You might already know that I’m not writing TBRs anymore, and for now I don’t really feel like doing wrap-ups either (though they might return, one day).
One thing I plan to do monthly, however, is trying a chapter of all the new releases of the previous month that interest me but I haven’t reached for yet, to see if I want to read them soon, and to keep my TBR slim. After all, my main goal is learning how to prioritize books that I like; I’m not sure this will work but it’s worth a try.
Since I would have only one new release for December while January has so many, I’m going to include in this post upcoming novels of which I have ARCs + a backlist title, so that I have something to say in here and next month’s post won’t be too long. (As I’m never going to use netgalley or edelweiss again apart from occasionally downloading “read now” titles that I won’t review in time anyway, I don’t feel bad about removing ARCs from my TBR).
Splintegrate by Deborah Teramis Christian [December 31st]
So, this is the only December release I have on my radar, and one I was immediately intrigued by because of several circumstances – a book that comes out from Tor on December 31st? A book that comes out during the holidays, the very last day of the year, and is a supposedly standalone sequel to a book that came out before I was born, more than twenty years ago? What even.
This should be… a queer sci-fi novel involving a professional dominatrix? This is going to be either really good or incredibly bad. I want to know more.
The first chapter: oh, this was intense. The world confuses me so we’re up to a good start (if I get what’s going on in an adult sci-fi early, it’s a bad sign) and yes, this is really fascinating and well-written and I love everything about this setup. The main character is a lesbian who was, as far as I understand, kind of forced into her job (didn’t fully get why yet but it probably becomes clearer later on) but her feelings about her situation are more complicated than the “I hate this”/”this is the job I want” dychotomy, which is interesting, and so is the psychology behind what she does.
[will definitely continue]
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen [January 7th]
This looks like a fun, diverse YA read of the type I like, with just the right amount of romantic drama and a non-US setting (contemporaries outside Western English-speaking countries are uncommon). It’s a story about East Asian-American kids traveling to Taipei for a cultural program, which is also their first time in a different country without parental supervision. It sounds great, but it also sounds overwhelmingly heterosexual and I want to know whether I feel like putting up with that.
The first chapter: short! And I do really like the writing – sharp and defined, easy to follow, but not dry – even though I don’t feel like I really got a sense of what the story is going to be like. I’m not completely sure it’s going to be my kind of thing, but I will give it a longer try someday.
[will probably continue]
Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton [January 7th]
I had mixed feelings about The Queens of Innis Lear, and almost two years later, the one I feel more strongly is “it shouldn’t have been that long”. Lady Hotspur isn’t as long, and it’s about lesbians, but it is set in the same place and it’s still almost 600 pages. Also, it already has a startingly low average rating (3.22): all reviews on the first goodreads page ar DNFs. This really doesn’t look good.
The first chapter: I mean, starting a book this long with such a shameless, dry infodump full of names, names, names that lasts several pages is a bold move. I couldn’t find the desire to get through it. Thank you for showing me who you are from the beginning, I guess?
[removed from TBR]
Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller [February 4th]
This was read now on netgalley for a day and I donwloaded it, but I’m not sure I actually want to read it. On one hand, f/f fantasy. On the other hand, Linsey Miller’s previous book Mask of Shadows was really forgettable, with a writing I didn’t love, and I’m not that into fake French settings. Also, I haven’t read a YA fantasy I actually like in a long time (this genre is so repetitive). Let’s see.
The first chapter: this was interesting! I think I like the magic system based on day/night and the false identity plotline. I’m still not completely sure about the writing, though; while the descriptions are pretty, it’s still not good at laying down a sense of setting/atmosphere (as I remembered from Mask of Shadows) and it’s more unsubtle than I’d like. Also, it’s the same old “uncomfortable corsets and sexism” kind of fantasy. We’ll see.
[will probably continue]
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall [2019 release]
So, being predictable, I had zero interest in this until I heard it was queer. This should be a horror story about a girl who went missing and a magical creepy road with its own very odd, demanding rules? I think?
The first chapter: it begins with transcripts, and the beginning gave me a really cliché feel, and then jumps into the past – the part in the past was significantly more interesting, if not for it having my #1 writing peeve (referring to hair or eyes as “mousy”/”dull” when they have no reason to be that, and it’s often used to mean/describe brown hair and eyes). I think I’m going to keep this for the appropriate season, it looks like it will be a thrilling creepy read.
[will probably continue]
Have you read or are you anticipating any of these?