Best Review - Top 18 of my favorite books of all time


am a prolific reader. From second grade on, I have read voraciously. I can’t seem to get enough.

Once I find a favorite book or a favorite author, I must own that particular book. Periodically, I reread these books again and again.

In addition to the Joseph Girzone books and the Gene Stratton-Porter books that I mentioned in another review, these are sixteen of my very favorite books. You can see the descriptions and Amazon links below.

Sir Gibbie [A novel] by George MacDonald
The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy
The Lost Prince by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
One by Richard Bach
A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7) by J.K. Rowling
The Twilight Saga Complete Collection by Stephenie Meyer
The Negotiator (The O'Malley Series) by Dee Henderson
The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, Book One) by Jean M. Auel
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Of course, I need to add the two books that I wrote under my pen name of DJ Lyons: I’ve included the link to my publisher’s on-line bookstore where you can order the books at really reasonable prices.
The Bell Witch Unveiled at Last! The True Story of a Poltergeist by DJ Lyons
White Reindeer, Kudzu Monster, & Other Tales of Wonder by DJ Lyons

Some of my favorite books
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Top 1

Sir Gibbie [A novel] by George MacDonald

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This is set back in Scotland. Gibbie is a young mute boy and the son of an alcoholic father. His mother died many years before. His father dies early on in the story. Honoring a statement that his father once made, he goes from the city out into the countryside in search of a new home.

He meets up with an older couple who have a very strong faith in God. The father is a sheep herder. The mother, Janet, has a profound faith that she teaches to Gibbie.

This book impacted my life in many deep ways. Read the book for yourself. Perhaps you will find it transformative as well.

Book description on Amazon: “George MacDonald's 1870s' Sir Gibbie, about a destitute Scottish orphan, was reportedly a favorite of C.S. Lewis's.”

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: British Library, Historical Print Editions (January 10, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1240893868
ISBN-13: 978-1240893867

Top 2

The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy

Best Review 6122

Book description on Amazon: “Young Michael is not an ordinary child. His parents are Hungarian nobility and his days are full of magic, from the stories of his beloved "Nana" to riding lessons. But it is World War II and slowly Michael's world begins to collapse. The family estate is taken over by Nazis and his father is accused of collaboration with them. As a small soldier in the war, Michael keeps the real truth hidden--that his father is working against the enemy--but pays for his love of the beautiful horse Midnight by losing all that he has loved.

This is a beautifully written page turner of a novel with lovely illustrations by Seredy. Michael, Prince Chestry, and Nana are memorable long after the story is over, and once again Seredy glorifies the life of the "ordinary" farmer, who she considers to be the true royalty.”

Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Bodley Head Children's Books (September 26, 1985)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 037030876X
ISBN-13: 978-0370308760

Top 3

The Lost Prince by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Book Description on Amazon: “For years Marco and his father, have moved, involved in plots and secret councils for the sake of the unfortunate kingdom of Samavia, hoping that one day a Lost Prince might come to rule his people. Now, at last, a change is coming, and Marco is to cross Europe - the Lost Prince is stirring.”

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Puffin (January 1, 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0140367543
ISBN-13: 978-0140367546

Top 4

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

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Book Description on Amazon: “"Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight--how to get from shore to food and back again," writes author Richard Bach in this allegory about a unique bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull. "For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight." Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes the story soar. Ultimately this is a fable about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe, or neighborhood finds your ambition threatening. (At one point our beloved gull is even banished from his flock.) By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan gets the ultimate payoff: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness. The dreamy seagull photographs by Russell Munson provide just the right illustrations--although the overall packaging does seem a bit dated (keep in mind that it was first published in 1970). Nonetheless, this is a spirituality classic, and an especially engaging parable for adolescents.”

Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Scribner; Original edition (January 3, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0743278909
ISBN-13: 978-0743278904

Top 5

One by Richard Bach

Book Description on Amazon: “Under the spell of quantum physics, Bach and his wife Leslie are catapulted into an alternate world in which they exist simultaneously in many different incarnations.”

My comment: Just imagine of you could talk to yourself, face to face, at various points in your life. What could you share? What would you learn? This book, for me, was life-changing.

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Dell (October 2, 1989)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 044020562X
ISBN-13: 978-0440205623

Top 6

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

Book description on Amazon: “Elnora lives by the Linderlost, a great swamp in Indiana, neglected by her depressed widowed mother. Her high school days are a trial, as the other girls make fun of her rustic clothes and apparent poverty. But her love of the great outdoors comes to her aid, as she manages to make money by collecting and selling butterflies and moths. Her life becomes more interesting when a young man comes to lodge with them, however he is already engaged, so she has to settle for friendship and a shared love of the flora and fauna of the woods.”

Hardcover: 492 pages
Publisher: Benediction Classics (November 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1849025800
ISBN-13: 978-1849025805

Top 7

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

Book description on Amazon: “Redfield's debut is a fast-paced adventure in New Age territory that plays like a cross between Raiders of the Lost Ark and Moses's trek up Mt. Sinai. Originally self-published, the book sold phenomenally, sparked by word of mouth, and may be this year's The Bridges of Madison County --with which it shares some regrettable stylistic similarities. The saga begins when the unnamed middle-aged male narrator whimsically quits his nondescript life to track down an ancient Peruvian manuscript (pretentiously called the Manuscript) containing nine Insights that supposedly prophesy the modern emergence of New Age spirituality. South of the border, he encounters resistance from the Peruvian government and church authorities, who believe the document will undermine traditional family values. While dodging evil soldiers, paranoid priests and pseudoscientific researchers, our hero sequentially discovers all nine Insights during a series of chance encounters. Redfield has a real talent for page-turning action, and his lightweight quest employs auras, energy transfers and other psychic phenomena. But several of the Insights are incredibly vacuous and politically correct, and long stretches of dialogue are banal and cliched. The book ends with the protagonist poised to discover the 10th Insight in a promised sequel.”

Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Warner Books, Inc. (November 1, 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446671002
ISBN-13: 978-0446671002

Top 8

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Book description on Amazon: “Everyone in town thinks Meg is volatile and dull-witted and that her younger brother Charles Wallace is dumb. People are also saying that their father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with their new friend Calvin, embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time.
Young people who have trouble finding their place in the world will connect with the "misfit" characters in this provocative story. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep into their characters to find answers.
A classic since 1962, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is sophisticated in concept yet warm in tone, with mystery and love coursing through its pages. Meg's shattering yet ultimately freeing discovery that her father is not omnipotent provides a satisfying coming-of-age element. Readers will feel a sense of power as they travel with these three children, challenging concepts of time, space, and the power of good over evil.”
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 206 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1ST edition (January 1, 1962)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0374386137
ISBN-13: 978-0374386139

Top 9

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Book description on Amazon: “Poor Sara Crewe. Once upon a time her beloved father pampered and adored her. But ever since he died, leaving her alone and penniless, she's been caught in the cruel clutches of Miss Minchin, the headmistress at the Select Seminary for Young Ladies, where Sara once studied. But no matter how terrible things get, Sara always has her imagination and goodness of heart to carry her through. This timeless tale of a poor orphan has won children's hearts for a century--and continues to be a favorite.”
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Simon & Brown (May 24, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613820526
ISBN-13: 978-1613820520

Top 10

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7) by J.K. Rowling

Book Description on Amazon: “Now for the first time ever, J.K. Rowling’s seven bestselling Harry Potter books are available in a stunning paperback boxed set! The Harry Potter series has been hailed as “one for the ages” by Stephen King and “a spellbinding saga’ by USA Today. And most recently, The New York Times called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the “fastest selling book in history.” This is the ultimate Harry Potter collection for Harry Potter fans of all ages!”
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 4167 pages
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (July 7, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545162076
ISBN-13: 978-0545162074

Top 11

The Twilight Saga Complete Collection by Stephenie Meyer

Book Description on Amazon: “This stunning set, complete with five editions of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella, makes the perfect gift for fans of the bestselling vampire love story.

Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, The Twilight Saga capture the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires.”
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 2752 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (October 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031613290X
ISBN-13: 978-0316132909

Top 12

The Negotiator (The O'Malley Series) by Dee Henderson

Book Description on Amazon: “Veteran hostage negotiator Kate O'Malley has seen humankind at its worst. In fact, she has become something of a legend for her ability to parlay a successful outcome from even the most desperate situations. FBI special agent Dave Richman, introduced in Henderson's Danger in the Shadows, has every reason to have lost faith. But he hasn't and Kate has. From their first encounter during a bank holdup, these two very disparate people are inexplicably drawn to each other. But can they overcome the obstacles? Dave's Christianity is as much a part of him as his desire for Kate, while Kate claims no particular belief in God. And can Dave relinquish his need to protect Kate when it is her job to place herself in danger? But Dave may not have a choice when a secret from Kate's past returns to haunt her--or kill her. Full of surprises, Dee Henderson's The Negotiator is a walk on the wild side and readers will love every thrilling minute!”

The Complete O'Malley Series:
1. Danger in the Shadows
2. The Negotiator
3. The Guardian
4. The Truth Seeker
5. The Protector
6. The Healer
7. The Rescuer

My description in brief: Think Christian CSI

I love all 7 books and have read them many times. The Negotiator was the first book that I have read by Dee Henderson.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Reprinted edition (October 19, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414310560
ISBN-13: 978-1414310565

Top 13

The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, Book One) by Jean M. Auel

Book Description on Amazon: “When her parents are killed by an earthquake, 5-year-old Ayla wanders through the forest completely alone. Cold, hungry, and badly injured by a cave lion, the little girl is as good as gone until she is discovered by a group who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. This clan, left homeless by the same disaster, have little interest in the helpless girl who comes from the tribe they refer to as the "Others." Only their medicine woman sees in Ayla a fellow human, worthy of care. She painstakingly nurses her back to health--a decision that will forever alter the physical and emotional structure of the clan. Although this story takes place roughly 35,000 years ago, its cast of characters could easily slide into any modern tale. The members of the Neanderthal clan, ruled by traditions and taboos, find themselves challenged by this outsider, who represents the physically modern Cro-Magnons. And as Ayla begins to grow and mature, her natural tendencies emerge, putting her in the middle of a brutal and dangerous power struggle.
Although Jean Auel obviously takes certain liberties with the actions and motivations of all our ancestors, her extensive research into the Ice Age does shine through--especially in the detailed knowledge of plants and natural remedies used by the medicine woman and passed down to Ayla. Mostly, though, this first in the series of four is a wonderful story of survival. Ayla's personal evolution is a compelling and relevant tale.”
Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Bantam (June 25, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553381679
ISBN-13: 978-0553381672
Here is the list of all 6 books in the series:
The Clan of the Cave Bear
The Valley of Horses
The Mammoth Hunters
The Plains of Passage
The Shelters of Stone
The Land of Painted Caves
I love them all!

Top 14

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Book Description on Amazon: “Grade 3–6—First published in 1911, Burnett's tale of burgeoning self-awareness, newfound friendship, and the healing effects of nature is presented in an elegant, oversize volume and handsomely illustrated with Moore's detailed ink and watercolor paintings. Cleanly laid-out text pages are balanced by artwork ranging from delicate spot images to full-page renderings. The outdoor scenes are beautifully depicted, presenting realistic images of animals and flowers, with the hues gradually warming in sync with the story's progression from winter's browns and beiges to the lush colors of spring. The young protagonists—lonely Mary Lennox; her sickly and spoiled cousin, Colin; and likable local lad Dickon—bound to life in the evocative paintings, which reflect the wonders of transformations in both nature and in a child's heart. All in all, a lovely interpretation.”
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (February 23, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0763647322
ISBN-13: 978-0763647322

Top 15

The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith

Book Description on Amazon: “This empowering romp will delight and invigorate nearly any woman who's ever stewed over a bad breakup. In late-'80s Manhattan, three well-to-do, middle-aged divorcees are brought together by the suicide of a friend whose spouse, a bigoted Wall Street shark, abandoned her and later wed his ambitious protegee. Annie, a gentle, generous novelist, was dumped by her ad-exec husband for the woman who was their marriage counselor; Elise is a hard-drinking actress whose ex now dates a young artist/heiress; and Brenda is a compulsive overeater who was left by a crass salesman she had helped succeed in the retail biz. Calling themselves the First Wives Club, the three attend society functions together and seek methods of winning not only revenge but the nobler reward of justice for themselves and, posthumously, for their friend. As they stylishly, systematically and nonviolently foil the schemes of their callous former partners, they conquer their own weaknesses and find appreciative friends and lovers who complement rather than rule them. Goldsmith's glitzy, addictive and credible first novel is certain to raise smiles--not to mention a few hackles.”
Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: Pocket (April 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416562834
ISBN-13: 978-1416562832

Top 16

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Book Description on Amazon: “In this inimitable, beloved classic—graceful, lucid and lyrical—Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea. Drawing inspiration from the shells on the shore, Lindbergh’s musings on the shape of a woman’s life bring new understanding to both men and women at any stage of life. A mother of five, an acclaimed writer and a pioneering aviator, Lindbergh casts an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, she helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives.

With great wisdom and insight Lindbergh describes the shifting shapes of relationships and marriage, presenting a vision of life as it is lived in an enduring and evolving partnership. A groundbreaking, best-selling work when it was originally published in 1955, Gift from the Sea continues to be discovered by new generations of readers. With a new introduction by Lindbergh’s daughter Reeve, this fiftieth-anniversary edition will give those who are revisiting the book and those who are coming upon it for the first time fresh insight into the life of this remarkable woman.

The sea and the beach are elements that have been woven throughout Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s life. She spent her childhood summers with her family on a Maine island. After her marriage to Charles Lindbergh in 1929, she accompanied him on his survey flights around the North Atlantic to launch the first transoceanic airlines. The Lindberghs eventually established a permanent home on the Connecticut coast, where they lived quietly, wrote books and raised their family.”
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition. first thus edition (October 8, 1991)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0679406832
ISBN-13: 978-0679406839

Top 17

The Bell Witch Unveiled at Last! The True Story of a Poltergeist by DJ Lyons

My book description: “Who was the true Bell Witch of Tennessee?

John Bell of Adams, Tennessee, died on December 20, 1820. Why not? He was old. He was sick. He was comatose. Yet dozens of newspaper articles; a handful of published books, movies, videos, and websites; and countless amateur and professional storytellers all erroneously claim that John Bell was killed by a poltergeist.

Who was this poltergeist many called the Bell Witch? Newspapers, books, websites, and countless people familiar with the 1817-1821 haunting pointed the finger of blame at a neighbor woman, Cate Batts. Her alleged guilt was purely circumstantial. For the first time, this breakthrough publication reveals the actual identities and motives of the three poltergeists. These three male entities followed John Bell from his former home in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to Adams, Tennessee, seeking their revenge. Within the covers of this book, the Bell Witch is unveiled at last.”

Top 18

White Reindeer, Kudzu Monster, & Other Tales of Wonder by DJ Lyons

My book description: “A collection of 32 short stories and novellas by DJ Lyons:

* “White Reindeer”?Lost on a Norwegian mountain, DJ faces rock slides, raging waterfalls and other challenges. Miraculously, a white reindeer appears and leads her to safety.

* “Kudzu Monster”?An unlikely love story involving a young frontier girl and the Kudzu Monster who saves her life.

* “Trapped in Beaumaris Castle”?Gwyn agrees to spend the night in a haunted castle. What he sees finally puts to rest a 700-year-old question: How did the king's archer die?

* “Grandmother Lyons' Tales”?True stories about a tornado, a Civil War love story, a scam, a premonition saving two lives and a scary Rag Man.

* “12 Tales of Wonder” plus “12 Stories for the Young At Heart”?Exciting adventures involving ghosts, wishes, secrets, bullies, animals, amazing characters, a Broccoli Monster, fairy godmothers, magic and fun.”

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TinaAtHome's picture

From your list, Jonathan

From your list, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is my favorite.