The best books to improve your Spanish

Who am I?

I’m a writer and a Spanish teacher. Creative and a little crazy. I love teaching people who arrive in my city (Madrid) to live for a while. I love writing fiction, specially novels, but also poetry and little stories. Sometimes I mix both skills and create texts as the one below. I dream about winning the lottery but I never buy tickets, and I also love to sing with my guitar when I’m alone. Pleased to meet you.


I wrote...

100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

By Patricia Lorente,

Book cover of 100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

What is my book about?

This is a book to learn Spanish language. To read little silly stories. To learn vocabulary having fun. To fix words in your mind. To practice structure and be more confident with present tenses before starting with the past. To feel ready to keep learning.

On my journey as a teacher I detected a lack of texts in present tense with students of basic levels. It’s not common to just talk or write in simple present, but it’s not impossible. A hundred short texts are enough to have a wide vocabulary review on different topics, with the help of highlighted key words and a preface with grammar, basic verbs, and essential words to be as fluent as you can be, being a beginner. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Aprender Español Con Canciones: Learn Spanish With Songs

Patricia Lorente Why did I love this book?

I used a lot of songs to learn English when I was young, and it worked!

This book consists of several songs from Spain and Latin America, with a wide range of styles rock, pop, hip hop, ska, flamenco, romantic, classic, modern… It also contains nice exercises of reading and listening comprehension. In my opinion, this method is a perfect way to memorize, improve and practice vocabulary, grammar and even pronunciation (and fluency).

If you are a music lover, or a folk soul, this is your method!

By Ramón Díez Galán,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aprender Español Con Canciones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Aprender español con canciones es un libro para disfrutar del estudio. Tiene canciones y ejercicios con diferentes niveles de dificultad para que pueda ser usado tanto por principiantes como por estudiantes de nivel avanzado. Lo importante es que el alumno descubre una gran cantidad de artistas de diferentes países que cantan en español.

El libro incluye:

· historias de cantantes de España y Latinoamérica;

· ejercicios de comprensión de lectura;

· ejercicios de comprensión auditiva;

· ejercicios con canciones;

· voces de nativos de diferentes países;

· horas y horas de diversión.

Aprende español de un modo diferente, descubriendo canciones…


Book cover of Rápido, Rápido

Patricia Lorente Why did I love this book?

This is a classic whole year (or semester) method to learn Spanish. I recommend it both for teachers and students since it is so complete and so well structured, that it can be well profited from both sides. 

The method is designed to fast forward and the new versions have been improved with the help of teachers who already used it, which is so interesting. It’s well organized: 18 units divided in 5 points each (goals; texts-oral and written; grammar; activities for grammar and lexic practice; and a final task to be ideally prepared in group: a script for a radio show).

The pack is completed with audios that show the differences between Spanish language all over the world.

By Lourdes Miquel López, Neus Sans,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rápido, Rápido as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

El Cuaderno de ejercicios de Rápido, rápido acompaña y complementa al Libro del alumno y está especialmente dedicado a la fijación del léxico, a la práctica de la expresión oral y escrita, a la ejercitación de la comprensión lectora, a la reflexión sobre la morfología y la sintaxis, y al refuerzo del aprendizaje de los contenidos lingüísticos. Los ejercicios pueden ser un complemento en el aula o bien formar parte del trabajo individual del alumno en casa. Se incluye un práctico índice de contenidos al principio de cada unidad. Cada unidad incluye un capítulo de la novela En Barcelona sin…


Book cover of Lola Lago, Detective: Lejos de Casa

Patricia Lorente Why did I love this book?

I guess I’s not a coincidence that this series of fiction books are written by the same writers as the previous one, since both of them have the same high quality in their content and are grammatically so well focused. 

The protagonist is Lola Lago, a detective who will solve a case per book.

The books range from level A1 to level B1 and come with an audiobook. The length of the stores is perfect (45-60 pages) and the format light enough to feel that you can do it. Every one of them is well focused on its level, and you can find, at the end, lovely explanation notes and light and fun comprehension exercises.

By Lourdes Miquel López, Neus Sans,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lola Lago, Detective as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Humberto, un joven colombiano, es acusado de herir gravemente al “Tigre”, un skinhead con el que había discutido. Humberto desaparece y la asociación de vecinos contrata a Lola para que lo encuentre y demuestre su inocencia.


Book cover of Dificultades del Español para Hablantes de Inglés

Patricia Lorente Why did I love this book?

I would never recommend this book to a student who doesn’t have a good level of Spanish, and who doesn’t have enough confidence. Nevertheless, it’s perfect for intermediate to high level students, who are already well trained, to go deep in their acknowledgement and mend mistakes.  

Reading this book can even help you discover mistakes that you didn’t know you were doing and polish aspects of the use of the Spanish language that you ignored. It’s oriented to the difficulties of English speakers, but you can find other versions for speakers of other languages (German, Italian, Brazilian).

Another very good aspect of this little book is its price. Really affordable for its good quality content.

By Manuela Gil, María Luisa Capón,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dificultades del Español para Hablantes de Inglés as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Este libro recopila los errores que con más frecuencia cometen los angloparlantes que quieren aprender español y sugiere una solución. En él se expone el error, se dan claves y fórmulas para corregirlo, y se proponen una serie de ejercicios para consolidar el aprendizaje. Al final del libro hay una sección con las soluciones de todos los ejercicios.


Book cover of Español Correcto para Dummies

Patricia Lorente Why did I love this book?

It says it’s “for dummies, but the truth is, this book is for people with a high level of Spanish who want to complete their learning. 

The book is an extensive review of the Spanish grammar, all explained in Spanish, with more than 400 pages. I see it as a fun and entertaining encyclopedia of this language, because you can find almost every aspect of Spanish grammar in it. If you are a beginner, you can also use it as a reference book which can accompany you through the journey of learning.

By Fernando Ávila,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Español Correcto para Dummies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Una guía indispensable para todos aquellos interesados en aprender a escribir y hablar el castellano correctamente. A diferencia del resto de libros del mercado, Español correcto para Dummies presenta de forma amena y didáctica las reglas básicas de los tiempos verbales, los nombres y los pronombres. Asimismo, ayuda a resolver las dudas más comunes sobre la lengua castellana.


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Christmas at Corbie Hall: A McLaren Mystery

By Jo A. Hiestand,

Book cover of Christmas at Corbie Hall: A McLaren Mystery

Jo A. Hiestand Author Of An Unwilling Suspect

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Mystery novelist World War 2 espionage enthusiast Reader Cat parent

Jo's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Former police detective Michael McLaren is looking forward to spending Christmas at his grandfather's ancient Hall with his grandfather, uncle, and his lady love, Melanie. But McLaren’s holiday plan gets snowed under when a dead man is discovered outside his grandfather’s house--in circumstances similar to an older murder. And it’s not long before McLaren is asked to look into the previous death.

Both men played in Scottish pipe bands and worked at the same bank. Are the two murders connected? Can McLaren wrap up the cases in time to unwrap Christmas gifts with Melanie? It’s a race against the calendar and weather if he wants the Day—and his future with her—to be merry and bright.

Christmas at Corbie Hall: A McLaren Mystery

By Jo A. Hiestand,

What is this book about?

Former police detective Michael McLaren is looking forward to spending Christmas at his grandfather's ancient Hall with his grandfather, uncle, and his lady love, Melanie. But McLaren’s holiday plan gets snowed under when a dead man is discovered outside his grandfather’s house--in circumstances similar to an older murder. And it’s not long before McLaren is asked to look into the previous death.

Both men played in Scottish pipe bands and worked at the same bank. Are the two murders connected? Can McLaren wrap up the cases in time to unwrap Christmas gifts with Melanie? It’s a race against the calendar…


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