Adding to Your TBR – May 2018
TBR – To Be Read tower/list
It’s May, and while the Northern Hemisphere starts to warm up, down south we are swinging through Autumn surrounded by nature’s brilliant yellows and reds, shorter days and longer sleeves.
Whether you are sunbathing or curled up with hot chocolate I hope you find a few books on my list you love…
The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
Expected: 1 May 2018
Described on Goodreads as ‘the book that is to Syria what The Kite Runner was to Afghanistan’. Oh, the pressure the author must be feeling! But if the early reviewers are on to something, I’m going to have a must-read situation.
It is the summer of 2011, and Nour has just lost her father to cancer. Her mother, a cartographer who creates unusual, hand-painted maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. But the country Nour’s mother once knew is changing, and it isn’t long before protests and shelling threaten their quiet Homs neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour’s house and almost takes her life, she and her family are forced to choose: stay and risk more violence or flee as refugees across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety. As their journey becomes more and more challenging, Nour’s idea of home becomes a dream she struggles to remember and a hope she cannot live without.
More than eight hundred years earlier, Rawiya, sixteen and a widow’s daughter, knows she must do something to help her impoverished mother. Restless and longing to see the world, she leaves home to seek her fortune. Disguising herself as a boy named Rami, she becomes an apprentice to al-Idrisi, who has been commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily to create a map of the world. In his employ, Rawiya embarks on an epic journey across the Middle East and the north of Africa where she encounters ferocious mythical beasts, epic battles, and real historical figures.
A deep immersion into the richly varied cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, The Map of Salt and Stars follows the journeys of Nour and Rawiya as they travel along identical paths across the region eight hundred years apart, braving the unknown beside their companions as they are pulled by the promise of reaching home at last. – Abstract from Goodreads
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Expected: 1 May 2018
They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.
When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.
Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured. – Abstract from Goodreads
The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
Expected: 1 May 2018
The first book in a new fantasy series of the same name, The Smoke Thieves promises dark magic and intrigue. I didn’t particularly like the author’s previous book Half Bad and didn’t read the sequels, but I do like historical, political intrigue, fantasy stories and if it is anything like Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers then it’s going to be good.
A shrewd princess whose father is plotting against her. A brave soldier turned traitor. A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his family. A streetwise demon smoke hunter in desperate need of money. A charming thief with no clue about his true identity.
Their lives would never intersect, until a war between kingdoms bubbles up, and the dangerous truth about demon smoke intertwines all their fates. Welcome to The Smoke Thieves, a tangled web of political intrigue, shifting alliances, and forbidden love, in a world where sometimes no amount of magic can keep you safe. – Abstract from Goodreads
A Lite Too Bright by Samuel Miller
Expected: 8 May 2018
The early reviewers have heaped huge praise on this
road train-tripping story full of friendship, family and dark secrets.
Arthur Louis Pullman the Third lives in his grandfather’s shadow. The first Arthur Louis Pullman, an iconic Salinger-esque author who wrote the American classic A World Away, died in Ohio a week after he disappeared from his family’s California home. What happened in that week—and how much his actions were influenced by his Alzheimer’s—remains a mystery.
After Arthur is stripped of a college scholarship and begins to lose his grip on reality, he’s sent away to live with his aunt and uncle. There, Arthur discovers a journal written by his grandfather, the narrator pining for something he can’t quite understand and the final sentence containing a train route and a destination.
Eager to escape his own demons, Arthur embarks on a cross-country train ride, guided only by cryptic clues left in his grandfather’s dementia-influenced writing. But as Arthur gets closer to the real story, his journey is complicated by a shaky alliance with a strange girl who’s keeping secrets of her own and by escalating run-ins with a dangerous Pullman fan base. Arthur’s not the only one chasing a legacy, and how much will he risk to find out the truth? – Abstract from Goodreads
We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss
Expected: 8 May 2018
This is going to be a hard-hitting, difficult and emotional read. And these are usually the best kind. I hope.
Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.
But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unravelling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love. – Abstract from Goodreads
Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Expected: 8 May 2018
From the author of the very popular Love and Gelato, this promises to be just as good. And no, I haven’t read either yet but I’m keeping the optimistic idea that my TBR might just shrink overnight.
Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.
So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.
And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.
That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way. – Abstract from Goodreads
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
Expected: 15 May 2018
Another hard-hitting emotional story… Girl Made of Stars is already making a mark with an average of 4.4/5 star rating, this is going to be GOOD.
“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”
Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex and best friend since childhood, Charlie.
As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault. – Abstract from Goodreads
The Ensemble by Aja Gabel
Expected: 15 May 2018
The Ensemble has raving early reviews on Goodreads. I love the sound of the complex relationships between the four friends and secrets that bind them together.
The addictive debut novel about four young friends navigating the cutthroat world of music and their complex relationships with each other, as ambition, passion, and love intertwine over the course of their lives.
Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; the viola is Henry, a prodigy who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest, the angry sceptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness String Quartet.
In The Ensemble, each character picks up the melody, from the group’s youthful rocky start through to adulthood. As they navigate devastating failures and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty, they are always tied together—by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry together, and by choosing each other over and over again. – Abstract from Goodreads
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Expected: 22 May 2018
The first in the Empirium series, Furyborn has had high praise by early reviewers on Goodreads. I am always hesitant to start new series, especially ones like Furyborn with a complex storyline, as I seldom remember enough about the book by the time the sequels are published. Rereading is a rare luxury that most avid reads have little spare time for so I am tempted to wait until all books are published and read them all together in a feast.
When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined. – Abstract from Goodreads
I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain by Will Walton
Expected: 29 May 2018
Described on Goodreads as ‘an astonishing novel about navigating death and navigating life, at a time when the only map you have is the one you can draw for yourself’, this sensitive book has huge potential and I can’t wait to read it.
How do you deal with a hole in your life?
Do you grieve?
Do you drink?
Do you make out with your best friend?
Do you turn to poets and pop songs?
Do you question everything?
Do you lash out?
Do you turn the lashing inward?
If you’re Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what’s happened – and is happening – to you. – Abstract from Goodreads
Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West
Expected: 29 May 2018
Yes! Another Kasie West book. We are lucky she is a prolific author because each of her books is a little piece of heaven.
Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.
But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder. – Abstract from Goodreads
All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire
Expected: 29 May 2018
From the author of Beautiful Disaster, which I have yet to read despite recommendations from fellow book bloggers – I really need to get my own TBR under control, this YA contemporary promises to be a book to remember.
The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town.
Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship…and her heart.
Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left. – Abstract from Goodreads