Tomes and Tea: A Sunday Tumblr Tradition

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Welcome to Night Vale

Sunday Tomes and Tea is a tag created by @bibliophilicwitch on Tumblr back in 2013. I’ve been participating since mid-2016, I joined the book-nerd, tea-lover party with this pic of Welcome to Night Vale that spring.

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Everything's Eventual

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Magic Burns

When I have delicious baked goods around, I make sure to include those too. (Both of these are from 2017.)

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Dark Tower

When I’m lucky enough to be reading something with cool illustrations, I snap those instead of the book cover, because so few books have them! (2017, The Dark Tower.)

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Death of Vishnu

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Subtle Knife

Despite the name, it doesn’t have to be tea. My oatmeal looked especially pretty one Sunday morning, and a different weekend, I was chugging a smoothie for my poor sore throat. (Both 2018.)

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Bookseller of Kabul

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Awakening

Because my mug collection is vast, I try to coordinate whenever I can. (Both 2018.)

Sunday Tomes and Tea - A Darker Shade of Magic

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Misery

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Pigs in Heaven

But when I get a new favorite mug for Christmas, it starts showing up more weeks than not. (All 2019.)

 

Sunday Tea and Tomes - Children of Earth and Sky.jpg

And when my poor used book is missing its pretty dust cover, like this past week, it’s time to get creative and mess with what has obviously been my standard setup for all these years!

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Down the TBR Hole #18

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 missed this meme in my schedule last month because of overload, but it’s time to get back on track! With my decreased reading time it’s even more important to weed out anything that doesn’t appeal to me anymore, so let’s get started.

#1 – When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon

28458598YA contemporary romance focusing on non-white characters. We need more of this! I want to support this!

And my friends’ reviews range from “it’s cute, 3 stars” to “best thing since sliced bread, 5 stars.” So, even though my history with YA contemporary romance is mixed, I’m still on board.

It stays.

 

 

#2 – Soundless, by Richelle Mead

24751478Pretty sure this one made the list because pretty cover + Tumblr hype.

Since then I’ve read two of Mead’s adult romance novels, and I wasn’t terribly impressed. Plus I have an unread copy of The Glittering Court on my TBR shelf, picked up for pennies at a library sale.

When the reviews for this book are so scattered across the board, I don’t think I need to go out of my way for it, when I already have one of Mead’s other YA titles to try. It goes.

 

#3 – The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, by Megan Shepherd

28588101I’m not entirely sure where I picked this one up–looking at the Goodreads page, I thought perhaps it was because Maggie Stiefvater gave it a glowing review, but I actually added it a month prior to that. The universe just sent it to me, apparently.

I rarely read middle grade books these days, but this sounds like it’s encapsulated most of my childhood reading memories and turned them into something new for me to enjoy. It can stay.

Thank you, Universe.

#4 – A Life in Parts, by Bryan Cranston

29868612Okay, I’m mostly burnt out on celebrity memoirs after reading far too many from chefs and other foodie personalities that generally left me disappointed.

But, dude. Bryan Cranston. I love Breaking Bad, I never watched Malcolm in the Middle much but whenever I did I laughed my ass off, and in every interview I’ve seen him do in the last few years, he’s been intelligent, well-spoken, and slyly hilarious.

I’ll dip my toes back into the memoir pool for him. It stays.

 

#5 – We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson

6708624A horror classic I haven’t gotten to yet. I generally avoid horror media outside of books, yet find myself reading it frequently, and even if I don’t end up loving this–my track record with “classics” is hit and miss at best–it’s short and I think it will be worth my time.

It stays.

[Man, I’m really not cutting much this month, am I?]

 

 

#6 – Beyond This Dark House, by Guy Gavriel Kay

104090My days of reading poetry for fun seem long past–I read tons in college, when I was also writing my own poems far more frequently.

Now I’m all about that prose, both in writing and reading. My husband has a huge shelf of poetry that I could try, and yet, I never do.

But Kay is one of my all-time favorite authors, so when I found out that he has published poetry as well, I had to add it. I don’t know when I’ll get to it, but I want to. It stays.

 

#7 – The City of Shifting Waters, by Pierre Christin

7810429This classic series of French comics came to my attention with the movie adaptation, so on the TBR it went.

But, for the most part, I’m not a graphic novel reader. I still have eight volumes of Preacher to get through this year, and I want to finish Saga as well. Adding another long series to that particular pile doesn’t appeal to me.

Also, I heard the movie wasn’t that great. I’m just not excited about this anymore. It goes.

 

#8 – Her Secret Lover, by Robin Covington

28054518This came from one of the frequent short lists of romances by authors of color that float around. I always scan them for books that sound interesting and for authors I haven’t tried, because damn, the Romance Industry might be mostly women (yay!) but it’s still very, very white.

For that reason alone, it should stay–I need to broaden my horizons and put my money where my mouth is–but luckily for me, this still sounds as good as when I first found it! I’m always a sucker for romance-author characters.

It stays.

#9 – The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White

24335So, I only recently discovered that the author of my beloved Charlotte’s Web ever wrote anything else–talk about being known for one thing!

Obviously I have to read this, too. Will it be as good? Not sure. Do I care? Absolutely not!

Look at him! A swan with a trumpet! It’s adorable!

I’m 100% keeping this.

 

#10 – Written in Red, by Anne Bishop

15711341Oh, Anne Bishop. I loved The Black Jewels at first, but when I went to reread them years later, I found I’d outgrown them. Ephemera started strong then left me bitterly disappointed–I couldn’t even finish the third book, it was so dull.

Do I risk it again? Do I try your most recent series? Am I ready for that potential heartbreak?

I think I do, I will, and I am–maybe. But only if I get it from the library. I’m not ready to invest more energy than that. It can stay. But I won’t hesitate to forget the series exists if this doesn’t wow me.


I only cut 2/10 this month! What? That doesn’t sound like me.

As always, if you’ve read any of these and have opinions to share, want to change my mind about something, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.

Down the TBR Hole #17

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?

Between what I’m reading through and what I’m cutting, my TBR on Goodreads is finally smaller than my read books list! Let’s keep that going, shall we?

#1 – Cirque de Minuit, by Annabel Joseph

13508800BDSM erotic romance between aerial artists in a circus.

It sounds good. I have no idea how I found this book to put it on my TBR, but I’m sure that’s what hooked me.

On the other hand, I’ve got so many unread romances I already own, and if another one wants to stay on my TBR, at this point, it’s really got to wow me. I’m not sure this does.

It goes.

 

#2 – Stolen Songbird, by Danielle L. Jensen

17926775Fantasy-romance YA with trolls.

Trolls? Trolls.

This genre combination gives me trouble, because sometimes it’s amazing (like this year’s read of the entire Graceling Realm trilogy) and sometimes it’s just the worst. And I can’t reliably go by reviews because both ends of that spectrum look equally beloved, most of the time.

But it could be great, and I can get it from the library. It can stay.

#3 + #4 – The Sugar Queen and The Peach Keeper, by Sarah Addison Allen

 

When I read Garden Spells back in 2016, I loved it so much I immediately added all of Allen’s other work to my TBR. Since then, I’ve purchased but not yet read First Frost and Lost Lake–if those turn out to be clunkers, I’ll reconsider these two, but for now, they’re keepers.

#5 – Written in the Ashes, by K. Hollan Van Zandt

30824506Historical fiction set in Egypt, about the library of Alexandria? Yes, please!

It could be terrible, though the reviews seem to agree it’s not–my childhood Egyptology phase might be almost thirty years behind me, but I’m still interested enough to want to read this.

It stays.

 

 

#6 – In Some Other World, Maybe, by Shari Goldhagen

In some other world maybe TP Mech.inddI think I read the blurb of this when I was scanning Goodreads giveaways, so I added it? Maybe?

Anyway, the premise still intrigues me, though now that the book’s been out long enough to accumulate a solid body of reviews, I’m not particularly impressed by the consensus. Either it’s fantastic, or it’s characters we’ve all seen before in an intertwining plot structure we’ve all seen before. And one reviewer went so far as to mention that one POV is written in second-person perspective, and that’s a pet peeve of mine. It just never works for me. This can go.

 

#7 – #12 – The Escape to New Zealand series, books #4 – #9, by Rosalind James

I’m not dealing with all six covers for this, my apologies.

I’ve read books #1- #3, and I have the #0.5 novella still sitting unread on my Kindle. I liked them well enough at the time that I put the rest of the series on my TBR.

But I’ve read seven Rosalind James books altogether. Only two of them got four stars, two more three stars, and the remaining three earned just two stars. When I like her books, I like them a fair bit, but when I don’t, they’re really disappointing. It might be time for me to abandon this series, and maybe even this author, though I might have another book or two of hers lurking about that I picked up when she had them on sale. I’ll read those, at least.

So they all go. Big cut, but I’ve got too much on my plate to stick with “meh” romances.


It’s a spring cleaning week, even if there’s still snow on the ground, because I axed 8/12 this time! As always, if you’ve read any of these and want to change my mind (in either direction) feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Down the TBR Hole #16

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?

With the new reading challenge I took on this year, Virtual Mount TBR, I’m actually finally reading some of the books I’ve been considering on these monthly lists! All the more reason to put another ten up for debate and see if they’ve got the goods.

#1 – Unexpected Reality, by Kaylee Ryan

30254013This came off of a romance rec list for books about single dads. That’s not a specific draw for me, but the list made this one sound good.

Flash forward to now, when I actually read the blurb for it and discovered its super-vagueness. Two of my Goodreads friends have read this and rated it 4 and 5 stars, which is generally a good sign, but lots of the most-liked reviews on the first page are one-star and/or DNF reviews. Plus words like “angst” and “cheesy” are popping up over and over.

I think I can let this one go.

#2 – Nuts, by Alice Clayton

25056208I ditched Clayton’s Wallbanger last time around, but this one sounds more up my alley, because I’m definitely a foodie. The implied slow burn in the blurb has me intrigued, and I’m not so against rom-coms that I’ll pass by one that looks good just because I’ve been unimpressed by some of them in the past.

It stays.

 

 

 

#3 – The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, by Anne Trubek

28260582A rare nonfiction entry! Most of the nonfiction I read comes to me by way of used book sales–I see it, it looks interesting, it comes home with me.

This, I believe, I saw on a Goodreads giveaway, so I entered, and thus the book went on my TBR. I did not win (sadly) but it remained.

Looking at it again, it’s not something I’m so interested in that I’d rush out and buy it, but if I can borrow it from the library, I’d definitely still like to read it. It stays.

 

#4 – Blackbirds, by Chuck Wendig

12944651I searched for this entry myself, after being introduced to the author’s hilarious blog filled with writing advice and sass.

Does it still sound interesting? Pretty much. Do the insanely mixed reviews put me off a bit? Yeah, yeah they do.

But much of his other work is in the Star Wars franchise, and I stopped reading those novels in college, when things in the New Jedi Order got weird. (Also, a lot of them weren’t very good anyway.) So if I want to give Wendig a try, and I do, this still seems like my best bet. It stays.

#5 – A Duke but No Gentleman, by Alexandra Hawkins

23014733I have no idea where I picked this recommendation up, but I’m wondering now what I was thinking.

The blurb tells me three major things: love triangle, super-innocent heroine, and a bet to seduce her.

I’m not against the appeal of innocence, but I’m definitely against two scoundrels competing to rob a woman of hers.

This goes.

 

#6 – If the Slipper Fits, by Olivia Drake

12698072Again, not sure when/why this made it to the list. It’s a real problem I have when I’m still assessing books that I put on my TBR over two years ago.

Anyway, a Cinderella retelling in historical romance form. Some readers would be chomping at the bit for this, but looking at it again, I’m just…meh.

With almost 800 books on my TBR, meh doesn’t cut it. It goes.

 

 

#7 – Power Play, by Charlotte Stein

13559351It’s hard for me to decide how seriously to take reviews when evaluating erotica, because their “over the top” issues might stem from a lot of different sources.

I’ve read my fair share of BDSM romance/erotica, but guess what? Not once has the dominant partner ever been a woman. That alone intrigues me.

Could I be signing up for a terrible book just for the sake of its novelty? Possibly. Am I going to keep this on the list anyway. Yes, I am.

 

#8 – The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

11250317The hype surrounding this is real and pervasive, and I’m honestly surprised I haven’t succumbed to it already.

I want more LGBT YA out there. I want to read it.

I think I’ve been resisting this because it’s so hyped that I’m afraid to be disappointed? It wouldn’t be the first time.

Also because I’m just not a classic lit buff who’s read The Iliad a thousand times. I know the story, but is this adaptation going to piss me off?

It can stay. I’m sure I can get it from the library. Or change my mind later.

#9 – Summer Girl, by A.S. Green

31338857Not sure where this came from, but the hero’s a musician, and boy am I sure that’s why it went on the list.

Given the low number of ratings and reviews, looks like this is from an indie/small-press publisher, and while I’m inclined to cut unnecessary romances from my TBR because I’m drowning in the ones I already own, this seems promising.

It can stay. I’m such a sucker for musicians.

 

 

#10 + 11 – This Shattered World and Their Fractured Light, by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

I read the first book in this series, These Broken Stars, back in 2016, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it, so I threw the next two on my TBR. But then I went back to reading My Own Damn Books and these drifted out of my frame.

Now they’re back on my radar, and they definitely stay.


I only cut 3/11 this month, but things won’t be as brutal as last time, every time. As always, if you’ve read any of these and think I should reconsider my opinion in either direction, tell me in the comments!

Down the TBR Hole #15

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?

The journey continues! Christmas bloated my TBR and my actual collection, so it’s more important than ever to take out any trash that’s accumulated. Up for the axe this month:

#1 – Feed, by Mira Grant

7094569I love me some plague, zombies, and dystopia.

Bonus: it’s well-reviewed by basically everyone, my Goodreads friends included.

It stays, no question. Next!

 

 

 

#2 – The Bourbon Thief, by Tiffany Reisz

27277165Romance, mystery, booze. Set in Louisville, where I lived briefly as a child, where my mother’s whole side of the family is from.

I’m not a fan of mystery as a primary genre, but I’ve definitely read a lot of great books where it plays a secondary role.

And since this is a new-to-me author, this sounds like a great book to try her out. It stays.

 

#3 – Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, edited by Stephanie Perkins

25063781Twelve love stories seems like my thing, but I’m not going out of my way to read short story collections these days, and while I already know and love some of these authors, there are plenty here I know I don’t care for.

If a copy of this falls into my hands at a used book sale for next to nothing, I’ll reconsider, but until then, it can go.

 

 

 

#4 + #5 – Crosstown Crush and Downtown Devil, by Cara McKenna

24611593

29066892These can go. I’m down with erotica, no problem, and threesomes on the page don’t faze me. But the tone of both the blurbs and reviews are so focused on the forbidden, salacious aspects of the kinks involved, and that’s not what turns my crank as a romance fan. Not for me.

 

#6 – Good Girls Don’t, by Victoria Dahl

10583264I’ve heard Dahl recommended often and decided to throw a first-in-series of hers on my list, but rereading the blurb, I’m less than impressed. Especially since it’s yet another sister-brother-brother’s friend triangle, apparently, and I’m just not down for another potential dose of toxic masculinity masquerading as protectiveness. It’s too soon after the last train wreck of a romance I read with that. This goes.

 

 

 

#7 – Crashed Out, by Tessa Bailey

25781782Originally intrigued because this came off a list of recommendations for romances with blue-collar heroes and heroines, I’m less excited now. Yeah, the guy’s a rock star, and I’m usually all about rock stars. But with reviews throwing around the term “cougar” and one review in particular listing some particularly unimpressive snippets of dirty talk, I feel safe cutting this one, it goes. Which is too bad, because I’ve heard good things about Bailey as an author. I’ll keep my eyes open for another book of hers to try out.

 

#8 – Crazy for You, by Jennifer Crusie

33726Since putting this on the list, I’ve read three other Crusie novels.

Two were okay, and one was a DNF. I think it’s fair to say I’ve given this author a shot and don’t need to keep trying.

It goes.

 

 

 

#9 – My Love is Blue, by Rosemary Danielis

31019081I honestly don’t remember how I heard about this indie romance, but I’m glad I did. Artists, depression, romance. These things are in my wheelhouse.

I’m a little concerned by the throwaway line at the very end of the blurb, that introduces a suspense subplot, because romantic suspense has not done well for me in the past.

But for an indie, it’s highly rated, so it can stay.

 

 

#10 – Wallbangerby Alice Clayton

15858248This sounded awfully familiar when I read the blurb, and I realized that’s because I’d already read this exact plot in another work a few years back. I’m not throwing down plagiarism accusations, I’m not even sure which book came first without looking it up–but I don’t feel any great need to read the same basic plot again, even though the final product is undoubtedly different.

Also, my Goodreads friends have rated this poorly compared to its overall rating. I trust them. It goes.

 


I cut 7/10 this time! I’m not surprised that a lot of what went were romances; I have so many already that I don’t need to clog my TBR with them.

As always, if you’ve read any of these and want to share your opinion or campaign for a good book to make it back onto my list, leave a comment and let me know!

Down the TBR Hole #14

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’m back up over 800 on my total TBR, and with Christmas around the corner, more are likely to be added soon. Let’s take a look at my next ten books up on the chopping block.

#1 – Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden

71865A tumblr buddy recommended this specifically to me because of my interest in post-apoc/dystopian fiction, and this is an Australian-set YA example. That definitely intrigued me.

However, my Goodreads friends who have read it all seem to be distinctly “meh” about it, and several reviews have panned the setup as laughably unrealistic.

It goes.

 

#2 – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers

25786523Everyone has been raving about this, and I’ve seen it described as a combination of the television shows Farscape and Firefly, both of which I love (even with Firefly’s problematic elements.)

I’m a sucker for the found family trope, and that sounds like it’s in play here, plus “light-hearted space opera” will be a nice change of pace from some of the heavy stuff I tend to read.

It stays.

 

#3 – Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E.K. Johnston

25528801I surrendered to the hype when I put this on my TBR, it was making the rounds, but rereading the blurb, I’m not as interested. The good reviews are underwhelming, and the bad ones are calling it “fluffy” and “slick,” not words I want to see used about what’s supposed to be a look at sexual assault victimization.

It goes.

 

 

#4 – A Whisper of Roses, by Teresa Medeiros

244471Not sure where this addition came from, to be honest. And revisiting it, I can see why the Beauty-and-the-Beast aspect appealed to me, but multiple reviews criticize this work for having a bewildering final act/ending, for being a romance where if the H/h could just be honest with each other one single time then there would be no story at all, and various other ’90s-era romance sins that I just don’t care for at all.

It goes.

 

 

#5 – Love is Blind, by Lynsay Sands

39403I plucked this off a romance recommendation list because of its incredibly near-sighted heroine; girls in glasses are just not a thing I’ve seen in historical romances.

I’m wary of the negative tropes this might involve, and some reviewers hate this for its anachronisms, but since I’m not a diehard Regency fan, I don’t know enough about the era to necessarily even notice them.

It can stay, for now. If I have trouble landing hands on a copy, it might get purged later.

 

#6 – Trees, Vol. 2: Two Forests, by Warren Ellis & Jason Howard

25592452I read Vol. 1 back in 2016, and I enjoyed many things about it, but it didn’t wow me. I kept #2 on the TBR anyway, figuring I’d go back to it.

Now that a moment of reckoning has come, I’m discouraged to see that there’s no #3, even two years later. Though the reviews generally seem to favor this volume over its predecessor, I’m not invested enough to bother reading this if there may never be any more (a years-long pattern with Ellis works.)

It goes.

#7 – The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco

30095464If I do my usual thing and look at both friends’ and others’ reviews, I have no freakin’ clue if this book is any good or not. Ratings and complaints are all over the board.

However, high fantasy that involves necromancy as anything other than purely evil and wrong is not something I’ve ever read, and given that I ended up including necromancy in my own new story universe, this will probably be a valuable read for me even if, in the end, I’m one of the reviewers who pans it.

It can stay.

#8 – Ice Massacre, by Tiana Warner

22718724I’m excited about this one–it definitely stays–because I need more mermaids in my life.

Everyone I’ve seen talking about this book on tumblr adores it. Some intensely picky readers raved about it like it was the best thing since sliced bread, a true surprise read.

Even though it’s a few pages into my TBR, it’s on my radar for purchase in 2019, because it just seems so cool. No pun intended.

 

#9 – An Experienced Mistress, by Bryn Donovan

7380771This is on the list because I follow Bryn’s blog, and have for quite some time. Eventually I was like, wait, why haven’t I actually read any of her stuff yet?

So it stays. I’m not sure when I’ll get to it, but bonus: while it’s not widely read, it’s super-highly rated and often lauded for being a steamy romance with a decidedly feminist viewpoint. Ideally, that would describe all romances, but we know it’s not true, right?

 

 

#10 – Wool, by Hugh Howey

12287209One of the biggest indie-to-famous success stories, and it’s a post-apoc story to boot. Honestly, I’m kind of wondering how I haven’t read this already?

Maybe it’s a case where the looming specter of disappointment is putting me off, because my experience with hyped works has definitely led me down some dark reading roads.

But the original short is free, and it is short, so I really have no excuse not to give it a try. It stays.

 


I cut 4/10 this time, not bad, not bad. I don’t want to be so ruthless I ditch a book I would have loved, but I don’t want to be so wishy-washy I keep books I doubt I’ll enjoy.

So as always, if you’ve read any of these and want to share your opinion or campaign for a good book to make it back onto my list, leave a comment and let me know!

Down the TBR Hole #13

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 added so many books to my TBR since last time, because I came across several great recommendation lists, and of course my lovely booklr friends talk about interesting books and make me want to read them. I’m still under 800 on the list, but only barely, so I’m in the mood to cut, cut, cut.

#1 – Love, Chloe, by Alessandra Torre

28103957Pretty sure this came from a “romance authors you should try” list when I added it two years ago.

I’m honestly not sure why, though, because the tale of a New York socialite princess getting her life screwed up and finding love in the process doesn’t sound appealing to me at all now. The glowing reviews kept using the terms “fluffy” and “chick lit” and those are degrading terms to me, not positive ones, because they’re used so often to dismiss the work of female authors.

I know “chick lit” is an actual genre and I don’t want to bash its readers, but it’s just not my thing. This goes.

#2 – Love in Exile, by Ayşe Kulin

28090843

This stays. Pretty sure it came from a “read around the world” rec list; this is by a Turkish author, and I have read nothing about that part of the world by a native author.

Since adding this, I scored another work by Kulin for free from Amazon, Last Train to Istanbul, so if I read that and can’t stand it, I’ll prune this one at that time, but for the moment, I’m totally down for a historical Turkish star-crossed lovers tale.

 

 

#3 – The Magpie Lord, by K.J. Charles

17730586Paranormal historical MM romance mystery.

I’ve seen K.J. Charles on a lot of romance rec lists for MM romance, and while I haven’t read that many compared to my vast stockpile of MF stories, I do enjoy them, when they don’t fetishize gay relationships for the female gaze. (Which is gross and surprisingly common!)

I’m not usually a mystery fan, but I think this has enough going for it that I should give it a try. It can stay.

 

#4 – Tiger Eye, by Marjorie Liu

93479

This came from a rec list about romances with non-wolf shape shifters. Who knew we even needed that list? But we did, because since then I’ve read some shifter novels, and boy, wolves lead the pack. (Har har.)

Looking back at this, though, I can already spot problematic issues just in the synopsis, and I already have so many romances I own to read. It goes. Though I see Liu’s name a lot for her more recent work, and I’ll probably give her a try with another book in the future, this one doesn’t sound like it’s for me.

 

#5 – If You Look for Me, I Am Not Here, by Sarayu Srivatsa

29614680Picked up from another international reads rec list, it’s the story of a boy whose twin sister died at birth, while he survives to be rejected by his mother, who longed for a daughter. That sounds like it could be a powerful story about family relationships.

However, the negative reviews of this are sending up red flags like crazy, especially things that are sore points for me: one-dimensional characters, predictable linear plot, lack of grounding in the setting. I’ll pass, thanks.

 

#6 – Dead to You, by Lisa McMann

11724850A YA mystery about an abducted boy reunited with his family as a teenager. Good hook, undoubtedly why I added it.

Exactly one of my Goodread friends has read it, and she gave it five stars.

However, many reviews, without spoilers, commented on how the very end, just the last few pages, completely frustrated them. Several recommended not reading this unless/until a sequel was released, because the ending was confusing/unsatisfying/a monstrous cliffhanger.

That alone is enough to make me pass on this. Especially because there’s no sign a sequel is even intended.

#7 – Just a Girl, by Ellie Cahill

27876314I am a sucker for rock ‘n’ roll romances, and I’m sure this made it onto my list because for once, it’s the girl in the pair that’s the big star; instead of getting my reader’s wish fulfillment by falling in love with the rock star, I get to be one instead.

I’m sold. For all I know it could be terrible, but I don’t care, because I’m absolute trash for music love stories.

 

 

#8 – When You Dare, by Lori Foster

9758743This can go, not because it sounds bad, but because since adding it to my list I’ve picked up four or maybe even five Lori Foster paperbacks from used book sales. She’s another name I see on romance rec lists often, so when I had the chance to pick some up for pennies, I took it; but there’s no sense keeping a book on the list I don’t own when I can try her other stuff that’s sitting on my shelf.

 

 

 

#9 – Huntress, by Malinda Lo

9415946I see this one on queer YA book lists a lot, and on paper it sounds amazing. But this is another case where, without spoilers, the negative reviews are warning me away from a potentially good story marred by terrible writing: constant POV switching (one reviewer even said mid-sentence,) bad pacing, and the romance plot being weird and unbelieveable.

Earlier this year, I ditched the same author’s Ash, and it seems like Huntress is going to go as well.

 

#10 – The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton

13508607Historical romance-mystery. Again, I’m not usually a mystery fan, but this is one of those time-spanning stories that I tend to love, following the same person throughout their life and bringing life to vastly different historical periods; I’ll brave a mystery for that.

Especially if there’s romance.

I’m aware it might not be right up my alley, but I’m intrigued, especially because I’m getting an Atonement vibe from it (I love the movie, haven’t read the book yet but I own it and I’m looking forward to it.) It can stay.


As always, if you’ve read any of these and want to share your opinion or campaign for a good book to make it back onto my list, leave a comment and let me know!