Try a Chapter | Choosing My Disney Holiday TBR


You might have seen my previous go at Try a Chapter for my Barcelona holiday back at the start of September, and it worked so well helping me choose which books to take with me on holiday… whether I read all of them is another issue but shhhhh. And, much like with my previous holiday TBR, I’m not sure how much reading time I’ll actually get on account of the fact I’ll probably be too distracted by the magical world of Disney but I’m willing to try anyway.

There’s a good chance that I’ll be quite tired – ok, mainly my feet will be tired – at the end of most days of this holiday, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to take a few moments to read, so let us see which books I’m fancying reading, shall we? These are what I have to choose from:

The Poppy War by R.F Kuang

First Impressions: Everyone and their mother is singing the praises of this book as of late, and from just the opening I can see why. This book promises to be an intriguing epic fantasy novel with a Chinese culture inspired setting, telling the story of war orphan Rin who takes an infamously difficult test to earn a place at the Empire’s elite military academy. I’m told this is rich and complicated and follows Rin through many years through the academy and into politics and history and all that good stuff. I SO want to read it. Here’s the thing, though: will I have enough brain energy to devote to such a fantasy novel when I’m half-distracted by Disney? I’m not sure. But am I going to try anyway? Yep.
Verdict: Take

All the Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth

First Impressions: I am something of a sucker for books featuring exclusive secret societies in schools and plenty of rich people problems, which this book definitely sounds like it will have in spades. I tried this out for my last Try a Chapter blog post and I was suitably intrigued by this opening featuring the mystery of a disappearing mother and a strange house that the protagonists’ father built to keep the inhabitants in rather than keep the outside world out. So, yeah, colour me intrigued. However, I am nothing if not a fantasy person so I suspect I wouldn’t actually make this a priority, even if I only had limited options on holiday…
Verdict: Leave

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

First Impressions: I mostly have no idea what this book is about but I’ve heard so many glowing reviews of it. One thing I have heard is that if you’re reading this book, you really need to be invested in it and properly focus on it, which may not make it an ideal holiday read to pick up and put down. However, after reading that first chapter? I’m too intrigued not to take it with me now!
Verdict: Take

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

First Impressions: There’s a quote on the back of this book from Glamour that reads “it’s impossible not to get sucker in” and do you know what? Glamour is spot on the money. Although I was apprehensive having been greeted by kinda complicated family trees (I only expect that sort of welcome in an epic fantasy novel!), the opening chapter is so funny that I’m pretty sure this would make the perfect light-er holiday read than a lot of other books I’m choosing from in this list.
Verdict: Take

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

First Impressions: I’ve read this before in my previous Try a Chapter post and I really want to read this YA fantasy novel steeped in West African influences. I have heard such stunning reviews of this book and the hype does seem to be real for it. My one reservation about shoving this in hand luggage for my holiday? I have a really lovely Waterstones Exclusive Edition with beautiful red sprayed edges and I am worried it will get well and truly battered if I try to take it on holiday with me. So maybe, instead, this is something I make part of my priority TBR for the remainder of the year after I get back from my holiday?
Verdict: Leave

The Dark Vault by Victoria Schwab

First Impressions: In V.E. Schwab’s typical style, the opening prologue is full of haunting ideas spun together in mesmerising sentences that just make you want to read on. Specifically, this prologue teases at the concept of a girl who is told stories, “stories about winding halls, and invisible doors, and places where the dead are kept like books on shelves.” If I wasn’t interested by that, I’d worry there was something seriously wrong with me. Literally the only thing that’s making me hesitant about taking this one is that it’s a bind-up of the two Archived novels so it’s quite a big and heavy floppy American-size paperback which isn’t ideal for trying to pack tightly into hand luggage. Hmmm.
Verdict: Leave

So there we have it, folks, the winners are: Crazy Rich Asians, Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, and The Poppy War. What do you think of my selections? Have you read any of them and loved them? Or maybe you hated them? Or is there a book I should have picked instead? Let me know in the comments!

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9 responses to “Try a Chapter | Choosing My Disney Holiday TBR”

    • Thanks! Yep, predictably I really enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians, it was a lot of fun and a super addictive read. I’m reading the sequel now!


  1. Oh my goodness, that’s ambitious for a Disney trip. I think I took my kindle when I last went on a Disney holiday and read only one book, the night before I was due to get on the Eurostar to Disneyland Paris. I don’t actually recall reading anything for the rest of the holiday apart from the book I bought whilst in the park itself. Saying that, that could just be me. I wanted to be totally immersed in Disney all the time so I never really had the inclination to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I now realise the error of my ways. :P I read a large portion of Crazy Rich Asians… but only on the flight there/back! I was just too tired and/or the days were too long to read once we’d left the park for the day. I have learnt my lesson.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yeah. The only thing you want to do after the end of a busy Disney day is sleep. Reading is impossible, unless it is on the journey there or back.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks like a great holiday reading list!! I think The Poppy War does require an amount of attention because the world building is quite complex, but it’s such an incredible book that I think it would make a great holiday read

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unsurprisingly I finished precisely 0 of these books because I was too wrapped up in my holiday!

      I’m thinking of giving The Poppy War a go over Christmas when I will have more time off with nothing much to do except read. :)


  3. You DEFINITELY can’t pay only a half-hearted interest to The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. You either need to sit there and think about it or… not. It’s brilliant, and I loved it, but it’s definitely not a ‘few pages at a time’ sort of book!

    Crazy Rich Asians is on my TBR too, and All These Beautiful Strangers, so I can’t wait to see what you think :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get to The Seven Deaths whilst on holiday and I only just made it through most of Crazy Rich Asians (VERY enjoyable)… mostly on the flight there and back! I think I drastically underestimated how tired I would be at the end of all the days on holiday, haha, but hey, best laid plans and all that…


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