TBR: August 2021 (Trope-ical Readathon Edition)

Hello, everyone! This month’s TBR post is going to be quite different from previous ones because I am participating in the Trope-ical Readathon. For this readathon, I’ve picked books corresponding to 15 different prompts (or their alternates), which are based on common tropes found in fiction. I decided to join Team Fantasy this time because I love the genre and plan to read mostly fantasy this month. The team book also caught my eye, which clenched the decision and rounded out my TBR with 16 total books. You can find out all about the readathon here, and you can still sign up through August 8th. So, if it sounds like something you’d be interested in, go sign up!

Here are all of the common challenges/prompts:

Here is a snapshot of the books I plan to read for each challenge, including the team challenges:

Needless to say, it is going to be a busy month! Now let’s take a look at each book more closely and the reasons why I chose them.

Absent/Dead Parent(s) Trope

Challenge: Read a book where the main character’s parents are either absent throughout the book or have passed away prior to the start of the book. Alternatively, read a book that was published under a pseudonym.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I’ve never actually finished reading the Harry Potter books. I wasn’t allowed to read them growing up, but I’ve loved the movies forever. I’ve been wanting to read them, and any of these books works for this trope. So, I decided to stick one of them in here. I’m reading two HP books in this readathon. The other will pop up in a bit.

Goodreads Synopsis: Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for hundreds of years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards.

And in his case, different can be deadly.

Time Loop Trope

Challenge: Read a book where the main character is stuck in a time loop. Alternatively, reread a book.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I decided to do the alternate challenge of a reread for this one. I’ve been wanting to read this series again because I haven’t read the books since I was a child. So, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it.

Goodreads Synopsis: “When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back, three from the circle, three from the track; wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone; five will return, and one go alone.”

With these mysterious words, Will Stanton discovers on his 11th birthday that he is no mere boy. He is the Sign-Seeker, last of the immortal Old Ones, destined to battle the powers of evil that trouble the land. His task is monumental: he must find and guard the six great Signs of the Light, which, when joined, will create a force strong enough to match and perhaps overcome that of the Dark. Embarking on this endeavor is dangerous as well as deeply rewarding; Will must work within a continuum of time and space much broader than he ever imagined.

Found Family Trope

Challenge: Read a book where characters form a family dynamic, based on shared understanding of each other rather than blood ties. Alternatively, buddy read or group read a book.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I’ve been wanting to read this one since I finished the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I’ve read such great things about it and loved the characters in the TV show. So, when I found out it contained this trope, I knew I had to read it!

Goodreads Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Coming-of-Age Trope

Challenge: Read a book where the protagonist goes through a process of self-discovery. Alternatively, read a book where the protagonist is around the same age as you.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I recently received an ARC of this book and need to get it reviewed before the publication date next week. The book sounds really great, and it fits the trope. So, it was a perfect pick for the readathon.

Goodreads Synopsis: My name is Wen Alder. My name is Foolish Cur.

All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother’s family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.

I can choose between them – between protecting my family, or protecting my people – or I can search out a better path . . . a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by Empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.

But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves . . .

Food Theme Trope

Challenge: Read a book that has food themes. (e.g. cooking competition, family restaurant, bakery, etc.). Alternatively, read a “meaty” book, that is, over 500 pages long.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I decided to do the alternate prompt because I couldn’t think of a food themed book I wanted to read. I’ve been reading the Sword of Truth series forever, and I’ve been wanting to make progress on it again. So, I chose this book for this challenge since it comes in at a whopping 527 pages.

Goodreads Synopsis: From the internationally bestselling author of the Sword of Truth series, comes a new Richard and Kahlan novel, sequel to The Omen Machine.

The Richard and Kahlan series, beginning with The Omen Machine (which is also the 12th and final book of the Sword of Truth series) is a NEW series separate from Sword of Truth.

The bloodthirsty Jit is dead, and against all odds Richard and Kahlan have survived. But a new menace has attacked them in the Dark Lands. Infected with the essence of death itself, robbed of his power as a war wizard, Richard must race against time to uncover and stop the infernal conspiracy assembling itself behind the wall far to the north. His friends and allies are already captives of this fell combination, and Kahlan, also touched by death’s power, will die completely if
Richard fails.

Bereft of magic, Richard has only his sword, his wits, his capacity for insight – and an extraordinary companion, the young Samantha, a healer just coming into her powers.

Compelling, fast-moving, and intense, The Third Kingdom is a powerful tale that welcomes new readers to Terry Goodkind’s world, while opening up new vistas of worldbuilding for longtime readers of the adventures of Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell.

Blast From The Past Trope

Challenge: Read a book where the main character encounters someone from their past. Alternatively, read a book written before the year 2000.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I chose to do the alternative prompt here because the next HP book that I need to read was published at the tail end of 1999. So, it fits perfectly.

Goodreads Synopsis: For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts . . . he’s at Hogwarts.”

Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

Mixed Media Trope

Challenge: Read a book that includes letters, texts, emails, etc. Alternatively, listen to an audiobook or read an ebook.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I love everything I’ve read by TJ Klune and recently got the ARC of this book. I’m dying to read it. So, I chose the alternative prompt and will read the ebook I received as an advanced copy.

Goodreads Synopsis: Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy with TJ Klune’s signature “quirk and charm” (PW) about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy.

(Post) Apocalyptic Trope

Challenge: Read a book that occurs leading up to/during an apocalypse or in the aftermath of an apocalypse. Alternatively, read a book with fire on the cover.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I recently finished the first book in this series and loved it and the post-apocalyptic world it was set in. So, it was an easy choice to pick the next book in the series for this challenge!

Goodreads Synopsis: The four remaining fugitives are now spread across the Kingdom. And with the fate of the others unknown to him, Nate Anteros prays for a fast execution.

Yet execution does not come. After a meeting with the King which leaves Nate questioning his sanity, he’s sent to a workcamp in Argon Basin for five years of hard labour. It’s there that Nate learns what became of his friends upon their arrest.

And as his strength returns to him, and he’s plagued by dreams which are much too real to be ignored, Nate decides five years is far too long to wait …

Historical Figure Trope

Challenge: Read a book that features a famous historical figure in some way. Alternatively, read a book that came out in 2021.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I’m participating in a blog tour this month for this book. It sounds like it will fit both the trope and alternative prompt because it was published today and sounds like it includes one of the past kings of England.

Goodreads Synopsis: How dark were the Dark Ages? Joss is about to find out…

‘The Vikings are better armed than we are. They have long, heavy axes that can take a man’s head from his shoulder. I know this because I see it happen.’‍

When his mum burns down their house on the Whitehorse estate, sixteen-year-old Joss is sent to live in a sleepy Suffolk village.

The place is steeped in history, as Joss learns when a bike accident pitches him back more than 1,000 years to an Anglo-Saxon village. That history also tells him his new friends are in mortal peril from bloodthirsty invaders. Can he warn their ruler, King Edmund, in time?

And will he ever get home?

All Happens in One Day Trope

Challenge: Read a book where the entirety (or majority) of the story occurs in one single day. Alternatively, read a book in one day.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I couldn’t think of a book I wanted to read that took place in a single day, and I wanted the challenge of reading a book in a day. So, I chose the alternative prompt. I picked this book because it sounds awesome and is one of the smallest on my bookshelf.

Goodreads Synopsis: Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA horror where survival is not a guarantee.

Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

Multiple POVs Trope

Challenge: Read a book told through multiple points-of-view. Alternatively, read a book with multiple characters of color.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I’ve been wanting to read this one since it came out, and it fits with both the trope and alternative challenges. So, picking it was a no brainer!

Goodreads Synopsis: Gossip Girl meets Get Out in Ace of Spades, a YA contemporary thriller by debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé about two students, Devon & Chiamaka, and their struggles against an anonymous bully.

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

With heart-pounding suspense and relevant social commentary comes a high-octane thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

The New Kid in Town Trope

Challenge: Read a book where the main character(s) have just moved to a new place. Alternatively, read a genre you don’t usually read.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I chose to do the alternative prompt here because I wanted to read something outside my normal choices. I almost never read classics, and my wife owned this one. So, I’m going to give it a try.

Goodreads Synopsis: This treasured historical satire, played out in two very different socioeconomic worlds of 16th-century England, centers around the lives of two boys born in London on the same day: Edward, Prince of Wales and Tom Canty, a street beggar. During a chance encounter, the two realize they are identical and, as a lark, decide to exchange clothes and roles–a situation that briefly, but drastically, alters the lives of both youngsters. The Prince, dressed in rags, wanders about the city’s boisterous neighborhoods among the lower classes and endures a series of hardships; meanwhile, poor Tom, now living with the royals, is constantly filled with the dread of being discovered for who and what he really is.

Retelling Trope

Challenge: Read a book that is a retelling. Alternatively, read a book that has been adapted to a TV show and/or film.

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: This book has been on my TBR longer than almost any other. I’ve wanted to read the series since high school. So, I thought this Arthurian retelling would be the perfect fit for this challenge.

Goodreads Synopsis: Fifth century Britain is a country of chaos and division after the Roman withdrawal. This is the world of young Merlin, the illegitimate child of a South Wales princess who will not reveal to her son his father’s true identity. Yet Merlin is an extraordinary child, aware at the earliest age that he possesses a great natural gift – the Sight. Against a background of invasion and imprisonment, wars and conquest, Merlin emerges into manhood, and accepts his dramatic role in the New Beginning – the coming of King Arthur.

Team Challenge 1: There Be Dragons!! (Read a book featuring dragons)

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: Everyone has been raving about this book, and it has what looks to be a dragon clearly plastered on the cover.

Goodreads Synopsis: Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.

After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave – or desperate – enough to seek them out.

Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods . . .

Team Challenge 2: Read a book featuring the “Prophecy” trope

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: I wanted a challenge, and this book is huge. It was also recommended by the readathon organizers as a book that fits well with this prompt. So, I’m going to give it a shot.

Goodreads Synopsis: A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

New Team Book: She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Reason(s) I Chose This Book: Of the two team book choices, I picked this one because I’m very excited to finally read this book. I also recently read the other potential choice. So, it wasn’t really a choice at all.

Goodreads Synopsis: Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

There you have it! All my choices for the Trope-ical Readathon! I don’t plan to review all these books this month, but I’m going to try my best to get them all read. I plan to focus more on reading than posting. So, I’ll probably have a slightly smaller presence on the blog than the last few months, but I’m going to try to stick to at least two reviews and two memes per week. Are you participating in the readathon? Let me know in the comments and link your TBR! I’d love to see what you’re reading.

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