Let’s Talk Bookish: What makes a book a 5-star read?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Discussions pertain to topics related to reading or books. Share your opinions, and spread the love by visiting other “Let’s Talk Bookish” posts.

Prompts:  How do you decide whether a book should get 5 stars? Do you try to keep 5 stars rating prestigious, or do you give them generously? Do you have a checklist of things a book must accomplish to be 5 stars? Are 5 star books perfect, or just very good? What are some of your favourite 5 star reads? What made them stand out?

Rather than a checklist, the amount of stars I give a book is often related to the likelihood of me rereading it. The book should speak to me in some way, whether it be through my emotions or connect me with the main character. It’s a combination of phenomenal writing, compelling characters, a satisfying ending, and an overall plot that I enjoyed. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it might feel nearly perfect to me. As someone who is normally detail-oriented and likes things explained clearly, I apologize. My explanation is completely nebulous. It’s hard to explain. Knowing a book is a 5-star read is a lot like being in love. You just…know. (Hehehe…)

I recently discovered I have two types of 5-star reads.

  • The book I may never be able to read again: The first time was just magnificent. I was speechless. It might have even left me bawling. The first time will always be the best, especially if there was some twist I didn’t see coming. Often, the experience of reading it the first time will never be replicated.
  • The book I will read over and over again: I will read this again in its entirety multiple times. Maybe I started on it again as soon as I finished. It was magnificent.

This is my all-time favorite novel. It embodies everything I love in a medieval fantasy including a strong protagonist, a compelling cast of characters, and an exciting plot that transports to another world. The series is not yet over and subsequent books have not been nearly as good but I’ve stuck with the it. I really want to find out what happens at the end.

I reread this nearly every year.

In Arrow to the Soul, a trained assassin who isn’t supposed to have feelings develops feelings for the person who is trying to capture her. It’s a common enough story but I knew this was a 5-star as soon as I picked it up because Lea Griffith’s writing is superb.

I recently finished another rereading. It’s still on my desk so I can still read my favorite parts again.

Kayley Loring is one of my favorite romance authors. Her books are hilarious. She’s stated in the past that she doesn’t believe the quality of Green is up to par with the rest of her novels. This is my favorite of her novels precisely because it’s a bit different from the rest. It’s not quite as funny but it hit all the feels for me and more.

I’ve already reread it.

This is my latest 5-star read. My review of it won’t be posted until a few weeks from now, but I was completely blown away by it. It was amazing. The experience was moving. I was in tears by the end.

I may never be able to read this book again.

Solomon is phenomenal author who took me back to my high school years. This was the highlight of 2020 for me. I connected with it on an emotional level and it also helped me to be more comfortable with telling people I love romance novels.

I reread it a few months ago.

What makes a book a 5-star read for you? If you have any 5-star reads, I’d love to hear about them!

First Lines Fridays 1.6: Once there was..

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.

Once there was a world called Kelanna, a wonderful and terrible world of water and ships and magic. The people of Kelanna were like you in many ways–they spoke and worked and loved and died–but they were different in one very important respect: they couldn’t read.

TheReader_cover


by Traci Chee
ASIN/ISBN: 9780399176777
Publication: September 13, 2016
Series: The Reader Trilogy #1

An instant New York Times Bestseller, this is a stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of. Perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone

Finalist for the Kirkus Prize and nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award!

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.  (from Goodreads)

When I went on my reading hiatus, I missed so many good books. Because I stopped reading for so long, I feel like there was an explosion of diverse books. It’s been exciting seeing book after book with BIPOC main characters. A set of books I missed is Traci Chee’s The Reader Trilogy. I’ve had the trilogy on my shelves for nearly a year and am looking forward to finally starting them soon.