#TopTenTuesday: Cutting Down That Backlist!

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Spring Cleaning Freebie (for example, books you’re planning to get rid of for whatever reason, books you’d like to clean off your TBR by either reading them or deciding you’re not interested, books that feel fresh and clean to you after winter is over, etc.)

I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that I have a ton of backlist books that have been sat on my physical and digital shelves for quite some time. Many have been on countless “I want to read this one very soon” lists over the years and continue to be on those lists even until today (literally). One of my goals this year is to focus less on buying all the new books thanks to FOMO and instead focus on the many–the very very many–of my already owned and unread books. I know I tend to say that a lot on my blog posts but this year I am a determined bull. I will get this done *picture that kid with the determined face and raised fist here* 😉 So without further ado, here are ten backlist books that I am definitely going to read this year (and I’ll be focusing on titles that I don’t mention as often as other more popular ones)!

Truly Devious

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.” Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder. 


LOVELY WAR

It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields. Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans. Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.


CEMETERY ROAD

Marshall McEwan is one of the most successful journalists in Washington, DC. But his father is terminally ill, and he must return to his childhood home – a place he vowed he would never go back to. Bienville, Mississippi, is no longer the city Marshall remembers. His family’s 150-year-old newspaper is failing, and Jet Talal, the love of his youth, has married into the family of Max Matheson, one of a dozen powerful patriarchs who rule the town through the exclusive Bienville Poker Club. The city’s only hope of economic salvation is a new, billion-dollar Chinese paper mill. But on the verge of the deal’s consummation, two deaths rock Bienville to its core. Joining forces with his former lover, Marshall begins digging for the truth. But he and Jet soon discover that the soil of Mississippi is a minefield where explosive secrets can be far more destructive than injustice. 


THE INNOCENT MAGE

It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields. Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans. Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.


MUSE OF NIGHTMARES

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep. Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of. As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?


A LADDER TO THE SKY

If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career.
A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful than him. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter entirely.
Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them – or to whom they belong – as long as they help him rise to the top.
Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse. 


THE BINDING

Books are dangerous things in Collins’s alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It’s a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them. After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges. But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.


SKYWARD

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades.
Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with that of her father’s—a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa the daughter of a coward, her chances of attending Flight School slim to none. No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.


I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN

At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways… but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.


THE CITY OF BRASS

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

Do you also have a ton of backlist books that you want to tackle this year? Have you read any of these books or are they also on your backlist TBR?

44 thoughts on “#TopTenTuesday: Cutting Down That Backlist!

  1. Muse of Nightmares and Truly Devious are 2 that have been on my TBR too long. I have Muse of Nightmares sitting on my bookshelf beside my bed, and I just downloaded Truly Devious a few days ago, so maybe soon. Hope you love them all once you get to them! The City of Brass was half awesome and half boring for me. The second book was the same. BUT, the third book was so completely awesome all the way through! One of my favorites!

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    1. I’ve heard a lot of people say the same about City of Brass so I think I’m gonna just pace myself and keep pushing on even if it gets a bit slow because everyone says it gets a lot better! 😅 *managing those expectations* LOL I hope you also enjoy Truly Devious and Muse of Nightmares! Really keen to finish that duology at least this year! Happy reading, Ali!

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  2. Great list, Dini! I love YA thrillers so I really want to try Truly Devious this year, too. 🙂 Yes you must read The City of the Brass! I don’t think it’s the best book in the trilogy but the second two books are SO GOOD. I enjoyed Muse of Nightmares! The audiobook is excellent.

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    1. I’ve heard that City of Brass starts off a bit slower so I think knowing that I won’t be expecting too much fast-action going into it. I’ve also heard people say the following books are better so I’m definitely keen to tick it off the list this year! I hadn’t even contemplated checking out the audio for Muse of Nightmares but now I’m intrigued! Will definitely check it out 😃

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    1. I feel like these books are on my forever “I will read them soon” lists but I’m really hoping that this time… It’s a go! Hahaha, I started Skyward but wasn’t in the right mood for it but got through a fair bit of it so I’m keen to get back to it. Really looking forward to The Binding too!

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  3. Oh, Dini. I’m right there with you! I’m determined to buy less this year, as well. The pandemic has helped with that except I have been getting used books on paperbackswap, but I don’t pay for those so I don’t feel as bad. 😉 I am failing at my goal to get less ARCs—but I am being more selective so I don’t feel too bad. Ha! I’ve only read I’ll Give You the Sun but I really enjoyed it! I hope you get to these soon! ❤

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    1. Ooh, if I had access to book swaps and well, the library, I would definitely be using those things more! LOL, I wish it was easy/possible here! I also definitely wouldn’t feel bad about getting books in book swaps, either 😉

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    1. Haha, fair enough. I got the US editions second-hand but they were signed so I was like… OK, let’s just do it 🤣 They’re defo not my fave covers but I’m alright with them lol I hope you enjoy Truly Devious!

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  4. I loved Skyward. And I’ve heard high praise for Muse of Nightmares and City of Brass. I hope you enjoy them! Some backlist titles that I’ll be reading soon are Dragon Haven, Spinning Silver, and Stone of Farewell.

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    1. I’ve heard Skyward is amazing and I’m looking forward to reading more Sanderson! Ooh, I enjoyed Spinning Silver 😍 That’s one that I want to re-read this year. I hope you enjoy it!

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  5. I went back and forth on the Karen Miller books for a while but I ended up unhauling them last year. I just didn’t nessecarily see myself reading them. Maybe some day in the future, who knows.
    I’m curious to hear your opinion when you get to it!

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    1. Fair enough. Karen Miller was another author that I discovered when I started up reading again in 2012 and she was one of my first forays into adult fantasy alongside Trudi Canavan. I really enjoyed what I read of Miller but now I can’t remember which series it was 🤣 LOL I’m gonna give the first book in this series a try and see how I feel about it! Hopefully someday soon 😉

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