Tag Archives: Ann M. Martin

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read Most

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is about which authors I’ve read most. I’m breaking my top authors into two categories: books I read as a child and books I read as an adult/reviewer. Obviously authors with big series that I followed have a huge advantage here, but there were a few that surprised me.

Top Authors I Read as a Child

1. Ann M Martin.

Okay, you guessed it. I was a total baby-sitter’s-clubber. I must have read over thirty of those books in my tween years. Mary Anne was my favorite, but Stacey and Claudia were close seconds. I did some babysitting myself and I think I always wished I’d had friends to share the stories and experiences with.

That beloved series isn’t all I’ve read by Martin. More recently I enjoyed Rain Reign by Martin. You can check out my review here.

2. C. S . Lewis

Well, you knew that was coming. This one really belongs on both lists. I’ve read the Narnia series more than once. The first time as a child, then again while my family was in North Carolina avoiding a fierce hurricane in Florida, and again aloud to my daughter.

I think each time I read the series a different book is my favorite. My current fav is The Horse and His Boy. Beyond the Narnia series, I’ve loved Lewis’s Mere Christianity, A Grief Observed, The Screwtape Letters, and Till We Have Faces. I have not read his sci-fi series, though I’ve heard it’s great.

3. Laura Ingalls Wilder

My sister gets the credit for introducing me to this series. She had a box set that was maybe a Christmas gift? After she’d read the books and talked about how much she liked them, I had to read them, too.

Today, my daughter has her own box set of these books. Though she’s only read the first one, it’s really sweet seeing the series peeking out from her bookshelf. I hope she reads the whole series someday.

Fans of this series might enjoy the Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich. I haven’t read them yet, but friends have recommended them. It’s the story of an Ojibwa girl, which makes a neat comparison to Wilder’s familiar frontier settler stories.

4. Robin McKinley

I discovered my first book by Robin McKinley in a used books stall at a flea market. Beauty, an amazing retelling of Beauty and the Beast captured me right away. It became one of the books my mom gave for Christmas gifts one year.

Since that first taste, I went on to read other great re-imagined fairy tales as well as her fantasy novels The Hero and the Crown  and The Blue Sword. You can read my review of The Hero and the Crown here.

5. James Herriot

I had forgotten all about these charming books until my mom recently gave me one I hadn’t seen before. After losing both our cats this year to old age and health problems, my mom (who is incredible and so very thoughtful) put together a little package that included James Herriot’s Cat Stories. I’m excited to read it.

My journey with Herriot’s books began with the audiobooks, which we listened to as a family on long car trips. The books are basically short stories about his adventures as a vet in the English countryside. Some are laugh-out-loud funny while others are really tender and sweet. Definitely good stuff for any animal lover.

Top YA Authors I’ve Read as an Adult (ahem) Reviewer

1. Anne Elisabeth Stengl

This is another name that probably comes as no surprise to my faithful blog followers! (Because I’ve reviewed  much of the series here.) I stumbled onto the first book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series and have been eagerly awaiting each subsequent book since.

One of my favorite things about this series is that the books aren’t all following the same characters, and the story doesn’t continue chronologically through all the books. It’s more like a collection of stories from within the same awesome story world. I. Love. It. Which is my favorite? Probably this one.

2. Rick Riordan

This one I blame on my cousin. She devoured the Percy Jackson series, which I hadn’t gotten around to reading. She offered to lend me the books and then it was my turn to plow through them. Since then I’ve read the first three books in the Heroes of Olympus series (I liked what he did with bringing Roman mythology into things.)

I think my favorite thing about the series as a whole is that as you read, you learn who’s who in Greek mythology (and Roman mythology, if you read Heroes of Olympus) kind of without even meaning to. Is it something you have to know about in order to graduate or become a functioning adult? No, but I love that the story is so entertaining that you don’t even realize you’re learning stuff. I want more books like this.

I haven’t reviewed any of the books in the series (not sure how this happened) but they’re fairly clean. I don’t think there’s any profanity. There’s some mild violence from battle scenes involving monsters. There is one boy/boy unrequieted crush that’s briefly discussed, but I don’t think it really goes anywhere or is very consequential to the story.

3. J K Rowling

I feel like this is almost a cop-out answer. There are seven books in the Harry Potter series, and I’ve read them all. I didn’t read them until I was an adult. My ten year-old daughter hasn’t read them at this point. We agreed that she could start reading them and do one book per year (I can’t take credit for that idea. Laura L. Smith suggests this in a post on her web site) but she hasn’t started reading them yet.

I LOVE the audiobook versions read by Jim Dale. Like, I could listen to them over and over. So. Good.

Which is my favorite? Maybe the fourth one? I’m not sure.

4. Jill Williamson

I’ve read two series by Williamson – a fantasy series and a dystopian series – and enjoyed both for different reasons. The fantasy series (Blood of Kings series) was a great sort of classic fantasy story – kings and magic and dark powers and stuff like that. It’s a Christian series, so there’s a parallel religion through the story and some great spiritual themes. Great for tween or early teen readers.

The dystopian series (Safe Lands series) is a lot darker and more mature. Williamson stays true to Christian values and principles and incorporates them into her story, but characters wrestle with issues like drug addiction and the emotional consequences of an unexpected pregnancy.

5. Maggie Stiefvater

Okay, so I cheated because I’ve read five books by Stiefvater and five books by several other amazing authors (including Stephanie Morrill and Laura L. Smith.) I chose Stiefvater because I’m anxiously pining for the next book in her Raven Boys series. Though the spiritual content is totally not Christian-themed (there’s a lot of new age-y, psychic stuff happening, so it’s definitely not for everyone) the characters are so captivating. I really need to know what happens next.

Outside this series, I read the first book in the Mercy Falls series and did not care for it at all. There was a lot of repetitive phrasing, and I just really didn’t buy into the story.

However. The Scorpio Races. Wow. Amazing. Seriously, go read it now. It’s SO good. Here’s my review.

So those are my top ten. How about yours? Have you read books by these guys? Did it make you want to check out something new? Who are your top favorite authors?

Review: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rain Reign
Ann M. Martin
Feiwel & Friends
Published October 7, 2014

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Rose finds comfort in two things: homonyms and her dog Rain. When a fierce storm rips through her sleepy northern town, her dog disappears. Rose enacts a plan to find her missing companion, but along the way she learns about empathy for others in her community who’ve lost homes and family in the hurricane.

It’s difficult not to compare this novel with others with a similar narrator. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime particularly came to mind. Martin’s tale is a lot more kid friendly. The plot is simpler but its characters remain complex and layered.

Through the endearing behavior of her protagonist, Martin encourages readers to develop empathy and explore a way of thinking which may be foreign to many of us. We begin to experience Rose simply as a girl who loves a dog. We see past her diagnosis into her heart, and this is the greatest triumph an author can hope to impart to her readers. This is a great story for middle or upper elementary-aged students.

Profanity and Crude Language Content
Just a couple instances of mild profanity from Rose’s father.

Sexual Content

Spiritual Content


Drug Content
Rose’s father regularly comes home drunk. She finds it best to leave him alone when he’s in this condition, but still sometimes he says unkind things to her.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.