Reader Favorites – Carissa’s Top Favorite Books List:

by Maryse on July 25, 2015 · 54 comments

in Book Recommendations

Happy Saturday! It’s time again for our weekly “Reader Favorites” list and this week, it’s Carissa’s turn!

Carissa has been with us since 2012. And after receiving her wonderful list below, I realize that while these are her favorites, she’s got a few others that have rocked her word, too. In fact, there are a few that she has insisted we read ASAP, so I’m gonna add those in as “honorable mentions” under her main list. If you ask me, any book that compels someone to comment and insist we read it, could very well rock out worlds, too!

CARISSA’S TOP ELEVEN FAVORITE BOOKS (P.S. The notes next to each book are my own synopsis-notes from what I gathered after reading the blurbs of each book).

“This is such a great idea! I love it!!! I’m gonna give you my top 11, not in any particular order…just how they show up on my Goodreads.”

  1. The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman Trilogy Book 1) by Paullina Simons <— A HARROWING LOVE STORY DURING WWII & one of my favorites too!!! :D
  2. Tatiana and Alexander: A Novel (The Bronze Horseman Trilogy Book 2) by Paullina Simons
  3. The Summer Garden: A Novel (The Bronze Horseman Trilogy Book 3) by Paullina Simons
  4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho <— A BOY ABOUT TO EMARK ON A JOURNEY: “…an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined…”
  5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger <— HE’S SIXTEEN AND ABOUT TO EMBARK ON A JOURNEYThrough circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.
  6. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller <— WWII…if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved…
  7. The Song of David (The Law of Moses Book 2) by Amy Harmon <— HE’S A FIGHTER & SHE IS BLIND ”No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?
  8. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden <— SOLD INTO SLAVERY from the blurb: “Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house.”
  9. The Bell Jar by Sylivia Plath <— MENTAL ISSUES from the blurb: “Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—
  10. All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr <— TWO UNLIKELY FRIENDS DURING WWII From the blurb: “…about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.’
  11. Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. <— CULTURES AND FRIENDSHIP From the blurb: “When seventeen-year-old Ryler Cade steps into the art center for the first time, Kiva is drawn to the angry and misguided student sent from abroad to reform his violent ways. Scarred and tattooed, a friendship is formed when the gentle Kiva shows him kindness and beauty through art, until circumstances occur beyond their control and they are pulled away.”
And a few more books that Carissa has been excited about, on the blog. Consider this kind of our way of “getting to know her” through the years via her comments. LOL!! :P :
  • Slammed: A Novel & Point of Retreat: A Novel (Slammed Book 2) by Colleen Hoover <— “OMfingG. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these books. I have both hard copies and them on my nook. … I’m not much of a crier but Slammed had me blubbering like an idiot a few times.”
  • Bonded (Prequel to The Mating) (Law of the Lycans Book 1) and The Mating: The Original Law of the Lycans Story by Nicky Charles <— “I LOVED the Law of the Lycans series by Nicky Charles… Reno from Bonded. Not usually big on paranormal, but that man. My God! That whole series is great!”
  • Fallen Too Far: A Rosemary Beach Novel (The Rosemary Beach Series Book 1) by Abbi Glines <— ”No! No! No! No! I feel empty. I want to break things. It was so good!!! Why’d it have to end like that?!?! Why???? I need more and I need it now. I can’t even…omg. There are no words.”
  • The Devil’s Eyes by Jennifer Loren <— “Dear Lord!! This story sucks you in and just keeps taking. I just finished the third book and can’t wait for the next one. Talk about a cliffhanger! I had some trouble with the lack of editing but if you can get past that its so worth it!!”
  • Me Before You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes <— “My hearts hurts so bad. I am holding back tears in my office full of men, who just wouldn’t get.”
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein <— ”My absolute favorite book ever is the giving tree. First book I ever read myself and went took off from this.”
  • This Girl: A Novel (Slammed Book 3) by Colleen Hoover <— ”Loved it!!! Just loved it. Read it in one sitting, while at work. My boss got pretty pissed at my lack of productivity that day. Oops!”
  • Slow Dance in Purgatory (Purgatory Series Book 1) by Amy Harmon <— ”A great ghostly boyfriend read is the Purgatory books by Amy Harmon. Have you read those? Good stuff!!”
  • Tattoos: A Novel by Denise Mathew <— “Everyone stop what you’re doing right now and read Tattoos by Denise Mathew. Wow. What and incredible story. 5+ stars. Totally amazing! Read it, read it now!”
  • Forgive and Forget (Love in the Fleet Book 1) by Heather Ashby <— “I just finished The two books currently available in Heather Ashby’s Love in the Fleet series, “Forgive and Forget” and “Forget me Not”. Navy men. Yum!”


Do you have a “Top Favorite Books” list? Don’t forget to send me yours!! I post one every Saturday (send it here: You can make it just a list (top 10 or more) but if you want to include a tiny (or longer) tidbit next to each one about why you loved it, that would be awesome, too! :D

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Tessa July 25, 2015 at 4:36 PM

So that’s what Catcher in the Rye was physically about. I got so involved with his mental state, I forgot where he was physically. Then again, in class, we went over his mental state, not where he was physically. It’s one of those “have to read” from high school I really liked. My niece made me read Memoirs of a Geisha. LOVED IT. So emotional, and talk about the feels! Hated the ending. Sadly, those are the only ones of the first 11 I’ve read.

*grins* The Giving Tree was seriously great as a kid. It had a real purpose and moral that was told so gently, almost every kid loved it.

Diane M July 25, 2015 at 4:57 PM

LOVE Memoirs of a Geisha, I read it almost 20 years ago!! I saw it on my book shelf recently and considered re-reading it

bev July 25, 2015 at 6:23 PM

Has it really been that long since Memoirs of a Geisha? I remember when that was THE book. Even Madonna got in on the act.

bev July 25, 2015 at 6:31 PM

Carissa, I’ve only read 5,8, and 9. Which reminds me there was a book recently released, Belzhar, that sounds interesting.
10 sounds really good. I can’t decide if I’m scared of Tattoos or want to read it, lol.

Anne July 25, 2015 at 6:43 PM

Great list! Oh The Bronze Horseman Trilogy one of my faves too. Need to read Song of David and Tattoos sounds like an interesting read :)

Anne July 25, 2015 at 6:46 PM

Ok so just read the entire blurb for Tattoos and I don’t know if I should read it :/

Grey July 25, 2015 at 8:17 PM

I love these lists!!! Thanks Carissa!

I forgot about the Bonded series by Nicky Charles, omg, I loved them too!!

Lauren July 25, 2015 at 8:17 PM

My mom gives The Giving Tree & Are You My Mother to each grandchild the day they are born. She writes a sweet, somewhat meaningful message on the inside, along with the date & child’s full name.

Michelle F July 25, 2015 at 8:32 PM

Great list Carissa! The Bronze Horseman trilogy is an absolute favorite for me. Each book affected me in deeps ways. I love to see that trilogy on a “favorites” list.

Fabi July 25, 2015 at 8:54 PM

omg omg omg, its Saturday again. I keep losing track of my days! And, oh no, or, oh yeah, I haven’t read hardly ANY from Carissa’s favorites. Ok, I gotta go pick out my reads…this is so exciting!

Linda July 25, 2015 at 9:14 PM

I really look forward to these Saturday posting!! Keep wanting to dedicate the commitment to reading the Bronze Horsemen trilogy and still haven’t! Ugh! OK I’m about to make a huge admission that is making me nervous and ashamed of the wrath that might get rained down on me or peanuts thrown!! I have not read anything by Colleen Hoover!! *ducks* I have all her books downloaded or in print and haven’t read any!!! I knnoooow!!!! **biting on my thumbnail** oh great now I’m having a full blown hotflash!! So ashamed!!!

Amy July 25, 2015 at 9:51 PM

LINDA…WHAT?!?!?!?!? Woman!! You are missing out on sooooooo many good stories!!!!! She has everything from PG-13 to need-to-fan-the-panties hot! I found Slammed back in 2012 not long after it’s release, and she has been an automatic one-click for me ever since. :D

*deep breath* Okay, had to get that out of my system. ;)

Amy July 25, 2015 at 9:56 PM

Now to the list up there…Carissa, great list! I haven’t read any of the first 11 (that I can remember), and I love how these weekly readers’ lists have piqued my interest in books I probably would have never really considered.

The awesomeness of Slammed goes without saying…Fallen Too Far and the subsequent Rush/Blair books were GREAT…Me Before You I just read in the last couple of weeks, and while it made me ugly snot-cry it didn’t leave me feeling devastated – gotta love a beautiful book which does *that*! And I just one-clicked Tattoos ’cause that one sounds *perfect* for me.

Jean July 26, 2015 at 9:06 AM

Great list and many I have not read. Tattoos and The Song Of David….1-click!!!!

MichelleS July 26, 2015 at 9:28 AM

Love, Love, Love the Bronze Horseman trilogy. Sweet, Sweet shura,

And nice to see some shifters getting recognized! Law of Lycans was HOT as heck. Don’t remember which book, but there was a love scene I will NEVER forget. I’m sure my panties melted off.

I’m going to have to reconsider “This Girl” now – I read the fitst two and didn”t think I needed to read this? Just the story from his POV right? But it made your list!!!

And going to look up Tattoos in 3…2..1….

Amy July 26, 2015 at 10:48 AM

Yes MichelleS! The Law of Lycans series is really, really good…and a few of them are free right now. :D I remember reading The Mating (book 1), and the drama (with a nice little dash of angst) kicks off *immediately*!! I haven’t read many shifter books, but from the three I read of that series I can say they are definite recs. And they have some HOT sexy times! :P

Jean July 26, 2015 at 11:34 AM

I just 1-clicked The Mating and Bonded…..never read any shifter books!

fabi July 26, 2015 at 11:55 AM

I added The Mating to my reader favorites tbr. I’m always game for a good shifter romance.

Maryse July 26, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Now I gotta look up Tattoos!!!!

Maryse July 26, 2015 at 2:51 PM

Oh and yes, I LOVED the Mating… reviewed it WAY back when….

Amy July 26, 2015 at 8:37 PM

That WAS a while ago! I love it when I see that y’all have read and liked or loved the same books I have before I even found this place…great minds and all that. ;)

That whole part surrounding the mating at the beginning is what hooked me as well. There was some emotion and drama right away and then some light angst was thrown in later on to keep it interesting…y’all need to check it out, even if you’re not really a “shifter” sort of reader!

bev July 26, 2015 at 10:07 PM

*Stares at Jean in shock*

*Really stares. In. Shock.*

Now that it’s awkward……ever hear of Written in Red?

fabi July 26, 2015 at 10:11 PM

I checked my Nook library because The Mating sounded familiar. Yup, I read the entire series years ago. lol

fabi July 26, 2015 at 10:12 PM

Jean hasn’t read WiR? But, really, that’s a different kind of shifter book.

Amy July 26, 2015 at 10:35 PM

“Now that it’s awkward……” <—– *snort!!!*

Yeah, WiR and Law of the Lycans are REALLY different…as in one is PG and the other is XXX. :P

Tessa July 26, 2015 at 10:46 PM

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’ve never heard of the Law of the Lycan. Yep, one clicked it, but still I’m shocked there’s a pnr I’ve never heard of that has you all loving it.

Jean July 27, 2015 at 7:49 AM

Haha bev! And no, I haven’t read WiR either! Ummm, so which one is PG and which is XXX?

bev July 27, 2015 at 10:20 AM

Jean, WiR is the pg one, at least for now. C’mon all the cool kids are reading it.;-)

Jean July 27, 2015 at 10:33 AM

Ha bev! No peer pressure! Yeah, I’ve had WiR on my list for a long time (I’m sure from your recommendation). And I really need a change so….its either that, The Mating, or Obsidian (which has been calling my name recently). Would everyone like to vote on which book of these 3 I should read next?!??!

Tessa July 27, 2015 at 10:37 AM

Obsidian or WIR? I can’t decide between those two!

bev July 27, 2015 at 10:37 AM


Jean July 27, 2015 at 10:45 AM

Tessa! You are no help! I actually think bev will hunt me down if I don’t pick WiR….lol!

fabi July 27, 2015 at 11:49 AM

Obsidian as in the Lux series???!!!

bev July 27, 2015 at 11:51 AM

Yes, I will.

fabi July 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM

If so, my vote is for Obsidian. I love that series!

Here is some help:
WiR is PG
Obsidian is PG13
The Mating is R (at least)

You *know* which one I’d pick first. *snort* but Obsidian is my next (non-naughty) choice. WiR is a Very strong third. Ugh, hate to even call it that because its so addicting.

MichelleS July 27, 2015 at 12:03 PM

I think Tbe Mating is more like rated X… Definitely soft porn… Hahaha.

WiR is smart urban fantasy… Like Mercy Thompson… Remember there was no hanky panky in book one of that series either! Not a romance novel.

I didn’t finish Obsidian. I’m sure it’s great… Just wasn’t in a YA mood at that time. I actually liked Covenant better!!!

Jean July 27, 2015 at 12:03 PM

You guys are seriously not helping me here! Lol! Sounds like I can’t go wrong with any of them….but I think Obsidian because wasn’t that on the bully list? I like bullies. (Bev, don’t kill me….WiR is very high on my TBR!)

bev July 27, 2015 at 12:04 PM


Just for that when I make a list I’m putting Deeper & Sweet Dreams on it, for your reading pleasure, Fabi. ;-)

Tessa July 27, 2015 at 12:12 PM

I’m with MichelleS on that. I liked Covenant better too, and not just because of Seth. I just liked the story more.

WIR was good Bev. Seriously good. That’s why I said I couldn’t decide between them.

fabi July 27, 2015 at 12:15 PM

*ducks behind Jean* Deeper was a dnf for me. I don’t know if I’ve read Sweet Dreams, but I’m not big on “sweet” anything. I like gritty. And dirty gritty is even better.

WiR is an awesome series. Completely addicting.

MichelleS doesn’t like YA. I’m not sure if Jean does.

Cheryl July 27, 2015 at 12:37 PM

Carissa, I haven’t read any from your list of eleven. I do have Bronze Horseman and Me Before You on my tbr. Loved The Slammed series, Fallen Too Far

The Mating sounds interesting; I’m not usually a pnr reader, except for one’s rec’d by you guys. I’m a little confused on the reading order of this series. Seems like now are more than the original 3 books that some have commented on above.;)

Jean July 27, 2015 at 12:38 PM

I really have to be in the mood for YA. Now you guys have thoroughly confused me.

Does Bonded have to be read before The Mating?

Tessa July 27, 2015 at 12:46 PM

Fabi, no need to duck. Deeper was a DNF for me too.

Jean, Obsidian is YA.

bev July 27, 2015 at 12:48 PM

Lol, trying to placate me.

Maryse has a review of Obsidian.
Just read them all Jean and then report back.

bev July 27, 2015 at 12:50 PM

Fabi & Tessa your nuts, lol. I think you both were reading the wrong one, the lifegaurd one, lol. I refuse to believe other.

Tessa July 27, 2015 at 1:03 PM

Deeper? Oh no. I tried. I tried when everyone else was reading it, but I just couldn’t. A lot of “we talked about our lives” without any conversation. *shrugs* It’s not my thing.

fabi July 27, 2015 at 1:11 PM

I don’t remember it AT ALL. Only that it’s in my Kindle about a fourth or third of the way through, abandoned and lonely. ;-)

bev July 27, 2015 at 1:36 PM

I get you. I just loved Caroline & West’s “voice” so much. And the style of the writing.
I’ve heard people talk about how hard first person pov can be if they don’t like the character. It’s hard to be in their head.

Jean July 27, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Bev, I loved Deeper!

Tessa July 27, 2015 at 2:27 PM

Oh, I liked the characters, but ironically, not the writing. And here’s the thing, I get why people do. It’s like BDB. Everyone loves it, and I find the writing lacking. I’m odd.

MichelleS July 27, 2015 at 3:56 PM

Fabi: Sweet Dreams isn’t sweet… It’s classic KA. She’s older. He’s a big ole’ alpha jerk. One of favorites of hers… Right after GD actually.

Amy July 27, 2015 at 4:28 PM

Here’s my vote for Obsidian…Daemon IS a bully at first and can be sooooo infuriating, but it just makes it that much sweeter when he finally pulls his head out of his rear. I still love her Covenant series the most but the Lux series is a close second.

But if you’re looking for some more *ahem* adult scenes, then you’re going to want the Law of the Lycans series. ;) I read The Mating first then Betrayed (book 2) and THEN Bonded (the prequel), and from what I remember it worked just fine for me in that order.

Cheryl July 27, 2015 at 8:03 PM

Thanks Amy, I wasn’t sure about the reading order of the Lycans series since when I looked it up there are 5 books. ;)

Tasha J July 29, 2015 at 9:50 AM

Ok so I just finished Jezebel and I did love it, it was a great story and I was heavily anticipating the ending especially from about 70% on. But I wasn’t really shocked, I was actually pretty spot on. :D I will definitely read the novella!

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