Author's Note

My Top 5 Books I DIDN’T Read This Year

While everyone’s posting their favourite books of the year, I’m putting mine off for a bit, because there are still several hours of reading time left – who knows if I’ll discover a new favourite for the year in that time?! But what keeps sticking in my mind is how many amazing books I didn’t get the chance to read this year, even though they have been sitting on my TBR tempting me. I’ve mentioned quite a bit in my monthly check ins that I’ve not had the brain power for anything particularly intricate recently, but I wanted to highlight a few books that I wish I’d gotten to, and that I’m pretty sure are going to be 5 star reads when I do get to them!

(A quick note that all these books were sent free of charge for review, with the exception of Lady of Shadows, which I won from the publisher in a competition.)

Call of the Bone Ships by RJ Barker

The Bone Ships blew me away with its inventive world and swashbuckling style – you can see my review here, where I described it as “weirdly wholesome but also deviously dark”. The story so far plays with gender in clever ways, and has some wonderful characters – I’m excited to read this sequel and carry on with the story.

Dead Man in a Ditch by Luke Arnold

Another sequel to a book I adored – you can check out my ten-cat review of the masterful urban fantasy noir, The Last Smile in Sunder City here. I’ve actually been putting this off simply because I want to save it for exactly the right time, and let it wash over me in a wave of brilliance the way the first one did – I might have to book some babysitting time so I can devour it in one go.

Lady of Shadows by Breanna Teintze

Look, this is mostly all sequels, because a) a lot of them came out this year, and b) when I’ve had a taste of how good a book can be, I want to savour any subsequent books in the series – which isn’t ideal when I don’t have much savouring time. Anyway, Lady of Shadows is a continuation of Lord of Secrets, which is one of the most perfect fantasy adventures I’ve ever read (think if The Mummy films were about disaster wizards, thieves, and necromancers!) – you can find my review for that here. This is a book I’m saving for a real pick-me-up and I can’t wait to see what trouble the characters can get into next!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow

Not a sequel! This is, however, Alix E Harrow’s second book, and after she hit my elite ten-cat favourites list with the gorgeous, hopeful The Ten Thousand Doors of January (review for that here), I was even more excited to hear about this alternate history tale of suffragette witches. I’m expecting this one to be a slow, but beautiful read – plus, look how lovely and chonky it is!

Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke

The sequel to the immensely fun City of Lies (review here), Hollow Empire is sneaking onto this list even though I’m actually halfway through it already. I won’t finish it this year, because I’m squashing in a few shorter things to boost my numbers tonight, but it’s on track to be finished soon and I am so excited to see how things progress, because it’s engrossing so far! This is super smart political fantasy with a great central sibling relationship and a spot-on depiction of that ‘I need an adult – wait, I’m an adult’ feeling I think a lot of us have had this year.

So, there we go – my five favourite books I didn’t actually read this year. I hope I’m not the only one who puts off their most anticipated books for too long..?

Author's Note

TBR Check In: December 2020

Wow, that’s two whole years of check in posts… Did November fly by for anyone else? I feel like it was an okay reading month – not as great as October, but still pretty good!

Goodreads Reading Challenge

I read 23 books in November, which is not bad! That brings me up to 300 for the year, so I’m doing well even though I may not get to 365 (my secret stretch goal) unless I start reading a lot of graphic novels and chapter books. I struggled to find time to read this month as things have been fairly intense baby-wise – he’s delightful but very hands-on! Ten of those books were historical romance, and only three were middle grade, so I am at least starting to get through some adult fantasy, which is great. I wish I’d read more though, as I am definitely feeling like my book buying and book reading speed are getting further and further apart…

My Owned TBR

The TBR is up this month, eek, even though I thought I’d slowed down a bit on the books coming in. 45 books came in, which means I’m up to 489 on the TBR – so unless I do some serious reading and unhauling in December, I likely won’t make my goal for the year to get it down to 450. And that’s not even taking into account Christmas! I’m quite disappointed in myself for not getting on top of this – I didn’t think I was so much of a hopeless case. And I’m not even sure a book buying ban will be doable, as I always get tempted to shop around this time of year because I hate living in the dark. Hm, I’ll have to think about this.


I have 23 books awaiting review on NetGalley, but I only submitted 5 reviews this month. Four of the books waiting have been read, but just need their reviews typing up, but I need to make an effort to focus on NetGalley this month to make sure nothing here goes overdue. I’m super excited for The Mask of Mirrors by MA Carrick and The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani.


Overall it was a good reading month, but a bad one for my TBR! I think I need a plan of attack for December that has three prongs:

  • A book buying ban til Christmas – review copies should slow down through December anyway.
  • An unhaul of unread books – there must be stuff I no longer fancy.
  • A push to read some of my shortest books just to get them out of the way!

I’m not sure I’ll knock 50 books off the list, but I can maybe make a bit of progress towards that goal!