Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

The term has ended and I am now back home (just!) I do have exams in January, so there will have to be studying (particularly as this is final year), but it’s also a time for reading. My goal is to clear several unread books from my shelves this holiday. I’ve been in more of an adult and MG mood this year than YA, so most of these books are YA books I’ve put off.

Most of this list comprises of USYA not published in the UK (or where the US edition is distributed here rather than a UK publication run, so copies are imported.) This usually gets pushed down the priority list vs UKYA even when I am in a YA mood, as I want to support my local industry and writers. Hopefully, making a concerted effort to get through the lingering YA doesn’t backfire, and make me less inclined to read YA!

1. WRITTEN IN STARLIGHT, by Isabel Ibañez


The companion to her debut, WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT, WRITTEN IN STARLIGHT follows a side character whose world was rocked by the ending of WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT. Catalina has been banished to the jungle, having lost everything and determined to reclaim it.

I really enjoyed WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT, and had every intention of reading the sequel as soon as I got it. But, like pretty much everything on this list, my mood has often veered away from YA this year. Hopefully, though, this will invigorate me for her next release, which, unlike this duology, is getting a UK release.

2. SONG OF THE ABYSS, by Makiia Lucier

Book cover for SONG OF THE ABYSS: title in gold on purple with a octopus above

I finally, finally, finally, tracked down a copy of this in the UK. As far as I can tell, this didn’t get a US paperback release, which means there are fewer copies in circulation (only a hardback print run) and so less chance of copies making it across the pond.

This is another companion, this time to ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE, which I adored. I wish I’d found this book sooner, as it was quite a wait until YEAR OF THE REAPER (which did get a UK release, whooop!) Again, this follows a side character from the first book on her own adventure, and this time it’s a sea-faring adventure rather than a land-based one.

3. CHILDREN OF RUIN, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

An adult book to add a bit of variety, and a sci-fi. I think CHILDREN OF RUIN now has the dubious distinction of being the book I’ve intended to read for the longest but still haven’t gotten around to! I haven’t been doing too badly this year about reading up older books, but some have certainly slipped through the cracks.

This is a sequel (spotting the other main theme, beyond USYA, of this list yet?) to CHILDREN OF TIME, which I read long enough ago that I didn’t review it on this sight (and I have completely forgotten the plot of beyond “evolution and spiders”!) Oh well, guess I just need to re-read the first book too!

4. WE RULE THE NIGHT, by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Book cover for WE RULE THE NIGHT: title in golf on a metal phoenix

I read an eARC of Claire Eliza Bartlett’s second book, THE WINTER DUKE, and loved it. So I immediately went looking for her other books. But, unlike THE WINTER DUKE, WE RULE THE NIGHT didn’t have a UK publication, so that took a while to track down. And then, as soon as that happened, I fell into a non-YA mood.

I honestly can’t remember what this book is about, but Goodreads reminds me that it’s forbidden magic in an industrial setting with planes and deadly missions. Which sounds so cool! No wonder I wanted to read it!

5. THE FAITHLESS HAWK, by Margaret Owen

Book cover for THE FAITHLESS HAWK: title in white on a person in a crow costume

THE FAITHLESS HAWK is another book that didn’t get a UK release but the author’s next release (LITTLE THIEVES) did. This is the sequel to THE MERCIFUL CROW, which I really enjoyed during lockdown 1 (I think?)

This is another series that’s been so long since I read the first book that I can’t remember what happened in it, though it’s not been as long as CHILDREN OF TIME, only 20 months (1.75year) vs 58 months (almost 5 years!) Oh well, I do love re-reading and get little enough excuse for it normally. My goodreads review tells me I really liked the push-and-pull on the central relationship, which I’m guessing is a tense friendship based on my usual interests?

6. SMALL FAVOURS, by Erin A. Craig

Book cover for SMALL FAVOURS: title in black dripping honey on flowers

SMALL FAVOURS is a standalone by Erin A. Craig, her second book. (I know it’s not spelt with a “u” on the cover, as this is a US-only book, but “u” is automatic for me. Plus my spell checker freaked out when I tried it!)

It’s a lot thicker than her debut, HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS, which was a really lush and atmospheric retelling of the twelve dancing princesses. I seem to have it in my mind that this is also a retelling, maybe Rumpelstiltskin (though that could be because I’m writing this while reading GILDED.) However, I can’t seem to find anything online (i.e. Goodreads) to substantiate that, so we’ll see if it is a retelling when I get around to reading it!

7. THE HAND ON THE WALL, by Maureen Johnson

Book cover for THE HAND ON THE WALL: title in white on a green clock

The finale to the original TRULY DEVIOUS series, THE HAND ON THE WALL concludes the mystery that’s spanned two books already. There is a new spin off book (series?) but that’s a new mystery, so this should finally tie up the mystery that’s the heart of the first book’s premise.

It really threw me, in TRULY DEVIOUS, that the central mystery wasn’t solved in that book, because it felt so unsatisfying that a book about a mystery was going to take three books to tell me what had happened. I can’t remember the second book, but I know it wasn’t solved. However, I was intrigued enough by that mystery to want to read this final book and find out what had happened in that cold case.

8. THE BONE CRIER’S DAWN, by Kathryn Purdie

Book cover for BONE CRIER'S DAWN: title in white on two girls at night

BONE CRIER’S DAWN is the duology finale to BONE CRIER’S MOON. This is also the book where the cover design team thought it was a trilogy, and accidentally but “book 2 in trilogy” on the original cover, which started a storm on the internet. Which was very amusing, and a nice reminder that even professionals make mistakes from time to time.

It’s marketed as a romantic fantasy, but the sister relationship felt as strong/central to the plot as the (somewhat flimsy) romance. It’s more than a plot designed to spur two enemies into loving each other. If it wasn’t for that, then I wouldn’t have wanted to read further.

9. SISTERS OF THE SNAKE, by Sarena and Sasha Nanua

Book cover for SISTERS OF THE SNAKE: title in white on orange below two sisters with dark braids forming a snake with a red stone behind them

SISTERS OF THE SNAKE is a debut by twin sisters in an Indian-inspired Prince and the Pauper retelling. Princess Rani wants to escape the palace, thief Ria steals to survive. And they look identical, so swap places – and uncover great danger to their world, naturally. The sequel comes out next year, DAUGHTERS OF THE DAWN, so hopefully I’ll be interested in reading that.

It sounds like a fun, bubbly adventure, to counter balance some of the books that seem to want to be “gritty and dark” on this list (whether a lot of books called “dark” these days actually are is a discussion for another day.) OK, yes, I am partly basing that “fun/bubbly” guess on the cover. You can’t really market a dark fantasy with a cover that bright!

10. THE CITY WE BECAME, by N. K. Jemison

Book cover for THE CITY WE BECAME: title in yellow on a greyscale New York skyline

THE CITY WE BECAME is an eARC that’s been languishing on my kindle over a year (whenever this book first came out.) I requested this, and then tried to read THE FIFTH SEASON for the third time. And I did technically get through it, by sleeping my ways through long sections of the audiobook and not caring enough to go back and listen to the hours I’d missed.

My absolute fight to read THE FIFTH SEASON meant I didn’t pick up this eARC. I just really, really don’t like 2nd person narration. At all. It drives me up the wall. And so I was simply worried that I wouldn’t get along with this book, like I hadn’t her most famous/best acclaimed book – so haven’t picked it up. it’s probably time to change that.

What books do you want to read this winter?

14 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR

    1. I know that, as a Brit, I’m lucky to have access to so many books, but it’s still a smaller market compared to the States here (and, fair enough, some very US-centric books aren’t going to fit the market here, like some very UK-centric ones won’t fit over there)

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