OBVIOUSLY, I have superior taste. And an abundant following (LOL). So it only makes sense that I’m going to start posting my Top Ten lists this year. So here we go, starting with books (or in some cases, book series because I’m a cheater and you really need to read the entire thing). And because I’m me, you’re definitely getting my opinions on these books but SPOILER FREE. I’m not a monster.
- The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkein : To this day, I say this is my favorite book. The reading level is simple (I think 6th grade was the first time I read this?). But how can you not feel like you’re on the adventure with Bilbo Baggins?! He was just a simple hobbit. But adventure changed him. Wanderlust in his soul, you see. PLUS, unlike the rest of J.R.R. Tolkein’s books, this one is a short read. I would know, I read it every year on the first day of my yearly cruise. The movies, you know you saw them, were intense over-arching and covered tons of material that was not in the actual Hobbit book. That’s not to say they aren’t fun to watch, but the book is jut about Bilbo. And that’s more fun (example 101 why Bilbo Baggins was the good Baggins and Frodo was sooo annoying).
- Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling : You know this series. You’ve read the books. You’ve seen the movies. If you haven’t, WHO ARE YOU?! I have so many feelings about this series, this universe. As far as favorites go, The Half-Blood Prince is my favorite book, The Sorcerer’s Stone is my favorite movie, King’s Crossing is my favorite chapter, and the story of the Three Brother’s is my favorite movie scene. Seriously, I have thought a lot about this. I adore everything this series gave me as a child reading them. (No really, I bought the first book the year it came out at the book fair. And read it out loud to my parents. I WAS HOOKED.) I love the books and the movies to this day. I actually re-read them all just last year. AND THEY WERE STILL JUST AS GOOD. (And as a side note, these are new updated covers and I’m in love with them.)
- Trickster’s Choice / Trickster’s Queen – Tamora Pierce : I’d say you haven’t read these two books unless you’re a huge Tamora Pierce fan. Which you should be; she writes excellent fantasy novels. But these two, while linked to her larger series, are really stand-alone novels. For time’s sake, let’s throw down that these two novels (a part 1 and part 2 to a single story) are told by our main heroine Aly, a spymaster in training, who does things like break the rules, annoy her parents, get kidnapped by pirates, and makes deals with Gods. And that’s not a spoiler. That’s like the first chapter. Really the story is about a country at war with itself and how everyone’s meddling in that. So it’s the medieval times – just with magic, Greek gods, kudarung (flying miniature horses), and talking crows. See? You definitely want to read this. We’re talking kings and succession. Murder, spys, and badass lady heroes!
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen : Here we have my favorite of the Jane Austen novels. So early 1800 England. I’m sure you’ve heard of Elizabeth Bennett and Mister Darcy. It’s romance at its finest. And while there’s not a some crazy adventure or murder plot, it’s a great novel about the life of Elizabeth Bennett (and her family and friends). So grab a bottle of wine and curl up for a truly exquisite read.
- Myron Bolitar series – Harlan Coben : Nobody does a murder mystery quite like Harlan Coben. He’s got tons of stand-alone novels (all worth the read but Tell No One is the best!) But this is his big series about ex-professional basketball player turned sports agent Myron Bolitar (who sometimes solves murders and mysteries, of course). The series is 10 books and a 3 book spin-off about Mickey Bolitar (Myron’s nephew). The timeline is long (pretty much coinciding with the timeline Harlan Coben took to write the series). But Myron’s checkered past, perhaps actual psychopath best friend Win, and a general distaste for the mob work in his favor for solving crimes. I wouldn’t say this series is for everyone, but if murder mystery is your genre, I don’t know why you haven’t already read it. Also, I dare you not to love Win, just try (you’ll fail, I promise). As a side-note, One False Move is my favorite of the series, but they’re really all pretty excellent.
- Love, Rosie – Cecelia Ahern : Nobody does romance and romantic comedy quite like Cecelia Ahern. And before you think you haven’t hear of Cecelia, you have. Ever heard of P.S. I Love You? Yeah, that’s Cecelia. And it’s an excellent book, by the way. But Love, Rosie is different. It’s text, letters, IMs, emails, chatrooms, and others. It actually looks way better in a hard copy than kindle (trust me, I have both). THERE IS NO SUPPLEMENTAL WRITING. That’s what makes it so special. It’s just communication between all the characters. There was a movie made. And it’s okay. But you really can’t get the vibes of a THOUSANDS of conversations between characters from a movie. You really can’t. OH and the plot? Well Rosie’s life, of course. Every up and down from ages 7 to 50+. It truly is her life story. It’s different and refreshing and absolutely lovely.
- The Mortal Instruments series – Cassandra Clare : This series took me by surprise. I was expecting another teenage dystopian novel (think Hunger Games, Divergent, or The Maze Runner). But I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was so very wrong. It’s the story of the next generation of shadowhunters (think supernatural police except way more badass), the demons they fight, and the half-demon/half-human Downworlders (vampires, werewolves, faeries, and warlocks).It’s an intricate world that Cassandra Clare has created. (There’s a prequel series, sequel series, and supplemental stories about the main characters too). Magic, mayhem, love, and murder. I’d compare it to Harry Potter, but there’s WAY MORE teenage angst and fighting. Plus it takes place in New York City, and that brings it’s own special magic to the story. Honestly, I want to say so much more, but I’m bordering on SPOILER TOWN. And I can’t really pick a favorite book because they all seem to be one large novel to me – one extended plot line. I will say that Magnus Bane is clearly the series’ best character. And that the TV show, Shadowhunters, is pretty damn good (although different here and there). IF you can get past the first 4 episodes of the TV series (because the acting was just odd and the show was trying to find where it fit).
- The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen : Picking my favorite Sarah Dessen novel was difficult, believe me. But if there’s any writer than can inspire you, it’s Sarah Dessen. Honestly, I’ve read all of her novels. They’re really great books. But it’s the main character that really spoke to me in this book – Macy, the brainiac perfectionist with a plan. Whose life inevitably gets turned upside down by her father’s death. Which may be par for the course in a teenage drama novel; but I happened to like Macy more than most protagonists. And of course, the deeper meaning behind the book. Because that’s really the point of every Sarah Dessen book: tell you a story, make you care, make you feel, and teach you a lesson. And without spoiling the book, CARPE DIEM.
- An Abundance of Katherines – John Green : Here is a novelist that is known for sad and melodramatic (see his other novels The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska). And here is a novel that is none of that. Gotcha there, huh? This is a story about child prodigy Colin, his best friend Hassan, and their summer before college adventure. While Colin is annoyingly smarter than everyone, he is quite the likable main character. Even if he spends the book trying to complete his breakup theorem – based on his relationships with 19 previous Katherines (SERIOUSLY NINETEEN). There is an actual story mingled in between the stories of each Katherine and Hassan’s Hebrew quips. Not to fear, there are translations to English at the end of each chapter. And an in depth look at the math after the book, if you were curious. It’s a fun story and well written. If you’re looking for a laugh, smile, and a good time, I’d suggest this book. After all, that’s why it’s in my top 10.
- Daughters of the Moon series – Lynne Ewing : I’d almost say that I was too old for this series. I first read it as a freshman in high school. But honestly, I still like it, even if the characters sometimes do stupid things that only teenagers do. After all, how can you not like a book series that uses Greek mythology as the center post for the whole story? Overall, it’s about 4 teenage girls (later 5) who are “Daughters of the Moon”, chosen by the Goddess Selene to fight an ancient evil (called the Atrox) and its followers. While the series starts fairly simple – introducing each girl and her powers – the story gets more intense and complicated as the girls learn about their pasts and the Daughters that came before them. Not mention that there’s the ever-present looming deadline of the age of 18, when each girl must choose to become something more (and unknown) or lose her memories of everything to do with the Atrox and Daughters and her powers. Intense stuff here. Fantasy, drama, sci-fi, romance, and perhaps too much clubbing for teenagers? I mean, I don’t live in LA, but I feel like they do an awful lot of clubbing. But that’s just me. Maybe I was a just a lame teenager who lived in the country? LOL. There are 13 novels, but they’re actually pretty short. Book 10, The Talisman, is my favorite. It’s actually the origin story for Maggie, the our main Daughters’ mentor. And it takes place in Ancient Greece. WIN WIN. Plus, SO MUCH EXPOSITION for the series finale (those last three books are WILD).
And that, my faithful followers, brings us to the end of my top ten books. But first, I get one honorable mention, because it was a nightmare to narrow this list down!
Honorable Mention: The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini because DRAGONS, EVLVES, DWARFS, WITCHES, SHADES, and DRAGON RIDERS. It’s only not in the top 10 because it’s a little bit of a slow story, although I really enjoyed it. It just takes a very long time (4 large books) to build up to the final battle. 100% recommend though, especially if you like fantasy adventure. The movie was pretty terrible though, so don’t watch that first LOL.
Feel free to leave any book recommendations you have in the comments! I’m always looking for something new to read (currently starting The Sword of Shannara). Or any feedback if you’ve read any of these books/series! I’m so down to discuss!