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.

Down The TBR Hole #3

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 Library at Mount Char

#1 The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

[Goodreads Link]

This actually seems like a book that would be perfect for this time of year. I’m trying to read some horror this month so maybe I’ll pick it up from my library once I finish the books I’ve currently got from them. There are some other horror books I’m more excited about, but the premise of this still sounds super intriguing to me so I may not get to it by this Halloween, but it’s definitely something I’m still interested in picking up eventually.

Verdict: KEEP

Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga, #4)

#2 Iron Gold (Red Rising 4) by Pierce Brown

[Goodreads Link]

Yeah, I don’t even have to read the description of this. The original Red Rising trilogy was one of those rare cases where I just had to binge-read all the books. I’ve been putting this off until this part of the series is completed because I suspect I’ll want to binge read again, and I tend to be impatient and lose interest in incomplete series.

Verdict: KEEP

The Snow Child

#3 The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

[Goodreads Link]

So, this definitely sounds intriguing, but not nearly intriguing enough for me to prioritize it anytime in the near future. I don’t necessarily dislike the sound of the premise, but it’s a little too vague for me to make a decision, and it makes me feel just… lukewarm. So.

Verdict: GO

The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #1)

#4 The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

[Goodreads Link]

This is a book I’m actively interested in reading. I probably won’t get to it in October, as I have other things I’m prioritizing right now (stuff I planned to read in September that I didn’t finish, as well as those horror books I mentioned above,) but I could potentitally get to this one in November or December. It sounds pretty original, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s all about.

Verdict: KEEP

The Priory of the Orange Tree

#5 The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

[Goodreads Link]

I definitely want to read this one. It’ll be a hot minute because it’s such a long book and it’s definitely going to take me probably a whole month to read. It is, at least, a standalone, and I’m always excited to read high fantasy written by women. I’ve heard only good things about this book. But… just thinking about reading it is too much of a commitment at this moment in time. Someday, though.

Verdict: KEEP

In total I am keeping 4 books and letting go of` 1.  I’ve let go of 2 books so far in doing these posts, but we’re only one the third one. I expect by the next one, or maybe the one after that, this will be more exciting (and more productive.)

Q3 Reading Stats | Q4 Goals

This has been a slow reading season for me. It started with a slump that carried over from Q2. I tried for a whole month just to finish one book before finally deciding to DNF it. So my real Q3 for reading didn’t even start until August, so I only read 8 books in total.

I’ve discussed the books I read in my wrap ups for the months.

Q3 Wrap-Ups:

In total I read 8 books for a total of 2,953 pages. In comparison, my Q2 total was 15 books and 5,565 pages. That’s… less than spectacular… but on the whole, I’m okay with it. It probably would have been closer to even if I hadn’t spent a whole month trying to force myself to read one book.

The average length of the books I read this quarter was 369 pages, compared to 371 pages in Q2, so more or less the same. There was a significantly larger standard deviation with that average this quarter, though.

I read more fantasy than any other genre, which isn’t surprising for me. Fantasy tends to be my go-to genre, and it tends to be at least 50% of what I read in any given period of time.

I read more female authors than male authors, which is slightly surprising for me as I didn’t read much YA this quarter. In fact the only YA book I did read was by a male author. I probably shouldn’t be surprised by that, and it definitely draws attention to my own biases about the adult and YA categories.

My average rating for Q3 was 3.5, which is a little above my all-time ratings average. Not something I’ll complain about. That means I generally enjoyed the books I read this quarter.

I had an oddly even spread of ratings this quarter, with the exception of 1-stars, which I gave to 0 of the books I read.

In general I think my average ratings have been trending higher since I started allowing myself to DNF books I’m not enjoying. I don’t give ratings to books I DNF and most of them (with the exception of library returns) would probably be 1-star, or 2 if I’m in a good mood. The thing is, I just don’t get a lot of enjoyment out of hate-reading. I love to be salty, but with the little time I have available to read, I just prefer to spend my time on things I actually like.

That said, I have written some salty things about some books I’ve DNF’ed recently and in the further past. In Q3 I DNF’ed a total of 3 books. (Two physical books and one audiobook.) I always post my reasons for DNF’ing a book to my Goodreads.


Looking to Q4. My main goal is to keep with at least the 4 books a month that I managed in August and September.

Some other goals I have for myself:

  • I want to read at least 2 horror books in October (not counting the audiobook I’m listening to now, because it’s not nearly horrifying enough for me to even really call it ‘horror’, but I’ll leave that for when I write a review of it.)
  • I want to read at least 5 of the books I already own. I currently have a stack of 13 unread books sitting on my shelf, and I’d like to read at least half of those before I bring in anything new. (I know that’s not too crazy, but considering half of what I read comes from the library, it takes me awhile to get to the books I actually own.)
  • I’d like to finish at least 1 series that I’ve been putting off.
  • And I want to start at least 1 new series I’ve been putting off.

Again, my main goal is to read at least 4 books each month in Q4, which means I’ll have read another 12 books by the end of the year. That being said, I’ve already more this year than I have in a long time, so I am not at all going to stress myself out over hitting any of these goals.

If you have any similar end-of-year goals, I’d love to hear them!

September Wrap Up

I read four books in the month of September, which is a pretty decent number for me and my schedule. It’s about the average for me.

I also rated two books 5-stars, which is fairly rare for me, so I’m pretty excited about the books I ended up picking up.

(On a slightly negative note, I did end up DNF’ing one book. I generally don’t care about DNF’ing books they generally either bore me or I can tell from the get-go I’m not going to like them, and I don’t force myself to read things, but if you’re interested I always mention why I DNF certain books on my Goodreads. I don’t mention them by title in my wrap-ups.)

I’m just gonna jump into the books in the order that I read them.

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

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

Page Count: 353

My Rating: ★★★★☆

[Goodreads Link]

This book was such a nice surprise. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, and I don’t even remember how I found out that this book existed, and I’m so surprised it’s not more popular, especially among people who read YA Fantasy (though this book is technically adult, there’s definitely a lot of appeal for those who generally read YA.) I felt so strongly about this book deserving more popularity that I wrote a full review on it, which you can read here.

Gods of Jade and Shadow

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Page Count: 352

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

[Goodreads Link]

I really loved the premise of this and it definitely kept me entertained while I was bored at work. However I don’t think I was able to absorb all of it as well as I could have if I had read it physically, and I just had to like force myself to pay attention to the audiobook. This happens a lot with audiobooks for me, I use them as background noise and then accidentally tune out huge swaths of them, so I’m trying to only listen to them when I can focus on them like while I’m driving or cleaning so that I stop that habit. Anyways, I don’t think this one will be super memorable for me down the line, but I did enjoy it while I read it. I liked the dynamic between the two main characters and the focus on Mayan mythology.

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Page Count: 572

My Rating: ★★★★★

[Goodreads Link]

This book took me nearly 3 weeks to complete, but man was it worth it. Everything about this series is so immensely well-done. The Mistborn series is not the best with pacing, which is my only complaint and one I’m entirely willing to overlook for how it ended. There’s not much I can say about this book that wouldn’t spoil things that happen earlier in the series, but holy shit. I just loved this so much, these books will always be at the top of my fantasy list, and I’m excited to dive further into Sanderson’s Cosmere universe.

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Page Count: 292

My Rating: ★★★★★

[Goodreads Link]

I don’t read a lot of contemporary. I don’t read a lot of generally plot-less, 100% character-focused fiction. I don’t like a lot of the ones that I do read. But every once in a while I come across one that reminds me why I keep on reading them, and this was one of those rare cases. This book has a loose plot, but it’s less a story and more a study on grief, but even more than that it’s a portrait of a family. This touches on not only grief, but racism and sexism, both without forcing the point down your throat. It’s also about love, both romantic and familial, of the complicated relationships between siblings. I loved all three of the siblings. I related the most to Nath out of all the characters, empathized most with Hannah, and cried most over Lydia. I don’t know that I have the words to describe all the things I felt through reading this book, even though took me less than a day to read it. I have a feeling that this is one of those books that’ll never leave me and I’m very glad I read it.

That’s it for September! I’m hoping to read at least 4 books (but maybe more) in October, and I’m excited for that, because it’s spooky month, and I’ve never really been into horror as a genre, but I’ve always been intrigued, and this is the year I’m going to give it a chance- I already have a tentative TBR- and I’m excited to really dive into it.

Down the TBR Hole #2

My Goodreads TBR needs desperately to be cleaned out, so I’m doing these posts twice a month 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.

Memoirs of a Geisha

#1 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

[Goodreads Link]

Now, I suspect that I could get a lot from this book if I read it. However, something about a white American man writing a book from the perspective of a Japanese Geisha is a little off-putting to me, and on top of that, a lot of the more ‘literary’ books I’ve tried recently have either felt underwhelming or have bored me to tears, so…

VERDICT: GO

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy, #2)

#2 The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

[Goodreads Link]

I loved The Bear and the Nightingale when I read it back in 2018. I already own this book in hardback, I’ve just been waiting for the seasons to shift to pick it up. Likely I’ll be reading this in December or January.

VERDICT: KEEP

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

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

[Goodreads Link]

If the Villains series is anything to go by, V.E. Schwab is a good writer but not necessarily my favorite. I have my criticisms of both of those books, but I still enjoyed reading them. The premise of this is so-so for me, I’m not big on multiple-world type stories or low fantasy in particular, however it is still intriguing enough that I do want to eventually give it a shot. That said, if I go through my TBR again and I still haven’t read it, it could go either way.

VERDICT: KEEP

The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1)

#4 The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

[Goodreads Link]

After re-reading the Goodreads summary for this I’m reminded of how good it sounds and wondering why I haven’t read it yet. Seriously, what’s the deal @ me? That’s another good part of doing posts like these; they’re a good push to read something I should have read ages ago.

VERDICT: KEEP

The Bone Clocks

#5 The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

[Goodreads Link]

Almost three years ago now, I read Slade House— not realizing it was a companion to this book– and loved it. After putting that down and learning that it was related to this novel I had to add this to my TBR. Slade House isn’t a book I think about a lot these days, but I do remember immensely enjoying the story, plus this book is sitting on my shelf already… it’s just a thick ass book, so I’ve been putting off committing to it.

In total I am keeping 4 books and letting go of` 1. Definitely not as much of a dent as I was hoping to make, but there’s always next time.

Down the TBR Hole #1

My Goodreads TBR has been quickly getting out of hand so in an attempt to get it under control I’m going to start doing these once or twice a month.

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.

This first one and possibly the next few will be a little bland with me not getting rid of much as I have culled my Goodreads to-read shelf a few times in the last few years.

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

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)

#1 The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, this is a book I’ve been meaning to get to for ages and the only reason I haven’t is that I’m always hesitant to start new series that are unfinished and that haven’t been updated in years. From what I know the fourth book of the series is coming, but I’m not keen to start reading this series and catch up just to have to wait for the rest of the books. I definitely am excited to get to this series eventually, I’m just waiting for the right time to do so. Maybe when the final book is on its way and I can read it knowing that there will be an end to the series.

Verdict: KEEP

Uprooted

#2 Uprooted by Naomi Novik

[Goodreads Link]

This book is right up my alley. There’s fantasy, there’s woods, its protagonist is a young woman, there’s a man whose magic keeps their whole village alive. This is giving me some Deathless vibes, and that’s one of my all-time favorite books, so honestly there’s no way I’m letting go of this one. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t read it already, to be honest, and I think the longer I’ve put it off the less likely I’ve been to pick it up. I definitely want to change that soon, and it feels like a fall read to me so maybe sometime in the next couple months I’ll finally get around to reading this.

Verdict: KEEP

West (East, #2)

#3 West by Edith Pattou

[Goodreads Link]

This is the sequel to East which was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I still want to read this, but I plan on re-reading East first since it’s been probably 12 or 13 years since I’ve read it. That’s a long ass time. Even though I haven’t ever re-read it, it’s still one of the few books I still think about a lot. So I’m definitely looking forward to re-reading East and giving West a read as well.

Verdict: KEEP

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1)

#4 Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

[Goodreads Link]

This is a book recommended to me by my boyfriend. According to Goodreads it’s been on my to-read shelf since 2017, but I’m fairly certain he may have told me about it even before then. In any case, I definitely want to read it because of that, but also because of my own reading goals, one of which is read more science fiction. Plus I finally bought a physical copy of this book only a couple of weeks ago, so this will definitely be a book I get to sooner rather than later.

Verdict: KEEP

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

#5 Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, so I was a little on the fence about this re-reading the synopsis on Goodreads, but the preview convinced me. This is one that I think I really will love when I get around to reading it; I just keep putting it off for some unknown reason. I don’t read a lot of portal fantasy, not because I don’t like it, but because it’s not a genre I think about very much. I definitely want to give this books and series a chance though, and it’s short which is a plus.

Verdict: KEEP

So in total I am keeping 5 books and letting go of 0, but like I mentioned above, I had a feeling that would be the case for this first post and possibly the next one as these books have already made it through multiple Goodreads culls that I’ve done in the past.

Review: The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink

The Wallcreeper

Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction

Publisher: 4th Estate

Length: 176 Pages

Date(s) Read: May 16, 2019 – May 21, 2019

Date Published: March 10, 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nell Zink’s debut novel follows a downwardly mobile secretary from Philadelphia who marries an ambitious soon-to-be-expat pharmaceutical researcher in hopes that she will never work again. They end up in Germany, where it turns out that her new husband is tougher, sneakier, more sincere, more contradictory, and smarter than she is; she’d naturally thought it was impossible. Life becomes complicated with affairs, birding, and eco-terrorism. Bad things happen, yet they stagger through, clinging to each other from a safe distance.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆

My Review:

Going into this book, all I knew about it was that it was “weird, but good” (actual quote from my friend who had to read it for grad school, and said I should, too). My friend was mostly right about that. It was a weird little book, and it wasn’t bad, but I remember putting the book down and not knowing whether I liked it and now, all these weeks later, I’m still unsure of my opinion as to whether it was ‘good.’ I’ve given it three stars, which isn’t a bad rating, but it isn’t an exceptionally ‘good’ rating either. I’m still not sure whether it’s the right rating for this book.

The worst part about this book was, there was no point to it. I don’t generally care whether a book has a great plot as long as it has very solid characters, but the only character with any solidity is the narrator and to a far lesser extent her husband. And the relationship between them constantly annoyed me. It’s clear our narrator is married to the idea of needing a man around constantly so she never has to work. What’s unclear is how these two ended up together because it certainly doesn’t seem to be love, or even money. She simply seems to stay with him because he won’t make her get a job, and she really does not want a job.

The ending to this book was the worst part to all of that, though I won’t spoil what happens. The event there came so abruptly that I had to re-read the passage several times as I was so sure I missed something.

Still, there were some interesting pieces to the book. The settings were fun to lose myself in, in a sleepy sort of way, and there was a lot of information about birds that I’d never have known without reading this book. (Honestly I didn’t even know a wallcreeper was a type of bird going into this.) And though the relationship between the narrator and her husband constantly annoyed me for its substance, I thought the way it was portrayed was very well done. The way the narrator has affairs as if it’s no big deal, and her husband has affairs too and he also doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal, paints a very foreign to myself yet intriguing relationship.

I personally don’t condone cheating, and in a lot of books it just annoys me when two characters cheat or emotionally cheat, especially if we’re supposed to be rooting for them. Here, though, I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be rooting for anyone, it was a just told matter-of-factly, and I greatly appreciated that.

But I’m still not sure whether I actually liked this book.