Can you believe it’s December already? I’m not sure where the last few months have gone–the older I get, the faster time seems to go. But somehow I survived a crazy 2012 and cannot wait for 2013 to start. Before the new year, however, we have to to make it through Christmas! If you’ve got some big readers on your shopping list this year, here are some of my favorite books I’ve reviewed on Kinda Silly Books.

For science fiction fans

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. This was one of my favorite sci fi books as a teen, and I still love it now almost 1o years later! The first book in a great series, Ender’s Game is written from the point of view of a highly intelligent child. As a teen I really appreciated the way Card wrote his youthful characters as fully fleshed and mature as the adults, a style that’s rare even in many young adult books. Almost all of my geeky friends and coworkers read this book as a teen and continue to reread it today, so it’s perfect for science fiction readers of any age.

The Foundation Novels, by Isaac Asimov. While there are more than three books in this series, I’ve only read the first three so far–they stop at such a perfect place, I really don’t see the need to continue. Because the three novels are all short, this trilogy would make a great gift set. The story follows the growth, partial collapse, and eventual rise of a society based on science. I wouldn’t recommend the books for young readers because the writing style can be challenging at times, but I think anyone high school aged or older would really enjoy this story of war and mind control.

For fiction fans

Mr. Darcy’s Diary, by Amanda Grange. This book is part of a set, all telling classic Jane Austin stories from the male point of view. While I do enjoy the originals better than these diaries, it was incredibly amusing to see someone’s guess at what the often clueless men were thinking. Written in a style that’s both familiar and formal, I think these books are perfect for teen readers just starting to enjoy the great classics.

The Patron Saint of Liars, by Ann Patchet. I’m pretty sure everything Ann Patchet has written makes me cry (in a good way). Her style is truthful without being blunt, and beautiful without being overly emotional. She tackles some big themes in this story (religion, unwed teen mothers, abandonment) and handles them with great care. The format of this book is really interesting, as it tells the story of a single family from three different family member’s perspectives over their lifetime. I would also highly recommend The Magician’s Assistant, which I have not reviewed but seriously love.

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas. I don’t think a story gets much better than this–it has action, it has political intrigue, it has romance and betrayal, it has dangerous escape plans and double crossing bad guys. Although it is an older story, and a longer one, I read this entire book in half a week because I could not stop reading. Perfect for everyone who loves a good story with tons of plot twists, although I’ve found it to be more popular with my guy friends so far.

For fantasy fans

The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher. These books (I’ve read up through book six in the series) never fail to entertain. Harry Dresden is one of the best written characters I’ve read, and people who love snarky sarcasm will love these books. Each story tackles a different part of the magical world (vampires, faries, warewolves), so the world is slow to evolve but very detailed. While I have adored every Butcher book I’ve read, The Dresden Files are the ones that keep pulling me back for just one more read. And with over a dozen books currently out and the series still not finished, these will also last you through many gift-giving seasons!

Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson. Or honestly, most anything by Sanderson–his writing is some of the best I’ve read and his magical systems are based on science, which really sets his books apart. He is also the author picked to finish Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Elantris, like all of his books, jumps right into the story without much of an introduction, and it’s a wonderful game with Sanderson to figure out what’s happening before the character’s do. I may own every book Sanderson has written for adults at this point…

Rhapsody: Child of Blood, by Elizabeth Haydon. Rhapsody, the first book in the series, has been one of my all-time favorite books since I first read it in high school. The story begins with a terrible tragedy, but the main character’s incredible ability to thrive under pressure makes her a wonderfully optimistic (if annoyingly naive) person. And when you combine an innocent young girl, a career military man, and a professional assassin, you know a crazy story is sure to follow. I’ve read the entire series multiple times, but Rhapsody is one of the book I would save if my house was on fire.

For everyone else

Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes that make a meal, by Marie Simmons. This last year I really pushed myself to expand my diet to include more vegetables, a challenge I very much enjoyed. Who would have guessed that Brussels sprouts would become one of my favorite vegetables?! For the people in your life trying to make healthier dinner choices, I found some great recipes in this book. She includes a variety of dishes (sides, appetizers, soups, main courses) and every step is explained so clearly that even the most novice cook can use this book.

A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, by Meg Keene. I actually bought this book as a Christmas gift for a friend last year, and then grabbed another copy for myself once I got engaged. For those looking for an alternative to the typical big princess weddings that are so popular right now, I cannot suggest a better book than A Practical Wedding–it’s certainly been a lifesaver in my own wedding planning!