top 5 wednesday | july 26

I’m back again for another Top 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam at thoughtsontomes. Check out the Goodreads group if you’re interested in learning more or joining in on the fun.

Today’s prompt: Series that got better

Technically, I suppose I can’t really call this post a Top 5 Wednesday post. Why, you ask? Because my list down below only includes 4 series I’ve read that got better.

I know, I’m a poser! But I can’t think of another series that really should be included, and at the same time, I do want to gush about the ones I can think of.

So, this week we’re doing Top 4 Wednesday.

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The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who wasn’t quite feeling the vibe of this series when I started off with book one. The Raven Boys is really just a huge set up for the rest of the series; not necessarily how you want to start things off.

However, I knew this series had a big group of followers, and I figured I should persevere for at least one book more. So, I read The Dream Thieves, and LET ME TELL YOU. My perseverance was worth it. That book alone is legitimately SO cool, and it totally sold me on Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and this series. The rest of the series was really enjoyable–by which I mean Stiefvater tore my heart out and stomped on it–and I would highly recommend The Raven Cycle for any and all readers.

Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

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This series is so great, it almost feels like it shouldn’t be on this list. Book one–The Final Empire–was such a strong start to the series; however, each book somehow surpassed the one before it. My mind was constantly blown as I read this series, and just when I thought Sanderson couldn’t make things any more epic, he did.

Some readers thought book two–The Well of Ascension–wasn’t the greatest, but I firmly do NOT hold that opinion. I loved it, and I especially loved Hero of Ages, the final book in the trilogy. Sanderson’s writing is so strong, his characters so dynamic, and this series really was an astounding first trilogy from him.

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

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Call me crazy, but when I first started Six of Crows, I didn’t understand the hype. I enjoyed the book, I did–(please don’t hurt me!)–but I personally don’t love flashback-heavy stories and didn’t quite connect to all the characters.

HOWEVER. I continued the duology, and Crooked Kingdom blew me away. Such a strong book, amazing characters, and nonstop action. I loved it. I also possibly sobbed my heart out when ONE CERTAIN THING happened toward the end. Nonetheless, I finally understood the hype and would certainly revisit the series again.

Red Rising series by Pierce Brown

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This series actually has a unique place on this list, because the reason it got better is a little different. This series seemed to evolve as it went on, and as I read, I almost wondered if Pierce Brown did it intentionally or if it just sort of happened as he developed the story. Either way, IT WORKS.

This series starts with Darrow joining a rebellion without truly believing in it himself. This made Red Rising, book one, hard to engage in. I didn’t really understand Darrow’s motives for all he was doing and putting himself through, and it felt like that wouldn’t change as the series went on.

But, of course, it did. He went on an amazing personal growth journey, one that really made me believe in him, root for him, and totally invest in his story. Plus, the plot in each book also became more and more epic, with new characters, new worlds, and new hurdles to overcome. This is definitely a new favorite series, and one I’d highly recommend to any sci-fi lover.

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There you have it! My top 5 4 series that got better. What are YOUR favorite series that got better? Do you have any recommendations that could become the fifth on my list? Comment down below!

Until next time,
Brianne

top 5 wednesday | july 12

I’m back again for another Top 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam at thoughtsontomes. Check out the Goodreads group if you’re interested in learning more or joining in on the fun!

Today’s prompt: Top 5 Children’s Books

As I suspect is the case for many a book blogger, I was huge reader when I was younger. I would beg my mom to take me to the library, I would track my reading progress during the summer, and I stayed up late–or in some cases, woke up early!–to read my books. I just loved books! And here I am today…still loving books. I haven’t changed a bit.

Many books came to mind for this list, and I remembered even more when I looked back on my collection at home. So I stayed true to the prompt and talked about five below, but I included a few honorable mentions, too.

Let’s get into it!

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Some of the faves I managed to scrounge up.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This was possibly my first-ever favorite book and even more, the book that made me venture into the fantasy genre. I ADORE this book even still–and if you haven’t read it yet, I would totally recommend it, no matter your age! This book is just the best. It’s a Cinderella retelling that has charm, a unique twist, and a sweet, sweet romance. It’s wonderful.

Side note–For those of you who have read Ella Enchanted, PLEASE tell me I’m not alone in my deep hatred for the movie adaptation!? I love Anne Hathaway, and I actually liked the soundtrack when it came out, but they COMPLETELY butchered the plot. It’s possibly the worst book to movie adaptation I’ve ever seen. I’m still bitter about it. (Obviously.)

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Anne Hathaway = lovely! Ella Enchanted movie = HORRIFYING.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

I read this book more recently, in a college course on Children’s Literature, and I absolutely fell in love. Gary Schmidt is from my hometown and actually teaches at my college as well, so of course we had to include his book on our reading list. However, it was not just added on because of the connection. It truly deserved its place among the other great children’s books we read.

I was so charmed by Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster boy. The setting is Maine, and the descriptions are to die for. It’s a book with surprisingly deep themes for a children’s book, and also some amazingly gorgeous quotes.

“The world turns and the world spins, the tide runs in and the tide runs out, and there is nothing in the world more beautiful and more wonderful in all its evolved forms than two souls who look at each other straight on.”

Redwall series by Brian Jacques

More of my first fantasy books! This time of the speaking animals variety!

I don’t know if I ever read ALL the books in the Redwall series, since there are a ton, but I remember going back to the library to grab the next one, then the next, and the next, until I had read so many of them. Who doesn’t love stories about tough little mice standing up to the scary animals of the woodland forest?!

(Also, I totally had ships for some of the sweet mices…Possibly my first ever ships?!)

The tapestry by chichapie
art by @chichapie

 

Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

I know I mentioned this series last week, but the Chronicles of Narnia series are possibly my favorite books of the ever, and I can’t not include them in a list about children’s books. I read one or two of the books when I was a true child, but I read the rest in high school (still a child, let’s be honest). I had a little frenzy, reading through the entire series in a week, borrowing my dad’s very old copies of the books that he read when he was a child.

I just adore all the deeper messages in these books; as a Christian myself, I always admired the way C.S. Lewis incorporated his faith and religious themes into his writing without being too blatant about it. I took a lot away from these books, and they’ll always hold a dear place in my heart.

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Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I couldn’t not include Harry Potter. I am sure you all know what this series is about and why it’s so wonderful, so I’ll spare you.

I have a strange, vivid memory of the reason why I started reading Harry Potter. I was in third grade. Over breakfast one morning, my older sister was telling my mom about this book about a kid who lived under the stairs with his horrible aunt and uncle, and he learns he’s a wizard. I was instantly sold. My mom had to ask my teacher if she thought the series was age appropriate; thank GOODNESS my teacher approved.

My childhood would not have been the same without the obsession, the new releases every summer (I got up early to snag an express copy at my library three–maybe four–years in a row), and my older sister reading the books out loud to us around the campfire. So many good memories.

“Mischief Managed.”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
  • The Tale of Despereuax by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • North by Night by Katherine Ayres
  • Holes by Louis Sachar

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There you have it! My top 5 children’s books and series. What are YOUR favorite children’s books? Do we share any in common? Comment down below!

Until next time,
Brianne

top 5 wednesday | july 5

I’m back again for another Top 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam @ thoughtsontomes. Check out the Goodreads group if you’re interested in learning more or joining in on the fun!

Today’s prompt: Books Without Romance

Initially I thought, “Hey! This might be easy! It’s definitely not as hard as everyone makes it out to be. There are plenty of books without romance.”

WRONG, Brianne. This list was actually pretty hard. But I managed it, without too much cheating anyway!

Let’s get into it!

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

I feel like this one is going to feature on many people’s lists today, because this book has been marketed and raved about as a long-anticipated YA book without romance!

Now, when I read this, I did notice a few hints of romance, a few bits that were VERY close to crossing the line of a little romantic thing going on. But, the characters never crossed the line completely. I’m not sure if that will stay true in the final book of the duology or not. I’ll find out soon enough, as I have it freshly checked out from the library right now!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

 

art by @evilienne

Yes, another Schwab, but this one is one of her adult books. And again, there are HINTS of romance here, but it was developed a LOT less than I initially expected when I started reading this book. In fact, I really loved how subtle the romance was…and I almost wish it had stayed that way throughout the rest of the series. Alas, it did not. But I enjoyed it while it lasted in this first book. Kell + Lila’s friendship = heart eyes.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I know this is a children’s series, so romance isn’t necessarily expected, but I still wanted to include this series because it is my favorite! If I had to pick only one series to read for the rest of my life, I think it’d have to be Chronicles of Narnia–even over Harry Potter! I know, it’s practically blasphemy!

But these characters are so wonderful, the stories hold a lot of meaning for me, and the lack of romance has never been an issue at all.

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

art by @jurassicpencil

Yep. I had to do it! I had to mention Sanderson at least once within this post otherwise it wouldn’t be fit for my blog.

But hey, this book totally fits here! There are very small tidbits of romance in this book, but they’re mostly unrequited and very fleeting. Although I am bitter about the way the romance changes in the next few books of this series, I certainly did enjoy its very quiet, subtle presence in this book. It’s a lot more focused on the friendship developing between Wax, Wayne, and Marasi, and I loved it!

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

I read this a few years ago, so hopefully my memory’s not faulty, but I don’t remember any romance in this book. I was super skeptical about this because I normally don’t go for adult mysteries, and I also had no clue if J.K. Rowling could manage to write anything I’d like after the majesty of Harry Potter.

But she did! I really enjoyed this book and the characters. There’s a great (platonic) relationship between Cormoran Strike and his secretary, Robin. I need to get on with reading the rest of the series!

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There you have it! My top 5 books without romance. What are YOUR favorite books without romance? Comment down below!

Until next time,
Brianne

top 5 wednesday | june 28

I’m back again for another Top 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam thoughtsontomes. Check out the Goodreads group if you’re interested in learning more or joining in on the fun!

Today’s prompt: Hate to Love ships

The hate turning into love trope is probably one of my favorites. It’s just the greatest! The two characters hate each other to start and then positively drown themselves in denial when they start having feelings for each other. Once they finally come to accept their love, they then go through the stages of depression and sorrow because they think their love is unrequited. UNTIL THEY FIND IT’S NOT. Then the two of them get to live happily ever after.

I mean, who WOULDN’T love that?! Am I a monster for loving that? Yes, maybe so.

Let’s get into it! These are listed in no particular order.

(By the way, this post is a little spoilery in term of ships–obviously–so read at your own risk!)

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1. Feyre and Rhysand from the ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas

I couldn’t not start with these two. For all the issues I have with this series, the one thing I will always love is the relationship between Feyre and Rhysand. They go on such a journey together, and it all starts with Feyre hating him. He’s the bad guy! Until she realizes he’s not really bad…at all! Their relationship evolves in such a wonderful way, and they are pretty much #relationshipgoals.

MY BABIES ARE DONE. *dies*Rhys & Feyre, looking all High Lord & Ladylike. This was soooo much fun to work on and I’ve already ranted and raved about how much I love these two… and everyone else in ACOMAF… and Sarah… and Prints are available over on...
art by Charlie Bowater

2. Mariko and Okami from Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

I just read this book, and already I am such a fan of these two. I just LOVE the girl-disguised-as-a-boy trope, not to mention the boy-falling-in-love-with-the-girl-disguised-as-a-boy trope! And combined with hate-to-love…I’m dead.

But seriously, these two were so cute and sweet and I WANT MORE OF THEM NOW PLEASE.

3. Nina and Matthias from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

Okay these two seriously hurt me. SERIOUSLY. They come from two opposing worlds and any sort of attraction they might feel is supremely rejected from the beginning. But, of course, that changes. And then they become so sweet together. So, so sweet. Overcoming their differences in background puts their relationship on a deeper level, I think. And Matthias treats Nina like the queen she is.

(But also, this ship brings me TRUE PAIN come Crooked Kingdom. Gah.)

art by phantomrin

4. Siri and the God King from Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

These two are the cutest ever. They are both the purest little cinnamon rolls you could ever imagine! Siri has an arranged marriage with the God King, taking the place of her sister, and goes into it with so many preconceived notions about what he’s like. She hates him, and all he stands for. Except, she knows nothing. Once she starts to get a clue, things change and, guh. They are so adorable.

5. Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Last but not least. Obviously, these two have a long bout of friendship between the hate and love, but I think they still fit in this category! If it weren’t for the incident with the troll, I think Hermione would have gone right on hating Ron and Harry for quite a while. As it is, becoming friends and developing a deep relationship with each other made that hate lessen over the years. Friends to lovers is another favorite trope, and it always felt inevitable with Romione.

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art by upthehillart

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There you have it! My top 5 hate to love ships. Who are YOUR favorite hate to love ships? Comment down below!

Until next time,
Brianne

top 5 wednesday | may 24

I’m back again for another Top 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam thoughtsontomes. Check out the Goodreads group if you’re interested in learning more or joining in on the fun!

Today’s prompt: Favorite Minor Characters

Note that today is all about minor characters and not side characters. So I’ll be talking about those characters who only make a small appearance in the book but are still named and important–and whom I love very much despite their minimal screen time.

Let’s get into it!

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1. Dobby from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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art by zquadlocks @ tumblr

Oh, Dobby! He creates so much trouble for Harry in The Chamber of Secrets, but it’s only because he cares! How much Dobby loves Harry gets me every time. I loved how he popped up throughout the books, and the important role he ended up playing in The Deathly Hallows! He really stands for all of those who are underestimated yet rise to the task and succeed. Also, I don’t know if I’ve ever cried as hard as I did when he died in the last book.

2. Spook (AKA Lestibournes) from The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Spook eventually becomes a more important character as this series goes on, but in book one he is such a random misfit teenager within the group of mature characters. I loved him immediately. He is so shyly into Vin, speaks in this bizarre (and entertaining, and confusing) dialect (for example, “Wasing the where of needing”), and is sweet with his uncle. I was super excited when I kept reading the series and got more of him!

 

3. Matthew from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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art by aymmichurros @ tumblr

Matthew is just sunshine personified. How can you not love him? I love how sweet and innocent he is, and how much he loves his brothers. Also, he’s an actual dream thing? That Ronan dreamt up? Because he wanted a little buddy? I will never get over that (and I will never get over Ronan Lynch, straight up). I really just want the best for Matthew, and I care deeply about his well-being.

4. Kuwei from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

I’m not sure Kuwei should really be on this list; first, because he’s nearly a side character but not quite, and second, because we have a hate-to-love relationship going on. I hated Kuwei in this series. He’s just the worst! He always has some snarky comment he has to add in or he’s otherwise getting in the way and not contributing to the success of the group. (Not to mention his intervention between Jesper and Wylan…grrr.) But I know he’s really just a helpless kid and honestly, his bits in the books were just the right amounts of exasperating and amusing. I guess he deserves a bit of recognition.

5. Bridge Four from The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

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art by tigonxz @ tumblr

I couldn’t resist doing more Sanderson…I know, I have a problem. But Bridge Four, you guys! They are all the best. I adore the way they all bond over their late-night stew and follow Kaladin like the fearless leader he is. Rock in particular was one of my favorites; his way of speaking and silly comments are always the perfect comedic relief. Not to mention how he has this hidden talent for archery but only wants to be a chef. What a sweet, lovable Horneater.

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And there you have it. As usual, this was harder than expected! Who would make your list of favorite minor characters?

Until next time,
Brianne

top 5 wednesday | april 26

I’m back again for another Top 5 Wednesday!

If you don’t already know, Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam thoughtsontomes. Here’s the Goodreads group if you’re interesting in learning more or joining in on the fun!

Today’s prompt: Authors You Want to Read More From

This is actually a weirdly hard prompt for me, because I’m the kind of reader who discovers a new favorite author and immediately inhales everything they’ve written. I’m sure (*I hope*) I’m not the only one like that out there!

However, since I’ve been kind of out of the reading game these past few years, I’ve been frantically catching up on what I’ve missed. As such, I just haven’t had enough time to inhale all the words by some authors I’ve recently discovered.

So, without further ado or useless commentary on my behalf, let’s get started!

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1. Brandon Sanderson

Returning readers, are you starting to see a theme on my blog?

I am currently mid-inhale with Brandon Sanderson, and I can’t seem to stop reading his books or gushing about them on this blog. But I can’t bring myself to really care! I just love his unique fantasy worlds, his straightforward writing, and his positively epic stories.

Also, I find it just the Coolest Thing Ever that his books are all somehow connected, even in the tiniest of ways, and that there’s this broader scope to the universe (ahem, excuse me, the Cosmere) he’s created. SO. COOL. Can I be like Brandon Sanderson? In your dreams, Brianne.

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Only *slightly* embarrassing how many Sanderson books I currently have in my posession. (And I have one more on the way…)

2. Victoria Schwab

Around the end of February and beginning of March, I read the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab, and I loved it! Oh man, those characters got me so emotional. Kell and Rhy! *wipes away tear* I adore them.

I’ve heard lots of good things about Victoria Schwab’s other books, and they all seem especially unique, from each other and from other popular books these days. I’m hoping to pick up another one of hers in the next month or so!

3. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I might be breaking the rules by lumping these two together, but hear out my reasoning! The only books I’ve read by these two were ones they wrote together, the first two books in the Illuminae Files series. Holy moly, how cool are those books! I was so skeptical over the mere design of these books, but they were so great. Again–what characters! If they could make me care about characters who I learned about only through journal entries, interviews, and the like, I’m super intrigued to see what these authors could do in a more traditional novel.

4. Maggie Stiefvater

I’ve kind of had a change of heart with Maggie Stiefvater, although it’s not really all that dramatic. When I was in high school, I picked up her Shiver series from the library, and I thought they were all right but didn’t quite hold my attention. Back then I had the TERRIBLE habit of skimming through books, whether I was enjoying them or not. (I know, I’m cringing as I write this!) So, of course, I skimmed through the Shiver series, and, of course, completely ruined my entire reading experience.

Now, though, I’d like to go back and re-read those books because I realized how amazing Maggie Stievater is after I read the Raven Cycle last year. Oh, those books were so mystical and creepy and heart-wrenching. I had just the best experience binging that series, and have come to follow Maggie on social media and learn just how awesome she is. The rest of her works are on my eventual TBR.

5. Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan! Ending this list with a bang! How great is the Percy Jackson series? I read them while in college but still ADORED them. For me, it was one of those rare cases where I saw the movie and enjoyed it enough that I wanted to pick up the book. (Might’ve also had something to do with Logan Lerman, can’t lie about that.)

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I mean, how cute is he? Such a sweet babe.

I started reading the Heroes of Olympus series after, but college got too busy and I never finished. Now, I’m hearing that the Magnus Chase series is Super Great, so again, all of Rick Riordan’s series are on my eventual TBR.

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And there you have it! What authors would you like to read more from? If you’ve read from any of these five (six, technically), which books would you recommend I read first?

Until next time,
Brianne

top 5 wednesday | april 5

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This is my first top 5 Wednesday post. Hoorah!

I first learned of Top 5 Wednesday from Sam thoughtsontomes’s Youtube channel (check her out, I love her videos!), and afterward I, of course, joined the group on Goodreads and immediately began planning my future blog posts. I’m aware that there’s also a Top Ten Tuesday that goes around the book blogosphere, but those prompts didn’t quite resonate with me? Also, is it just me or is 10 a lot more intimidating than 5? Yeah, it probably is just me. But alas, I’m going to stick with Top 5 Wednesday for now.

Today’s prompt: Top Science-Fiction / Fantasy Books on Your TBR

Oh man. Let’s just say I definitely have more than five science-fiction and fantasy books on my TBR. My TBR is basically made of ONLY science-fiction and fantasy books. Especially thanks to my recent revelation that fantasy is my favorite genre, my home, my comfort place–something I hadn’t really acknowledged before. I’m weird, I know.

Now, I’m going to force myself to narrow things down by not including upcoming releases. This list is the top 5 books I’m most likely to pick up next (which means I’ll likely have read them by the end of the month, honestly).

Here we go! *in no particular order*

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1. The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson
I’m including this whole series (just two books, SO FAR) because I can. I’m on a Sanderson kick and I’m super interested to see if he really can pull off creating an entirely different world apart from the Mistborn world and manage to get me invested in the characters just as much. I’ve also heard his writing is so great in this series and that it’s really his shining moment, so obviously I need to know if this is true. I will probably get these from the library next time I go.

2. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
I recent bought this one and I’m really excited to try it. Anything Hades/Persephone immediately intrigues me, AND I’ve heard that this really is kind of unexpectedly sultry. I need somma that in my life, please and thanks.

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“Lush, sexy, and gorgeous” = YES PLZ

3. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Again, I bought this one recently and it seems different than what I’d usually read but also very interesting. I’m super into character-driven stories, so this seems like it’ll be a good fit. Fingers crossed I’ll actually like it. I mean, I’m already half in love with it thanks to the gorgeous cover, so let’s see if I’ll be all the way in love thanks to the book itself as well.

4. Red Rising series by Pierce Brown
I’ve had this series on my TBR for a while but recently became more interested because I saw an interview of Pierce Brown on Youtube and his gorgeous majesty was revealed to me (see below). Damn. *fans self* Now I need to know if such a beautiful human can really write something great. If so, I shall be falling hard. The book summary sounds interesting enough, so we’re off to a good start.

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Cute boy + cute puppy = me dead. (Go look at his instagram, you won’t be sorry.)

5. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
After reading the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, I knew I wanted to read as much of her writing as I could! This Savage Song seems like a good place to start, although I’m not sure how I’ll like a book with absolutely ZERO romance. Not knowing if a book will have romance going into it is very different than deliberately picking up a book that you already know is romanceless, right? But I have to say that some of my favorite parts of the Shades of Magic series were NOT about romance at all; in fact, my favorite relationship was the one of brothership between Kell and Rhy. So I think Schwab might be able to pull this off for me.

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And that’s it! Like I said before, I have WAY more science-fiction and fantasy books on my TBR, not to mention upcoming releases that I’m SO excited for! But these are the five I’m most likely to read next. 🙂

What science-fiction and fantasy books are you excited to read soon? Do you have any recommendations for me that I should read before these five? Leave your thoughts in a comment below!

Until next time,
Brianne