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
Pretty 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
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
Paranormal 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
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
Picked 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
A 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
I 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
This 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
I 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
Historical 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!