Author's Note

TBR Check In: December 2019

Well, it’s the last check in of the year already! This year has been a very interesting one: the trip of a lifetime, my first WorldCon, some rotten phases of health, and for those of you who haven’t seen on Twitter, the big news is that I’m pregnant! It’s a wonder I’ve got any reading done at all, to be honest, but I’ve read even more than I was hoping to this year, and discovered some new favourites that will stick with me for a long time.  On to the goals!

Goodreads Reading Challenge


As I said last month, I haven’t upped my goal from 365 even though I’ve passed it, as I’m enjoying seeing how many more books I can finish without any particular pressure. November was a great month for reading, with 41 books read, bringing me up to 409 in total. If I can match that this month, I’ll hit 450 for the year, but it seems a little unlikely since Christmas is likely to knock out a few days. Still, I’m very pleased to be back to normal amounts after my worst month all year in October.

My Owned TBR

My TBR is down to 588, which is amazing for me! That’s a real downwards trend, 31 books down despite adding 15 through #bookpost and NetGalley and buying one. I had a bit of help from my mum and Judith to clear the shelves of things I wasn’t interested in anymore, and I’ve been very ruthless with books that don’t grab me in the first 100 pages. I’m really hoping to keep it under 600 by the end of the year, and maybe even get it down further..?


Last month I wanted to get my NetGalley shelves down from 148 to 130, and I’m pleased to say I did that and more, making it all the way down to 121! I read lots, and I pulled together several reviews that had been waiting a while for already-read books, and I submitted a total of 32 reviews in November. I had a few approvals for new books, but I haven’t requested anything much in ages, so this is doing well.

Blog Tours

Just the one blog tour this month – The Naseby Horses by Dominic Brownlow, on the 7th December. I’ve been making a conscious effort to step back from accepting tour invites, as I find the deadlines stressful, and often have to pull out because I haven’t enjoyed a book – I’d rather read and review at my leisure, with no pressure to write a positive review.


I’m taking part in KA Doore’s #NaNoReadMo, which is a low pressure reading challenge based on NaNoWriMo. I’m planning on using it to chop down through my stack of physical review copies, as they take up quite a bit of space on my desk! Here’s what we’re playing with:


So that’s 29 books (Jade City is there because I have a review copy of Jade War, but need to read the first book before I can start it, so it counts as two)! I don’t expect to get through them all, as I have some Kindle reading to do too, and I like to leave myself space for mood reading, but I’d like to at least get this down by half so I can have one stack to start the New Year with. Looks like it’s going to be a pretty fantasy-heavy month! Anything here you think I should start with?

Tags and Fun

Blog Tour: The Sword of Kaigen

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I’m so happy to be bringing you a fantastic guest post from author ML Wang to celebrate the blog tour for The Sword of Kaigen, an epic fantasy with a martial arts twist! Read on for the author’s thoughts on creating fantasy religions…


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Book Reviews

Review: The Last Smile in Sunder City

The term ‘most anticipated book of the year’ gets thrown around a lot in book blogging (I do it too, I know!) but I have genuinely been on the edge of my seat to read this since the announcement that it had been picked up – and it’s not even out until February 2020! The Last Smile in Sunder City is the debut novel by Luke Arnold, who just so happens to play my favourite character in one of my favourite shows, Black Sails (which you should totally watch). Great acting doesn’t necessarily mean great writing, so I was apprehensive, but wow, was this man blessed when they handed out creativity, because this book is absolutely PHENOMENAL.

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Book Reviews

Multi-Review: Darcy Burke’s Love Is All Around Trilogy

Darcy Burke is one of the few Regency romance authors who I trust enough that I pick up every release, so I was really looking forward to her new Christmas trilogy! Here are mini-reviews of each of the three books – I thought they’d work best reviewed together, as the stories all intertwine and focus on the same time period from the perspective of three siblings.

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Book Reviews

Review: Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister

Wild Swans is one of the books that has had the most impact on me in my life. I read it as a teenager and it blew my mind that there was all this history that I’d never been taught about, and it showed the impact of these huge historical events, so easy to sweep over in a paragraph or two in a textbook, on individuals in a heartbreaking, personal way. Since then, I’ve faithfully read everything else by Jung Chang, and I was over the moon to have the chance to review her newest book, Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister.

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