Happy Saturday, bibliophiles, and happy August! [happy Leo noises]
Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is enemies-to-lovers romance, otherwise known as my FAVORITE romantic trope…
UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST:
8/1/20—Enemies to Lovers
8/8/20—Underrated Books/Hidden Gems
Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
For this Pride Month, I’ve decided to do a batch of weekly recommendations of LGBTQ+ books. I’ll do a different genre each week (though they’ll all probably fall into the YA category), focusing on books with LGBTQ+ protagonists/casts of characters and themes. We’ve come quite a long way in YA, so why not celebrate it?
LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Protagonist is a trans woman/lesbian
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A poignant and potent spin on the classic, superhero/coming of age story, as Danny comes to terms not only with her gender identity and sexuality, but with her newfound powers. I read this one a year or two ago and haven’t gotten around to reading book 2 (Sovereign), but I REALLY need to do that soon!
LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: wlw representation between the two protagonists
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Though I was initially hesitant about reading this one, it turned out to subvert all of my expectations and make for a lushly written novel with romance to DIE for! I suppose you could debate whether or not this is sci-fi or fantasy (I mean, there’s…androids? Basically…), but I’d say it’s a combination of both genres.
I found this tag over at Brianna’s Books and Randomness, who is also the creator of the tag. Though I haven’t re-read the series in ages, The Lunar Chronicles was, from what I can remember, my gateway into YA books, so it will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason. It sounded like a super fun tag to do, so here I go!
The rules are simple: Answer each question, tag or pingback to the creator, and who you found the post from, and tag as many or as few people as you’d like.
CINDER: A SARCASTIC CHARACTER WITH ALL THE SASS
I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again: Finian from Aurora Risingis the YA king of sass. I’m in stitches from his one-liners every time I go back and re-read this.
PRINCE KAI: AN AUTHOR THAT DESERVES A CROWN
Though there’s a plethora of authors out there that deserve this title, today, I’ll dedicate the crown to Sarah Maria Griffin. Nowhere else have I seen such a deft portrayal of emotion and human nature–and not to mention, easily the only author that I’ve ever seen write the 2nd person and make it believable and readable.
QUEEN LEVANA: A COVER WITH STYLE
Ah, Crier’s War…so iridescent…so intricate…so wonderfully sapphic…[wipes single tear from cheek]
CRESS: A FICTIONAL PLACE YOU WOULDN’T MIND BEING STUCK IN
I would have absolutely no qualms about staying anywhere in Leigh Bardugo’s richly imagined Grishaverse. Except for the Unsea, maybe…
CAPTAIN THORNE: THE LAST FUNNY BOOK YOU READ
By no stretch of the imagination is Rogue Onea comedy, but there’s something to be said for K2-SO’s one-liners.
SCARLET: A BOOK WITH A RED SPINE
[internally catalogues all of the library holds I’ve read in the past few months to search for a red spine]
I’ve had this one for quite a while, and since I’ve already given lots of love to The Demon World, I’ll shine the light on Inkmistressthis time.
WOLF: A WHOLESOME CHARACTER THAT COULD KILL YOU
I mean…what gets more “wholesome-but-could-kill-you” than a massive tardigrade that acts like a puppy? All my love to Otto the giant water bear…💗
WINTER: A BOOK THAT PORTRAYS MENTAL ILLNESS
How it Feels to Floatis a beautiful and deeply moving portrayal of depression and anxiety, and an incredibly underrated one, at that. I highly recommend this one!
FLOUR: A BOOK THAT WAS SLOW TO START OFF BUT PICKED UP AS IT WENT ALONG
Shirley Jackson is the master of the slow-burn story, and The Haunting of Hill Houseis no exception. The slow building of this creepy, atmospheric masterpiece will stay with me for a long time after I’ve read it.
BUTTER: A BOOK THAT HAS A REALLY “RICH” AND GREAT PLOT
The plot of Sally Green’s The Smoke Thieves was incredibly intricate in every sense of the word–in the beginning, it was so complex that I found myself wondering how Green would manage to tie everything together in a way that made sense, but surprise, surprise, everything came back together towards the end. What a gem of a series.
EGGS: A BOOK THAT YOU THOUGHT WAS GOING TO BE BAD, BUT TURNED OUT QUITE ENJOYABLE
My expectations of Crier’s Warwere that it was going to be a steaming pile of cliches, but I was pleasantly surprised by the multi-layered world building, culture, and poetic writing…and not to mention, the swoon-worthy, enemies-to-lovers sapphic romance.
SUGAR: A SUGARY/SWEET BOOK
Oh, Rainbow Rowell, master of the heart-meltingly adorable romance…
Most of Rowell’s novels have this level of romance, on some level, but the sweetness of Fangirlstood out most to me for the purposes of this tag, from bonding over books and music to specialty lattes.
ICING: A BOOK THAT COVERED EVERY SINGLE ELEMENT THAT YOU ENJOY OF A BOOK
You guessed it…
I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again…
Aurora Risingis, for all intents and purposes, everything that I’ve ever wanted in a book–daring adventures in space, with a ragtag cast of unique characters.
SPRINKLES: A BOOK SERIES THAT YOU TURN TO WHEN YOU’RE FEELING DOWN
The Search for WondLa trilogy was definitely a major part of what not only got me through middle school, but what inspired me to be a writer, and my gateway to the genre of science fiction. I haven’t re-read it in a year or so, but I always love flipping back through the gorgeous illustrations: at this point, each one’s a different way to get to Memory Lane.
CHERRY ON TOP: YOUR FAVORITE BOOK THIS YEAR SO FAR
…First of all, as Megabunny Reads said in their post…what? Aren’t cherries on top reserved for sundaes? I’ve only seen…maybe two pictures of cakes with a cherry on top, and it doesn’t sound all that appealing…
[ahem] Anyway, now that I’ve already mentioned Aurora Rising, I think there’s only one other choice for the top spot this year…
The heart-pounding conclusion to the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, Shusterman truly pulled out all the stops and then some in The Toll. This is Shusterman’s storytelling at its very best, and an exemplary trilogy in the vast fount of literature that defines today’s sci-fi/dystopian novels.
Hi again, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!
After dithering about whether or not I wanted to read Crier’s War, I bought a signed copy a few weeks ago, complete with the John Hancock of book signatures on the inside. (Go big or go home, Ms. Varela. Thanks for making my day.) Though I had average expectations, Crier’s War defied expectations, with an intricate and immersive world, and a forbidden romance to die for (and not to mention, a ✨very gorgeous and shiny cover✨. )
Enjoy this week’s review!
Crier’s War (Crier’s War, #1)
Many years ago, man made the first Made being, an automaton with independent thought. They grew more intelligent as the years went on, and soon, they had overthrown the human race, settling in gold-laced palaces, while the humans were banished to the streets.
Crier is Made royalty, a princess with hidden potential and a tenuous betrothal in her future. Ayla is a human servant, selling her wares in the street while harboring a deep hatred for the Made, after the massacre of her family. In a chance meeting, Ayla saves Crier from certain death; They both know that their relationship cannot continue, but the days go by, and the unlikely pair find themselves drawn to each other. Both knowing that their romance can never be, they must come to terms with their fates, while navigating the political turmoil that threatens to topple the worlds of the human and the Made.
Forbidden romance, forbidden romance, forbidden romance. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before, hundreds, if not thousands of times. Lucky for us, we’ve got ourselves a well-executed, emotional, and LGBTQ+ romance in Crier’s War. Who could ask for more?
And beyond the romance, Crier’s War has several, fantastically executed aspects. I particularly loved the rich worldbuilding, complete with a lovely map, a timeline, and an intricate history, as well as an in-depth look at how the Made government works. For the most part, Varela successfully did this without excessive infodumping, so that’s a big YES from me. There were, however, some little excerpts from Made histories in between chapters; I personally found only 25% of them to be relevant, but hey, that’s just me. They seemed a bit extraneous and unnecessary, but they did add to the prospect of the rich cataloguing of the tumultous history that this book exhibited.
But the ending. That did NOT feel like an ending. I get cliffhangers, but that felt far too abrupt. At least give us some sense of finish, some sense of continuity, I beg you…but I must admit, it does leave me hungering for the sequel, so I guess that it did its job.
A lovely melding of science-fiction and fantasy, Crier’s War garners a solid 4 stars from me: romance to root for, and a world to lose yourself in.
Crier’s War has been confirmed to be part of a series; the only knowledge we have of its sequel, since this book came out a little over a month ago, is that it’s been titled Iron Heart, and it’s expected to come out in 2020. Brace yourselves, folks…
I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day! Stay tuned for more nerdy content later in the week! 🙂