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Posted by Joe Butler on Dec. 4, 2018, midnight

Are you pro- or anti-books as gifts? You’re pro-reading, of course, whether it’s a hardback, paperback, e-book or audiobook. But do you take the risk and pick a book to give, perhaps imparting your own tastes and opinions on subject matter on the recipient? Or do you play it safe with a gift card that merely encourages them to visit a local book store?

Whether you’re buying for yourself or a friend, who doesn’t like to get recommendations on the season’s hottest reads?

The Clockmaker’s Daughter
Kate Morton (Atria Books)

Archivist Elodie Winslow discovers an old satchel containing a photo and a 150-year-old sketchbook that leads to new information about an unsolved murder in Victorian London, unraveling a story of “murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love and loss.” It’s a creative mystery that straddles two time periods and brings in plenty of excitement and suspense even if the actual crime happened long ago. The novel’s author uses a variety of points of view over time to show how some secrets are easy to keep and some eventually need to be told.  

Girl, Wash Your Face
Rachel Hollis (Thomas Nelson)

Want some motivation to get a better you in 2019? In this inspirational guide to life, Rachel Hollis encourages readers to stop believing what society tells them they should be, and instead, focus on what they’re meant to be. The founder of ChicSite.com shares her own challenges trying to balance an imperfect home and personal life while trying to run a perfect business. Once she removed the insecurities placed by others, and by herself, she found exciting new ways to inspire herself to do wonderful and passionate things and get stuff done. And you can too. Bonus: Hollis’ follow-up, “Girl, Stop Apologizing” is out March 2019.

This Is the Day
Tim Tebow with A.J. Gregory (WaterBrook)

If you don’t relate to Rachel Hollis, how about Tim Tebow? The former pro football (who also pursued a professional baseball career) encourages readers to build up the courage to remove whatever is holding themselves back and take some risks. Even when dreams seem unrealistic, Tebow provides advice through his personal life stories to help those who are “stuck” find the courage to make their dreams happen.

The Christmas Sisters
Sarah Morgan (HQN)

No holiday book list should be complete without something that warms the heart and helps you feel better about a crazy world. Curl up under a blanket as you enjoy the story of three sisters who are orphaned early in life and drift apart. When their adoptive mother calls them all home for Christmas, tensions among the women run high. But what better time than the holidays than to reveal old secrets and repair familial bonds?

A Winter’s Promise
Christelle Dabos (Europa Editions)

Looking for the next big young adult fantasy series? The first book in the Mirror Visitor Quartet series was recently translated from its native French for English-reading audiences. In a fractured world composed for many floating celestial islands, each ruled by the spirit of an omnipotent and immortal ancestor, headstrong Ophelia who can travel through mirrors is promised in to Thorn, a reserved and influential resident of a cold, icy ark. But Ophelia learns is part of a larger political plot and must hide her abilities to protect her future.