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

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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 5 Wednesday: Books Without Romance (Or Very Little)

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 theme is Books Without Romance or they can be books with very little romance as well. I personally am a huge fan of books with little to no romance, it’s a big pet peeve of mine when romances cloud over the plot and all other happenings. I’m very happy to find books like this and share the ones I’ve read as well!

I will link up my reviews for each title as well if you’d like my full thoughts!

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5.) This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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While I suppose it could be debated a little bit since it sometimes feels like the two main characters are developing feelings for each other throughout, this is still very much romance free. This is a story about monsters and monstrous humans and that’s where the focus stays, there’s no getting muddled up in any lovey-dovey moments here!

You can read my full review of “This Savage Song” here.


4.) Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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Um…yeah here she is again! Schwab really is a master at keeping the plots of her books straight and interesting without getting too lost in any romance. This is a very complex novel about two men that gain “superpowers” and turn into enemies but the lines between who’s good and who’s evil blur very much.

One of the characters does have a girlfriend and the other character loves her as well but it’s very briefly mentioned and serves more as a motivator in the story than it does an actual romantic subplot. So no romance!

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


3.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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Have I talked about this book enough on my blog? Yeah, I don’t think so either. This is an amazing fantasy story with fantastic world building and a brutally unpredictable storyline, plus the heroine is a badass! I digress, there is a point in the story where Yukiko becomes a bit smitten with a boy but it is extremely brief and hardly mentioned. Plus when you get to the end of the book you definitely wouldn’t say there is any romance either…..trust me.

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


2.) Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry

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I cannot recommend Christina Henry’s books enough, honestly, and them being very romance-light is one of the reasons. With “Lost Boy” there is a point in the story where a character has a crush on someone but other than that it’s very romance free. It was nice to see a female character whose sole purpose wasn’t to be the love interest.

You can read my full review of “Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook” here.


1.) Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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What’s great about this book is how diverse it is with the characters’ genders and sexuality. We see both a transgender character as well as an asexual character, which I though was absolutely fantastic! Plus there was no romance at all, it was really great that we got to see such diversity like this and the author didn’t feel a need to push any of the characters together.

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

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

Do you agree about the “non-romance” in any of these books? Disagree?

What are some books you’ve read with little to no romance? (please tell me I love these kinds of recommendations!)

Do you find that you enjoy books with little to no romance more or less?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Books For Ravenclaws!

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!

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I haven’t done a Top 5 Wednesday in a while but when I saw this topic I just HAD to join in this week. This week’s theme is books for your Hogwarts House! Woohoo! So if you couldn’t tell already I am from House Ravenclaw (which I fully embrace because I always knew I’d be one) so I am choosing a few books I think my fellow Ravenclaws would enjoy!

Also this is something that can range very much from person to person but my take on “Ravenclaw books” would be something very well-written as well as a little whimsical (since Ravenclaw is typically associated with both wit and wisdom). Basically you could say I’m basing my book picks off of Luna Lovegood……..which she is one of my favorite characters so that has something to do with it too!

I will link up reviews if I have them!

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Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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This is actually the best book on the list for my fellow Ravenclaws I think! It’s about a home for children who have visited other fantastical worlds and must learn to cope with reality again. It’s a bit of a spin on the magical school trope and I think the information provided on the other worlds is very interesting, as I think it would also be for a Ravenclaw!

You can read my full review here.


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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Neil Gaiman’s books are…..weird but in a good way! Honestly I think if Luna Lovegood were to be personified as a book it’d be something written by Neil Gaiman, his writing is brilliant yet quirky and magical just like Luna.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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This book is pretty much the perfect romantic, magical story. Honestly, everything about it is wondorous and well written, I think it’d be perfect for Ravenclaws!


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

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I think the world “witty” definitely fits this book perfectly! Not only that but it’s a twist on English history so it’s the perfect combination of “wit and wisdom” making it a great read for us Ravenclaws!

You can read my full review here.


Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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This is a fantasy book with it’s own unique world building as well as having four fairy tale retellings mixed in. This is just such a wonderful book for anybody period but the world and characters are just so engrossing I can see any Ravenclaw getting lost in this one!

You can read my full review here.

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Which Hogwarts House are you in? Are you also a fellow Ravenclaw?

If you’re a Ravenclaw what do you think of these picks?

Have you read any of these before, what did you think?

What books do you recommend for Ravenclaws?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi

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 favorite fantasy and science fiction books in collaboration with BooktubeSFF Awards! I decided to do both genres but in only Young Adult. I have read and reviewed all of these books so I’ll attach my review links to the titles if you want to read more of my thoughts on each of these!

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5.) Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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I’ve said this countless times but it’s so true: this book is a hidden gem! Not only did I find the world building very good but also the fact that it had it’s own plot going on along with four sort of “mini stories” and each is a fairy tale retelling (Mulan, Emma, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella). I loved all of the characters as well and actually grew very attached, I didn’t even mind the romance either!


4.) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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The romance in this one did have some problems but I still really enjoyed it, the characters, and the world building was AMAZING! Also Laini Taylor has THE most gorgeous writing I’ve ever come across, seriously I’d read the woman’s grocery list. Overall the story is just so engaging and I really recommend reading it.


3.) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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Let’s see here: actual badass main character, lots of action and plot twists, plenty of “court intrigue” with plotting and revenge, and a romance I could actually ship. Not to mention it’s all in space! If you’re looking for a fast paced space adventure than this is definitely a book I recommend reading, it’s one of my new favorite sci-fi books of all time!


2.) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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I think you’ve all heard about “Illuminae” but in case you haven’t…..its yet another super fast-paced, action-packed, space opera! Complete with crazy AIs, mutating space viruses, and hella plot twists. Plus there’s that unique formatting that is to die for! If you’re looking for an awesome YA sci-fi book look no further.


1.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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While I do acknowledge that this book is very problematic (as seems to be the case with a lot of Kristoff’s books) I still consider it to be one of my all time favorite fantasy books. It’s got fantastic world building (some of the best I’ve seen) and mythology and great characters that I grew very attached too! Plus there’s a bit of steampunk in it as well, they have chainsaw katanas!

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What are some of your favorite YA fantasy or sci-fi books?

Have you read any of these on my list? What did you think?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your T5W as well!

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Bookish Villains

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 our favorite villains, because who doesn’t love a good villain every now and then? Also I’ll throw in here that Sam specifically asked us to try and NOT include any villains from Harry Potter which is understandable because I think we could all rapid fire name off 5 great Harry Potter villains, am I right?

So with HP off the table it forced me to think a little harder about my favorite book villains and so I mostly have a list of morally gray “villains” who aren’t necessarily 100% evil but are still the bad guys. If there’s one thing I love it’s a complex antagonist that makes me sympathize with them a teeny tiny bit.

***** Spoilers for “Gone Girl” below! You have been warned!*****

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5.) Amy Dunne – “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

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So don’t take this as me actually liking Amy herself so much as appreciating how diabolical and purely evil she is. I think as much as we all hate Amy we can agree that she is a good villain with loads of complexity and smarts.


4.) Cheshire – “Alice” by Christina Henry

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(No he isn’t a cat in this book but I wanted to have a picture…)

While Cheshire isn’t exactly a villain in this book he isn’t a good guy either, he’s sort of in a gray area which is still good enough for me to consider him kind of, sort of a villain. He has a twisted sense of humor and ways of helping along his own agenda, he’s a very interesting and complex character.


3.) Talis – “The Scorpion Rules” Erin Bow

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So Talis is probably one of the most hilarious villains ever and I couldn’t help but love him. He’s the AI that took over the world to ensure we all have peace by keeping children hostage, etc etc. He’s a pretty complex character that has his reasons but as I said he’s a favorite of mine due to his hilarity alone.

(I picture him as Chris Pine in Star Trek above)


2.) AIDAN – “Illuminae” by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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Once again this is a kind of gray area, while AIDAN isn’t inherently good he isn’t all bad either…he’s an AI that kind of went a little crazy and did bad things but also had his reasoning behind it. IT’S COMPLICATED, OKAY? Read the book! Either way he’s definitely one of my favorite “villains” because his narrative was so interesting and he developed a lot throughout the progression of the story.


1.) Victor Vale – “Vicious” by V.E. Schwab

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Now I will say this Victor Vale isn’t technically the villain of this story but he also kind of is…..it’s very complicated to explain if you haven’t read “Vicious”. The characters here are very much in one huge gray area, Victor plays the part of a super-powered villain but he isn’t a bad guy and he doesn’t have deranged illusions about it either.

Definitely my all time favorite “villain” and sorry to those of you who haven’t read this book yet because it’s really hard to explain what exactly Victor is! You all that have read this probably get where I’m coming from though.

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Have you read any of these books? Did you love their villains too?

Who are some of your favorite (non Harry Potter) villains?

How about some of your favorite gray/ morally ambiguous characters?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your T5W as well!

The Sassy