This week’s topic seemed like such a fun one until I started thinking about the logistics of how to tackle it. My room is literally covered in books and trying to actually blindfold myself to pick one would be a major hazard. It’s even challenging to assign each pile or shelf a number and go from there, since most of my books are stacked 2-5 layers deep, depending where they sit. I decided to limit myself to stacks that I can see easily without having to move any books around, and use a random number generator to select a pile and then to randomly generate another number for which book in that pile to pick. I’m hoping to mostly land on books that I have not read yet so I can talk about why I bought them, etc. but if I do end up landing on books that I’ve already read, I’ll mention what I thought of them instead. I wish I had more actually visible shelves available so I could do this prompt properly! I also loosely considered using a random number generator to choose from the books that are on my reading challenge plans for this year, but that’s an idea I may save to do at another time. After counting, I found that I had 26 visible shelves and piles just around my room alone, with a varying number of books in each! I’m hoping with so many options, I’ll manage to randomly generate some interesting books to talk about.
Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.
1) Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola
This book was one that I bought mostly on a whim not too long ago after hearing it mentioned on the channel BooksAndLala, where Kayla read it in a video where professional recommendation services choose her TBR of romance books. It had been loosely on my radar before that, but listening to her comments in the vlog made me a lot more interested in trying it myself. This book is about a young woman named Kiki who hosts a popular student radio show where she hopes to make sure other women in her university’s African-Caribbean Society do not fall for players, and ends up calling out one specific guy, Malaki. When she finds herself needing to collaborate with him on a film project about campus romances which ties into her radio show, Kiki and Malaki entre into a fake relationship, forcing Kiki to look beyond her own assumptions and and question whether she may be ready to open herself up to something real. To be honest, I didn’t know very much about this book until I saw Kayla talk about it in detail on her channel, and she immediately sold me on trying it. When it came up on Book Outlet just a few days later, I took it as a sign to grab it. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to trying it as soon as possible!
2) Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade
This book is the third in a romance series that I’ve been meaning to try for a long time! This one just came out in November of last year, and it is about a woman named Maria who has a one-night-stand with Peter, her co-star on the TV series Gods of the Gates, and leaves without a word or even a note. Although she still wants him, Peter has decided he wants nothing to do with her because he knows this role could finally be his big break into becoming a leading man, and a failed relationship could poison the entire set. Shortly after their night together, the two embark on a trip to an Irish island, where they will spend the next 6 years filming. As filming wraps up after six years of keeping their distance, their restraint finally breaks on the last night, but Maria is set to return to Sweden and Peter to Hollywood, although he is determined to change her mind about whether they could really have a future together. This entire series is very high on my list to finally read this year! I’ve been meaning to read Spoiler Alert ever since it came out in 2020, and although I’ve heard much less about All the Feels, it seemed like something I’d enjoy too. I’ve given myself a goal for the year to read more adult contemporary romances, and these three seem like a great place to start!
3) Begin Again by Emma Lord
Apparently the random number generator only wants me to look at romance books today, for some reason! This book is about a college student named Andie who has recently transferred from her community college to a hyper-competitive university to follow her boyfriend, only to discover that he had transferred to her previous school. Finding her plans quickly going off the rails, Andie turns to the school’s pirate radio station, which her mother founded years before she passed away, and Andie begins to find her voice on the air while learning that even the best-laid plans are not necessarily the right ones. Tweet Cute by this author is one of my favourite YA contemporaries that I’ve read in recent years, and I also really enjoyed You Have a Match, although not quite as much. I also have a copy of this author’s previous release When You Get the Chance which, ironically enough, I haven’t had the chance to read yet. I’m really looking forward to trying this one because of the college setting and because I love how this author writes such realistic and relatable characters. This is another book that is very high on my priority list to pick up this year! I love this author’s writing style and I’m looking forward to catching up on both of her books that I haven’t read yet.
4) The Disinvited Guest by Carol Goodman
Of course, just after commenting about the generator only giving me romance books, it goes for a thriller pile. This was another book that I bought mostly on a whim. I became interested in trying this author’s books because I saw her upcoming release The Bones of the Story and thought it sounded amazing. That prompted me to look back at some of her previous releases, and I ended up buying two from Book Outlet, The Disinvited Guest and The Stranger Behind You. This book specifically just came out last summer, and it is about a woman named Lucy who is still dealing with traumatic memories as well as long-lasting health issues due to the COVID pandemic. When a new virus hits years later, she and her husband Reed decide to take refuge on his family’s private island, where they are safely sequestered along with five close friends and family members. Although Lucy knows she should feel safe there, she starts to uncover Reed’s family’s secrets and the island’s history as a quarantine hospital for patients with typhus, causing her to become obsessed with the past. With strange signs appearing in the woods and tensions rising amongst the people locked down together, she begins to question whether the island may be haunted or if someone is out for revenge. I know a lot of people don’t want to read anything remotely related to the pandemic, but I find it very interesting to see how authors will address it and I was especially interested to see that this book focuses on a new pandemic that comes later. I tend to like these kinds of thrillers that are set in isolated locations which may also be haunted, so this sounds like something right up my alley.
5) Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
For the sake of full disclosure, I’ll admit that this was my second attempt for my final pick. The original choice was The House in the Cerulean Sea, and although I’d mentioned above that if I got a book I’d already read I would mention what I thought, but this is a book that I’ve already discussed multiple times so for the sake of some variety, I decided to try again. This is another book that has been on my list for way too long! It is the first in a fantasy duology about a young woman named Maia who dreams of becoming a tailor, but can’t because she is a girl. When a royal messenger summons her father to court, Maia decides to dress as a boy and take his place in a competition that pits 12 tailors against each other for the role of imperial tailor. Maia knows that her life is at risk if anyone discovers her secret, and the competition turns fierce as each of the tailors fights for the role. With a seemingly impossible final task to sew three gowns for the emperor’s bride using laughter from the sun, tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars, Maia sets out on a journey to seek out what she needs to secure her future, and ends up finding more than she could have imagined. This book reminds me a little of Mulan, which is one of my favourite Disney movies (the original animation, not the live-action), and I have also seen it compared to Sarah J. Maas and Renee Ahdieh, both of whom I’ve really enjoyed. I have been meaning to try this for such a long time now, it’s about time I finally pick this duology up!
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