TOPTENtuesdayIs it a list? Or is it more of a pile? Probably some unholy combination of both. Like most voracious readers, I try to keep a running tally of books read and to be read. Of course there are those that show up in the mail unexpectedly (hooray for awesome publicists!) and are stacked near my bed for consideration.

Speaking of awesome publicists, I do not currently have a copy of any of these books. Please email me if you represent one of these titles.

Click any cover for a link to more.


you-dont-lookYou Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers

Heather Sellers is face-blind – that is, she has prosopagnosia, a rare neurological condition that prevents her from reliably recognizing people’s faces. Growing up, unaware of the reason for her perpetual confusion and anxiety, she took what cues she could from speech, hairstyle, and gait.

Really interested to read this one. My husband has face blindness, something he only discovered since we have been together. It is a strange condition and doctors are still trying to figure it out. 


 london-lies-beneathLondon Lies Beneath by Stella Duffy

In August 1912, three friends set out on an adventure. Two of them come home. Inspired by real events, this is the story of three friends, and a tragedy that will change them for ever. It is also a song of south London, of working class families with hidden histories, of a bright and complex world long neglected.

I don’t know this author but the book keeps popping up from people whose opinions I respect. And look at that gorgeous cover art. 


napoleons-last-islandNapoleon’s Last Island: A Novel by Thomas Keneally

In October 1815, after losing the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was banished to the island of Saint Helena. There, in one of the most remote places on earth, he lived out the final six years of his life. On this lonely island with no chance of escape, he found an unexpected ally: a spirited British girl named Betsy Balcombe who lived on the island with her family.

Not gonna lie. This strikes a chord with me because of my love for The Count of Monte Cristo. And there is something bittersweet about a once unbeatable man being trapped by his own hubris. 


mount-charThe Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.

This is outside of my usual realm. I normally don’t read fantasy — unless you count books like Thursday Next


leda-greyThe Last Days of Leda Grey by Essie Fox

A bewitching novel about an enigmatic silent film actress, and the volatile love affair that left her a recluse for over half a century – for fans of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier.

I’ve read all of Essie Fox’s books and I love them. She has yet to be published in the US but her publishers have been kind enough to send me e-galleys in the past.

As a film nut, I am particularly excited for this one. 


wine-of-angelsThe Wine of Angels by Phil Rickman

The Rev. Merrily Watkins had never wanted a picture-perfect parish — or a huge and haunted vicarage. Nor had she wanted to walk straight into a local dispute over a controversial play about a strange 17th-century clergyman accused of witchcraft. But this is Ledwardine, steeped in cider and secrets.

I watched a very cool British miniseries called Midwinter of the Spirit with Anna Maxwell Martin, about a vicar who has decided to train as an exorcist. 


watery-worldThe Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker

Michael Parker has created a wholly original world from two known facts: (1) Theodosia Burr Alston, daughter of the controversial vice president Aaron Burr, disappeared in 1813 while en route by schooner from South Carolina to New York; and (2) in 1970, two elderly white women and one black man were the last townspeople to leave a small barrier island off the coast of North Carolina. 

It’s a tale of pirates and slaves, treason and treasures, madness and devotion, that takes place on a tiny island battered by storms, infested with mosquitoes, and cut off from the world.

Need I say more? 


devils-feast

The Devil’s Feast by M.J. Carter

London, 1842. Captain William Avery is persuaded to investigate a mysterious and horrible death at the Reform, London’s newest and grandest gentleman s club a death the club is desperate to hush up. What he soon discovers is a web of rivalries and hatreds, both personal and political, simmering behind the club’s handsome facade. At the center is its resident genius, Alexis Soyer, the Napoleon of food, a chef whose culinary brilliance is matched only by his talent for self-publicity.

I absolutely loved the first two Blake and Avery books. Can’t wait for this one to come to the US. 


subsidiaryThe Subsidiary by Matías Celedón, Samuel Rutter (Translator)

In the subsidiary offices of a major Latin American corporation, the power suddenly goes out: the lights switch off; the doors lock; the phone lines are cut. The employees are trapped in total darkness with only cryptic, intermittent announcements dispatched over the loud speaker, instructing all personnel to remain at their work stations until further notice.

The Subsidiary is one worker’s testimony to what happens during the days he spends trapped within the building’s walls, told exclusively—and hauntingly—through the stamps he uses to mark corporate documents.

I’m always intrigued by something that sounds like a Twilight Zone episode. A philosophical conundrum that makes you wonder how you would handle the same situation. 


craniokleptyCranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius by Colin Dickey

Beginning dramatically with the opening of Haydn’s grave in October 1820, cranioklepty takes us on an extraordinary history of a peculiar kind of obsession. The desire to own the skulls of the famous, for study, for sale, for public (and private) display, seems to be instinctual and irresistible in some people. The rise of phrenology at the beginning of the 19th century only fed that fascination with the belief that genius leaves its mark on the very shape of the head.

Since my NaNoWriMo novel this month is a dark comedy about grave robbing, I can’t help but be interested in this one. That, and Ghostland was brilliant. 


What have you put on your TBR list lately?  

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