Mt TBR Report: September 2021

September was dedicated to the Magical Readathon, run by the incomparable G of the Book Roast. Oddly, this made the number of books I read this month drop considerably, though the average number of pages per book went up. I had a blast with both RPG elements of the challenge as well as the reading elements, and am very much looking forward to it running again in April.

Mt TBR Status

Mt TBR @ 1 January 2021: 426
Mt TBR @ 31 August 2021: 394
Mt TBR @ 30 September 2021: 392

Items Read

120. A Psalm for the Wild-built by Becky Chambers. Solarpunk novella. First in the Monk and Robot series. Book club pick. Reviewed here.

121. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. Historical fantasy. First in the Sevenwaters series. A retelling of the Six Swans fairy tale. Sorcha, the youngest of seven siblings, must remain silent as she weaves six shirts out of nettles in order to break the curse her stepmother has laid on her brothers. This is a skilled retelling that I mostly enjoyed. However, the presence of rape (here, as in all fantasy from the 90s and earlier, it seems) was something of a sour note, and the ending glossed over a few difficult elements.

122. The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. Contemporary erotica. First in the Original Sinners series. A notorious erotica writer must work with a demanding editor to get her breakout novel into shape. This isn’t a traditional romance narrative and a bit more emotionally gruelling than I was anticipating. I found it interesting, but need a break before I attempt the next book in the series.

123. The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow. Alternate history. Book club pick. Three estranged sisters are brought together by witchcraft and join the suffragist movement. This was an interesting story with lovely language and a knack for twisting the familiar into something new and feminist. However, it was perhaps a bit long and meandering, and lacked the whimsy of The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

124. Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu. Contemporary fantasy graphic novel. Book club pick. A werewolf pursued by dark forces returns to a small town and their witchy childhood crush. This wasn’t particularly deep, but sweet and cosy — perfect reading for an evening when I was battling a nasty headache. My one reservation was that I wasn’t entirely sold on the ending.

125 & 126. Be My Fantasy and Stay My Fantasy by Alisha Rai. Contemporary romance. A politician’s daughter and his protege uncover each other’s secrets. These really should have been a single novel rather than split into two parts. Racy, but not particularly memorable.

127. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. Review forthcoming.

128. The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik. YA fantasy, dark academia. Second in the Scholomance series. A young sorceress with dark powers faces her final year in a school that’s trying to kill her. I’d be very surprised if this didn’t start its life as Harry Potter fanfic. The protagonist is snarky and delightful. Lighter on the horror tropes this time around. The ending was pitch perfect and had me screaming, being unaware there’s a third book to come. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Acquisitions

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
The Mislaid Magician by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik
Jade City by Fonda Lee

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