I took a few days off for the holidays this year, but it is time… to finally revisit round two of my five-star predictions. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it, but here we are. I managed to finish the final book on this list with just one week to go in 2020, and I am so very happy I did. But it also just feels really nice to be able to go into next year without this on my plate.
In case you missed my original post where I selected these books (or totally forgot because it was a year ago and even I couldn’t tell you which books are on this list without looking at it so why would you remember), you can go check out my Five-Star Predictions, Round Two. And then you can keep scrolling to read if they actually were all five-star reads. Or you can just keep scrolling and skip to the results. Either way.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
I’ll be honest: I’m still not quite sure why I initially put this on my list. I have read Leigh Bardugo before, and ended up stalling out halfway through the Grisha trilogy (I just can’t stand Mal – his name literally means “bad”, so I feel justified). I haven’t yet read Six of Crows for that exact reason. But I’m glad I gave this one a shot, because I did really enjoy it. I actually initially rated this five stars. But, after thinking about it for a few days, I realized this was a four-star book. The set-up for the next book was great (hence the immediate five-star rating), but I realized that I didn’t love the majority of this book, even though it was good. I will probably continue the series (and maybe even reread this one), but I don’t think it had a big enough impact to really stay with me. Actually, now that it’s been a while since I’ve read this, I don’t remember too much about it and have kind of lost interest. So, no five stars here, but it was close.
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
Now, this one, I loved. There is just something about Seanan McGuire’s writing that works for me. I can definitely see why this wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I thought it was fantastic. I loved the story and science/magic blend and the characters (even though I will admit the names Roger and Dodger are kind of ridiculous). But I did like that the main characters were a little older than the typical fantasy heroes nowadays (not that thirty is old, it’s just really nice to see characters my own age in a book that isn’t about relationships). Definitely five stars! I loved it, and will keep reading all the Seanan McGuire.
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
I did predict that this would be a five-star read for me. So no one is surprised that it was. I just really enjoy Rory Power’s writing. She has a very dark mind, and I am here for it. I love the mystery and the strange horror element. I have seriously never read anything like her books. They’re just so weird and wonderful. I really don’t want to give too much away, because so many twists!, so just go read it if you’re into weird stories. It was an easy five stars. I can’t wait to see what Rory Power does next.
The Overstory by Richard Powers
I have complicated feelings about this book. The first third or so was easily five stars. It was just a really beautiful love letter to trees and the impact they have on us. It reminded me of Walden and made me want to go find a huge oak tree to sit under and read. And then… it got weird. Like, the second part was a totally different book. Which I didn’t hate, but it was so disappointing after such a beautiful beginning. I just wanted more of the first part, and not what I actually got. This actually ended up on my most disappointing books list this year because of that. Still gave it four stars, but that was mostly because I loved the beginning so much.
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
In case you are unfamiliar, this is based on the true story of one Jewish family during World War II. It is told by one of their descendants, and follows a middle-aged couple and their five children, children-in-law, and grandchildren as they are separated during the war. They all have vastly different experiences and go through extreme hardships. But they also all make it out on the other side. Like the title says, they were the lucky ones. This book got me back into reading after a very big reading slump. It’s also the first book in months that had me reading until the wee hours of the morning because I had to finish it. Obviously, I loved it. So much. Another easy five-stars (which isn’t too surprising given that it was recommended by a friend who always recommends five-star books – including two I read for the previous round).
That’s it for my second five-star predictions wrap up! All in all, three out of five isn’t too bad. Especially considering the other two books were four-star reads. This was mostly really fun. This year wasn’t the best for reading, so I barely managed to get this done. But I did it! And I read some great books along the way. That said, I’m not totally sure I’m going for round three, at least right now. But let me know if you’d like to see another round, and maybe I can put something together.
Have your read any of these books? Are there any books you think might be five-star reads for me?