Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Samantha and Lainey! You can check the group here for more discussions and topic. It’s been on hiatus for a while now and we still don’t know whether it will coming back or not, but Gabriela @ ValQueenReads took initiatives and have been generating prompts for us for a while now.
This week’s topic is actually titled “BookTube didn’t make me read it“:
I’m sure all of us have picked up books because someone has mentioned it on their blog or channel, or posted a really aesthetically pleasing picture on instagram.Which books did you buy (or borrow) without this influence. Where did you find it? Have you read it? Did you enjoy it?
Since the description also mentioned other book platforms, I decided to rename the title 🌻 I find this topic to be super interesting, especially since looking back, ever since I started blogging, almost all of my read are based from recommendations from the bookish community. One way to do it could be books from my before blogging era, but I think it will be super interesting to do an after, scour my goodreads shelves and see which books I discovered and read without book community’s influence.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
01. The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden
One of my all time favorite series, I discovered this first book of the series while browsing through Netgalley. I’ve never heard of anything about this book or author before, but the wintry setting and retelling of Slavic folklores aspect of this book really appealed to me. I was really lucky to be approved for an eARC and the whole series remain one of my top 3 series ever ❄💙
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
02. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsey
When I was having my internship in 2017, my office had this library so obviously, I went in and check out some books. The Winter Sea is one of them and while I knew nothing about it, it’s been a while since I read a historical fiction. Plus, I think I just finished reading Outlander which is set during the same time period (Jacobite rebellion) and setting, so I gave it a try. It was amazing, the story was haunting (in a good way) and very poignant.
🌺 Related post: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley // Haunting and Beautiful
History has all but forgotten…
In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.
Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.
But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her…
03. Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha
My recent read and one of my favorite this year, I found this book while browsing Edelweiss. I’ve never seen HIV positive representation in literature, so I’m really excited to read this one! I was luckily approved for an eARC and devoured it in almost one sitting.
An absorbing debut novel about three gay young adults in Brazil whose lives become intertwined in the face of HIV, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Bill Konigsberg
Ian has just been diagnosed with HIV.
Victor, to his great relief, has tested negative.
Henrique has been living with HIV for the past three years.
When Victor finds himself getting tested for HIV for the first time, he can’t help but question his entire relationship with Henrique, the guy he has-had-been dating. See, Henrique didn’t disclose his positive HIV status to Victor until after they had sex, and even though Henrique insisted on using every possible precaution, Victor is livid.
That’s when Victor meets Ian, a guy who’s also getting tested for HIV. But Ian’s test comes back positive, and his world is about to change forever. Though Victor is loath to think about Henrique, he offers to put the two of them in touch, hoping that perhaps Henrique can help Ian navigate his new life. In the process, the lives of Ian, Victor, and Henrique will become intertwined in a story of friendship, love, and stigma-a story about hitting what you think is rock bottom, but finding the courage and support to keep moving forward.
Set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this utterly engrossing debut by Brazilian author Lucas Rocha calls back to Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow Boys series, bringing attention to how far we’ve come with HIV, while shining a harsh light on just how far we have yet to go.
04. The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y Yang
Another recent reads! I actually first saw this book in BooksActually, Singapore. The intricate details, the Asian designs and the fierce face staring at me from the cover really intrigued me. I admit what finally pushed me to get a copy and read it was the fact that many people seemed to enjoyed it and the society rules seemed to be very unique, but I did have plans to read it before hand so I’ll add this one 😉
I’m going to do a series review for this book, so stay tuned.
The Black Tides of Heaven is one of a pair of standalone introductions to JY Yang’s Tensorate Series. For more of the story you can read its twin novella The Red Threads of Fortune
Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What’s more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother’s Protectorate.
A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?
05. The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Anderson
One of my favorite middle grade series, I found this book through the author himself! He kindly reached out to me for a review and I’m just hooked. The characters, the plot, the twists… this series is just everything!
Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?
The Devil’s Apprentice is volume 1 in The Great Devil War-series.