Happy Wednesday everyone! I HAD to share my thoughts on this Top 5 Wednesday topic this week πŸ™‚ This talks about books you picked up yourself without the influence of Booktube or just the online community in general. I will be honest and say that I have loved some books so much more since I didn’t have any influencing opinions before picking up a book. We all know that reading/seeing so many thoughts on one book WILL effect our opinion once we finish it. So these are five books I picked up myself with very little or no influence at all, since I do think it’s hard to have some books where you’ve heard nothing about it all as far as books that are already out. Now, let’s jump in! (These are pretty much never ranked anymore)

1. Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi

50201740. sx318 sy475

I found out about this book on Netgalley! I hadn’t even heard of it until I saw it there, so I was able to download it after seeing that it was about a female spy during the American Revolution! I love historical fiction, but I tend to have a MAJOR soft spot for finding relatively unknown subjects. For a bit of background: during the 1776 revolution in America, there was a female spy for George Washington (he was a spymaster, brilliant in organizing spy networks), who went under the code 355 which means “lady.” Sadly, historians have theories of who she was but don’t actually know who this lady was. So Veronica Rossi wrote this story, an almost “what if this girl was the 355 agent?” and this book is brilliant!! This is one of the best books of 2020, with a story about a girl whisked away from her tough life to becoming a spy in a new country. I am SO happy that I found this on Netgalley and picked it up! πŸ™‚

2. The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif

43521335. sy475

I was sent a hardcover copy of this book from a publicist that I work with and I hadn’t even heard of it until it showed up at my house. Then I read the synopsis and I was on board and it ended up being an amazing GEM that more people need to read! The Athena Protocol is a female led organization of spies that enact vigilante justice. Jessie is our protagonist as she investigates a messy mission when things go wrong in Belgrade. This is an absolute thrill ride of a book with characters of color and a queer female lead. This is short but it feels like every chapter is used so effectively and also delivered suspense in how you’re not sure who to trust. The sequel comes out next month, so if you love spy stories or want a book with a female led spy group, pick this up!

3. Mistborn #1 by Brandon Sanderson


I read this before the hype?! Yep lol! I got this book as a gift in either 2010 or 2011 from a friend and I hadn’t even heard of Sanderson yet. So I read this mass market paperback and I immediately fell in love with this world. It feels like people didn’t discover Sanderson until the mid 2010’s or something like that, but I loved reading this without any influencing opinions back in the day. This pulled me in so fast with characters like Vin and Sazed and the creepy world and EVEN creepier Inquisitors. This book cemented my love for adult fantasy books πŸ™‚

4. A Spark of White Fire #1 by Sangu Mandanna


So on Netgalley, there are compilations you can download and read that include upcoming titles. These samples usually have one or two chapters of an upcoming book to give readers a sample of the book. This book was in one of those compilations and I was so captivated by the seemingly impossible feat that the protagonist achieves. This is the first in a trilogy that’s inspired by the Mahabharata as well as other stories from India. It’s amazing! It’s a marriage of fantasy with science fiction, with lots of court intrigue and not sure who to trust as our protagonist Esmae’s thoughts about royalty and her goals are completely changed. If you need a genre blend of a book, please don’t sleep on this one!

5. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters


I found this book on a library shelf, read the synopsis on the dust jacket, took it home and loved every single minute of it! I think the power of finding a book on your own on a library shelf and how it becomes a favorite is really special. The title itself caught my eye but then the fact that it was a paranormal historical fiction? I didn’t even know that was a thing! Now it’s a favorite sub-genre that I can’t get enough of πŸ™‚ This is centers around the Spanish Flu of 1918, near the end of World War I and also the spiritualist movement during that time of how people used spirit photography to communicate with their loved ones. Cat Winters is such a master at immersing you in the darkness of history but also shows hope through our characters that refuse to give up if the world is on fire around them. If you love creepier books, please pick up her books, especially this one!


What books did you pick up yourself? Have you read any of these books?