Andy’s Top Ten TBR

Greetings fellow book lovers.

To celebrate the creation of this here blog, I’m posting a top ten from my long and unwieldy To Be Read list (which, seriously, consists of hundreds of books). These choices represent the books that I am the most giddy for, the ones I’d be more than happy sacrificing tea and biscuits for. The cream of the crop, if you will.

Let me know if you’ve read any of the below, I crave feedback!

Poison or Protect – Gail Carriger


‘Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?’Gail Carriger is one of my all time favourite authors. Ever since I read her first book Souless, I’ve been addicted to her writing. Poison or Protect is Gail’s first forray into novella writing and is a standalone romance set in steampunk Victorian London. The series of novellas, of which this is the first, will follow the exploits of characters from her finishing school series, those who have graduated Mademoiselle Geraldine’s finishing school for assassins!

The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

I haven’t read anything by Sarah Perry before and I’m not ashamed to say that it was the cover that drew me in. The novel is set in London in 1893, where main character Cora has just become a widow. Deciding to move herself and her son, the strangely obsessive Francis, to the country, she begins to hear rumours of the reappearance of a strange serpent that once roamed the marshes claiming lives.

A keen amateur naturalist, Cora is convinced this must be an undiscovered species of reptile. During her investigation however, she meets vicar Will Ransome. He is as suspicious of the rumoured mythical monster as Cora, but is certain that it signifies his parishioners flight from faith and the degradation of society. Consequently, the two are drawn together by their vocal opposition to each and intense, unspoken desire.

Black Magic Vol. 1

Okay, I might have started reading this already, so I guess technically it’s not on my to-be-read pile but rather the currently-reading pile. I started collecting the single issue comics when they first came out and I’ve been hooked ever since. The story follows Raven Black, homicide detective and full time witch…When a suspect, seemingly controlled by otherwordly forces, tries to burn her alive, Raven is sure that the notorious society of witch hunters is again seeking to eradicate her and people like her. Little does she know that there are other forces at play…

Bitch Planet Vol. 2

Are you woman enough to survive Bitch Planet?I ate up every issue from volume 1 and I literally cannot wait for the next installment. I want to read it so bad!

Feminism! Anti-social behaviour! Dystopian governements! A multiplicity of female characters! It’s basically Orange is the New Black meets 1984. Oh yes.

The Waking Fire – Anthony Ryan

Blood Song, the first book in Anthony Ryan’s previous trilogy, became one of my all time favourite books when I read it last year. I then lent it to my dad and my brother, who both adored it will equal fervor. So when I saw Anthony was writing a new, completely different series, I instantly added it to my wantitneeditmustread list.

In a world where drake blood is valued beyond measure for it’s ability to bestow power onto those who are blood-blessed, the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of three people; an unregistered blood-blessed searches for the most elusive drake in a bit to win unparalleled wealth; the commander of a blood-burning ship; and a spy whose mission will lead her to the frontlines of war.

See? How cool does that sound?

As Meat Loves Salt – Maria McCann

This one is a bit of an anomaly. I hadn’t heard of this book before, but whenever I’m on goodreads, adding things to my to read list or just searching through for something interesting looking, it comes up in the ‘Readers also enjoyed…’ list.

It’s set in seventeenth century England, where Cromwell’s civil war is in full swing. It’s not a period of history that generally gets my motor running, but reading the description peaked my curiosity – though I’m still suspicious that the title character’s last name is Cullen *whelp*. Cullen and his fellow soldiers long for a brighter future, but in a country beset by war, poverty, and violence, will they ever achieve their dream?

The byline ‘A darkly erotic tale of passion and obsession’ clinched it for me – and besides, I have a hunch that the title character will lose his mind to the darkness, and that always makes for good reading.

Cloak of War – Rhonda Mason

The second installment of Rhonda Mason’s Empress Game series. If you love sci-fi, long lost princesses, political intrigue and crazy telephaths, then this is absolutely the series for you.The galaxy’s Empress Apparent isn’t chosen by vote or by birth; the seat is won through ritualised combat in the Empress Game. Kayla is recruited by a mysterious stranger to compete in the games, but it’s not just her opponents in the ring that threaten her life and those she holds dear. The second novel promises everything the first novel delivered, with more political maneuverings as the empire’s elite up the stakes, and a deadly nanovirus threatens Kayla’s plan to free her homeworld.

A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers

A Closed and Common orbit is the follow up to Becky Chambers debut novel A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, an unimaginably splendid sci-fi novel following the multispecies crew of the Wayfarer, a small, patchedup small vessel set on building a hyperspace tunnel to a distant and dangerous planet.Although both book are linked and follow on from each other, Common Orbit focuses on two characters from the previous novel who part ways with the Wayfarer crew. I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of reading the first book except to say, if you haven’t read it then stop what you’re doing right now and pick it up immediately. It will change your life!

I was devastated when Small Angry Planet didn’t make the Bailey’s Prize shortlist, having been longlisted, because it so clearly deserved to win.

Stallo – Stefan Spjut

‘[W]hat if there really are trolls out there, and they’re taking our children?’Reading the blurb for this book gave me chills. Set in Sweden, the book has the allure of Nordic Noir and Scandi crime fiction, but where monsters really could be out there, hiding in the forests just out of our sight. The story follows a journalist who runs a website dedicated to proving the unbelievable – the existence of the Lock Ness Monster, Big Foot, and all the rest. Susso’s true focus though is Trolls (I guess they watched Troll Hunter growing up). After an old woman reports seeing a strange creature watching her young grandson, Susso sets off on a mission to capture the beast on camera.

Even the cover art has a beautifully restrained horror about it.. It gives you just enough to draw you in, hinting at the darkness you might find within the pages.

‘Stallo’ by the way is the word for ‘Troll’ in Lapland folklore.

Last of the Wine – Mary Renault

This last one is by no means a new book. Published in 1956, The Last of the Wine is set in Athens during Peloponnesian war [yes, I had to wiki it!] following the lives of two students of Socrates, Alexias and Lysis. Having had my heart stolen, broken, and mended by The Song of Achilles, I wanted to read the author that inspired Madeline Miller’s retelling of the Achilles myth. A historical novel set in ancient Greece with gay romance makes my heart rejoice, though if Song of Achilles is anything to go by, I shall prepare myself to shed a few tears by the end.Andddddd that’s all folks.

Drop me a comment if I’ve inspired you to read anything in the list, or indeed what your current top ten TBR is.


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