1. The Great Gatsby-- Far and away the best book I read in school. I've read it multiple times and just love it. It was the first book I remember shocking me with an out-of-the-blue plot twist, so maybe that's why it holds a special place in my heart.
2. The Mark of the Lion series-- I read this trilogy in high school, and I remember being completely blown away with the story. Gladiators in the Colisseum, forbidden love, and God's ultimate grace and redemption all come together for a truly moving trilogy.
3. Sammy's Hill-- Funniest book I've ever read. Sammy is a young staffer on Capitol Hill and thanks to her neuroses and crazy shenanigans, you'll be laughing to the end.
4. Eve's Daughters-- Another book from my school days, Lynn Austin tells the story of four generations of women and how their choices have affected the following generations. The way the story is told is pure genius.
5. Baby Proof-- Like most women readers, I'm a big Emily Giffin fan. I started reading with Something Borrowed and Something Blue, but my favorite book of hers to this day is Baby Proof. It's sweet and touching and highly recommended.
7. The Notebook-- Ah, The Notebook. I don't think I've ever cried more at any book than this one. And the fact that I've read it more than once knowing that would happen just proves how good the story is. If you've only seen the movie, do yourself a favor and read the book to get the real story. It's a million times better.
8. Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit-- This whole series by Charles Swindoll-- Great Lives from God's Word-- is amazing. I've read seven, but Paul is my favorite. Paul endured so much to tell the Gospel that completely transformed his life, but his story is often overlooked when we read Scripture since we're more focused on his message. Swindoll takes the time to give great insight into the man who penned almost half of the New Testament. (Also in the series are David, Esther, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Job, and of course, Jesus.)
9. In the Time of the Butterflies-- Probably the only things I know about the Trujillo reign and subsequent revolution in the Domincan Republic comes from this book. I'm always amazed how good authors can draw you into a story even when you know the end from the beginning. Julia Alvarez manages it with this story of the Mirabal family during the Trujillo dictatorship and their involvement in the underground movement. Just talking about this book makes me want to read it again!
10. The Time Traveler's Wife-- This book stuck with me for so long. And again, the movie didn't even come close to doing the book justice. It was a completely unique tale, which I love. I can't even begin to describe the non-linear, yet totally captivating love story between Henry and Claire. This book came close to making me cry as much as The Notebook, but was worth every tear.
Of course, I couldn't pick just ten. So here are two additional "honorable mentions."
Absolute Power-- This was my first David Baldacci book, and has led me to so many more wonderful stories of his. It's a great thriller with unforeseen twists and turns along the way. I recommend all of his stories!