Down the TBR Hole #7

My Goodreads TBR needs desperately to be cleaned out, so I’m doing these posts until I feel it’s manageable, or until I’m back at the beginning of the list.

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

I’m adding my own twist on this and adding a 6th piece: if I’m on the fence about a book after reading the synopsis, I’ll read the preview of a book and make that part of my decision.

Ghost Wall

#1 Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, I was on the fence about this, and I read a few pages of the preview and actually find the writing style very much up my alley as well as the pulling me into the story. It’s definitely not in my usual genre or within my usual tastes, but I often need a break from my usual choices, so I’ll be keeping this one for when I’m in need of a breath of fresh air.

VERDICT: KEEP

Gingerbread

#2 Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, full disclosure, I think this has the lowest average rating of anything on my Goodreads TBR right now. I know literary fiction tends to get rated lower on average, but this only has a 3.07. Most books I like are at least a 3.8, so that alone has me questioning whether this book is worth it. No one I’m following on Goodreads has read this, and normally that wouldn’t bother me, but the fact that this has such a low average rating makes me want to read a review from soemeone whose tastes I’m familiar enough with that I’d be able to tell whether this book is for me. However, because I have so many books on my TBR, this has such a low rating, and my overall hesitation about it… I’m just gonna go with my gut on this.

VERDICT: LET GO

My Lovely Wife

#3 My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

[Goodreads Link]

This is a thriller, and I tend to not be super picky in what thrillers I pick up even if I am harder to please than average, just because they’re such a quick read and so it’s generally a pretty low risk to take a chance on them. If I don’t enjoy them I only wasted a couple days of reading time as opposed to a week or two. That and the premise of a married couple that murders together make this a no brainer.

VERDICT: KEEP

Little Fires Everywhere

#4 Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

[Goodreads Link]

Celeste Ng’s novel Everything I Never Told You is one of my favorite books of 2019. I rated it 5 whole stars. I don’t even need to re-read the synopsis of Little Fires Everywhere to know I’ll be reading it at some point. I really don’t have much else to say about that.

VERDICT: KEEP

My Sister, the Serial Killer

#5 My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

[Goodreads Link]

Frankly this book sounds too good to pass up. It’s basically a mix of a thriller and a family drama? I also know someone IRL who has read this and really enjoyed it, and normally when my real life friends read books I have to give those a chance because I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to talk about books with my friends.

VERDICT: KEEP

In total I’m keeping 4 and letting go of 1. Slowly but surely my TBR is getting a refresh, if not as quickly as I’d like. There are so many books I just want to delete off my TBR, but I’m trying to be good and do it systematically and give each book a fair chance. However, with over 400 books to get through it feels like it’s moving at a glacial pace.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Give Off Autumn Vibes

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, she comes up with the topics, and we pick the books.

The last one of these I participated in was way back in May, but I definitely plan on doing more of these… not every single one but definitely the topics I like.

Anyway, here are 10 books that give off autumn vibes, in no particular order.

Books I’ve read:

The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia, #1)

The Queen of Blood (Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst

[Goodreads Link]

The forest and the red, golden, and orange hues on this book definitely put it squarely in the “autumn vibes” category. This book is so good! The magic system in this book also involves different kinds of spirits, including forest spirits. I would highly recommend this book, and I have a dedicated review of my thoughts on it here.

The Wallcreeper

The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink

[Goodreads Link]

This orangey-red hues from the light streaming on the cover of this book definitely make me think of fall. As for the contents of the book itself, I… can’t tell you anything about my thoughts on it because I honestly feel extremely neutral towards this book. It’s a weird little book, that’s for sure. I also did a full review on this book here.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

[Goodreads Link]

Fall has been very rainy and dreary where I live this year, so this dreary cover definitely matches the vibes this fall has brought to Massachusetts. This book was okay. I don’t have much to say about it two months after reading it, and I didn’t do a full review of it but I did mention my 2.5 star rating when I finished it on Goodreads. I remember feeling decent about most of the book and then not liking the ending.

Windwitch (The Witchlands, #2)

Windwitch (Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard

[Goodreads Link]

I think I’ve already mentioned this in another fall tag but… the oranges, the red robes, the leaves swirling around who I can only assume is Merik. Out of the 2 books and the 1 novella I’ve read of this series, Windwitch is my favorite. I’m hoping to read the next book in this series soon and hope the books continue to improve. I do recommend this series, even as my dislike for the main character definitely leaves a pervasive slight bad taste in my mouth. My love for all the other characters definitely makes up for it though.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

[Goodreads Link]

I keep going back and forth on whether I actually want to re-read this series or not. Part of me wants to before Call Down the Hawk comes out, but at the same time I feel like I remember it pretty well still, and I do remember this book being my least favorite of the series. I really didn’t like the prologue with all the “Blue always knew when she kissed her true love he would die” nonsense. I put the book down for over a month after I read that prologue because of it, before finally coming back and really enjoying the rest of the novel and all the novels that followed. I do think Blue is kind of a weak character, and Gansey is definitely a bargain bin Henry Winter, but I love Adam and Ronan so the next books that focus more on them are so much better, in my honest opinion. Still, this book has the big ass raven on the cover, which I guess is the theme of this post.


Books I want to read:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

[Goodreads Link]

I’m honestly a little ashamed of the fact that I still haven’t read any Grishaverse books as of scheduling this post. I’m hoping to change that soon, just so I can get to this duology, which I fully expect I’ll love, but the cover definitely gives off mid-to-late fall vibes.

Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1)

Alice by Christina Henry

[Goodreads Link]

This is a retelling of the classic Alice in Wonderland. I love Alice in Wonderland, and I love retellings, but I am sick of seeing the same fairytales getting retellings over and over and over (Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, etc.) so this is definitely one I’m looking forward to reading eventually.

An Enchantment of Ravens

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

[Goodreads Link]

This book has some mixed reviews which makes me a little nervous about whether or not I actually want to read it. I really like the sound of both Margaret Rogerson’s books but I’m just not sure where on the spectrum I’ll fall between loving and hating the writing itself. Anyway, the colors and the raven on the cover definitely make me think of fall.

The Ballad of Black Tom

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

[Goodreads Link]

I have no idea what time of year this book is supposed to take place, but the cover with the shadows and the dark alley makes me think of a chilly fall night, because it starts getting darker earlier and earlier in autumn- which is the only thing I don’t like about the season. I also think this is supposed to be horror? (It’s shelved as horror on Goodreads, anyway, which isn’t always the most accurate for listing genres.) Horror is definitely a genre I pick up more in fall, around Halloween especially.

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

[Goodreads Link]

I think this is self-explanatory. Graveyards make me think of Halloween and Halloween takes place in fall. This is definitely a book that I’d be more likely to pick up in October or late September simply because of that.

Down the TBR Hole #6

My Goodreads TBR needs desperately to be cleaned out, so I’m doing these posts until I feel it’s manageable, or until I’m back at the beginning of the list.

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

I’m adding my own twist on this and adding a 6th piece: if I’m on the fence about a book after reading the synopsis, I’ll read the preview of a book and make that part of my decision.

Blanca & Roja

#1 Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

[Goodreads Link]

This is a YA retelling of Swan Lake with LGBT elements and that sounds right up my alley. As a dance nerd, I wish there were more retellings of stories that are famous ballets because some of them are so good and have so much potential. (I mean, honestly, how many Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast and Snow White retellings do we need? There are other– frankly more interesting– stories out there.) Anyways, this is for sure a book that I don’t want to forget about because I would like to eventually give it a chance.

VERDICT: KEEP

The Astonishing Color of After

#2 The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

[Goodreads Link]

I have had mixed experiences with magical realism as a genre. But the overall story of this book, which is about grief and family and coming-of-age, makes me hope that this will be on that I connect with. I don’t tend to pick up many books like this in the fall/winter months, so maybe I’ll get around to it next Spring. Funny this was on my original Asian Readathon TBR back in May, I just sort of… failed miserably at that Readathon so. But yeah, in my own time, I’ll definitely get around to picking this up.

VERDICT: KEEP

Daisy Jones & The Six

#3 Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

[Goodreads Link]

This is a book I was excited about when it first came out, but since then I’ve heard multiple mixed reviews about it, and some of the less-than-perfect reviews have sort of made me wary. I do have the audiobook saved on Scribd so hopefully I eventually get around to this. But if a large amount of time goes by and I haven’t read this, I’m going to just cut my losses.

VERDICT: KEEP (for now)

Freshwater

#4 Freshwater by Awaeke Emezi

[Goodreads Link]

This is a book I added to my TBR when I was trying to get into literary fiction and I was (loosely) following a couple of awards. I believe I found this one through the Women’s Fiction Prize longlist. I have been trying to find a Nigerian author that I like, and have been unimpressed with the last couple I’ve tried, so almost for that alone I want to give this book a chance.

VERDICT: KEEP

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)

#5 Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

[Goodreads Link]

Okay so this is actually fairly high on my priority lists as in it’s a book I haven’t yet bought or solidly committed to, but I regularly think about it and how I really want to give it a chance and hopefully fall in love with Robin Hobb’s writing and the whole Realm of the Elderling series. So with that in mind, there’s definitely no way I’m getting rid of this book.

VERDICT: KEEP

Once again I have kept 5 books and parted with 0. I’m hoping as we get further down my Goodreads TBR that I start to get into posts where I keep 0 books and get rid of 5 to make up for how little I’ve cut from my TBR so far.

Let’s Talk Bookish: TBR’s

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Eternity Books. This is my first time participating, and I’m looking forward to participating in more of these in the future.

This week’s prompt is: Are TBR’s necessary to be a book blogger or reader?

I’ll save everyone the scrolling and give the answer here: No.

End of post! We answered the question! Just kidding. There is more I have to say on this, obviously.

Maybe I’m biased as someone who rarely does TBR’s (and who rarely follows through with them when I do post them,) but the only times I feel like a TBR is necessary is if you’re participating in a read-a-thon and have specific prompts to fill because that does require planning ahead.

Other than that my own version of a TBR is to just make long lists of books I want to prioritize- usually these lists are anywhere between 10 and 20 books- but knowing I’m only going to get to 4 or 5 them in any given month; that makes it a less restrictive list, as I definitely lean towards being a mood reader. My issue with having no list at all is when there are so many books I want to read I sometimes get into this funk where I can’t decide what to pick up at all so I just… don’t pick up anything, which is very counterproductive. So, I personally like a mix of structure and lots of freedom. It’s easier to pick from a list of 20 books than a list of 400 (which is what my current Goodreads TBR is getting to be), and since I’m only going to get to a fraction of those, it still leaves me with plenty of room to let my mood decide what to pick up from the list next.

I also don’t post these lists anywhere because they’re not the traditional “These are all the books I’m planning to read this month” TBR, they’re more of a “Here’s a huge list of books, and I’m going to aim for reading at least 4 of them, and if I get to more, then that’s great, but if not that’s fine. And also there’s no way in hell I’m getting to all of them.”

I also am acutely aware of how many mood readers there are in the book community who likely don’t even make the long lists that I do. For mood readers, sometimes having a TBR can hurt more than help which is totally understandable, in my opinion. I’ve experienced that annoying feeling of forcing myself to read a book I’m not feeling that week or that month and enjoying the book a lot less than I would have otherwised, and possibly ending up in a reading slump because of it. So, I’ve personally just come to the conclusion that more restrictive TBRs that lay out exactly what I’m going to read and not giving me any extra options are just not for me, and so it makes sense to me that there are definitely others who feel this way as well, perhaps even more so.

All that being said, for other types of readers, TBRs certainly can be helpful.

Both types of readers are valid, and I happen to fall into the category of not using TBR’s, but people who do use TBR’s are equally valid and probably a hell of a lot more organized and disciplined than I am. Plus, I like reading TBR’s to try to identify the upcoming trends in the community as well as to see if there’s any books that sound intriguing to me, even if the person hasn’t read and reviewed it yet.

Tl;dr: Make TBR’s if you want, and if you’re the type of person that thrives as a reader that way then great, but they’re not necessary at all, and for certain readers they’re probably even counterproductive.

Down the TBR Hole #5

My Goodreads TBR needs desperately to be cleaned out, so I’m doing these posts until I feel it’s manageable, or until I’m back at the beginning of the list.

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

I’m adding my own twist on this and adding a 6th piece: if I’m on the fence about a book after reading the synopsis, I’ll read the preview of a book and make that part of my decision.

Onto the books.

The Luminaries

#1 The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

[Goodreads Link]

So, there was a time in my life where books like this were almost all I wanted to read, but I’ve realized since then that my tastes are not what books like this require of a reader. Frankly, books like this just don’t entice me like they used to, and the fact that it’s over 800 pages means I’d have to be convinced I’d love it to even pick it up, and the fact is that… I’m not convinced, so.

Verdict: LET GO

Far from the Tree

#2 Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, so, this isn’t at all my usual taste in reading material, but it is one I was interested in because I love reading about families. I read the first couple pages of the preview because the synopsis had me on the fence, and it definitely seems like something I’d like to read, so.

Verdict: KEEP

Milkman

#3 Milkman by Anna Burns

[Goodreads Link]

I’ve seen reviews of this book that have been all over the place. Books that people either love or hate with little in between do usually intrigue me, if only to find out on which side of the spectrum I’ll fall. It’s been awhile since I thought about this book (I think probably since I added it to by Goodreads in March) but the synopsis is definitely something that intrigues me a little bit. This will likely be a book I get from the library if I end up picking it up, but I don’t think I’m willing to part with it from my Goodreads TBR just yet.

Verdict: KEEP

The Silence of the Girls

#4 The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

[Goodreads Link]

Listen, myth and legend and fairy tale retellings are my jam. I’m not really one to read a lot of retellings of the popular stories like Cinderella and Snow White because those have been done to death and I just don’t like reading the same thing over and over, but the only retelling I’ve read of The Iliad is Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles which is one of my favorite books of all time. Briseis is a character that intrigued me in that retelling and the fact that Pat Barker has decided to give her her own story and her own voice in The Silence of the Girls? Sign me the fuck up. Honestly, why the fuck haven’t I read this yet?

Verdict: KEEP

If We Were Villains

#5 If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, so, I am not a fan of comparison marketing at all. I have been let down too many times (The Devouring Gray being compared to The Raven Cycle), or I’ve loved the books and actually decided they were unfairly marketed as being for fans of a series it’s not at all like (The Magicians being compared to Harry Potter.) So, the fact that this book is compared to The Secret History has me intrigued and somewhat hesitantly optimistic, but it also has me thinking it either won’t be anywhere as good or else won’t be anything like it. I do plan on giving this a chance, but I have recently seen some negative reviews of it that have me second-guessing that choice so I may decide against reading it in the future.

Verdict: KEEP (for now)

So, in total I’m keep 4 books and letting go of 1. This has been a very… slow cleaning process of my Goodreads shelves. Maybe I’ll get lucky and hit a jackpot soon and get rid of 5 books in one go? But probably not.

Down the TBR Hole #4

My Goodreads TBR needs desperately to be cleaned out, so I’m doing these posts until I feel it’s manageable, or until I’m back at the beginning of the list.

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

I’m adding my own twist on this and adding a 6th piece: if I’m on the fence about a book after reading the synopsis, I’ll read the preview of a book and make that part of my decision.

Now that I’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s just get started.

The Test

#1 The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

[Goodreads Link]

I’m definitely still intrigued by the sound of this, but I don’t feel particularly pulled to it. This is one of those ones where I’ll let it stay for now, but if I end up with it on a future Down the TBR Hole post (if I ever manage to get through my current TBR as is), it’s got to go.

Verdict: KEEP

For Better and Worse

#2 For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

[Goodreads Link]

I got this in a Book of the Month box as an add-on awhile ago and still haven’t read it. I definitely do want to get around to it, and it might be something I read next month; it’s definitely not fitting onto my current plans for October anyway.

Verdict: KEEP

Heroine

#3 Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

[Goodreads Link]

I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary, so I’m hesitant as to how this book might handle the topic of drug addiction (which is probably an unfair generalization of YA contemporary on my part.) However, given the issues like the opioid overdose crisis affecting people close to me, this is a book that I’m interested in reading. It is something that needs to be talked about and discussed more, and I really do hope to read something that does the issue justice. One day I’ll get around to this.

Verdict: KEEP

Miracle Creek

#4 Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

[Goodreads Link]

This was another Book of the Month box for me. I honestly just haven’t been reading very many thrillers lately but this one I already own so hopefully I’ll get around to it sooner rather than later. I remember being very interested when I first picked it up I just… haven’t been reading this genre, unfortunately. Hopefully I’ll read more of them soon because I certainly have a lot of them to get to.

Verdict: KEEP

Once Upon a River

#5 Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

[Goodreads Link]

After re-reading the synopsis for this, I remember why I added this to my Goodreads TBR in the first place and that’s because it sounds exactly like something I’d love. I’ll have to read it this winter sometime, because it sounds like a great wintertime story.

Verdict: KEEP

So this was a rather boring rendition of Down the TBR hole because I’ve kept 5 books and gotten rid of 0. I swear there’s definitely books on my Goodreads TBR that need to be culled, I guess they’re just… futher down the list than I expected. So far all these posts have done are make me wish that there were more hours in the day to read so I could get to every single book.

Fall Time Book Tag

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a book tag, and I love all things fall, so I figured why not do a book tag that’s dedicated to my (and many others’) favorite season?

The original tag was created by Sam’s Nonsense on Youtube, and you can find it here.

Crunching Leaves: The world is full of color – choose a book that has reds/ oranges and yellows on the cover.

I’m going with Windwitch because I just really like the composition of reds and oranges on this cover. Also as a reminder to myself to finally read Bloodwitch. I liked this one more than book one, so hopefully this series just keeps getting better?

Cozy Sweater: It’s finally coll enough to don warm cozy clothing – what book gives you the warm fuzzies?

The Dream Thieves. Wow, and just like that, this post already has more YA in it than any other post I think on my entire blog. Anyway, I read the books in the series that were out at the time right after my freshman year in undergrad and The Dream Thieves still sticks out to me. This book also has some tangentially related memories it brings up for me, plus Ronan is one of my favorite characters in the series. I love the whole series, even though I do have a lot of criticisms of it, but if I could only pick one book to read it would be this one. I do want to re-read them before Call Down the Hawk comes out.

Fall Storm: The wind is howling & the rain is pounding – choose your favorite book OR genre that you like to read on a stormy day

I don’t know why, but the word stormy just makes me want to read thrillers. It’s been way too long since I picked up a thriller (I think the last one I read was in March?) but I am hoping to pick up a couple once I finish the book I’m currently reading. Horror might be a good choice too on a stormy day, particularly in fall as we’re getting closer to Halloween. In fact it was raining today and I got a good chunk of the way through ‘Salem’s Lot so yeah. Thriller or horror would be my genre of choice for that weather.

Cool Crisp Air: What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

I would not want to trade places with most characters I read about, considering that in a lot of the books I’ve read recently my favorite characters have either died or witnessed their closest loved ones die. Still, I’ll say Nona from the Book of the Ancestor series (Red Witch) because, fuck yes, I’d love to be trained by assassin nuns to become an assassin nun. What could be cooler than that?

Hot Apple Cider: What under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

I feel like by nature of this question I have to pick a new release? This year I’ve only read 4 recent releases< Of those, 2 were way over-hyped and not very good at all. 1 was good enough, and the last one I haven’t seen talked about much so I’m going with Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It’s certainly not a new favorite of mine but I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable I found it, plus I’m all for own-voices stories, and stories about criminally ignored myths or folklore (in this case, the Mayan gods.)

Coat, Scarves, and Mittens: The weather has turned cold & it’s time to cover up – What’s the most embarrassing book cover you own that you like to keep hidden in public? 

None of them. TBH if I think a cover is embarrassing I either won’t touch the book, or I’ll get it from the library. I know this is a very superficial thing to be worried about, but I also don’t care. This was months and months ago, but the most recent example I can come up with is that I got Red, White, & Royal Blue from the library because the pink was just too much. I feel like embarrassing covers would be more of a problem if I read more romance (or, I guess, erotica) just by its nature, but I rarely pick that genre up so.

Warm, Cozy BonfireSpread the cozy warmth – Who do you tag? 

Anyone reading this! And let me know in the comments if you do it after you read mine, so I can read yours too.