VGBlogger’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Novels, Story and Activity Books

VGBlogger_HolidayGiftGuides_Banner

Our annual gift guides for geeks and gamers are back for the 2016 holiday season. In this installment, check out gift ideas across all variety of things that are bound and printed with text, from novels to comics, storybooks to puzzle books, coloring books to cookbooks. Stay tuned for ongoing updates and gift ideas throughout the holiday season!

Check out our other gift guides at these links:

VGBlogger’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Hardware and Peripherals
VGBlogger’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Art and Coffee Table Books
VGBlogger’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Toys, Collectibles, Stocking Stuffers & Beyond

Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever — Buy From Amazon:

laracroft

Penned by Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent, the same authorial duo behind the previous Tomb Raider novel The Ten Thousand Immortals, Blade of Gwynnever pulls readers back into Lara Croft’s world of ancient tombs and artifacts for a brand new storyline. Whereas Ten Thousand Immortals fully embraced Lara’s new character arc, picking up after the 2013 Tomb Raider and serving as a lead-in to Rise of the Tomb Raider, this novel instead mostly stands out on its own as a nostalgic, globe-trotting adventure romp that feels more like a story that would have fit right in with the series’ early games–mythical Egyptian creatures, twin 9mm pistol-packing action, double crosses, rivalries with other treasure hunters, geeky archaeology and all. It’s predictable and often outlandish yet nothing short of good Tomb Raider-y fun.

Geeky Lego Crafts — Buy From Amazon:

geekylegocrafts

For gaming geeks and LEGO builders alike, Geeky LEGO Crafts is a fun, silly, and inspirational guidebook featuring 21 different crafty builds. Everything from Space Invaders themed desk supply boxes, Tetris refrigerator magnets, and a smartphone dock that looks like a classic NES controller to a Sword in the Stone paperweight, a mounted deer head, and hangable Christmas tree ornaments. Each build is labeled with a difficulty scale and accompanied by fully diagramed and numbered step-by-step instructions, including a full table showing the size, color, and quantity of pieces needed to complete the construction. The book would have been a little better organized had the instructions been grouped by difficulty, starting with the easier projects and progressing through to the more complex models. But beyond that this is a book that will spark the imagination and playful creativity of any LEGO builder who enjoys thinking outside of the box and crafting things other than pre-packaged sets.

Jerusalem — Buy From Amazon:

Astoundingly ambitious in scope and writing style, Jerusalem is a modern literary epic of historical and supernatural fiction by famed From Hell, V for Vendetta, and Watchmen author Alan Moore. Said to have taken 10 years to complete, Jerusalem’s story spans over a thousand pages–available in a single hardcover volume or divided into three paperbacks as part of a slipcase box set. Honestly, the story’s so dense each page actually feels like the equivalent of three pages in any other novel. Expect to be reading away for many months to come if you’re up to the daunting yet enlightening task of sinking your brain into Moore’s diverse, far-reaching ode to his hometown of Northampton, UK.

D Is for Destiny — Buy From Amazon:

Originally produced in-house as a holiday gift only for Bungie parents, D Is for Destiny condenses the universe of the hit sci-fi shared world shooter videogame into an inspirational Little Golden Book style children’s bedtime storybook. The story is told in alphabetic order, each page written in poetic verse based upon a keyword starting with a specific letter in the alphabet. The artwork throughout varies from page to page and is charming as all get out, each entry accompanied by the work of a different Bungie artist. There’s even a credits section at the end showing who worked on the picture for each letter. D Is for Destiny succeeds as both an early adventure book to introduce kids to gaming and fantasy universes, as well as a must-have collectible for adult geeks and gamers, whether they’re a fan of Destiny the game or not.

A Dog’s Purpose — Buy From Amazon:

With the Hollywood big screen adaptation coming to theaters in January, now’s the perfect time to catch up or revisit W. Bruce Cameron’s wonderful novel from 2010. Equal parts funny, sad, dramatic, sweet, heartwarming and, in spots, surprisingly dark, A Dog’s Purpose tells a story about a dog that is continuously reincarnated, each life putting the soul of the same dog into the body of a different breed, thrust into a new circumstance. Each reincarnation helps the dog discover its many purposes as man’s best friend as it goes from birth to death in a variety of different life scenarios, before ultimately coming full circle for a tear-jerking conclusion. Animal lovers are in for a delightful journey. Anyone who’s gone through the heartbreak of raising and losing a special pet will surely be able to take something meaningful away from this story.

Deus Ex: Black Light — Buy From Amazon:

Serving as an interquel between Human Revolution and Mankind Divided, Black Light picks up with Adam Jensen in a storyline set in 2029, two years after the “Aug Incident.” Author James Swallow, who previously wrote the Icarus Effect tie-in novel for Human Revolution, reunites players with familiar characters and locales while also providing fans additional background to further get to know the world of cybernetic augmentations and thrilling conspiracy.

The Hike — Buy From Amazon.com or Penguin Random House:

TheHike

“With elements of fantasy, horror, old folk tales, video game tropes, and even some light dips into sci-fi somewhat reminiscent of ideas from movies like Inception and The Matrix, The Hike easily could have been a messy hodgepodge of clashing themes, but thanks to bold, confident writing, biting, razor sharp wit, and the strong emotional punch of heart delivered by the prevailing theme of Ben doing whatever it takes to survive the path and reunite with his beloved wife and children, Drew Magary manages to weave all of these conflicting threads into an instant classic of contemporary fantasy fiction unlike anything you’ve read before.” Read our full review here.

Song of the Deep — Buy From Amazon.com or GameStop:

SongoftheDeep-Book

Song of the Deep is a delightful deep sea adventure that gives younger readers a likeable heroine to relate and look up to, for her courage, ingenuity, kindness, and love of life and family, not just her pretty looks or ability to kick butt. Even though it’s written at an elementary school reading level, fans of the game, both young and old, should also find it to be a fun, quick read that brings deeper backstory and richer characterization to Merryn’s tale.” Read our full review here.

24: Trial By Fire — Buy From Amazon.com or Macmillan Publishers:

24_trialbyfire

“Dayton Ward does a great job of introducing readers to a younger Jack Bauer in an untold story predating the TV series. Although ultimately predictable, the story is compelling and action packed throughout, to the point where that feeling of “I’ve got to see what happens next” takes hold as the chapters fly by, just like addictively binge watching a full season of the show. If you don’t already love 24, I doubt this book will win you over. But if you’re already a member of the Jack Bauer fan club, Trial by Fire is absolutely worth a read.” Read our full review here.

It’s All Fun and Games — Buy From Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or Inkshares:

itsallfunandgames_cover

It’s All Fun and Games is the first in what is planned to be an ongoing series of young adult fantasy novels, and after this promising start I’m very eager to see where Allie’s adventure goes from here–and if author Dave Barrett more deeply explores the crossover between the LARP and real worlds and how it affects the characters moving forward. Parts of the story feel a bit too convenient, but overall this is a fun, engaging, quick-reading fantasy tale that will woo adult readers in with its nerdy nostalgia and also capture the imaginations of a whole new audience of young high fantasy geeks.” Read our full review here.

Tom Clancy’s The Division: New York Collapse — Buy From Amazon.com or Chronicle Books:

TheDivision_NewYorkCollapse

“The neat thing about New York Collapse is that it is literally two books in one. Within the pages of the survival guide is also written the story of a woman living through the pandemic apocalypse, penned by her own hand. This particular copy of New York Collapse is (or was I should say) the property of one April Kelleher, who received the book as a sort of gag gift from her husband, Bill, some kind of a doctor or scientist working at a biotech lab. April makes direct comments about tips from the guide that she found helpful and chronicles her plight through journal entries logged within the margins, wrapping around and intermixing with the printed guide text. I was immediately reminded me of how Pi, in the movie Life of Pi, kept a journal within the survival at sea guide he found in the lifeboat’s supply cache.” Read our full review here.

The Battle for Oz — Buy From Inkshares or Amazon:

TheBattleForOz

The Battle for Oz is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy adventure that mashes up two classic tales of literature and takes some interesting liberties to expand upon the stories with fun new themes and twists. It is written for a younger target audience, but adults who grew up reading about Alice’s rabbit hole drop into Wonderland and Dorothy’s cyclonic journey to the Land of Oz are in for a magical fairytale ride that’s fresh and nostalgic all in one.” Read our full review here.

Wolf’s Empire: Gladiator — Buy From Amazon.com or Macmillan Publishers:

9780765391155_JKTmech.indd

“There are a few plot holes and contrivances that may make your eyes roll, and Accala isn’t exactly the most likeable of heroines. But all in all Wolf’s Empire: Gladiator proves to be a riveting Roman-themed space opera, delivering a well-realized narrative of political intrigue, family drama, inner turmoil, social commentary, and of course, graphic, vicious gladiator combat. What more could a fantasy/sci-fi geek ask for?” Read our full review here.

Assassin’s Creed: Underworld — Buy From Amazon.com:

AssassinsCreed-Underworld

Assassin’s Creed: Underworld does lose a little steam in its final act, but overall it’s a compelling extension of the Syndicate story arc and the Assassin’s Creed universe as a whole. Even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of the games but are a gamer in general, Underworld is worth checking out (as are the other Assassin’s Creed novels). As I’ve become increasingly bored with the series’ formulaic open-world design, I’ve actually grown to prefer the novels, because I can get to know the characters and storylines (the main things that interest me about the games) without dealing with any of the frustrations that have kept me from truly enjoying an Assassin’s Creed game since the original two.” Read our full review here.

Mash Up — Buy From Amazon:

MashUp

“As is the case with any compilation across any form of media, some stories in this book are outclassed by others, but not a one left me feeling flat or wanting to skip ahead. I found Mash Up to be highly addictive and creatively inspiring. Once I started a story, I couldn’t stop until I finished it. And then once I finished one story, I immediately wanted to go on to the following story to see where the next author took his or her chosen line. As someone who’s never had the imagination or aptitude for creative writing, it’s truly fascinating to see how a group of authors can use a single line of text as the jump-off point to create such diverse and interesting characters, worlds, and themes.” Read our full review here.

Nobody Likes a Goblin — Buy From Amazon.com:

NobodyLikesaGoblin_1

Nobody Likes a Goblin is a wonderful picture book, full of adventure, heart, and whimsy for all ages. It’s a great choice for bedside story time, or a fun tale for kids to read during vacation travel or around the fire on a summertime camping trip. Yes this is a story about goblins and skeletons and trolls (oh my!), but these creatures are portrayed in such a cute, harmless way that just maybe this will be a book to help take the edge off of the classic childhood nightmare of a monster hiding in the closet or under the bed. Even fantasy-loving parents will find an unlikely new friend in Ben Hatke’s loveable Goblin, as well as an appreciation for the enchanting artwork that brings the little guy to life.” Read our full review here.

Level Up — Buy From Amazon.com or Macmillan Publishers:

LevelUp

“Artist Thien Pham’s illustrations, though a little monotonous in terms of the subdued color palette, are done in an amateurish style that looks like it was hand drawn and colored through the imagination of a teenager. The simple art brings a certain charm that beautifully complements Yang’s storytelling, which does a wonderful job of building likeable characters, weaving in references to retro gaming, and lightening the mood with a healthy dose of humor (of course it’s only fitting that there be some poop and potty-humor jokes given the gastroenterology theme) while also tackling a serious subject matter in a smart way that really makes you stop and think. There are also a number of sweet, heartwarming moments, leading up to an ending that brings Dennis’ story full circle in the most perfect way imaginable. Reading the final page left me with a huge smile on my face as well as in my heart.” Read our full review here.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles.

Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere.

Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn’t mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!