Five 5-star reads

Kenna Preadmore

I have been a reader for a few years now and my list of five-star books has slowly been growing.

I am not the pickiest reviewer when it comes to giving high ratings for books, but this list includes my all-time favorite reads. The books are not in any particular order but are definitely my favorites so far.

Check content warnings for all the books I am recommending before you read them. You can find a list of content warnings for any book through a quick internet search.

Here are five of my favorite reads…

“Love and Other Words” by Christina Lauren

This book follows the story of Macy and Elliot, from book-loving childhood best friends to complete strangers. Their love was given another chance when they crossed paths after 10 years of silence. The alternating “then and now” chapters give a glimpse of their past and present. “Love and Other Words” is full of laughter, love, happiness, heartbreak and pain.

“Love and Other Words”

Hands down one of the best romance novels I have ever read. I wish I could experience reading the book for the first time again. Throughout the novel I felt like I was living through the main characters, I could feel their real and raw emotions through the words on the page. After discovering the reason for their 10-year silence, my heart felt like it burst into a trillion pieces.

By the end, my jaw was on the floor and I felt so blindsided. This book made me so emotional, especially the last third of it. The story is so simple and elegant and left my heart aching. Christina Lauren wrote such a beautiful book, it consumed me enough to finish it in one sitting. Prepare yourself to be engrossed and have a box of tissues ready.

“The Inheritance Games” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 

A young adult trilogy filled with action, mystery and a subplot of romance. Avery Grambs is a teenage girl from a broken home in Connecticut. Her life is suddenly turned upside down when she is left the billion-dollar fortune of Tobias Hawthrone. However, Avery soon realizes that there are strings attached to her inheritance, as she is drawn into a twisted game of clues and puzzles that Tobias has left behind. Along with his four grandsons, Avery must work to uncover the secrets of Tobias’s past and solve the mystery of the Hawthorne fortune. The series details intricate plot twists, complex characters and a thrilling mystery at its core.

“The Inheritance Games”

This was such an absolutely addicting trilogy that I couldn’t put down. The book begins with the characters being just as confused as the reader, the big question being “why is Avery in the will?” She just received all this money for no reason– but there’s a catch. She has to solve the mysteries of death and uncover secrets of the past. What I particularly loved about this series was the well-executed love triangle trope.

The chemistry between Avery and the Hawthorne brothers is palpable and the tension between them keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The series also features well-developed characters, each with their own unique personalities and motivations. While the first book in the series was my favorite, the series as a whole is absolutely fantastic. 

The plot is gripping and unpredictable, with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers engaged. The writing is smart, witty and the pacing is spot on. I highly recommend “The Inheritance Games” trilogy to anyone looking for a thrilling young adult mystery series with a romance subplot. It’s a fun, fast-paced game that will keep you guessing until the very end.

“The Mindf*ck Series” by S.T. Abby

“The Mindf*ck Series”

An FBI agent is searching for a serial killer and the serial killer is his girlfriend. “The Mindf*ck Series” consists of five books following Lana Meyers and Logan Bennett. Lana is a female serial killer getting revenge on the people who have wronged her. She has been through some horrific things in her past and now she’s coming to collect. Logan is an FBI profiler on the hunt for his murder suspect, who he has no idea is in his bed. It is a dance of cat and mouse, the story is an intense murder mystery.

I devoured this series within a week. Brutal, violent, gut-wrenching and intoxicating are all words I would use to describe the books. Throughout reading these books there was a constant rollercoaster of emotions, I found myself holding my breath when things got really intense. Lana is the most kick-ass heroine I have ever read about. Her story is devastating and her strength is incomprehensible. Logan is protective and gentle but left in the dark. Together they are unstoppable and their chemistry was vigorous. The series comes to an end with the biggest twist yet, leaving you begging for more. “The Mindf*ck Series” is a beautifully twisted and insanely addicting story. Leave your morals at the door and prepare your stomach to read this because, for lack of a better description, you will be mindf**ked.

“Better Than the Movies” by Lynn Painter

“Better Than the Movies”

Liz Buxbaum is on a mission to bag her high school crush with the help of her neighbor, Wes Bennett. “Better Than the Movies” is a young adult romance novel about movie lover Liz who meets a charming guy next door and begins to question her beliefs about love. The book explores themes of friendship, family and self-discovery, while also incorporating movie references throughout the plot.

This is the perfect young adult romance. I absolutely adored this book. The characters are relatable and endearing and the storyline is sweet and engaging. The numerous movie references throughout the book also add a fun and unique element to the story. However, it’s worth noting that this book is undoubtedly targeted toward a younger audience. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, I could see how older readers might find it a bit simplistic and predictable. The characters and their struggles are a bit more surface-level than in more mature romance novels and the writing style is geared more toward a teenage demographic. With that being said, if you’re looking for a quick and easy read with a satisfying romance and charming characters, “Better Than the Movies” is definitely worth checking out. I finished this book with a smile on my face and a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart. It’s the perfect feel-good read for a lazy afternoon or a cozy night in.

“A Court of Thorns and Roses” series by Sarah J. Maas

The ACOTAR series follows the story of Feyre, a human girl who is taken to the faerie realm after killing a wolf in the woods. As she learns more about the faerie world and its politics, she becomes embroiled in a deadly game of power and politics, all while navigating her complicated relationships with the fae. There is the enigmatic and handsome High Lord of the Spring Court, Tamlin and the dangerous and alluring High Lord of the Night Court, Rhysand. The series is a blend of romance, fantasy and adventure, with intricate world-building and well-developed characters.

“A Court of Thorns and Roses”

These books had me completely hooked from start to finish. I absolutely loved this series and cannot recommend it enough. One of the things that make this series so incredible is the world-building. Maas has created a complex and detailed world of fae that is both beautiful and dangerous. The descriptions of the different courts and the magic that binds them together are so vivid and imaginative that I felt like I was living in the story myself. But what really sets this series apart is the characters. Feyre is a fierce and resilient protagonist who grows and changes over the course of the series. And Rhysand, well, he is just the most swoon-worthy book boyfriend of all time. His selflessness, unwavering loyalty and dark past all combine to make him utterly irresistible. The romance in this series is also off-the-charts steamy.

I loved the slow-burn buildup between Feyre and Rhysand and their relationship is one of the most beautiful and well-written I have ever encountered. Overall, the ACOTAR series is a must-read for any fan of fantasy. The setting is magical, the characters are to die for and the romance is absolutely dreamy. This series will stay with me for a long time and I cannot wait to revisit it again and again.