Tag Archives: Recommendation

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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?

If You Liked… The Winner’s Curse

Ever since I read the conclusion to The Winner’s Trilogy, I’ve been thinking how much I loved these books and what a great series it was. I absolutely loved the forbidden love, strong characters, political intrigue, and a fantasy world without magic. The Winner’s Trilogy has grown to be a fan-favorite within the YA community and if you’re a fan of the series, I wanted to share some of my personal recommendations on what to read next!


if you liked the winner's curse


Try… SCARLET by A.C. Gaughen.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I think SCARLET and this Robin Hood-retold series is a great read for those who liked THE WINNER’S CURSE. Since it’s based on Robin Hood, it has that fantasy world but there’s no magic involved in the story. SCARLET also features a very strong female main character (named, well, Scarlet) who has her own hardships but learns to overcome. There’s also a bit of — well, I guess I wouldn’t call it forbidden romance — but the characters essentially hem and haw and don’t quite feel it’s right to be together. The books in this series are just really well done. I read them back-to-back-to-back!

Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I had a similar experience reading THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN as I had reading THE WINNER’S CURSE — the book wasn’t slow to start but it took me a while to really get in the swing of things, but once I did, oh boy. The book was good. The characters really grow, the romance becomes intense, and there’s some really interesting world building throughout that provides insight to secret motives and a whole lot of political conflict. THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN was the first book I read from Sarah Fine but it really got quite interesting and I loved how it turned a few tropes upside down.

The Scorpio Races paperback coverTry… THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
THE SCORPIO RACES isn’t really like THE WINNER’S CURSE but I like its original feel, similar to what I felt when I read The Winner’s Trilogy. It walks a line between fantasy and magical realism (I’d say more on the side of magical realism since it does mention real places and it is largely realistic aside from its one magical element — the water horses). It’s a little bit fantasy in the sense that the book takes place on the fictional island of Thisby, similar to the fictional regions in The Winner’s Trilogy. THE SCORPIO RACES is much more character-driven than action-driven but I think that’s also what makes it so special. You really get to know the characters and that’s something I liked about Sean and Puck in THE SCORPIO RACES as well as Arin and Kestrel in THE WINNER’S CURSE.

The Wrath and the Dawn coverTry… THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
THE WRATH AND THE DAWN was an intimidating book for me, having received so many amazing reviews before I had even read it. This one took me a little bit to get the hang of as well but the set-up and intro is really necessary to everything that follows, which sets up a wonderfully sweeping romance, gorgeous descriptions of setting, and some truly interesting and complex characters. I love how much influence even secondary characters had on the plot of this book and it really shows how even the smallest of actions can affect and entire kingdom. The end of the book really started to dip into those magical elements as well so this would be a great selection for fans of THE WINNER’S CURSE who are just dipping their toes into the fantasy world.

The StoryspinnerTry… THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I loooved THE STORYSPINNER when I first read it. There was just something special about this book that had me diving in head first. The book has a Portuguese influence which really made it feel unique and quite distinct from so many fantasy books that usually venture to Iberian influence through Spanish adaptations and not Portuguese, if they venture there at all. I also really loved all of the different character POVs. There were quite a few (at least six) for each of the main characters in the crew but I didn’t feel confused by the switches or inclusion of any of them. I really loved the overall feel — and the series is only a duology so you can read both books back-to-back!

Grave MercyTry… GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I selected GRAVE MERCY largely for its political plot and its slow burn romance. This series from Robin LaFevers is actually a trilogy of companions that all revolve around the same political plot and each lead in their respective books play a certain part in the on-going conflict. Based on some real-life history, GRAVE MERCY can technically be categorized as historical fiction but it’s also a bit fantasy hedging on the side of mythology, the basis of which revolves around the god of Death. I’m not big on historical fiction but these books are so well written that it’s easy to get caught up in the story! The slow burn romance is also top notch and I love the gradual yet amazingly strong connection that the characters make with each other.

The Kiss of DeceptionTry… THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

This is a series I still need to continue but so many people love it! Where the first book left off, there was just a hint of the magical elements that were to come into play so it’s a nice push into the fantasy world, still getting the basis of world-building with the (current) absence of of magic, for the most part. The book was quite interesting with some really clever twists! I think this is a fantastic read-alike for those who were fans of The Winner’s Trilogy and personally, I’m looking forward to continuing on with the series! I was waiting for the very last book to come out so I could read the second and third one right after the other because I have a feeling I won’t want to wait!

GracelingTry… GRACELING by Kristin Cashore.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
GRACELING was one of my first forays into fantasy and I instantly fell in love! I had no idea what fantasy was all about when I first picked up this book. My first experience was The Lord of the Rings and I just really had a hard time with Hobbits and orcs and the like. Once I got more into high fantasy that felt a little more… realistic, I guess, I really started getting into it a lot more! GRACELING opened that door with a little bit of magic and a whole lot of amazing including characters, setting, and some really creepy villain-types.

the crown's gameTry… THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I adored THE CROWN’S GAME. I wouldn’t say it has a slow start but the build is gradual and totally rewarding. I loved getting to know a new setting (based on actual events, although the book is not really historical fiction) as well as the two characters and how their worlds collided. It’s one of those amazing and yet terrifying books that basically makes you fall in love with two characters but promises to destroy one (no spoilers there… that IS “the Crown’s Game”) so I spent the whole book basically holding my breath… as I had with The Winner’s Trilogy! I love the dashes of magic and this forbidden romance just had me all aflutter.

rebel of the sandsTry… REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
REBEL OF THE SANDS was another 2016 favorite that I just loved all around. It definitely has a lighter feel and a bit more snark than The Winner’s Trilogy but I think it’s a great recommendation despite its different feel. If you loved the writing and strong characters of The Winner’s Trilogy, REBEL OF THE SANDS is a great fantasy read to jump to for a little more action, some fast-talking (and fast-shooting) characters, and a bit more magic. I also loved how there was a clandestine identity (ooh, in more ways than one) and how two very different characters ended up being quite similar. This book was just great and I’m highly anticipating its sequel!

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Try… THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

Sarah J. Maas has grown to be quite a household name by now with huge hit series like Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses. Even though I’m sure most fantasy readers have picked this one up by now, I wanted to include THRONE OF GLASS in my recommendations today because I love Sarah’s storytelling and her incredible ability to really build things up throughout the course of a series, much like how I felt with Marie Rutkoski’s books. I love the feeling that the books are really going somewhere and that they’re so connected throughout. The character growth is also monumental and I appreciate that things don’t always go the “right” way just to please an audience. They truly feel like realistic situations and feelings/maturity/strengths change over time.

Try… SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

Leigh Bardugois basically queen and if you haven’t read any of her books yet, YOU MUST. SHADOW AND BONE kicks off one of my favorite series ever, The Grisha Trilogy, and although it’s a world based largely in magic — ahem, small science — I think it’s a great read alike for THE WINNER’S CURSE even though Marie’s books don’t contain magic. Alina does some serious growing throughout the books and really comes into her own abilities, much like Kestrel. Both leading ladies are forced to face what their strengths really mean in terms of their future and how they’re going to help their country. It’s quite an excellent journey to witness!

So what do YOU think? Which books would you recommend for fans of The Winner’s Trilogy? Are there any favorites of yours on this list?

I hope you enjoyed the post! If you’re looking for more reading guides or recommendations or more posts about The Winner’s Trilogy, check out some of my links below! 

More reading guides and/or recommendations: 

More posts about The Winner’s Trilogy