Maria’s All Time Favorites

Top 10 All Time Favorites

First off, this is an exercise in self-torture!  Choosing my favorite books is kind of like choosing my favorite child!  For every one book or series I put on the list, I feel like I am leaving out 2 others.  That being said, my top 5 is practically set in stone!  These are the books that are a level above everything else I have ever read!  The writing is exquisite… the characters are real, and flawed, and I feel like I know them…the story is engaging from the first words, expertly revealed, and emotionally powerful!  These 5 books/series have it all, and I also have girl-crushes on all five of the authors!  I don’t know how any other book could ever possibly break into this top five…they are Just. That. Good.

So it’s the other 5 spots in the top 10 that all of my faves are fighting for…

I have finally managed to narrow it down (though I really fudged the numbers by having several ties) and I am seriously conflicted about the order in which I have them listed.  But here they are:

These are the books that rocked my world.  Reading them was an experience!  They made me feel every emotion possible, kept me turning pages late into the night, and made me neglect everything else in life while I was caught up in their world.  These are the books I have re-read multiple times, the books I have hounded everyone I know to read, the books that won’t leave my mind and heart…I connected with these books in a very special way and I want everyone else to experience that connection too!

10. The Twilight Series – Stephenie Meyer

I know, I KNOW…it’s not great literature…it’s for tween and teen fangirls…it’s (insert snooty comment here)…

I. Don’t. Care.

I think that a big part of loving a book is the timing of your reading experience.  I read Twilight in the summer of 2010.  I hadn’t read for pleasure since college (NOT saying how long that had been!) and my childhood love of books was re-ignited by my passion for this story.  I am a sappy, sappy romantic at heart, and this story pulled on every heartstring for me.  I completely fell in love with Edward, and all the Cullens, and I checked out of life for a week to read all four books as quickly as possible!  My best friend was reading them at the same time, and we gushed, and sighed, and cried together over every moment, and then we watched the movies that were available…including seeing Eclipse in the theater!  It was a summer fling of the most intense variety, and I didn’t want it to ever end!  It got me started power-reading, and in November, when I searched the internet for “what to read after Twilight” (because I had re-read the series 8 times and felt I might have a mental breakdown if I didn’t find something else to read that could stop the obsession) I found Maryse’s Book Blog, which introduced me to the independent publishing world…and eventually led to me falling in love with most of the books on this list, meeting and loving a bunch of amazing authors, and finding TONS of friends who suffer from the same obsession with books as me!

All that being said, I am a little embarrassed by my love for it, and I never even wrote a review (because I didn’t start reviewing at all until 2011).  But this series…this is my original 10/10.  It took a LONG time for another book to come along and affect me that way emotionally! 

Twilight (Twilight, #1)

 Amazon Purchase Link

New Moon (Twilight, #2)

 Amazon Purchase Link

Eclipse (Twilight, #3)

 Amazon Purchase Link

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

Amazon Purchase Link

9. Flat-Out Love – Jessica Park           

Jessica Park – the only author who claims 2 spots on this list.  Her writing is stunning.  Her characters and stories rock my world.  She’s a freaking awesome person.  Read her books.

This sweet, quirky, and slightly mysterious book has a special spot in my heart, not only because is it expertly written, laugh out loud funny, and heart-clenchingly romantic, but also because it helped put my heart back together after The Opportunist (see #1 on this list) had torn it into pieces and stomped all over it!  I owe a small bit of my sanity to this delicious book, and to Jessica Park! 

PS:  Flat-Out Matt is a fabulous companion that you MUST read when you’re done with Flat-Out Love!!

Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, #1)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

Flat-Out Matt (Flat-Out Love, #1.5)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

8. Delirium Series – Lauren Oliver ~and~ Divergent Series – Veronica Roth ~and~ Shatter Me series – Tahereh Mafi           

These 3 series are what I recommend to anyone who loved Hunger Games.  I always say, “I love it too, but I have found 3 that are similar, but BETTER!! No REALLY!!!”  Beautiful writing, fantastic characters, YA love that packs a huge emotional punch, dystopian action, political intrigue…these books are just great!!  And you can read them with your teen!  😉 

First book in each series:

Delirium (Delirium, #1)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

7. The Mortal Instruments Series and The Infernal Devices Series – both by  Cassandra Clare           

Absolutely my FAVORITE YA reads!!!  So much action, great sarcastic humor, characters that I love (and hate!) and believe are real, STEAMY chemistry (but still YA), forbidden love, and family dysfunction!  And all of it wrapped up in the most wonderfully magical world!!  The Shadowhunters are my favorite paranormal species (?) and the world they care for (police, protect, and look down their noses on) is spectacularly created, vividly detailed, and endlessly entertaining!!

Here are the purchase links for the first book in each series.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

 Amazon Purchase Link

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

 Amazon Purchase Link

6. Colorado Mountain Man Series – Kristen Ashley ~and~ Black Dagger Brotherhood Series – JR Ward

Both of these series are chock full of HOT alpha (and I mean ALPHA) males, and the women who “tame” them.  The ColoradoMountain series centers on real world mountain men, a small town full of drama, and some really intense mysteries.  BDB is a great paranormal/urban fantasy focusing on Vampire warriors who battle to protect their dying race.  Every book in each series is completely un-put-downable, hot, hot, HOT, and wholly satisfying at the end!  There are 15 books total in both series at this time (4 Mountain Men and 11 Brothers) with more promised soon by both authors…hours and hours of fantastic entertainment!

Side note:  I met Kristen Ashley at Book Bash, and she is an amazingly sweet, gracious, smart, and sassy lady!!  I loved her books before, but I totally adore her now too!! 

Here are the purchase links for the first book in each series.

The Gamble (Colorado Mountain, #1)

 Amazon Purchase Link

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)

 Amazon Purchase Link

5. Slammed Series – Colleen Hoover  ~and~ Making Faces – Amy Harmon         

Slammed was my first 10/10 after Twilight…it will always hold a special spot in my heart because of that, and because of the intelligent writing, the high impact (but YA appropriate) romance, the “made me cry like a baby” factor, and the “Noooooooo” moment that had me gasping out loud, throwing my (new!!) Kindle on the couch and just trying to breathe through the pain.  There is something so special about the connection this story makes with my heart, and I feel it all again every time I read it!  I also met Colleen at Book Bash – she was sweet, kind, and generous! 

Slammed (Slammed, #1)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

Making Faces has done what I didn’t think was possible when I first made this list – broken into the rock solid top 5!!!  There was no way I could push anyone off this list, so I changed the rules and made another tie!  It’s my list, dammit, I can do what I want!!  This book is quite simply gorgeous.  Beautiful.  I just don’t know what else I can say about it – my review is the best I can do, and it is woefully unworthy!  This is a must read that will tug on your heartstrings, and make you think, and quietly sneak up and claim your heart and mind!  This subtle stunner is beautifully written, perfectly paced, and feels so real it is hard to read at times – but SO worth the pain!!!  Read it.  Now.

Making Faces

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

4. Sea of Tranquility – Katja Millay           

Oh, this book…it took me completely by surprise!  I read it right on the heels of Left Drowning (which you will see at #2 on this list) and was sure that it would be a nice read, but what are the chances of finding TWO 10/10 reads back to back???  I had a t-shirt designed with my top 5 favorite author’s names on it right before I read this, and before I was even finished this book I asked the designer to add Katja Millay – she HAD to be on there!  Just exquisite writing, slice my heart open story, and real, perfectly flawed characters.  Over and over I stopped to re-read a sentence  (or a paragraph) and just thought to myself “Wow, this is good!!  So. Freaking. Good.”  Everything about it is above and beyond special…it’s just perfect!

Side note again:  Katja Millay doesn’t like pictures…or hugs (at least not from strangers)…so those of you who know me can understand that I would be a challenge for her to deal with…especially when I am acting like a fangirl, which I most definitely was, when I met her at Book Bash!  She was extremely gracious, and tolerant, and I totally fell in love with her! 

The Sea of Tranquility

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

3. True Love Story – Willow Aster

This book grabbed my heart from the first page!  It’s magic.  Magic on paper!  Full of quirky humor and steamy chemistry, and packing a terrifically angsty punch in the heart – this book is perfection!  Her words…oh her words are just brilliant!  She made me feel Ian and Sparrow’s pain within moments of meeting them…HOW is that even possible??  She made me laugh and cry and yell at my kindle, and very nearly vomit…not joking!  She’s freaking magic I tell ya!  Read it.  Now.

Willow is one of my favorite people on the planet!  I would give her a kidney.  Yeah, I said it…what?!?  

True Love Story

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

2. Left Drowning – Jessica Park 

JESSICA PARK!!  I love this woman’s writing!!!  Every word, every nuance, every sarcastic joke, erotic kiss, and traumatic memory…I love it all!  And she’s one of my favorite people on earth too!  She is so damn real, so ridiculously brilliant, and she fights for what she believes in, both in her books and in real life!!  And she kinda likes me too – which makes her even more awesome!!

This book…it is perfection.  Stunning, heart-wrenching, gorgeous, horrifying, heart-melting, stomach clenching PERFECTION!   It rocked me to my very core in ways I can’t fully understand, let alone explain.  It’s not a book, it’s an experience.  It should be #1…only ONE thing could stand in its way…I’m sorry Jess… 

 

Left Drowning

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

 

 1. Love Me With Lies Series – Tarryn Fisher 

Tarryn FREAKING Fisher!!!  I sobbed like a baby when I read her books, and I did the same when I finally met her in person.  She is a freaking evil genius, and a goddess to me, and I adore her as much as I love her books!!

There just isn’t any way to move this series from number one!  Nothing has ever taken over my heart and mind the way that this series did – I have been seriously traumatized, and I may never fully recover, but I loved Every. Single. Moment.

These books have the most gorgeous words, the most unique turns of phrase, the most intelligent and realistically unpredictable storyline, and characters who burrow under your skin and into your brain and make you question everything!  Go get it, hang on tight, trust Tarryn, enjoy the ride!!

You can’t be my friend if you don’t love the Love Me with Lies series.  I’m not joking.

The Opportunist (Love Me With Lies, #1)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

Dirty Red (Love Me With Lies, #2)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

Thief (Love Me With Lies, #3)

Maria’s Review || Amazon Purchase Link

7 thoughts on “Maria’s All Time Favorites

    • Thank you so much flybrariman!! So sorry I missed it for so long!! I usually do everything on my phone, and apparently I missed a lot!! I’m glad you enjoyed the list, what books are your favorites??

  1. You may just be my book soulmate because I fully agree with all of the words. I am totally going to be a blog fan now so I can discover what else I should read 😃

  2. Thank you so much for this list. I absolutely agree with all of your choices! Love me with Lies series was one of my all time favs! Now I have a few more books to add to my TBR list!

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