I’ve been doing this themed TBR for the past couple of years, where I try to read only or mostly black authors in the month of February, and I guess it’s becoming an annual tradition! These books are all on my TBR anyway — some of them have been on there for a very long time — so this is a good chance to prioritize them. There’s ten books on this list, some of them sizeable fantasies, so I highly doubt I’ll be able to read all of them, especially since my reading so far is much slower than it was last year, but at least I’ll have a nice selection to pick from!
I’ve made this post for 2019 and 2020 and I’ve actually made some progress, though it is…slow going (series are LONG okay). Because of that, there’s going to be a lot of repeats here, but some new series I’d like to begin or finish up as well.
I’m also no longer being a stickler about waiting for a series to finish before starting it, because now that I’m doing my own summaries of fantasy installments, I don’t have as much of a problem when it comes to remembering things, since my summaries prioritize everything that I personally want prioritized, or the little details that I, specifically, would be more likely to forget.
The series I am prioritizing tie in to one of my 2020 goals, which is to finish some of the many, many books I own physical copies of, so you’ll notice that most of these series I actually own, which in theory should help me to read them, since they’re, you know, right there.
We’re halfway through the year already. Incredible. It feels like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye, but it’s also felt like approximately three thousand years. Anyway.
My reading this year has been pretty steady; I’ve read 56 books thus far. At the beginning of, you know *gestures at everything* I was still reading a ton of books, but now I seem to be falling into a reading and writing slump, so there’s that. Alas. Continue reading “The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2020”
July 18th: Books I’ve Removed From My TBR
Discuss the books that you wanted to read at one point, but don’t anymore
This is kind of fortuitous, as yesterday, out of nowhere, I sat down and decided to clear my TBR just a bit. Not extensively, mind you, I don’t have the energy for that just yet, but I thought I would just give it a quick skim and see which books I am definitely no longer interested in reading.
As it turned out, it was quite a lot of YA fantasy.
I don’t know why I’m having this weird about-face with YA fantasy recently. I don’t know if I’ve grown bored of the genre, or if I’m frustrated with the insistence on tepid romances, or if I’m just becoming really, really picky about the YA fantasies I read. Perhaps all three. All I know is, as I was going through the summaries for some of these books, they all sounded exactly the same, and I had no interest in reading any of them. So I got rid of them.
This list isn’t going to be solely YA, however; I’ve tried to bring in a little variety of genres! (Also, you get six books, because I can’t decide.)
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Funny story: I always thought this was a podcast. I don’t know why I thought that. I see this title thrown around Tumblr a lot and for some reason my brain made the assumption that it was a podcast, not a book. Iwas pleased when I discovered it’s actually a book. But then I watched Jean @ Bookishthoughts talk about how badly the female characters in this book are represented. I think she literally says that the women in this book seem like nothing more than a pair of boobs and that the male narrator can’t stop objectifying them. Yeah, no thanks.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I was initially so drawn to this book, because it’s about a scholar and librarian studying at Oxford. She’s also a witch, and there’s vampires and demons and it sounded like it would be super cool. I actually picked it up last month. I read like three pages of it before putting it down. Something about the writing didn’t sync with me, so I thought I’d give it another go sometime later. But then I read some detailed reviews, quotes included, and was disappointed to discover that this book is basically the adult Twilight. Chock full of nonsensical romance and bizarre plot points and a whole heap of toxic masculinity.
Oh, but apparently there’s an upcoming TV adaptation of this with Matthew Goode? You can be sure I’m checking that out.
Timekeeper by Tara Sim
I think at one point this was one of the more popular YA books? I was drawn to it because of the Victorian steampunk aesthetic, but the more I learned about it the less interested I was. I think it’s about semi-sentient clocks? Or something? And there’s a romance with a…clock?? That premise seems terrible enough already, but then I read reviews saying it was boring and not at all atmospheric, and that there aren’t many female characters, and that sealed the deal.
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
I added this to my TBR because it’s an alternate Victorian-era Hungary. But it seems like it’s one of many forgettable, carbon-copy YA plots. The protagonist is the equivalent of a squib in her world. Then there’s some kind of rebellion. There’s a love triangle with two tepid romances. Lather, rinse, repeat. The reviews I’ve read pull out some choice quotes about the love interests that had me rolling my eyes. This is the exact kind of YA fantasy I want to stay away from so I don’t start hating the genre.
The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
So first, this is an Indian-inspired fantasy written by a white woman, which already has me side-eyeing. But I added it because I thought the concept of a sickly young woman forced out of the comfort of her monastery and forced to fight for the position of wife sounded super cool. But apparently, this book devolves into – surprise, surprise – a tepid romance. Apparently there’s also a lot of girl-hate, which is ridiculous because the concept of this book is practically begging for two girls to team up and blow the whole thing up from the inside out.
Everless by Sara Holland
I was iffy about this book’s concept to begin with. I mean, it sounded interesting, I guess – time is currency, the rich tax the poor to extend their lives. I mean, it’s fine, just not something that particularly interests me. I don’t even remember why I added this to my TBR. I think that was my “add any and all YA fantasy releases” phase. Anyway, the heroine seeks revenge on one of these wealthy families and also wants to buy her dad more time, buuuuuut…what do you know, all that is forgotten in favor of – you guessed it- a tepid romance!
Mainly this list seems to be showcasing a rabid hatred for romance, which couldn’t be further from the truth! I’m a shipper at heart; I adore romance. I just loathe awkward, forced, tepid romances that are so clearly shoehorned and instalovey and just…cringey. I also hate when romance overshadows plot, which seems to happen in most of YA fantasy these days.
Anyway. Have y’all read any of these books? Am I mistaken for removing them from my TBR? Let me know!
Nobody tagged me for this, but I saw it on Reading Every Night and thought it looked like fun! I’ve been writing a lot more recently. Not only has the quality of my writing improved, but so have my habits. I’ve become more at ease with the kind of writer I am and what works for me.
What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?
I write mostly fantasy! I tend to flit between YA and Adult, or fall in that nebulous category right in between, but usually it’s fantasy. Although I do have one women’s fiction/romance work that’s hidden deep within the recesses of my laptop and shall not be seen by any human eyes for a long, long time, if ever.
A lot of the topics I write are things that I want to see in books, so, female friendships, lots and lots of female characters, f/f relationships, men and women being friends and just friends, diverse characters, non-western fantasy settings, women who are not defined by romance, trope subversion, and lots of magic.
How long have you been writing?
For a while! I wrote my first completed short story when I was…twelve, I think? It was a murder mystery called “Jealousy Can Be Murder.” It had a cover page with Microsoft Word images. It was really, really terrible. Right around the same time I started writing Inuyasha and Harry Potter fanfiction.
Why do you write?
I love creating different world and different characters. But I also need to write, because if I don’t, my head gets so cluttered with different thoughts and plots and people that I can hardly think straight. I daydream a lot, and a lot of those daydreams turn into my stories. If I don’t get them on paper, they drive me insane.
When is the best time to write?
There’s never one specific time; it really depends on my mood. Sometimes I’ll be all fancy and go to a nice coffee shop (rarely), but most of the time I’m just sneaking in time to write whenever I can. Usually it’s during my free time at work. Sometimes it’s weekend evenings when the house is quiet. Sometimes it’s at night after I’ve come home from work. I’ve found that it’s good to write whenever and wherever and not tie it down to a certain aesthetic or anything.
What parts of writing do you love and hate?
The parts of writing I love are…
- Creating new characters and giving them names and descriptions and personas
- Creating maps of new worlds and world-building in general
- The initial burst of energy and inspiration when I can’t stop writing
- Making pretty sentences
The parts of writing I hate are…
- Plotting. I loathe plotting and I always worry that I’m terrible at it. There’s just so much thought that needs to go into plotting, you know? It’s like, is there enough conflict? Do the characters have realized arcs that mesh with the plot? Is there an inciting incident, climax, etc? Is it interesting enough? Is it fast-paced? Is there a twist? Where’s the twist? Is the twist shocking enough? Does everything make sense? It’s obviously the crux of the novel but I’m so insecure about it.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
Whenever I’m “blocked” it’s usually just because I’m stuck with something to do with the plot. This usually comes in the outline stage, since I’ve discovered I don’t like to start writing unless I have a completed outline. Anyway, whenever this happens, I either go read another book to get some inspiration or try to find inspiration from something else. Pinterest is great for that.
Are you working on something at the moment?
I’m working on many things! I have a fantasy WIP that I’m pretty serious about; it’s fully outlined and I’m halfway done writing it. Once I’ve edited it I want to start querying for agents with it, so fingers crossed. I have a bunch of other WIP novels in the works, and also a bunch of short stories.
What are your writing goals this year?
- Finish my current WIP, edit it, and start querying.
- Finish the two short stories I’ve been working on since forever.
- Outline another WIP.
I don’t quite know who to tag (I suck at tagging anyway), but if obviously if you feel like doing this, go forth, and pingback to me so I can read your answers!