FIVE ON OUR TBRS

We’ve found that breaking down our TBRs can be something that inspires us to pick up hidden or briefly forgotten reads. ‘Five on my TBR’ is something that we have done a few times on bookstagram but it originated with someone else, though, eek, we’ve no idea who (if you’re the creator of this, please let us know and we will credit you!).

We are starting off the new year with the hope that we will include updates in this TBR series more often than we might have done last year. But whether we do or not (who can say!), here we are showing what’s risen to the top of our TBRs and/or what has us buzzed.

Micky’s five


King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
The Last Astronaut by David Wellington
The Sad Ghost Club Volume 2 by Lize Meddings
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier

Yes, I’ve transferred King of Scars for the third time but triumphing in that I read the other four off my last 5 on our tbrs posts. After finishing a Juliet Marillier series recently, I need more so this duo of hers is calling me and Hollis bought me one of the books. Sad Ghost Club volume 1 was a delight, so I need to jump into the second. Do we share any excitables?


Hollis’ five

Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee
Girls of Fate and Fury by Natasha Ngan
The Barnabus Project by Terry Fan

I’m using some of the similar energy I channeled in the last post of this series and I’m tackling a trilogy in lieu of three separate books. The Green Bone Saga isn’t part of my Series to Complete goal but still one I’m way overdue to complete. I’m excited to crush the finale of the Girls of Paper and Fury series not because I like it (welp) but because I want to.. well, complete it. And finally I’m just generally excited about The Barnabus Project because it was pitched at a publisher event and looks adorable and if it is as amazing as I hope it’s going on the books to buy list for my nieces.


Tell us the top five books on your TBR! Do any of ours make your lists?

A MINI SPORTS ROMANCE FESTIVAL

January often brings tones of blue-ness to the scene and books slumps are rife post-Christmas. What more could we need than a bit of romance, a bit of spice and add in some sports.

Micky here. I indulged in an unplanned sports romance re-read fest recently because my brain needed comfort with complete and utter attention-grabbing reads. Sports romance is a sub-genre I particularly love and I lean on old favourites as I can’t say that I’m up to date with more recent releases in this sub genre.

I’ve got some recs from my little impromtu sports-romanceathon and then some other sports romance I’d also rec. I’d love to hear from you about some more recent releases that you’d rec to me. Spice levels on a scale of 1-5 (but this is subjective).


First up, Real & Mine by Katy Evans. I lived the life of underground fighting with Remington ‘Riptide’ Tate and Brooke, his sport’s therapist and more. These were first published in 2013 and I’ve read them a number of times. They are super spicy and super alpha if that’s your bag. In truth, I don’t go for these types anymore but I will forever love these two. This is a six book series, with the first three focused on the same couple and later books are companions. Spice level : 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
Content warnings for violence and mental illness

Next in my sports-romanceathon were Ride & Crash by Harper Dallas. These books are set in an elite snowboarding world with interconnected couples in each book. These stories are all push and pull, chemistry, a little drama and completely unputdownable. They’re also in Kindle Unlimited. There’s a third book to come in the Wild Sequence series and although it’s been a while, I can’t wait for more from Harper Dallas.
Spice level : 🌶️🌶️🌶️


Now to some much-loved sports romance recommendations from Hollis and I:

The Keeper by Jillian Liota (YA) – female football (soccer) — 🌶️
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu (NA) – LGBTQIAP+ hockey — 🌶️
The Wall of Winnipeg & Me by Mariana Zapata – American football — 🌶️🌶️
Kulti by Mariana Zapata – football (soccer) — 🌶️🌶️
Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez (YA) – female football (soccer) — 🌶️🌶️
From Lukov With Love by Mariana Zapata – ice skating — 🌶️🌶️
The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata – rugby — 🌶️🌶️
Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan – basketball — 🌶️🌶️🌶️
Wrecking Ball by P Dangelico – American football — 🌶️🌶️🌶️
Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid – LGBTQIAP+ hockey — 🌶️🌶️🌶️
The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen (NA) – hockey — 🌶️🌶️🌶️
Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy – LGBTQIAP+ hockey — 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan – American football — 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️


So now we need your help. Update us on the more recent sports romances that you’ve loved, please and thank you! Tell us what your favourites are and if we share any.

TOP TEN MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASES OF 2022

As we are seconds away from closing the door on 2021 (which was officially Also The Worst), we got to thinking about all the books set to release next year that we know of (which, admittedly, only really spans the January to June-ish portion of 2022, as usual). But there are so many! And so many still yet to be announced that we will also be excited for. However..

As usual, we are challenging ourselves to narrow down an anticipated list of only ten titles. Yes. Ten. Yes, we know, that’s not even one title per month. It’s a horrible exercise. Let’s begin!


Hollis’ Top Ten Anticipated Releases of 2022 (in order of publication) :
aka the year with very few covers yet released

The Long Game by Rachel Reid | April 26, 2022
Book Lovers by Emily Henry | May 3, 2022
Mad About You by Mhairi McFarlane | May 3, 2022
Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews | August 26, 2022
Pack of Lies by Charlie Adhara | August 30, 2022
Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir | September 13, 2022
The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik | September 27, 2022
Untitled (Skybriar, book one) by Talia Hibbert | Fall 2022 (date TBA)
Untitled (Iron Widow, book two) by Xiran Jay Zhao | Fall 2022 (date TBA)
In the Lives of Puppets by T.J. Klune | 2022 (date TBA)


Micky’s Top Ten (showing we are sometimes similar) Anticipated Releases of 2022 (in order of publication) .


Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman | January 27, 2022
The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea by Axie Oh | February 22, 2022
When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando | March 31, 2022
Elektra by Jennifer Saint | April 28, 2022
Book of Night by Holly Black | May 3, 2022
Book Lovers by Emily Henry | May 3, 2022
The Blood Traitor (The Gilded Cage #3) by Lynette Noni | June 14, 2022
Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews | August 26, 2022
The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance #3) by Naomi Novil | September 27, 2022
Untitled (Iron Widow #2) by Xiran Jay Zhao | Autumn 2022 (date TBA)



We’d love to know what you want to read next year. It is so hard to narrow it down, we know.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1..

We are (depending on your timezone) mere hours away from the New Year and we don’t know about you — though we kinda do.. — but here at A Take From Two Cities we are hoping for a much better year than the ones that have come before.

Whether you’re having a quiet celebration with your household, hanging out on your own, making a virtual splash, or (finally!) safely with a group, we are raising a glass to you and hoping you are all safe, well, and content (we almost said “happy” but the bar is still low..).

Here’s to not only a fresh start in 2022, and hopefully a few less disasters, but also a ton of great books and a lot more laughs.

From us to you,

Hollis and Micky xx

FIVE SERIES TO FINISH IN 2022

Hi, Hollis here! A few years ago I bemoaned all my started-but-unfinished series and went to some painstaking effort to shelve them on GR to keep track. I quickly discontinued that effort but the fact remains that we as readers, and we here at A Take from Two Cities, start so many series and only manage to finish some. Whether that’s because said series are yet to be completed, delayed, or just forgotten about amidst all the other new releases, who can say. But to keep us (me) accountable, I want to start a blog series not unlike our Five On Our TBRs but where we (I) try to complete (at least!) five series a year.

This was incredibly successful for me in 2021 (I finished all five!), and kept me not just accountable but motivated.

Topping my list for series I’d like to complete in 2022 are :

Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series. As we’ve come to expect by now, this will necessitate a reread of book one and book two, as I read these back in highschool in [year redacted]. I may also attempt to read past the main trilogy (books four to six and seven to nine both have their own arcs, I believe) but I’m not committing to that on paper.

The Middle of Somewhere series by Roan Parrish. This was one of my early(ish) forays into discovering m/m authors and I only got as far as book one because I was flitting from one thing to another. While I haven’t loved everything by this author, I hope this series might turn out to be a win.

The All Souls series by Deborah Harkness. I bailed on book three after how disappointed I was by book two but almost all my bookie friends say this was a very good end, so. I need to get on this one. And the fourth book, companion, too, I guess.

Danielle L Jensen’s Malediction Trilogy was such a huge find at the time of it’s release because.. troll YA fantasy? How cool! Book one was so also good. Sadly I remember nothing about book two which might explain why I held off on book three. Unlike the last few this is an owned physical series so if this doesn’t end up satisfying..? Well at least I get back some shelf space.

And lastly, for this round up, Ellie Marney’s Every series. This is a YA reimagining/modern retelling of Sherlock Homes (sorta) except it’s about Watson and Mycroft and I absolutely went nuts for books one and two. To the point that I wouldn’t shut up about it. And then I never read book three. Much like another series on this list there’s also now a fourth book that I believe is less connected to the main series and more a companion? I’ll tackle that, too.

Last year’s edition of this post made it seem I was a “one and done” series reader. But almost this whole 2022 edition is spotlighting “Hollis has a book three problem”. I guess you can be both!


Are there any series you’re prioritizing this year? We’d love to know!

TOP TEN READS OF 2021

It is with much angst and wringing of hands that we present our Top Ten Reads of 2021.

For clarity, these are books we read in 2021, not necessary books published in 2021, and presented in no particular order.


Micky’s Top Ten of 2021

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata
Seven Days In June by Tia Williams


Hollis’ Top Ten of 2021

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews
Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
Lore Olympus : Season One by Rachel Smythe
Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier (reread)


Have you made a top ten, top three or top fifty? Let us know some of your favourties.

WISHING YOU..

We just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best. Whether you celebrate Hannukah, Solstice, Christmas, or nothing at all, we are thinking of you and hoping you are (again and always) well, safe, and hale.

It’s been another hard year, after an already hard year, for us all and for some of you this holiday season may be adding to that; especially for those of you on your own or unable to celebrate. You are all in our thoughts.

Micky & Hollis xx

TOP TEN DISAPPOINTING READS OF 2021

Despite the title, this isn’t a post where we plan to poo-poo on authors who have disappointed us. It’s more to be reflective of the books we were initially anticipating or desperate for.. and how they fared in execution vs expectation. Also please know that if any of these books, or authors, are your favourites, that’s great! Every reading experience is different.

Worth noting is some of these books might have been three stars. But if we expected it to be a five, it’s kind of disappointing to only like, not love, it. Please bear that in mind. Disappointment doesn’t mean hate; but there might be some on those in this list, too.

For clarity, these are books we read in 2021, not necessary books published in 2021, and presented in no particular order.

And so with those disclaimer out of the way..

Hollis’ Top Ten Disappointing Reads :

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
Dark Rise by C.S. Pacat
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles
The Ippos King by Grace Draven
King of Scars Duology by Leigh Bardugo

Micky’s Top Ten Disappointing Reads :

Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harlow
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Madam by Phoebe Wynn
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
The Forevers by Chris Whittaker
An Emotion of Great Delight by Tarereh Mafi
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Santoro
The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave


If you were one of those “lucky” few who caught us (Hollis) accidentally publishing a draft of this early, sorry! But sURPRISE, the nature of our post has changed, so you likely didn’t actually get spoiled by our list. And speaking of which.. do you have a list of any disappointments? Let us know in the comments!

BOOK TO SCREEN ADAPTATIONS WE WANT : CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE EDITION

We’ve spoken a lot about books we would love to see adapted to film or series but this time let’s get more specific. With the long-awaited release of The Hating Game movie finally out (in CAN/US but not yet for the poor UK folks), it’s got us here at A Take from Two Cities wondering : what other contemporary romance** novels would you love to see adapted to the big or small screen?
** don’t worry, we have more romance-centric lists in mind!

Also, we know it goes without saying but, if you haven’t read any of these? We highly recommend.

Now, finally, to the good stuff.


In no particular order, Micky would love to see..

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams would fit the film market so perfectly.
The Grip series by Kennedy Ryan would be perfect for TV, this timeline needs episodes, please.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood is definite film territory we think.
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren would also be perfect for a film — just don’t forget to pack the tissues.
Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis. This adaptation could go either way. The timeline in this book would totally work for a series but it could be encapsulated in a film, too.


Also in no particular order, Hollis would love to see..

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang is sexy, diverse, and being that it’s a gender swapped Pretty Woman how could this not succeed on screen? Big or small, I’ll take it either way.
Melt for You by J.T. Geissinger would be the perfect kind of brain and eye candy film; a modern day wallflower with the (Scottish!) bad boy next door helping her to love herself and win the man she thinks she wants? Please and thank you.
Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne has a cheeky and fun narrative voice that would be perfect for film. And don’t even get me started on the meet cutes between the socialite and the stern divorce attorney. This is top tier opposites attract rom-com greatness.
The London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker would make for a great mini series with all the interconnected couples. Set against the west end of London, featuring a variety of tropes, very reality-based despite the fame and circumstances, this would be brilliant. If only the BBC would take my calls.
And, lastly (for now!), there’s the Forbidden Hearts series by Alisha Rai. This is another that that would be brilliant in mini series form. The series kicks off with feuding families, hate to love, later we have a bit of an angsty taboo connection, grief, plenty of representation throughout, and more.


What’s the first contemporary romance book that comes to mind when it comes to adaptations you’ve love to see made? And what sub-genre of romance would you like to see us dream about next?

Also, bonus question, have you seen The Hating Game yet? What did you think?

WHY I’VE STARTED WRITING MY OWN RECAPS FOR COMPLEX SERIES

Micky here. As a blogger and bookstagrammer, one of the best things is getting to read ARCS of new series but what that does mean is that I read a lot of series as they release with the inevitable wait for the next book. What I’ve found with SFF in particular (but really any complex series) is that when I come to the next book, I have gaps about what happened. I don’t have the time to re-read and searching for someone else’s recap often doesn’t work out unless it’s really popular.

What’s the answer to this problem? I started writing my own recap of the book I’ve just read, so that when I come to pick up the next book in a year’s time, I have the plot points that I think were important and any little nuggets that will prompt my mind about exactly what happened. My recaps aren’t lengthy, they’re shorthand and bullet pointed, sometime a who’s who, how they’re related to another character and the key things that happened in the story.

At first, I put these in my note app on my phone until I chatted to Hollis who suggested the private notes area on the review for the book. I’ve added a screenshot below of where I mean (the black scribbles cover some of my recap). So now I’ve transfered my recaps here. This means that no-one else can see it, you’re not spoiling anyone and it’s easily accessible. I can’t wait to be Micky next year, going to find my own recap and being ready to launch into my next read more informed!

Would you do this? Do you use recap sites or are you a re-read before the next book kind of person?


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