Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Underrated Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is similar to a post I did not too long ago about last year’s underhyped releases, but I was excited for another chance to showcase some books that I think really need for exposure and love from the bookish community. All of the following books have less than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads – which is huge shame!

400460301. ECHO NORTH
Okay, so this was just released last month but I’m still including it because doesn’t even have five hundred ratings and it’s so freaking good. There was also hardly any hype over this book and it took me so long to find an ARC, that I really thought there were none out there. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for an amazing fairytale retelling.

311790062. SWEET BLACK WAVES
This is a YA retelling of Tristan & Iseult that needs more readers. It features a wonderful Irish setting, a lovely heroine, angst, betrayal, friendship, magic, love, and an ending that’s sure to make you feel like you were stabbed repeatedly in the heart.

 

303394933. ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE
I hadn’t read this yet when I wrote my post on the least hyped books that released last year, but I’m glad I included it because I can now say after reading this, that it deserves so much more recognition than what it gets. This was an excellently executed fantasy: the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, a hint of romance, great writing, and dynamic characters. I’m so excited to read the companion novel set to release later this year!

346405724. STATE OF SORROW
I hadn’t even heard of this book until it arrived in my March FairyLoot box. It’s an absolutely spectacular book; the storytelling and the worldbuilding were stunning, and it’s full of political intrigue, breathtaking descriptions, and dynamic characters. The protagonists doesn’t fall under the typical “strong, female heroine” expected of YA fantasy books, but instead is clever, passionate, and possesses a quieter kind of strength.

320729245. GODBLIND
This book was nothing short of amazing, and I have no idea why it is not more popular. I have to confess that this was my first grimdark fantasy book but I absolutely devoured this: it was utterly fantastic and completely engrossing to read. From the compelling characters, to the excellent worldbuilding, I cannot wait to read more in this series.

349649216. THIS HEART OF MINE
A very touching story focused on family, friendship, grief, love, and life. It’s easy to see that this book means a lot to the author by the love and care infused into the writing. The book has a compelling story with an inspiring message. It left me feeling glad I choose to be an organ donor, and can possibly one day in the (hopefully far) future give life back to someone. If you’re looking for a light, fun, uplifting read, I would recommend this one!

369525967. BLANCA & ROJA
Anna-Marie McLemore’s books are something special. She’s so talented at writing magical realism and I love getting lost in her stories. Her books are all extremely well-liked and highly rated, but I still feel like they have hardly any hype? None of her books have over 5,000 ratings which was actually very surprising to me. Why are people sleeping on her?!

250600628. THE WEDDING SHROUD
This is really a fantastic historical fiction series. It’s incredibly well-written and researched, including great characters, complex relationships, and the political and religious intricacies of two very different cultures at a time before Rome was the Roman Empire as we know it. I loved reading about the different political and religious aspects of the Etruscan and Roman cultures during that time period and the conflict between the two civilizations.

204864959. LADY OF THE ETERNAL CITY
This is the last book in the Empress of Rome historical fiction series – one of my favorites ever – and it’s such a shame that it has the least amount of ratings. In my opinion, this is the best book in the whole series and one of my absolute favorites. I always recommend these books to fans of historical fiction so if you enjoy that genre and haven’t checked these out yet, please do!

3270248710. THE BIRD AND THE BLADE
After I had finished reading this, I did two things: I ran to the bathroom for tissues since I was a hot mess and then immediately marked this as a favorite book. I really wish more people would read this book because it was truly phenomenal.

REVIEW: The Waking Forest – Alyssa Wees (ARC)

Waking Forest Leo Comps6APPROVED.inddTitle: The Waking Forest
Author: Alyssa Wees
Rating: ★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 

“And so she cast a glamour over herself and snuck out of the castle at night, fleeing to the forest where the monsters lived. Where she could be a monster too.”

First of all, that cover is extremely alluring and fits the book perfectly. The Waking Forest has such an interesting premise and a really well constructed novel. It’s atmospheric, eerie, and spellbinding.

The writing is something that readers are either going to love or hate. For myself, I found the beautiful prose and lush descriptions the perfect compliment to the two enchanting stories already being told. I can totally see how some people might find it to be too convoluted at times and leading to confusion, but I had no problem following along.

The way the author has crafted the book is very impressive. She weaves two different stories together seamlessly, and the way they converge by the end was extremely creative and made for a unique story. It was very easy to find myself tugged along the as the story went on, but still able to pick up on the little hints that everything was not quite as it seemed. I found the book to be pretty fast-faced and easy to get through, and I was invested in the characters the entire time. I really enjoyed this one and I hope others do as well!

REVIEW: Roomies – Christina Lauren

34466910Title: Roomies
Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: ★★★★★

I always worry that one of these days I’ll read a CLo book that doesn’t live up to my expectations. This is not that day. I wanted a fun, contemporary romance with a smidge of sexiness and and once again these authors delivered on all aspects.

“Crushes are the worst, but in hindsight a crush from afar seems so much easier than this. I should stick to making up stories in my head and watching from a distance like a reasonable creeper.”

I don’t know how they do it, but it seems like in every CLo book I read, there’s a heroine with whom I can relate to. And the fact that I can always connect with the main character on some level makes their books so much more enjoyable. Roomies was a witty, heartwarming, delightful book that I didn’t want to put down. The “fake marriage” trope was executed perfectly and it was so lovely to watch the relationship between Holland and Calvin slowly develop over time. And speaking of Calvin, from the first few chapters he had me turning into a puddle of goo. Holland Bakker is one lucky gal: she gets a handsome, wholesome, adorable Irish man as her husband – that’s the dream (or at least it’s mine).

Roomies had the whole package when it comes to what I look for in a contemporary romance: relatable heroine, witty writing, great dialogue between characters, steamy scenes, and a love interest I wish I could pull forth from the pages. This was such a fun and charming book and I always highly recommend Christina Lauren’s books! 

Favorite Romance Tropes

We all have those tropes that make picking up a certain book a no-brainer. In the honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to talk about all the romance tropes that I absolutely love in a book. If I detect a hint of any of these in a synopsis, you can bet I’ll be adding that book to my TBR. I’m also really mad because as I was writing this post, I was drawing some serious blanks and could not recall any books that featured a lot of these tropes. I need to go back and reread every book I’ve ever had and take notes.


ENEMIES TO LOVERS

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: hate-to-love romances are my bread and butter. There are so many great aspects to this trope: the heated arguments, the palpable angst, the sexual tension, the mixed feelings. Honestly, just give me two characters that hate each other and hint at an attraction and I’ll be good to go.

Favorite Examples: Cardan + Jude from The Cruel Prince, Eelyn + Fiske from Sky in the Deep, Magnus + Cleo from Falling Kingdoms, Matthias + Nina from Six of Crows, Anthony + Kate from The Viscount Who Loved Me


CHILDHOOD FRIENDS TO LOVERS

The next best thing to hate-to-lovers, is having two people who have know each other for forever and then eventually develop feelings – or better yet, discover the feelings have been there all along. I love everything about it: the history between them, the inside jokes, the established friendship, the moments of jealousy before they realize their feelings. 

Favorite Examples: Malyen + Alina from Shadow and Bone, Eril-Fane + Azareen from Strange the Dreamer, Elliot + Macy from Love and Other Words, Jay + Violet from The Body Finder


THERE’S ONLY ONE BED

You know this trope. The protagonist and love interest encounter a situation where they need to stay in a room with only one bed which – to my great delight – they end up sharing. Every time this happens in a book, I turn into giddy, squealing schoolgirl. I don’t know how this trope originated, but I would like to personally thank each and every author that’s ever utilized it. Bonus points if they hate each other. Extra bonus points if they end up cuddling by morning or the male love interest wakes up with a bit of a situation, ya know what I’m saying 😉

Favorite Examples: All of them. (but no seriously, I’m drawing a huge blank and cannot think of a single book with this trope even though I’ve read it so many times. If anyone can think of any specific YA books in which this happens, please comment below and put me out of my misery 😭)


FAKE RELATIONSHIP

I love me a good fake relationship, especially when the characters need to make it believable and act in love: hold hands, snuggling up, kissing. I know it’s probably redundant at this point, but the trope is even better when they don’t even really like each other at the beginning.

Favorite Examples: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Rogue Not Taken, Roomies


KISSING TO HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT

Ah, the infamous “the bad guys are looking for us, let’s kiss so they look the other way!” Or when two characters are in disguise and have to kiss to keep up the ruse. Classic. I love this trope, particularly because it always happens before either of the characters admit to any feelings. And also because kissing, duh.

Favorite Examples: Angelfall, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact, The Devil’s Thief, Rebel of the Sands


HUDDLING TOGETHER FOR SURVIVAL

This is such a good trope, and one that sometimes allows for our beloved characters to strip down in a totally nonsexual way and then cuddle for warmth (or survival). I think I like it so much, because usually they end up falling asleep in each other’s arms, and then it becomes very reminiscent to the whole “there’s only bed” trope which we have all learned by now is one of my favorites.

Favorite Examples: Grave Mercy, The Hunger Games, The White Stag, 


SHARING A HORSE

I’m total and complete trash for this trope. Like, in every fantasy story where there is some kind of horse riding going on, I always pray that some kind of situation arises in which the main character and the love interest have to share a horse for the duration of the rest of the journey. Whether they end up riding in front or in back, doesn’t matter it makes me swoon so hard. 

Favorite Examples: Each and every time it happens.


Are any of these tropes you enjoy reading? What are some of your favorite romance tropes? Or what are some tropes in romance you cannot stand to read? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Couples in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. How did I manage to narrow this down to just ten, you ask? I basically just wrote down the first ten I could think of off the top of my head and then refused to second guess myself or go back and change anything (okay I did change one because I wrote this entire post and then I realized I forgot Jude and Cardan and had to fix the whole thing) 😂 As you can see from my list, I enjoy pairings that are synonymous with angst and having my heart treaded upon. It’s basically my brand.

1. MALYEN + ALINA from The Grisha trilogy
The entire reason I even got into this series was because I happened upon Shadow and Bone under new releases on the Barnes and Nobles website years ago and read the excerpt of the prologue. Beautiful writing + childhood friends-to-lovers? Sign me up. 

2. ERIL-FANE + AZAREEN from Strange the Dreamer
Eril-Fane and Azareen have one of the most beautiful, tragic, heartbreaking stories I’ve ever read. I felt so deeply every time a part of their relationship was revealed. And Laini Taylor damn near destroyed me with Muse of Nightmares. Every scene with them was so emotional that sometimes I had to take breaks afterwards. These two are arguably only side characters and yet still one of my favorite pairings ever.

3. CARDAN + JUDE from The Cruel Prince
This entire relationship is so on brand for me it’s not even funny. Hated words, veiled threats, sexual tension? I barely survived The Wicked King. And there are so many amazing pieces of  fanart floating around at there that I could fill an entire wall of my room with a Jude/Cardan shrine. 

3. MAGNUS + CLEO from Falling Kingdoms
This ship marks my proudest bookish accomplishment to date. Magnus and Cleo were my trash ship from book one, back when most people were arguing for the sides of Cleo’s two other love interests. When Falling Kingdoms first came out, never in a million years would I ever have guess that it would become endgame.

4. MATTHIAS + NINA from Six of Crows
*thinks about the ending of 
Crooked Kingdom*
*cries*

5. CHAOL + CELAENA from Throne of Glass
Chaolaena was originally written as endgame/mates. I have all the receipts. Don’t @ me.

6. VIKRAM + GAURI from A Crown of Wishes
This is another example of an excellent hate-to-love romance. The dynamic between these two was so realistic and convincing, and the witty banter between them was a on a whole other level. And their novella story in Star-Touched Stories was so amazing and emotional.

7. VIX + SABINA from The Empress of Rome series
If there is any couple that can rival Eril-Fane/Azareen as the angiest of all ships, it’s THESE TWO M*THERF*CKERS. I think I developed hypertension while reading these books. So many miscommunications. So many missed opportunities. So much angst.

8. DARA + NAHRI from The Daevabad trilogy
*ignores anything S.A. Chakraborty says on Twitter*
They are going to live happily ever after together in Empire of Gold, sorry I don’t make the rules.

9. JULIAN + EMMA / WILL + TESS from The Dark Artifices / The Infernal Devices.
I don’t know why Cassandra Clare writes relationships with the ultimate goal of hurting me, but she does. I couldn’t even choose between the two of these because they both cause me equal heartache, which therefore means I love them.

10. ARIN + KESTREL from The Winner’s Curse
Enemies-to-lovers. Secrets. Betrayals. Angst. Kissing. What more could a girl ask for in a bookish OTP?

Honorable Mention: ELIAS + LAIA from An Ember in the Ashes because I have no self control.