Five Books on The TBR: I haven’t read a single one of these but they’ve been on my tbr for years!

Hello everyone,

I’ve had a lot of tbrs over the years and many books that I had every intention of reading but failing to do so. I’m hoping that next month-where I already have 40+ books on my tbr-I can get some of these out of the way. Let me know your thoughts on if you’ve read any of these!

Notes: there’s at least two different covers for this book and both are equally gorgeous!

Goodreads Summary:

This is at once an epic love story and a heart-pounding journey across WWI-era Russia, about an ambitious young doctor and her scientist brother in a race against Einstein to solve one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar’s army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. Can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?

Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri’s fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri’s own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance.

Thoughts: I’ve been drawn to this book for years. I love historical fiction and a good romance. I’m hoping to squeeze this in next month!

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Notes: I have read book one but it’s been a few years! I need a reread!

Goodreads Summary:

The fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had written

Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.

Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

My Thoughts: Who doesn’t love a good Jane Austen retelling? I loved this first book and I really want to do more “Series Review” on my book blog. This is one series I hope to get to this year.

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I can’t make the picture bigger. Sorry!

Notes: I adore historical fiction. Especially the ones that really capture the past and sweep me away to another place and time.

Goodreads Summary:

When Zenobia takes control of her own fate, will the gods punish her audacity?

Zenobia, the proud daughter of a Syrian sheikh, refuses to marry against her will. She won’t submit to a lifetime of subservience. When her father dies, she sets out on her own, pursuing the power she believes to be her birthright, dreaming of the Roman Empire’s downfall and her ascendance to the throne.

Defying her family, Zenobia arranges her own marriage to the most influential man in the city of Palmyra. But their union is anything but peaceful—his other wife begrudges the marriage and the birth of Zenobia’s son, and Zenobia finds herself ever more drawn to her guardsman, Zabdas. As war breaks out, she’s faced with terrible choices.

From the decadent halls of Rome to the golden sands of Egypt, Zenobia fights for power, for love, and for her son. But will her hubris draw the wrath of the gods? Will she learn a “woman’s place,” or can she finally stake her claim as Empress of the East?

My Thoughts: This sounds so good! I can’t wait to read this!

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Notes: I must be the last person that hasn’t read this yet…right?

Goodreads Summary:

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

The Bear and the Nightingale is a magical debut novel from a gifted and gorgeous voice. It spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent.

My Thoughts: This sounds so beautiful and cool. I’ve heard mostly positive things about this!

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And finally… the last of these five books that I hope to read next month…

Notes: I have had this on my tbr since 2016. That is just sad.

Goodreads Summary:

A Seattle Times Best Book of the Year

In her most ambitious, moving, and provocative novel to date, Sarah Bird makes a stunning departure. Above the East China Sea tells the entwined stories of two teenaged girls, an American and an Okinawan, whose lives are connected across seventy years by the shared experience of profound loss, the enduring strength of an ancient culture, and the redeeming power of family love.

Luz James, a contemporary U.S. Air Force brat, lives with her strictly-by-the-rules sergeant mother at Kadena Air Base in Okianawa. Luz’s older sister, her best friend and emotional center, has just been killed in the Afghan war. Unmoored by her sister’s death and a lifetime of constant moving from base to base, Luz turns for the comfort her service-hardened mother cannot offer to the “Smokinawans,” the “waste cases,” who gather to get high every night in a deserted cove. When even pills, one-hitters, Cuervo Gold, and a growing crush on Jake Furusato aren’t enough to soften the unbearable edge, the desolate girl contemplates taking her own life.

In 1945, Tamiko Kokuba, along with two hundred of her classmates, is plucked out of her elite girls’ high school and trained to work in the Imperial Army’s horrific cave hospitals. With defeat certain, Tamiko finds herself squeezed between the occupying Japanese and the invading Americans. She believes she has lost her entire family, as well as the island paradise she so loved, and, like Luz, she aches with a desire to be reunited with her beloved sister.

On an island where the spirits of the dead are part of life and your entire clan waits for you in the afterworld, suicide offers Tamiko the promise of peace. As Luz tracks down the story of her own Okinawan grandmother, she discovers that, if she surrenders to the most unbrat impulse and allows herself to connect completely with a place and its people, the ancestral spirits will save not only Tamiko but her as well.

Propelled by a riveting narrative and set at the very epicenter of the headline-grabbing clash now emerging between the great powers, Above the East China Sea is at once a remarkable chronicle of how war shapes the lives of conquerors as well as the conquered and a deeply moving account of family, friendship, and love that transcends time.

My Thoughts: I have mixed feelings in reading this book. On the one hand I feel I might love it. On the other I honestly put this off because of the hype that surrounds this book. I still want to read it I’m just tentative in doing so but hopefully next month I might finally get to it.

Those are some of my oldest books on my tbr. I hope you enjoyed this post and look forward to my next post which should be a WWW Wednesday post here in a couple days. I may have something else in between. We shall see.

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: Unpopular Opinion

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Title: We Hunt the Flame
Author: Hafsah Faizal
Series: Book One
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Page Count: 500
Status: DNF’d at 35/40%
Type of Book: Hardback, New Release
Received: Library
Rated: 2.5 stars rounded up to 3/5 stars
Notes: Unpopular Opinion-this book was not meant for one such as me.

I really had high hopes for this novel. Everything from the description to the gorgeous cover sounded like my type of read. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book, and I was really eager to finally dive into another 500+page epic fantasy series. Alas, that turned out not to be the case.

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

I liked Nasir but his character didn’t really *grab* me. Same with Zafira, however cool her name was, she was a bit baffling to me and I just couldn’t muster enthuasism for her character. Naasir’s story was a bit more promising…but it just fell flat, for both of them. I made it about 150 pages in, before giving up entirely.

Another issue was language. The book really should have a glossary, terminology, and character chart list at the start of the book. There’s supposedly one on the author’s website, but that doesn’t do me much good since I do not have internet at home to look it up, and rely on my phone more often than not for service. Therefore, nothing of that sort for me.

Then there was the Chapter: Boy’s POV and Chapter: Girl’s POV back and forth switch that I hate reading. I like sticking with just the one character, though there have been exceptions-such as The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, but those exceptions are few and far between. It just was frustrating-as soon as I started getting interested in that character, it would swap back to the other and I would loose interest all over again. Ugh.

The writing, admittedly, wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I was interested in the plot’s story arc, but my main complaint is the characters, strange terms, and the weird names. There’s one character whose name is Umm. Seriously? Umm.

I get this is supposedly to be otherworldly fantasy. I get this was building up to something probably epic and awesome and thrilling for all. I get that, I do. But sadly, it just couldn’t keep my attention and I want to read things that I enjoy reading and not have to reach so hard to find the parts that I like. Therefore, unfortunately for me, this is a definite DNF. Maybe I might try again in the future, but it’s highly doubtful.

Overall, 3/5 stars and I feel as though I’m being generous.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.