100 books like Jazz Baby

By Beem Weeks,

Here are 100 books that Jazz Baby fans have personally recommended if you like Jazz Baby. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Glade

Bruce A. Borders Author Of Over My Dead Body

From my list on entertaining a restless mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

While the subject matter of the books on my list may vary, the thing that ties them together is the suspenseful tension that builds and keeps the reader on edge. The unexpected twists and turns are the "secret sauce"  that adds flavor and fervor. I like the way each of these books keeps your mind from wandering by combining vivid imagery with a compelling storyline. As an author myself, I am always fascinated by those who make it look so easy and effortless. And as an avid reader, I constantly search for these kind of books; the kind that make you feel as if you just have to keep reading.

Bruce's book list on entertaining a restless mind

Bruce A. Borders Why did Bruce love this book?

Set in England this book has a mystical pull right from the start. Suspenseful and intiguing, The Glade is full of nuances. Bordering on the paranormal, there is enough realism to not come off as farfetched. The author does a nice job of communicating a mysterious vibe while telling a story that holds the reader's interest.

By Harmony Kent,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Readers who like to curl up during the long winter evenings and feel the delicious chill of fear running up and down their spines need only turn to The Glade to have all their expectations fulfilled.

The Glade is a horror story in the mould of Stephen King, and rendered the more so by its faint echoes of Pet Cemetery and the even stronger resonance of the pervasive malignancy of It.”—Review by Brian O’Hare

This gripping, edge-of-your-seat mystery/thriller will have you thinking twice about booking that idyllic cottage in the country. Nothing in this woodland paradise within the Forest of…


Book cover of Daydream's Daughter, Nightmare's Friend: One Woman's Journey Through Two Hells

Bruce A. Borders Author Of Over My Dead Body

From my list on entertaining a restless mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

While the subject matter of the books on my list may vary, the thing that ties them together is the suspenseful tension that builds and keeps the reader on edge. The unexpected twists and turns are the "secret sauce"  that adds flavor and fervor. I like the way each of these books keeps your mind from wandering by combining vivid imagery with a compelling storyline. As an author myself, I am always fascinated by those who make it look so easy and effortless. And as an avid reader, I constantly search for these kind of books; the kind that make you feel as if you just have to keep reading.

Bruce's book list on entertaining a restless mind

Bruce A. Borders Why did Bruce love this book?

I've always heard there are two sides to every story. Generally, this means a good side and a bad, or at least one with some sort of a redeeming perspective. But what does a person do when both sides are equally hellish? For Maiya, it means she truly is Daydream's Daughter and Nightmare's Friend. It seems as though the insufferable miseries will never end. This book is deeply emotional and compelling. The author describes the events in vivid detail creating a sense for the reader of being there in the midst of it all. The book immediately captures your attention, and page after page keeps you wondering what will happen next. An excellent story by an excellent author.

By Nonnie Jules,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daydream's Daughter, Nightmare's Friend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*THIS BOOK IS FOR AUDIENCES 18 YEARS AND OLDER. NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN* "She was one horrible mess. Always looking over her shoulder and avoiding becoming too friendly with the neighbors. That anxiety stemmed from a horrible place. Always fearing that someone would recognize her face, she kept to herself and didn't go out much. When she did, no matter the season, she wore some kind of hat or covering on her head, enough to shield her face. Walter never understood why she was such a loner, avoiding people at all cost and just being very anti-social outside of the…


Book cover of A Sweetness to the Soul

Bruce A. Borders Author Of Over My Dead Body

From my list on entertaining a restless mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

While the subject matter of the books on my list may vary, the thing that ties them together is the suspenseful tension that builds and keeps the reader on edge. The unexpected twists and turns are the "secret sauce"  that adds flavor and fervor. I like the way each of these books keeps your mind from wandering by combining vivid imagery with a compelling storyline. As an author myself, I am always fascinated by those who make it look so easy and effortless. And as an avid reader, I constantly search for these kind of books; the kind that make you feel as if you just have to keep reading.

Bruce's book list on entertaining a restless mind

Bruce A. Borders Why did Bruce love this book?

This story takes place in the 1800's in the area where I live, so it holds a special connection for me. But beyond that it is an interesting tale of real-life struggles and overcoming those obstacles. The book describes frontier life in an authentic and stirring way. The local author knows the history and facts of the area and weaves them well into the story.

By Jane Kirkpatrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Sweetness to the Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on historical characters and events, A Sweetness to the Soul recounts the captivating story of young, spirited Oregon pioneer Jane Herbert who at the age of twelve faces a tragedy that begins a life-long search for forgiveness and love. In the years that follow, young Jane finds herself involved in an unusual and touching romance with a dreamer sixteen years her senior, struggles to make peace with an emotionally distant mother, and fights to build a family of her own. Filled with heart-warming insight and glimpses of real-life pain, A Sweetness to the Soul paints a brilliant picture of…


Book cover of Elf Killers

Bruce A. Borders Author Of Over My Dead Body

From my list on entertaining a restless mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

While the subject matter of the books on my list may vary, the thing that ties them together is the suspenseful tension that builds and keeps the reader on edge. The unexpected twists and turns are the "secret sauce"  that adds flavor and fervor. I like the way each of these books keeps your mind from wandering by combining vivid imagery with a compelling storyline. As an author myself, I am always fascinated by those who make it look so easy and effortless. And as an avid reader, I constantly search for these kind of books; the kind that make you feel as if you just have to keep reading.

Bruce's book list on entertaining a restless mind

Bruce A. Borders Why did Bruce love this book?

Welcome to the world of elves. It's a different world, one that takes a little getting used to. The language of the Trolls is, at first, a bit confusing. But I thought it was interesting how quickly the reader's mind can adapt, making the unfamiliar words meaningful and understandable. (The included glossary helps). The story of the elves is told very well and kept me interested to the end. An enjoyable read!

By Carol Phipps, Tom Phipps, Marija Vilotijevic (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Not for the fainthearted! Kids die horribly, and amid the trolls jockeying for leadership is trial by head bashing.”
For the Elves, it's the very worst time to be in the woods.
Trolls are hunting them down.
Will they live long enough to reach a safe place to live?
"Elf Killers is a fast-moving Fantasy Adventure with a ton of heart and boundless imagination."

Oisin’s plan is to come with his bow to help Aedan and Doona lead a party of children into the forest to gather the maidenhair seedlings his people would take across the sea as they flee…


Book cover of The Humming Room: A Novel Inspired by the Secret Garden

Lorelei Savaryn Author Of The Edge of in Between

From my list on retellings for middle grade readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied retellings as I prepared to write my own take on The Secret Garden. Retelling a classic story can not only usher something like The Secret Garden or Peter Pan into our current time and place in history, but it can also awaken the wonder and magic many of us experienced when reading these tales for the first time in a new generation. It’s been so fun for me to see how modern authors put their own spin on these stories, and I hope you will enjoy them too.

Lorelei's book list on retellings for middle grade readers

Lorelei Savaryn Why did Lorelei love this book?

This contemporary retelling of The Secret Garden sets the story in a closed-down tuberculosis sanitarium. Roo's journey to uncover the mysteries of the house and bring life to the garden tucked away inside it unfolds beautifully on the page. With well-developed characters, a deeply haunting revelation, and a setting that springs to life with vivid detail, this was a great take on a classic.

By Ellen Potter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Humming Room as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she…


Book cover of The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

Maryka Biaggio Author Of Parlor Games

From my list on wily, take-charge women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I stumbled across the story of May Dugas, who the Pinkertons described as “the most dangerous woman in the world,” I’ve been fascinated by women who were born into lowly circumstances and yearned to better themselves. How far were they willing to go to rise above their station? This question takes on added weight for women in earlier eras—when women’s choices and opportunities were limited. So I’ve long been attracted to historical fiction that examines just these questions. And I’ve enjoyed hearing readers’ reactions to May’s story when I visit book clubs. What reader isn’t fascinated by stories of transgression and daring?

Maryka's book list on wily, take-charge women

Maryka Biaggio Why did Maryka love this book?

What could be better than one wily, take-charge woman? How about three? This is Ariel Lawhon’s debut novel, and it is pure fun. (I have enjoyed all her novels, but this one is a real romp.) The story launches one summer night in 1930 when Judge Joseph Crater steps into a New York City cab and is never heard from again. I loved how we learn the judge is a not-so-honorable character, involved with three women: Stella, his fashionable wife, the picture of propriety; Maria, their steadfast maid, indebted to the judge; and Ritzi, his showgirl mistress, willing to seize any chance to break out of the chorus line. This is a tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930—Justice Joseph Crater's infamous disappearance—through the eyes of the three women who knew him best. Lawhon has a real knack for finding fascinating characters!

By Ariel Lawhon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia comes a “genuinely surprising whodunit” (USA Today)that tantalizingly reimagines a scandalous murder mystery that rocked the nation.

One summer night in 1930, Judge Joseph Crater steps into a New York City cab and is never heard from again. Behind this great man are three women, each with her own tale to tell: Stella, his fashionable wife, the picture of propriety; Maria, their steadfast maid, indebted to the judge; and Ritzi, his showgirl mistress, willing to seize any chance to break out of the chorus line.

As the twisted truth…


Book cover of Spellbound

Molly Ringle Author Of Lava Red Feather Blue

From my list on fantasy with great queer representation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been making up magical worlds ever since childhood, when I populated the creekbanks and vacant lots in my hometown with ghosts, fae, Land of Oz residents, and other creatures from my imagination. Fantasy and forbidden love have always been my two main allures in reading, and different varieties of sexuality and gender identity also fascinated me once I became more aware of such issues in college, through books as well as my anthropology classes. I was recently pleased to learn there’s at least one cool label for me as well—demisexual—and nowadays I love populating my fantasy novels with queer characters. Everyone deserves adventures in the otherworld!

Molly's book list on fantasy with great queer representation

Molly Ringle Why did Molly love this book?

I’m a sucker for a cool historical setting and also for romance with a social-status difference as a main obstacle, and this novel delivers on both! In 1920s-era New York City, amid Prohibition and jazz and snazzy fashions—and, in this version of things, an underworld of secret magic—wealthy Arthur meets working-class Rory, and the sparks begin. Both of the men are utterly endearing (another feature I’m soft on) and bring different paranormal powers to the problem of a lethal magical relic on its way to New York. There are two more books in the series, so if you fall for this pair, hurray! There’s more to read.

By Allie Therin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Allie Therin built a world that came alive and flew off the pages." —Gay Book Reviews

To save Manhattan, they’ll have to save each other first…

New York, 1925

Arthur Kenzie’s life’s work is protecting the world from the supernatural relics that could destroy it. When an amulet with the power to control the tides is shipped to New York, he must intercept it before it can be used to devastating effects. This time, in order to succeed, he needs a powerful psychometric…and the only one available has sworn off his abilities altogether.

Rory Brodigan’s gift comes with great risk.…


Book cover of King Zeno

Fred Van Lente Author Of Never Sleep

From my list on historical mysteries/thrillers set before World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love historical fiction because it’s the next best thing to the invention of time travel. Books can immerse you in a time and a place in a way that comics and movies can only gesture at. For books like Never Sleep I even make sure to cook the foods my characters are eating, to make sure the era is evoked for the readers in all five sense. I love fantasy and science fiction as the next person, but the idea of transporting people to times and places that actually happened, to the best of my skill as a dramatist and researcher, is a challenge I find irresistible as an author. 

Fred's book list on historical mysteries/thrillers set before World War II

Fred Van Lente Why did Fred love this book?

Right at the end of World War I, a shellshocked cop, a jazz trumpeter, and a Mafia doyenne find their paths cross with an ax murderer in Spanish flu-ravaged New Orleans in one of America’s first true serial killer cases.

A unique structure of interlocking POVs really made the narrative shine for me and straight up stole Rich’s structure for my book! Good writers copy, etc. 

By Nathaniel Rich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New Orleans, 1918. The birth of jazz, the Spanish flu, an axe murderer on the loose. The lives of a traumatized cop, a conflicted Mafia matriarch, and a brilliant trumpeter converge. In Nathaniel Rich's King Zeno, the Crescent City gets the rich, dark, sweeping novel it so deserves.

New Orleans, a century ago: a city determined to reshape its destiny and, with it, the nation's. Downtown, a new American music is born. In Storyville, prostitution is outlawed and the police retake the streets with maximum violence. In the Ninth Ward, laborers break ground on a gigantic canal that will split…


Book cover of Coming Through Slaughter

Philip Watson Author Of Bill Frisell, Beautiful Dreamer: The Guitarist Who Changed the Sound of American Music

From my list on jazz (and a whole lot more).

Why am I passionate about this?

I've mostly made my living as a feature writer, covering a broad range of subjects—from 9/11 to the Poker Million tournament, Miles Davis to (a film version of) James Joyce’s Ulysses, British soldiers injured in Afghanistan to the Peace One Day campaign—for numerous UK and Irish newspapers and magazines, including GQ, where I was formerly deputy editor, and Esquire, where I was editor-at-large. I've also written extensively about music, jazz in particular; musicians I've interviewed include Nick Cave, Gil Scott-Heron, McCoy Tyner, Wynton Marsalis, and Maria Schneider. My first book, a biography of the American guitarist Bill Frisell, was published by Faber in the spring of 2022.

Philip's book list on jazz (and a whole lot more)

Philip Watson Why did Philip love this book?

Another work that is wonderfully and winningly hard to pin down, Coming Through Slaughter is an imaginative and fragmentary collage of monologue, memoir, interviews, lyrics, photographs, archival material, hospital files—and white space—that builds a novelistic portrait of the mythical dark life and hard times of cornet player Buddy Bolden, one of the originators of jazz in New Orleans at the turn of the twentieth century. From the little that is known about Bolden and his music, Ondaatje shapes an audacious story that is short, cinematic, dream-like, and devastating, a book that incontrovertibly proved once again to me that there are many, many ways to tell the story of a life. 

By Michael Ondaatje,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Coming Through Slaughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover Michael Ondaatje's debut novel, 'a beautifully detailed story, perhaps the finest jazz novel ever written' Sunday Times

Based on the life of cornet player Buddy Bolden, one of the legendary jazz pioneers of turn-of-the-twentieth-century New Orleans, Coming Through Slaughter is an extraordinary recreation of a remarkable musical life and a tragic conclusion. Through a collage of memoirs, interviews, imaginary conversations and monologues, Ondaatje builds a picture of a man who would work by day at a barber shop and by night unleash his talent to wild audiences who had never experienced such playing. But Buddy was also playing the…


Book cover of The Axeman

Louise Hare Author Of Harlem After Midnight

From my list on capturing the magic of jazz.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved jazz ever since I learned to play the clarinet as a child. My two great loves in life have been music and books, so it made sense to combine the two things and write novels with a link to jazz. These books are some of my favourites with a jazz theme. I promise that even if you’re not a jazz fan, these are all excellent novels, to be enjoyed with or without music playing in the background!

Louise's book list on capturing the magic of jazz

Louise Hare Why did Louise love this book?

A young Louis Armstrong as an amateur detective – if that concept doesn’t draw you in, I’m not sure what will!

The year is 1919 and there’s a terrifying serial killer on the loose in New Orleans. This is the first installment in Celestin’s City Blues Quartet. I love all four books but The Axeman is probably my favourite because of the New Orleans vibe. You get jazz, mafia, Pinkerton detectives, crooked cops, and a taste of the macabre. 

By Ray Celestin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Axeman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Ray Celestin skillfully depicts the desperate revels of that idiosyncratic city and its bizarre legends in his first novel, THE AXEMAN." - The New York Times Sunday Book Review (Marilyn Stasio, Crime Columnist)

The Axeman stalks the streets of New Orleans...

In a town filled with gangsters, voodoo, and jazz trumpets sounding from the dance halls, a sense of intoxicating mystery often beckons from the back alleys. But when a serial killer roams the sultry nights, even the corrupt cops can't see the clues. That is, until a letter from the Axeman himself is published in the newspaper, proclaiming that…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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