Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in today’s Down the TBR Hole post! Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –
- Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?
The Fourteenth Letter – Claire Evans
One balmy June evening in 1881, Phoebe Stanbury stands before the guests at her engagement party: this is her moment, when she will join the renowned Raycraft family. As she takes her fiancé’s hand, a stranger with a knife steps forward and ends the poor girl’s life. Amid the chaos, he turns to her groom and mouths: “I promised I would save you”.
Curl up for a sumptuous, exhilarating debut as a young legal clerk seeks to solve the mystery of Phoebe’s death – and uncovers a secret world full of danger.
Doesn’t the synopsis for this sound really intriguing?! Who is this girl and why is she murdered? How does her murder save her fiancé? I want to find out!
Everless – Sara Holland
In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.
No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.
But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.
I purchased an e-book copy of Everless last year as I loved the sound of it so much. I stand by that decision even now. It’s an unusual concept with a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see how the narrative plays out. It has pretty good reviews on Goodreads too.
A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
In the ten years since its publication in 1988, Stephen Hawking’s classic work has become a landmark volume in scientific writing, with more than nine million copies in forty languages sold worldwide. That edition was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the origins and nature of the universe. But the intervening years have seen extraordinary advances in the technology of observing both the micro- and the macrocosmic worlds. These observations have confirmed many of Professor Hawking’s theoretical predictions in the first edition of his book, including the recent discoveries of the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite (COBE), which probed back in time to within 300,000 years of the universe’s beginning and revealed wrinkles in the fabric of space-time that he had projected.
Eager to bring to his original text the new knowledge revealed by these observations, as well as his own recent research, Professor Hawking has prepared a new introduction to the book, written an entirely new chapter on wormholes and time travel, and updated the chapters throughout.
I am by no means a science geek, but I definitely want to give this a try. After his death last year I added this book to the TBR. The man was a genius; his incredible research and his battle against motor neurone disease (outliving his initial 2 years life expectancy prognosis by 53 years!) will be his lasting legacy.
Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell
A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.
Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.
Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.
Fools and Mortals is currently sat on my bookshelf in the hallway. I have dipped into it very recently, if only to share a First Lines Friday post about it. After that intro, I found it hard to put the book away again. I can see myself picking it pretty soon.
Katherine of Aragón: The True Queen – Alison Weir
Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir takes on what no fiction writer has done before: creating a dramatic six-book series in which each novel covers one of King Henry VIII’s wives. In this captivating opening volume, Weir brings to life the tumultuous tale of Katherine of Aragón. Henry’s first, devoted, and “true” queen.
A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage – and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner.
Katherine’s patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine’s maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart.
The Tudor period and the lives of Henry VIII and his wives is one of my favourite topics of history. When I saw an article interviewing Alison Weir about the books/series in Writer’s Magazine, I had to add the first to the TBR. If I get on with the writing style of this first book then the rest will be going on the TBR too.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart.
I think I am going to relate to Eleanor more than I would like to admit. Whilst I do go out to some social events, I’m not that adventurous. My weekends are not full of pizza and alcohol, but books. I have better than phone chats because I get to go and see my parents at the weekend. I’m hoping this will be an enjoyable read… and it might even teach me something about myself!
The Hangman’s Daughter – Oliver Pötzsch
Magdalena, the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl, lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangman’s son—except that the town physician’s son is hopelessly in love with her. And her father’s wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession. It is 1659, the Thirty Years’ War has finally ended, and there hasn’t been a witchcraft mania in decades. But now, a drowning and gruesomely injured boy, tattooed with the mark of a witch, is pulled from a river and the villagers suspect the local midwife, Martha Stechlin.
Jakob Kuisl is charged with extracting a confession from her and torturing her until he gets one. Convinced she is innocent, he, Magdalena, and her would-be suitor race against the clock to find the true killer. Approaching Walpurgisnacht, when witches are believed to dance in the forest and mate with the devil, another tattooed orphan is found dead and the town becomes frenzied. More than one person has spotted what looks like the devil—a man with a hand made only of bones. The hangman, his daughter, and the doctor’s son face a terrifying and very real enemy.
My love of historical fiction is shining through in this Down the TBR Hole post.
It’s unusual for such compassion to be shown, one by a hangman and two, to someone accused of witchcraft. Magdalena’s quest to uncover the truth should be an excellent mystery to solve.
The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson
The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson’s New York Times bestselling epic teen adventure is now available in paperback.
More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.
As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013
Brandon Sanderson, at this point, is an auto-buy author. Saying that I aim to read ALL his books is a tall order. He has already written a lot of books and so many more are in the planning. I’ve already read one trilogy (The Mistborn trilogy) and started another series (The Stormlight Archives). I’m also reading Elantris later this month. It’s fair to say I am making an effort.
I love the way he builds each fantasy world differently to the next. The one thing the books I have read so far have in common is that magic is based around some physical element; it isn’t an infinite resource. No magically getting rid of inconvenient problems.
Eve of Man – Giovanna Fletcher
AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED.
THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS.
THEY CALLED HER EVE . . .
All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past.
But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate.
Until she meets Bram.
Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom.
But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?
EVE OF MAN is the first in an explosive new trilogy by bestselling authors Giovanna & Tom Fletcher.
I’m on the fence with this one. It’s a work of dystopian fiction, which in theory should be right up my street. I have doubts though. If the narrative is going to consist of constant mournful pining for someone else then I’m just not going to get on with it.
If I didn’t have such a large TBR then maybe I’d give it the benefit of the doubt and try it. I think I’ll drop this one.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.
The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came.
In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.
Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is going nowhere but into my hands to read! I actually just bought my copy of the book a couple of weeks ago. Paperback, because I love Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer series and I don’t doubt I’ll love this one too.
One book out of ten doesn’t feel all that productive, but at least I can say I know my reading preferences. The books I am considering at this point were only added to the TBR a year ago, so comparatively, they aren’t even that old choices. I doubt there will be much I filter off the list at this point… but I can look, right?
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?
As always, I would love to hear from you!