Book Recommendations // Wholesome Friendships & Sympathetic Villains #Project14Lists Sprinkles of Dreams

Book Recommendations // Wholesome Friendships, Sympathetic Villains & Morally Grey Characters

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!


There are a few universal facts in life that are simply irrefutable, like how my resolution to go to bed early will forever be thwarted by the circumstance of life that time zones are a Thing that result in my bed time being the time everyone else in the book community is wide awake, living life, tweeting about it, and exchanging exciting news.

Or how my good hair day inevitable falls on the day before I’m supposed to go to that birthday party, that uni event, or that date with that cute boy who’s been asking me out for an eternity, but I’ve always postponed, because I’m way too busy with my studies, books, blogging, and boosting my favorite authors.

I’m kidding, there are no cute boys, only ones that I’m not interested in—but I digress. No one wants to hear anecdotes of my dating life … I don’t think.


But the universal fact that I want to address today is that there are certain things in books that always, always, without fail make my heart light up with happiness, and my eyes turn into glittering stars embodying my head-over-heels-adoration for them.

I tackled the most gorgeously written books I’ve ever read in my last #Project14Lists post, and in this post, I’m going to talk about wholesome friendships, almost-lovable villains you’ll find yourself, against every single fiber of your being, having sympathetic feelings towards, and morally grey characters that coax the deepest love you could possibly feel out of you.

Wholesome Friendships

I love friendships. In real life (of course), and in books. I love well-written romances, too, but reading about wholesome friendships makes me happy in an entirely different, and immeasurably precious way. There’s just something so special about a platonic bond between people that fills all the most secluded corners of my being with light and contentment.

So here I stand, metaphorically, presenting to you friendships that melt my heart, and make me swoon.

The Six of Crows

from Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows characters by kevin wada illustration
Six of Crows characters by kevin wada illustration

I have the softest spot for friendships and bands of misfits that are formed and forged under the unlikeliest of circumstances, and are so tightly knit that each member of it would be willing and ready to sacrifice their own happiness for that of their enemy-turned-friend-turned-chosen-family-member. And that’s what you get with this series.

I absolutely adore every single character in this crew of outlaws, and I wish I could re-read this series a million times, just to experience their love for each other again and again.

Frances & Aled
from Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Frances & Aled by Alice Oseman
Frances & Aled by Alice Oseman

It’s not so much an open secret as public knowledge by now that I would fly to the ends of earth to procure a copy of Alice Oseman’s book(s), despite being the very living embodiment of a poor, broke uni student. Her writing so whole-heartedly and all-consumingly resonates with every corner of my heart, that it would be an injustice in my eyes not to scream about her to everyone I knowwhich I frequently do, and shall never tire of doing.

And amidst all the friendships in books I’ve encountered, the friendship between Frances and Aled in Radio Silence is especially swoon-worthy.

Books I Love
with wonderful, wholesome friendships


Sympathetic Villains & 
Morally Grey Characters

Adelina Amouteru
from The Young Elites series by Marie Lu

Adelina Amouteru - Sprinkles of Dreams

Is anyone even surprised to find this character and this book in this post? I think I’ve professed my undying love for Marie Lu’s The Young Elites series a few too many times for this inclusion to be anything other than a complete given.

Basically, Adelina is one of my favorite characters of all time, and it genuinely still astounds me exactly how well-crafted she is, no matter how many times I re-read this book. She makes my heart ache, every. single. time.

Laurent of Vere
from the Captive Prince series by C.S. Pacat

Laurent of Vere - shihoran @ tumblr
Laurent of Vere by shihoran @ tumblr

Where do I even begin? Laurent is a soft marshmallow under his cold, icy, and cruel exterior that he shows the world, and it took me an entire book and a half to believe it—but when it happened, I couldn’t help but love him all the more deeply. And then the truth about his past was revealed, and all I wanted was for Damen to give him the softest, warmest hug, and never let go.

Can I just say … he single-handedly revived my love of the incorrect quotes hashtag on all our no-longer-deeply-beloved Tumblr.

Books I Love
with intricately crafted characters & villains


Sprinkles of Dreams - Let's Chat

Have you read any of these books?
Who are your favorite villains, or morally grey characters in books?
Any swoon-worthy friendships I should be screaming about? 💗

xx, lily - Sprinkles of Dreams
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94 thoughts on “Book Recommendations // Wholesome Friendships, Sympathetic Villains & Morally Grey Characters”

  1. The friendships in Six of Crows were so good! Though a lot of them weren’t platonic. I think some of my favourite friendships are the hobbits in LOTRs. Tolkien may have been very long-winded in his writing, but the friendships felt very real and strong. Also, the sisters in The Way Past Winter. Their relationships were brilliantly written, if they count.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes!! And true + I do love the romantic relationships in their little crew as well, but I just have so much love for their overall love for each other, and how they grow to be a family. ☺️❤️

      Ohh I’ve been putting off reading LOTR for so, so long, other books just keep getting in the way … and ahh I really need to read The Way Past Winter!! I adore wholesome sibling relationships too, so thank you for the rec! :’)

      Happy holidays!! ❄️🌟💫

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have only read The Book Thief from your list and I just realized I need to reread that book! I also want to read Six of Crows but I have yet to find a copy on my nearby bookstore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anna!! I missed you so much here sdjkfdsdfks I’m so happy you’re back to blogging 💕💕 & yess, only you get my love for Melina Marchetta (I’m still impatiently waiting for her next book). :’)

      Merry Christmas, I hope you’re having the best time!! 🎄💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ngl i missed being here too!! :>>> and god i’ve been waiting for a jimmy book for over four years now, icb we’re finnaly getting one! 😮

        merry christmas to u too, sunshine!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this list, Lily! And I completely understand your struggles with hair being great before an important occasion, but horrendous the day of! Haha. I adore the friendships in Six of Crows and the Book Thief! I really need to read Radio Silence and Captive Prince soon! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I’m so glad, thank you so much, Kelly 💕💕

      Haha I’m so relieved that doesn’t only happen to me! 🙈 I’m so relieved and excited that you enjoyed SOC & The Book Thief!! And I’m going to be so anxious when you read Captive Prince ahh + have you read any of Alice Oseman’s books before? ☺️

      Also, Merry Christmas!! Sending you love and hugs 💖⛄️


  4. Yes, I’m so appreciative of you for shouting out wholesome friendships, they need more attention! My favorite book about friendship is Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Caroline Knapp – it’s nonfiction and a memoir so different from the books you listed here but still wonderful. Also, I actually loled a little reading the intro of this post where you revealed that the cute boys are fake. Honestly that’s super relatable to my dating life too, so thank you. Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh yay, thank you, Thomas!!

      And you always have the best non-fiction recommendations, so I’m putting that book on my TBR right away. Ahah, actually cute and attractive boys are a myth in my world, but I’m glad my talking about it made you laugh. 😀

      I hope you had a great start into the new year! 🎆🎊


  5. Swoon-worthy friendships are so wonderful, aren’t they?? Some of my favorites are the ones in the Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale. Also, I really NEED to get reading SoC. Most seem to love it!!

    For morally grey characters this year, one of them is Oriana from The Cruel Prince. The other is Hideo from Warcross/Wildcard. I just become a pile of feels when a character’s actions is motivated by family relationships

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yess, definitely! And ahh checking out that book right now – and you definitely, definitely have to read SOC & let me know what you think!! 🙂

      I agree about Oriana, she really surprised me, and I was actually intrigued by her towards the end. And same, I really love when someone’s love for their family member makes them do things that aren’t wholly … good? Weird to put it like this, haha.

      Happy New Year, Miri!! 🥂🎇

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy New Year to you as well! ❤

        Yes, I think I might read SoC before KoS! Either way, I'm looking forward to read it.

        And YES. Oriana did intrigue me. One reason I think I was so fascinated with her was instead of becoming rivals with her fellow consort, they were very very close…so close that Oriana could love Oak like her own son. Also I don't think Oriana hates Jude or Taryn or Vivienne; she's simply very wary for Oak's sake.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. merryyyy christmas gf!!! hope you’re having the jolliest day in recorded history. (also i want to hear anecdotes of your dating life OBVIOUSLY)

    also, all of these things are great. which is not surprising, because you are so very great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh look at me taking forever to reply,,, I hope Christmas was wonderful, and you had the best start into 2019, because you deserve nothing less 💖 (& I’ll take that under consideration only because it’s youu)

      You are my fave 💕💞💓 sending only the best vibes your way for 2019! ✨💫

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this blog post so much! ❤ Adelina and Laurent are two of my favourite characters and I love them both to bits and pieces! And I totally agree about the friendships in "Six of Crows"!! This crew is everything! XD I still haven't read Radio Silence but I'm planning to do it next year! So I hope I'll like Aled and Frances too. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes me so happy, thank you!!

      I love them both so much sdnfjdksfs and I Need to re-read Six of Crows, if only just to revel in their love for each other. :’) Omg yes, please! I’m so proud, whenever I can nudge someone towards Alice Oseman – have you read anything else that’s written by her? 🙂

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, and happy 2019 💛💛

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m just so interested in The Fever King now that you placed it under the well-crafted villains category. I LOVE a good villain who’s not absolutely wrong and definitely not absolutely right so this post was fun to read 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh The Fever King will have your head spinning with how it manages to make you doubt your feelings towards a certain character … or characters. 😏

      I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it, Fanna! And I hope you’ve had the happiest of starts into 2019 😊💫

      Liked by 1 person

  9. OH this is a lovely post, Lily! ❤ I really love Aled and Frances so, very much, they're my favorites ahh, I adore them. I also love everything Alice Oseman writes, she is one of the best ever ❤ I really need to read Foolish Hearts soon, it sounds like a book I could fall in love with and I can't wait.
    I'm also so excited to continue reading The Young Elites series, I really enjoyed the first book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Marie! 💗

      Their friendship is goals, and YES I’ll scream about Alice Oseman forever, she’s so inspiring. (Have you read her novellas? I adore them all.) Foolish Hearts is genuinely made up of everything wholesome and lovely, which pretty much equals it being written for you, basically – I’m sure you’ll love it. ☺️

      I’m so incredibly happy that you enjoyed TYE!! Book two in the series is my absolute favorite. :’)

      I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2019 so far, sending you all the wonderful thoughts ✨✨

      Liked by 1 person

  10. First and foremost, Merry Christmas, Lily! ✨
    When I read the title, I instantly thought of Six of Crows. This book is literally the perfect combination of wholesome friendships & morally grey characters. I adore the crew as well, though my favorite friendship is definitely Nina/Inej. I tend to care more for friendships between male characters, so when I find one between girls that gives me the same feels, it means a lot!
    Some of my favorite friendships include: The Raven Boys cast, because it is all-encompassing and made me cry more than any romantic relationship ever did (and I eat rom-coms for breakfast); The Maze Runner trio (I read this series in 2014 and still cry to think about them) and the Magnus Chase cast. I never thought I’d add the latter to this list, because when I first read the Magnus Chase series, I was skeptical that a friendship between an elf, a dwarf and a demigod would ever work, but they’re surprisingly wonderful, hahah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and an even better start into the new year 💕✨

      True!! I love reading about girl friendships that don’t involve any backstabbing/jealousy/passive-aggressive actions.

      Oh, I neeeed to read the Magnus Chase series, I’ve heard so many great things about it (and Rick Riordan in general). Sadly, I didn’t like the Raven Boys much, though … I know it’s got an almost cult-like following, but it really wasn’t for me. :/ I’m glad it inspired so many positive feelings, and was so important to you, though!

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, and I hope 2019 is kind to you! ☺️💖

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Omg this is such a wonderful post, Lily!! I absolutely adore wholesome friendships, almost-lovable villains, and morally grey characters in books. 😍 I loveee the friendships in Radio Silence & Foolish Hearts as well, and omg, I really need to get around to reading Six of Crows soon.

    (And I’d totally be interested in hearing anecdotes of your dating life 👀 – but only if you’re comfortable sharing, of course, haha.) I hope you’re having a very happy holiday season!! 💓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh thank you, Dezzy!! ☺️

      Ahhh yay, all the contemporary loveee 💘💘 I’m so excited to hear all your thoughts about SOC.

      (sndfjkdsfs I’m surprised that more people enjoy[ed]) hearing about it than I anticipated, I’ll see what I can do for youuu 😎)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. FRIENDSHIPS ARE SO IMPORTANT TO ME IN BOOKS. They are up there with sibling relationships for me. One of my favourites would be Harry/Ron in Harry Potter, I love their friendship so much. There are ups and downs but in the end, they come through for each other? But Six Of Crows, found family friendships is LOVE. ❤

    I don't think I've ever come across a sympathetic villain in a book anywhere that I actually like…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES YES YES. And definitely, HP has a lot of problems, but it created such wholesome friendships, I adore 💕💕 & I swear SOC will occupy that special place in my heart, always. :’)

      I mean … Adelina is not a villain per se, but she’s definitely not your typical heroine-who-saves-the-world-and-does-everything-for-the-greater-good &c., but I love her with all my heart. ❤️


    1. Ohh did you like it, Meeghan? I’d be super interested in hearing what you think about Radio Silence as well. And yes, Laurent is so swoon-worthy – and if you love morally grey characters, definitely read TYE. 😍

      I hope your Christmas was lovely & this year brings you sunshine and happiness ✨✨

      Liked by 1 person

  13. […] Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams – I’m fairly certain it’s impossible not to adore this precious ray of sunshine! Lily not only posts amazing reviews and bookish lists, but also spreads so much kindness and love for other bloggers! How she always boosts others is a beautiful part of her personality, and I strive to reach this level of compassion! […]


    1. I adore her so much, and I’m not sure what that says about me, ahah.

      Oh no, you did? I mean … maybe it’s just not for you, and that’s totally okay and valid – I have way too many unpopular opinions, and sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. So definitely don’t feel pressured to love it, just because everyone else does – I do hope you will, if you give it another try, though! 😌

      Happy New Year, Charis 😊🌠💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha same here… morally gray characters are the best. And I’m a Slytherin, so I kind of have to like them. XD

        Honestly I couldn’t even say why I DNFed it. *shrugs* I’m definitely planning on reading it again. 🙂

        Happy New Year!


    1. Same, they just always tug at my heartstrings – I hope you’ll love it, when you do, Kaleena! I know you really enjoyed The Gilded Wolves, and it really reminded me of SOC. 🙂

      Thank you so much! I hope your 2019 started out amazing for you, sending you hugs!! 💚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Mi Adelinetta 😭💖💖 I love her so much, and I totally agree. And ahh you definitely need to read it & then come scream at me about it – plus, you may be interested to know that pre-ordering the book may come with … perks. 😉


  14. This post is the best thing ever, it has all my favorite things: friendships, villains, morally grey characters!! 😍 Ohh I really need to read Radio Silence, I have a mighty need for some wholesome friendships to warm my heart 💗 And Adelina is amazing, I love her SO much, I need to reread the books this year, they are so good 💕 I’m also a huge fan of Vicious! … do I spy The Fever King again, you’re getting me more excited for it with every post 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much, Caro 🤗💛

      Radio Silence‘s friendship will capture your heart in a heartbeat (hehe), I’m sure of it!! I re-read the first two books or TYE series a few months ago, and I really want to re-read them again already. 😂

      I knowww, someone stop me – but also not, because I’m okay with being its biggest cheerleader. Also … pre-ordering might come with … a surprise -wink wink- 😇


  15. Aw, I love all of these topics so much! I also think Grisha has some excellent villainy going on, though I wouldn’t call The Darkling one of my favourites as it seems to be for a lot of people, or remotely redeemable – which I think is one of his best assets!
    I haven’t read any of the other books mentioned but I’m super pumped for SoC when I can get my hands on it ❤
    Have a lovely 2019, Lily ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I CANNOT BELIEVE I NEVER FOLLOWED/VISITED YOUR BLOG BEFORE??! It’s so pretty and your blog posts look so amazing and AGH! This is so cool, You’re so cool. I love Six of Crows SO much like they’re friends and dynamic will always own my heart. and Leisel and Rudy are just everything?! And now I’m remembering the end of TBT and wanting to cry. thanks. But also Adelina! WAS SO GREAT and I loved her oh my gosh. And NOW I’M REMEMBERING THE END TO THE MIDNIGHT STAR and also wanting to cry because … shfjds, i mean, no spoilers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thank you so much, Ilsa, you’re too kind. 😭 YOUR BLOG IS AMAZING, so. Extra honored & flattered. :’)

      I adore SOC and TBT so much, and,,, at least we’re both crying together now?? And ahhh I’m so happy you love Adelina as well!! THE MIDNIGHT STAR DESTROYED ME. I keep re-reading the series, and leaving out the last book. It’s … a Problem.

      I hope you’re having a wonderful new year!! 💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

  17. You really made me want to reread Six of Crows – I love them so much 😭 But also?? Rereading will hurt?? Because of a certain thing happening in Crooked Kingdom?? And I don’t want that pain again?? But also?? I miss my kids?? Help 😭

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So many amazing books on your list… but I especially love th SoC crew and Frances and Aled… I always mention them too 😊😊😊 and Laurent is such a special one… that trilogy is so damn memorable…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sahi! 💜

      I love them both so much, I’m glad you do, too! They deserve all the love. :’) And YES. I still think about this series randomly all. the. time, and I definitely want to re-read it this year. ☺️

      I hope your 2019 has started off amazingly!! 🌟🌟

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha… I think about the trilogy all the time too… and just randomly put on the audiobook from anywhere in between whenever I’m in the mood 😂😂😂
        2019 has been slumpy start but I hope it gets better…


  19. This is such a lovely post, Lily!💛Can I just say, the first few paragraphs of this are so relatable and perfect and just…you are so, so wonderful, I smiled so much reading this post.

    Six of Crows has been on my TBR for much too long! I LOVE gangs of misfits, as proved by my love for Raven Cycle and Percy Jackson and well, basically anything. Also, it made me so happy to spot Foolish Hearts because I can’t get enough of it!

    Morally grey characters are kind of a hit or miss for me! If it’s Snape we’re talking about, then, I hate to say it but I kind of loathe him. However if the character shows some redeeming qualities then it’s a possibility I’ll like them. 😉 I’ll have to check out the books you mentioned!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much, Olivia!! 💛 That’s such a wonderful compliment, and I’m so glad I could make you smile!

      I hope you can read Six of Crows soon!! (I thought you’d read it already for some reason?) Foolish Hearts is so amazing, I did a happy dance, when I saw that you enjoyed it as well. :’)

      Ahah I love that we agree on Snape. Yes, definitely do! I mean … have you ever taken to a morally grey character before? If not, I feel like The Young Elites would be great to start with, since the morally grey character is the MC, and you’re in her head.

      Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR, I hope you had a great start!! 🌠💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh, you’re welcome! ❤

        I actually can't think of a morally grey character that I loved?! Thank you for the recommendation with The Young Elites, I'll have to look into it. 😉

        Happy new year to you, too! I hope it's absolutely wonderful.


  20. Friendships and good villains are some of my favourite topics to read about! 😌🙌
    I just reread The Book Thief, Rudy and Liesel are just so perfect and pure! 😭 I also loved Six of Crows, one of the best cast of characters I ever read about.
    And of course Vicious is the PERFECT book about villains, or should I say morally grey characters. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

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