Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Progress Update

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

This was this week’s topic:

June 15: Books On My Summer 2021 TBR (or winter, if you live in the southern hemisphere)

But since I’m trying to read through old TBRs before making new ones (I doubt I’ll be able to stick to this resolution for long!) I decided to revisit some old TBRs and do a progress update. If you’re interested, I did one of these in the past, and I’m trying not to repeat books:

  • Majesty: American Royals by Kristin McGree (on my Fall 2020 TBR) This was silly and soap opera-ish but enjoyable for those times when that’s exactly what you need. I made a mental note (that I’m just now remembering) to check out more of McGee’s work for that purpose.

  • How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (2018 TBR) This was a disappointment. It had a really compelling premise, that I really wanted to like, but it was turned into a just OK book. It wasn’t bad, but it was good enough for me to wish it were better.

  • Tangerine by Christine Mangan (2018 TBR) I remember liking a lot about this one, but I don’t remember much about it! I think it had sort of an “old Hollywood” feel that I liked. It felt like a mashup of elements of Agatha Christie, Daphne DuMaurier, Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock.

  • The 7 and 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (2018 TBR, Apparently I read a lot from this list!) This was another one that I was really excited for based on the premise, but the execution fell flat for me. I think the Groundhog Day-eque premise needs to be really done well, in order for the book to work. If it’s not, it just feels repetitive. In this case I’d start to get interested in where it was going and then I was frustrated to be sent back to the beginning again! Again, I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

  • Hearts and Bones by Margaret Lawrence (Backlist TBR) This lived on my shelf for many years. I wasn’t in the mood for it, really, for one reason or another. During lockdown, I finally read it, and didn’t much like it. Once again, not bad, but I liked it less than I liked some of the other books on this list that disappointed me! Here, the problem was that I didn’t like the characters or care about the plot. I really need one out of two!

  • The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard (Backlist TBR) I liked this one, but I didn’t love it. So I’m sort of torn about continuing with the series. There are four more Cazalet books out there, and I’m on the fence about whether or not they’re worth reading. I did enjoy the first book, but a five book series just feels like quite an investment!

  • An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear (TBR Procrastination) This was my fifth, and I think, final (for now, at least) book in the Maisie Dobbs series. Jacqueline Winspear is a talented author, and It’s not that I don’t like them, but I feel that each one covers mostly the same ground. If the tone were slightly different that might work. For example if these were cozy mysteries I might find the same thing charming, over and over. But these are really depressing. Like they take place in during the Great Depression, with characters traumatized by WWI. And of course they’re working with crimes all the time, so it gets pretty bleak. None of the characters have grown on developed enough to make me feel like it’s worthwhile.

  • The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James (Upcoming Releases for the 2nd Half of 2019) This was an enjoyable dual timeline thriller. I do wish that Simone St. James would return to the historical, gothic, romantic mysteries where she started out. Her last two books have had more contemporary settings, at least in part, (though they’ve had dual timelines as well) and while they’re good, my personal tastes tend toward to historical. I’ll keep reading her books though, because they’re still fun.

  • Milkman by Anna Burns (Winter 2018-2019 TBR) I read this after it won the Man Booker Prize. I was a bit nervous going into it, because I’d heard mixed things, but I ended up liking it more than I realized at the time. It’s not an easy read in terms of understanding what’s going on, so it required some mental effort to read. But looking back on it, I appreciate it in a way I didn’t quite “get” while I was reading it. So this one is a bit better in retrospect.
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Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist TBR

First of all, if you are reading this and have not yet voted, do so now. This post isn’t going anywhere. It’ll still be here when you get back.

Now, for That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

November 6: Backlist Books I Want to Read

There are a lot of backlist titles that I want to read. These are really just the top ten that came to mind!

21w51tywckl-_sl160_sx135_1. Sing to Me Of Dreams by Kathryn Lynn Davis– I really enjoyed some of Davis’ other work (Too Deep For Tears trilogy, Child of Awe) and I am curious about how she handles a different setting/culture from much of her other work.

 

51hukb9xql-_ac_us218_2. Silence and Shadows by James Long– This has been sitting in my Amazon cart forever, and I’ve never actually read it. It’s about an archaeologist who is working with a woman who reminds him of his late wife. At the same time, his brother in law has been singing a song about a Saxon princess who also resembles the coworker and the wife, and the archaeologist makes an important discovery that  may tie all of these characters together.

5174gdpp4ml-_ac_us218_3. Hearts and Bones by Margaret Lawrence– This has also been on my TBR for ages. It’s set in post Revolutionary war America and it’s about a midwife who is drawn into a murder investigation. It’s a combination of a few genres I like (historical fiction, suspense) so hopefully it’ll be good.

 

51ienjvnb4l-_ac_us218_4. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis– I really like Connie Willis’ other Oxford Time Travel novel The Doomsday Book, and I’ve heard from some fans that this one is even better, so I’m looking forward to reading it!

 

41oulsn7jul-_ac_us218_5. Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn- This interracial romance has been in print since 1966. A copy of it has been sitting on my shelf for about two years.

 

 

51myynrq6l-_ac_us218_6. The Group by Mary McCarthy– This was a major bestseller and National Book Award Finalist  when it first same out in 1963. It’s about eight friends from college making their way in the world. It’s been compared to everything from The Best of Everything to Sex and the City. I’m curious to read it as see how it holds up.

 

51mw0x9so4l-_ac_us218_7. Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow– This story of a female spy during the Revolutionary war was written in 1959 and has been compared to Gone With the Wind. I suppose that the comparison also comes from the fact that it’s about a southern heiress who has some kind of romance. Regardless it’s sitting on my shelf and it looks like it could be fun.

51ffmarlcpl-_ac_us218_8. Bird Box by Josh Malerman– I vaguely remember reading a good review of this when it came out. I put it on my TBR and never got around to it. Then I saw the trailer for the movie coming to Netflix in December. I’d like to read the book before then.

 

51dyrlatcxl-_ac_us218_9. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey– This may be the record holder for book that’s been sitting on my shelf for the longest. It’s on pretty much every “best fantasy books” list on the internet.

 

 

514fv3sagil-_ac_us218_10. The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard– The Cazalet Chronicles has been on my TBR for a long time.  The fact that it’s a five book series always holds me back from  getting started.