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Guessing My Next Favorite Book | Five Star Predictions (1)


Hello all! Welcome to my first five-star prediction post! If you're unfamiliar with the concept, this is a post where I look through my physical, owned TBR books and guess based on reviews, synopses, author, etc. which ones I think will be five-star reads. This has recently made the rounds on the BookTube community (I've made a playlist of some of my favorites). I absolutely love the idea and wanted to bring it to my blog. It's a great way for me to get excited about reading books that I already own instead of constantly pining over books that I don't own or books that I have from the library. 

For these posts, I've provided goodreads links and (when applicable) reviews that made me want to pick up the book originally or a review that made me think I'd enjoy the book. I don't know how often I'll do these posts, but I'm thinking of doing a wrap-up after I read each of these books and telling you what I thought of the book and whether or not it became a new favorite. Today, I'll be sharing six books from my TBR shelf that I think will be new favorite reads.


This is the first book in an adult science fiction/fantasy trilogy that I haven't heard much about but what I have heard has been absolutely phenomenal. This won the Hugo Award in 2016, so clearly people like it. Additionally, this is a fantasy book that's written by a woman of color, which is basically a rarity in the genre, so I'm hopeful that this won't be your average interesting world-sexist characters pitfall that many fantasy books are prey to.

I don't know too much about the world. There is a magic system, and it has something to do with preventing earthquakes? (Don't hold me to that.) But, in this world, instead of four seasons there are five seasons. And that fifth season always brings a certain apocalyptic aspect (i.e. acid rain). This book starts at the beginning of that fifth season.

I've heard this has complex, amazing female characters, which is a breath of fresh air for fantasy. I'm so excited to pick this up.


I won an ARC of this book, and I still haven't read it. *hides face in hands* But, I've been putting it off because I think I'll really like it and then want to read all of McLemore's backlist.

If you don't know this about me, I'm a Spanish major. I've read a lot of short stories and poems and a few books in Spanish and from Hispanic authors. They're always among my favorites. The writing is lyrical, often there is a magical realism element, and there's usually a strong family influence.

In addition to having all of those things, the main character in Wild Beauty is bisexual, which makes my little heart sing.


In a similar vein, this is book that has been translated from Spanish and into English. This one, however, is the first book in a trilogy that takes place in Barcelona, Spain during the 1940s. I have had this book on my shelf for years, and it's one of the only books I'll ever say that I'm ashamed I haven't read.

So this a book about books. It follows a boy who goes into a bookshop and gets one book by this author. After finishing the book, he searches for other works by this author only to find that someone has been destroying all of his works.

I'm excited to read this book, but I know that I need to be in a specific mindset to read this one. It's also one that I'd love to reread in Spanish after finishing the English translation just to see how they differ. (Because I'm a nerd.)


There's no specific review or person that's made me really want to read this. I just want to read it because it's Leigh Bardugo. I haven't finished the Shadow and Bone trilogy, so realistically, it'll be a while before I can get to this book.

This is a collection of fairy tales and stories that exist within the Grisha world. These are stories that the characters would know and are referenced in the text. It's almost like The Tales of Beedle the Bard, but better because it's Leigh Bardugo and there are some stunning illustrations in this.


Everyone loved Ng's previous book Everything I Never Told You when it released a few years back, and so when it was announced that she was releasing a new book, even people who hadn't read her first novel (AKA: me) were excited about this release.

I got this through my Book of the Month subscription because I knew that I needed to read it. Immediately after its release, it got countless rave reviews, got picked up for Reece Witherspoon's book club, and Ng even went onto Seth Meyer's late night show to promote the book. I don't know too much about this apart from that it takes place in a suburban town called Shaker Heights. This is one of those books that I don't want to know much about before going into it because I feel like it'll be best discovered whilst reading.


A book that stays at no.1 on the New York Times young adult bestseller list for 30+ weeks is there for a reason, and I think it's bound to be a favorite. At this point, most everyone in the book sphere has at least heard about, if not read, this book already. I feel like I'm one of the only people that hasn't read this book yet, and I'm experiencing major FOMO.

As far as a five-star read goes, I'm really hoping this sticks that rating. Everyone has absolutely loved this book, even if they didn't give it a full five stars. I want this to be a five-star so badly, so here's to hoping that it is.



Have you read any of these books? Which one should I pick up first? (I feel like most of you will say THUG.) Tell me all your thoughts down in the comments!


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October Currently Reading + #Spookathon TBR

Currently Reading is a monthly feature on my blog, where I catch you up on the books that I'm currently reading (or at least attempting to read). Usually this goes up on the second or third Friday of every month, but it's going up on a Saturday this month because I got swamped with school.
This month's currently reading is going to be a bit different because there are some upcoming readathons that I wanted to talk about since this week is actually my fall break so I'll have more than thirty minutes a day that I can read.

CURRENTLY READING + READBYZOEATHON TBR



  • DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES: This is my current audiobook. I am about halfway through it since it's only around five hours long. This is the sequel to Every Heart a Doorway, which I read recently and liked but didn't love as much as everyone else because it was a book that circled around the idea of portal fantasy without any actual portal fantasy. This is everything that I wanted the previous book in this series to be. This is a portal fantasy (aka my favorite subgenre of anything ever) that tells the story of Jack and Jill, two twin sisters that we meet in the first book. It's creepy and atmospheric and an absolutely delightful look at gender roles.
  • THE POWER: I mentioned this book in my last post, and I have now officially started it. I'm about 100 pages into this, and it's so intriguing. The basic premise of this that suddenly young girls start developing an electric-esk power that can inflict others with pain--even death--with a flick of their fingers. Suddenly, women have the power and men lose control. It's told from four perspectives of people around the world as this phenomenon grows. I'm really liking this one, and I want to finish it ASAP. 
  • PELUDA: This is a poetry book that I got approved for on Netgalley. This is from a spoken-word poet that I absolutely love, Melissa Lozada-Olivia. It's funny and personal and self-deprecating. I'm going to try and finish this today. 
  • MARCH, BOOK THREE: I keep telling myself that I'm going to read this, and I keep putting it off because I know that this last volume will have the heaviest material. If I don't at least start this during Zoe's 24-hr readathon, you all have permission to send me annoying gifs on Twitter.


SPOOKATHON TBR



  • FULL DARK, NO STARS: I picked this up for a few reasons. This fits with the challenges read a book with a spooky word in the title (dark) and read a book with orange on the cover. I also wanted to read this because one of the novellas in this collection, "1922", is being released or was just recently released on Netflix, and I really want to watch it because I refuse ro watch It until it releases on DVD so that I can watch it from the comfort of my own home.
  • MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS: Another movie that's releasing soon, this doesn't really fit any of the challenges, but I want to read it. I've never read a Christie book before, and I want to read this before the movie releases in November.
  • BIRD BOX: I recently read and loved Josh Malerman's A House at the Bottom of a Lake, which is a short but incredibly atmospheric and gripping story. The story was brilliant, so I want to read more of his books. This is the most popular one; I hear people rave about this constantly. I know almost nothing about it, but I think it takes place completely in the dark or the characters are blindfolded? Something like that. It sounds eerie and atmospheric, and I adore Malerman's writing. 
  • HORRORSTOR: This is another book that I don't know much about. (It's the best wat to go into thriller/mystery books, okay?) This I think would qualify for the read a thriller challenge. I could probably also count this as read a book about a childhood fear because I was terrified of everything as a child. Among the countless fears was getting trapped in a store overnight, like getting left behind in a store and being locked up there for the night. I don't know, few of my fears made sense. But I believe this is following IKEA-type employees who volunteer for a graveyard shift at the store. Why? Because they're in a horror novel.


What are you guys reading this weekend? Are any of you planning on joining in on Spookathon? If you've read any of the books on my TBR, please tell me what you thought of them down in the comments!




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If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio | Review


For those of you unaware, this is a literary/general fiction book that’s also kind of a mystery/thriller. It’s not wholly a mystery, and I would debate calling it a thriller at all.

The premise is this: it’s 1997 and there are seven friends who are in their fourth year of the (Shakespeare-only) drama program at their university, and at the beginning of the book one of the friends—our main character, Oliver—is getting released from his 10-year prison sentence for something that happened in their final year of school. This book goes back and forth between 1997 Oliver and the 2007 Oliver that is explaining what really happened that year to a now-former police officer who just wants to know the truth.

Before we delve into my thoughts on this book, I need to put out a content warning for a few things that happen in this book: physical violence, suicide attempt, overall poor representation of sexuality, mention of an eating disorder.

If you’re curious about the discussion on sexuality, I’ll have to direct you to my goodreads review of this book since both the author and the novel treat sexuality as a plot twist and a spoiler. I personally don’t agree with this. Sexuality should never be a plot twist, whether your book takes place in 2017, 1997, 1827, or 4207. Rio’s handling of sexuality is almost entirely why I gave this book 1 star.

In my goodreads review, I also break down in detail each of the content warnings above, so please go check that out if those are things that will affect you.

NOW. Onto the actual review of the book.

Even if I could push aside my feelings about Rio’s poor treatment of sexuality (spoiler: I couldn’t), then this would have been at most a three star read but more likely a two and half. On my rating scale, 2.5 is just average and a 3 is average but still enjoyable. With a different ending, this could have been a three. Take out the “sexuality is a plot twist” aspect and this would easily have been a four star read.

This is the debut novel from Rio, and it shows in the writing. There are certain plot conveniences that happen because this story is told in first person and Oliver needs to be privy to certain information to make the story move forward.

Also, in a clear attempt to not use the phrase “I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding” Rio uses “I breathe out a breath I didn’t know I was holding” which made me stop reading for a solid two minutes because I was laughing so hard.

Story-wise there’s nothing horribly original here. Many people (almost everyone) has compared this to The Secret History by Donna Tartt, but I haven’t read that book. While not able to speak with any level of expertise on the topic, based on reviews, there are a striking number of similarities between the two, but there is no mention of Tartt in the Acknowledgements or the Author’s Note so the similarities could be coincidental.

However, instead of classics, this group is obsessed with Shakespeare. So much so that they often have whole exchanges in which they are quoting the Bard like a conservative Christian would quote the Bible. When it's just a line thrown into the dialogue, it's not distracting and usually quite clever, but when they get into multiple page-long exchanges at too many points in the story, it's very easy to just skim over them.

It also made me feel very pretentious and frankly bad that I've ever enjoyed Shakespeare. I feel like I need to go wash my mouth out with As You Like It.

Would I recommend this? No, I gave it one star. If you really want to read it, I’d tell you to go ahead and read it for yourself. The things that bogged down my reading experience may not hinder yours at all, but they were things that I hadn't seen mentioned in reviews and had I known them, I wouldn’t have read this book.


If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
Published: 11 April 2017 by Flatiron Books
Format - Length: Hardcover - 352 pages
Source: Library
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Goodreads | My Goodreads Review
Enter the players. There were seven of us then, seven bright young things with wide precious futures ahead of us. Until that year, we saw no further than the books in front of our faces.

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingĂ©nue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.

Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.

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End of the Year | Book Tag


It's officially Fall! *throws leaves into the air*

Even though it's still 80 degrees outside and humid as all get out in the southern US, it's still technically fall, which means being stressed from school and being stressed because I've completed none of my reading resolutions for the year.

This tag was originally created by Ariel Bisset, and I'm a little bit in love with it. (And, true to form, I have more than one answer to almost every question.)


THE QUESTIONS




Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: Nothing says my aesthetic like true crime and serial killers. I must have watched too much CSI as a child (shoutout to my mom) and have always been fascinated by murder and serial killers. I always make my way so slowly through nonfiction, but this is genuinely so interesting.
  • WELCOME HOME: This is an anthology all about adoption. The reason I haven't finished this one is due to the sheer amount of stories in this collection. So naturally, there are a few that I wasn't a huge fan of, but I think this is just me discovering that I don't really enjoy anthologies. 
  • JURASSIC PARK: Jurassic Park is one of (if not my all-time) favorite movies. I got about halfway through the book this summer and just . . . quit for unexplained reasons. I was really loving it, but I think it's just so similar to the movie that I was wondering why I was reading it. But I must finish it.



Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

  • IF WE WERE VILLAINS: This award actually goes to the book that I'm currently reading, which is M.L. Rio's debut novel. This is a literary fiction/thriller book about a group of seven friends that all go to this pretentious Shakespeare-only drama college in the Midwest. It's okay. I thought I'd love it more than I am, but perhaps it gets better. It does give off very autumnal-esk vibes because it does take place in the fall, but it doesn't read like most thrillers where you're constantly wondering what's happening because the narrator knows what happened. It's interesting, and I'm curious to see how it ends.

Is there a new release you're still waiting for?

OCT. 3 RELEASES
  • THAT INEVITABLE VICTORIAN THING: I don't know much about this book, but with E.K. Johnston, that cover, and Victorian I don't want to know anything before going into this one.
  • FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW: I am a huge Star Wars nerd. I love the movies, the comics, the books, everything. This has so many amazing authors attached to this, and I'm so excited to read this before the movie releases.



What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

  • MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS: This movie comes out fairly soon, and despite my skepticism around Johnny Depp, there are so many other amazing names attached to that movie that my dislike of him will just have to be pushed aside for the sake of Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, and Leslie Odom Jr.
  • WILD BEAUTY: Bisexual latinx main character, beautiful cover, latinx author. I do not need to know anything else.
  • SIEGE AND STORM: This was going to be pushed to my 2018 TBR, but with the announcement of the Nikolai book, I need to read this book ASAP.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

  • THE POWER: This is blurbed by Margaret Atwood? And it's supposed to be a very interesting and thought-provoking look at the patriarchy and feminism. I just got my copy of this, and I'm so excited to dive into it.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

  • No official reading plans, but a goal from this year that I will logistically never finish is that I wanted to read all the books I got in my Book of the Month boxes. I want to carry that over to next year and continue making my through all the books I have left on that list.


And that's it! What fun. So, so many books to read before the end of the year. Have you read any of these? If you have, be sure to tell me what you thought of them down in the comments. And be sure to tell me the books you're excited to read in the last few months of 2017 so that I can make my TBR longer.


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