Top of the TBR 1.13.20

After an unexpected 3-month hiatus from this series, I’m finally bringing it back!

Top of the TBR is a (now biweekly) post that showcases some of the books recently added to my Goodreads TBR, with a short explanation of why each caught my interest. Each title will be linked back to its Goodreads page for anyone interested in exploring further. Anyone who wants to take part in this series with me is absolutely welcome! Please link back to any of my Top of the TBR posts so I can see what you’re looking forward to reading! 🙂

Here are some of the books I’ve added on Goodreads recently:

49649443. sy475 Things in Jars by Jess Kidd (Pub: Feb 2020)

How I found it: This was one of the BOTM selections for January! Kidd has been on my TBR but I haven’t actually picked up any of her work yet, so I didn’t know she had a new novel coming out until I saw it there.

Why I added it: All of Kidd’s books sound pretty good to me, and this one’s no exception. It’s a historical mystery with a fantasy element- and, it’s gothic.

Priority: Middling. I don’t have a specific plan yet as to when I’ll pick this one up, but it would be easy to add it on to my next BOTM box!

48333823Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty (Pub: June 2020)

How I found it: I read the first two books in this trilogy last year, and have always known it’s set to be a trilogy. I tend to add each book of a series to my TBR only after I’ve finished the last one, and I just read and quite enjoyed The Kingdom of Copper in December, so it was time to look this one up.

Why I added it: I didn’t get off to the best start with this trilogy, partially because I thought the beginning was a bit trope-y and partially because I just wasn’t as much in the mood for a fantasy as I thought when I picked it up, but after putting book two on hold I ended up having a much better experience with it and am very much looking forward to seeing how this will end!

Priority: High. I own books 1 and 2, so I’ll probably buy a copy of this one in June and try to read it promptly while I still remember where the plot left off.

48425934Mother Daughter Widow Wife by Robin Wasserman (Pub: June 2020)

How I found it: On this excellent list of 2020 releases. (The Millions Most Anticipated.)

Why I added it: On a whim, really. It’s categorized on Goodreads as contemporary, which I’ve not been reading a lot of lately, and this sounds like it could be hit or miss. Yet something about this premise of a woman on a bus without any recollection of her life definitely appeals. It was this line from the synopsis that convinced me to give it a shot: “once a woman is untethered from all past and present obligations of womanhood, who is she allowed to become?

Priority: Low. This could change as the release date approaches and I find out more about it, but for now this is mainly a curiosity, and I want to focus my reading this year more on things I highly suspect I’ll enjoy.

27999638. sy475 The Iron King by Maurice Druon (Pub: April 1955)

How I found it: In Naty’s favorite books of the year post!

Why I added it: I suppose I knew George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones had been inspired by something, but I had no idea it was this book- in fact I’d never heard of this book. But Naty says it’s great, historical fantasy sounds great, and I’m going to need something to do with my time between A Dance with Dragons and The Winds of Winter.

Priority: Low, only because I need to finish A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons before diving into another full fantasy series, especially a semi-related one. But I think the time for that is fast approaching!

43615778. sy475 Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha (Pub: Oct 2019)

How I found it: In The Morning News’ 2020 Tournament of Books longlist! In the meantime, it’s also been shortlisted.

Why I added it: I had a lot of fun watching last year’s TOB unfold and expect I’ll follow along again this year. The longlist is really long but there tend to be some really interesting titles included and this is one of the books I’m most interested in from the 2020 list! Even moreso since it made the shortlist cut. It follows two LA-based families in the aftermath of a shooting. I believe it’s a mystery with a diverse cast.

Priority: Middling. If I can find time, I’d like to pack in a couple more of the shortlisted titles before the tournament in March.

50158836. sx318 sy475 The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are by Libby Copeland (Pub: March 2020)

How I found it: In someone’s anticipated releases post, but I’m sad to say I don’t remember whose!

Why I added it: I’ve been growing more and more interested in ancestry tests lately but had not really considered the cons until I saw this book. It was close-minded of me not to consider that these tests could reveal very surprising or even traumatic truths, but I’m now very interested to learn more about this possibility.

Priority: Middling. This is one of the nonfiction titles I’m suddenly most interested in picking up this year, but since it’s coming out during Women’s Prize time I can’t commit to reading it immediately upon release. Hopefully soon after.

226868A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne (Pub: Jan 1997)

How I found it: This one’s a previous Women’s Prize winner, the next I’m planning to read, and my next buddy read. Sarah has already read the book early and wasn’t thrilled so I’m going in cautiously, but am still curious to see why this might have won the Women’s Prize.

Why I added it: I don’t have all the Women’s Prize winners on my TBR yet even though I’d like to read them all, so I included it when we set the buddy read plan. This uninspiring cover is the one available at my library, so it’s the edition I’ll be reading.

Priority: High. I will for sure be reading this in February.

43982429. sy475 This is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences by Sarah E. Hill, PhD (Pub: Oct 2019)

How I found it: I think in a Goodreads ad or recommendation. The recommendations tend to be so off on Goodreads that it’s pleasantly surprising to actually find something I’m interested in there.

Why I added it: As a woman who has used birth control I’m beyond curious about those unintended consequences and would very much like to know how my brain might be affected by something that has become so commonplace.

Priority: High. I don’t have a copy yet but I must find one soon.

42785832The Possession by Michael Rutger (Pub: July 2019)

How I found it: I think I saw a review on Instagram. Not even a favorable one, but it caught my attention.

Why I added it: This is a sequel to a supernatural thriller that I really liked two years go, The Anomaly. The writing was a bit man-ish but nevertheless it was one of the most suspenseful and creepy books I had ever read and two years later I’m still v impressed with it. So, I’m definitely picking up this sequel. The main criticism seems to be that it’s unbelievable as a sequel and would have been better as a standalone, but as long as the premise is good and creepy I think I can overlook that flaw.

Priority: Middling. This is not available at my library so I will probably have to give in and purchase it at some point.

And a last minute addition:

24331526Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (Pub: 1935)

How I found it: I just finished reading My Cousin Rachel for a buddy read with Melanie and we both really enjoyed it! (Review coming soon.) I know Jamaica Inn was Melanie’s favorite fiction book of 2019 so it’s another du Maurier title I’m definitely looking forward to checking out.

Why I added it: I don’t usually add multiple books from the same author to my TBR, and I still have House on the Strand on deck as my next du Maurier, but I want to make sure I keep this one in mind, and having two in queue might help motivate me to pick them up faster.

Priority: Low, only in the sense that I still intend to read House on the Strand first and I don’t even have a copy lined up yet. But fresh on the high of My Cousin Rachel I am very much in the mood for another du Maurier!

Have you read any of these, or recognize them from your own TBR?


The Literary Elephant


7 thoughts on “Top of the TBR 1.13.20”

  1. Ha, as you know, I’m reading Jamaica Inn again right now because my husband wanted it as our book at night that I read to him. It was odd going back and forth between Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel because it’s the same author, but the books read differently to me. Both great, but different.

    Also, I learned last year that the concept of the Iron Throne that Martin uses in Game of Thrones first appeared in a Mercedes Lackey book — published before Martin’s books. I read that Lackey isn’t salty that he took the idea, but she wishes he acknowledged her idea to give credit where due.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was even pleasantly surprised with how different My Cousin Rachel felt from Rebecca, so I’m glad to hear Jamaica Inn has its own vibe as well! One of my bookish pet peeves is formulaic writing, where every work by an author feels essentially the same in spirit. The fact that du Maurier resists that makes me all the more excited to read the rest of her work!

      And that’s interesting, I hadn’t known about the origin of the Iron Throne! It would be interesting to know whether GRRM has ackowledged anywhere that he’s read the Mercedes Lackey book that features it… I generally try to give authors the benefit of the doubt, but it would seem underhanded of him to take a central concept like that without crediting at all. That is disappointing.


      1. Did you know that du Maurier also wrote books about other people and some nonfiction about herself, too, such as all the papers she kept while writing Rebecca? This lady has a LOAD of work published, so it surprises me that we all cling to just a few of her books. She and Zora Neale Hurston are two authors whose work I want to get all the way through at some point. Oddly, Zora’s been dead for years yet keeps coming out with books. Very Tupac of her.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I did not know about her nonfiction! It’s exciting that she has so much published, I don’t want to run out of material any time soon!
        I have not read any of Zora Neale Hurston’s work yet, but I definitely want to. I did realize she was being published posthumously, though!


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