Tag Archives: Fast Five Friday

Fast Five Friday | Historical Fiction With a Twist

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | HISTORICAL FICTION WITH A TWIST

I’m currently reading HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA, the sequel to STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco and loving it! I’m not really a big historical fiction person but I have found that I’ve been loving historical fiction with a twist of its own. Whether it’s the addition of magic, a brand-new mystery, or an alternate timeline, historical fiction with a twist has really been grabbing me lately and I’m loving the intrigue of true life meets fiction!

kerri maniscalcoGrave Mercy

What: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Who: Kerri Maniscalco
Why: Audrey Rose is all thorns and roses, feminine and yet tough, and she starts on the Jack the Ripper murders while apprenticing for her uncle as a forensics student.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Crown’s Game
Who: Evelyn Skye
Why: Imperial Russia takes a twist with the introduction of a history of magic. A battle to the death arises as two enchanters fight to become the right-hand magician of the Tsar of Russia.
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Born Wicked
Who: Jessica Spotswood
Why: Historical fiction meets magic again, this time with more witchy involvement in our past. An alt-history take on the Salem Witch Trials. Are these books good on audio? I desperately need to finish this series!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Grave Mercy
Who: Robin LaFevers
Why: Grave Mercy is some serious historical fiction complete with wars, tactics, and actual historical figures. There’s a lot of history in these books but I didn’t feel bogged down with facts and data. The story was fantastic, plus, assassin nuns. Nice mythology twist to bring a dark and mystical side.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Walk on Earth a Stranger
Who:  Rae Carson
Why: I actually wasn’t the biggest fan of this book because for as much as it was advertised as historical fantasy, there wasn’t a whole lot of magic in this first book, BUT I did love that it focused on a time/place that isn’t often covered — the Gold Rush.
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Do you have any other favorite historical fiction novels with a good twist to them? I’m totally in the mood for these right now and always up for more!

Fast Five Friday | Witchy Reads

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | WITCHY READS

Halloween may be over but I’m joining my two best friends in Salem this weekend and I thought it would be fun to share my favorite witchy reads this Friday! I’m so excited to see all of the Salem sights and maybe even delve into some spooky spots, even though i’m a total chicken!

I actually haven’t read as many witchy books as I thought I have but I’m really loving how different each of these books is from the next! It’s really neat to see the different settings and plot selections for these types of characters!

adriana mather how to hang a witchBorn WIckedHeir of FireHarry Potter and the Sorcerertrial by fire book cover

What: How to Hang a Witch
Who: Adriana Mather
Why: Salem Witch Trials in a modern day setting, with some real and some made-up history to tie it all together! Also has a Hocus Pocus meets The Craft feel. And the author is a real descendant of some of the people involved in the witch trials!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Born Wicked 
Who: Jessica Spotswood
Why: The first in a witchy, alt-history trilogy. This book was so interesting and I don’t know why I STILL haven’t read more of this series but I really need to!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Heir of Fire
Who: Sarah J. Maas
Why: I’m sure most of us are no strangers to this series but I really loved the addition of Manon and the witch clans to this saga! It’s neat to see witches in a high fantasy setting instead of urban fantasy.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Harry Potter
Who: J.K. Rowling
Why: How can we talk about witches and not talk about Harry Potter? It’s truly a classic in so many ways and I love that the world is still growing so many years later.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Trial by Fire
Who:  Josephine Angelini
Why: Another first in a trilogy, TRIAL BY FIRE is a fantas-sci collection, meaning that it’s fantasy as in witches, but sci-fi as in other dimensions. Very cool.
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! What are some of your favorite witchy reads? Which witchy books should I read next??

Fast Five Friday | Sports Themes

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | SPORTS THEMES

I was born and raised and still live in the Chicago suburbs so the Cubs’ World Series win is so exciting for me! I haven’t read a lot of books with sports themes/revolving around sports but I thought it would be fun to pick a handful of books that could fit the theme — and you can always recommend more to me when I’m out!

on the fence kasie westBeing Sloane JacobsFirst & ThenThe Scorpio Races paperback coverthe distance from me to you

What: On the Fence
Who: Kasie West
Why: Charlie is a tomboy and has a family full of brothers. I love the scrimmages and skirmishes they get into throughout the book and it’s so much fun to read about a tomboy! 
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Being Sloane Jacobs
Who: Lauren Morrill
Why: This wasn’t my favorite of Lauren Morrill’s but I liked the Parent Trap-type feel and the switcheroo between hockey player and figure skater!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: First & Then
Who: Emma Mills
Why: This debut from Emma Mills has a heavy football theme and it brought me back to my high school days of watching games under the lights!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Scorpio Races
Who: Maggie Stiefvater
Why: This may be stretching it but horseback riding and racing is a sport, right?
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Distance Between Me and You
Who:  Marina Gessner
Why: An unconventional sport involving hiking the Appalachian Trail!
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! My sports books are far more lacking than I realized… What would you recommend I read next?? I’m thinking… Miranda Kenneally?

Fast Five Friday | For Fans of Harry Potter

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | FOR FANS OF HARRY POTTER

I previously compiled a list of my Harry Potter recommendations with a whole ton of suggestions for adults who grew up reading the series. Today I’m sharing five quick recommendations for books that had a sort of Harry Potter feel because after finishing Sherry Thomas’ Elemental Trilogy, I can’t stop thinking of all of the HP feels that it gave me! With everyone either trying to push CURSED CHILD out of their minds or hungry for more magic after being back in the world of Harry Potter, I thought this would be a great time for some more recs!

What: The Burning Sky (Book one of The Elemental Trilogy)
Who: Sherry Thomas
Why: Boarding school, a chosen one, a parallel that totally just dawned on me but I can’t tell you now because it spoils a character’s twist, giant serpents, an evil villain, and an Umbridge archetype. Oh, and magic of course.
Where: Goodreads | Review (to come)

What: The Rithmatist (Book one in the Rithmatist series, number of books TBD)
Who: Brandon Sanderson
Why: Magic, Snape archetype, boarding school, magic and non-magic wiedlers, a character with a thirst for knowledge and a best friend who doesn’t really care about school.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Name of the Wind (Book one in the Kingkiller Chronicle)
Who: Patrick Rothfuss
Why: Orphan main character, evil villain crew, boarding school, learning magic, great friend crew, wacky teacher who lends great support, teacher who seems out to get MC
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Alanna: The First Adventure (Book one in the Song of the Lioness quartet)
Who: Tamora Pierce
Why: General Harry Potter feels, from the age range (starting at middle grade and moving to young adult) to the friendships to the general tone and feelnigs it gave me
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Night Circus
Who: Erin Morgenstern
Why: “Harry Potter for adults” — real magic, competing wizards, a beautiful love story, a motley crew of family
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! What are your go-to recommendations for Harry Potter fans? Which books do you think are the best read-alikes?

Fast Five Friday | About a Girl

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | ABOUT A GIRL

I needed another quick post for Friday and these Fast Five Friday posts are too much fun! I feel like more and more books lately have names in the title and it hit me as a quick inspiration for another recommendation post. Here are some of my favorite leading ladies whose names appear as the title!

CinderSeraphinaTiger Lilysummer of sloane erin l. schneider

What: Cinder (Book one of The Lunar Chronicles)
Who: Marissa Meyer
Why: I mean, obviously. It’s only one of my favorite series. But really, CINDER and The Lunar Chronicles are VERY popular with a large crowd. Fairy tales. Retelling. Cyborgs. Space. If the cyborg throws you off, it did for me too. Don’t worry — it’s awesome.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Seraphina (Book one in the Seraphina duology)
Who: Rachel Hartman
Why: I actually still need to read book two (the books are just so large!) but SERAPHINA was delightful. I easily fell right into the book and felt at home. I also love the dragons-living-as-humans thing and there’s a lovely musical connection as well.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Tiger Lily
Who: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Why: Coincidentally, another fairy tale retelling. I don’t even really like Peter Pan that much but I loooved Tiger Lily. Great story of a deep love, friendship, family, and tough decisions. It was actually quite the emotional book and beautifully written.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Alanna: The First Adventure (Book one in the Song of the Lioness quartet)
Who: Tamora Pierce
Why: This was my first Tamora Pierce book and I looooved it. I don’t read a lot of middle grade books but ALANNA gave me the same feelings I have reading Harry Potter — the nostalgia was there even though I was reading it for the first time. I just absolutley loved it. I still need to continue the series!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Summer of Sloane
Who: Erin L. Schneider
Why: This was a great book about really putting yourself first and a great journey of self-discovery. After a huge fight with her best friend and her boyfriend, Sloane takes a break from “reality” when she visits her mom back in Hawaii. The book had an amazing atmosphere and made me even more anxious to visit Hawaii and it had some really great relationships. I especially loved their friendships.
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! What are your favorite books with leading ladies in the title? Are any of these main gals some of your favorites?

Fast Five Friday | Thieves, Spies, and Espionage

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off. 

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | THIEVES, SPIES, AND ESPIONAGE

I recently read the first two books in Maggie Hall’s Conspiracy of Us series and I am all wrapped up in espionage, political thrillers, and thievery. CONSPIRACY OF US and MAP OF FATES are more international thrillers than espionage but they do have kind of the same “secret” feel (secret society, secret agents… they’re along the same line, right?) and I just can’t get enough! I have a bunch on my TBR for the upcoming months and some great-sounding titles for 2017! Today I’m recommending five of my favorites if you’re in the mood for cons, heists, and spies!

Heist SocietyAlso Known As - Robin BenwayThe Lies of Locke Lamorasix of crows

What: Heist Society (Book one of the Heist Society series)
Who: Ally Carter
Why: Ally Carter is kind of the queen of YA heists and espionage. HEIST SOCIETY is my first series from her but her books are so much fun! Think Ocean’s 11 meets TV’s Leverage. 
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Also Known As (Book one in the Also Known As duology)
Who: Robin Benway
Why: These books were my first from Robin Benway and they’re amazing read-alikes for HEIST SOCIETY! A little less con, a little more spy.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Book one in the Gentleman Bastard series)
Who: Scott Lynch
Why: Fantasy cons! Thievery! Debauchery! Swearing! Bromances! Scott Lynch’s books are the best. They’re a riot and if you’re ready for some amazingly fun and also complex adult fantasy, this is the series for you.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Six of Crows (Book one in The Dregs duology)
Who: Leigh Bardugo
Why: Bardugo is queen and things get a little heistier in this Grisha companion series. (Spellcheck thinks heistier is a word. Cool.) Check out the dregs of society but heroes of our hearts pulling off their biggest con yet in SIX OF CROWS!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Scarlet (Book one in the Scarlet trilogy)
Who: A.C. Gaughen
Why: Gender flipped Robin Hood retelling! Well, Robin is still male but Will Scarlet (Scarlet) is female. The darker side of the Robin Hood tales, a terrible villain, and Scarlet making a name for herself and standing up for her crew.
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! What are your favorite books featuring thievery, spies, and general espionage? How about political thrillers? International affairs? What books are you looking forward to in 2016/2017?

Fast Five Friday | Books for Fantasy Newbies

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off. 

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | BOOKS FOR FANTASY NEWBIES

Intimidated by picking up fantasy books? New to fantasy and not sure where to start? I was in your same position once. I thought fantasy was way over my head but I just needed a good place to start and to figure out exactly what I liked. Just like I had preferences on my romance stories, I also had preferences in my fantasy stories. Here are my suggestions for fantasy newbies!

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)The Scorpio RacesRed Queen (Red Queen, #1)The Night Circus

What: The Winner’s Curse (Book one of The Winner’s Trilogy)
Who: Marie Rutkoski
Why: Need to ease into fantasy? This is a fantasy world (totally fabricated, unique places, world-building) but with no magic, no creatures, and no overly-elaborate names.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Graceling (Book one in the Graceling companion series)
Who: Kristin Cashore
Why: This was my first fantasy book when I started readlly getting into YA! It’s a clean and easy introduction to high fantasy and a magic system without things getting too complicated.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Scorpio Races
Who: Maggie Stiefvater
Why: Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series is to die for BUT it is quite deep and complicated. If you’re afraid to delve into that magic so quickly, try The Scorpio Races. The fantasy element here are water horses. They look like regular horses for the most part but live in the sea and have a taste for blood. The book is the strong and silent type but still full of so many emotions. Definitely more grounded in reality with a dash of fantasy. (PS – I love this book so much that I re-read it every fall.)
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Red Queen (Book one in the Red Queen Trilogy)
Who: Victoria Aveyard
Why: This book/series is hugely popular and has a dash of a dystopian feel if you’re a Hunger Games fan (I had some Hunger Games feels). It introduces the concepts of different abilities but the focus is more on the politics of everything than piecing together a magic system. Easy to understand, hard to tear away from!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Night Circus
Who: Erin Morgenstern
Why: This is my “Harry Potter for adults” recommendation. I love the natural magical abilities and how they’re applied to create the titular Night Circus. Plus there’s a delightfully swoony romance and general wonderful quirky characters. It’s truly magical.
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Which books would you recommend for new readers of fantasy or readers who are hesitant to jump into crazy world-building and magic systems?