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My 5 Star Book Predictions for 2022

I watch a lot of Booktube (Youtube videos about bookish things) and one of the most popular videos on the platform are five star predictions. Essentially this is, as the name implies, someone predicting what books they plan to read that they suspect they will rate five stars. I wanted to do a blog version of this and then at the end of next year do a follow up on my thoughts/actual ratings of the books. Three of the six are 2022 releases, but I didn't limit myself to books that are coming out next year. I simply chose six books I intend to read next year (regardless of their release dates) that I feel (relatively) confident I will love. Please note these books aren't in any particular order. What are your 5 star predictions for 20222?!

1. Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

This is a YA fantasy about an indentured zookeeper (Koffi) and the son of a decorated hero (Ekon) who team up to hunt down a vicious monster. I've never read from this author before but the book includes a magical zoo and a jungle adventure. I needed no farther information than that to know this was a book I HAD to get my hands on (and I already know I'm getting it for Christmas from my mom so yay!). I love zoos in real life and the idea of a magical one is so cool to me. I CRAVE fantasy books that have magical forests/jungles in them because they offer so much lushness. I saw a review comparing this to another fantasy jungle book (Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez) which I gave nearly five stars and it is my favorite magical forest book to date. That comparison just made me even more excited for this read.

2. The Demon in the Woods by Leigh Barudgo with Dani Pendergast (illustrator)

and Kyla Vanderklugt (adapter)

This graphic novel tells the origin story of the Darkling who is the villain of the Grisha trilogy. This was previously released but I never read it because it wasn't available physically and I don't use kindle or any electronic device for my reading. I am always a game for any Leigh Bardugo content as she's one of my all time favorite authors. Genuinely, this woman could sell me garbage and I'd rave about it. As a fantasy writer myself I've always admired Bardugo's world building. The Grishaverse has been expanded so much over the years and this novel takes place hundreds of years prior to the original trilogy. I can't wait to learn more about the history of this world and what it was like through the eyes of a villainous character.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

This adult fantasy is about a smuggler named Kell who can travel between parallel versions of London. I've previously read two of Schwab's books. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was my favorite book of last year and having just reread it I can confirm it as an all time favorite. This year I read Vicious by her and it is also in my top favorites of this year. I think Schwab is an incredibly talented writer. The novels I've read by her showcase her ability to write layered protagonists so I'm looking forward to getting to know Kell. He sounds like a morally grey character which is something I look for in books because they're often more nuanced. I've only ever given Schwab 5 star reviews so I doubt this one will break that streak.

4. Shamanborn #3 by Lori M. Lee

This YA fantasy doesn't have a title or release date yet but it will be the conclusion to a trilogy about a girl (Sirscha) who discovers she's shamanborn (possesses light magic). I almost never give sequels 5 stars but both the first and second books in this trilogy (Forest of Souls and Broken Web) got a full 5 star rating from me. The first book had lots of creepy vibes (which I love) while the sequel had more fantasy politics (which, as a diehard world building fan and student, I also love). The two were quite different while still having enough connective tissue to work together as part of the same series. I'm sad the trilogy will be coming to an end, but I'm ready for an epic conclusion.

5. The Nobleman's Guide to Scandals and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee

This is the third book in a YA historical fiction companion series about siblings from the same family (the Montagues). This book focuses on the youngest sibling (Adrian) who we've only ever seen as an infant. He's all grown up in this novel and unraveling family secrets. From the synopsis it sounds like we'll be seeing the other Montague siblings which is great since I adore all of them. I gave both of the other books in the series (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy) five stars. The appeal of them for me, in addition to the wonderful characters, is how they make me feel like I'm on a wild adventure without ever having to leave my bed. It will be fun to get to know Adrian, too!

6. Book Lovers by Emily Henry

This adult romance is about a literary agent (Nora) and an editor (Charlie). It is an enemies to lovers romance. This may seem like a surprising entry to anyone super familiar with my taste in books as enemies to lovers is my least liked romance trope. It's not that I've never enjoyed it before because I have, but I think it's a tricky trope to master. The reason I included this entry is because Henry wrote my two favorite romance books of the last couple of years (Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation, both of which were five star reads). I like a good romance, but I also like when there's a deeper story line and Henry does this in her novels. I am hopeful she can sell me on this enemies to lovers relationship. Both of the other books I've read by her left me feeling emotional, so I'm preparing tissues for this one just in case.

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