Top Ten Tuesday: read or release

Text only: top ten TUESDAY

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week, we’re considering books we added to our TBRs but can’t remember why…

TBRs are odd hybrids of passion, instinct, planning and whimsy. A book leaps onto my TBR because it’s the next book in a beloved series or the latest book from a favourite author – but also because yay favourite tropes or oooh shiny cover art – not to mention the pile-on that happens every time I read the reviews and recommendations you lot keep filling my feed with (pot to kettle, colour check please). So I’m rather grateful to Louise at Foxes and Fairytales for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt. I was living under the delusion that I knew what was on my TBR, but… well, where did some of these come from? I’ve picked ten to re-evaluate: should I leave them on the TBR or release them back into the wild?


The Country of Ice Cream Star – Sandra Newman

In Sandra Newman’s post-apocalypse, everyone dies before they turn 20. When 15-year-old Ice Cream Star realises her brother is showing symptoms of the killer plague, she sets off on a road trip in search of a cure. This one almost certainly made my TBR because I’m a sucker for a good post-apocalypse – but is this a good one? It gets mixed reviews for its use of language, and at nearly 600 pages it’s a commitment. Newman intrigues me as a literary author who dabbles with genre elements – but after 5 years on my TBR, I think Ice Cream Star has missed its window. RELEASE


Edge of Dark – Brenda Cooper

…so I reread the blurb, and – well – I can guess why I added this to my TBR:

What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living. And yet, that life thrived? It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun. What if it didn’t share your moral compass in any way?

Colonisation, artificial intelligence, questions of sentience and the right to life? READ READ READ CAN I READ IT NOW


The Carpet Makers – Andreas Eschbach

Well this is awkward. Men knot carpets for the emperor from the hair of their womenfolk (yes, that shuddering noise was me), until the God Emperor vanishes and aliens arrive and discover something terribly mysterious. That’s a terrible premise – or no – this is a truly awful pitch (to this reader, at least). Plus it’s championed by none other than Orson Scott Card. Ugh. I’m so tempted to release it with abandon… but the reviews. The reviews. READ. Maybe.


Archangel – Marguerite Reed

It’s not hard to spot why this ended up on my TBR either: the summary has echoes of the more-recent Goldilocks and appeals for much the same reasons. Here, a foothold has been established on a world that promises life beyond a dying Earth – but it is under-funded, and our xenobiologist protagonist is caught between financial pressures, her desire to protect a pristine planet and the countdown to the inevitable colonisation. READ


The Grim Company – Luke Scull

I think I actually own this, an impulse buy soon after I got my Kindle, back when I was more open to grimdark reads. Now, it leaves me utterly cold: a dystopian fantasy world of warring magelords, dead gods and sweary fighting men. Reviews from bloggers I respect are split down the middle, but if I’m honest, I just can’t imagine a day where this will be the book I want to read. Oh well, at least it was probably only 99p. RELEASE


The Book of Night with Moon – Diane Duane

I’m pretty sure this was a recommendation – possibly from my near-sister Maggie – and the concept still gets me right between the eyes: cat wizards. This is an urban fantasy of New York defended by cats and their human allies, with gateways to alternate realities and world-shattering threats to be defeated. I’ve never managed to get hold of a copy, but it still sounds delightful. READ


The Liminal People – Ayize Jama-Everett

A man with supernatural powers to heal – or harm – risks conflict with his drug-dealing boss to save the daughter he didn’t know he had. I have no idea where I first encountered this one, but that synopsis no longer does much for me – and having read some reviews, I’m pretty clear I don’t want to touch this with a bargepole. RELEASE


The Emperor of All Things – Paul Witcover

I probably added this because I admired Witcover’s contributions to Tremontaine, but WOAH the pitch is arresting. Set in 18th century England, our hero is a clocksmith and a spy who stumbles upon a pocket watch that has inexplicable properties. This starts as a historical thriller and diverts into a war of demigods and dragons, and I am all shades of intrigued. READ


Creatures of Will and Temper – Molly Tanzer

This one rings no bells at all, so I assume one of you must have put me on to it… and thank you to whoever it was, because the pitch is irresistible. What’s that you say? A female fencer goes to Victorian London and trains as a demon huntress after her sister becomes enamoured of a (female) aristocrat? Why yes, yes I would be interested in some of that fine jam, thank you. Pass the toast. READ


The Dragon Waiting – John M Ford

Welcome to a mediaeval Europe that never was. Here, the Byzantine Empire looms as a threat to the East, a Milanese Vampire Duke threatens Florence, and a mercenary, an exile, a female physician and a Welsh wizard strive to put Richard III on the throne of England. You what now? Yes, yes, READ


Have you read any of these books? If so, do you think I should read or release them?