A TBR is an unwieldy thing. I keep track of everything I want to read (or that has simply caught my attention, let’s be honest) in multiple places: goodreads lists, StoryGraph pins, a list on my Reminders app, screenshots on my phone… Despite all of them, I end up reading titles outside of the existing simple because I am easily sidetracked and distracted. Well, I attempted to change things up in November. So, here are the few books I finally managed to knock off my TBR last month.
Unlikely characters teaming up to solve a mystery? Yes please. Where can I sign up? Judith Potts, a seventy-seven-year-old puzzle setter (amazing!) witnesses a murder while out swimming on the Thames (again, amazing!!). When the cops don’t believe her, she sets out on her own investigation which introduces her to Suzie and Becks in The Marlow Murder Club. Robert Thorogood has a knack for making you fall in love with the world he has created, as evidenced by the immense popularity of Death in Paradise. Death Comes to Marlow fell a little bit flatter, but that’s a common enough flaw of most sequels, I feel.
I have read quite a large number of murder mysteries over the years, and Stuart Turton has managed to bring something different to the genre. The core mystery—the deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle—lost appeal some way into the story. Rather, it was the unusual setting of the main character jumping into the body and minds of eight different hosts in order to solve the mystery that was unique and intriguing (this is literally on the blurb, definitely not a spoiler in any way). I want another novel in the same style, preferably yesterday.
The format of audio file transcriptions was definitely interesting, but in the end, I felt The Twyford Code reached a bit too much and got tangled up in its own web. Perhaps, a second read, now that I know the ending, might soften me towards it since the hunt to discover all the clues the author has left in the book for the reader is always fun. I do want to read more of the Janice Hallett’s work, so that’s a good sign, I guess? Very mixed feelings, clearly.
A reimagining of the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese Moon Goddess. This is the first series in a long time that feels complete as a duology. I complained to my partner at the end of the first book about the cliched treatment of Love Interest B. I was a little bit let down but still hooked. I read the second book, and the payoff was so good. I felt vindicated when I finished Heart of the Sun Warrior. Love that feeling.
This is a book that has been on my radar for a while. High fantasy and low stakes, as the book advertises itself. It was an absolutely joyous read. I love Viv and Tandri and Cal and Thimble (oh my heart) and Pendry. If I could only ever write one novel in my life, I would want to write one like this. Moreover, to know that Travis Baldree self-published this book is so heartwarming to hear in a milieu that considers self-publishing inferior. Legends and Lattes is so much better than so many ‘traditionally’ published books out there.
Mixed feelings, again. The atmosphere the novel creates is beautiful. The language is tinged with fantasy, though at times a bit cliched. The core mystery at the heart of the book grows and builds slowly, but the payoff just isn’t there. You see what’s coming, and you are disappointed when it is exactly that. However, the book’s blending of the real and the mythical is enough reason to read it.
Despite some misses, November was a lot of fun because I discovered a few fantastic books and authors who I will probably come back to as comfort reads.
I guess the lesson here is I should really trust my TBR more.