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.

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.

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.)

May and June ARCs TBR

This is an accountability post for myself. Because if I don’t post this, I won’t read any of these and… yiKES. I made a commitment to read these books by signing up for Netgalley so I’ll be damned if I don’t follow through. I’m not promising to finish all of these, because I never feel guilty DNF’ing a book I’m not feeling. (LOL, I already DNF’ed my first Netgalley book because I realized very quickly it was at best gonna be a 2-star book, and why would I do that to myself?)

My main goal in May is to finish all my Asian Readathon books, but I do have a bunch of Netgalley ARCs with publishing dates coming up in June and one in May, so I need to get started on those.

The Hierophant’s Daughter (The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy, #1) by M.F. Sullivan

Genre: LGBTQIA, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Publisher: Painted Blind Publishing

Expected Publication: May 19, 2019

Length: 286 Pages

I don’t know how I feel about this being advertised as “NOT FOR YOUNG ADULTS” in all caps on Netgalley. It feels a little derisive and elitist, and I’m not a fan of that shit at all. I’m 23, I’m a goddamn young adult. I’m pretty sure that said advertisement is meant to be aimed at those who read only Young Adult? But like, why would you advertise a book by telling a specific group of people it’s not for them? I guess if you’re trying to attract the adult fiction readers who are like “Well, I’m too much of a pretentious douche to admit that YA has any merit at all,” then it’s a good tactic? I don’t know. That doesn’t seem to be the case on its Goodreads description, though, so I digress.

The fact that it’s an LGBT+ story, a cyberpunk setting, and it seems like there’s going to be a lot of political intrigue and action drew me in enough to request it. I’m not sure going into it what my expectations really are? After being burned by another SFF story from Netgalley (yikes) I’m honestly not going into it expecting to be impressed, but maybe that’ll work to the book’s advantage.

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery

Publisher: Tor Books

Expected Publication: June 4, 2019

Length: 336 Pages

Y’ALL. I am so damn excited that I got approved for this.

I have a really good feeling about this book. I was initially drawn to it because the cover itself gave me a lot of Gravity Falls vibes, and since I loved GFalls (like a lot of people too old to be watching Disney Channel cartoons did) I thought… Why not? The description too, a mystery? People with supernatural powers? This shit is gonna be a great summer read, I can feel it, and I am so damn excited to get my hands on this book. Like, I have hyped this book up in my head for myself so much already it better live up. I trust Tor’s choices in what they publish, so I’m sure it will.

We Went to the Woods by Caite Dolan-Leach

Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction

Publisher: Random House

Expected Publication: July 2, 2019

Length: 368 pages

A book about disillusioned 20-somethings moving to a farm? I have a feeling I’m going to love or hate this one with nowhere in between. I’m excited to see how this book presents modern anxieties about the state of the world and society. The cast of characters also seems very intriguing at first glance of the synopsis, but I am a little worried they may not be further developed than those single lines so I’m interested to see how well they translate into the story. I do love a good character-driven, nearly plotless story every now and again so I’m looking forward to reading this.

The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus by Alanna McFall

Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Atthis Arts

Expected Publication: June 4, 2019

Length: 286 pages

This is a book about a girl who is a ghost who’s determined to make it to her brother’s wedding anyway, along with her two ghost friends. I LOVE sibling relationships in fiction. I love well-developed female friendships in fiction. At first glance, this seems like a fun book I could easily read in a single weekend, sitting on the back porch, so that’s exactly what I intend to do.

The Bobcat by Katherine Forbes Riley

Genre: New Adult, Literary Fiction

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Expected Publication: June 5, 2019

Length: 192 pages

Trigger Warnings: This book deals with the aftermath of a sexual assault.

This seems like another mostly plotless book that’s very character-driven. And, like with the other one of those on this list, I’m pretty sure however I feel about this book it’s going to be strong feelings. Whether those end up being good strong feelings or bad strong feelings is what I’ll figure out along the way I guess. This sounds like it’ll be a more romance-focused book, and I haven’t read a very romance focused book about a heterosexual couple in a long ass time, so we’ll see how that goes.

Let me know in the comments what you think of these, if you plan on reading them or also have galleys of them you’ve read and what you thought!

Asian Readathon TBR

As part of my May TBR, I will be participating in the Asian Readathon hosted by Cindy (readwithcindy / announcement video here). There are 4 challenges that can be combined however the participants want, and one group read. You can hear all about the challenges (and the twist challenge) in her announcement video or the google doc she has linked in the description of her video.

My picks for the readathon are:

The Astonishing Color of After

Any book by an Asian author: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (Taiwanese)

Genre: YA Fiction, Magical Realism
Length: 462 Pages

Synopsis: “Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.”

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

A book translated from its original language: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (Japanese)

Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism
Length: 400 pages

Synopsis: “In this hyperkinetic and relentlessly inventive novel, Japan’s most popular (and controversial) fiction writer hurtles into the consciousness of the West. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World draws readers into a narrative particle accelerator in which a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters collide to dazzling effect. What emerges is simultaneously cooler than zero and unaffectedly affecting, a hilariously funny and deeply serious meditation on the nature and uses of the mind.”

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1)

A book with an intersectional Asian identity: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (Chinese-Malaysian)

Genre: YA Fiction, Fantasy
Length: 400 pages

Synopsis:Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.”

Killing Stalking

A graphic novel featuring or by Asians: Killing Stalking, Season 1 by Koogi (Korean)

Genre: Manhwa (Webcomic), Horror
Length: 19 Chapters

Synopsis: “Yoon Bum, a scrawny, quiet boy, has a crush on one of the most popular and handsome guys in school, Sangwoo. One day, with Yoon Bum’s obsession toward Sangwoo reaching its peak, Yoon Bum decides to enter Sangwoo’s home. But what he sees inside is not the Sangwoo he had dreamed of.”

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

Group read: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh + Various

Genre: YA Fiction, Fantasy, Short Stories
Length: 336 Pages

Synopsis: “Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings. These are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries. 

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate. 

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renee Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong. 

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place. From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me.”

That’s my TBR! If you’re planning in participating in Asian readathon feel free to direct me to your TBR post in the comments, or tell me what book you’re most excited to read throughout the month of May.

Also, I already released this list on my Twitter earlier in the month, so if you’re interested in keeping up with my reading and being friends over there feel free to follow me, I generally follow back other reviewers from the book community! You can follow my progress with these books throughout the month as well on Goodreads.