Down the TBR Hole is a sometimes weekly meme where we poke at our Goodreads TBR with a sharp stick and hope that nothing comes out to bite us. It’s hosted by Tia over at Lost in a Story, so check out her blog to see what books she’s been poking with sticks.
For this week’s quest into the far reaches of my Goodreads TBR, I decided to take a closer look at five of the books lurking on the last pages of my ‘Want To Read’. I thought about doing more than five, but I really just want to get back to reading.
1 The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston
A new series about a young woman whose connection to antiques takes her on a magical adventure, reminiscent of Outlander
New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance to launch a new series guaranteed to enchant her audience even more.
Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. So when she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.
It’s while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century. And shortly after, she’s confronted by a ghost who reveals that this is where the antique has its origins. The ghost tasks Xanthe with putting right the injustice in its story to save an innocent girl’s life, or else it’ll cost her Flora’s.
While Xanthe fights to save her amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.
With its rich historical detail, strong mother-daughter relationship, and picturesque English village, The Little Shop of Found Things is poised to be a strong start to this new series.
I’ve been looking forward to this since I first heard about it back in January. When I found it it wasn’t due out until October, I was disappointed. And then NetGalley approved my request for an ARC! I’ll be starting it within the next week or so, so it is definitely staying!
2 The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan
A lyrical and moving debut in the tradition of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood, introducing an original and commanding new voice in fiction
As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.
In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives—offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.
Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.
I tried listening to the audiobook of this earlier in the summer, but was stymied by my lack of interest in the character of North. I haven’t been moved to pick up a physical copy of the book since I returned the audiobook via Overdrive. If I do develop an interest in it again, I can get it from the library. It’s not a title I’ve forgotten since I first heard about this. This one will be leaving the TBR.
3 The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson
Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors’ artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight.
The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive.
The one safe road between the northern oasis and southern kingdom is stalked by a necromantic terror. Demane may have to master his wild powers and trade humanity for godhood if he is to keep his brothers and his beloved captain alive.
I think I heard about this one on NPR’s annual book concierges, but I’m not sure. The synopsis must have caught my eye at the time, but I had forgotten all about it. This one will be leaving the TBR.
4 The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
A vividly imagined fantasy of court intrigue and dark magics in a steampunk-inflected world, by a brilliant young talent.
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend… and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.
This exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.
I’ve heard nothing but great things about The Goblin Emperor. I just keep forgetting to pick up a copy from the library! I will have to remedy this soon! This one is definitely staying.
5 The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.
With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.
All summer long, I’ve been promising a good friend that I would read this one. I even bought it a couple of months ago, and it’s been sitting on the shelf ever since. The Fall seems like a look time to read it, so it will probably be going on my September TBR. This one is definitely staying!
Well, this week wasn’t quite as successful when it comes to clearing titles off my TBR, but it’s moved a couple of great sounding books to the forefront of my mind, so perhaps I will remember to look for them the next time I’m at the library!
Number of books I started with: 235
Number of books I ended with: 233