Top 5 Wednesday: Series That Got Better!

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

I’m not much of a series reader I’m usually the kind of person that can start a ton of series and then not actually ever finish them. So this list was a little harder for me especially since I feel a lot of series really get worse the farther they go on for me, however, here are a few I felt got better!

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5.) Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld

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I read this series such a long time ago but when I read the first book I honestly didn’t think much of it, it was okay. However, I decided to continue on and read “Pretties” and “Specials” as well and in my opinion both of those books were a lot better than “Uglies”. I never did read “Extras” but I don’t really feel like I need to either since it isn’t from Tally’s POV.

Would I still think this if I re-read these books now? Maybe but from what I remember when I was younger I thought the books got way better as they went!


4.) Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

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Once again this was a series that I read when I was younger and thought it was amazing! Of course my opinion might change if I read them again now but I like to live in my nostalgia…..

The first couple of books in this series are kind of so, so there really isn’t anything too crazy special about them but as they go they get a lot more action, plot twists, and more interesting back stories!


3.) The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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This might be cheating since I haven’t actually finished the series! BUT I have read the first two books and I definitely loved “The Dream Thieves” even more than I loved “The Raven Boys” so I’m just kind of assuming the series will only continue to get better as well!

You can read my full review of “The Raven Boys” here.


2.) The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

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Once again I haven’t fully completed this series but I’ve read the first two books just not the last! I was really leery with the first book since I wasn’t sure it was going to be good or not and I was actually really pleasantly surprised by it! So of course I devoured the second book which was EVEN BETTER than the first one! So I think it’s safe to say this is one of those series you should stick with after the first book.

You can read my full review of “The Winner’s Curse” here.


1.) The Inkworld Trilogy

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This is my most prime example of a series that gets WAAAAAY better as it goes, the jump in awesomeness from “Inkheart” to “Inkspell” is huge! While I did really like the first book I still wasn’t super impressed with it but since I already had the second book I pushed on anyways and I am so glad I did! “Inkspell” is ten times the fun with way more characters, magic, and world building! Then there’s “Inkdeath”……I didn’t know it could get any better than “Inkspell” but it did, there are so many plot twists and so much emotional turmoil! The ending was perfect though.

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What are some series you think got better?

Do you agree or disagree with any of these series? Have you read any of them?

Are you big on finishing series or, like me, start them more than finish them?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Aren’t Set in the Western World

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

This week’s topic is books that aren’t set in or inspired by the Western World, so nothing in North America or Western Europe! That also means no Fantasy or Sci-fi that may have been inspired by these places so nothing medieval based in a fantasy for example!

This is such a fun topic that calls for us to really think outside the box and opens the way for us to potentially find more diverse reads!

These are also in NO particular order and if I have reviews I will link them up as well!

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5.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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While this is YA fantasy not directly set in the real world it’s pretty clearly based off of Russia and Russian culture. Therefore I’m just going to say it counts! It’s also a very well written, fast paced, heist book and I say the hype is worth it!

You can read my full review of “Six of Crows” here.


4.) And I Darken by Kiersten White

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This is a historical retelling with a gender bent Vlad the Impaler as one of the main characters. It’s set in the 1400s in both Wallachia, which is modern day Romania, and the Ottoman Empire, which is mostly modern day Turkey.

I personally thought White did her research very well for this story!

You can read my full review of “And I Darken” here.


3.) The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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This is a 1,001 Nights (a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories) retelling set in the Middle East and it also has some fantasy elements but they’re clearly inspired by Middle Eastern culture as well.

You can read my mini review of “The Wrath & The Dawn” here.


2.) The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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This is a YA fantasy story but it’s also a retelling of “Aladdin and His Wondrous Lamp” which is a story from 1,001 Nights (which as stated above is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories). The story and it’s setting are inspired by the Middle East.

You can read my full review of “The Forbidden Wish” here.


1.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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This is a fantasy and steampunk story that was inspired by Japan or the Eastern World if you will. I, personally, really enjoyed this book but I have heard people mention that it was not researched very well and the Japanese vocabulary wasn’t used correctly. That’s why I’m saying the book is “inspired by” versus saying “based on” and I acknowledge other people’s claims that this wasn’t necessarily the best book as far as the cultural representation goes.

However, it’s still inspired by the Eastern World so I decided it applies here and as I said I did still enjoy the story. It’s nice to see steampunk elements in a book that isn’t set in Western Europe!

You can read my full review of “Stormdancer” here.


Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

What are some books you’ve read or have on your TBR that aren’t set in the Western World?

Do you have any recommendations?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Childhood Books & Series

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

Of course I want to desperately throw in Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but everyone needs to think outside the box a little bit and it was harder than I thought it would be! Mostly I’m sticking with Middle Grade here so let’s get ready for some nostalgia!

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5.) Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene

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This is probably one of the #1 series I was obsessed with when I was a kid, absolutely obsessed! It pretty much all started when I was in the third grade and my mom bought me one of the Nancy Drew computer games, of course I couldn’t get enough of it and read the books soon after. I feel Nancy Drew is one of those timeless classics that kids can read no matter how old the books get…….I’m feeling nostalgic now and want to go read/play Nancy Drew…….


4.) The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

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Okay so I’d honestly like to know how many of you didn’t read this series as a kid? Because it was super popular and I feel like everyone did! It’s fantastic and I feel like if I even re-read them now I’d still love them. How can you go wrong with a magic time and space traveling tree house (it’s all very Doctor Who isn’t it)? I actually had a hefty collection of these before handing them over to my younger cousins and now I’m slightly regretting that……


3.) The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia #1) by C.S. Lewis

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This might be cheating a little bit since it’s one of those classic, popular books/series just like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but since it wasn’t specifically stated in the topic for today I decided I’d use it! Who doesn’t love The Chronicles of Narnia? My mom had all of the books from when she was a kid and I’ve only read the first book (I know it’s blasphemy) and when I did I honestly had so many emotions! It usually takes a lot to make me cry while reading a book and I balled my eyes out with this one…..my parents had to make sure I was okay……


2.) Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice #1) by Joseph Delaney

Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #1)

I think a lot of people might consider this YA but to me with the main character and the style of writing it feels a lot more like Middle Grade. I didn’t start reading these books until I was a little older but I think I can still consider it “my childhood”….kind of…..

Anyways it’s pretty creepy and full of monsters and the world building is actually really fantastic.


1.) The Inkworld Trilogy

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I think it’s safe to say this series was one of my #1 obsessions as a child alongside Nancy Drew since it was one of the first times I was exposed to high fantasy. Man, this series was addictive and actually full of some pretty dark stuff which makes me think I’d really enjoy re-reading it now as well. There are just so many wonderful, complex characters and the world building is seriously A+!

Although I will say I really didn’t enjoy Inkheart as much as the other two so if you didn’t enjoy Inkheart I highly suggest continuing on anyways since they get so much better!

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Did you read any of these books when you were younger? Or later?

What are some of your favorite childhood books?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is series we have been meaning to start and haven’t yet! I am notorious for starting series and usually never finishing them so there really weren’t that many series on my TBR that I haven’t started at all, but here are the few!

These aren’t in any specific order either!

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10.) The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

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I actually own the box set of the trilogy but just haven’t gotten to it yet. As a huge fantasy fan reading this seems to be an absolute must and I’m definitely excited to get to it, or really any Brandon Sanderson book!


9.) The Diviners Series by Libba Bray

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I’ve owned the first book for a while and just haven’t gotten to it yet, I am definitely a huge fan of creepy and spooky books so I’m hoping to get to it this October!


8.) The Falling Kingdoms Series by Morgan Rhodes

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Why haven’t I read this?! I bought the first book when it came out and still haven’t read it! I know I’m a terrible person, I will read it eventually especially since it’s such a popular series and was being marketed as a sort of YA Game of Thrones.


7.) The A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas

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Sarah J. Maas and her books are HUGELY hyped and while I did give the first book in her other series “Throne of Glass” a go , I also want to see what the big deal is with this series as well. I may turn out to be that person who just doesn’t click with her writing.


6.) The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan

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I read and adored the Percy Jackson series but just haven’t gotten around to this one yet. I know, I know shame on me! I have a lot of catching up to do as far as Riordan’s series go though, but I definitely need to binge this series soon!


5.) The Firebird Trilogy by Claudia Gray

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I actually wasn’t too interested in this series right away since I thought, for some dumb reason, this was a contemporary series. It’s actually sci-fi and once I found that out and actually read the premise I was sold!


4.) The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman

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I actually wasn’t SUPER interested in this trilogy right away but then I started watching the SyFy show on Netflix and could not get enough! No I haven’t finished season one yet but I’m in love and would definitely love to read this series now!


3.) The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

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Not really sure why I want to read this series so much but the premise sounds like it promises a badass heroine and it seems to be another staple series in fantasy so I need to read it!


2.) The School For Good and Evil Trilogy by Soman Chainani

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I know this is a middle grade series but honestly it sounds so good! There are schools for training “good” princes and princesses and also to train the “evil” villains, what about this doesn’t sound interesting? I’m definitely excited to give it a try!


1.) The Insignia Trilogy by S.J. Kincaid

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I could always use more YA sci-fi on my TBR and after loving S.J. Kincaid’s other novel “The Diabolic” I really wanted to give her other books a try so I bought the first book in this series!

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What are some series you’ve been meaning to start?

Have you read any of these series/trilogies? What did you think?

Do you have any of these on your TBR as well?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Fantasy Books Recently Added To My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is any books of any genre that you’ve added to your TBR recently! I decided to go with fantasy just because it’s my favorite genre so this is really going to be quite the mish mash of books since it went a little further back than I expected.

These are put in order by when I added them so the most recent starts at #10.

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10.) Down Among The Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

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I immediately added this after finishing “Every Heart A Doorway” because it was so amazing, I need more of this world…or really worlds!

You can read my full review of “Every Heart A Doorway” here.


9.) A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

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Once again I added this sequel immediately after finishing “An Ember in the Ashes”! I was actually really blown away by how unique the book felt and how complex the characters were, so of course I need to read more about them ASAP!

You can read my full review of “An Ember in the Ashes” here.


8.) The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

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Honestly this book sounds straight up awesome! There’s two completely badass female warrior protagonists that were prophesied at birth to save the  world from demons. How does that not sound like it’s amazing?


7.) The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

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I’ve heard a lot of ranting and raving about Elise Kova’s books and her newest one was on sale for $0.99 on Kindle so I bought a copy! I want to see what all the hype is about! Plus I like any story where a thief is the main character, especially in a fantasy setting.


6.) Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

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This one definitely has a very unique sounding premise where the character, Taj, serves as a slayer of sin-beasts which are called forth from sinners by mages. Doesn’t that just sound cool? Never heard of a book with anything really similar to this so I had to add it to my TBR.


5.) Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

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First of all I was really drawn in by the cover, it’s gorgeous! Plus what book lover doesn’t want to read a book that has library in the title? This one is about two women whose lives are thrown into chaos and must seek out the fabled Library of All Things to try and reverse their fates. Sounds awesome!


4.) Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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Honestly, I wasn’t going to ever add this one but since the series seems pretty hyped up and it is YA fantasy I figured maybe I could give it a try. It might be a little too cliched for me though.


3.) The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

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While I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Shadow and Bone” I did love “Six of Crows” and am therefore a lot more willing to try out anything Leigh Bardugo writes! Of course I love any stories based off of folklore and fairy tales too so this book is bound to be interesting!


2.) Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

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It’s mostly a guarantee for me to add any new or upcoming YA Fantasy books but especially when they have diverse characters. This book has a gender fluid character that’s also a thief and like I said earlier I love thief characters in fantasy!


1.) The Bird & The Sword by Amy Harmon

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This was another book I found on sale for my Kindle and I wasn’t really going to get it since I hadn’t heard of it before but I read a sample and fell in love! Of course I haven’t read it yet clearly but it definitely will be read here at some point. It’s about a girl who has magical abilities and must not speak at all.

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Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Do you have any of these books on your TBR as well?

What are some books you’ve recently added to your TBR?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things On My YA Reading Wishlist

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

So as the title suggest these are all things on my YA reading wishlist so basically things I want more of in YA! These are in no particular order and I will provide links to my reviews to the example books if I have them!

Also if you guys have read or heard of any books with these themes then PLEASE let me know about them in the comments below, I’d really appreciate it!

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10.) Diversity!

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Examples: The Hate U Give, Labyrinth Lost, & The Seafarer’s Kiss

Of course diversity is definitely an easy thing to pick since it’s very important to have in books, obviously! Unfortunately there really aren’t as many out there as you would think and definitely not as many that are problem free. However, these are some books that are very enjoyable and have diverse main characters!


9.) More Morally Ambiguous/Grey Characters

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Examples: Vicious, I Hunt Killers, & This Savage Song

I love reading about characters like this so, so much! I love when they aren’t truly good or evil but a bit of both instead. It just adds a lot of complexity and development to the story this way, in my opinion.


8.) Dark, Grungy Mystery/Thrillers

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Examples: The Darkest Corners, I Hunt Killers, & With Malice

This one is a little more self explanatory but I LOVE YA mystery/thrillers that really toe the line between what is considered too dark for YA and what’s not. Maybe it’s just me but I like dark, twisted mystery books! Plus it’s always an upside when you don’t see any of the plot twists coming!


7.) Terrifying YA Horror

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Examples: Daughters Unto Devils, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, & The Girl From The Well

I feel like there aren’t that many YA Horror books out there in the first place and there definitely aren’t as many of them that are truely terrifying. Or, you know, fun to read at the very least. These ones that I used for examples were magnificent though if you’re looking for some good chills!


6.) Ancient Civilization Setting (Not Fantasy)

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Examples: And I Darken & My Lady Jane (sort of…..)

Mostly what I’m talking about with this one is any ancient themed historical fiction, if that makes sense. Such as Medieval England, Ancient Egypt, or really any other ancient civilization because I feel like these really aren’t done in YA that often. Sure there are many YA fantasies that have these themes but I’m talking based off of REAL history or a retelling of real history.


5.) Contemporaries Featuring Royalty

I don’t read contemporary all that much but what would definitely get me reading it would be tales of modern royalty! This may have to do with my love for movies such as The Princess Diaries (no I have not read the books, sorry!), The Prince and Me, and What A Girl Wants. I’m not talking about dystopians or fantasies or any of that either because there definitely are plenty of those!


4.) Peter Pan Retellings

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Examples: Tiger Lily

There are a few of these out there and I do have most of the good ones on my TBR already but I feel like we should just have a TON of Peter Pan retellings because I just adore Peter Pan! “Tiger Lily” is an amazing retelling of the story and I have read “Unhooked” and was not a fan of it at all.


3.) Vicious and Badass Female Characters

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Examples: And I Darken & The Diabolic

I LOVE heroines who are cold, calculating, fierce, and actually badass! Two of the best examples I’ve seen in YA are Lada Dracul from “And I Darken” and Nemesis from “The Diabolic, both these women are all of those things! There’s no “damsel syndrome” with these two at all and it’s nice to have heroines who don’t get all distracted with ball gowns and love triangles.


2.) Sympathetic Villains

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Examples: Illuminae & Heartless

This kind of goes with “Morally Ambiguous Characters” a lot because I really love when villains in books are in a grey area, you find yourself hating them and loving them all at once. So of course that usually means the villains are more sympathetic, and for some reason I love this I think it makes the story ten times more complex!


1.) Westerns

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Examples: Vengeance Road

There are actually quite a few YA westerns popping up and while I do own a couple I also have yet to read them. I will say though “Vengeance Road” was pretty fun to read through and I just really love the “wild west” setting!

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What are some things on your reading wishlist?

Do you agree with any of the ones I listed?

Have you read any of the books I used for examples? If so what did you think?

Do you have any recommendations for books that match these themes?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your TTT as well!

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Turn-Offs

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is bookish turn-offs, you know those books we shoot down completely because of these things. I’ve got quite a few that revolve around YA romances!

I’d also like to just add before I start that of course there are always exceptions to these but a majority of these types of books will turn me off.

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Romance Being the Central Focus In A Non-Romance Genre

Just to make sure everyone understands this: I am not saying romance in any book is a no-no for me only when I’m reading say a Fantasy or Sci-Fi novel and it’s more about romance than action or anything else. That drives me nuts. I signed up for death, revenge, and action not kissy faces and moony eyes!

I just really don’t like when romance becomes the sole focus of a book when the book itself is supposed to be about more than that.


Love Triangles

Most of the time love triangles in books are unrealistic, I can totally be on board with a love triangle if it’s believable. Such as if both love interests have good reasons to attract the attention of the main character (similar interests etc.), but unfortunately most of the time it’s just “Hey he/she is super hot! Oh hey so is he/she! I will like both of them!”.

Love triangles just tend to make things messy and add a lot of unnecessary drama to the story and what’s worse is when the object of said love triangle strings both love interests along. Just….no.

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Urban Fantasy (Anything With Vampires, Werewolves, Angels, etc.)

This genre is just a huge no-no for me, I’ve been there and done that! I was part of the Twilight phase and everything that came and went with it and that’s how I found out Urban Fantasy is NOT for me! I find that most of the time these books are riddled with the usual YA romance tropes that I can’t stand: insta-love, love triangles, etc. and are also full of air-headed characters that go around breaking all of the rules for said urban fantasy world.

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The only real exception I’ve found for this was Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series and I’m not sure if that would hold up my scrutiny anymore these days.


Unappealing Covers

This may sound pretty shallow of me but I think we are all allowed to dislike ugly covers, right? I mean after all the book cover is supposed to draw your attention not make you cringe away! I usually wait to read other reviews before I read something with an unappealing cover….


Insta-Love

This one goes hand in hand with both #10 and #9! I cannot stand insta-love, it’s just unrealistic to me. I don’t believe in love at first sight (I do believe in attraction at first sight though) so having characters fall head over heels in love instantly just isn’t something I can take seriously. I want a slow-burn, developed romance!


Predictable/Over-Used Plots

You know the ones….the books that are referred to as the next “Hunger Games” or the next “Twilight”. I want more unique books, not ones that fall into the same old YA rut.

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All Talk and No Action

I like my books action-packed and fast-paced so when the narrative drags on and on inside of a characters head instead of having exciting things happen, that’s boring. I can understand taking your time to set things up but I really can’t stand having pages and pages of inner monologue and no dialogue or action.


Not Enough World Building (Fantasy Lite)

I am the type of person that NEEDS intricate world building because I read to escape reality and I want to be completely immersed in the world the book is throwing me into. It’s kind of hard to get into the book when the world has no structure or information at all.


Under Developed Characters

Nobody likes dull characters. Nobody. I find that well written and complex characters can either make or break the book, it’s a lot easier to read a book with great characters and a “blah” plot than vice versa. If the characters are developed I’ll be more invested in what happens to them and therefore enjoy the book a lot more.


A Story That Is Completely Different Than What Was Promised (False Advertising!)

Okay there really isn’t anything I hate more than getting a book, reading it, and finding out that it is NOTHING like what the synopsis promised! Prime example: “Blackhearts” by Nicole Castroman. It’s supposedly Blackbeard’s origin tale! So of course I expected some damn pirates! Did I get any pirates at all? NO! What I did get was a trope-filled historical romance.

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Do we have any bookish turn offs in common?

What are some of your bookish turn offs?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your Top Ten Tuesday as well!

The Sassy