JUNE 2019 TBRs

Micky is a mood reader who tries to splice in ARCs and library reads as per her momentary mood. She is also a polyreader. Hollis is an organised creature who is always sickeningly ahead of the game with her ARCs, library reads, and general reads. Hollis sensibly reads one book at a time. Micky is jealous of Hollis.

Micky’s June TBR

I try and have a physical TBR which is often aspirational and ambitious. I have a rough eBook TBR that always includes my ARCs, the rest is mood for audio (I commute and listen) and owned eBooks.

This month my planned ARCs are:

THE PERFECT DATE by Evelyn Lozada
OUR STOP by Laura Jane Williams
THE AU PAIR by Emma Rous
THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL by Abbi Waxman

This is my physical TBR plan:
MY SO CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE by Nisha Sharma
MARESI RED MANTLE by Maria Turtschaninoff
THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry
SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young
NAONDEL by Maria Turtshcaninoff
THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry

These are the audios I’d like to accompany me to work:

BUTTERFLY TATTOO by Deirdre Knight
99 PERCENT MINE by Sally Thorne (reread)
RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston
SHERWOOD by Meagan Spooner

Hollis’ June TBR

My TBRs are far more loosey-goosey in the sense that the only thing I plan are.. deadlines. ARC due in a few weeks? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month! Library hold comes available? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month!

The ARCs I have due are :
THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez
STORM AND FURY by Jennifer L Armentrout
WICKED FOX by Kay Cho

and I might also pick up LETS CALL IT A DOOMSDAY by Katie Henry, though the release date isn’t until August.

As for non-ARCs, I’m finally going to read CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by AndrĂ© Aciman, a book long overdue for this m/m reader, and very likely CINDER & THE PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT by Susan Ee which releases June third. Also, if the OverDrive gods are kind, I’m hoping to also get to THE TAKEOVER EFFECT by Nisha Sharma, which Micky highly recommended last month, as well as THE BRONZE HORSEMAN by Paullina Simons which is another read I’m very late to the party for.


What’s on your TBR for the month? Let us know in the comments!

ANTICIPATED JUNE 2019 RELEASES

Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.

For June, Micky’s hotly anticipated titles are :

Top of my list is THE BRIDE TEST by Helen Hoang. I know it released last month in the US but the paperback is only out in the UK this month. I got an early copy and I adored this so I am all anticipation for my fellow UK readers. This story has all the appeals in terms of characters, diversity and representation wrapped up in a mail order bride type story. Don’t hesitate on this one. THE BRIDE TEST is out on JUNE 6, 2019.

THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry is a red riding hood retelling in what sounds like a post-apocalyptic context. The woman in the red jacket is just trying to stay alive and keep away from the woods and everything that lurks there. This sounds like a dark tale with a strong woman who will do anything to stay alive. THE GIRL IN RED is out on June 18, 2019.

Some Penny Reid fans have been reading KISSING GALLILEO weekly in her e-newsletter for free but I am the kind of reader that prefers to wait for it all bundled up as a whole story, so I am looking forward to this release. This second installment in her Dear Professor series promises to bring Penny Reid’s special brand of wit and intellect. KISSING GALILEO is out on June 11, 2019.

NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A ROCKSTAR by Rachel Higginson centres on Clover Calloway who is a has-been rock star, now with a normal life she has built and savours. The musical life is over because her heart got shattered by the lead singer in the band she played with and now he’s back. AND I am clicking this as soon as it drops! NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A ROCKSTAR is out on June 25, 2019.

For June, Hollis’ hotly anticipated titles are :

I’ve been plagued by disappointing YA fantasy reads of late but I can’t help but be excited about SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson. First of all, that cover? Stunning. Secondly this is about sorcerers and libraries and seems to feature a hate-to-love pairing? I’m more than willing to give this a go and from seeing some early reviews I have hopes it won’t let me down! SORCERY OF THORNS is out June 4, 2019.

LIKE A LOVE STORY by Abdi Nazemian is a YA historical fiction novel set in the eighties around the AIDS crisis. It follows three teens, one gay and closeted, another out and proud, and a third who has an uncle dying of AIDS. This is diverse, #ownvoices, and sounds compelling and heartbreaking in equal measure. LIKE A LOVE STORY is out June 4, 2019.

THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez is a women’s fiction title that is getting tons of buzz right now in Romancelandia and seems to be one that will make you laugh, cry, and cry-laugh. My favourite kind of book! This is also the author’s debut which is very exciting. THE FRIEND ZONE is out June 11, 2019.

I read OFF THE ICE by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn, the first in this duo’s Hat Trick series, back in 2017 and really loved it! Now they’re back (finally..) with GOALIE INTERFERENCE which features an enemies to lovers trope but made better : it’s an m/m romance with two goalies. I know it’s a cliche, as a Canadian, to be a hockey fan but I own it. However a little known (hah) fact is that goalies tend to be my favourite players. So, yeah, I’m very much anticipating this one. GOALIE INTERFERENCE is out June 17, 2019.


What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!

MEMORABLE DEBUTS

How do you feel about debut authors? Are you likely to pick up an unknown author or do you prefer reading the tried, tested, and true? We here at A Take from Two Cities find ourselves picking up quite a few unknowns, either because the synopsis of an ARC intrigues us or we’ve heard buzz from the community and/or friends.

Some of these debut titles on our list are quite well known now. Others don’t get half as much love as they deserve (in our opinion). Additionally some of these authors have put out quite a few books since these particular releases, leaving their ‘debut author’ status far behind.

Here’s a list of just some of our favourites.

Micky’s memorable debuts

FROSTBLOOD by Elly Blake
TO KILL A KINGDOM by Alexandra Christo
THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne
ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker
THE KEEPER by Jillian Liota
WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon
ON THE ISLAND by Tracey Garver Graves
UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder (Elliot Wake)

Hollis’ memorable debuts

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston
THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne
BAD JUDGMENT by Sidney Bell
ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker
THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden
THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang
FIRST & THEN by Emma Mills
THE KING’S MAN by Elizabeth Kingston
THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU by Lily Anderson
DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST by Juliet Marillier
THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson


Did your favourite debut also make our list? What would you add? Let us know in the comments!

TBRs – ARE THE UNREAD REALLY THE UNDEAD?

Micky here. Whenever I speak to my fellow bookworms about TBRs, I realise I am not alone in terms of the increasing number of unread books on my kindle and the growing stack of unread physical books scattered around my house. I am beginning to believe that unread books are like zombies; no matter how far or fast you run, they keep following in your wake and just won’t give up. They’re coming to get me because I keep ignoring them (Hollis would like to point out she’s probably going to have some weird nightmares about this visual later). So I am going to use this post to out my unread stats, possibly make you feel generally better about your own backlog, whilst also initiating the ‘I wont feel bad about my TBR’ club.

For some time, probably about three years, I have had an ‘owned but not read’ shelf on my Goodreads bookshelf. This is my attempt to try and keep myself accountable to the owned books that I do want to read but, for one reason or another, I just forget about. This shelf includes my ebook and physical owned books. Are you ready for my current total?

Yes, you read it correctly, I have 383 owned books that I haven’t read. This is terrible, you say? I don’t think so. You see, I’ve been through this ‘pile’ of books and I still want to read what’s there. Most months I get to one or two of my owned books, do I keep buying? Yes, but not indiscriminately. If I think back to my ebook buying habits of old, I would click on a bargain, now I always think about whether my library has it and if I am going to read it soon. I have had periods of being in a book buying ban and that’s been good for a time but buying books also brings me pleasure so I’m cool with it if I can afford it.

One of the reasons that my owned books total doesn’t go down as fast as it might considering the volume I read is because I get arc books each month and I prioritise those reads because they are on a deadline for review. Sometimes I have a KU subscription, so you gotta get value for money, library books…and the excuses just keep coming.

All in all, I’m sorry but I just don’t feel guilty about it. I know how many books are on my TBR and I am strangely comfortable with it. Being a mood reader, I know I will always find something on my kindle or shelf that will match my mood. It’s like knowing you have chocolate in the cupboard, yeah? Hollis, give us your take.


Welp, I remember about two years ago Micky convinced (read : guilt tripped) me to add up all my unread physical books as well as sort through my kindle to suss out what had yet to be read — like Micky, and probably lots of other bookies, I was prone to one-clicking freebies and dollar eBooks.. just because (I don’t do this as much anymore. I discovered some chill, also the library).

So I, too, created a shelf to track everything on GR because I rely on many shelves for that purpose (my ARC TBR shelf being my constant lifesaver with regards to deadlines). That being said.. I was not so great at updating said shelves. All that work and did I consistently log purchased eBooks? Maybe one out of every ten. And physicals? I don’t buy many books anymore so this might actually not be too far off the mark but honestly who knows.

Do I now feel obligated to go and tally all my totals so that, come the end of the year, I have proper stats for you? Yes. Accountability for the win! In the meantime though here’s what my shelves look like :

Ultimately though I don’t really feel any kind of general pressure about my TBR. It’s an amorphous blob of a presence in the back of my head; like the thought of property taxes or a Pap smear. I know it’s out there, and I dread looking it in the eye, but it’s also just a fact of life. But less like a Pap smear, my TBR is generally vague. There’s lots of books I want to read. Sometimes I even throw myself a little party for shifting a book off my GR “want to read” shelf and putting it on my “read” shelf instead of just adding to the “read” with library or ARC reads. Other times I go through a big cleanse and delete hundred of books off my “want to read” shelf. It’s an ever fluctuating process. Tastes change, plots that sounded interesting four years ago are just.. not anymore, and if I only get to knock out twenty backlist titles a year? Well, that’s okay. More to savour the next year. The scarier concept (beyond Micky’s zombie scenario) is running out of books to read. Cue fainting gif.


So there you have it! We are a pretty chill duo when it comes to the pressures of reading. But we’d love to hear your position on your TBR stats. Whether it stresses you out, whether you prefer not to know the number, or if the TBR force is strong with you and it is a manageable number. Tell us all the things!

ANTICIPATED MAY 2019 RELEASES

Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates; for example, THE BRIDE TEST is out in May for Canada but not until June for the UK. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.

For May, Hollis’ hotly anticipated titles are :

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the hype on this one.. I’d love to know where you’re hiding because I’m pretty sure you have the best spot picked out to survive the apocalypse. So, for those of you don’t know, this is a New Adult (not YA!) debut featuring the President’s son, Alex, and Henry, the Prince of Wales. They form an unlikely (faked) friendship after scandal strikes and that friendship becomes.. more. This was hilarious, heartwarming, and heavily populated by real world politics somewhat turned on its head. I’ve already read it (you might notice a trend with that..) and can’t recommend it enough. You can get your hands on it on May 14, 2019.

HER ROYAL HIGHNESS by Rachel Hawkins is a f/f YA contemporary, set in the world established by the first book, PRINCE CHARMING (previously titled ROYALS), and focuses on Mille, a girl from Houston, given an opportunity to spend a year abroad in Scotland at a boarding school, and ends up rooming with a princess. No, but like, an actual Scottish Princess. This was adorable, with lots of my favourite kinds of tropes, and is honestly just a feel good rom-com — but sapphic. HER ROYAL HIGHNESS is out May 7, 2019.

Also out May 7th, and highly anticipated by probably everyone in Romancelandia, is THE BRIDE TEST, Helen Hoang’s sophomore title following the huge success, and taking place in the same world, of THE KISS QUOTIENT. We follow another austistic lead character, Khai, but his autistic experience is very different from Stella’s, and the love interest, Esme, is inspired by Hoang’s own mother’s immigrant experience. This author continues to bring not only the diversity but some sorely needed representation to the Romance genre and this is a very swoony, sweet, read that is very different from THE KISS QUOTIENT. But one I definitely still recommend.

BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo is a coming of age YA LGBTQ+ contemporary focusing on two individuals, Morgan and Eric, who are born on the same day in the same hospital. We see them grow up, discover themselves, drift apart, and everything in between. I loved the subject matter, I hurt from the agony of some of the characters’ experiences, their struggles, but their enduring connection, the evolution of it, was just so heartbreakingly beautiful. This was my first by this author but it won’t be my last. BIRTHDAY is out May 21, 2019, and I would definitely recommend you pick it up.

Finally, we have AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This is the only book on this list I have not read and as a result the excitement is really really real. Because I just don’t know what to expect. This is another YA sci-fi book from the authors who brought us the Illuminae Files and honestly I didn’t need much more information than that before I preordered it. I saw their names, saw space, and was done. But I would’ve been keen even if it wasn’t sci-fi. Can’t wait to read this.. and not long now! AURORA RISING is out May 7, 2019.


For May, the titles Micky is getting excited about are:

Hello AURORA RISING is the top of my list. I’m not going to repeat what Hollis has just said but I am beyond fangirl about this writing duo. I have a few copies pre-ordered, the Goldsboro and Illumicrate editions. Hollis and I normally buddy read these authors’ work so watch out for that.

PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND OTHER FLAVORS by Sonali Dev has my attention and I am 10% into an arc of this and loving the feel of it. Desi context romance has appeal for me and splicing that with a retake on P&P has all the potential for enjoyment. I’ve enjoyed Sonali Dev’s work before so I know her writing style works for me. There will be a review for this up and coming soon.

I’m afraid Jay Kristoff is Mr Popular this month with DEV1AT3, the follow-up to LIFEL1K3. I found the world created in this series compelling and it was only after I read book one that I heard comparisons to an Anastasia retelling and there’s definitely something in that. However, it had more of a Mad Max feel to me, whatever you want to compare it to, this was fast-paced, twisty reading and I want more.

I am a long-standing fan of Samantha Young and so her continuation of the Hart’s Boardwalk series equals a desire to be back there. I’ve read an arc of this new release and it didn’t disappoint, so look out for THINGS WE NEVER SAID.


What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!

OUR MAY 2019 TBRs

Micky is a mood reader who tries to splice in arcs and library reads as per her momentary mood. She is also a poly reader (current reads are seven at present). Hollis is an organised creature who is always sickeningly ahead of the game with her arcs, library reads, and general reads. Hollis sensibly reads one book at a time. Micky is jealous of Hollis.

Micky’s May tbr

I try and have a physical tbr which is often inspirational and ambitious. I have a rough ebook tbr that always includes my arcs, the rest is mood for audio (I commute and listen) and owned ebooks.

This month my planned arcs are: Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev, Things We Never Said by Samantha Young, Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (UK release date is later than the US date), Stepsister by Jennifer Donnolley and Million Dollar Devil by Katy Evans. I have an expiring KU subscription and I’m determined to fit in Crash by Harper Dallas and hopefully Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan.

This is my physical tbr pictured below and I have to admit that A Curse So Dark and Lonely was on my April tbr!

jhdr


Hollis’ May TBR

I may be more “sensible” with my reading habits but my TBRs are also far more loosey-goosey in the sense that the only thing I plan are.. deadlines. ARC due in a few weeks? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month! Library hold comes available? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month!

This month includes one ARC that is actually to be published in May (on the seventh, yikes, cutting this one close) which is ROMANOV by Nadine Brandes. I’m also planning to read ARCs of SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson and LIKE A LOVE STORY by Abdi Nazemian — both releasing June 4, 2019. However, I’m also planning to snap up the brand new (!) m/m contemporary romance by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen — the first from this duo in over three years! — that is publishing on May seventh. If you’re only hearing about TOP SECRET now, well, where have you been! Can’t wait.


What’s on your TBR for the month? Let us know in the comments!

NEW BLOG, WHO DIS

Well hello!

Micky and Hollis here. Just wanted to extend a big, blissful, bookish welcome to you for visiting our little corner of the internet. We know there are many book blogs out there and we appreciate you clicking on this one; particularly as we’re just getting out feet wet in this new medium.

We hope to have reviews, wrap ups, anticipated titles, and more, for you to enjoy very soon!