Mt TBR Report: October 2020

October proved to be a pretty average month for my reading. It did involve a little more rereading than usual, as I returned to a couple of series I hadn’t touched in a while.

In a bid to encourage myself to read some of the piles of fanfic I have marked for later, I’ve started including them on my list of things read along with books. This strategy hasn’t been all that successful, but I live in hope. I should also note I don’t include fanfic in my TBR stats because the pile is already intimidating enough.

Mt TBR status

Mt TBR @ 1 January 2020: 427
Mt TBR @ 30 September: 426
Mt TBR @ 30 October: 420

Items Read

137. Indexing: Reflections by Seanan McGuire. Urban fantasy. Second in the Indexing series. Henry and her team are called in when an old enemy breaks out of storybook prison. This was fun and I enjoyed seeing a bit more development for most of the characters. The new addition to the crew was also interesting, though I’m not sure I grasped all the nuances. However, the plot didn’t seem quite as strong as the previous book and included the author’s characteristic, nebulous entity for the purposes of handwaving the set pieces into place.

138. Temeraire by Naomi Novik. Historical fantasy. First in the Temeraire series. Captain William Laurence’s life is upended when his ship captures a French frigate containing a dragon egg. Basically, the Napoleonic War with dragons. I believe this was originally serialised, and the chapters retain a sense of being very contained. The central relationship between Captain Laurence and Temeraire is very sweet. I also enjoyed the worldbuilding.

139. The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan. Historical f/m romance. First in the Wedgeford Trials series. A duke incognito returns to the village he used to visit yearly in the hopes he can convince the woman he’s in love with to marry him. Courtney Milan proves once again why she is one of my favourite romance authors. The characters were adorable. I found Chloe’s preoccupation with her lists and ambitions very relatable.

140. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. YA fantasy. After Laia’s brother is imprisoned and the rest of her family killed, she joins the Resistance and is sent as a slave to the military academy to spy. A darker fantasy with elements that reminded me of The Hunger Games. The threat of sexual violence was tiresome but the characters engaging enough for me to bear with it. I found it perhaps a little overrated.

141. The Astronaut’s Cat by Tohby Riddle. Science fiction. Children’s picture book. A charming story about a cat who lives on the moon. Although it uses simple language, it does a good job of explaining what conditions are like on the moon. It also has a good sense of humour and does a nice job of subverting expectations.

142. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin. Urban fantasy. First book in the Great Cities series, following immediately on from the short story The City Born Great. New York City has been successfully born into its human avatar, but a fight with its great enemy has left it weakened. It’s up to the five boroughs to come to terms with their own identities as avatars and unite to save the city. Deliciously grounded in place, this was a great book to read so shortly after Kathleen Jennings’ Flyaway; an urban contrast to the rural novella. Jemisin once again shows she has a keen eye for people. She also brings a delightful new take to Lovecraft’s mythos, making it once again relevant for the present day.

143. 26.2 by Siria. Elementary fanfic. Joan Watson takes up running. A delightful gen fic that really nails the voices of the characters. I’ll be looking for more by this author.

144. City of Lies by Sam Hawke. Epic fantasy. First book in The Poison Wars. Reread. Previously reviewed here.

145. Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Sci-fi YA. Second book in the Aurora Cycle. Reread for book club.

146. Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke. Epic fantasy. Second book in The Poison Wars. Review forthcoming.

147. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell. Contemporary YA romance. Graphic novel. Two best friends decide to make the most of their last shift working at a pumpkin patch before they graduate and go off to college. Sweet, light and entirely predictable. It was just what I needed. I love a good order muppet / chaos muppet dynamic and this certainly had that. Fair warning: there’s lots of great seasonal food in this book, so maybe don’t read it on an empty stomach.

148. Unveiled by Courtney Milan. Historical f/m romance. First book in the Turner series. Reread.

149. Unlocked by Courtney Milan. Historical f/m romance. Novella in the Turner series. When her former bully returns to England, Lady Elaine is determined to fight back. While I’m not fond of the commonly-held idea that boys pick on girls to hide their crush, Milan makes it work. Mostly because that part of the story is in the past. Evan genuinely regrets what he did and shows it by making himself vulnerable in a variety of ways. I also appreciated the arc of his relationship with his bullying cousin, Diana.

DNF

The Hidden Queen by Alma Alexander. A fairly standard epic fantasy that simply failed to hold my interest.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente. I dislike Alice in Wonderland and whimsy for the sake of whimsy, so this book really wasn’t for me.

Acquisitions

Travelogues by Kathleen Jennings
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell
Daughter of Lies and Ruin by Jo Spurrier
Network Effect by Martha Wells
Tymon’s Flight by Mary Victoria
The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Good Neighbours by Stephanie Burgis

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