Book Talk

Down the TBRabbit Hole

I’m dragging you guys down the TBRabbit Hole with me for today’s post. These are all the books on my TBR that I’ve been sent copies of by publishers or authors for review. Review requests are the only books I read as eBooks, as it’s a format I’m really not a fan of and feel has slowed down my reading, but they are the majority of my TBR. I’m only discussing the review request books today because the post would be never ending if I included my other books on it and, more importantly, the review requests are my priority right now. I’m trying to read them all in a row (in order of when the request came in) before I start any of the other books I bought.

The Tomb and the Stone by T. Newyear

The reserved daughter of a much declined, unusually affectionate St. Petersburg family, Irina Morozova senses death before it comes. Her arcane powers, unleashed with a few herbs and a candle’s flame, can summon the dead and bring them into the world of the living. Yet that is the least of the pretty aristocrat’s worries. When her brothers rise up against the new Emperor on a cold December morning, Irina and her sisters lose their good names, their prospects for marriage, and their limited means. Irina’s brothers are sent to prison in Siberia, and the despairing Irina resolves to stage her own rebellion, diving into the shady margins of St. Petersburg’s artistic and literary circles, until her mysterious abilities come to the attention of the conservative but brilliant Prince Pavel Pozharsky, close confidant of the tsar. Rich in historical detail, drawing gleefully on the humor and ardor of an era rarely chronicled in English, The Tomb and the Stone weaves Slavic lore with Buddhist belief, historical fact with fantastic horrors, all from an intimate female perspective. Supernatural adventure intertwines with the stirring fates of the Decembrist rebels and their families. The story moves from the stark sensuality of St. Petersburg to the unsung beauties of Siberia’s landscapes and indigenous nomad cultures.

Between the Shade and the Shadow by Coleman Alexander

In the deep heart of the forest, there are places where no light ever shines, where darkness is folded by pale hands and jewel-bright eyes, where the world is ruled by the wicked and kept by the wraiths. This is where the Sprites of the Sihl live. But Sprites are not born, they are made. On the path to Spritehood, spritelings must first become shades. They do so by binding a shadow: a woodland creature, who guides them through their training. Together, they keep from the light and learn to enchant living things, to bind them, and, eventually, to kill them. Yet, not all spritelings are born with malice—they must earn it or they are condemned. What happens then to the spriteling who finds a shadow where she shouldn’t? What happens if that particular spriteling wasn’t born with malice at all? Ahraia was that spriteling. She ran too close to the light and bound herself to a wolf, a more powerful shadow than any that came before it. Now a shade, her shadow marks her for greatness. But a test is coming, and the further they wander out of the darkness, the deeper they wander into danger. Ahraia’s time is coming and what awaits her at the end of her test will either make her or kill her . . .

Murder at the Scrambling Dragon by Amber Gulley 

It’s November, 1879, and the mist-filled streets are not as empty as they appear.  Against a backdrop of exploding heads, bullying geese, haunted gas lamps, and sinister, other-worldly terrors, a hapless urchin searches for his lost brother, a gentleman discovers the infuriating complications of love, and a flower girl joins forces with the meanest beast in London. However, as they stumble through each horrific event, one thing becomes painfully clear: there is Murder at the Scrambling Dragon!

The Tree That Grew Through Iron by McKenzie Austin

The natural world was dead. Archaic gods and legends withered away, forgotten by mankind in their lust for industrial advancement. The Time Fathers of Panagea kept their divisions’ times in check, but they couldn’t keep the land from crumbling beneath their feet. Nicholai Addihein rules the Southeastern division’s world of coal, steam, and iron. An impulsive decision soon bucks him from his status as a respected leader when he stops his division’s time to save his love, Lilac, from an untimely death. He finds committing the ultimate taboo comes with the ultimate punishment: the Time Fathers want him killed, and the already fragile earth deteriorates even faster, leaving millions dead. Falling from grace lands Nicholai in the company of Captain Kazuaki Hidataka and his crew of outcasts. While safe from the Time Fathers at sea, Nicholai is at the mercy of the captain and his crew. But when a discovery unveils the existence of the last Earth Mother, Umbriel, and the foundation of lies in which the Time Fathers are built, an uprising begins. Through bloodshed and revolution, there is no good or bad: only doing what one thinks is right.

Through the Bookstore Window by Bill Petrocelli 

Gina Perini manages a bookstore in one of San Francisco’s most lively neighborhoods. Although she thrives in her world of books, her harrowing escape from the war in the Balkans years earlier remains fresh in her mind. There are still those who are searching for her and who are intent on vengeance. Gina suddenly gets news that someone from her past is still alive―someone she had given up hope of finding. This sets in motion a chain of events that will stretch across the country and push her love and resourcefulness to the limit.

My Mostly Happy Life by Shelly Reuben

Once upon a time, Samuel Swerling, a World War II veteran and inventor, decided to build a park. It would be filled with trees trained to grow in such a way that children could easily climb them. To this end, he bought two acres of land, hired Alonso Hannah, a one-armed arborist, and began to turn his dream into the reality. Painters painted pictures; dogs chased balls; pretty girls basked in the sun; and time stood still. Most of all, though, children did what the park had been built for them to do: They climbed trees. The narrator of this book is one of Sam’s climbing trees. He thrives on human contact, and in his long and happy life, he has had few disappointments. Lately, however, he is being subjected to life-threatening injuries by Jarvis Larchmont, a power-hungry politician who was thrown out of the park for bullying when he was twelve-years old. Time passes. Sam’s grandchildren, particularly Esther Swerling, are now in charge of the park. When a hurricane floods the area, she and her family provide food and shelter for those seeking refuge from the storm. At the same time, Jarvis Larchmont is put in charge of the Department of Parks. Suddenly, our narrator and his fellow climbing trees are separated from people. Separated from all that they know and love. Separated from children. They cry…and they begin to die. Then Esther, her friends, and her family organize. And they fight back. 

(Edited slightly for length)

Loner by Hildur Sif Thorarensen

The Oslo autumn is creeping in with its cold spells and Homicide Detective Julia Ryland is feeling pretty content with her team of three, but when the FBI behavioral analyst, Alexander Smith, is thrust upon her, the crisp autumn air doesn’t feel as refreshing anymore. A young Icelander is found dead, an arrow piercing his heart and the extensive list of his former lovers suggests that many long nights are ahead. The murdered lothario suddenly becomes the least of their problems as headless corpses start appearing in the woods, positioned in terrifying ways and on their bodies they find messages that don’t seem to have any meaning at all.

Kingdom of Twilight by Steven Uhly

One night in autumn 1944, a gunshot echoes through the alleyways of a small town in occupied Poland. An S.S. officer is shot dead by a young Polish Jew, Margarita Ejzenstain. In retaliation, his commander orders the execution of thirty-seven Poles – one for every year of the dead man’s life. First hidden by a German couple, Margarita must then flee the brutal advance of the Soviet army with her new-born baby. So begins a thrilling panorama of intermingled destinies and events that reverberate from that single act of defiance. KINGDOM OF TWILIGHT follows the lives of Jewish refugees and a German family resettled from Bukovina, as well as a former S.S. officer, chronicling the geographical and psychological dislocation generated by war. A quest for identity and truth takes them from Displaced Persons camps to Lübeck, Berlin, Tel Aviv and New York, as they try to make sense of a changed world, and of their place in it.

This list has been cut back finally. The requests kept rolling in and I kept accepting more books that sounded interesting but, as you might’ve seen if you’ve looked at my About page, I’ve stopped taking requests altogether. The list kept growing and reading on my phone takes so much longer than a regular book so, in order to actually work my way through the books I’ve committed to, I needed to stop accepting more. Eight books doesn’t sound so daunting—I’m ready for it. I hope you enjoyed this peek at the reviews that will be coming over the next couple months! Let me know if you check any of these out and tell me about your TBR in the comments. Do you accept review requests? If so, do you read regular books in between or try to read them all in a row like me?

Thanks for reading,

Madison

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