Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Top Ten All-Time Favorite Books

I'm participating yet again in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt couldn't have been more fun: it's "all-time favorite books from the last three years!" This is where Goodreads once again came in super handy for brainstorming my top ten - I sorted all of my books by release date, and went through them jotting down titles until I hit 2011. Then I cut my list down to only ten. Here they here, in no particular order:

1. Septimus Heap #7: Fyre by Angie Sage (link goes to Goodreads)
Sorry, no synopsis because of spoilers. I love this book so, so much, though, that I had to put it on the list even though it's the last in a series. I bought it the day it came out (for like eighteen dollars!), and sucked it in as fast as I could. It was amazing, one of the best tie-offs I've ever read. I also like the new spin-off series, TodHunter Moon, but even if the universe had ended with Fyre I still would have been perfectly content, because I got everything I'd ever wanted by the end of its many, many pages.

2. The Missing #7: Revealed by Margaret Peterson Haddix (link goes to Goodreads)
Sorry again, no synopsis for fear of spoilers. This is the seventh book in an eight book series, and it. Is. Perfect. I had been trying to guess Jonah's identity for four years , and it still took me completely by surprise. Haddix is a genius, and I will literally auto-buy anything she writes at this point. For those of you who haven't read this series (for shame!), it's a sci-fi time travel series about famous historical figures and hidden identities. It's one of my all-time favorites series, and I have no idea how I'll wait until September for the last book.

3. Ungifted by Gordon Korman (link goes to my review)
The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It's usually more like Don't try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he's finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.
It wasn't exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn't be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his gifts might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.

I am a huge fan of Gordon Korman's books, and have been for years. Ungifted came out a couple years ago and pretty much instantly claimed a spot on my favorites list. I was so happy last year when my brother gave me a copy for Christmas!

4. Praetor Wars #1: Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen (link goes to my review)
When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.
Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.
In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.

You should have seen my face when I found out I'd won an ARC of Mark of the Thief! As a long-time fan of Nielsen's amazing Ascendance trilogy, I'd been desperately scrabbling for any news of the book I could find. It lived up to my expectations, and the only real fault I could find with it was the fact that I have to wait a year for the sequel!

5. The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming (link goes to my review) 
Here is the tumultuous, heartrending, true story of the Romanovs—at once an intimate portrait of Russia's last royal family and a gripping account of its undoing. Using captivating photos and compelling first person accounts, award-winning author Candace Fleming (Amelia Lost; The Lincolns) deftly maneuvers between the imperial family’s extravagant lives and the plight of Russia's poor masses, making this an utterly mesmerizing read as well as a perfect resource for meeting Common Core standards.

I've been fascinated with the Romanovs for years, so this book was definitely up my alley. I heard about it from a friend right around its release date (she saw it in a bookstore and immediately thought of me!). I didn't get around to it for another couple months, but once I did I absolutely loved it. It reads like a compelling fictional novel told in third person, but it's actually completely true, based entirely on real accounts with no embellishment. It is awesome.

6. Willow Falls #4: The Last Present by Wendy Mass (link goes to my review) 
This is another book from the middle of a series, so no synopsis. I love the Willow Falls books SO MUCH, and this is a wonderful book because it's the happy ending book where some things get tied off and some things begin. I'm a bit nervous now that Mass is writing another book in the series,  because this is going to be a really hard act to follow. 

7. Half Upon a Time #3: Once Upon The End by James Riley (link goes to Goodreads)
Yep, another series ender. I'm sorry, but I often love later books more than the first ones because they build on each other so much. This is an awesome fractured fairy-tale series, which combines absolute hilarity with a phenomenal ending (thus my love for Once Upon The End).

8. The  Missing #6: Risked by Margaret Peterson Haddix (link goes to Goodreads)
Yes, this is the second book from this series that makes the list. What can I say? It's an awesome series! This one holds an extra special place next to my heart because it features the last Romanovs (which, as you may have noticed, is kind of a big interest of mine). Both as a book in the Missing series and as a book about the Romanovs, this is a stand-out. It's probably the darkest book of the series subject-wise, but it tackles the material perfectly - the characters are portrayed realistically, the time period is done very well, and the action is toned down for younger readers but still carries across the full weight of what happens.

9. Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (link goes to Goodreads)
A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known. Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.

This is a hilarious, quirky book that I just love to pieces. Mo, the main character, is outrageous but never annoying, and has me laughing the whole time. The action is crazy and exciting, and the whole thing somehow manages to portray meaningful messages about identity and relationships without ever seeming to. I love it!

10. The Ascendance Trilogy #1: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (link goes to my review)
THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

I could have chosen any of the books from the fantastic trilogy to put on the list, but I knew I had to use False Prince because it is literally one of the best books I've ever read. I could read it over and over and never get bored. And I have, in fact, read it more times than I could count!

So what are your all-time favorite books? I'd love to hear about them!

Note: I was sick yesterday, and I couldn't get on the computer for more than half an hour at a time without feeling absolutely horrendous. That's why this is late getting posted and doesn't have cover pics. I have to get back to school, but I'll try to post my Teaser Tuesday later. In case I don't have time, I'll let you know now: Friday's review is going to be All Fall Down by Ally Carter.


  1. The Family Romanov sounds like a great read!! I'll be adding it to my reading wishlist.

    Here's a link to my TTT post for this week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2015/03/top-ten-books-you-would-classify-as-all.html

    1. It is, it's fantastic. I hope you like it if you do read it, Captivated Reader!

  2. Haven't heard of these books but I'm definitely going to check them out now that they've made your list of top ten books!

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

    Thanks for sharing btw

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Alex! I hope you find at least one book that sticks out at you from the list. :)

  3. Great list! I've not heard of any of these but I may have to give them a read! :)
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. Thanks for commenting, Krystianna! If you do check them out, I hope you find some you like. :)

  4. this is a great list! I've never read a lot of these, but I'm definitely going to check them out now :)

    1. Thanks for commenting, Stardust Words! I'd say I love all of the books on the list, but that's kind of obvious from the subject of the Top Ten. I really can't give them any higher praise than saying they're my favorites!


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