jackie: My all time favourite taboo romance will always be Flowers in the Attic. I remember stumbling upon that series waaaay back when I was much to you to be reading it! It has always stuck with me through the years.

Marissa: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Ann-Theres:  Deff. The Foxhole Court; By Nora Sakavic. Such a slow beginning; but then I suddenly couldn’t stop reading!! And not much Romance either… More of a dark read; but still so real…. I still re-read the series a couple times a year…

Ana: Music and silence by Rose Tremain

Jennifer: The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley. So amazing. And Dune by Frank Herbert but that seems trendy to say right now with the movie coming out.

Jan: How did I forget the awesome Dune??? I reread it not that long ago and was swept away all over again. …In my imagination, it exists. Has since I first read it as an idealistic teenager. One of those books you never forget.

Kelly: Loves music, loves to dance Mary Higgins clark

Allie: loves music, loves to dance by mary higgins clark. my 7th grade english teacher bought me that book at the school book fair to encourage me to read and ive not stopped since


Kanni: One is sci-fi and the others are fantasy. No romance, but a lot of adventure!

Sherri: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Wil Wheaton reads the audiobook and is AMAZING!!! I struggled to get into this book when I read it but when I listened to it I could NOT STOP!!! 5 stars

bev: Ready Player One. I grabbed it a couple months ago on sale and it was back on sale a few days ago. Scifi so not my usual at all but so many positive comments on the site i saw the sale posted.

Jan: I read Ready Player One when it first came out and really liked it at the time. Lots of cheesy stuff about 80s style pop culture and computer game refs, but I remember it had a fast-moving plot and was an easy, entertaining read.

Kooloo: Ready Player One (originally a book by Ernest Cline) directed by Spielberg WAS AMAZZZZBALLLS!!!!! I love love love the book when I read it years ago and the Audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton (who I had like a major crush on in high school 😉 teehee) was a 5 STAR!!!

Kirstyn: The Princess Bride is my all time fav book

Julie: I would have to say The Princess Bride. Loved the movie as a kid, and when I read the book, I loved the story even more. Now I always usually love the books more than movies because I do a better job picturing it in my head.

Jennifer: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Kristina: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Absolutely perfect book

bev: I think many here would enjoy The Glass Castle so freaking good. …Wonderful, hopeful, bitter sweet, packs some punches.

Side note: The Glass Castle is adapted to a movie. I know it is a memoir but honestly think many on here would like it. I remember it being a great book. Just think about it before the movie comes out. Sounds good but books usually pack more of the punch. It reads fast and like a novel.

Sheri: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls…my all time fav non-fiction (memoir).

Nicole: Invisible Man.

Bianca: The Diary of Trilby Frost, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond…..both considered youth fiction, but I’ve read both at least once a year for the last 35 years

Chanpreet: One of my favorite childhood book is The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. I had a copy that I re-read until the covers came off meaning I had to go and get another one before the pages started coming off it.

bev: I just read a post on literary crushes and she mentions Nat from The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Put the biggest smile on my face. I have not thought of him or that book in ages. Not sure how many re-reads I did. Did anyone else ever read that book?

Christina: Woman in the Window and

  • The Shack..which was totally not my genre but really liked it.

Jenn: The Shack-William P Young. I can’t even formulate words to describe what this book did to me. I will tell you this was the book that taught me about “real forgiveness”

Denise: I can’t stand romantic novels tbh. I always used to favour SF and crime fiction. Now it’s mainly crime, but I usually go for a series rather than a singular book because I like continuing characters. At the moment I’m into Elly Griffiths books featuring Ruth Galloway, but I’m looking forward to the new Kathy Reichs Bones books after such a long hiatus.

Ashley: The Good Girl Mary Kubica and Pretty Baby Mary Kubica

Diane: I finished The Good Girl yesterday and really liked it, I think Stockholm Syndrome is definitely catnip for me.

Lisa: Highly recommend the good girl if anyone is seeking a total suspense and kidnapping with a twist, oh and if you want to hear the sexiest narrator ever then order the audible like I did…loved it and can’t stop thinking about it four months later.

Elizabeth: Agree about the good girl Lisa! Soooo good!

Teri: All war novels which I don’t normally read.

Cindy: I have read Night Road and Winter Garden (and recently finished The Nightingale) and loved them all. Same sad mood in each of those and all so haunting.

Kim: The Nightingale was compelling from page 1.

Harper: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah? Is one of my top 5 books about the WWII.

Jennifer: The Outsiders By: S.E. Hinton or Misery By: Stephen King

Donna: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Maryse: I LOVED Dark Matter!!!! All confusing and exciting!!

Jean: Just started Dark Matter and holy crap, it’s a pageturner! I am loving it so far! Don’t want to put it down!

LM: I have a few non romance favs, but one that stands out now that we are getting into fall is WAYWARD PINES books! Pretty good books.

Another really good one is Cyber Storm by Matthew Maher. Especially in today’s day and age, that’s a good one to read and see potentially what life might be like if all cyber was taken out. Written by a retired Government Cyber Security employee.

Fabi: CyberStorm by Matthew Mather. I listened to it on Audible last year with a great narrator. This was a creepy technothriller that held me spellbound watching the rapid collapse of civilization during a bizarre combination of events.


Kat: Most epic read ever would be Wuthering Heights it even inspired my daughter’s name!

IsDon: I loved Wuthering Heights – far more ‘bold and the beautiful’ drama and excitement I thought, compared to Pride & Prejudice. Just my first thought 🙂

Sparklygoddess: I love the Giver and I feel that is different from all other dystopia books out there.

Amber: The Giver by Lois Lowry… amazing and I always recommend…

Kiva: My all-time favorite book is The Giver.

Rebecka: My absolute favorite book ever has to be The Giver by Lois Lowery. I was 10 the first time I read it but it’s the book that made me fall in love with reading. And I’m still a sucker for some YA dystopian drama. lol

Bonnie: The Road.

Leah: There and Never Ever Back Again by Jeff Mach

Mary: 1984

Alexis: 1984 by George Orville. LOVE THAT BOOK

Debbie: My favorite would have to be 1984. 🙂

Cristi: The Kite Runner

Susan: if I must pick, it would be The Kite Runner.

Kathy: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. A totally different genre but a story about class structure that is true in every society.

Christy: East of Eden, Steinbeck 

Deedee: My favorite book of all time is East of Eden by John Steinbeck. That was the book that made me fall in love with reading.

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