Down the TBR Hole #36

Down the TBR Hole is a (very) bookish meme, originally created by Lia @ Lost In A Story. She has since combed through all of her TBR (very impressive) and diminished it by quite a bit, but the meme is still open to others! How to participate:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order by Ascending Date Added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or let it go?

I didn’t make as much progress whittling down my list since I posted last month, but I did unhaul a handful of books from my physical collection based on not enjoying another book by that author, plus of course, I read. The master TBR is down from 529 last month to 512 as I write this.

Let’s get started, shall we?

#1 – Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

This book was everywhere for a while, and I want to read more by indigenous authors from around the world. (Slowly, I am making progress on that goal.) So this would probably stay regardless, but I’m optimistic about this title in particular because my friends’ reviews are generally good, and one of the top reviews overall specifically calls this out as perfect for fans of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, which I adore. This stays, and I should make it a priority early next year when I have more reading freedom–the rest of this year is solidly booked.

#2 – Seared, by Suleikha Snyder

This went on the list before I had read Tikka Chance on Me, which I believe I got as a freebie in a bundle afterward and then read for a challenge task. I liked it a fair bit and would definitely read more by this author. But is this my best choice in her catalog?

BDSM, check. Forbidden step-sibling romance? Not usually my thing, but it’s not a deal breaker. Chefs? Absolutely into that. So this can stay.

#3 – Some Sort of Crazy, by Melanie Harlow

I’m struggling to remember how this made it on to my list. It’s the second book in a series, but I haven’t read the first. I have read one of Harlow’s other works in a different series, and when I checked the review, I gave it three stars but said, “…Overall, I was entertained, but I’m not itching to read it again or particularly inclined to check out the author’s other work.”

And upon reading the blurb to remind myself what it was about, it doesn’t sound as appealing now as it apparently must have when I added it. This can safely get the axe.

#4 – Leah on the Offbeat, by Becky Albertalli

I loved, loved, loved, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. So obviously when I discovered there was a sequel I put it on the list.

But then I heard some squicky things about it re: bi rep and racism, though I still saw plenty of hype and good reviews. I never absorbed enough condemnation to make me scrub it from the list outright, but it was enough to diminish my excitement.

Now the moment of truth has come: which way am I leaning now? Well, due to the issues surrounding the author’s semi-forced coming out as bi, I’m inclined to support her, by at least checking this out from the library and forming my own opinion, rather than dismissing the work due on hearsay. This stays.

#5 – How to Be an American Housewife, by Margaret Dilloway

Japanese-American author, Japanese-American historical fiction, female-written, female-character-centered. I eat this up. I consistently enjoy (if not love) East Asian inspired/authored/influenced historical fiction, even when other parts of the world sometimes fail me. (I’m not having good luck with Mexico in that regard, I’m sure I just haven’t found the right subset of authors.) And this is available as an audiobook through Hoopla, so there’s no risk keeping it on my list.

#6 – My Cousin Rachel, by Daphne du Maurier

Though it looks like I didn’t add this to the TBR until a year after I read Rebecca, I’m sure that’s the reason why I did it. Rebecca was such a lovely and surprising read, of course I would want to try more by that author, even if it’s less well-known or less highly regarded.

The reviews are mixed in terms of whether or not it’s better than its more famous counterpart, but even if it’s just good by comparison, I think it’s likely I’d still enjoy it. This one can stay.

#7 – The Secret History of Us, by Jessi Kirby

Whoooo boy. I honestly do not know how this made it on to my list when the blurb is throwing up so many red flags with story elements I don’t enjoy. YA contemporary romance, sure, I read that, but amnesia with an implied love triangle? That’s not a train I get on board voluntarily.

I’m legitimately mystified by my past self wanting to read this book. I guess I must have seen it recommended somewhere and not dug into it before I added it, because I feel no qualms about cutting this.

#8 – His Sapphire, by Maggie Chase

I didn’t remember this until I did a little digging and stumbled across the phrase “BDSM historical western,” which instantly reminded me why it got added, because that’s just Not A Thing I’d seen before. But as often happens with impulse adds, I managed to snag a late book in the series, so I investigated the first, His Topaz, instead. Pros: it’s free, either for purchase or through Hoopla. Cons: it’s a novella, which I tend to dislike for lack of character development time, it’s only got a few reviews and half of them are quite poor. I’m not so lacking for romances to read already that I want to bother with so-so novellas. This can go.

#9 – Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business, by Josh Noel

Okay, this would look interesting even if me, my husband, and a good chunk of my extended family weren’t craft beer nerds. We are, in a big way. So a recent-history look at the growth and direction of the craft beer industry? I’m sold. Especially because I can get it from the library!

My interest in this particular subject more than outweighs my slowly diminishing interest in reading nonfiction in general. This stays. I may even have to make it a point to read more nonfiction again next year.

#10 – Guarding His Body, by A.C. Arthur

Reasonably sure this came from a “read more black romance authors” list, and rereading the blurb, I can see why this book sounded interesting. Bodyguard romances are a subgenre I generally enjoy, and this one flips the usual dynamic by making the guard the woman, rather than the man. So I’m on board with that. It’s generally well-reviewed, and while I’m not as much of a fan of romantic suspense as I used to be, that’s sort of an unavoidable partner to the story having a bodyguard in it–doesn’t there need to be some danger? So this can stay, I’ll give it a try.

Wow, I did not cut much this month (3/10) but sometimes, that’s going to happen. I always have to balance my desire for literary housecleaning with the knowledge that I could be passing up on a book I’d love, and decide accordingly. As always, if you’ve read any of these and have an opinion to offer, let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

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