Tuesday 26 March 2019


Predicting My 2019 Five Star Reads

Predicting my 2019 Five Star Reads

Ad: Titles with an asterisk (*) were gifted to me by the publisher for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Last month, Kate of Reading Through Infinity predicted her five star reads of 2019. Her post was about being a critical reader, and how she doesn't give five stars to many books, and so was predicting the few books she thought might get those elusive five stars from her.

I, however, give out five stars on Goodreads like Father Christmas does toys. Well, not quite - it's a bit of an exaggeration. But I do give out quite a few five stars. Even so, I thought it would be interesting to do my own predictions! A little late in year, but I haven't read any of these yet (at the time of writing). I've decided I'm not going to mention sequels to books I've read and adored, because that's a bit too easy. So this is for books in new series or by new to me authors.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan HeDescendant of the Crane by Joan He

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death... because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant and alluring investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.
From Goodreads.

I have already heard such brilliant things about this book, and it sounds so good! A murder mystery and fantasy in one? Sold! And I most definitely want to continue what I started at the end of last year, and read more non-Western inspired high fantasies! I've pre-ordered Descendant of the Crane, and I'm so looking forward to it!

Stepsister by Jennifer DonnellyStepsister by Jennifer Donnelly*

'In an ancient city by the sea, three sisters - a maiden, a mother, and a crone - are drawing maps by candlelight. Sombre, with piercing grey eyes, they are the three Fates, and every map is a human life . . .'

Stepsister takes up where Cinderella's tale ends. We meet Isabelle, the younger of Cinderella's two stepsisters. Ella is considered beautiful; stepsister Isabelle is not. Isabelle is fearless, brave, and strong-willed. She fences better than any boy, and takes her stallion over jumps that grown men fear to attempt. It doesn't matter, though; these qualities are not valued in a girl. Others have determined what is beautiful, and Isabelle does not fit their definition. Isabelle must face down the demons that drove her cruel treatment of Ella, challenge her own fate and maybe even redefine the very notion of beauty . . .

Cinderella is about a girl who was bullied; Stepsister is about the bully. We all root for the victims, we want to see them triumph. But what about the bullies? Is there hope for them? Can a mean girl change? Can she find her own happily ever after?
From Goodreads.

As you know, I adore retellings, and I absolutely love the sound of this! A retelling that follows the antagonist, but is a sequel rather than a prequel! I am so intrigued by this story! Challenging gender roles/what it means to be a woman, and "redefines the notion of beauty"? Sign me right up! I'm sure I'm going to love this!

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah FaizalWe Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.
From Goodreads.

Doesn't this just sound incredible? Oh my god, I absolutely cannot wait to read it! High fantasy is my home, it's where my reading roots are, and I bloody love it, and this sounds like it has everything I could want in a high fantasy! Plus looking at gender roles again, maybe? And another non-Western inspired high fantasy! I'm pretty damn sure this will be an easy five stars.

The Evil Queen by Gena ShowalterThe Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

Classic fairy tales are turned on their heads as strong heroines take charge and save the princes and the world in this magical action and romance-filled trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of the Everlife novels and the White Rabbit Chronicles, beginning with a teen prophesied to become the Evil Queen from Snow White who refuses to be pigenonholed into her destiny.

Far, far away, in the magical realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm, and fairytales are real. Except, fairytales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future. Though Princess Everly Morrow was brought to the mortal realm as an infant, she knows she’s destined to rule a kingdom in Enchantia, thus fulfilling a beloved fairytale. But which one?

At seventeen, when an ability to commune with mirrors manifests, she begins to suspect the truth, and it’s more sinister than anyone ever realized...

She is destined to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to prove herself good—Everly returns to the land of her birth, smack dab in the middle of the creepiest forest of all time. There, Everly meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed. As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after the other, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Soon, she will have to choose. Be a hero and walk away, or become the queen—and villain—of her dreams.

The battle between good and evil is on!
From Goodreads.

Aah, this sounds so unbelievably good! A prequel villian origin story retelling! And one where the characters know their fate! I wonder if it's going to be the kind of story where trying to avoid your fate brings it about? Either way, it sounds like a fantastic fantasy, with a complex, unwilling narrator, and I'm going to just love it, I can feel it!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha ShannonThe Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon*

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
From Goodreads.

This is a feminist, high fantasy retelling of St. George and the Dragon, and it sounds amazing! People have already been raving about it on Twitter, and I'm sure I'm going to completely adore it! And dragons! High fantasy needs more dragons!

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna AlkafThe Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

A music loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.

Melati Ahmad looks like your typical movie-going, Beatles-obsessed sixteen-year-old. Unlike most other sixteen-year-olds though, Mel also believes that she harbors a djinn inside her, one who threatens her with horrific images of her mother’s death unless she adheres to an elaborate ritual of counting and tapping to keep him satisfied.

A trip to the movies after school turns into a nightmare when the city erupts into violent race riots between the Chinese and the Malay. When gangsters come into the theater and hold movie-goers hostage, Mel, a Malay, is saved by a Chinese woman, but has to leave her best friend behind to die.

On their journey through town, Mel sees for herself the devastation caused by the riots. In her village, a neighbor tells her that her mother, a nurse, was called in to help with the many bodies piling up at the hospital. Mel must survive on her own, with the help of a few kind strangers, until she finds her mother. But the djinn in her mind threatens her ability to cope.
From Goodreads.

This is another book I've heard people raving about! I'm really intrigued to see how Mel's mental illness - and mental illness in general - is treated in the 1960s, and to learn about the Race Riots, which I know nothing about. This looks to be a really emotional, hard-hitting read, and I'm pretty sure it will get all the stars.

The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van ArsdaleThe Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale*

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.
From Goodreads.

A retelling of Medusa, I'm really excited for The Cold is in Her Bones - even if it's a thematic retelling, rather than a straight retelling. But I have heard it's really good and atmospheric, with beautiful prose. I'm intrigued and excited!

We Are Not Okay by Natália GomesWe Are Not Okay by Natália Gomes*

If only they could have spoken out.

Lucy thinks she’s better than the other girls.
Maybe if she’s pointing fingers at everyone else, no one will see the secret she’s hiding.

Ulana comes from a conservative Muslim family where reputation is everything. One rumour - true or false – can destroy futures.

Trina likes to party. She’s kissed a lot of boys. She’s even shown her red bra to one. But she didn’t consent to that night at Lucy’s party. So why doesn’t anyone believe her?

Sophia loved her boyfriend. She did anything for him, even send him photos of herself. So why is she the one being pointed at in the hallways, laughed at, spat at when it was him who betrayed her trust?
From Goodreads.

This looks like it's going to be a really upsetting, harrowing read, but a really impactful, powerful, important one. I love a feminist contemporary story, and this just sounds brilliant - though I'm already dreading the heartache I know it will cause. Books like this always tend to be amazing, and I'm sure I'm going to love it.

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn LyonsThe Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons*

What if you weren't the hero?

Kihrin grew up on tales of long-lost princes and grand quests - despite being raised in a brothel, making money as a musician and street thief. One day he overreaches by targeting an absent noble's mansion, hunting for jewels. There he witnesses a prince performing a terrifying dark-magic ritual. Kihrin flees but he's marked by a demon and his life will never be the same again.

That night also leads to him being claimed as a lost son of that prince's royal house. But far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family's power plays and ambitions. He must also discover why his murderous father finds Kihrin more valuable alive than dead. Soon Kihrin attempts to escape his relative's dangerous schemes, but finds himself in far deeper waters.

He becomes tangled in a plot to kill the Emperor, rob the Imperial Vaults, claim a god-slaying sword and free bound demons to wreak havoc across the land. Kihrin also discovers the old tales lied about many things: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love - and the hero always winning. But maybe Kihrin isn't fated to save the empire. He's destined to destroy it.

The Ruin of Kings is the first book in Jenn Lyons's epic new series.
From Goodreads.

Oh my god, this sounds so good! Ok, so it's actually told from two perspectives; Kirhin's, and his jailor, Talon. The book is a conversation between the two of them, telling each other the events that led to now; Talon one half of the story that leads to how Kirhin's story starts, but told alternately. This just sounds really, really cool to me, and the plot itself sounds amazing! I am so excited!

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen HaganWatch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan*

A stirring and unputdownable read about what it means to be a woman today. Perfect for fans of Moxie and The Hate U Give.

Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission. Sick of the way that young women are treated even at their 'progressive' New York City high school, they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. One problem - no one shows up. That hardly stops them. They start posting everything from videos of Chelsea performing her poetry to Jasmine's response to being reduced to a racist and sexist stereotype in the school's theatre department. And soon, they've gone viral, creating a platform they never could've predicted.

With such positive support, the Women's Rights Club is also targeted by trolls. But Jasmine and Chelsea won't let their voices - or those of the other young women in their city - be silenced. They'll risk everything to be heard and effect change ... but at what cost?
From Goodreads.

Aah, another feminist story! And one that's going to look at intersectional feminism! And with poetry! I am so excited! I'm sure this book is going to be really powerful and impactful, and incredible!

We Are Blood And Thunder by Kesia LupoWe Are Blood And Thunder by Kesia Lupo*

In a sealed-off city, it begins with a hunt. A young woman, Lena, running for her life, convicted of being a mage and sentenced to death. Her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear - those with magic.

On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. She knows only too well how the people of Duke's Forest loathe magic. Years ago she escaped before her powers were discovered. But now she won't hide who she is any longer.

A powerful and terrifying storm cloud unites them. It descends over the dukedom and devastates much in its wake. But this is more than a thunderstorm. This is a spell, and the truth behind why it has been cast is more sinister than anyone can imagine ... Only Lena and Constance hold the key to destroying the spell. Though neither of them realise it, they need each other. They are the blood and they have the thunder within

A stunning and original YA fantasy from a fantastic new talent.
From Goodreads.

Can you tell that I'm a huge fan of high fantasy? And how incredible does this sound?! I do love a story that features the "magic isn't allowed" trope, they're just so intriguing and full of danger and excitement! This is right up my street, and I am so looking forward to reading it!

Over to you graphic

So those are my five star predictions! Have you read any of these yet? What did you think? What books are you most looking forward to and predicting five stars for this year? Let me know all in the comments!

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  1. Wow...all are new to me, with the exception of a few I've seen around the blogosphere. I do have my eye on STEPSISTER though! Best of luck and I hope your predictions turn out!

  2. I liked Watch Us Rise. Everything about Jasmine was wonderful. She was a great character, and I liked the mix of prose, poetry, and articles.