Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics
- May 17: Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read
- May 24: Book Quote Freebie
- May 31: Comfort Reads
- June 7: Books With A Unit Of Time in the Title
- June 14: Books I Wish Had An Epilogue
- June 21: Bookish Wishes
This week’s topic is the seasonal to-be-read list, a regular feature on Jana’s Top Tens. I am very much a mood reader and pick up what I fancy when I fancy it, so I don’t really have a to-read list as such. A huge pile of physical and predominantly electronic books that are waiting to be read, yes; any specific plan or strategy or order in which to read them, not so much! Certainly nothing that would put any pressure on me because reading is my escape, my freedom, my relaxation, my mindfulness – my me-time and my thing. It is not my job.
The only caveat to that is, perhaps, that I have four NetGalley ARCs to read over the summer so let’s start with them!
The Daughter of Dr Moreau, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Carlota Moreau: A young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula, the only daughter of a genius – or a madman.
Montgomery Laughton: A melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol, an outcast who assists Dr Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas with plentiful coffers.
The hybrids: The fruits of the Doctor’s labour, destined to blindly obey their creator while they remain in the shadows, are a motley group of part-human, part-animal monstrosities.
All of them are living in a perfectly balanced and static world which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron – who will, unwittingly, begin a dangerous chain-reaction.
For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle passions may ignite.
I loved Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic and the concept of this one – Dr Moreau, transported to Mexico – is enticing. Having begun it, it is a slow start… and it has been so long since I read the original.
Haven, Emma Donoghue
In this beautiful story of adventure and survival from the New York Times bestselling author of Room, three men vow to leave the world behind them as they set out in a small boat for an island their leader has seen in a dream, with only faith to guide them.
In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream telling him to leave the sinful world behind. Taking two monks–young Trian and old Cormac–he rows down the river Shannon in search of an isolated spot on which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find an impossibly steep, bare island inhabited by tens of thousands of birds, and claim it for God. In such a place, what will survival mean?
Donoghue for me is a thrilling writer, having read and been utterly gripped by Room some years ago.
Unraveller, Frances Hardinge
Unraveller is a spell-binding fantasy from the Costa-award winning author of The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge.
In a world where anyone can cast a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them.
Kellen does not fully understand his unique gift, but helps those who are cursed, like his friend Nettle who was trapped in the body of a bird for years. She is now Kellen’s constant companion and his closest ally.
But the Unraveller carries a curse himself and, unless he and Nettle can remove it, Kellen is a danger to everything – and everyone – around him . . .
Oh my, just look how gorgeous that cover is! There is nothing that Hardinge has written that I have not loved from Cuckoo Song to The Lie Tree to Deeplight, although personally I found the more historical magic realism novels most satisfying. So for her to pop up on NetGalley is a real treat!
The Toll House, Carly Reagon
The past isn’t always dead and buried.
A house with history. That’s how the estate agent described the old toll house on the edge of the town. For Kelda it’s the perfect rural home for her young son Dylan after a difficult few years.
But when Kelda finds a death mask concealed behind one of the walls, everything changes. Inexplicable things happen in the house, Kelda cannot shake the feeling of being watched and Dylan is plagued by nightmares, convinced he can see figures in his room. As Dylan’s behaviour becomes increasingly challenging, Kelda seeks answers in the house’s mysterious past. But she’s running out of time.
Because something has awoken.
And now it won’t rest . . .
A new author for me, but I do love a bit of gothic horror, and married with another gorgeous cover, this was definitely worth an investigation!
So, moving forward, this is my list of what I am most looking forward to reading over the summer. As of now. It is likely to change!
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime:
Feyi is about to be given the chance to escape the City’s blistering heat for a dream island holiday: poolside cocktails, beach sunsets, and elaborate meals. And as the sun goes down on her old life our heroine also might just be ready to open her heart to someone new.
The only problem is, she’s falling for the one man she absolutely can’t have
Oooo Emezi’s writing is gorgeous and ever since their debut Freshwater, I have found them to be utterly compelling. Their most recent – well, before You Made A Fool… – was The Death of Vivek Oji and that was heartbreakingly beautiful.
Woman Eating, Claire Kohda
Lydia is hungry.
She’s always wanted to try sashimi, ramen, onigiri with sour plum stuffed inside – the food her Japanese father liked to eat. And then there is bubble tea and the vegetables grown by the other young artists at the London studio space she is secretly squatting in. But Lydia can’t eat any of this. The only thing she can digest is blood, and it turns out that sourcing fresh pigs’ blood in London – where she is living away from her vampire mother for the first time – is much more difficult than she’d anticipated.
Then there are the humans: the people at the gallery she interns at, the strange men who follow her after dark, and Ben, a goofy-grinned artist she is developing feelings for. Lydia knows that they are her natural prey, but she can’t bring herself to feed on them.
If Lydia is to find a way to exist in the world, she must reconcile the conflicts within her – between her demon and human sides, her mixed ethnic heritage, and her relationship with food, and, in turn, humans.
Before any of this, however, she must eat.
This just sounds like a totally original vampire take – and the blurb is so full of sensory language I can only hope the rest of the novel is just as potent. I may need snacks when I read!
Amongst Our Weapons, Ben Aaronovitch
There is a world hidden underneath this great city…
The London Silver Vaults – for well over a century, the largest collection of silver for sale in the world. It has more locks than the Bank of England and more cameras than a celebrity punch-up.
Not somewhere you can murder someone and vanish without a trace – only that’s what happened.
The disappearing act, the reports of a blinding flash of light and memory loss amongst the witnesses all make this a case for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit.
Alongside their boss DCI Thomas Nightingale, the SAU find themselves embroiled in a mystery that encompasses London’s tangled history, foreign lands and, most terrifying of all, the North!
And Peter must solve this case soon because back home his partner Beverley is expecting twins any day now. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s about to encounter something – and somebody – that nobody ever expects…
A series that has persisted despite the resolution of its main plot… and its just as well that the stand-alone novels were the strongest! London. Magic. Genii loci. And a sexy pregnant river! What’s not to love?
The Gilded Ones, Namina Forna
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom, where a woman’s worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon – she faces a consequence worse than death. She is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature: she is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with others just like her, or be destroyed…
I do love a good fantasy epic and always have, and there has been so much praise for this one in both social media and in education circles… and the second in the series is out too!
A Psalm for the Wild Built, Becky Chambers
Centuries before, robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, wandered, en masse into the wilderness, never to be seen again. They faded into myth and urban legend.
Now the life of the tea monk who tells this story is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They will need to ask it a lot. Chambers’ series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?
Becky Chambers’ brand of cheering space opera in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is so endearing that the chance to see her imagination in a new setting is exciting – and, again, there’s a recently released second book!
Vagabonds! Eloghosa Osunde
Lagos is a city for all . . . you share this place with flesh and not-flesh, and it’s just as much their city as it is yours.
Èkó, the spirit of Lagos, and his loyal minion Tatafo weave trouble through the streets of Lagos and through the lives of the ‘vagabonds’ powering modern Nigeria: the queer, the displaced and the footloose.
With Tatafo as our guide we meet these people in the shadows. Among them are a driver for a debauched politician; a lesbian couple whose tender relationship sheds unexpected light on their experience with underground sex work; a mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that shifts her reality. As their lives begin to intertwine―in markets and underground clubs, in churches and hotel rooms―the vagabonds are seized and challenged by the spirits who command the city. A force is drawing them all together, but for what purpose?
Such an intriguing premise – the voice of the city, the spirit of the city – and the focus on those on the outskirts of society will always appeal. And there is something about the voice of Nigeria and this city Lagos… there are themes and ideas here which draw me back to my University dissertation on Wole Soyinka.
At Night All Blood is Black, David Diop
Alfa and Mademba are two of the many Senegalese soldiers fighting in the Great War. Together they climb dutifully out of their trenches to attack France’s German enemies whenever the whistle blows, until Mademba is wounded, and dies in a shell hole with his belly torn open.
Without his more-than-brother, Alfa is alone and lost amidst the savagery of the conflict. He devotes himself to the war, to violence and death, but soon begins to frighten even his own comrades in arms. How far will Alfa go to make amends to his dead friend?
At Night All Blood is Black is a hypnotic, heartbreaking rendering of a mind hurtling towards madness.
The International Booker is often far more challenging and less safe than the Booker Prize and I have heard this one raved about by a friend at work.
Eyes of the Void, Adrian Tchaikovsky
After one great battle, the Architects disappeared. Yet humanity’s fragile peace is brief. For, forty years later, the galaxy’s greatest alien enemy has returned. This time, the artefacts that preserved entire worlds from destruction are ineffective. And no planet is safe.
The Human Colony worlds are in turmoil as they face extinction. Some believe alliances with other species can save them. Others insist humanity must fight alone. But no one has the firepower or technology to ensure victory, as the Architects loom ever closer.
Idris spent decades running from the last war’s horrors. Yet as an Intermediary, altered to navigate deep space, he’s one of humanity’s only weapons. He’s therefore forced back into action. With a handful of allies, Idris must find something – anything – to stop the Architects’ pitiless advance. But to do so, he must return to the nightmare of unspace, where his mind was broken and remade. What he discovers there will change everything.
And the summer is probably a great time to catch up with the exploits of the Vulture God and its ragtag crew of spacers. I enjoyed Shards of Earth so the second in the series looks good!
There are so many more that I could have included! Oh so many! Even now I am wanting to go back and add Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart to the list….
Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes
July 5: Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the Second Half of 2022
July 12: Book Covers That Feel Like Summer (Submitted by Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm)
July 19: Freebie (Come up with your own topic!)
July 26: Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts I STILL Haven’t Read (Submitted by Dedra @ A Book Wanderer)