Top Five Wednesday: Top Five Series That Got Better

 

Ah, another Top Five Wednesday. This week, the topic is the Top Five Series That Got Better within the first few books and so on. Before I begin, let me link the Goodreads group for Top Five Wednesday, so you can join in on the fun next week!

5. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

It takes some getting used to, the writing in this series. Juliette has a scared and uncertain voice. While I don’t quite remember everything that happened (I read these books ages ago), I do recall Juliette becoming quite the fierce woman. I love her. These books get better because the narrator (Juliette) gets more certain about herself and the power she has.

 

4. A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

You shouldn’t be surprised to see this series on here. At first, I really hesitated to read the books for some reason. Like, Kel and Lila didn’t know each other, and Rhy wasn’t in the story that much. We had no Alucard either. So, it improved so much once the characters got to interact, and Kel hated Alucard. Lila challenged Kel.

I could weep from the beauty of the second and third books of this series. Just perfection. To me, I didn’t know that pirates were that awesome. Or, the battling between Kel and Lila? Epic.

Also: this is your weekly reminder that I love Holland.

3. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Look, I know many of my friends are not fans of this series. To me, though, the deeper you go into Cassandra Clare’s writing, the more you see inclusion of diverse marginalized groups. That in itself is a triumph and a victory. I love her stories in this Shadowhunter world thus far. Have you even considered the genius that is Lord of Shadows? 

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I am specifically thinking of Catching Fire and how shocking it was. You could say that I was not a fan of the first book upon my initial read-through. But, when I read it again, and picked up the second one, I was so surprised by how the story intensified. It was not a love story anymore. It was more than that. It’ll always stay with me as a powerful tale. For sure it got better with each book. Not all good stories are pleasant.

 1. Harry Potter by J K Rowling

Words cannot begin to describe just how powerful the latter books in this series were to me. I am due for a reread, but I recall being moved and increasingly more invested as the story developed some more in the later books. I am in awe of how intricate the inner workings of the tale were, especially now that I am trying to write stories. This much detail is a feat. Now, granted, I wish there was more diversity in these books, but I still value the development of the characters and the plot.

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Top Five Wednesday: Top Five Children’s Stories

It’s another Wednesday, which means it is time for Top Five Wednesday. As always, I will be linking the Goodreads Group here for information and topics. For this post, I will be focusing on the top five children’s stories that resonated with me.

I did not read children’s books when I was a child; however, I did read more of them as an adult in college.

5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

What a strange and charming story this is! I remember it being a rival to Alice in Wonderland in terms of its bizarre plotline. Still, it is such a sweet story. Hands down, it has the coolest puns and companionships ever.

4. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This book is always so fascinating to me. I think the story has a wonderful timelessness and yet it has a sense of urgency in regards to acting kindly and lovingly. My French is practically non-existent, so I have to admit that I read this as a child in English. Still good though.

3.The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

When I came to the US, I remember reading this book for the first time. It sticks with me, even now, the story of Huck Finn and his adventures. The beautiful friendship in this book is touching, particularly as I grow up. This book brings back memories of learning about American history and culture for the first time.

 

2. To Kill a MockingBird by Harper Lee

Scout is one of my favorite female leads in a story. She was so cool and whip-lash clever. My young brain was trying, with difficulty, trying to place this girl in a box. No matter how hard I tried, she slipped away from my grasp. No, I didn’t read the sequel. I refuse!

 

1. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

My sister was starting to read when I found this book. She was an itty bitty kid, and we bonded over this story of a brave mouse. Now, I think of Reepicheep and Despereaux a lot, especially when faced with difficult decisions. Their bravery is inspiring.

 

 

Your Turn:

In comments, please share some of your favorite children’s stories. Have you read any of the ones I discussed in this post? What do you think of them?

 

 

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Top Five Wednesday: Top Five Stories Sans Romance

Today’s Top Five Wednesday is focused on the top five novels I have read that have no romance. Top Five Wednesday is a Goodreads Group, which I’ll link here for topics and more.

5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding 

This book was required reading in high school, and perhaps that is why I have mixed feelings about it. It does cover some serious topics in regards to civilizations and human nature. While it is not a favorite, this book definitely left a lasting impression. I think of it often.

4. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

This story about brave mouse’s adventures is one of the dearest things I have ever read. My sister was little when I first heard the story, and I even stole the book from her when she didn’t want it anymore. If you want sweetness, try this story. I think it’s a touching story regardless of the readers’ ages.

 

3. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien 

No romance here for sure. I love the movies and everything, but that subplot involving a dwarf and an elf did not exist in the story. They’re cute, but their love is not presented in canon. Bilbo is more concerned with this adventure he’s on, and he cares about his dwarf friends in a platonic way. It’s such a wonderful story. And, it’s a nice way to transition into the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 

2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

Alice’s story used to make very uncomfortable, because (well) I too have moments with an unclear reality vs. illusion relationship. After diagnosis, though, this story became a lifeline.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

This book is more focused on Lisel’s journey with death during the Holocaust. It is not so much centered on romance, and instead explores platonic love.

 

Others Relevant Books: 

Holes by Louis Sachar
Chronicles of Narnia 
by C.S. Lewis (all of them!)
The Giver by Lois Lowry

 

 Your Turn:

What are some of your favorite novels that have little to no romance? Share in the comments!

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Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Hate to Love Relationships

Ah, it’s Wednesday! This means two things: a) we’re halfway through the week, and b) we are due for another Top 5 Wednesday. This week’s topic is our Top 5 Hate to Love Relationships. Before I begin, let me link the Goodreads group for Top 5 Wednesday so you can join us next week.

5. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Shahrzad and Khalid have a difficult start in their relationship. Look, he executed a lot of women. While there is a “reason” for his behavior, Shahrzad’s intentions for agreeing to marry him are rather dark. She wants to kill him and avenge her friend’s death.

The funny thing is that I haven’t finished this duology. I will, I promise. It’s just that they fell in love kind of quickly. I like their connection. But, I just wish there was more angst (I like angst).

 

4. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkowski

At the beginning of this story, Arin dislikes Kestrel with a fiery passion. Not to take sides or anything, but he has a right to be this angry (I think so, anyway). Kestrel’s family is influential in her society. As a society, they are responsible for the demise of the Herrani society and their enslavement.

Political intrigue, miscommunication, separation are all causing a rift between these two people. For a long time, I thought they were not going to get their happy ending. Even when they do, there’s a lot of loss. Just like life. I love their story.

 

3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Listen, Matthias and Nina are the BEST. I cannot get over their relationship, the deception, the politics, the violence, the love! It’s just a very complex relationship. They are so different and they come from drastically different societies.

I admire Nina a lot, and I appreciate Matthias and his strengths.

However, I do hope his ghost can beat up Kaz’s ghost at some point.

2. Harry Potter

Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are the epitome of hate-to-love relationships. I understand that some people feel that Ron is undeserving of Hermione, but, listen, on this blog The Cursed Child doesn’t exist. Ron was always at odds with Hermione. They bicker all the time.

But, I love them together.

 

 1. Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Darcy, the grumpiest and most anti-social man Lizzie has ever seen, is harsh to her. “Barely tolerable.” Their love story is so beautiful and sweet. Again, there’s a lot of miscommunication and dislike (very passionate dislike on Lizzie’s part). It’s a slow burn. And, it is perfect.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Unlikable Protagonists that I Actually Love

 

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! For information regarding topics and such, I am including a link to the Goodreads Group right here. This week’s topic is our top 5 unlikable protagonists we like. Let’s go!

5. Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield is a jerk. I didn’t realize it when I read the book in high school, but my goodness, he is such a pretentious, entitled, guy. He is not empathetic toward people around him (at all). Yet, I will always cherish this guy because he taps into this angry and misunderstood part of a person’s life.

4. Wuthering Heights

Cathy and Heathcliff have a lot of issues. When I read this book in college, I was one of the very few people who loved it. The push and pull of an intense relationship felt so familiar to the mood swings I had. What is strange is that I didn’t have the words to describe these events in my life, but I saw Heathcliff with his inability to process loss of his love–I just felt less alone.

But, in a way, the story still reminds me that obsessing over lost relationships can turn a person into a cruel individual. I live by that awareness.

 

3. Othello

I mean, Othello is the first person of color I have encountered in a classic (aside from Heathcliff). But, I did not really like Othello as much as I loved Iago. Some people dislike him because he is sneaky. Incidentally, this is exactly why I like him. Clever dude.

The ultimate Slytherin. OG status.

Back to Othello, though. I love his passion, his gullible nature, his insecurities. It all feels so close and dear to me.

2. The Great Gatsby

Look, I’ll be honest. When I read this book in high school, I just disliked everyone. But, in college and even now…I sympathize. All of it clicks for me. Even Daisy is someone I understand and can relate to. American Dream and trying to prove oneself is

1. Romeo and Juliet

Hold on while I sigh wearily. People give these character such a hard time. And, like, dude, weren’t you ever fourteen? Fourteen and emotional, with cultural expectations to marry pressing down on you. It’s just an honest portrayal of love and hate, and tragedy.

UGH. I feel so many things.

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T5W: Top 5 Side Ships

 

It’s another Wednesday around here. So, it’s time for a Top 5 Wednesday (T5W). Here’s a link to the Goodreads group for information and such. Thi week’s topic is our top 5 side ships.

5. Lord of Shadows/Dark Artifices

Diana and Gwyn are adorable and I love their story arc thus far. Gwyn, this huge leader of the Hunt, is in fact a teddy bear. And that’s awesome, because he is so infatuated with Diana; it’s terribly cute and fills me with joy.

 

4.Paper Towns

Radar and Angela are precious babies. I wish there was more information about them in canon. Angela is sweet and kind while Radar is hilariously anxious about his family’s great secret.

 

3. The Grisha Trilogy

Tamar Kir Bataar and freaking Nadia are the cutest! I love Tamar and her brother. They are fierce sweethearts. I cannot get over their protective nature toward Alina. Obviously, I wish there was more of these characters, especially since I did not like Mal. We could’ve had cute interactions instead of this dude.

Ahem.

Moving on.

 

2. Harry Potter

Dean and Seamus were up there in terms of OTPs. I was certain that JK Rowling would announce their status as a couple. But, she didn’t, which is sad. Still, I believe they were meant to be together.

 

  1. The Hunger Games

Finnick and Annie are a couple I wished had more “screen time.” I will forever be fascinated by what happened to Annie, and its connections to how mental illness/trauma work in real life. I wish they had a happier ending. Alas. It’s a rough world in Panem.

 

 

 

Your Turn:

What are your favorite side couples? Share them in the comments!

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T5W: My Top 5 Slytherin-y Books on My Shelves

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday. Before I begin, here is a link to the group for topics and information. Today’s topic is top 5 books representing our Hogwarts house. As a Slytherin, I will be focusing on my own house.

Let’s begin.

5. Vicious by VE Schwab

Actually, I haven’t read this one yet, but I am so sure that it’ll be a good representation of Slytherin. From what I have gathered, this book is an exploration of villainy and morality. To me, these are questions that I tend to posit for myself often. Am I good? Am I bad? what motivates me?

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

This is a story of 4 boys (5? Do I count Henry or not? Crisis!) and a girl as they search for a dead Welsh king. It is all about ambition at its core. Gansey and his obsession with the Welsh king is an example of this. Also another example to consider is Adam and his struggle to find his place in the world. What about Ronan and the dream thieving? This is a Slytherin book through and through.

3. And I Darken by Kiersten White

Haven’t read this one yet, but I am also sure that I will love it. Like, really sure. We follow a Vlad the Impaler, who happen to be a woman. Come on, power, I assume, would be a part of the story. This is just my gut feeling about this book.

2. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Um. You may have noticed that this book made quite the impression on me. If this is your assumption, you’d be totally right. Listen, heists are really cool to read about it. But, this is not just a heist. This is overthrowing a ruler. It’s fight scenes with using rare elements to fuel Vin and her homie Kelsier. I adore this book so much. This is ambition.

 1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Okay, don’t be fooled into thinking that this crew is a bunch of people with no qualms about their morals and ethics. They’re not. They are some of the most morally grey people I have encountered in literature. Kaz may have his reasons for stealing and scheming (“scheming face?” “definitely”). All of them have valid reasons for their actions, though, and this is what makes them truly remarkable. They do “bad” things, and they are often driven by sheer ambition. They are all misfits and they all have some pretty dark backstories. I love them!

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T5W: Top Five Former Book Fandoms

Today is Wednesday, which means it’s time for another top five Wednesday (T5W). I will leave a link to the Goodreads group here, for information and topics. This week’s topic is our top 5 former (book) fandoms.

Let’s carry on.

5. Twilight

I read those books so fast, and with so much love, that I don’t really remember all the details. It was in grad school, I think, and everyone was reading those books. I was in a bad place, and the first book was exciting. But, by the last book, I kind of felt queasy about the relationships presented in the overarching story. Plus, Jacob deserved better. I shipped him with Leah, I think?

4. Hush, Hush

After Twilight, I had interest in reading things beyond just classics and articles, so I started reading these books by Becca Fitzpatrick. I don’t remember much, but it involved angels. Patch was strange and charming, and Nora was down to earth. But overtime, my attention to reread the books dwindled. So, I gave them away and stopped being part of the fandom. I mostly participated by watching fanvids.

3. Percy Jackson

I read all the books in this series and even the series that followed it. The story was interesting, but I kind of became weary of the basic concept of the series. Some deity messes up, has kids, then leaves them. Kid has awful quest bestowed upon them, and then random things happen because of deities’ agendas. It was not for me.

2. Divergent

Oh no. This series started out okay. I was even accepting of the first movie, but then the last book came out and I was livid. I passed on the books to my sister, and we gave away the last book. That is how mad I was about this story.

 1. Harry Potter

This is the only fandom I truly felt part of. Maybe it’s because I was in it for the longest time? I am not sure. But, as the years went by, the books marinated in my head long enough that I started to see the problems. Having spent two years working on my thesis, I saw holes in this perfect story. I didn’t think critically when it came to Harry Potter until I was in grad school, and it was only then that I saw all the problems with the narrative. Even more damaging is the slew of comments that Rowling makes from time to time. I am still very much in love with some of the characters.

I just wish she’d leave them alone.

 

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T5W: Top 5 Minor Characters

It’s another top 5 Wednesday

(T5W)! Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that you can find right here. This week’s topic is our top 5minor characters. My Slytherin nature is shown clearly here, because I love so many characters per series, and chose 2 at a time.

Enjoy!

5. The Raven Cycle: Henry Cheng and Kavinsky

I have very mixed feelings about Henry Cheng. Perhaps it is because I didn’t get enough time with him to fully realize what the heck he is all about. On the one hand, I understand his humor and can identify with him. But, on the other hand, I feel like he made me very uncomfortable.

The same thing can be said about Kavinsky. I wish we had more time with him; if we got a story with him and his dream thieving, perhaps he’d make more sense as a person. I like how he pushed Ronan to grow up but how did he get to this point?

4. Beautiful Creatures: Wesley Jefferson Lincoln (and Ridley Duchanne)

Link is one of my favorite characters ever, actually, because he brought this grounded nature to these books with heavy emphasis on the supernatural/paranormal. He was steeped in the culture of the place, too.

In contrast, his relationship with Ridley was so neat. I didn’t read the series focused on the two of them, but I loved just the hint of possibility between this very “real” human and then this dark castor. Perfection.

3. The Grisha Trilogy: Baghra and Genya

There is a very brief exploration of these two characters in the series. Part of me really wanted to see more of these minor characters. Baghra, in particular, and her relationship with the Darkling, was fascinating. I wanted to see more of her as a child and her relationship with family.

Genya is another really close character to my heart, because she is a sexual abuse survivor. She certainly handles it with grace and strength. Definitely something inspiring and encouraging.

2. Mistborn: Elend Venture 

I didn’t expect to love this dude as much as I do. But, here we are. I am on the second book in the series, and he has taken on a larger role, which makes me SO glad to see more of him.  Mainly, I am curious to see how he will develop as a person, as a noble, as someone in a powerful position, and as someone who has Vin in his life.

 

 1. Paper Towns: Ben and Radar

Minor characters shine bright in John Green’s work. But, among my favorites, are Ben and Radar. I just love them. They make me laugh a lot, and they are intriguing characters. Specifically, I would have liked more adventures with these two guys. Why can’t we hear more about Ben and his relationship woes? What about Radar? How does his family come to collect black Santa figurines? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

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T5W: Top 5 Summer Reads

For this week’s Top Five Wednesday (T5W), the discussion will be on the top 5 summer reads. Before we begin, let me link to the awesome Goodreads group for T5W.

Let’s begin.

5. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I have not finished this book, mainly because I realized that I was reading it at the wrong time. It just feels very summer-y or spring related at the very least. Nature plays a huge role in the story, and there is magic, romance, and beautiful friendship. It’s definitely a book I want to get to this summer.

4. Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman 

This is a retelling/historical fiction story about Alexander (the Great). I am intrigued by it so much that I picked up the first two books and I am very much hoping to read them to catch up on the series. From what I know, the author is a historian? And that makes the books daunting (I admit) and exciting.

 

3. Ballad/Lament by Maggie Steifvater

Look, I have read these books a year ago during the summer and it was a fantastic experience. Fae and music! So good.

 

2. The Siren by Kiera Cass

I have tried reading mermaid books before, and I was interested in the subject matter. This is not quite about mermaids; it’s a little darker (which is great). And, I heard really good things about the book. The sea and death. Plus, Kiera Cass seems brilliant in interviews, and I am curious to see her take on sirens.

 

 1. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore  

This book is something I have been saving till the summer, because it is about performers. For whatever reason, I associate this book with summer and I am keen to read it this summer/spring. McLemore has really atmospheric writing and her characters are beautifully fleshed out. It’ll be a treat to read this book, for sure.

 

 

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