For the young people:
The Gateway Chronicle (The Six, The Oracle, and The White Thread) by K. B. Hoyle
If you have a reluctant reader on your holiday list, you should get this series. My 9 year old niece has never had much interest in books. We couldn't even get her to read Harry Potter. Back in February the author sent me The Six and The Oracle. They were so good I couldn't stop talking about them. I knew they were above my niece's reading level (she barely reads on grade level), but that she would really love the story. My mom read them to her over the summer. Once they got started, she was constantly asking anyone who would to read another chapter. She now enjoys reading. (She's reading Harry Potter now). This series is on our Christmas list for my niece's school library, because my niece thinks all the kids at her school should read them.
You can read my reviews for the first two books by clicking on the links above. They are like a modern day Chronicles of Narnia with touches of Harry Potter and The Last Airbender. I think my niece really related to the 11 year old girl who doesn't feel like she fits in with anyone.
The Gateway Chronicles would make an excellent gift for both children and adults. I would say the reading level is 5th or 6th grade. Though since it would be enjoyed by the whole family it would great for a family read-a-long for even young children.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
For the high school age and adult reader that loves sci-fi with a touch of romance, I recommend Across the Universe by Beth Revis (clicking on the link above will take you to my original review. I listened to the audio book and it was excellent, so if you have a visually impaired reader or just someone that needs a little help with reading the audio book would make an great gift.
Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure by B. K. Bostick
In my review (which you can view by clicking on the link above), I mentioned that I would be getting this book for my nephew. He's a 3rd grader but reads on a 4th grade level (perhaps a bit higher if he would apply himself). I think he will enjoy this adventure of middle school age kids seeking treasure thought to only be an urban legend.
For more suggestions for the young reader (many would be enjoyed by adults as well) on your list see all my YA reviews.
For Older Readers:
Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee
For the reader that enjoys books that make them think, this would be a perfect gift. This futuristic story explores a world ruled by fear. The twists and turns (I wasn't so sure who the good guys and bad guys were most of the time) will keep the reader enthralled. As the first in the series, you may just find the gift buying chance already taken care of.
Immortal by Gene DoucetteI was really unsure about this book when I accepted it for review, but it turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year. There is a little something for everyone in this book. If you have a difficult to buy for reader, I highly recommend this book. I know some people are hesitant to pick up indie published books, but this one is truly excellent.
Steven George and the Dragon by Nathan Everett
This was just such a fun read that I had to include it on my holiday buying guide. It is a fairytale of sorts. As other readers commented, it is hard to tell who the intended audience is age-wise. This might be the sort of story best shared as a family.
See my reviews of other Sci-fi and fantasy books for recommendations.
Throwaway by Heather Huffman
Life's a struggle and I like books that don't sugar coat it. Have a reader who's into social issues? Then this book may be their thing. Though life may not have a happy ending, I prefer the books I read to have one. The suspense in this has you wondering how much of a happy ending there will be. Recommended for the romantic suspense reader on your list. If you are getting a Kindle for someone, at $2.99 Throwaway would be an excellent bonus gift (it's also available in a print edition)
The First Victim by J. B. Lynn
This book ROCKED! It is only available in ebook, but it's priced just right for a "stocking stuffer" or a bonus gift added to the new ereader under the tree. For me the story verged on horror, which made it a truly wonderful thriller without giving me the nightmares that accompany horror stories. There is a steamy romance scene for those readers inclined for those, but it doesn't dominate the story.
Need more suggestions on suspense, thriller, and romance books, click on the links for all my reviews in that genre.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
I know this was an extremely popular book this year, what with a movie and all coming out. If you have a movie lover on your list that you are perhaps trying to convert to a book lover, too, I think this would make an excellent choice. I actually listen to this book which I believe added to its excellency. So if you have someone who prefers audio books (or trying to get into audio books) think about picking up Water for Elephants for them.
22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson
I love historical fiction, particularly that which is focused on World War II era. However, I was growing bored with the books because they all seemed to be variations of the same story line. When I saw a review of 22 Britannia Road I knew I had to read it. It is set after the end of the war and focused more on the recovery of the civilian wife and child and how the family tried to reunited after such a long separation.
For more suggestions in audio books and historical fiction just click on the links to see all my reviews.
Haiku for the Single Girl by Beth Griffenhagen
I picked this up on Thursday and read it while at lunch. We all have those office or other organization parties to attend. If you need a gift idea, this would make a good one, particularly if there are single people in the group. I loved this little book and if you have a single person on your list, buy them this book (As single person myself, I would love to receive this book as a gift). I read it on my Nook from Netgalley.com and it didn't lay out real well. I would prefer a print version.
I have read some truly remarkable books this year. My list could be much longer, but I want to keep it simple. I do encourage you to follow the descriptive links to see what other titles I might not have included here, but would still make wonderful gifts. Also if you are needing more suggestions take a look at the list at Book Riot.
What books do you recommend giving as gifts (or would like to receive as a gift)?