Books With Romances I Actually Enjoyed

Top Ten Tuesday(77)

Hello my fellow book lovers!

I think it’s safe to say if you’ve been following me for a bit that you all know that I am not the biggest fan of YA romances, romance heavy plots, or just the romance genre in general. However, I promise you my heart is not completely made of ice! Here are a few of books that had romances that melted even my heart!

Also just a fun little side note that I had “We Go Together” from Grease stuck in my head the entire time I wrote this for some reason:

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So of course I’m going to be talking freely about the romances in these books and why I loved them so much and as a result there will be potential spoilers for some of the books. Some books it comes pretty obvious who is going to get involved with who but a few of these are surprises so here is the spoiler warning!

**** Please note that there are potential romance related  spoilers for the following books: The Night Circus, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Queens of Geek, The Diabolic, And I Darken, My Lady Jane, The Forbidden Wish, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Winner’s Curse, and Six of Crows!!*****

Anyways! I will link up my full reviews for each title if I have them!

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Celia and Marco’s romance is subtle, magical, and star-crossed what’s not to love about all of that? Their romance does have elements of insta-love but I honestly didn’t mind it at all since it felt like they were fated to be together from the very first pages (which of course they were since that’s what the book is about but you get what I mean!). They’re the kind of pairing that felt destined, like soul mates and I couldn’t wait for them to be together!

I don’t have a full review up for this book unfortunately, I just don’t know how to review it!


The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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This romance is between Aladdin and Zahra, the genie of the lamp, and as the title implies it’s a bit of a forbidden relationship. There were no tropes present here at all and Aladdin and Zahra’s relationship actually takes quite a while to develop, a nice slow-burn romance if you will. I was so desperate for them to get together while reading and was so satisfied when it finally happened!

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


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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I don’t think I’ve shipped a paring so hard in a long time! Monty and Percy were straight up adorable and I think what made me ship it even harder was that they were both so clueless to the other’s feelings that they spent a majority of the book thinking their love was unrequited! They’ve been friends forever though and we start the book with both of them secretly loving the other so there aren’t any tropes such as insta-love here!

I do have a full review up for this book!

I just can’t link it since both posts were pre-scheduled as I am currently on vacation sorry for the inconvenience but if you’d like to read it you can search for it under my review index or search bar!


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

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Love, love, loved the romances in this book! There are two different relationships that develop throughout the story and that would be between Taylor x Jamie who have been friends for a while already and Charlie x Alyssa two YouTube vloggers we also get to see some awesome diversity here since Charlie is Chinese-Australian and Alyssa is African- American and both are bisexual. Plus on top of all of that the romances are just so positive, fluffy, and adorable!

You can read my full review of “Queens of Geek” here.


The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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Nemesis and Tyrus kind of  had a “forbidden love” romance and there were definitely NO tropes or cliches with it either this was a complete slow burn romance and it definitely is secondary to the plot. I think that Nemesis and Tyrus fit so well together because they’re both ruthless but also with a strong underlying goodness to them. I also spent a good chunk of the book waiting for them to just love each other already! 

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


And I Darken by Kiersten White

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The romance definitely isn’t the only thing going on in this book which is probably part of why I liked it so much, it was more in the background. There definitely isn’t any insta-love at all and it’s actually quite a slow-burn romance, however, there is a love triangle but it isn’t your typical love triangle since it’s two sibling competing for the same man and is completely unrequited on the one side. It’s actually really complicated now that I think about it….

Anyways I really wanted Lada and Mehmed to get together just because they both spent so much time pining after one another in secret. The tension! I just wanted them to kiss!

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


My Lady Jane by Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton, and Cynthia Hand

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While this may not be the most swoon-worthy romance to me it was still amazing because it was slow-burn and trope-free! Jane and Gifford were extremely cute and adorable and I loved how they disliked each other right away but slowly grew to care for one another by being themselves. It was realistic!

You can read my full review of “My Lady Jane” here.


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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This was one of those books that I thought was going to be a mess of YA romance tropes but fortunately I was proved very wrong! There is no insta-love, no love triangles, or anything! Kestrel and Aren’s romance is very much slow-burn and forbidden love but I loved all of it! I felt that both characters were just really good for each other as well.

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


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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The romance between Karou and Akiva is a little rocky for me because on one hand it’s very much insta-love (even though that’s justified later on) but on the other hand I loved the forbidden romance elements in this story. I think when characters can’t be together my brain rebels and declares “THEY MUST BE TOGETHER NOW!”, I’m seeing a pattern here. I digress, I really liked how well developed their romance was though and blame any misgivings I have on the romance due to the fact that I’m not the hugest fan of Akiva in the first place…I’m just not.

You can read my full review of “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” here.


Honorable Mentions

(aka romances I also enjoyed but not enough to go into great detail)

  • Alice by Christina Henry
  • The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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

Did you enjoy any of these romances or not so much?

What are some of your favorite bookish romances?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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Top 5 Wednesday: Series That Got Better!

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!

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

Books I Just HAD To Have…..& Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday(70)

The other day I was looking at my bookshelves and noticing all of the books I’ve bought under the delusion that I could NOT wait and HAD to have them right away……and then still haven’t read them.

This makes me wonder sometimes if I’m actually nuts or not because why do I torture myself like this? Plus everyone always tells me “hey remember when you bought all those books and still haven’t read them? You don’t need more until you read those.” which they’re sort of right….

So I thought that it would be a great idea to share what a horrible reader/book hoarder I am with you all!

Basically this is me:

And then after not reading any of them:

I’ll be putting these in order of how long I’ve actually had these sitting around my house starting with the newest additions!

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Of course with all of the hype that was surrounding this book before and after it’s May release date I had to get my hands on it! Most of the time I don’t give into the hype, or at least I like to think so, I just thought everything about this book sounded wonderful: diverse characters and culture, a cute cover, and non-stop glowing reviews!

Then obviously I couldn’t wait to get a copy and then it arrived and now it’s just sitting all lonely on my shelf because I’m a terrible person…….


Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

I actually ordered this with “When Dimple Met Rishi” because once again I could not wait and just haaaad to have a copy right away! The cover is absolutely gorgeous and I’ve seen great reviews for it, plus I think it will be interesting to read about a dysfunctional relationship in a YA setting. I know that makes me sound weird but it’s nice to see unique books and books bringing attention to abuse like this (because it happens).


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

If I was going to rate all of these books by which book I was literally dying to have “Strange the Dreamer” would be #1 because I seriously acted like I was going to die without this book in my life. I even went to the trouble of ordering a UK edition as well because I HAD TO HAVE THIS BOOK AND LAINI TAYLOR IS LIFE!

And guess where the book is sitting? On my shelf. Unread.


The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

I was super pumped for this book before it came out and then with all of the great reviews afterwards I was even more excited for it. Female gladiator! That’s all I want in my books so when I was in the bookstore and saw it I decided to splurge and buy it right then and there because I NEEDED IT. Now it’s been sitting on my shelf for a few months……


Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

I bought this book along with my spontanous purchase of “The Valiant” as well. You can see where this got me.


Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

When I saw this book come out at first I was like: Norse Mythology?! Told by Neil Gaiman?! I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY! So I kind of started it and then slowly it worked its way back onto my shelf where it is still sitting waiting to be finished.


The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Everyone, everyone, everyone recommends reading this series and I saw the box set on sale on Book Outlet for about $12.00 so of course I was all “Hell yeah!” and bought it right away. Soooooooooo it’s all sitting on my shelf still unread where it will probably remain for a while.


Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

This was a spontaneous buy I got with birthday money last year and I decided to use that money for this book because once again…..I couldn’t resist. It’s even a shorter book and I STILL haven’t gotten to it!


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I asked for this one for my birthday last year because I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted it and so then I actually received it for my birthday…….and haven’t read it yet.


The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

After reading the first book “The Winner’s Curse” I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it after how much I was expecting not to enjoy it. So then after devouring the sequel as well I NEEDED to read the last book that was just released last year! And guess who still hasn’t finished that trilogy even after buying the last book? Me.


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

This book was super, duper hyped last year and because of that plus the pretty cover and promise of unique mythology I was 100% sold. I saw it when I happened to visit a Barnes & Noble and instantly bought it and now it’s been sitting on my shelf for over a year still unread.


Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

This one hasn’t been a new release for a while but I found while reading a bunch of glowing reviews for it and having it recommended a ton. So I found it on Book Outlet and bought it straight away because I love twisted thrillers! I started reading it…..and then set it aside for some reason…..and it’s been sitting there waiting for me to return to it eventually.


The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

This book is the one I’ve had the longest on this list because back many, many years ago when I was binge reading the Percy Jackson series and finished it and was DYING for more! So I found the Heroes of Olympus series and bought the first book straight away…….it has been sitting on my old Nook Color for ages and honestly it probably won’t get read because I want physical copies now….awkward.

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

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

Did you buy any of these right away and haven’t read them yet either?

Do you buy books and let them sit for a long time?

What are some books you HAD to have and haven’t read yet?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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description

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

review

This is a book where I honestly did not expect to love it as much as I did. It’s a very romance oriented book and all I was expecting were balls, dresses, and boys. It also seemed like it was too fantasy lite for me and  “The Winner’s Curse” is also extremely hyped. For once the hype is definitely justified.

PLOT

As I mentioned the world building was a little lite making this book have a very simple fantasy setting, it wasn’t high fantasy there were no mythical creatures or magic here. It’s also something that, for once, was easy for me to overlook in a YA fantasy. It didn’t need all of those things to satisfy me and I still felt that it had the atmosphere for a fantasy and I was still able to immerse myself in this world.

The plot itself focuses a lot on Kestrel and Arin as well as balls, upper class parties, and gossip. At least for the first half of the book, so if you find these things boring don’t be disheartened! Things definitely get more exciting towards the end of the book and it’s worth it to push onward. All of the twists and politics you were promised or expected start to come out of the woodwork in the end, I promise you! I can’t say too much without the risk of spoilers so you’ll have to trust me on this.

As far as the pacing goes, it was a bit slow to start. Ultimately I believe the first half with the slower pacing is setting the stage for the latter half of the book, since everything really starts picking up later. I’m going to go ahead and stress this again, stick it out to the end and the slow beginning is really worth it.

What really kept me reading though was Rutkoski’s writing, it’s gorgeous and downright addictive it  compelled me to keep turning pages. Something about it just flowed so naturally making “The Winner’s Curse” both easy and fun to read through.

characters

Let me tell you something about our main character Kestrel: she is probably one of my new favorite heroines. I loved the fact that she wasn’t some badass warrior who could kick the living crap out of anyone and everyone. Instead, Kestrel’s strength lies in strategy where she relies on her wits to make tactical decisions. It was such a breath of fresh air to have a character that wasn’t your average female fantasy heroine.

Arin’s character was also really likable he’s mysterious, smart, and determined in everything he pursues. He’s just as much of a strategist as Kestrel, which I really enjoyed. He’s a pretty swoon worthy character too…just saying…..

 

There weren’t as many developed secondary characters as I would have liked in a fantasy but Kestrel’s and Arin’s POVs prove interesting enough where I didn’t mind a whole lot. They’re both so well developed and likable that I didn’t feel a lot of loss as far as having other important characters. Although in a fantasy setting I do like more POVs or at least more characters to get insight into the world and happenings.

romance

I actually really liked the romance in “The Winner’s Curse” which was a surprise since I almost never enjoy the romances in YA books. I figured this one would be loaded with your usual tropes: insta-love, forbidden love, love triangles, and so on. However, these weren’t really present except for the forbidden love which I’ll get to….

Usually I don’t really like the whole forbidden love thing but in this case it was done very well, it really helped that there wasn’t any insta-love and the romance was more of a slow burn. So the fact that it was a slow burn romance and the fact that they shouldn’t be together, in the end just made me want them to be together. I’m rebellious like that.

After reading through this I really found out how much I love a good slow burn romance, it makes me want the characters to get together even MORE.

In the end I really, really adored Kestrel and Arin’s romance. I am now a hardcore shipper of these two!

in conclusion

While I didn’t really like the slower pacing at the beginning of the book or the lack of important secondary characters these were some very minor dislikes compared to my overall enjoyment of the book as a whole. Kestrel was an amazing main character, the romance was surprisingly enjoyable, and the plot was very intense.

I have so much love for this book now and it was definitely a huge surprise since I didn’t think it would be something I’d enjoy. I am so glad I decided to take a chance with it and hopefully you all do now as well. It’s worth it! (Especially since the sequel is even better!)

RECOMMEND

Definitely! Even though the fantasy element is a bit lite and the plot does have its far share of romance and ball gowns, it’s definitely worth reading for the plot and unique heroine. Usually I’m a stickler for heavy world-building and zero romance but even I was won over with “The Winner’s Curse” so hopefully that’s a good enough example for you to check this amazing series out!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy