5-Star Predictions Wrap-Up and New Predictions #3

“The day I went missing. That’s where I’ll start. Keep up.”

First line in Echo Cycle by Patrick Edwards

I might have forgotten that I had read all my 5-star predictions but my wrap-up is here now! It’s time to reveal whether I have gotten any better at predicting which books I’ll give 5 stars since the first two times were major failures. Let’s see if third time’s the charm.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Rating: 4 stars

This was a perfectly fine book but the plot wasn’t the strongest. It dragged quite a bit in a book that ended up feeling very long because of it. The characters were good but its biggest selling point is the atmosphere of Spain in the 50s. Because of that, I’d still say that fans of Ruta Sepetys should read this book.

Sistersong by Lucy Holland

Rating: 2.5 stars

The first half of this book was amazing but then all the set-up never amounted to anything and we got a rushed second half with character development happening off-page. I also really like a book that isn’t afraid to be dark and maybe a little controversial and I felt this was what Holland was aiming for in the first half but she didn’t carry through and because of that, made it a historical book that could have taken place in 2022.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Rating: 5 stars

THIS WAS AMAZING! The book is just one long WTF-moment and I love it! It’s super weird and totally relies on the reader to piece stuff together, and I just need more books to be like this!

The Bone Ship’s Wake by RJ Barker

Rating: 4 stars

This is the final book in a trilogy that I hold in high esteem, and that is despite this conclusion being a little disappointing. A lot of it is saved by the ending which is one I still find myself thinking about, but everything leading up to that felt rather anti-climactic. I would call this my least favorite book in the trilogy.

Echo Cycle by Patrick Edwards

Rating: 3 stars

Picking this one as a 5-star prediction was a bit of a long shot, I knew that. It’s fairly unknown and just had a highly unique premise that felt like it was written just for me. Turns out it was too good to be true and the author had some trouble fully utilizing that premise. It was a fine read but I had expected more.

So how did I do?

Books given 5 stars: 1
Books I’m also counting as a win: 0

That is the exact same result as the previous round and I guess I should just be happy that I got one. I was just much more confident about these five books (except maybe Echo Cycle), and especially Sistersong was a huge letdown.
I usually look at the results and find out what I can learn about my reading tastes in regard to what isn’t working for me, but I don’t think there’s much to learn this time around. There was no way for me to know that the final book in The Tide Child trilogy would be the worst one or that Sistersong would be written like a contemporary. I know I took a chance on Echo Cycle but I don’t want to say that I’ll never do that again.

I see no reason not to try again though so here are five new books I expect will be 5-star reads!

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for fame. The one thing he doesn’t have is talent—but he’s not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don’t need to be his own.

Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful – but desperately lonely – older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice’s first novel.

Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall. . . .

A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland

Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen’s new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation.

To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.

Ordinary Monsters by J. M. Miro

England, 1882. In Victorian London, two children with mysterious powers are hunted by a figure of darkness —a man made of smoke.

Sixteen-year-old Charlie Ovid, despite a lifetime of brutality, doesn’t have a scar on him. His body heals itself, whether he wants it to or not. Marlowe, a foundling from a railway freight car, shines with a strange bluish light. He can melt or mend flesh. When two grizzled detectives are recruited to escort them north to safety, they are forced to confront the nature of difference, and belonging, and the shadowy edges of the monstrous.

What follows is a journey from the gaslit streets of London, to an eerie estate outside Edinburgh, where other children with gifts—the Talents—have been gathered. Here, the world of the dead and the world of the living threaten to collide. And as secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities, and the nature of the force that is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.

Honeybee by Craig Silvey

Late in the night, fourteen-year-old Sam Watson steps onto a quiet overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down at the road far below.

At the other end of the same bridge, an old man, Vic, smokes his last cigarette.

The two see each other across the void. A fateful connection is made, and an unlikely friendship blooms. Slowly, we learn what led Sam and Vic to the bridge that night. Bonded by their suffering, each privately commits to the impossible task of saving the other.

Honeybee is a heart-breaking, life-affirming novel that throws us headlong into a world of petty thefts, extortion plots, botched bank robberies, daring dog rescues and one spectacular drag show.

At the heart of Honeybee is Sam: a solitary, resilient young person battling to navigate the world as their true self; ensnared by a loyalty to a troubled mother, scarred by the volatility of a domineering step-father, and confounded by the kindness of new alliances.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell, whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country.

Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange.

Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrel. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms that between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.

I’m choosing some books by authors I’ve had good experiences with for my next attempt and hoping they won’t let me down. I’m most confident about A Taste of Gold and Iron and very much afraid of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell but let’s see how it goes. Have you read any of the books mentioned? Maybe you can reassure me about my predictions?

9 thoughts on “5-Star Predictions Wrap-Up and New Predictions #3

  1. I’m here late, but I’m here!! 🤗 And even though your reading only yielded one (in my eyes somewhat questionable 😜) five-star read, this post was such a bright spot in my day! Seriously. I had one of the worst weekends ever and a ten-hour long teacher conference today, so I needed this 💙

    I’m afraid I can’t reassure you on any of your predictions, though, because I haven’t read any of them, either. They all SOUND intriguing, but I think I’ll let you test them first anyway 😁 Like, I can’t help it, but that A Taste of Gold and Iron cover and the fact that Tasha Suri blurbed the book already has me suspicious… 🧐 I think Victoria Schwab said in an interview once that Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel was one of her favorite books, though? Which I suppose could be a good sign – unless it just means that the book has the snarky bad-ass characters that annoy me so much in Schwab’s own books… So yeah, like I said – I think I’ll let you test the waters! 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry you’ve had such terrible days! 😢 I hope just parts of that conference were interesting because ten hours sounds like torture. But I guess it’s not that different from all the other stuff you’ve told me about being a teacher in Germany 🤔

      I had also seen that cover for A Taste of Gold and Iron when I’d only read one of their books and decided it wasn’t for me (I mean, you also have the generic, meaningless YA title despite it being adult). But I think I’ve learned to have faith in Rowland now and I can already imagine the amazing things they could do with a plot like that 🤗 And while I haven’t read Tasha Suri, based on your complaints, I don’t think they’re anything alike in writing style so I’m optimistic.
      And I was initially a little worried about Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell being Schwab’s favorite book because I’m already pretty sure that if such a story was written by Schwab, I’d hate it. BUT I do think a lot of authors like that book for its literary merit so I’m choosing to think Schwab likes it for that and not because it’s extremely similar to her own books 😁 Still scared to read that one, though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say it was interesting, but apart from one very “enlightening” (🙄) speech on how to best structure a lesson by a guy sent to us from the Ministry of Education, it was all very useful and important information. So I guess it was worth it? 😂 Also, to look on the bright side of things, I can already tell I’m going to like this school way more than the one before! My colleagues are so much more open and helpful and have all already offered me the “Du” (You have no idea how much of a difference it makes if people adress you informally! 😅), the music people have recruited me to accompany their orchestra/choir/big band rehearsal trip next week, and the headmistress thankfully has a much more sensible media concept where you are NOT expected to constantly check your messages. And so far, my students seem nice, which I guess is the most important part anyway!

        And fine, I will try not to judge A Taste of Gold and Iron too harshly 🤣 I mean, maybe if it doesn’t have footnotes, I’d even be open to trying that one first? 🤔😁 At least once I actually start reading stuff again – I’ve kind of put everything on pause right now to reread Harry Potter instead… (And yes, l am aware that I’ve already done that this year, but so what! 😇) And as for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, I was initially really interested in reading it, but Piranesi kind of made it less of a priority 😅 I haven’t given up on it completely, though, so your thoughts have a lot of swaying potential!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m so happy to hear that this school is better but are you telling me that your former colleagues addressed you formally?!? 🤯 Is that normal? But you’re right that I have no idea what that feels like because we say “Du” to everyone except the royals and meeting them isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence 😅

        You need to read the book with footnotes!! Well, I guess you’re allowed not to read it if you don’t like the first book which doesn’t have footnotes but also doesn’t have chapters 😅 But okay, I’ll let you know if A Taste of Gold and Iron can be read first.
        And what? Have you dropped Mein Kampf for Harry Potter?!? Such a shock! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yup 😅 Although I also don’t really have much to compare to, so I can’t say whether it’s normal or not 🤷🏼‍♀️ I know my teachers used the informal form of address with each other as well (except when talking to our principal), but I have no idea how they do it elsewhere… Despite our lack of royalty, our formal address is actually still very common! You are pretty much expected to use it with all people older than you until they offer you the “Du”, although it can also get very complicated when the younger person has a higher educational degree because that can outrank age as the determining factor. But if you don’t eventually offer the switch, you always feel like your being kept at a distance, so immediately being allowed to use “Du” made me feel so much more welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A Taste of Gold and Iron is amazing!! it was just short of 5 stars for me (gave it a 4.75) but i want to get a physical copy since i read an arc and apparently there’s been 10k added yearning throughout it in the final proof so i’m hype to reread sometime in the future, and that’s as someone who almost never rereads. i don’t know how much you know about it/are going into it with so i won’t say anything else though lol.

    i also need to read Jonathan Strange but it’s so intimidating 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait to read A Taste of Gold and Iron!! It’s very positive news that you liked it so much! I adored their A Conspiracy of Truths duology so I just more of that writing 🤗

      And lol, I’ve never been so intimidated by a book as I am by Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell 😅 But remember, it’s going to feel like such an accomplishment when we finally finish it 😄

      Liked by 1 person

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