Mt TBR Report: October 2021

With the Magical Readathon concluding at the end of September, I found October a slower month for reading. Amusingly enough, it seemed to have a focus on history — be it historical fantasy, historical romance or alternate history.

Mt TBR Status

Mt TBR @ 1 January 2021: 426
Mt TBR @ 30 September 2021: 392
Mt TBR @ 31 October 2021: 393

Items Read

129. Floriography by Jessica Roux. Nonfiction. A simple dictionary of the Victorian language of flowers, accompanied by beautiful botanical illustrations. It includes the meaning of each flower, the origin of that meaning and some suggestions of other flowers to pair it with based on the intended message. Accessible and beautiful.

130. The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier. Historical fantasy. First book in the Warrior Bard series. Reviewed here.

131. Gentlewomen of the Press by Tansy Rayner Roberts. Nonfiction. A series of short essays about girl reporters in literature and pop culture.

132. Now That I See You by Emma Batchelor. Memoir. Book club pick. A young woman’s recounting of her partner coming out as trans. This was an awful read. The narrator was shallow, pretentious and narcissistic, showing at many turns what a toxic person she was. It was mostly written in diary form, but the few third-person sections were clumsy. I’m entirely baffled how this book won the Vogel Literary Award and I’m angry that she would commodify her relationship in such a way.

133. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare. Historical romance. First in the Castles Ever After series. The daughter of a famed author inherits a dilapidated castle and the blind duke who thought he owned it. This Beauty and the Beast retelling was just the palate cleanser I needed after that last book. Tessa Dare really knows how to lean into a trope and even makes a blatant Star Wars joke.

134. The Creative Tarot by Jessa Crispin. Nonfiction. Looks at ways of interpreting the tarot as a guide for writers and other creatives. It offered some interesting perspectives, though some felt a little run-of-the-mill.

135. The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal. Alternate history science fiction. Third book in the Lady Astronaut series. Book club pick. While balancing her roles as an astronaut and a governor’s wife, Nicole must investigate who is attempting to sabotage the Moon colony. I loved this book and its strong mystery element. I was also delighted to see an older woman as a protagonist, particularly one that has anorexia. An engaging and satisfying read.

136. The Devil Comes Courting by Courtney Milan. Historical romance. Third book in the Worth Saga. If Captain Greyson Hunter wants to bring the telegraph to China, he needs to find a way of translating Chinese characters into something like Morse Code. On a tip from a friend, he discovers just the person to do it: Amelia, a young Chinese woman brought up by an English missionary. Already widowed once, Amelia is about to be married off again by her family. As usual, Milan doesn’t pull any punches as she dives into the effect of colonialism on China during this period; she continues to write such intelligent romances. The relationship was also very sweet. Although the characters don’t necessarily spend much time together, their ways of keeping in touch were heart-warming. I also enjoyed seeing Amelia blossom into independence.

137. A Dance with Fate by Juliet Marillier. Historical fantasy. Second book in the Warrior Bards series. When Dau is accidentally blinded in a display bout with Liobhan, he is forced to return to his abusive home, where Liobhan will serve a year as a bond servant in reparation. Comes with lots of trigger warnings for abuse, torture and cruelty to animals. I loved seeing the relationship between Dau and Liobhan continue to develop. Brocc’s story was weaker and I found it rather frustrating.

Acquisitions

Floriography by Jessica Roux
Rewild Yourself by Simon Barnes
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare

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