Category Archives: Book Haul / TBR

September Book Haul

I *almost* stuck to my 5-book goal this month. It wasn’t until this last week that I gave in and checked out a sale, and we all know how that ends. I might have still considered myself within the goal if those extra books hadn’t arrived yesterday, but they did, so I’ll admit to their existence on my shelf and add them to this list where they belong.

Check out my new September books:

  1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I choose this novel as my Book of the Month for September (have I mentioned yet this week how much I love Book of the Month Club? I feel like I’m saying it all the time, but they really do have great books and I can’t restrain myself). This was the book I was most looking forward to reading in September, so of course I didn’t get to it. I’ll be aiming for October with this one because I’ve heard good things and I’m still really excited about it.
  2. Lies She Told by Cate Holahan. Here’s a second September selection from Book of the Month. I told myself I was only going to buy one this month, so of course I ended up selecting the maximum number of books (three) for my monthly box. I was highly intrigued by the blending of fact and fiction in this thriller’s premise, and it was the shortest of my BOTM choices (thus easiest to fit into my schedule), so I’ve already read and reviewed this one. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it did put me in the thriller mood for October.
  3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. A couple of years ago I discovered how much I love Margaret Atwood’s books, so of course when I saw this one added as an extra to BOTM’s September list, I had to have it. It looks pleasantly thick, and the prospect of a story within a story sounds perfect for me. But I’m currently in the habit of reading one Atwood book per year, in January, so unless I suddenly find 300 fewer books or so on my Goodreads TBR, I probably won’t be picking this one up for a few months. But I’m excited for it. So excited.
  4. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. After reading Pride and Prejudice (and it’s modern update Eligible) this month, my interest in reading all of Austen’s novels has been renewed. This is the only one of her six major works that I didn’t own yet, and I think it’s the one I want to read next, so I found a cheap copy that’ll work for me and I’m looking forward to reading it. It probably won’t happen in October because I already have a crazy TBR planned, but I’m hoping to read it within the next few months while my Austen appreciation is still fresh.
  5. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. I became addicted to Gabaldon’s Outlander series about a year and a half ago, which has mostly faded, except for my interest in the TV show. The third season just started a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to watch all of its episodes, so I picked up this new season-3-cover-edition of Voyager to peruse my favorite parts during the season (I read the whole book last year). I’ve also got the first two books with the TV show covers, so this one matches and I’ve been intending to buy it for months, which means it wasn’t an impulse buy.
  6. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. This one, however, was an impulse buy. I always have more Stephen King books on my radar at this time of year than usual, and this is one that I’ve been vaguely planning to read for years. I found a 10th anniversary edition and picked it up even though I don’t know when exactly I’ll be reading it. King is a fantastic author and I’ve heard great things about this book, but it’s probably not scary like his novels, which I’m more inclined to reach for in October. Still, I’m glad to have this one on my shelf and am looking forward to reading about King’s writing experience.

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And that’s all I’ve added to my shelves this month. Even though I didn’t quite hit the 5-book mark, I’m happy with the new books I’ve picked up this month. Two of them I’ve already read, and at least one I plan to be reading very soon, which means I’m not adding a ton of extra clutter to my TBR shelf. I think I made some solid choices.

Have you read any of these books? Which titles did you pick up in September?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

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October TBR

Just a heads up: this TBR is going to be out of control. There are a few series I want to continue, as well as some progress with my Book of the Month backlog, but mainly I’ve been saving up spooky books and now I have more than I can handle. I know that my schedule is going to be different this month, and I’m not sure yet what that will mean for my reading time; so instead of trying to judge how much I’ll read and shorten my TBR to match, I’m going to list all the books I’m considering reading this month and then I’ll pick and choose throughout October. Here are my choices:

  1. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman. This one shouldn’t be scary, but I like a little fantasy mixed in with the thrills and chills of fall. I’m in the midst of a Shadowhunter marathon, and this is the next book (technically it’s a collection of short stories) for me in that endeavor.
  2. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. This is book three of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which I’m reading while I watch all of the Game of Thrones episodes. I’ve already started this one. It’s more political than creepy, but again, I like some fantasy in fall– otherworldliness in every sense of the word.
  3. Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Here’s another series continuation; this is the second book in Johansen’s Queen of the Tearling trilogy, which I started this summer and loved, but for some reason never got around to following up with the second book. This is an adult fantasy series, so I’ll probably pick it up if I decide I need a break from thrillers and horror later in the month.
  4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. One last series book: I read Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy earlier this year with the intent of reading the Six of Crows duology right after, but I put it off. And now I’m ready for a fantasy heist with morally gray characters, so maybe I’ll make time.
  5. Saga: Book One by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I’ve heard good things about this series, and I needed a graphic novel for my 2017 reading challenge. It doesn’t have anything to do with October really, other than it’s a fantasy story, but I’m borrowing it so now’s the time.
  6. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I chose this book as my September Book of the Month selection, and even though I don’t think it’s spooky, I do want to read it before my October selection arrives in the mail. I think this is a sort of family drama, but the cover makes this book look perfect for fall: dark and subdued, with the implication of flames.
  7. The Girl Before by Rene Olsen. And now to start with the creepy books. This is a thriller I picked up last year and for some reason never got around to. I count thrillers as “spooky” books, mostly because of the tension and the inevitable death threats. I don’t even remember what this one’s about, but that’s how I like my thrillers and I can’t wait to find out.
  8. Dracula by Bram Stoker. Every month I read at least one classic, and I thought October was a great time for the quintessential vampire novel. I saw a film of this book a while back, but I don’t remember much and am entirely prepared to be sucked (no pun intended) into a wild Transylvanian ride of love and death and monsters.
  9. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I’m hoping to go the extra mile with classics this month by also picking up the quintessential haunted house novel. I know even less about this one than I do about Dracula, but I expect to be terrified appropriately. I’m hoping it’ll be Stephen King-esque and make up for the fact that I probably won’t get to visit any haunted houses myself this year.
  10. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King. Speaking of King, it wouldn’t be October without a Stephen King title. This is a brand new book that’ll soon be making it’s way to me. I believe the women in the world of this book are falling into coma-like sleep in cocoons, which is an intriguing concept. I love Stephen King’s writing, and I’ve been meaning to read something by Stephen King’s other son (Joe Hill), so this one will give a good balance. I’m sure it will be as creepy and unusual as I suspect.
  11. The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. Here’s a mysterious sort of suspense novel related, I believe, to The Phantom of the Opera story. The phantom is a great villain, and I’m hoping for some great villains this month. I believe this one’s also a historical fiction work, so I’m not sure how spooky it’ll be, but there’s definitely a mystery and masks and that seems like the right fit.
  12. Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten. I thought it would be a good idea to broaden my horror horizons by adding some creepy YA books to my October list. This first one is a YA thriller about a girl who may have committed suicide–or may have been murdered. It should be a quick read and a nice change of pace while still falling into the “unsettling” category.
  13. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. This is my other spooky YA book for the month. I believe this one follows a girl who’s investigating her father’s death. She’s probably also going to find herself in danger as she’s uncovering his secrets, so it should be thrilling and spooky and everything I’m looking for.
  14. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I can’t even tell you what genre this book technically fits into, but I’m think it’s a story about the narrator’s past with a creepy girl who’s dead now and I can’t wait to find out more.
  15. Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter. Back to the thrillers. I’ve never read anything by Karin Slaughter, and I didn’t know exactly where to start so I’m going with this first-in-a-crime-series book. Again, I don’t like to know anything about thrillers going in, so I’ve conveniently forgotten the premise since I acquired this one.
  16. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan. Here’s another thriller that I know slightly more about: it involves a death at a bookstore, eerily desecrated books, and some sort of conspiracy. It sounds like the book lover’s perfect thriller, but I haven’t looked at any reviews yet.
  17. Vicious by V. E. Schwab. I must read some Schwab this month. I think this one’s a sci-fi fantasy about some college kids who are trying to become superheroes, or something of that sort. I’ve recently discovered that I love Schwab’s writing style, and although her books don’t seem horrifying, per se, they seem to have a good amount of thrill and tension and extraordinariness that’ll fit well with my other reads this month.
  18. Rooms by Lauren Oliver. I picked this up last November and have been waiting almost a full year to read it because it seemed perfect for October. I no longer remember exactly what it’s about, but I think it’s full of separate stories that all explore different facets of one haunted house.
  19. The Girl in 6E by A. R. Torre. Here’s one more thriller that’s been on my radar a long time and again, for some reason I’ve not gotten around to actually picking it up. It’s about a self-proclaimed serial killer (I think) who’s locked herself in her apartment and eliminated direct contact with most of the outside world to keep herself from harming anyone. Until she decides she needs to kill another potential murderer.
  20. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’ve heard this is one of those ultimate fantasy novels, full of magic and mystery and a deadly carnival. What better time to read it than the month when disbelief is most suspended? This’ll be one to reach for when I need a break from murderers and ghosts.
  21. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I nearly forgot this classic Gothic novel that I bought after reading Jane Eyre earlier this year. I think there’s some romance in this one as well; all I really know is that the main character marries a man whose wife has died, and the dead first wife is somehow meddling (threatening their lives?) from beyond the grave.
  22. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. This is the coup de grace of my October reading list. I did watch the corresponding film several years ago, but I’ve forgotten enough detail that I think this book will not only horrify me, but surprise me all over again. It’s a creepy serial killer story about an ingenious and infamous man who (if I remember correctly) takes the skin of his victims. I’d love to watch the film again after reading this one.

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So that’s my list. Unsurprisingly, I do not have the tiniest belief of being able to read all 22 books on this list within the month, and who can say if I’ll end up picking up something different even with all of these stellar choices to peruse. (I’ve probably even forgotten something I meant to add to this list.) I’ll learn the October Book of the Month selections on the first of the month, and depending on my choice’s spookiness, I may add that to my TBR as well.

What are you reading in October? Do you have any more creepy suggestions for me? Which of these books should I reach for first?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

August Book Haul

I didn’t try very hard to meet my 5-book goal this month, but I’m satisfied with my choices nonetheless. Book Outlet had a great sale, Book of the Month Club had great selections, and I think I’m prepared now for a month full of spooky reads in October. It’s crazy that it’s almost fall here already, but there it is. At least I’ll have plenty of reading material to get me through the colder weather.

And now for the new books:

  1. Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips. A Book of the Month choice from the August selections. This one’s a suspenseful psychological thriller about a mother and her young son stuck in a zoo after hours as a murder spree is under way. I’ve already read and loved this book.
  2. The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh. Here’s another fresh Book of the Month selection that I’m also really excited about and hoping to get around to reading early next month, before my Sept BOTM box arrives. This one’s been described as a speculative modern Western, which sounds like nothing I’ve ever read and I’m eager to see for myself what this book is doing. The premise reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last, which I loved.
  3. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson. This is the third book in the Kiss of Deception trilogy, which I have been waiting to read until I got my hands on this third book. Now I can start any time. I don’t know anything beyond the premise of book one (a runaway princess is chased by her betrothed and an assassin, and the reader doesn’t know which is which), but I’ve heard good reviews about the entire trilogy, so I’m taking a chance on enjoying the whole thing. At least the matching set looks nice on my shelf.
  4. The Once and Future King by T. H. White. This is a classic fantasy book about the legend of King Arthur, and I’ve heard the title and other versions of the tale, but I’ve never read this book. Since I’ve been reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, I’ve been more interested in epic fantasy, and I’ve always been fascinated by King Arthur’s story, so I’m really excited about this one.
  5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I’ve been getting into a few of Gaiman’s stories this year and generally enjoying them, so I keep picking them up. I found this mass market paperback size for $2, and I think this will be my next Gaiman read. It’ll be a good fit for October, I think, because as far as I remember this is a creepy story about someone dead and their spooky childhood adventures. Or something like that. I’ve also heard this one described as a modern classic, which is appealing to me.
  6. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I saw the film of this story several years ago, but I’ve forgotten almost everything about it. I remember being impressed by the story, and I think it would be a great plot to read about before re-watching the movie. It’s about serial killer Hannibal Lecter, his disturbing habits (I think he’s the guy who takes his victims’ skin), and his penchant for escaping justice. It’ll be another great horror tale to read around Halloween.
  7. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. This is a book of King’s short stories, complete with commentary on his ideas for and writing of each of them. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, but many of his books are very long and it’s been a couple years now since I last read one (it was 11/22/63, one of my all-time favorite King novels). A book of short stories seemed like an easy way to get back into the mood for a long and disturbing King novel. I’m also a big fan of a great short story, and I’ve let my reading of those fall behind, as well, so it’ll be nice to get back to that medium as well.
  8. Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter. I’ve been reading even more thrillers than usual this year, but I’ve never read any of Slaughter’s books. There were several that caught my interest, but I found a cheap mass market size of this one and I picked it up to get me started. I don’t remember the premise of this one at all, but I think it’s one of those usual thriller-series books that follows the detective’s perspective through creepy crimes. I just wanted an easy introduction to the author’s writing, and I like the creativity of the crimes in those sorts of series, like in James Patterson’s 1st to Die.
  9. The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin. Here’s a classic full of shorter pieces. I’ve read a couple of Chopin’s short stories in the past and loved them, and The Awakening has been on my TBR for ages, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a copy on my shelf to be prepared for when the mood strikes me. Her stories are generally empowering and impactful, and the writing is engaging to read. They’re not creepy stories, exactly, but I remember a sense of foreboding pervading her pieces that I found very compelling.
  10. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. I haven’t read much YA of the horror/thriller/mystery sort (the most recent probably being Eileen Cook’s With Malice), but this one intrigued me. I think it’s about a girl looking into her father’s suspicious death and finding more danger than she bargained for. I’ve seen some good reviews and I think it’ll add variety to my creepy October reads to have some scary YA mixed in there with the classics and thrillers and Stephen King novels.
  11. Ruined by Amy Tintera. I have a weakness for YA fantasy. I don’t read them as often as I’d like, but I can’t resist picking them up. I believe this one’s also got a bit of romance in it, but I’ve heard good things about the world-building and the fast-paced plot, so I’m hoping there are plenty of those fantasy elements in here as well. I think this one’s a story of revenge, with maybe a royal marriage and some murder and political intrigue. That’s all I know so far, and all I want to know going in.
  12. The Muse by Jessie Burton. I still haven’t read Burton’s The Miniaturist, but I’ve heard such good things about this author and both of her books, and they both sound like my type of lit fic, so I’ve picked up this one to match the other on my shelf and I’m hoping to get around to both of them in the not-too-distant future. This one follows two time lines and a painting, and the cover is gorgeous.
  13. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’ve only read two of Austen’s books so far, but they’ve convinced me that I need to read them all. I’m only short a copy of Mansfield Park now, I think. Anyway, Sense and Sensibility may be the last Austen book I read this first time around because I’ve already seen a film adaptation of it. I’ve been trying to save the movies for after the books, but I failed on this one so I’m trying to forget as many details as I can before picking it up. But now I’m prepared for that day.

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So those are my new books. I’ve only read one of them so far, but I’ll be ready to pick up The Blinds any day now, and a bunch of these look great for October. Most of these look like books I could see myself picking up within the year, which is what I’m going for in my book hauls even if I can’t limit myself to five. Better luck next month, I hope. It’s the sales that get me every time.

What new books did you pick up this month?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

September TBR

Here’s another try at a reasonable TBR. I tried really hard to add to my list only the absolute minimum books that I feel like I have to read this month for one reason or another, and no more. My plan is to read these books, and then have some freedom to pick up whatever sounds good at the end of the month, without feeling like I’m still racing to get to the end of a too-long list. (I tried the same thing in August and failed by picking my extras too early and giving myself an entire second TBR.)

But here is my modest TBR for September:

  1. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. I’ve been reading Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series lately (and finally watching the corresponding Game of Thrones episodes), and it’s been going well. I cannot wait to dive into this next (third) mammoth book in this incredible fantasy series, so it’ll probably be one of the first things I reach for this month. It’s long, but it’ll be worth it. And I mean, Winter is coming.
  2. Because You Love to Hate Me by Ameriie (and others). I needed a short story collection for my 2017 reading challenge, and even though I’ve got a few that I’m still planning to read before the end of the year, this is the one I want to count for that. It’s a book of stories by popular YA authors about all sorts of villains, and I think it’ll be a great opportunity for me to read a little more from authors I already know I enjoy and also to preview some additional authors that have been on my radar before jumping into their full-length books. A sampling, if you will. I’m imagining reading this one in pieces at a time throughout a couple of weeks rather than all at once, but we’ll see what happens.
  3. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. Here’s another book of short stories; I hope I don’t get tired of reading those this month before I get through this second set. This one also has a wider list of popular authors, but I’ll give more details in my review because I haven’t looked that closely at it yet and I’m confident you can look them easily up if you’re really curious. All I know is that this is the next stop on my Cassandra Clare marathon quest, and unlike the other short story collection, I’m aiming to read these all at once, like a novel.
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. This is my classic for the month, and after reading Austen’s Perusasion earlier this year I have been long awaiting this part of my 2017 classics schedule. I know nothing about it except the lead male’s name is Mr. Darcy, and I’m eager to learn more. I’ve developed a bad habit of waiting until the end of the month to pick up my designated classic, but I won’t be able to do that in September because this month I’m also going to read:
  5. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. This is a modern retelling of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I’ve heard good things about both. I actually won a copy of this one in a Goodreads giveaway (you could have knocked me over with a feather. I never win things left to chance, not even BINGO), and I feel kind of bad that I haven’t reviewed it yet for Goodreads; but I knew I would be reading Pride and Prejudice in September, and I wanted to read these together. Now’s the time.
  6. The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh. I picked this book as one of my choices from the August Book of the Month selections, and I found time for my other August book but not this one. I’ve seen it described as a “speculative modern Western,” but also as a thriller, so I’m expecting a suspenseful, genre-bending good time with this one and I’m immensely curious to find out for myself how this one will go. This would’ve been my next choice in August if A Clash of Kings hadn’t taken me so long, so I’m intending to get to it pretty soon.

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And that’s my list. I know there will be more BOTM books when the September selections are released, and sometimes that throws off my reading plan if I end up with something new that I want to read right away, but I’m hoping to stick with these 6 first and then see where the end of the month takes my bookish wanderings. As much as I love summer, I’m so ready to see some new fall releases and curl up under a warm blanket with great reads and colorful leaves out my window.

What are you planning to read in September?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

July Book Haul

Great news, guys, I stuck to my goal! I’ve been trying to acquire five books or less every month in 2017 because I want to work through a bunch of unread books already on my shelves, but I think this is only the second time I’ve actually accomplished it. Because books. They’re so tempting. Here’s what’s new –>

  1. Final Girls by Riley Sager. This is my July selection from Book of the Month Club, a slasher thriller about a handful of girls who’ve all been the “last one standing” after a murder spree. Now their initial survival is making them targets again, and this time the escapees won’t all survive. I’ve already started reading this book, but I think I’ll be finishing in early August.
  2. The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Here is an extra selection from BOTM that appeared on their list earlier this year, but was initially published in 1994. It fulfills a slot in my 2017 reading challenge, so I added it to my July box and will definitely be reading it before the end of the year. It takes place at the turn of the 19th century, which is one of my favorite time periods to read about, and features a psychologist (or alienist) as part of the team to solve a grisly murder.
  3. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. I pre-ordered this book earlier this month because I’ve loved Ware’s previous two books and I wanted to get my hands on this one as soon as possible. This one’s a thriller about a body that washes up on shore and a group of women who were friends from childhood who’ve made a game out of lying. Now it seems that one of them has been lying to the others and someone’s life is at stake… I would’ve read this one already, but the mail was slow so I’m starting today.
  4. The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I bought the first two books in this series in paperback at the end of 2016 and had kind of been waiting to read them until I could get this one to match and finish out the collection. The paperback came out this month, and now I’ve read book one and intend to be reading book two literally at any moment, so I’ll definitely be getting to this one soon. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this trilogy’s ending, and I can’t wait to see for myself how it’ll end.

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And that’s it. My short and sweet July book haul list. This is one haul I’m sure will be completely crossed off my TBR before the end of the year, which I’m proud of. It means I’ve made smart choices about what I will actually be reading soon. This is what I was aiming for all year, but I’ve only accomplished it maybe twice, so I expect bigger book hauls on the horizon. I already have a Book Outlet order planned for August, so we’ll see how far off my goal of 5 I’ll be next month.

What new books are you looking forward to reading? Have you read any of these?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

August TBR

I’m in one of those reading moods where I just want to read everything all at once and the certain knowledge that I won’t have time to read every book before I die is extremely depressing. It’s made me a little more impulsive than usual with what I’m picking up to read next. In July, I set my TBR much larger than I could manage, so that I would have plenty of choice in what to read next. The problem with that tactic is that when I started working on my August TBR my first instinct was to add all the extra books I hadn’t gotten to from July because I felt like I’d failed for neglecting them. But I don’t want my TBRs to make me feel like I’m failing, so I’m trying a new tactic. This month, I’m only listing the bare minimum in my TBR, the books I know I will absolutely be getting around to–the next books in series I’m reading, the reading challenge fulfillers, etc. When I finish those, I’ll decide what to read next as I go. Here’s what I know for sure I will be reading in August–>

The book you voted for in my latest Choose My Next Read post:

  1. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien. The category was “first in a YA series,” but I’m also counting it as August’s Classic of the Month. (My classic of the month was supposed to be Dumas’ vengeful The Count of Monte Cristo, which I still really want to read but I have other long books in mind for August so I’m going to put that one on hold for now.) This one’s about a hobbit going on an adventure in search of treasure, and there’s an elf and a dragon, I think, and that’s all I know. But I’ve been meaning to read this book for years, and I can cross two reading goals off my list with this one book so I’m going to pick it up in August.

A reading challenge book:

  1. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I love a good murder mystery, and this one also fulfills a slot in my 2017 reading challenge (book based on a true story). Also, there’s a movie coming out based on this book in November and I’ve never seen an Agatha Christie-based movie but I want to. It follows a murder case that’s taken place on a train, where everyone is a suspect and anyone could be the next victim. I don’t actually have a copy of this one in my hand yet but it will arrive in a few days and it’ll probably be a fairly quick read.

A library book:

  1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I know this is an adult fantasy in which a boy is chasing a fallen star for the girl he loves, and I don’t know much else other than Neil Gaiman wrote it. I’ve been wanting to read more of his books, and this is the one I found at my library. It looks short and fun, and reading A Game of Thrones in July put me in the mood for more fantasy so I’m going to give this one a try.

Series I plan to continue immediately:

  1. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. This one was on my July TBR and I didn’t find time for it, but I do really want to continue this series (first book: The Queen of the Tearling). I’ve heard that this second book is the best, and I can’t wait to see what will happen when Kelsea, new queen of the Tearling, will clash with the powerful Red Queen of the neighboring land. Also, Mace is pretty cool. I’m excited to see what will happen next for this crew, especially now that I’ve ordered book three to wrap up the trilogy.
  2. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. I’ve been reading Clare’s Shadowhunter books in publication order this year, and I’ve finally reached the end of her biggest series. This is the 6th book in the Mortal Instruments series, and after I’m through with this one I’ll be moving on to the short story collections, and then to the most recent releases in the Dark Artifices trilogy. I’m so excited for all of that, but first I have to find out how this saga will end for Clary and Jace and the rest of their friends. Will they finally outsmart Sebastian and fix the clave?
  3. A Clash of Kinds by George R. R. Martin. Last month I finally picked up A Game of Thrones again, and loved it just as much as the first time. But now I’m planning to continue, and the length of this one is part of the reason I changed my classic of the month to a shorter book, because right now this is a higher priority for me. I’m finally going to read all of the books in this massive series, and watch all of the episodes. I’m certain I’ll get to this one really soon even though I know it’ll take considerable time to work through. I can’t wait to see what happens next for all of my favorite (and most-loathed) characters.

A Book of the Month Club selection:

  1. Final Girls by Riley Sager. This was my July selection from BOTM, a slasher thriller that looks more suited for October than summer, but I’ve seen some great reviews and I’m a thriller fan year-round. I did read a few pages already, and thrillers also go fast so I’ll probably wrap this one up at the start of the month. It’s about three girls who’ve been the “lucky” survivors of murder sprees, who are now being pushed together and targeted by a new killer because they escaped the first time.

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And that’s my list. It’s 7 books, and I’m fairly confident I’ll read more than that, but these are my top priorities at the moment. I needed a non-overwhelming TBR this month. I want to be able to cross everything off the list instead of leaving a handful of unread books at the end of the month. (Although I’ve also got library holds on Midnight at the Electric, Exit West, and Because You Love to Hate Me, plus I’ll have a new BOTM book coming, and I’m still expecting The Lying Game in the mail, so no matter how many books I put on my official list for the month, clearly they keep piling up.) Wish me luck.

What are you reading in August?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

Choose My Next Read: Round 3

Here’s your chance to vote for a book you’d like to see me review in August! I’ve been particularly enjoying having some assistance in deciding what to read next from my ever-growing TBR, and I love seeing your feedback on which books I should read and which reviews you’re most interested in. So without further ado, please choose my next read!

The category: first in a YA series

The rules: choose one title from the list I’ve compiled below of unread books from my TBR that fit this category, and vote for it in the comments. The book with the most votes (or randomly selected winner between tied titles) will appear on my August TBR, to be read and reviewed within the month.

The books:

  1. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. The 18 year-old ruler of Khorasan takes a wife every night–only to have her killed in the morning. Shahrzad volunteers for one such marriage with the intent of revenge for a friend who died under the same circumstances. She tells stories to keep herself alive, and in the process learns the secrets of the tortured ruler who killed her friend.
  2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. In 2575, there is an ongoing war over possession of a small, icy planet. Kady and Ezra, in the middle of a bad break-up, are forced together in the evacuation and additionally through a plague outbreak. On top of those challenges, the artificial intelligence of the ship seems to be working against their race to figure out what, exactly, is going on in space.
  3. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. With few survivors left on Earth, those who remain have learned not to trust anyone. Beings who look human but are decidedly not also roam the planet, so when Cassie meets someone new who might be able to help her she must first determine whether he is who he appears or presents a new danger altogether.
  4. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson. Princess Lia is out to break tradition–the tradition of arranged marriage for royalty based on best political gain. She runs away on the morning of her own wedding to settle in a distant common village, unaware that two men are pursuing her–an assassin, and the prince who would have been her husband.
  5. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. Hobbit Bilbo Baggins ventures on a quest for treasure guarded by a dragon. He stands to gain more than gold–through each part of his quest he faces a new challenge that will also teach him in turn to use the complete range of his personal skills and encourage him to learn about his own nature. (I’m counting this as first in a series because I intend to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy afterward, and would be using this one to get me started.)

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A disclaimer: I’m agreeing only to read the first book of any of these series in August. I do own the next books in each of these sets, and I do intend to continue at least through a second book in all of them, but when I get around to a second book in a series depends on my interest level in the first and what else I’ve already planned for upcoming months. But I will absolutely read at least one of these books in August.

Please lend a hand. Drop a name. Leave a vote in the comments, because there are too many books on my TBR that I should’ve already read and I don’t even know where to start. Which of these books would you like to see me review next?

The deadline: Wednesday, July 26, 10 pm US Central Time.

May the best book win!

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant