T5W: Independent Ladies

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Lainey. You get a new topic every Wednesday, and you list your Top 5 books related to that topic. If you’d like to take part, join the Goodreads group, and add your name to the list of bloggers & booktubers!

Hi all! Today’s topic is independent ladies, and I’m ashamed to admit how much I struggled with this one. In fact, I couldn’t find one book that didn’t at least have a romantic sub plot? But I did find some pretty strong female protagonists, so here they are!

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Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

I can’t believe I’m including this having only watched the movie – but Dumplin’ was the first girl who came to mind. She is so individual!

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With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

This book is so underhyped – I adore it. Not only a strong female protagonist but also a protagonist of colour!

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Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I love this series, and Blue. Even though Blue has a love interest in Gansey, she is herself through and through.

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The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

You guys know how much I love Cassandra Clare, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw Clary in here with her Jace obsession. However, Tessa is such a strong girl, and she fits the bill even with her little love triangle.

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Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

I can’t believe I didn’t think of Nina first. All of the girls from Six of Crows deserve a mention, but Nina battled through her grief in King of Scars and was still an independent, determined, beautiful QUEEN.

Which characters did you choose for independent ladies?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽


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Review: The Raven King (#4) by Maggie Stiefvater

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All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I can’t believe I’ve finished this series. It took me so long to get round to finishing, but it’s all I’ve been thinking of for the past couple of weeks. Take a read of the quote I included in this, because it’s exactly how I felt about this series! The Raven King was ups and downs for me, but I did end up loving it.

Something I disliked..where was Noah? The little sweet thing, I missed him so much in this book. His lack of presence was the only thing I really disliked, and it made me feel Henry was only there to attempt to make up for it. Sorry, Stiefvater, but a Noah shaped hole can never be filled.

“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went,”

I do have to say that I unfortunately found the pacing off yet again in this book! But once I got into it, it flew past for me. I found the plot interesting, and I’m glad this one focused mostly on the group of friends rather than villains, and included some really interesting scenes with them all.

Talking of the group of friends, I won’t give spoilers but I ship two different couples in this book 😉 Fans of the series will know how happy I feel! I mentioned in my review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue that I felt each of these books focused more on a different character, but I’m happy to say that I think The Raven King made the group equal. I loved reading about each of them!

“and he didn’t want it to be over.”

I don’t think I can say enough about the characters. It’s just so rare for YA to not focus on romance and actually focus on intimate friendships and friendship groups instead. Alongside Stiefvater’s absolutely beautiful writing and scenes that will stay with me for a long time to come, I feel the characters and their friendship warms my heart the most. That’s what made me truly fall in love with this series.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Raven Boys (#1) by Maggie Stiefvater

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Even if Blue hadn’t been told her true love would die if she kissed him, she would stay away from boys. Especially the ones from the local private school. Known as Raven Boys, they only mean trouble.
But this is the year that everything will change for Blue.
This is the year that she will be drawn into the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys. And the year Blue will discover that magic does exist.
This is the year she will fall in love.
 

I can’t believe I didn’t carry on with this series the first time I read this book! I picked this up over 2 years ago now in 2016 and I remember really enjoying it. However, I didn’t own the entire series and due to that it has taken me until now to finally decide to carry on reading them! I couldn’t remember what happened at all though, so hence I decided to pick the first one back up and re-read it before I continue.

“She wasn’t interested in telling other people’s futures.”

And I’m so glad I did because I feel like I’ve discovered this book all over again! This series is incredibly compelling, and I know it won’t take me long to get through the rest. It did take me a while to start becoming obsessed with the story, but I’m definitely there now and I can’t stop thinking about Blue’s life.

The first thing that came into my head when reading this book is the originality. I have to admit I have never read a YA book like this one, and that is a bold statement to make, and an incredible thing for an author to achieve.

“She was interested in going out and finding her own.”

I have so much praise for the amazing woman that is Maggie Stiefvater. I could go on forever about what I love about this book, but let’s start with her writing. Easy to read but randomly poetic. Very page-turning but also made me stop and think wow how does someone do that?

The only slight issue I had was this book really ramps up like 100 pages in and the pacing was incredibly slow to start with? It honestly took me around half the book to go from ‘it’s okay’ to ‘omg this is the best thing ever’. Aside from possibly Ronan, who I unfortunately found very 2D, I also love the colourful complex cast of characters Stiefvater has created. Blue is so mature, never whines and is all around calm and cool and intriguing. And I found the other boys so fascinating to read about and very vibrant and alive (ahem).

So to sum up, this book is unique and original and unlike anything I’ve read before. If you’re looking for something a little different, I URGE YOU TO READ THIS.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Beautiful Quotes #82 / The Raven Boys

Beautiful Quotes is a weekly meme hosted by me, where I post some of my favourite quotes. Any other bloggers are welcome to join me in this and just link my blog!

Welcome to another Beautiful Quotes post (if I manage to stay awake long enough to finish it). It’s been an incredibly busy weekend and one with a lack of reading, and it’s going to carry on being busy for a while! But life is really good, and I do think I’ll be able to read a little more soon.

I have a lot of books on my TBR, and I’m currently reading Obsidio. After that, I might try All the Crooked Saints, which you can see from my last Stacking the Shelves post that Pete gave me! After then, maybe it’ll be back to finish The Raven Cycle? Finally?

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She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness.”

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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