Goodreads TBR Declutter #20

Oooh, look! Another one of the books on today’s list is featured in the TBR picture that I used for the header on this blog series! And ooh, I’ve even read one (but only one) of the books in that photo, too! I think I need to start reading exclusively from my physical TBR pile…

Here’s another go at my Goodreads TBR list! The original idea is from Lia @ Lost in a Story. Here’s how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order by ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

1: The Autumn Castle (Europa #1) by Kim Wilkins

In this first volume of Wilkins’ Europa Suite, a woman’s world is turned upside down when her childhood friend, abducted as a young girl into a place of magic and myth, returns. But now jealousies and betrayals threaten to destroy them both.

This sounds like a good character-driven story that blends the real world with myth. I hope I’m right, but I’ll have to read it to find out. (Also, the author is Australian, and I want to read more by non-US or UK English-speaking authors to see how we are similar and how we are different in what we portray in our fiction.)

Verdict: KEEP

2: The Looking Glass Wars (Looking Glass Wars #1) by Frank Beddor

When Alyss Heart, newly orphaned heir to the Wonderland throne, flees through the Pool of Tears to escape her murderous Aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story – and he’s searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland, to battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

I love retellings, and this one sounds like fun.

Verdict: KEEP

3: The Door Into Fire (Tale of the Five #1) by Diane Duane

Herewiss is the only man in centuries to possess the Power of the blue Flame, but he can’t use or control it — not even to help his dearest friend, Freelorn, exiled prince of Arlen. Herewiss does have a talent for more mundane sorcery, and (aided by the unearthly creature Sunspark) he uses it to rout the armies besieging Freelorn. But now Herewiss faces a devastating choice.

With or without the Power, his time is running out. Should he join Freelorn in his fight to regain his kingdom? Or should he seek out the ancient keep in the Waste where doors lead into other worlds — perhaps even the door whose use will teach him to control the Power that he must master or die?

I want to read more of Duane’s work, and since up to now I’ve only read her YA work, this is as good a place to start with “more” than any.

Verdict: KEEP

4: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

When a great white bear promises untold riches to her family, the Lass (as she’s known) agrees to go away with him. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle. To unravel the mystery, the Lass sets out on a windswept journey beyond the edge of the world. Based on the Nordic legend East of the Sun, West of the Moon, with romantic echoes of Beauty and the Beast, this re-imagined story will leave fans of fantasy and fairytale enchanted.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon is my favorite fairy tale. EVER. And since I already trust Jessica to write good stories, this is one that I am anxious to read. (I even own it already.)

Verdict: KEEP

5: Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood #1) by Juliet Marillier

High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom–an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop.

This one is based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses, another favorite fairy tale. It’s also been highly rated by some of my friends.

Verdict: KEEP

6: The Windup Girl (The Windup Universe #1) by Paolo Bacigalupi

Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

I only used part of the synopsis, because it is long and this is the part of it that interests me the most. I recently read a short story by Paolo, so I’m even more interested in reading this novel now.

Verdict: KEEP

7: The Queen’s Poinsoner (Kingfountain #) by Jeff Wheeler

King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.

I really have no idea if this one still sounds interesting or not. Have any of you read it? Do you recommend it?

Verdict: KEEP (for now, but please help!)

8: Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano

Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: she’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one.

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

I wasn’t sure about this one, but it’s been referenced in reviews I read as a retelling of Swan Lake. So I’m going to keep it for now. It seems like it will be a quick read, if I do try it.

Verdict: KEEP

9: The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows.

I really want to read this classic. Hopefully this year.

Verdict: KEEP

10: It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

The only one of Sinclair Lewis’s later novels to match the power of Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith, It Can’t Happen Here is a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Written during the Great Depression when America was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a President who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, rampant promiscuity, crime, and a liberal press. Now finally back in print, It Can’t Happen Here remains uniquely important, a shockingly prescient novel that’s as fresh and contemporary as today’s news.

It looks like the blurb is from the 2005 reprinting, but how new it is doesn’t matter. This sounds too realistic and depressing. It can go.

Verdict: REMOVE


Lots of retellings this time! (No wonder I didn’t remove many books…)

What about your TBR? Are any of these books on your shelves, either as to-read or have-read books? Are there any I removed which you think I should reconsider?


15 thoughts on “Goodreads TBR Declutter #20

    1. Good to know! Sometimes classics don’t age well, so I always appreciate knowing what my book blogger friends think about them. And short is a plus. 😉

  1. I’ve read The Queen’s Poisoner and I absolutely loved it. I love the whole KingFountain series. I’ve been meaning to check out some of his other stuff, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

    1. Awesome, good to know! This is one of those books where I don’t remember why I added it to the TBR but I suspect it’s because I read a good review of it on a blog somewhere.

      1. I haven’t reviewed them, they were read prior to my blogging days… maybe I’ll post them one Thursday. But I have mentioned them a couple times in my top ten Tuesday/favorites lists.

        I’ll be honest and say the world building is pretty generic/typical Western European/medieval, but I love Wheeler’s characters. Especially Owen Kiskaddon. If you like history at all, Wheeler also incorporates some historical retelling stuff in there which I enjoyed a lot.

  2. I agree with Bookstooge… I didn’t like Looking Glass Wars either… so many plot holes and nonsense. I did really love Wildwood Dancing so I would seriously recommend that. As for the Poisoner book the cover sure is pretty and would shake my confidence in kicking it. And actually it sounds intriguing too. ❤️ 48 kicked it a good amount!!

    1. Thanks, maybe there’s a reason I haven’t read that one yet, given that my blog friends didn’t like it. The cover on the Poisoner book is really lovely, and I’m trying to not let that influence me… but I’m weak…

  3. I remember liking The Looking Glass Wars when I read it… years ago. But I never read the last book and I’m not sure I will. I would have to reread the first two before I could read the third and I’m not sure I care. I’ve also read some pretty intense reviews where people thought Frank Beddor was disrespectful to Lewis Carroll and such, but I don’t remember enough about the book to know if that’s true. I thought the concept was cool, though, and I liked the characters!

  4. Can’t wait to hear what ye think about the windup girl. I loved that one and I think it might be me favourite book by him. Also glad wildwood dancing is on yer list. I read the kingfountain book and loved book one but found the series to get overlong and the plot to get more silly as it progressed. I stopped reading after book three. Arrrr!
    x The Captain

    1. I’m really excited about The Windup Girl, I really enjoyed his Mika Model earlier this year. I hope I can get to it soon.

      I think I might eventually try the first Kingfountain book, but thanks for the heads up on the rest of the series.

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