5-Star Predictions Wrap-up + New Predictions, aka Will I Ever Rate a Book 5 Stars Again

Pretty on-brand of me to be posting this wrap-up late. 😎

You probably don’t remember, but back in December 2019, I posted my first 5-star predictions wrap-up, along with some new 5-star predictions. I gave myself until June 2020 to finish all the books, but that didn’t work out so well. [cough] because of The Starless Sea [cough]

Anyways, I’ve finally finished all five of the books I predicted that I’d give 5 stars, and I don’t know if I’m more disappointed in myself or the books. I was such a clown for being sure that I’d give all of or at least most of them 5 stars. I didn’t give any of them 5 stars, and my feelings for them mostly range from dislike to apathy.

Also, since I read most of these books months ago, please forgive me if my mini-reviews aren’t the best. I tried my hardest to remember how I felt about each book. :”(

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

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I really liked this book when I finished reading it, but now I’m very “eh” about it. Yes, that is a real adjective. I’m keeping my rating, but this is one of my less positive 3 star ratings.

I say this in almost every review I write, but characters are extremely important to me. And unfortunately, the characters in this were super dry. I could tell that Samantha Shannon cared more about the world and plot than them.

I think a lot of you are excited to read this for the f/f romance, but I was a little confused about why Ead fell in love with Sabran. Very few of their interactions were shown, and from the way Sabran acted, it was hard for me to believe that Ead would start to care for her. Their romance had its moments though, and I loved that it wasn’t forbidden because of homophobia!

I think my favorite thing about this book is that it’s a feminist and inclusive reclamation of the fantasy genre. It has a generic fantasy storyline and it contains lots of common fantasy tropes, but this time the women are the ones saving the world, and they never experience misogyny, which was so refreshing to read!

Click for content warnings.violence, descriptions of miscarriage, peripheral degenerative illness, brief mentions of incest

Jade City by Fonda Lee β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

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AHHHHH. I’m writing this after the announcement of the TV show adaptation, and though I may not be a member of Jade City Nation, I’m extremely happy that we’re seeing more diverse stories on-screen! I think these books will come across really well in TV form, I can’t wait!

Unfortunately, I didn’t love Jade City. And I’m very salty because That Part was spoiled for me. (If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about.) I didn’t come across any explicit spoilers, but from the way some people were talking about it on Twitter, I quickly figured out who it was gonna happen to, and I wasn’t very shocked when it happened. I also wasn’t expecting this book to be so dense, oh my god. I’m not kidding when I say that this book killed all of my brain cells.

I found the worldbuilding superb though. It gave me wuxia vibes and reminded me of Asian gangster films! Actually, I think every part of this book was well-done. I just couldn’t connect with it because of how dense it was.

Click for content warnings.graphic violence, drug use, descriptions of addiction/self-harm, graphic injury, death, trauma, instances of abduction, peripheral mentions of rape

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

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I finally read this staple of high fantasy!! And, um, it was good? It didn’t live up to the hype for me though. If I still used half stars, I’d give it 3.5 stars.

First of all, it’s very obvious that this was written by a cishet white man. I’m 99% sure that the planet it’s set in only has white people. And there were barely any women! Even though the protagonist is one, it was easy to tell that it was a cis man writing her. Does he really think that a teenage girl, especially one who grew up trusting no one, would fall in love that fast? 😭

Secondly, the writing was incredibly dry. I know many people find Brandon Sanderson accessible for his simplistic writing style, but this was honestly too simplistic for me. I just wanted a bit more flavor.

The book also dragged in the middle (something that I’m coming to realize that Sanderson books tend to do), and until now I still don’t fully understand Allomancy, which is supposedly the greatest hard magic system of all time. :”( It’s a great magic system though, and if my expectations weren’t sky-high from hearing so much about it, I probably would’ve completely fallen in love with it.

Still, I gave it 4 stars because some spoilery parts made me Emotional, and I really liked Kelsier!

Click for content warnings.mentions of rape, graphic violence, depictions of abuse

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger DNF

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I started reading this book before the harassment allegations against the author were brought to light, and I want to make it clear that I never would’ve picked it up otherwise!

Due to the fact that I don’t think anyone should support this author, I’ll make my thoughts on his book brief. It’s very much inspired by anime and Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I just couldn’t connect with it, and to this day I have no idea why. I have never not clicked with a book so much in my entire life. I rarely DNF books, but I had to put this one down because it was putting me in such a slump.

Click for content warnings.violence, death, dismemberment, murder, mind control

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†

Can someone with brain cells please explain this book to me??? I have no clue what happened in it!! I took more than a month to finish it because I was so confused about what exactly the plot was about, and until now I have no idea.

I briefly considered giving this book 1 star, but I’m giving it 2 because the writing was beautiful, and the way some of the storylines came together was well-done.

Click for content warnings.branding, bodily mutilation, mentions of child abuse, major character death(s), suicidal ideation

Now, onto the next batch of 5-star predictions! Frankly, I don’t have high hopes for these books. At this point I’ve accepted that it’s almost impossible for me to rate a book 5 stars. I’m just weirdly particular and picky with books. :((

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The Burning God by R.F. Kuang– It took a LOT of effort, but I have an e-arc!! (Thank you so much Taasia and Ju, I love you both so much!!!) I’ve heard that the ending to this series is absolutely devastating, and I can’t wait. :))

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab– V.E. Schwab has written a couple of my 5-star reads, and I’m hoping that this gets 5 stars too! She’s been working on this book for ten years, and I’m excited to see if it shows!

Know My Name by Chanel Miller– Chanel Miller is the rape victim of Brock Turner, and this is her memoir chronicling her experiences at court and after she was raped. I think it’ll be hard for me to rate this less than 5 stars because of how powerful the subject matter is. Plus, I’ve heard that Miller is a good writer in general.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty– This is the book I have the least faith that I’ll give 5 stars. However, the Daevabad trilogy has such a loyal fan base, and I’m so excited to start it!

I’m not gonna set an official deadline, but I do hope to finish all four of these books by the end of the year!

Remember when I said that I probably wasn’t in danger of disappearing? Yeah, I spoke too soon. Sorry for disappearing!! So far, online school is manageable (I actually might like it more than regular classes?), but it does suck out a lot of my time and motivation to blog. Right now my plan is to schedule a post every weekend, and interact at least a little bit every weekday. Hopefully that works out, and I stop being so bad at blogging!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? What are some books that you predict you’ll give 5 stars? How frequently do you rate books 5 stars? (If your answer is every month, please don’t talk to me.)

73 thoughts on “5-Star Predictions Wrap-up + New Predictions, aka Will I Ever Rate a Book 5 Stars Again

  1. I’m sorry so many of these didn’t work for you, especially if you didn’t enjoy Jade City because you were spoiled! That one’s on my TBR so I clearly need to read it soon. I’ve heard very similar things about The Priory of the Orange Tree and The Final Empire! I really enjoyed The City of Brass, but the first book was the weakest in the series for meβ€”it’s so worth it for the second two books, though!

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  2. Thank you for your honest reviews. I especially appreciate your opinions on The Starless Sea and The Priory of the Orange Tree. I have no idea myself why people rave about The Starless Sea – I wish Morgenstern writes a book which is more or less understandable, rather than some confusing mish-mash fantasy.

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    1. ah, i’m so glad you think their honest! sometimes i think that i’m an unreliable reviewer bc i’m so picky with books lmao. tbh… same. tss really made no sense to me, and even the people who like it agree that it only appeals to a select few 😭

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  3. Ah I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy these books as much as you hoped, Caitlin. It was really interesting to hear your thoughts on them though, and I hope you love your new predictions. I’m sure you will have a 5-star read soon enough! πŸ₯°

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  4. Sorry many of these didn’t work for you!! Priory of the orange tree has bern on my shelf and I keep meaning to read it πŸ™ˆ I tend to pick up shorter books first.

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  5. I hope you have better luck with your next batch of predictions! I’ve heard The starless sea is weird and confusing but I’m hoping I like it πŸ˜… I’m currently reading The priory and I don’t really like Sabran at all, so we’ll see.

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    1. thank you!! even the people who like TSS admit that it only appeals to a niche group of readers, i hope you’re one of them! haha, i wasn’t annoyed by sabran bc i could understand why she was like that, but it did make it hard for me to comprehend why ead liked her πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

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  6. ahh caitlin, i’m sorry to hear these books didn’t work for you 😦 your next batch of books look great (i’ve only read know my name and that book was lifechanging). addie la rue and tbg are also books i think i’ll love, and i can’t wait to buddy read tbg with you!! and you’re welcome for the e-arc, it’s what you deserve <333 (we gotta love harper for the obstacles though <3)

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  7. aah I hope the next batch of books will work out better for you! The City of Brass is one of my favorite fantasy of all time, but it can be a hit-or-miss depending on your mood and how much you like slow-moving plot and extensive worldbuilding… the characters are genuinely one of the best parts of the series though so I hope you’ll like them!

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  8. I have been going on and off for The Starless Sea because I don’t really love The Night Circus and I’m glad to read your thoughts on The Starless Sea!! At least I get the rough idea now. Anyway, absolutely love your honest review!!

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  9. you’re so right about Final Empire. i finished that book and was immediately like “k. so are there only like 10 women total in this world, or?” and the writing is so bland, and the romance in my opinion just gets more boring and less believable in the next book. plots are good! i personally do love allomancy! but i can’t even be bothered to read the third book in the trilogy. i’m disillusioned with all the Sanderson praise

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    1. yes!! the mistborn trilogy has its merits but overall it isn’t really living up to the hype for me? there’s a stunning lack of diversity & inclusivity. lol i’ve read the well of ascension, & i agree about the romance. i’m still gonna read the hero of ages bc i’ve heard that it’s an amazing finale though! & i want to read sanderson’s other works—i’m hoping they’ll be better & more diverse

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  10. I hope your next reads will be better than the previous ones!! Also I had high hopes for The Starless Sea and after reading your mini review of the book I would like to say thank you for lowering my expectation of this book!! I try not to have five stars prediction because well… I guess you know how it usually ends πŸ˜…

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    1. thank you! haha i’m probably gonna dead wrong with all these predictions but it’s ok i need content for my blog πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ yes, i think it’s good to go in w/ low expectations for tss because it seriously didn’t make any sense to me :((((

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  11. Okay, I completely agree with your opinion on Vin. Sanderson tried to make a believable teen but he just couldn’t. And the romance was just rushed and unrealistic for me. Plus, I think it could’ve been made much more interesting than it was.
    But the world and the magic were absolutely amazing for me. And the ending! Plus I think Kelsier is one of my favorite characters ever and his arc left me shook (I still don’t believe it…)

    And I need to read Jade City (tho you didn’t really like it, I think I might enjoy it if I avoid spoilers – which is a sport I’m terrible at haha) and The Poppy War. Really excited to read The Poppy War!!

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    1. exactly! the final empire was good, but it has its flaws. i totally get why you love it though! & i really hope you enjoy jade city!! i think it’s best to go in knowing it’s a dense & slow burn fantasy! and yes please read the poppy war!! ❀

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  12. normally i get a bit sad when someone doesn’t like my favourite book but like,,, the starless sea is for such a very specific reader and i 100% understand why u didn’t like it!! the biggest plot twist would be if you didn’t like the burning god :)) but considering reviews ive seen, i really hope you enjoy (read: experience pain!) it

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  13. Sad that none of your predictions were 5 stars..
    I’m hoping that The burning god and Addie La Rue will be5 stars for me as well! And City of Brass was definitely a 5 star for me!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

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  14. Aw! I’m sorry these books didn’t work out but at least they were still enjoyable in some sense haha. I appreciate the honest mini reviews! Don’t worry, I’m a picky reader too! It takes a lot for me to give a book a 5 star rating πŸ˜‚.

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  15. I’m so sorry you didn’t get even one 5 star out of those!! I’m especially sorry you were so disappointed with The Starless Sea as it’s one of my favs TT-TT But I see how it’s something that may not work for everyone!! I hope the next batch will be much better and you’ll get some 5 star reads finally!! ❀ ❀ ❀

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  16. ahhh no sorry they didn’t work out 😦 I know that feeling of disappointment when a hyped book doesn’t live up 😦 I really liked the starless sea but I totally get if you don’t…that book is catered to suit a very niche group of readers!! anyway I hope you have better luck in your next predictions!! ❀

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  17. I really love City of Brass and I hope you like it too!! Now I’m anxious to read Jade City, I’m sorry you it didn’t live up to your expectation!

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  18. Noo I’m so sad you didn’t love The Starless Sea 😭😭 It’s definitely not a book for everyone, though, so no hard feelings there ahaha πŸ˜‚ Know My Name and Addie LaRue are definitely two I am predicting I’ll love, too! I hope these predictions are all correct πŸ₯°

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  19. Ahhhhhhhhhh – I’m so bummed you didn’t love the Starless Sea!!! It’s high up on my priority TBR for next month but now I’m not so sure… I’ve got some serious high expectations for the Starless Sea. I mean, we’re talking Brendon Urie high, HIGH hopes. Especially because the Night Circus is one of my favorite books of ALL TIME [actually the theme of my twenty-first birthday party]. Might put this one off a little bit long… gulp! πŸ˜‚πŸ’™

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    1. oh my gosh, it’s so cool that your birthday party was the night circus themed πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί but if you liked the night circus then i think you’ll like the starless sea? i think erin morgenstern tends to write confusing books that only work for a niche audience πŸ˜‚ but there’s no harm in lowering your expectations a little! hope you’re not disappointed ❀

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  20. I never predict the ratings of a book because I just feel it’s too much pressure. And I do have a lot of 4 star reads that I love as well, they just didn’t make me feel…. complete I guess. And I do have a lot of 5 star reads mostly because I’m easy to please and I only pick books that I’m really interested in which sounds like something everyone does but we’ll I didn’t in the past.

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    1. ahh, i try to pick up books i think i’ll like too, but i’m still really picky 😭😭 it’s great that you’re good at picking up books you’ll enjoy though! and you’re right—four star reads have to have that spark

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  21. Oh no Caitlin, so sorry this list disappointed you. Hope your next batch turns out better.

    Okay, you didn’t LOVE it but the way you describe Priory makes me super keen. I’m so terrible with high fantasy and this one is obvs HUGE but I love the sound of. Especially the absence of misogyny and the fact that it’s not forbidden because of homophobia!!

    I haven’t read Jade City yet but recently found out it was urban fantasy and now!! EXCITEMENT!! And The Starless Sea, Addie La Rue and City of Brass are some of my predictions. And The Poppy War. Not ready to have my heart destroyed by that trilogy yelp

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    1. thank you! i really hope so too! yes, the fact that those things weren’t present in priory was such a pleasant surprise πŸ₯Ί & i say go for it! i may not have liked it, but i can see how others could, & it’s not super dense—just long.

      i hope you enjoy your predictions! you’re right about the poppy war, haha. & i love urban fantasy so much i’m kinda tired of high fantasy set in old timey settings tbh

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  22. I’m so sad your five star predictions didn’t work out! (I still have two books to read for pt 2 of my five star predictions, and I’m so scared they’ll disappoint, lol. One of them is Warbreaker, which I’m too scared to pick up, even though I wanted to read it before the end of August. I can’t with myself.) Honestly, I loved The Final Empire, but I’m not sure what I’d think of it today after reading high fantasy by women of color; I definitely see your points. Also, the romance was the weirdest part of the books for me? Not only is what you said true, but why was it even there!? Eh.

    I’m so SAD you didn’t love Jade City, and I know Jade War didn’t impress you more either. 😦 I’ll admit that I’m a bit glad to hear your thoughts on The Priory of the Orange Tree – I was very hesitant about it, because it’s so long and I saw multiple people say that it’s also slow-paced, and you’ve made me decide against reading it. I’d have mostly read it for the f/f romance, so it sucks that wasn’t as well-done as it could have been. I haven’t read The Starless Sea, but what you wrote about it reminds me of how I felt after reading The Night Circus. Even though I did understand TNC, I felt like the story was pointless and I just don’t understand the hype – yeah, the writing is pretty and the descriptions are great, but the book felt so empty because I didn’t care for the characters or the plot.

    Great reviews, Caitlin! πŸ™‚

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    1. ah, you’re way better at predicting 5 stars than i am, so i’m sure you don’t have anything to worry about ❀ & i really need to read the hero of ages so i can pick up warbreaker already 😭😭 (maybe we can still br, but definitely feel free to start without me!) yes, you're so right. honestly, the more i think about, i feel like 3 or 2 stars would be a more accurate rating for it. it's very much a product of its time (i.e. the lack of diversity), and i think the romance was there just so vin would have a reason to want to protect elend lmao

      me too 😭 it's such a beloved fantasy, especially among fellow asians, but it just… wasn't for me fdkfjdkf. i honestly think you have a chance of enjoying priory, but i 100% respect your decision—no point in investing your time & concentration if you won't like it! ead and sabran were good as a couple, but i didn't really get why they fell in love :// yeah, based on what people are saying, erin morgenstern books tend to work only for a niche group of readers. i remember liking tnc, but i might as well have not read it bc i spaced out so much while listening to the audiobook 😭

      thank you so much, vera!!

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  23. Oh no, sorry to hear that none of the books could really convince you, that’s always so sad πŸ˜₯ I still haven’t read The Priory of the Orange Tree because it’s SO long and I also feel like it might be a bit dense πŸ˜… I also want to read some Erin Morgenstern but I’ve not found the motivation yet. I hope you end up liking your new 5 star predictions! My next 5-star prediction is The Silvered Serpents but I’m scared as a lot of people said that this book hurt them 😱

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    1. thank you caro! i hope silvered serpents doesn’t disappoint you! yeah, priory is so long, but from what i can remember it wasn’t super dense, so i wish you all the luck with reading it πŸ₯Ί & i hope erin morgenstern’s books don’t disappoint you!

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  24. I agree so much with The Final Empire!!!! the magic system was so interesting but the lack of diversity was GLARING. I didn’t really believe the romance and I was holding on for Kelsier (we see how that turned out lol) πŸ˜₯ amazing reviews ❀

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  25. I really like your system of five star predictions I think it sets some realistic goals, and I love setting goals especially if I can easily reach them hahaha. Also I’m really looking forward for your thoughts on The City of Brass because it was kind of a mehhh for me, but for other readers it was super good! Great wrap-up, and good luck on online school. I prefer online learning than in the classroom because my teachers can’t yell at me for eating during class. What are they going to do, send me home lol?

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    1. yes, my expectations for this round of predictions are pretty low, and i hope i can read them all soon! haha, that’s why i don’t really think i’ll rate it 5 stars. i’ve heard mixed things about it, but the general consensus is that the sequels are better. thank you!! lmao that’s such a good reason, but i think i’d still get punished if i ate during class :”)

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  26. Sorry these didn’t reach your expectations and didn’t work out for you. And that spoilers happened – that’s so annoying.
    I haven’t read any of the books you mentioned or anything by the authors apart from Erin Morgenstern and I can totally see The Starless Sea being confusing. The Night Circus took me months to read and put me in a slump because even though the descriptions were nice, I just had no clue what was happening. I think I ended up giving it 4 stars though when I first reviewed it?? Like why??
    My ratings have definitely gotten lower lately whereas last year/2018 I used to give most 4 star books 5 stars? Even books I love now (like Love from A to Z which was so good!!) I gave 4 stars. Past me would have given it 5 but now I’m just much more cautious with my ratings.

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    1. yes, it’s so annoying! i regularly wonder how my reading experience would’ve been affected if i hadn’t been spoiled for certain books :((
      haha, that’s exactly how i feel about the starless sea! it put me in a month long slump, and i had no freakin clue what was going on. and technically i “read” the night circus, but i spaced out so much while reading the audiobook that i may as well have not read it 😭
      i really get that! i honestly don’t think i’ve ever been generous with ratings? but i used to give out 5 stars semi-regularly—now i never do lmao. i think it’s because i’m now looking at books from a reviewer’s standpoint, knowing i’ll have to talk about them to an audience. but 4 stars is a great rating, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about rating more lowly at all! i’m so glad you enjoyed love from a to z!

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  27. I give out five stars so easily πŸ˜‚ I’ve been a bit pickier about them lately, but I still usually have at least a dozen a year lmaoooo
    and aghhjghfg I’ve gotten the gist that the burning god isn’t getting five stars, but I hope the rest of your predictions turn out better for you!! <33

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  28. πŸ˜€ I made my 5-stars predictions list in February of this year and only read 1 book so far πŸ˜€

    Awww, not a single 5 star. Hopefully, the next round will be much better! I’m very excited about the new Schwab book πŸ™‚

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  29. I have recently made a list (in video format) of my 5-star predictions for the rest of 2020 and I’ve also included the burning god! (the dragon republic as well, i’m really excited to have it on my hands πŸ˜› ) but I’ve come to realize that it’s always best to keep our expectations low :/ I haven’t read Jade City but I really want to, and it’s so cool it’s getting an adaptation!! I’m sorry you got spoiled )): I hope online school is going well! What are you studying this semester? πŸ™‚

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    1. yep, i don’t know if i’m bad at keeping expectations low or just picky :/ and i hope you love the dragon republic and the burning god! they were such good books for me! ah, i hope you enjoy jade city too! thank you so much, and i’m studying a lot of things lmao. since i’m a stem student though, my “special” subjects are pre-calculus and general chemistry :((

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  30. your review of the starless sea i’m dying because that is LITERALLY me whenever i try to read a fantasy book. confused all the time, constantly wondering what the heck is going on.

    i really hope your next round of five stars will surprise you and maybe you’ll find one! 2020 has been incredibly dry of five stars for me too, and i don’t know if i have that many predictions for the rest of the year, since i’m kind of a pessimist as well. but i am crossing my fingers one of them will surprise me and i can say i had at least more than 2 5-star-reads in 2020 πŸ™ƒ

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    1. lmao fantasy is my fave genre but this book just didn’t make any sense to me 😭

      tbh i don’t think i’ve had any 5 stars so far in 2020 bc i’m such a picky reader πŸ™ƒπŸ™ƒ and thank you so much, i really hope so but i’ve learned that it’s best not to keep my hopes up :(( I hope you find more 5 star books this year though ❀

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