TBR & Goals · Weekly

T5W: Mid-Year TBR

Top 5 Wednesday is a goodreads group created by Lainey (gingerreadslainey) and now hosted by Sam (thoughtsontomes). This week’s topic is Books You Want to Read Before the End of the Year.

Halfway through the year, and it’s time to evaluate our reading goals and take a look at our TBRs for the second half of the year!

In January I wrote a post about the books I didn’t get to in 2017. I’ve read 5 out of 15 so far (now 14, because I decided to not read one of them), which isn’t great, but it’s something.

This is the updated yearly TBR. As usual, I have more than three books for each category, but these are the ones I want to read the most.

Physical TBR

These are books I own. I have a small physical TBR, and I want it to stay that way, which means I need to read these.


Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor: I didn’t love Okorafor’s Binti series, but I really liked her writing, so I hope I’ll like this more. Lagoon is about Nigerian mythology and a city consuming itself, and that sounds like everything I didn’t know I needed.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer: I loved Borne in 2017, so I really want to get to this, and it’s really short. I also want to reread Borne, but that will need to wait. This is a popular book but I actually know nothing about it – I just know that there’s creepy stuff and female scientists.

Moonshine by Jasmine Gower: I love this cover and it’s even more gorgeous in person, but the main reason I want to read it is the queer (especially aromantic) representation. Also, it’s prohibition-era-inspired fantasy.


My physical TBR is very small. My ebook TBR, however, is not. Most unread books I own in this format are the ones with really interesting premises (that’s why I bought them) that didn’t get much hype (and that’s why I keep forgetting them).


Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns: I am going to read it this summer. I am. I know I keep saying that I’m going to read this and then I never do, but I will get to this, because f/f space pirates do not deserve my procrastination. I’ve never heard anyone talk about it, which is why I keep forgetting it exists, but I hope it’s good.

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron: the other f/f book involving fallen angels I read was great, and I hope this one is too. I’ve heard almost nothing about it but it’s gay, set in Edimburgh and it has chronic illness representation.

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum: I feel like I’m either going to hate this or love it, because that’s usually what happens with weird books, and I really don’t want to hate this, so I haven’t read it yet (I know, I’m great). But I will get to it this year.

SFF Procrastination Time

Which adult SFF books I always say I want to read and then never do?


Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant: there’s a reason I keep putting this off, even though it has the potential of being one of my new favorite books because of its premise. I want to read this when I don’t have school or exams anymore and I can start annoying marine life with a camera again. This book is about marine biologists and killer mermaids, which is the perfect kind of horror for the season. Also, it’s f/f and the love interest is autistic.

Jade City by Fonda Lee: I was on the fence about this one for a long time, because it’s a mafia-like story. While Jade City has nothing to do with the Italian mafia, it’s not a trope I love anyway, but I finally decided I needed to give it a chance… almost three months ago. And I haven’t read it yet, but now I’m going to, because I got an ARC (yes, I got an eARC of a book that has been out for months, it was on netgalley, I don’t know why).

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: On one hand, I’m proud of myself because I’ve already got through two books from my “intimidating TBR” post of a month ago (I didn’t like them, but I’m going to pretend that didn’t happen). On the other hand, I keep saying I want to read this and then I never do. I am going to start it this summer, in July if I can.

YA new releases

In 2018, I decided that I wasn’t going to prioritize new YA releases anymore, because they were most of what I read in 2017. It worked too well, most books I read in 2018 so far were adult, and now my TBR is full of YA new releases I really want to read.


A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna: a YA sci-fantasy book inspired by the Mahabharata! Gods in space! I think this is an awesome premise and the cover is lovely (also, I have an eARC).

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody: a hyped YA fantasy novel I want to get to. I’ve heard mixed things about this and I had mixed feelings about Daughter of the Burning City (but: my main problems were with the aro-spec representation, not with the book itself). The plot seems to have potential, so I’ll give this a chance.

Final Draft by Riley Redgate: I really liked Noteworthy by this author and I keep hearing Final Draft is even better (and it’s f/f). If it’s only half as funny as Noteworthy was, I’m sure I’ll love it.

YA backlist

Because if I procrastinated on new releases, I did even worse with the backlist, and it wasn’t even my intention to procrastinate on YA backlist.


The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones: I had heard good things about this last year, and a few weeks ago I read the first chapter and loved it. There are demons and apparently the characters are great.

Like Water by Rebecca Podos: this looks like a quiet queer book and I love quiet queer contemporaries. I’ve heard the main pairing is f/genderqueer, and it looks like it could be a great summer read.

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge: this author’s books are very polarizing, but I really liked both Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound (especially Crimson Bound, it’s one of the rare examples of m/f/m love triangles done right), so I want to get to Bright Smoke, Cold Fire too. I’m not sure zombies are for me, but we’ll see.

Have you read any of these? Do you love to set goals and TBRs for yourself you’ll never be able to complete too?

31 thoughts on “T5W: Mid-Year TBR

  1. I keep meaning to read The Wicker King! I usually love weird books but have to be in the right mood for them so hopefully it will strike soon. I hope you like it also 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I want to read almost all of these as well. Especially The Hearts We Sold, Moonshine and The Wicker King! I really enjoyed Annihilation. It’s written in a very detached style (for instance the characters aren’t named they’re just referred to as ‘The biologist’ ,’The surveyor” etc.) which people seem to either hate or love. I tend to dislike feeling detached from the characters when I read, but in Annihilation it worked for me. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book written with that writing style before, so we’ll see how I feel about it; it sounds weird and I usually like weird, I hope this time won’t be any different!


  3. I’ve read three books from your stack: “Annihiliation”, “Barbary Station”, and “Fifth Season”. I liked them all a lot.
    I’m in the Mount TBR challenge and woefully behind. But I’m determined to catch up during July and August.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I loved The Fifth Season, it was one of the best books I’ve read this year. That said, I feel like before getting into this series I hadn’t heard enough about just how bleak it was. lI found it very bleak. Especially the second half of The Stone Sky made me feel not good at all. Everyone keeps saying how beautiful and hopeful the ending is and that was… not my experience at all. This is an extremely unpopular opinion, even all the awards loved it apparently, but I think it’s worth to know more than one side to be able to make a conscious choice (and be prepared for more than one possibility, just in case the unlikely scenario happens).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I hadn’t heard of this aspect, so thank you for the warning. I suspected it because it’s post-apocalyptic (…and I usually avoid the genre because it’s bleak). I don’t like when fantasy books are unnecessarily sad, but if it’s balanced it isn’t a problem for me – it’s just that I can’t understand if it is until I read it.


      1. I’m not sure it’s entirely the fault of the post-apocalyptic setting. I usually really like post-apocalyptic (shows, mostly) but, like you said, balanced. The entire series is heavy because it deals with heavy topics which I think need to be dealt with and especially The Fifth Season does so masterfully imo. But somewhere along the way powerful and impactful is transformed into full-on tragedy porn. (Even the narrator seems to be aware of the amount of tragedy to some extent, and goes for a ‘quick summary of certain events bc lots of tragedy’.)

        But again, very few people fet that way in the end from what I’ve seen, so I hope you manage to see in this what I failed to, everything’s a matter of perspective in the end. But at least you’ll know to read it on a good mental health day.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “Impactful at first, tragedy porn later” is how I felt about a lot of books recently (mainly, The Poppy War, but it’s not the only one), I hope The Stone Sky won’t do the same thing. The other series I’ve read by Jemisin also went downhill – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is one of my favorite books ever and The Kingdom of Gods was boring – but that was a companion series, so the fact that I didn’t enjoy the third one didn’t ruin the first for me. With this one, however…

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel like I *never* end up reading the books that I say I’m going to read, so maybe I should just try reverse psychology instead…
    And I know they marketed the hell out of Jade City as this gangster-esque, crime family story, but they’re honestly more like royal families of old, and they look heavily down on real crime gangs in the city. And the sibling dynamic is pretty great. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. …maybe if I convince myself I’m never going to read The Fifth Season, I will end up reading it soon?
      And that’s good to know! I’m always hesitant to read books marketed as something that has to do with the mafia, but the less they have to with Italy or something that actually looks like mafia, the more I’m likely to read them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ooooh, such a good list! I have read / plan to read a disturbing amount of these, so this got to be an incredibly long comment and I am so sorry.

    okay first of all, you know how I feel about Into the Drowning Deep, but MORE IMPORTANTLY: I think my sapphic book club on goodreads [https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/532033-the-sapphic-squad] will be reading it next month, if you’re interested in joining? I’ll be rereading FINALLY.

    I ADORED book one of the Fifth Season and enjoyed book two as well, so hopefully it’ll be a good experience for you ❤ Final Draft is not NEARLY as funny as Noteworthy [it's still got humor, but Noteworthy was just fucking hilarious]. I just found it to be so emotionally real that I liked it way more. The Hearts We Sold & The Wicker King are two of my fave 2017 releases, both SO great. I read Like Water quite recently & enjoyed it a lot!

    also, I'm not sure if I plan to read Bright Smoke Cold Fire yet, but I TOTALLY agree with your assessment of her other books. Cruel Beauty is great, and though I think I four starred Crimson Bound in the end, it came so close to a five – it had major plot flaws that hurt my enjoyment, but I adored the lead character so much that I kind of loved it anyway. [kind of how I felt about Unkindness of Ghosts, lol.]

    Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns might get on/off my TBR based off your opinions; literally no one I know has read it, and I trust you. lowkey same with Out of the Blue – it has such a good blurb, but a lot of the reviews have been very… middling. like a lot of threes and fours and twos, but NO fives. I hadn't heard of Lagoon, but I love Okorafor's writing as well, so if you like it I might put that on my list as well!

    and Jade City is on my priority list as well, if you're planning on reading it in August or September maybe we could buddyread and encourage each other through it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. (Don’t be sorry! This started with me making a list of 15 books when the prompt asked for 5…)

      About Jade City: we could! August is better than September for me (I’m probably going to be busy again then, and, also, I don’t like to keep ARCs unread for too long)

      I don’t know when I’ll be reading Into the Drowning Deep – I want to read it when I start underwater photography again, and that’s not likely to happen until at least halfway through next month because I’m still not done with school – but if I can I’ll join.
      The Fifth Season is going to be my priority for next month. I’ve never heard anything negative about it, but I started seeing not-so-great stuff about the sequels lately (just when I finally decided to read it asap. Of course.)
      Final Draft is one I plan to read when I don’t have school anymore because I don’t want to read about people being stressed because of school when I’m stressed because of school, but I want to get to it this summer. I trust Riley Redgate.
      I haven’t seen a five-star review of Out of the Blue and Barbary Station yet either, but I have them, so I’m going to try – if everything goes according to plan (does it ever), I will have read and reviewed Barbary Station by the end of July; same thing for Lagoon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. these all look exciting! and honestly take your time with Into the Drowning Deep, I’m mostly just trying to find more members at this point 😆

        August works better for me too, honestly 🙂 but if you need to read Jade City earlier, that’s fine!

        The Fifth Season is an excellent first book and a slightly meeeeeeh second book, but the third book seems to be really polarizing [no one can decide whether it’s hopeful or upsetting?]

        Liked by 1 person

        1. August, then!
          That’s what I’ve heard about The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky too – most people seem to think Obelisk Gate has middle book syndrome, but I also remember what you said about middle book syndrome (which, I agree – when the second book in a trilogy isn’t as good as the first one or better, the third book usually isn’t either…). I hope the The Stone Sky won’t be a disappointing conclusion! The other trilogy I’ve read by NK Jemisin really went downhill, I don’t want this one to do the same thing.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. yeah, I’m super paranoid about book three 🤨 I’m 52% in currently, and so far I’ve felt just as I did about Obelisk Gate – high quality, good characters, but just not as much actual occurrence as book one.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I hope you like it when you get to it! I definitely liked book one more than 2 & 3, but the ending itself was great; could have been more of the book, but ultimately super satisfying.

          Liked by 1 person

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