Start on Your Shelf a Thon TBR #StartOnYourShelfathon

What is #StartOnYourShelfathon?

#StartOnYourShelfathon is a 2020 star-themed readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of #StartOnYourShelfathon is to read as many unread books on your bookshelf as you can between December 13th 2019 and December 31st 2020.

#StartOnYourShelfathon isn’t an ordinary readathon too! The mascot of #StartOnYourShelfathon is Castor the Star Collector who is also a sloth friend of The Quiet Pond, who has lost all the stars he has collected over the years and needs your help to find them again.

For every book you read as part of #StartOnYourShelfathon, you collect a star you can add to your ‘star map’. Read books, collect stars, give yourself an amateur star-collector name, and create constellations! You can read Castor’s story and find information about and resources for the readathon here.

Lady NightSky’s #StartOnYourShelfathon Goals

I now present you with Lady NightSky (My Star Collector’s Name) 😉 who has, for the moment, the down-to-Earth goal of reading 20 physical fiction books, 10 Netgalley Arcs, 5 Audiobooks, 5 Library Books and 20 e-books.

It could happen that Lady surpasses this goal, but she doesn’t like being in a hurry while reading.

(And now let’s stop with the weird third-person writing.)

I will for now list only my physical book’s TBR here, otherwise this blog post would become way too long and I probably would only finish writing this in February.

When I read each of the planned books I will add one star to the map below and in December I’ll do a wrap-up for this challenge alone. I’m curious to see my own reaction to the books I buy myself, because if the way I’m choosing books isn’t working so well for me, then I will have to rethink my buying decisions in the future.

I think most of my TBR books will be a four star read for me, but let’s see, surprises do happen more often than not.

Many times I heard about the books for the first time on Youtube, aka Booktube, and I apologize if I forgot in some cases where specifically  I heard about each book for the first time. I will add the Channel whenever I do remember tough.

Since this is the internet I have to write the disclaimer “My personal opinions on the following books/YouTube channels below are solely my personal opinions and they are not meant to be offensive to any YouTube Content Creator/Author/Reader or Writing Genre.”

 

My #StartOnYourShelfathon TBR

2020 TBR Books
My shiny 2020 TBR books!

1. The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman

I have been hearing about this series for awhile now, so let’s start it.


2.The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I have been interested in reading more by this author, so when I heard about this historical fiction at Kalanadi’s Youtube Channel it seemed like a good place to start.


3.A Winter’s Promise (La Passe-Miroir #1) by Christelle Dabos, Hildegarde Serle (Translator)

I heard divided opinions about this book on Booktube, so I decided to check it out and make up my mind. The cover of this book is beautiful too, so this is a #covercrush case.


4.The Power by Naomi Alderman

I have been interested in reading this since it won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, so let’s make this happen.


5.Mind Games (Mind Games #1) by Kiersten White

This is one of my new favorite authors and the premise caught my attention for sure.


6.Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan

I heard on Daniel Greene’s Channel this is an awesome fantasy series, so let’s see if I like it too.


7. The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura #1) by Martha Wells

Since I started reading the Murderbot Diaries series I have been interested in reading more by this author, so this fantasy series book is in my TBR.


8.The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3) by Samantha Shannon

This is one of my favorite series, which I plan to continue this year.


9. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Another book by this author I plan to read. This is 804 pages long, so it’s like planning to read a trilogy.


10. Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron #1) by Ashley Poston

I felt like reading this since I heard about it on Booktube a long time ago, and it has pirates in space, so I’m sold 🙂


11. Mage’s Blood (Moontide Quartet #1) by David Hair

I heard about this epic fantasy series for the first time at the Youtube Channel of Kitty G


12. The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renée Ahdieh

I got this book and its sequel, The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) as gifts last Christmas, so let’s read them.


13. The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi 

This book was very hyped on Booktube, and later that seemed to cool down considerably. I will wait next time to see if a new hyped book is a solid recommendation or if it’s only going through a wave of hype euphoria followed by wrap-ups where the book is rated three stars and the Booktuber says something like “I thought this was going to be five stars but it was meh”. I think I’ll enjoy it even though, but you never know.


14.The Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)by Emily A. Duncan

This was the same case of hype followed by three star reviews. The premise seemed interesting, so I got it. I will read it, make up my mind, and wait a couple of months before I buy a hyped book in the future.


15.The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert

The premise has “a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors”. Ok, I’m sold! 🙂


16. Slow River by Nicola Griffith

This book was recommended in the Youtube Channel of Kalanadi, one of my favorite Booktubers, so I basically had to check it out.


17. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

Last year I read  and enjoyed “The Stars My Destination” by the same author, so I’m reading this in 2020.


18. Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen 

I confess I bought this book without knowing much about it, except that the premise seemed interesting. Let’s see if I strike gold.


19.The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book #1) by Katherine Howe

This is historical fiction with witches, so it seemed interesting enough.


20. The “Wildcard” Book

This isn’t a book called Wildcard, but an empty space I’ll reserve to one of the last six physical books I didn’t mention in this list so far and which have equal chances of being read this year.

 

These books are:

Red Mars (Mars Trilogy #1) by Kim Stanley Robinson

To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel #2) by Connie Willis

Cyteen (Cyteen #1-3) by C.J. Cherryh

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff

Any suggestions on what I should read first? Let me know in the comments.

What I reckon from writing this blog post is that I bought way too many Young Adult books the last couple of years. I do enjoy Young Adult books too, but I think that the actual ratio of Young Adult/Adult books is right now unbalanced when related to my reading taste.

One of my Goals for this year is to buy less books, so I’ll try a 95% book- buying ban on Young Adult and Paranormal Fantasy books, with the exception of the few series I want to finish.

I’ll start to ask myself if the new shiny book I want to buy is Adult Fantasy or Adult Science Fiction, and if not I’ll keep it in a list for future consideration. Let’s see how this new buying habit translates into my future TBR. Considerations apart, I’m happy about the TBR I set up for this year.

 

Join #StartOnYourShelfathon!

If you want to join #StartOnYourShelfathon, you can read more information in the readathon information post at The Quiet Pond.

The magic of unread books in your shelf is that one day you’ll find your way to them, in the same way Alice followed a white rabbit down the hole into a unknown new world. According to the story she fell down at seven and a half years old, which is the same age most start reading…

Food-for-though indeed.

Best & Worst Books of 2019

The Worst Books

Last year was a year of transition for me when it comes to my taste in books. If nothing, it proved to me that I am really tired of Paranormal Fantasy and my reading tastes are now turned towards Science Fiction, more specifically Space Opera. More than that, it also showed that if a book is well written or not makes a huge difference for me. If your book and characters are well written I will even rate a zombie post-apocalyptic book five stars, and I don’t usually like books with zombies, but I digress…

Six of the eight Paranormal Fantasy books I read in 2019 didn’t impress me, to a point that I stopped reading four series after the first, second or tenth book because they were mostly a repetition of previous books or other books in the genre. I just started to feel that, if a book series doesn’t bring anything new to a genre which I have now read for many years, than that series isn’t worth following.

In the same way, an author that constantly rehashes the same plot and characters; who always keeps the character and story development you wish it would happen above your head, only as a hook to make you buy the next book in the series; isn’t an author I want to keep on reading. Sorry, but if every book of a series isn’t good enough on its own, I’m out for good. I’m not going for the fan club excuse that the series will eventually become better, not anymore.

My boredom with three stars or lower Paranormal Fantasy books has become so strong that next year I plan to stop buying new books on the genre altogether. Since I don’t like getting rid of unread books I will still keep one or two Paranormal Fantasy unread books by new to me authors on my shelves, but I will donate many others away.

The exception will be books by my favorite author in the genre, Ilona Andrews, because she has innovated her new plots with the inclusion of space opera elements. Apart from that, when it comes to light reading, I’ll mainly substitute Paranormal Fantasy for space opera, young adult, or short stories.

In addition, the whole concept of “light reading” has lost much of its allure. I need stories with more content and that aren’t a repetition of old tropes, with new fresh story worlds, and original characters. The rehashed kick ass hot girl/hot guy, who jumps from one rehashed plot point to another without adding anything new, aren’t working for me anymore. And that is great, it’s time I challenge my mind with new stories, because the old ones bring no more surprises.

Let me know if you would like a detailed list of my worst books of 2019. Meanwhile, let’s move to more positive considerations:

The Best Books

This is a list of books that I, not only rated five stars on Goodreads, but also that brought new story elements on board. All but one were by authors I haven’t read before 2019, and all are by authors I will be following more closely in the next decade.

1.The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

A magnificent retelling of Frankenstein. And the Audiobook Performance of Katharine McEwan was five stars too.

2. An Unkindness of Magicians (An Unkindness of Magicians #1) by Kat Howard

This is a masterpiece, it has magic but even though it managed to have an extremely original plot of fantasy filled up with so many important themes and written in such an awesome style that I can’t believe it doesn’t has a higher rating and it isn’t all that hyped. Quality food-for-thought that everybody interested (or not) in stories with magic should read.

3. Children of the Nameless (Magic: The Gathering #72) by Brandon Sanderson

I read this for the r/fantasy Bingo Challenge. This was awesomely well written. Brandon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy authors at the moment. And you can read this story for free at the Magic The Gathering Website

4. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I rarely read mystery and even more rarely contemporary, but even though I could not stop reading this well written book, so it took me a day to read it entirely.
It is… Quite surprising and I like that in books, I won’t say more not to spoil it.

5. Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

This was a wonderfully written tale of the desert, with so many important underlying themes and a compelling story with awesomely developed characters.
I will surely be following this series and Alwyn Hamilton is a new favorite author to watch for. The “Goodreads Choice Winner of 2016” prize this book has won is completely deserved.

I also read the second book in this series:

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)

This is the second book on this awesome YA trilogy with desert setting and Arabic mythology. It reminds me of City of Brass, but imo this is even better.
The writing style, the story world and the characters, everything is masterly written in a page-turner, edge of your seat way, until the very last phrase. If I could give this book more than five stars I would. 😉
I’ll be picking the series third book in the library soon, so stay tuned.

6. Circe by Madeline Miller

A well written and inspiring story. I’ll be surely reading more books from this author. Perdita Weeks is a great Audiobook narrator too.

7. Killing Gravity (Voidwitch Saga #1) by Corey J. White

An entertaining, page-turner novella, with great world, characters and a nice twist in the space opera sub-genre. After reading the first book in just one sitting, I will surely go on reading this series. I also read the next novellas, #2 and #3, and I’m looking forward to more books in this amazing space opera series!

8. Empire of Silence (Sun Eater #1) by Christopher Ruocchio

This is extremely well written. I see it more as epic fantasy with space opera elements than the other way around, but what matters is that once you start reading this, you won’t be able to put it down.

Note: The Blurb gives way too much of the story away, so I would not read it.

9. Snow White Learns Witchcraft: Stories and Poems by Theodora Goss, Jane Yolen (Introduction)

This is a beautifully written collection of short stories and poems, not only inspired, but also composed of “fairy tales fractured, reinvented, re-imagined, retold” as Jane Yolen describes in her Introduction “A Welcome to the Coven.”
Poetic, feminist and literary, the stories and poems are at times obscure, rich with symbols, and at times convey relatable women’s experiences and feelings in a deeply touching way. It also discusses women’s life experiences, and themes like women’s love, desire, marriage, motherhood, artistic expression, freedom, aspirations. It’s rich in themes deeply embedded in all its ‘tales’.

My favorite stories were:
“Blanchefleur”, with a beautiful quote about empathy.
“The Other Thea”, about a witch and her passional shadow.
“The Bear’s Daughter” about a girl who dreams of the south.
“Diamonds and Toads” about the interpretation of morality in fairy tales.
“The Princess and the Frog” with a nice twist on the outcome of the tale.
“Conversations with the Sea Witch” with the “old women sitting together in the sunshine”.
and finally “The Nightingale and the Rose” that was so touching it made me cry.

I consider this book a modern classic. I read it slowly because its richness of themes and meanings requires time to absorb and think over. I’ll probably reread this later on and also also check other books by this awesome author.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Mythic Delirium Books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

10. A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine

It did take me a while to hear this because I didn’t want to loose any detail of this book full of political intrigue and twists. I will following this series for sure. The audiobook narrator, Amy Landon, was quite good too.

11. Planetfall (Planetfall #1)by Emma Newman

This was a very suspenseful, and character-driven science fiction. I’ll be following this series.

12. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo (Author), Sara Kipin (Illustrator)

This book was very nicely illustrated, and the ‘rewritten’ fairy tales were so original. It is a book I’m happy to have bought a hardcover physical copy of, because it is such a beautiful book.

My favorite stories were the last two, but the whole collection was five stars.

 

And you, have your reader preferences changed in 2019? Which were your favorite books from last year?