Top Ten Tuesday #357

Hi all! I hope you’ve had a good week since I last did one of these, mine has once again been fairly quiet, but I had my first riding lesson of 2022 last week and it was really great, I’m glad to be back riding again.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic was meant to be Books I Enjoyed But Never Talked About On The Blog but I did a very similar topic a couple of weeks back, so instead I’m twisting it slightly and talking about my First Ten Five Star Reads On The Blog. It was really interesting looking back and seeing what some of my early favourite books were when I first started doing this whole thing. It was also interesting to see when I got a bit more picky with my five star ratings, turns out it was about a year into blogging! Anyway here we go, these were some of my earliest five star reads:

  1. Dangerous Girls-Abigail Haas-Reviewed February 2014

This was the first book I ever reviewed, so a great start to my blogging career! It’s also the YA thriller which ruined all other YA thrillers for me, I was so blown away by it that no other YA thriller has lived up to it since. I will admit, I do cringe slightly looking back at the review because my reviews have got so much better since I first started, but I’m glad that my first review on the blog was a book I loved so much.

2. The Last Stand Of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant #8)-Reviewed February 2014

I found the penultimate book of Skulduggery Pleasant (at least of the original series) actually better than the final book, it was the action packed thrill ride that I was expecting the finale to be, but didn’t actually end up being. It was a little weird reviewing an instalment so late on in a series when I read the previous seven books before starting my blog, but I’m glad I’ve been able to review at least some of the Skulduggery Pleasant books on here as the original series is one of my favourites (Phase 2 not so much).

3. Split Second-Sophie McKenzie-Reviewed February 2014

This one was such a fast-paced action packed thriller that really kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. It was also really refreshing to read a dystopian/near future type story that was set in the UK rather than the US! Although I will admit, reading it now might be even more freaky than when I read it in 2014 as our political situation has nose-dived quite a lot since then, and the UK McKenzie portrays in the book is not as far off as we’d like it to be!

4. The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2)-James Dashner-Reviewed February 2014

I will admit, this one of few books that looking back on it, I probably wouldn’t give five stars if I read it again now. At the time, I really enjoyed it because it was fast paced and exciting, but looking back on it, I can’t actually remember what important things happened in this book. I also found out since reading that James Dashner was accused of sexually harassing numerous female writers and so that has kind of soured my taste for this series.

5. The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3)-James Dashner-Reviewed February 2014

Again, I think looking back on it, I was probably more generous than I should have been with this book, there were really good parts (what happened to Newt was heart-breaking) but ultimately there’s a lot of questions left to answer by the end of the book and whilst I was okay with that at the time, looking back, I wish there had been more closure.

6. Cross My Heart-Carmen Reid-Reviewed March 2014

This one is one of my favourite historical fiction books ever, it follows teenager Nicole, who becomes a spy for the Belgian Resistance. It’s such an exciting book and Nicole is such a great protagonist, I really enjoyed following her journey through the book. It was also really nice to read a book about a different country in WWII, I read a lot of WWII books set in Germany or France or the UK, so it was really nice to learn a little more about what happened in Belgium, as it’s not a country that seems to get a lot of focus in WWII fiction.

7. Unwind-Neal Shusterman-Reviewed April 2014

This is one of my favourite dystopian books, right up there with The Hunger Games. The whole premise is such a creative idea (America fought a war over abortion, and neither side won, so the compromise is unwinding, a process where unwanted kids age 13-17 are taken apart and their organs donated, so they technically “live on” in other people). It’s a very chilling idea, and makes for incredibly creepy and interesting story. I loved the characters, and the story is very action packed, I remember being sat in a car in France waiting for my mum and dad to come out of a meeting and being absolutely glued to this book.

8. Undivided-Neal Shusterman-Reviewed January 2015

The final book in the Unwind series, and it was a great one. It’s super action packed and full of twists and turns and made me feel ALL THE THINGS. I loved where all the characters ended up and was ultimately really satisfied with the finale, even if it didn’t answer absolutely every single question I had.

9. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)-Sarah J Maas-Reviewed March 2015

My absolute favourite book in the Throne of Glass series, none of the others ever quite lived up to this one for me (the only one that came close was Tower of Dawn). I find that all of SJM’s best books focus on characters undergoing some kind of healing from trauma (Heir of Fire, Tower of Dawn, A Court of Mist and Fury all come under this), and seeing Celaena starting to overcome her childhood trauma and her issues around magic to be able to embrace her power was really great. This is also the book where we’re introduced to Manon, who is one of my favourite characters in the series.

10. Rebel of The Sands-Alwyn Hamilton-Reviewed March 2016

This book was such a fun read, it’s very fast paced and has such a strong, feisty female character as the lead, which I always loved. I also really loved the world Hamilton created in this book, it’s such a cool mix of the Wild West and Arabian settings and I loved the mythology that this world was based on as I’d never read anything with Djinni in before.

So there we go, those were my first ten five star reads that I reviewed for the blog. Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? Do you give out a lot of five stars or not? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Books With Your Favourite Trope/Theme, so naturally I will be talking about my Top Ten Favourite Found Family Books, as that is my absolute favourite trope.

34 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #357

  1. dinipandareads 01/03/2022 / 4:39 pm

    Nice twist to the topic! I’ve only read the ToG book (which I think I enjoyed but remember so little now, welp my memory!) but I’ve heard great things about Shusterman’s Unwind books. Sounds creepy but very interesting!

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 8:16 pm

      Thank you! Ah they’re really good, I definitely recommend.

  2. evelynreads1 01/03/2022 / 5:33 pm

    I really enjoy Rebel of the Sands when I read it, but also never talk about it!

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 8:15 pm

      I’ve mentioned it a few times but probably not as much as I should!

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 8:13 pm

      Yes, he is so inventive, I love seeing the stories he comes up with!

  3. jennielyse 01/03/2022 / 9:21 pm

    When I saw Split Second on your list, I thought it was the one by Kasie West, but then I saw it was something different by Sophie Mackenzie. It sounds like it would be right up my alley. I’m going to add it to my TBR.

    I haven’t read any of Dashner’s books, but I have met him in person. I was surprised when I heard about the sexual harassment allegations. I thought it was very big of him to not fight the allegations and get counseling instead of denying it and doing what most people do in that same situation.

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 8:13 pm

      Oh yeah, no, I’ve not read anything by her! The one I’ve listed really is great, I hope you enjoy it if you do read it.
      I’d not heard anything about what happened after the accusations came out, but I am glad to hear that he didn’t double down on it and accepted help for his problems.

  4. Leslie 02/03/2022 / 12:45 am

    It’s so cool to look back at old 5-star reads! I don’t know that I ever want to read them because I doubt they would be now since my reading has changed so much! Great post.

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 8:10 pm

      Thanks! I like to think I would probably like most of these if I reread them, but I guess I’ll never know because I never have time to reread anymore!

      • Leslie 04/03/2022 / 12:18 am

        I feel you. I don’t ever re-read. I just have too many on my bookshelves that I need to read!

  5. Jocelyn 02/03/2022 / 12:54 am

    oh no that’s so disappointing to learn about Dashner!!! I also loved that series when I read it but looking back the rest of the trilogy just… wasn’t that good?? Unwind was one of my favorite books when I first read it too!

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 8:07 pm

      Yeah I was really disappointed to find it out too. It definitely felt like he had a great idea for one book and then kind of ran out of steam for the rest. Yes, Unwind was so good!

  6. Cheryl C. Malandrinos 02/03/2022 / 2:08 am

    Neat choices this week. I like posts that look back into a blog’s history. Cross My Heart sounds really good, but not sure I could handle the Unwind series.

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog.

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 8:04 pm

      Thank you! Yeah I thought it would be quite fun to look back at my early days. I highly recommend Cross My Heart, it was great. Yeah, Unwind is not for everyone, I got my friend to read it because I really wanted to talk to someone about it and she was so creeped out by it, she’s never let me forget it!

  7. Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense 02/03/2022 / 2:12 am

    Unwind takes me waaaay back. I remember reading that while my best friend was reading Twilight and we would share with each other what was happening. Simpler times.

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 8:03 pm

      Ah that’s lovely! I don’t remember it being that big a thing when it came out in the UK, I only heard about it because it was recommended to me on my Amazon page. To be honest, I’m quite glad I read it when I was 17 rather than 12/13 because I think I would have been too creeped out by it at that age and wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did reading it at 17!

  8. thebookishlibra 02/03/2022 / 2:56 am

    I still need to read Rebel of the Sands. It has been on my shelf forever.

  9. Andge @ Down the Rabbit Hole 02/03/2022 / 4:51 am

    Omg Unwind ♥️ my brother loved that series. I got it for him to encourage some reading. I love Neal but have yet to fully read the book because the concept really does sound so chilling. But I probably should try 🙈

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 7:59 pm

      Oh I’m so glad your brother enjoyed it, I always say that getting people into reading is just about finding the right book for them. It’s really great, but yes, can get quite disturbing in places.

  10. Emily Jane 02/03/2022 / 10:23 pm

    I’ve only been blogging since June 2021 and I think that sometimes I’m too generous, but hopefully my reviews explain why I have rated the way I have 😂🤣

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 7:56 pm

      Hey, it’s great to have lots of five stars, that means there’ve been a lot of books you’ve loved. To be fair, I did go through a pretty big reading slump in 2015, so I think the reason there was quite a long gap between #9 and #10 was more that I just wasn’t reading much than anything else!

      • Emily Jane 04/03/2022 / 7:18 am

        Thank you. I do choose books that I like the sound of 🤣 I had a patch of non 5 stars a few months ago, but then I was comparing books to ACOTAR 😂

      • iloveheartlandx 08/03/2022 / 4:18 pm

        It’s always hard when you’ve just read one book that stands out to you so much.

      • Emily Jane 09/03/2022 / 8:14 am

        It is. A Court of Thorns and Roses series was hard to move on from 😂

  11. Greg 03/03/2022 / 2:06 pm

    It is fun to look back! And Dangerous Girls was SO good. I have Unwind but have never read it- your description is making me think I should grab it up.

    • iloveheartlandx 03/03/2022 / 7:50 pm

      It really is! SO GOOD, but it has ruined all other thrillers for me….. Oh you definitely should, it’s really great.

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