Book Talk,  Tags & BookTube

On My TBR Shelf [YouTube Companion Post]

This is a companion post to my YouTube video for Monday January 11, 2021, because I vow to always have a companion post to accompany my videos for those who would prefer to read them, and this week is neither a review, a previously written article, or a tag.

Let’s talk about some of the books waiting on my physical TBR shelf that I want to get to in 2021. Note that this does not include all of the eBooks waiting for me in my Kindle and Kobo libraries, I’m just talking about unread books on the top-left shelf of my physical bookshelf in my office/studio space, which is where I place physical books I haven’t read yet.

Keep in mind that I obviously intend to get to all of the books on that shelf, and some of them I really need to get to because they were sent by publishers (featured in the first 2 “First Lines Friday” posts here and in my book mail video in late 2020) but the books I’ve selected for this list are ones I’m particularly excited about. Let’s go!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

This Golden Flame
by Emily Victoria

Publishing 2 February 2021
by Inkyard Press (HarperCollins)

Genre: YA Fantasy, LGBTQIA
Page Count: 416
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

I’m on the HarperCollins Canada influencer team, and this is one of the books that we previewed during the HCC Frenzy winter preview event back in December. Of all the book we were teased besides possible Witches Steeped in Gold, this is the one I was most excited about, and it releases on my birthday. I requested it on both NetGalley and Edelweiss, the Edelweiss team rejected me immediately like they always do because I don’t have a track record on Edelweiss yet, I mentioned it in passing to my contact at HCC when I sent links for another review I was done with, and suddenly I had a widget email for the Edelweiss listing. Then the NetGalley approval came in. Then the actual physical ARC showed up at my door. So I technically have three copies of this, even though two are digital access…

We were told everyone who attended the winter preview would get one ARC and that it would be random, so it’s pretty cool that this ended up being the one I got.

The Lies of Locke Lamora
Gentleman Bastard Book One
by Scott Lynch

Published 1 June 2006
by Spectra

Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 752
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

I have two copies of this book. Why? I discovered Murphy Napier in 2020 and she raves about how much she loves this series, so I ordered it. When it arrived I noticed that I already owned it. It was tucked away in a storage cupboard with a couple of romance and crime thriller novels my mother has left behind for me on past visits because she thinks I’ll like them even though I don’t normally read those genres. Apparently I found this one in a book store some time between 2012 and 2020, thought it looked great, bought it, forgot about it, found it, looked at the cover and thought it was Mom’s, and put it away. To be fair, the cover on my edition (not the image in this post) does look like a historical romance at first glance.

This year I will finally read it!

The Trials of Morrigan Crown
Nevermoor Book One
by Jessica Townsend

Published 31 October 2017
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 465
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Blurb copied from Goodreadsi.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

This was recommended to me in 2019, then again in 2020 as a “replacement” for Harry Potter. I bought it in 2020 and I haven’t read it yet. It might be a bit of a chonk of a book, but it’s middle grade so it should still be a fairly quick read.

Cainsville Book One
by Kelley Armstrong

Published 1 January 2013
by Vintage Canada

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 472
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Following the epic conclusion of her internationally bestselling Women of the Otherworld series, Kelley Armstrong launches a brand-new series set in Cainsville, a small town as spookily fascinating as Stephen King’s Castle Rock or Dean Koontz’s Moonlight Bay.

Olivia Taylor Jones, 24, seems to have the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech-firm CEO with political ambitions. But Olivia’s world is shattered when she finds out that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers, each still serving a life sentence.

The news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, and Olivia thinks the best thing she can do for herself and for them is run away from it all. She ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her decision to uncover the truth about her birth parents. Olivia decides to focus on the Larsens’ last crime, the one Pamela Larsen swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel Walsh, Pamela’s former lawyer, start investigating, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. There are dark secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

My sister called me up in December and told me I had to read this, then our Mom sent it to me for Christmas, and now my sister has checkd in to see if I’ve started it yet twice already. Okay, okay! My January and February are still insane, still dealing with the consequences of not recording what I volunteered for before it was confirmed, but this is in the read ASAP pile.

The Cruel Prince
The Folk of the Air Book One
by Holly Black

Published 2 January 2018
by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 370
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

When Mom sent Omens she wanted to send two books so she asked my sister for another recommendation. This is it! I’m not familiar with this author or series, it came out slightly before I started paying attention to YA again, but my copy has a front cover endorsement by Leigh Bardugo so it must be worth checking out.

The Oppenheimer Alternative
by Robert J. Sawyer

Published 21 April 2020
by Red Deer Press

Genre: Science Fiction, Alternate History
Page Count: 374
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

On the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb, Hugo and Nebula-winning author Robert J. Sawyer takes us back in time to revisit history…with a twist.

While J. Robert Oppenheimer and his Manhattan Project team struggle to develop the A-bomb, Edward Teller wants something even more devastating: a bomb based on nuclear fusion—the mechanism that powers the sun.

Teller’s research leads to a terrifying discovery: by the year 2030, the sun will eject its outermost layer, destroying the entire inner solar system—including Earth.

As the war ends with the use of fission bombs against Japan, Oppenheimer’s team, plus Albert Einstein and Wernher von Braun, stay together—the greatest scientific geniuses from the last century racing against time to save our future.

Meticulously researched and replete with real-life characters and events, The Oppenheimer Alternative is a breathtaking adventure through both real and alternate history.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

This is my favourite author ever, I’ve read everything else, and I pre-ordered this book. It arrived right around the time I launched my book content and I promptly got caught up with ARCs and tours, and somehow now it’s January 2021 and I haven’t read this one yet. Also, this may be a slightly cheat of an inclusion on this list based on the parameters I set at the beginning because I keep this one with the other Robert J Sawer books, not with the TBR books.

Ink & Sigil
Ink & Sigil Book One
by Kevin Hearne

Published 25 August 2020
by Del Rey Books

Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 336
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an extraordinary white moustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails – and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae.

But he is also cursed. Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can only communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he devotes his life to his work, all the while trying to crack the secret of his curse.

But when his latest apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective – while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death seems to always follow Al. Investigating his apprentice’s death will take him through Scotland’s magical underworld, and he’ll need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if he’s to survive.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

This is another one I was super excited for, pre-ordered, and haven’t managed to read yet. Kevin Hearne used to be on my authors I no longer read list. I loved the Iron Druid Chronicles series and when that ended I wasn’t at all interested in the completely different series he started writing. Then I found out it was a duology and now he’s returning to the Iron Druid world with a new character in this new series. Hello again, Kevin Hearne!

Psycho Hose Beast From Outer Space
Gale Harbour Book One
by C.D. Gallant-King

28 September 2020
by Stories I Found in the Closet

Genre: Horror Comedy
Page Count: 218
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Newfoundland, Canada, 1992.

Gale Harbour hasn’t seen any excitement since the military abandoned the base there thirty years ago, unless you count the Tuesday night 2-for-1 video rentals at Jerry’s Video Shack. So when a dead body turns up floating in the town water supply, all evidence seems to point to a boring accident.

Niall, Pius and Harper are dealing with pre-teen awkwardness in the last days of summer before the start of high school. The same night the body is found, the three of them witness unusual lights in the sky over the bay.

Is it a coincidence? Are the lights connected to the rapidly-increasing string of mysterious deaths? And what does the creepy old lady at the nursing home have to do with it?

There is an evil older than time hidden deep beneath the waters of the North Atlantic. It is hungry, and vengeful, and it has its sights set on Gale Harbour to begin its path of destruction. All that stands in its way are a group of kids who would rather be playing Street Fighter II…

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

This author sent his book to me to review when I get a chance, and I’m so amused already by the title, the cover, and the synopsis that I really, REALLY want to get to it ASAP. This will be the second time you’re seeing me wave it around on the YouTube channel and say I want to read it. Hopefully the third time I hold it up it’s to give a review!

All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault
Dark/Spark Book One
by James Alan Gardner

Published 7 November 2017
by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Superheroes
Page Count: 382
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Monsters are real.
But so are heroes.

Sparks are champions of weird science. Boasting capes and costumes and amazing super-powers that only make sense if you don’t think about them too hard, they fight an eternal battle for truth and justice . . . mostly.

Darklings are creatures of myth and magic: ghosts, vampires, were-beasts, and the like. Their very presence warps reality. Doors creak at their approach. Cobwebs gather where they linger.

Kim Lam is an ordinary college student until a freak scientific accident (what else?) transforms Kim and three housemates into Sparks–and drafts them into the never-ending war between the Light and Dark. They struggle to master their new abilities–and (of course) to design cool costumes and come up with great hero-names.

Turns out that “accident” was just the first salvo in a Mad Genius’s latest diabolical scheme. Now it’s up to four newbie heroes to save the day, before they even have a chance to figure out what their team’s name should be!

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

This author has written forewards for my favourite author, Robert J Sawyer, but somehow hasn’t actually been on my radar before. Last year I found a copy of this one in the bargain bin and I can’t wait to have time for it.


And of course there are so many more books on my TBR, some of which I’ve already waved around and some I haven’t, but I’ve got to end this somewhere. Which ones are also on your TBR? Are any of these going on your TBR now?

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.


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