The Happy Place Five #2: New Beginnings

03rd February 2021

The Happy Place Five banner in dark blue rimmed in gold with a golden book and golden starsThe Happy Place 5 – take a Discord chat, throw a bunch of bookish people in there together to keep each other sane over the course of a pandemic, and voilà: a new monthly feature is born. On the first Wednesday each month, we will highlight our top five books for a certain topic or theme. You can find the posts of my fellow Happy Place readingrats linked below!


New year, new beginnings! And when we talk beginnings, we mean series! Just what series, exactly, we couldn’t agree on, so you’ll get a bunch of interpretations for this topic. I’m really bad at keeping up with new releases, so that one was out of the question for me. In the end, I went with series I want to start in 2021. It’s not like I have a shortage of those. I have at least 363 first books in series on my tbr. The exact number might be even higher since I haven’t maintained that shelf constantly. As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy to settle with just five, but I went for the most likely ones:

These Violent Delights
(These Violent Delights, #1)
by Chloe Gong

I actually wanted to read this at the end of last year since it got some really good buzz. A retelling of Romeo & Juliet set in a 1920s Shanghai of gangsters AND monsters – I mean, this sounds absolutely epic!


For Darkness Shows the Stars
(For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1)
by Diana Peterfreund

I had this on my tbr since 2014. I wanted to pick it up time and time again – but since this is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, I wanted to read the source material first and it took me the longest time to do so. Now that I have, and absolutely loved it, I’m even more excited about this one. And it gets even better: it’s set in space!

(Dune, #1)
by Frank Herbert

I can’t even tell you how long this has been on my tbr. I’m in the habit of pilfering books from my relatives if I can get my hands on them. My mum’s old horse novels – yeah, they’ll fit right in-between all of mine. My dad’s scifi and fantasy books – well, he surely won’t notice they all somehow found their way onto my shelves. Dune‘s one of those. It’s rather fortunate the movie got delayed because I wanted to read it beforehand. Chances this will happen therefore increased a lot.

Six of Crows
(Six of Crows, #1)
by Leigh Bardugo

Speaking of adaptations: Shadow & Bone‘s coming to Netflix in April and I’m … excited? I never cared about the Grisha trilogy – loved the world, disliked the plot and characters to varying degrees – and yet I’m looking forward to it. Mostly because I’m a basic bitch and Ben Barnes is the Darkling. However, the series also somehow incorporates Six of Crows (or rather the characters, not the plot, since the series are set after each other and not at the same time), so I’d like to read it before I watch the series. Fortunately, most people (even those that are on the same page about Grisha as me) say this one’s much better …

Listening to the Wind
(Connemara Trilogy, #1)
by Tim Robinson

I’m surprised I still haven’t read this yet! Connemara is the place my soul calls home and due to a number of unfortunate circumstances (a broken leg in 2019, a pandemic in 2020), I haven’t been in over two year – and there’s no end to the Connemara withdrawal in sight … This is a non-fiction series chronicling Connemara landscape, history, and folklore. For me, it’s not just finding a way to be there in mind, if not in person, it’s also research. Because one day, I’m going to write a horse novel full of faeries set in Connemara … just you wait!

So, these are five series I want to start in 2021. Will I read (any of) them? That remains to be seen! In the meantime, tell me yours! And if you want some more input and inspiration, head over to the other Happy Place readingrats:

Crini • Joséphine • Mackenzie • Mercy

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