Mt TBR Report: May 2021

My To-Be-Read pile is starting to creep upward again, despite another excellent month of reading. May saw me run out of podcasts and consequently go on something of an audiobook binge.

Mt TBR Status

Mt TBR @ 1 January 2021: 426
Mt TBR @ 30 April 2021: 416
Mt TBR @ 31 May 2021: 420

Items Read

59. The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan. Historical f/m romance. Third book in the Brothers Sinister series. Violet knows it would be a scandal to be recognised as the author of her ground-breaking scientific work. So, for years she has convinced her childhood friend and notorious rake to present them as his own. However, when Sebastian declares he can no longer continue with this deception, it sends their relationship down a new path. This book, while amazing, was not quite what I’d expected based on the depiction of these characters in previous books and I never really got past that. A shame, because it does some quite wonderful things.

60. The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan. Historical f/m romance. Fourth book in the Brothers Sinister series. An aristocrat left by his family to die discovers his brother has a vendetta against the lovely owner of a feminist newspaper. So, he offers his services in foiling his family. This was more the book I’d expected The Countess Conspiracy to be. I particularly enjoyed the witty banter.

61. Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan. Historical f/m romance. Follow-up novella to the Brothers Sinister series. An infamous advice columnist falls in love with an astronomical calculator and convinces her to give him lessons on astronomy on the pretext that it’s research for his next book. There were some charming moments and I particularly like the way it shows Rose really is a genius. It also injects some much-needed diversity into the series. But I did not love it as much as some of Milan’s other work.

62. Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell. Science fiction m/m romance. Reviewed here.

63. Wintering by Katherine May. Memoir. A meditation on cold and fallow seasons, both literally and metaphorically. This was very much a case of right book, right time for me, with several sections resonating with my experiences.

64. The Lord of Stariel by A.J. Lancaster. Fantasy romance. Review forthcoming.

65. and now I’m covered by AppleJuiz. Fanfic of the Tom Holland Spiderman movies. Fourth story in the my house of stone, your ivy grows series. With Peter Parker’s identity as Spiderman now revealed to the world, Peter goes on the run with MJ and Ned. Delightfully awkward about feelings, but also showing that you don’t always need words to be there for the people you care about.

66. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey. Post-apocalyptic Weird West. A young woman stows away in a Librarian’s book wagon to escape an arranged marriage. Lots of queer feelings, but ultimately not the book for me.

67. Siege and Storms by Leigh Bardugo. YA fantasy. Second book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. When the Darkling emerges from the fold with a new army, Alina must return to Ravka to stand against him. Cinematic and plenty of drama; I look forward to the Netflix adaptation. However, I was a bit less happy with the treatment of Genya.

68. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Fantasy. Piranesi lives in a labrinthine House populated by statues and frequently flooded by tides. He sees his friend, the Other, twice a week. When it becomes evident that someone new is in the House, their delicate balance begins to tip out of control. This book reminded me a lot of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, but lacking much of the sense of fun. However, I very much enjoyed the mythic feel of the story and Clarke’s continuing preoccupation with ceremonial vs natural magic.

69. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. Middle-grade fantasy. With the help of some odd friends, a young girl goes to save her father from an evil power. Lovely, but I think I’m past the age to truly appreciate this classic. I found it notably American in places. However, Meg is very relatable, and I enjoyed Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which.

71. The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers. Science fiction. Fourth and final book in the Wayfarers series. When disaster strikes an intergalactic travel stop, three travellers must shelter in place at a the equivalent of a caravan park. This was the perfect book for these times: low on conflict, high on people helping each other out. Possibly my favourite of the series.

72. Network Effect by Martha Wells. Science fiction. Fifth book in the Murderbot series. Reread for book club.

73-75. Skip Beat Vols 43-45 by Yoshiki Nakamura. Contemporary. I’m not even going to try and sum up the plot of this convoluted and long-running manga. Suffice to say that it ends on a terrible cliffhanger which makes it seem that after nearly 20 years, this series might soon be coming to a close.

76. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss. Fantasy. Reread, sort of. When Mary Jekyll’s mother dies, she’s left in financial difficulties. So, when she comes across a clue to the whereabouts of Mr Hyde, she remembers there’s a reward offered for information and she begins to investigate. Having read the print version, I picked up the audio version to see how the format would handle the footnotes. The narrator does an amazing job, considering the large cast of characters and the numerous languages and accents.

77. Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells. Science fiction. Sixth book of the Murderbot series. Murderbot is called on to solve a murder on Preservation Station. I love both Murderbot and mysteries, so I was surprised to find myself feeling somewhat ambivalent about this book. While it calls upon Murderbot to establish some new relationships, it does nothing to further existing ones.


Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger
Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Eyes on the Stars by Sean Williams
Succulents and Spells by Andi C. Buchanan
To Catch a Rogue by Bec McMaster
You Only Love Twice by Bec McMaster
Shuri, Vol. 1 by Nnedi Okorafor
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss
Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna
Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
Wintering by Katherine May
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Skip Beat Vols 44 & 45 by Yoshiki Nakamura
Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells