Down the TBR Hole #28

Welcome folks to the twenty-eighth round of Down the TBR Hole! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the previous posts via the tag or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

I’m trying to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule because it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve also added a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Outside of doing these posts semi-regularly I have also been culling my TBR list at random points when I’m bored – all of this is good in terms of getting my TBR to a reasonable amount of books but it also means that these posts are getting harder for me to do as I’m beginning to really agonise over whether to ditch or keep books on there. Not that any of this is a bad thing! Let’s get going on the 10 books under scrutiny today…

1. Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka

Why is it there? I tend to be really bad at reading (modern) classics in translation. Here’s the thing: I felt bad about this (and wanted to correct it) when I was at university, surrounded by people who talked about modern classics, something which I was (read: still am) horribly out of touch with. But I don’t really care to “correct that” anymore just for the sake of feeling more “well read”.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence by Judith Butler

Why is it there? So this is a bit of theory I added to my TBR when I was at university and this was referenced in some of my secondary reading. It sounded super interesting as it explores the idea of how mourning and violence operates in a post-9/11 America. Now I’m out of university I don’t have such ready access to this kind of secondary reading so it’s unlikely I’ll ever get to this, to be honest.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Why is it there? I genuinely can’t remember how this got onto my TBR. It allegedly “recasts the classic story of Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway in a startling new light” which makes me even more suspicious of how this ended up on my TBR in the first place because I really haven’t got along with what I’ve read of Virginia Woolf so why on earth would I think this would interest me at all?
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch Continue reading

Review | King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

kingofscarsTitleKing of Scars (2019)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Read: 29th January – 5th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Face your demons… or feed them. Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war – and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army. Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried–and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

girlsofpaperTitleGirls of Paper and Fire (2018)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Read: 4th – 8th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; LGBTQ
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

“Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honour they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire. Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after – the girl with the golden eyes, whose rumoured beauty has piqued the king’s interest. Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable – she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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T5W | Nostalgic Ships

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Nostalgic Ships: discuss the first fictional couples you ever got butterflies over, or couples you used to be really into when you were younger. I’ll be honest, when I first heard this week’s topic, I didn’t think I’d be able to think of (read: remember) my earliest ships. It turns out I was wrong: a quick think back to some of my favourite childhood and pre-teen reads identified couples I adored pretty damn quickly. So it turns out I was a bigger shipper than I thought I was!

5. Michael/Mia from The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot

princessdiariesIs there anyone who read The Princess Diaries and didn’t find Lily’s older brother Michael hot? It was painfully obvious from the get go that Mia’s little crush on Michael would only get worse/better as the series went on. Admittedly, I “out grew” the series at about book 6 so I don’t know how this ship fared as they got older (not well, I assume?), but I used to LOVE Mia and Michael because of that ease of friendship which blossomed into more. I was disappointed when Michael didn’t stick around in the film adaptations to be honest, but his “replacements” are pretty damn appealing too so I’m not too mad about it! Even so, Michael and Mia will always hold a weirdly nostalgic bit of my heart.

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Wrap Up | January 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my January Wrap Up. January is, quite rightly, often portrayed as either THE BEST or THE WORST – there’s nothing inbetween. Some people see January as that arbitrary annual start of the ‘new you’. There are entire industries that depend on (and feed into) this constructed narrative and, hell, I fall for it every year when I make yearly goals and resolutions. Even so, it’s easy to feel slumpy, cold, isolated, sad, or all of the above, during January. It feels like the longest month for many of us paid monthly (when did the 28th feel so far away???) and, for students, it often feels like you’re just slumping around the house for term to start again (I remember the feeling well).

Personally, I don’t know quite where I stand on January as a whole. A few baltic cold days have meant that getting to work has been a headache, being in work has been bearable only because I have a hot water bottle clutched to my body 80% of the time, and time after work has mostly been spent getting warm again and snuggling up without wanting to go outside for any reason. My one thing I intended to do this month (see the Kaiser Chiefs play) ended up being cancelled due to illness so I’ve mostly just worked, ate (way too much), ignored the gym calling out to me desperately, and (luckily enough for this post) read a bunch of things.

Although I felt like I was reading quite slowly throughout the month, I somehow managed to read quite a few things. I cannot deny that some of those things were comic book issues and graphic novels/bindups but, hey, they still count. I took part in three readathons (with varying degrees of participation and/or success), Bout of Books, Winter Biannual Bibliothon, and 24in48. I’m also very pleased that I managed to tick off quite a few challenges towards my Around the Year in 52 Books reading challenge, as well as making a serious dent in my usual annual Goodreads goal of reading 52 books. I’m hoping that such a productive and positive start to my reading year will mean that once this momentum inevitably runs out, I have a little room to slow it down if need be and/or take the time to read some longer books if I wish. (I’m looking at you Les Misérables and War and Peace.)

But I’m getting somewhat ahead of myself, let’s re-focus and have a look back over how the bookish stats for my January look…


In January, I read a total of 12 books 12 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 3323 pages in total.

In terms of format: 7 were paperback, were ebooks, 1 was an eARC, and was an audiobook.

As for genre, were YA fantasy, 2 were contemporary/romance, was children’s fantasywere fantasy graphic novels, 2 were fantasy/horror comic books, and was a classic.

Onto the books themselves…

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Top Ten Tuesday | Ten Most Recent Additions to My TBR

Welcome one, welcome all, to Top Ten Tuesday! For those who are unaware (or who might need a reminder) Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted fantastically by Jana from That Artsy Girl! Each week a topic is chosen for bloggers to respond to.

I haven’t participated in a Top Ten Tuesday for a couple of months but I couldn’t pass up on this week’s topic since there are so many anticipated reads that I had recently came across my reading radar. In case it wasn’t already obvious, this week’s topic is The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List. I usually rank the selections for Top Ten Tuesday but since this week’s topic is about the most recent things added to your TBR I thought we could mix it up from my usual ways and go from the most recent to least recent (of ten) books added to my TBR list. These were all added in this last month so… I need to stop growing my TBR, clearly. Let’s waste no more time and dive straight in…

beholder1. The Beholder by Anna Bright

I’d heard this was a retelling by way of Cinderella meets The Odyssey but a lot of advance readers seem to be disputing that marketing claim. To me, I’m getting similar vibes as The Selection by Kiera Cass – so it’s no surprise to see that Cass has blurbed this book. Regardless of whether the marketing pitch is accurate or not, I’m still intrigued by this one because… ok, fine, I was lured in by the pretty cover and the promise of voyage by sea, ok?! But I mean, come on, look at it.

 

heroes2. Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures by Stephen Fry

The second of the ‘Stephen Fry takes on Greek mythology’ books, this one seems to concentrate on the heroes of the piece, rather than the gods which his previous Mythos focused on. I’m intrigued to read both and I’m sure I’ll pick up a copy of this via audiobook because there’s just quite a comforting thing abut listening to Stephen Fry narrating anything – this is definitely solely a byproduct of his Harry Potter audiobook narration, but I’m looking forward to seeing if that translates well into retelling myths and legends.

 

ladyhotspur3. Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton

I LOVED Tessa Gratton’s The Queens of Innis Lear and I had NO idea she was writing another book based on Shakespearean characters but I’m SO excited to hear she is! I don’t know what to expect from this one though since I think this is set in Innis Lear so I’m curious how that will affect the source material she’s drawing from Henry IV (which is one of my fave Shakespeare plays). I cannot wait for this one, though I’m seeing conflicting things about when it is being published – hopefully sooner rather than later!

 

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Review | The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

gildedwolvesTitleThe Gilded Wolves (2019)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Read: 19th – 23rd January 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; historical fiction;
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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24in48 | Sign Up & TBR (January 2019)

24in48_v2-03_full-colorHowdy folks, it’s that time again: Emma foolishly signs up for another readathon! This time my foolishness will only last as long as a weekend, this upcoming weekend in fact, which will play host to the 24 in 48 Readathon. For those unaware of the readathon, you aim to read a total of 24 hours within a 48-hour period. That way, it’s not about reading X amount of books or fulfilling X amount of challenges. Instead, the readathon is mainly about focusing 24 hours worth of your time on reading. (For more info, go to the website!)

I’ll admit upfront: I have some misgivings about the 24 in 48 Readathon. Personally, for me, I don’t think it’s healthy. In the past when I have taken part and really tried to make it to the hallowed 24 hours goal, I’ve ended up having an absolute crap week after the readathon ends because my entire weekend was spent cooped up in the house, neglecting errands and housework and any other activity that wasn’t reading. I end up not eating properly, I end up not sleeping properly, and I end up not having the proper break that a weekend is meant to be. Therefore, I’ve recognised that sacrificing the 2-day break I get from work in order to just read isn’t completely healthy for me (but if it works for you, you do you!) so, this round, I’m not even going to try to get to 24 hours. Instead, I’m going to aim for 14 hours since I would work 7 hours a day and still have time to do other things without either being a detriment to the other. So, there we have it, less a 24 in 48 and more of a 14 in 48 – less impressive, I know, but hey, this is my readathon attempt and I’ll do it how I like!

With all that being said, let’s talk TBR. As always with my TBRs, I’m unlikely to finish everything on this list but I just like to have a nice stack of books to pick from which should hopefully cover most moods I might reasonably be in over the course of the weekend. Now let’s stop delaying and take a look at the TBR I’ve set myself:

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Enchantée by Gita Trelease
This is the book that I will likely be focusing on during the readathon. I’ve started reading it this week and it has been super fun so far and I have no idea where the story is going to go next so I’m itching to pick it back up and continue reading – there will be plenty of time to do that this weekend.

The Penguin History of the World by J.M. Roberts and Odd Arne Westad
I’ve set myself the goal of finishing this mammoth tone in 2019 so I’m making my way through it slowly. I still have a little bit to read to finish the section I’d like to have completed by the end of January so I’m including it in my TBR so I don’t forget about that!

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
I recently read and adored Chokshi’s latest novel, The Gilded Wolves, so I decided to go back and read her earlier books. Whilst perusing the library catalogue recently I noticed the branch closest to my work had a copy of this in stock and, well, I couldn’t resist deciding to add this to my TBR this weekend so that I had the excuse to go and borrow it sooner rather than later. I know next to nothing about this one so I have no expectations and am ready to be blown away! (Though I’ve heard whispers that this is a Hades and Persephone retelling… *King George voice* IS THAT TRUUUUU-E?)

Dark Satanic Mills by Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgewick, John Higgins, and Marc Olivent
Whilst in the library picking up the book I mentioned above, I scoured the graphic novel section in search of some Loki: Agent of Asgard comic books that were allegedly on the shelves. I didn’t track them down (maybe they have disguised themselves as someone else? Would be about typical given their protagonist!) but this odd little book did catch my eye. I know nothing about it and barely even checked out the art style first to see if I enjoyed it so let’s just follow this whim and see where it takes us, shall we?

The Wicked + the Divine, Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, and Clayton Cowles
Whilst scouring through the graphic novel section of the library I also found the second volume of The Wicked + the Divine and remembered that I’d read the first volume some time ago and had been intrigued about picking up the rest of the volumes in the series. I never got around to buying them because I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it and, hey, those bindups are kinda pricey, but I’ll happily take advantage of my library to puzzle out if I do actually want to read the series or not. Hoping to re-read the first volume and then continue onto the second one over the course of the weekend.

Well, there we have it, that was my TBR for this weekend for the 24 in 48 Readathon. Are you taking part? Let me know in the comments if so, especially if you have a TBR because I’d love to be nosy and take a peek at it. Or, if you’re not taking part, still tell me what (if anything) you’re planning on reading this weekend.


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Tag | New Year’s Resolutions Book Tag

I saw this tag recently over on Jenn’s blog and I’ve previously seen it done on Booktube by Heather @ Bookables but I think the original video of the tag has now been taken down? (If I’m wrong and you know the creator/link, please do let me know!) In any case, this is a super fun tag and it’s the perfect time of year to do it so I couldn’t resist joining in.

1. An author you’d like to read (that you’ve never read before).

I’d quite like to read something from Roshani Chokshi this year, specifically her January 2019 release The Gilded Wolves which sounds like everything I want/need in a book, but also her other books: The Star Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes.

2. A book you’d like to read.

Everything from my Books You Didn’t Get to in 2018 list but specifically The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater because I’ve been putting it off and putting it off for months/years at this point. To be honest, it’s getting mildly ridiculous now because I love the series and need to know how it ends… but I also don’t want it to end, hence not reading the final book. I need to stop being silly and just read this one, maybe I can persuade myself to do so by letting myself re-read the previous three books?

3. A classic you’d like to read.

Aside from finally finishing reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, I would also like to read Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh because I feel like I’d probably LOVE this one and it’s a travesty I haven’t read it yet, frankly. But mostly I’d like to make a decent dent in my Classics Club list in 2019.

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T5W | Top of Your TBR

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Top of Your TBR. I think we can assume this week’s topic is pretty self explanatory: pick the top five top priority books from your TBR. Considering my TBR is in the hundreds, you’d think this would be pretty easy, but I’ve been floundering over picking my next read as of late partly because of the agony of choice and also partly because there are quite a few of my anticipated releases of 2019 that are happening very soon so I don’t want to start too many other books as their release dates are creeping closer and closer. You might notice that theme in this list actually…

5. These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Since you’ll be hearing a lot of my anticipated 2019 releases in the rest of this list, I decided to include a title from last year that is absolutely top of my TBR. I didn’t manage to get to These Rebel Waves when there was the initial buzz around this book’s release and, even though I got a pretty edition in a Fairyloot box, it probably still wouldn’t be priority TBR if my housemate Liz hadn’t recently read it and said encouragingly that she thought I’d really like it. That kind of recommendation is enough to make me prioritise this.

 

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