Down the TBR Hole #22

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?

Right now, my “read” list is exactly 201 books longer than my “to-read” list–between reading down My Own Damn Books and cutting stuff that doesn’t appeal anymore, I’m making real progress. On to some more!

#1 – What a Wallflower Wants, by Maya Rodale

20705673Oh, boy. I bet this came off a “bad boys” romance rec list, especially since I see I added it around Valentine’s Day 2017. Rodale is a name I keeping hearing recommended, but as I keep trying historical romance authors I keep not enjoying myself–I’m just not big on the subgenre in general, though there have definitely been some exceptions in the past. I don’t get the feeling this particular book is going to be one of them, with a “dark history” for the heroine and a jerk of a hero, according to many reviews. It goes.



#2 – By Your Side, by Kasie West

30256248._SY475_Locked-in-a-library romance? Yes, please. I’d still be interested in this twist on a contrived setup even if I hadn’t read and loved West’s Pivot Point duology since putting this on the list–I like her style and want to read more of her work. It stays.





#3 – Act Like It, by Lucy Parker

25750546._SY475_This stays, based on consistently good reviews and an interesting blurb. I was never a full-on theater geek–I did two of the four musicals in high school and I had a medium-sized role in my senior play, but those experiences failed to get me fully invested, and one of my college roommates blasting the soundtrack from Rent as her alarm every morning turned me off modern musicals in the early 2000s, though I’ve gathered being a musical geek is a thriving subculture these days, even aside from being in love with Hamilton. So I’m intrigued, and the ebook’s on Hoopla, I don’t have much to lose on this one.


#4 – The Bollywood Bride, by Sonali Dev

18938929._SY475_Second chance romance. Childhood friends. Bollywood. I’m sold. And it’s got solid reviews, and it’s on Hoopla, and I’m always trying to read more diverse romance. This sounds good enough it might even get moved up my list.





#5 – Radio Silence, by Alyssa Cole

23500162I love me some good post-apocalyptic romance, it’s my jam, so obviously this went on the list when I discovered it. Rereading the blurb reminded me it looked like enemies-to-lovers as well, which I like when done well. But the top-rated reviews are all pretty damning on the world-building front, that the PA setting is just window dressing and not fleshed out at all, adding very little tension. It goes. I don’t have time for subpar PA, and Cole is already elsewhere on my TBR list with (apparently) much better reads.



#6 – The Hidden Blade, by Sherry Thomas

22751852Both the blurb and several of the top reviews bill this story as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets Downton Abbey, and I have to say, that’s an effective hook. Digging slightly deeper, I’m on board with the role inversion of the guy being the escapee from danger and the girl being the badass warrior he’s searching for. What’s holding me back isn’t so much “do I want to read this” but “should I read the second book first?” This is a prequel, and according to the author they’re each viable as a standalone, and some readers have read the second book first, the romance between these two adults, and gone back for their history. But looking at reviews for the second book, apparently it’s not even that great a romance, and the pacing is bad? I don’t want to get invested in a great first book that’s not a romance, only to have the romance itself fall flat in the second book. Sounds like I’d be setting myself up for disappointment, so it goes.

#7 – The Witches of New York, by Ami McKay

20053031._SX318_Historical witchy fantasy fiction. Yes, please. I saw the hype surrounding its release, added it to the list, moved on with my life, but now I’m excited all over again, so obviously it stays. I’ve seen quite a few of my booklr friends on Tumblr recommend going into this book as blindly as possible, so I’m just going to leave it at that.




#8 – #11 – The Checkmate series, by Kennedy Fox

I came across the third book in this series, This is Reckless, courtesy of a rec list, and it sounded interesting. Still does, sort of. I put it on my list, along with #4, its conclusion. And seeing that the series started with another duology for a different pair of characters, I added that too, though I’m thinking now I didn’t look too closely at them, because rereading their blurbs made me cringe. They sound terrible! The whole series looks like a mishmash of lazy tropes with “bad porn,” as one negative review called the first book. They all go. I’m sure I have enough bad romance already on my Kindle that I picked up for free, out of curiosity, that I don’t need to knowingly go get more.

Seven cut of eleven again this month, I’m feeling good about that. I still own just over three hundred unread books, between my physical and digital collections, so the books I don’t already own have got to justify their place on the list, at least if I ever want to have a shot at getting my TBR to manageable levels.


Down the TBR Hole #21

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?

My TBR has been creeping steadily downwards as I read stuff, and honestly I didn’t add that much to it in July. But I’m still well over 700, and while I own a lot of unread books, I don’t own them all! They don’t all have to stay on the list! So it’s time to put the next ten on the chopping block.

#1 – All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater

30025336._SY475_Since Stiefvater is one of my recent additions to my favorite authors list, this seems like a no-brainer, and I was tempted to skip it because there was no chance I’d cut it. But it’s worth a second look, because I really wasn’t that excited about it when it released, and the reviews I’ve seen of it are as much negative as positive. And I’m much, much more excited about the forthcoming Call Down the Hawk, which starts a new trilogy about Ronan, my second favorite character from The Raven Cycle books. So, honestly, do I need to read this? I think it’s actually going to go. I’m not obligated to read every book by an author I love, if the book itself doesn’t do much to make me want to read it.

#2 – Bound to Be a Groom, by Megan Mulry

20967590Okay, yeah, it’s a polyamorous Regency BDSM erotica. That was definitely outside-the-box enough to put it on my list, and when I found it (however that was) I saw that there’s a prequel novella that was free, so I have that. This can stay, provisionally, just because it’s such a novel concept, but I’ll read the novella first and if anything about it doesn’t wow me, I’ll come back and scratch this off the list.




#3 – Dead Ringer, by Heidi Belleau and Sam Schooler

25932559._SY475_I’m positive this came off a queer romance rec list at some point, but I must have been picking the best of a bad lot when I added it, because now I’m questioning myself. If one of the characters is a celebrity fan boy, well, that’s just not my thing, and I got uncomfortable reading the blurb about this setup. Also, while the good reviews are telling me this is the best M/M romance since sliced bread, the bad ones are throwing up all sorts of flags that I care about–bad pacing, relying on misunderstandings to create conflict, etc. This goes. It just doesn’t look like it’s for me, and I’d rather figure that out now than after I start reading it.


#4 – The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon

Yoon_9780553496680_jkt_all_r1.inddI knew about this book long before it made it on to my TBR, and I ignored the hype surrounding it because I didn’t think I would like it. I’m reasonably sure a friend recommended this specifically to me after reading my review of a similar YA title (though I forget which one) so on the list it went, because maybe I was wrong? But looking at it now, my Goodreads friends’ ratings are all over the place, and the selling point of the blurb seems to be instalove, which is a trope I can’t stand. So I think it’s time this came back off the list, because life’s too short for yet another YA romance I probably won’t love.


#5 – The Lawrence Browne Affair, by Cat Sebastian

30226770This is a case where I hear an author recommended over and over again, and this is the book that I finally put on the list to try them out. Historical M/M romance is a thing I haven’t really tried yet, and Sebastian is reputedly one of the best, so here we are. The story itself does sound intriguing–con man and scientist/earl at odds with each other–so I’ve got no complaints there. It stays.




#6 – Him, by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

25686927._SY475_Bowen is one of the few romance authors I’ve found by picking up a random free book of theirs and then genuinely liking it, as opposed to the multitudes that turned out on the scale from “meh” to “terrible.” So when I did some digging and found an M/M romance co-authored by her, that was enough to put it on the list. I reread the blurb, it still sounds like a fun time, it can stay.




#7 – Pairing Off, by Elizabeth Harmon

23440537I know precisely where this came from, a sports-romance rec list that was going around during the 2018 Olympics because of a certain shippable ice dancing pair. (Not that I approve of shipping real people, because I don’t–this list was a “so you want romances about figure skaters and other Olympic-type athletes, huh?” reaction to that hubbub.) This one in particular references The Cutting Edge as an inspiration/template–a movie I adore the hell out of. There was no question I wanted to read it then, and I still want to read it now. It stays.


#8 – Letters to Nowhere, by Julie Cross

18046135From that same list came this YA gymnastics romance, and I think I’m less excited by this now as I was then. Also there’s no ebook edition currently (though it appears there used to be), it’s not available at my library, and I don’t think I’m invested enough to invest in the paperback edition? Like, it still sounds cute, but again, life’s too short for another YA romance I’m not terribly excited about. It goes.




#9 – #11 The Iron Seas series, books 2-4, by Meljean Brook

I read The Iron Duke back in 2017 and loved it. Adored it. Fantastic. So I added the rest of the series to my TBR (minus the huge collection of novellas, though I did read Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City because it was included as a bonus in my paperback.) But a) I haven’t really thought about that book or this series since, and b) reviews for book 2, especially, but in general all the remaining books, seem to indicate a significant drop in quality. Now, The Iron Duke was pretty damn amazing, so I’d understand if the other books were good, but not as great–but I have one Goodreads friend in particular whose romance tastes seem to mostly line up with mine, and they’re not impressed. And I’m just not invested. They can all go. If I ever happen to find one of these at a used book sale, I’ll maybe pick it up and give it a try, but in the meantime I will just consider Duke a standalone that wowed me.

This month I cut seven of eleven. Feels good. Feels like progress. Cleaning house is such a positive thing, whether it’s your actual living space or your virtual bookshelves. But as always, if you’ve read anything on this list and want to make a case for changing my mind (in either direction) leave a comment and we’ll talk about it!

Down the TBR Hole #20

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 read a lot of books in June, which was awesome, but I also added at least half as many to my TBR, thanks to reading one first-in-series that I adored and necessitated putting the rest of the series on my list.

Let’s get started.

#1 – Dark Touch, by Aimee L. Salter


I have absolutely no memory of adding this, nor do I recall where the recommendation came from.

These days, I generally avoid what looks to be overly angsty YA, and this has all the hallmarks, though I give it credit for having the female half of this lovebird pair be the dark, edgy, messed-up one while the boy is sweet and innocent. I’m not saying that never happens, but it’s definitely not the standard. However, it can go.



#2 – Trinity Falls, by Regina Hart

17239886This came from a “read more black romance authors” list.

I love small town romance as a genre, I reach for them when I need something sweet, comforting, and wholesome, so this was an easy add to my TBR.

And it’s on Hoopla. It stays.




#3 – Talk Me Down, by Victoria Dahl

4716621Dahl comes highly recommended by a big cross-section of Romancelandia, and I’m pretty sure somewhere else on my TBR I have some of her other books listed.

I’m not sure which I’ll get to first, but this one still sounds interesting, because, hey, if the heroine is a secret romance/erotica author, I’m probably going to read it. It stays.



#4 – Beauty and the Geek, by Sydney Bristol

30979185._SY475_Woo boy am I tired of Beauty and the Beast retellings.

This must have sneaked in under the guise of being geeky, but rereading the synopsis and skimming the top-rated reviews, I’m dropping this like a hot potato. Whatever spark interested me at first has not persisted.




#5 – Punk 57, by Penelope Douglas

29104680._SY475_I’m torn. I still like the idea of a love-hate relationship playing out between two childhood pen pals.

I’d forgotten how I came across this one until I saw a glowing review by a Goodreads friend…so that pushes me in favor of keeping it.

But rereading the synopsis, I don’t really like the style. I think I’ve got enough to read without this one. It can go.



#6 – Brown-Eyed Girl, by Lisa Kleypas

28220639This is going.

Since I added this, I’ve read enough Kleypas to be fine with her, but I’m not eager to try her contemporary works, rather than historical, when this one doesn’t seem to be well-received by any of my romance-reading buddies.

Life’s too short to keeping reading authors that don’t ever wow you.



#7 – The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket, by Trevor Corson

250638._SX318_Giving it the once-over to refresh my memory, I’m still interested in the subject matter. However, quite a few things are stacked against this.

The poor reviews all mention a juvenile, “atrocious” writing style, which doesn’t inspire confidence. Other reviews go into how it doesn’t deliver on its original premise, to the point where it’s apparently been republished under a less misleading title? Also, my library system doesn’t have it, and I’m sure as hell not going to buy it, not with these issues. Bye-bye.


#8 – Fixing Fate, by Anna Brooks

32454071._SY475_Not sure where I found this one, but I’m questioning my past self’s judgement.

There are romance red flags ALL OVER THIS. Reviews are calling the “hero” perverted and creepy; I’m not into romantic suspense in general; and the synopsis is laughable.

What the hell was I thinking? It goes.



#9 – Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

16130549._SY475_It’s odd, King rarely appears in this meme for me, because a) I will try reading anything he’s written, and b) I already own a ton of his books that I haven’t gotten to yet, because he’s so easy to pick up secondhand.

But I don’t already own Doctor Sleep, and I definitely still want to read it.

The Shining  is one of my favorite King novels, so why wouldn’t I want to read the sequel? [Unless it was critically panned across the board, which this definitely isn’t! People love it!]

#10 – Under Rose-Tainted Skies, by Louise Gornall

28101540This made it on to the list via Tumblr hype, especially from some very vocal people with various mental illnesses who applauded how agoraphobia and OCD where handled here.

While those are not my issues, I’m here to support anything that helps de-stigmatize neurodivergence in any form. It stays.




So this month I cut six out of ten, that’s a good month for me! As always, if you have read any of these and have a different opinion, feel free to leave a comment and let me know, whether you want to talk me in or out of reading a book. Until next month!

Down the TBR Hole #19

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?

After my birthday book haul, my shelves are crazy overflowing. However, a few days ago I was clued in to Library Extension, which makes it easy for me to find books in my library system while browsing Goodreads. Before, whenever I did one of these posts, I’d look up each book individually in the catalog, first in my county system, and if I didn’t find it, then in the statewide system. I recorded the results on my master reading list spreadsheet–yes, I have one of those, I’m tracking three major reading challenges and fluctuating numbers of monthly ones.

Turns out some of my entries were out of date! Hoopla has expanded to include some books I previously thought I’d have to request through inter-library loan, and I’ve already read two of them.

So now, going though my TBR for this is even better! But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be cutting dead weight. Let’s get started.

#1 – Zenn Diagram, by Wendy Brandt


YA paranormal/contemporary romance featuring a math nerd. Yeah, that sold me for putting it on my TBR right out of the box.

Should I keep it? Yes. It apparently scores high marks for adorableness, and since so much of the YA/NA romance I read is drenched in (usually unnecessary) angst, I’m all for sweetness and light to level things out.

Plus, I now know it’s on Hoopla, so borrowing it is easy as pie. Thank you, Library Extension. (I won’t belabor this point anymore, but seriously, it’s awesome.)

#2 – Swing Time, by Zadie Smith

28390369This book was everywhere on social media when I added it (December 2016, yes, I’m still working on TBR from two and a half years ago,) but I’ve seen little about it since, which concerns me. Reviews are all over the spectrum by now, which concerns me, too.

I can’t read every book by every author of color, but I’m hesitant to chuck one off the list for vague “but maybe it’s bad” reasons, when the story still sounds interesting and I’ve never tried the author. And when my TBR is definitely predominantly white-written and I want to read books from more diverse voices. It stays. Let’s hope it’s awesome.

#3 – Dragon Slippers, by Jessica Day George

669570I don’t go out of my way to read middle grade books, but every once in a while, one pops up on a rec list somewhere and I say “huh” and pop it on my TBR.

The blurb makes this sound like a fantastic subversion of the classic “girl sacrificed to monster” trope, and I’m on board for that.

It can stay.

I know I’m a sucker for things with dragons, and that gets me into trouble, but this still looks good.

#4 – The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon

18007535Since I don’t go out of my way to read horror, I honestly don’t know how this ended up on my TBR, I don’t remember. (Except for Stephen King, but given how easy it is to find his books used, that’s not out of my way.)

My gut instinct was to let it go, simply because it’s outside my wheelhouse. I used to read horror almost exclusively as a kid, I’m too old for Goosebumps but around 12-14 I was all about King and Dean Koontz, then I gave it up by college.

I think this should actually stay. I’m curious.


#5 – Letters to a Young Muslim, by Omar Saif Ghobash

29635593While I was still watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I would put the books of authors interviewed there on my TBR if they sounded interesting. Ghobash gave what must have been a decent interview with Trevor Noah, though I don’t remember it clearly now. So his book went on the list.

Sadly, it can go. Despite numerous reviews likening it to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, which was an amazing read, this doesn’t seem at all like something I want to read. I’ll look to other sources to expand my understanding of Islam.


#6 – Cards of Grief, by Jane Yolen

1107458Whenever obscure works pop up on my social media with tags like “I can’t believe no one else is reading this,” I pay attention.

Especially when reviews keep saying “similar to Ursula K. Le Guin.” You know, only one of my favorite authors ever.

I’d never heard of this book, or this author, before. I’m hoping once I read this, I’ll want to hunt down more of her work–because obviously this stays–and dive deep into the mind of someone who writes adult scifi with an anthropological bent while also writing tons of children’s books about dinosaurs. Fascinating.

#7 – Hold Me, by Courtney Milan

24348034Oddly enough, finding this book on a rec list for trans characters in romance is what introduced me to Courtney Milan. I’ve since read several of her books and liked or loved them (including the first entry in this series, which was AMAZING) and yet, I still haven’t laid hands on a copy of this, despite it being the first book to grab my attention.

It stays. And I’m making myself a note to move it up the list, if at all possible.

Trans representation in romance by an awesome author! Do want!

#8 – Even Odds, by Elia Winters

27778677This came from a geeky romance rec list, and that should put it squarely in my wheelhouse. I’m a bona fide video game nerd, even if gaming has taken a backseat to my at-home job as an author. I should be all over this.

But I’m not. It goes.

No matter how promising the setup is, no matter how diverse and appealing the characters are packaged as, reviews like “no chemistry between the leads” and “predictable conflicts” and “even the sex was boring” are absolute killers for me in a romance novel.

#9 – Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions, by Six de los Reyes

29849709More nerdy romance, from the same list, I’m pretty sure.

Some reviews mention this being too science-y, which will never been a problem for my biology-degreed self; while others positively compare it to The Kiss Quotient, which I read recently and adored. So this stays.

Nerds finding love is so beautiful, especially us science nerd girls. We’re awesome. We deserve awesome love.



#10 – Breaking Legacies, by Zoe Reed


This 100% came from the Writeblr community on Tumblr, because this is an independent author and a lesbian fantasy and I’ve had it recommended to me like eight times by five different people. Once, I was like “this sounds familiar but let me put it on my TBR” only to find out it was already there.

I’m all for supporting indie authors–I am one. And the reviews for this are pretty glowing. (Not that I haven’t been in the minority on that before, but still. I’ll give it a try.) It stays.


I only cut 2/10 this time, but that’ll happen. Eventually I’ll bet there’s an inverse week where I cut 8/10! (I’m not going back to check, but I doubt my record’s that high. I’m pretty sure I’ve cut at least four in a week a few times, maybe five, but I’m doubtful about six.)

As always, if you’ve read any of these and want to weigh in, feel free. I’m open to changing a book’s status if you’ve got a story to tell about your experience with it.

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!