The urge to do some spring cleaning hit me this month and particularly targeted my Mt TBR. It was finally time for me to let go of some things that I just wasn’t ever going to get around to reading. I’ve not noted the specifics of what I unhauled, but you can see the impact in my numbers.
I don’t think I’m done yet.
Mt TBR Status
Mt TBR @ 1 January 2021: 426
Mt TBR @ 31 July 2021: 428
Mt TBR @ 31 August 2021: 394
104. Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. Steampunk f/f romance. A parlourmaid starts working for a hive of vampires but finds herself falling for the eccentric inventor who serves them. The romance was sweet, but the sexual harassment from the other members of staff and the threat from the vampires made for a tense read. The characters’ blind spots were also a little frustrating at times.
105. Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger. Paranormal m/m romance. After 20 years, Professor Lyall returns home to his new pack leader. I’ve been following these characters for a while, so it was wonderful to see them finally come together.
106. Overdues and Occultism by Jamie Sands. Contemporary fantasy romance. A young YouTuber with a channel on ghost hunting comes to the library where a repressed witch works. One of the Witchy Fiction line, this is a short and sweet story about stepping out of your comfort zone, especially when it has grown too small.
107. A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher. YA fantasy. Hugo nominee. A young girl with a talent for magic baking finds a dead body on her bakery floor. This was a delightful adventure that had me in tears of laughter. One of the more original takes on magic that I’ve seen in a while. Beware of carnivorous sourdough starters.
108. Succulents and Spells by Andi C. Buchanan. Contemporary fantasy romance. Reviewed here.
109. Joyful Militancy by Nick Montgomery and carla bergman. Nonfiction. Discusses the ways in which activism can become rigid and toxic and points to some ways to counterbalance these tendencies. Not quite what I was expecting, but an interesting read nonetheless.
110. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. YA fantasy. Last in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Alina must recover her strength and find the last of the amplifiers before the Darkling destroys Ravka. A most satisfying conclusion to the series.
111. A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson. Science fiction. A young nobleman falls in love with a foreign soldier. This story goes in some fantastically unexpected directions and does some interesting things with gender roles. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from this author.
112. Beneath the Moon by Yoshi Yoshitani. Mostly an art book, it contains one-page retellings of 52 different fairytales, folk lore or sacred stories from around the world. The artwork is gorgeous.
113. Prince of Secrets by A.J. Lancaster. Fantasy. Second in the Stariel series. Life for the butler of Stariel Estate begins to fall apart when his identity as a fae prince is revealed and his family start showing up at the estate. I’m really enjoying this series and liked the switch to Wyn’s perspective.
114. Foxhunt by Rem Wigmore. Solarpunk. Reviewed here.
115. A Lily Among Thorns by Rose Lerner. Historical f/m romance. A former prostitute turned innkeeper reunites with the man who gave her the money to turn around her life. I found this had a rather different vibe to Lerner’s Lively St Lemeston series, being more focused on intrigue between English and French spies. However, this was delightful in its own way. The characters had a wonderful intensity and the story showed the precariousness of being an independent woman in strongly patriarchal times.
116. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. Contemporary(ish) fantasy. Magic follows the Owens sisters wherever they go and whether or not they believe in it. Wonderfully atmospheric. I enjoyed the focus on the various relationships between all the Owens women, across the generations.
117. Changeless by Gail Carriger. Steampunk fantasy. Second in the Parasol Protectorate. Alexia heads to Scotland to track down her husband and the answers to what is affecting the supernatural population of London. I found this somewhat lacklustre, though this may be in part because I’ve read spoilers in later books in this world. Nevertheless, the ending left me without any desire to pursue the rest of the series.
118. Boy Problems by AppleJuiz. Fanfic of the Tom Holland Spiderman movies. With Peter and MJ growing closer, Ned feels himself increasingly on the fringes. Ned’s voice wasn’t as strong as those the author uses for Peter and MJ. However, it remains well-written and the end scene with Ned and MJ was very sweet.
119. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite. Historical f/f romance. First in the Feminine Pursuits series. A rich widow hires a female astronomer to translate a French scientific text. Another book about the precariousness of being an independent woman in a strongly patriarchal time, this time with a side order of the theft of feminine scientific achievements. I loved the way these women supported each other.
*Note that these DNFs are separate from the books I unhauled*
The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams. Fantasy. Picked up on audio. I rather liked the dead tree god, but on the whole the vibe was a lot darker than I felt up to reading. I may come back to this another time.
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu. Literary fiction. Book club pick. I got seven pages in and put it down because I couldn’t stand the protagonist, and the way the AI was portrayed was rather sexist. This turned out to be a good choice because my (speculative fiction) book club were disappointed to find it much more in the literary tradition than a science fiction one.
Changeless by Gail Carriger
Psalm for the Wild-built by Becky Chambers
Never Say You Can’t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders
Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine
Chill Factor by Rachel Caine
The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow
Show Me Where It Hurts by Kylie Maslen
The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite
Riverwitch by Rem Wigmore