TBR & Goals

5 Star Predictions #5

Hello! In a surprising turn of events, it took me less to read all the 7 books I predicted would be five stars for me than it took me to read through all my 5 star predictions the last two times, in which I only chose five. I don’t know why either. Maybe it’s that this time I actually chose stuff I was excited about instead of following the hype, or maybe it’s that I’m finally learning to recognize which books I will like.

So, today I’m choosing the next round. Let’s see if it works!

First, a Wrap-Up

Evidence seems to point to “this time around I chose books I actually wanted to read”, as my success rate this time was also unusually high.

  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo – I’m glad this novella is getting a lot of love because it deserves all of it. I love stories told through details like this one, and the atmosphere really was what made it work. 5 stars.
  • Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee – I loved this. Not like I loved Machineries of Empire, but still a lot, and yes, I gave it 5 stars. The romance! The pacifist mecha dragon! So much good in here.
  • In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado – this was perfect and there’s no doubt about that. Also an extremely intense read, so take care. 5 stars.
  • Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi – this was a remarkable book, and I’m so glad I read it (…and that I put it onto this list so that it didn’t stay on my TBR for years). I initially gave it 4 stars, but it stayed with me even more than I expected, so I raised it to 5 stars.
  • The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood – close enough! This was a very unusual and fun sci-fantasy novel full of unhinged immortal beings and other things that really appeal to me, so of course I loved a lot of it. I gave it 4.5 stars, but rounded up.
  • Desdemona and the Deep by C.S.E. Cooney – this was exactly my favorite kind of weird and I can’t believe I almost didn’t read it. Of course it was 5 stars, and it may be my favorite fae story.
  • Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente – I knew this was a risky one because it’s an older book, and in fact it didn’t work out (not a five stars) but I still loved it a lot, despite its many, many flaws. 3.5 stars, and yet I’m not disappointed.

And you know the other thing all of these books had in common? They weren’t YA. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

The New Predictions

As usual, no sequels! That would be too easy, or maybe I’m just looking for more reasons not to read them.


The Devourers by Indra Das – beautifully written, Indian adult fantasy I’ve heard very little about, but every single thing I’ve heard about it was great? Of course I hope I’m going to love it.

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin – I know my experiences with this author are really uneven, but I loved The Narcomancer (in the collection How Long ‘Til Black Future Month) so much and it’s set in the same world; The Killing Moon belongs on this list.

In at the Deep End by Kate Davies – because variety in genres is good, and what I need most is motivation to read the adult contemporaries on my TBR! Anyway, this should be an intense read about abuse in F/F relationships.

New Releases

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott: I’ve somehow managed to not read a book by this author before, but this is a sapphic genderbent Alexander the Great retelling, and… wow do I have high hopes. Queer space operas usually end up being my favorite books of the year; at least, they have taken the first spot in the list the last three.

Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston – I’ve never read anything by this author before either, but I’ve seen multiple people I trust a lot praise this on twitter recently, and I’m always looking for trying new-to-me voices in adult fantasy (which I don’t reach for often enough and that’s my fault). Also, “poison desert” sounds really creepy and I’m here for it.

Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling – I know, I know, the only book I’ve tried by this author it’s one that ended up on hold, but consider: queer horror with poisonous plants. Hello??

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

16 thoughts on “5 Star Predictions #5

  1. I’m still in denial that you liked TUN so much dldhdkddj at some point I was really afraid you’d end up hating it! But I’m glad you didn’t.

    I’m probably going to start Phoenix Extravagant soon (as a reward when I finish one of my other current ARCs) and I’ve never done a 5 stars prediction post but if I did it would be there (although I’ve still never Understood any of the author’s short stories sldhdkd so why do I think I’m going to love this? Is it the pacifist mecha dragon?….of course it is)

    Anyway, nice that you actually read all your predictions so soon and that you liked them! Reading more = learning what you like = becoming better at choosing books you’ll probably like = refining your tastes.
    I might try doing one of these posts as well but I’m afraid I’ll end up never reading my predictions if I do dkddjdj but I always like reading them on other people’s blogs!

    (Oh, and I need to check out the sapphic genderbent Alexander the great book…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I found Phoenix Extravagant to be easier to follow even than the average adult fantasy? (Something that is definitely not true for Machineries of Empire.) So I think you should be fine; it’s not written in mathematical purple prose this time dklhg the only thing about it is that it’s somewhat slow at the beginning. I hope you like it!

      I mean I removed at least one prediction from my TBR in past rounds upon learning more about it and understanding it wouldn’t be my thing so you can also do that. For me it took years to be able to guess more accurately (What I’m learning is that the feeling “yes I really really want to read that as soon as possible” is a better prediction than good reviews or critical acclaim, at least for me. Let’s see if it holds up this round?) Also this kinds of posts are fun to write!

      And about the TUN delay, but also about everything, really: it was all on the physics exam. it’s always physics’ fault

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad so many of these were amazing reads for you! I loved The Empress of Salt and Fortune and should be getting to my arc of Phoenix Extravagant fairly soon (for some reason I’m not as excited about it as I was when I first requested it, so it’s great to see positive reviews to remind me that I’ll probably love it). There’s several in your new prediction list that I want to look up as possible additions to my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow what a success rate! One of these days I need to try Yoon Ha Lee’s work. The Unspoken Name and In the Dream House are both on my TBR, too, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed them. πŸ™‚

    I’m so intrigued by Unconquerable Sun and I’m really interesting in hearing your thoughts on The Killing Moon–I haven’t read that one yet and I’d like to read all of Jemisin’s novels after I loved The Broken Earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you like them! And I can already say that from Jemisin’s backlist I loved The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (personally more than The Fifth Season: it was more of my kind of thing). And same, I don’t really know what to expect from Unconquerable Sun but I hope it’s good!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh the titles : The Empress of Salt and Fortune, and Phoenix Extravagant sound so pretty! Yay, it’s great that you enjoyed so many of the books that you thought you would!! Hope your new predictions are just as successful 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been curious about Palimpsest- so it’s cool to see you still enjoyed it even though it wasn’t a full five star read! I am very much looking forward to both Phoenix Extravagant and Unconquerable Sun. (The size of it is putting me off the second one). I also sometimes wonder if YA just falls victim to it’s own hype? I feel like YA is hyped so much more than adult SFF that it’s hard not to be disappointed. I also think YA tends to be just a little too predictable for my tastes but that’s just me. Glad you enjoyed these.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …I hadn’t noticed how long Unconquerable Sun was. I rarely think that books over 500 pages need to be that long, so I’m kind of worried, even though I still think I’ll at least like it

      My issues with Palimpsest were pretty much all about its portrayal of Italy and the main Italian character (…zero research went into it, so much that he speaks like two sentences in Italian in the whole book and they’re full of grammatical errors) so if one isn’t Italian and doesn’t know the language they’re likely to enjoy it more than I did, I think. Other than that, I loved it.
      And I agree about YA – given the hype and the way most of them fall short in the ending and plot twists, it’s difficult for me to tell which ones I’ll like.


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