Author's Note

TBR Check In: May 2021

April disappeared in moments and it’s May already! I feel like I blinked and missed it, so this isn’t the most progress I’ve ever made on my reading goals, but still, let’s see how I got on…

Goodreads Challenge

April definitely wasn’t as good as March’s 56 books, but I read a respectable 25 books! I’m up to 147 for the year, so almost halfway through. I’ve been focusing on slightly longer reads, but I’ve also been hard at work on some other projects and jobs, so I’ve simply not been doing as much reading. I think May should be a pretty good reading month, so I’m hoping to match or better April’s tally.

My Owned TBR

My goal for April was to get down from 473 to 460 books on the TBR, and I’d like it to be a matter of public record that I totally achieved this before my birthday knocked things out of whack again! On April 29th I had 456 books on the TBR, so I aced it – but then yesterday I was treated to far more books than I was expecting by my lovely family and friends, and it’s now crept back up to 473… I’d say unfortunately, but actually I’m so happy and grateful to have so many lovely new books! And it is still technically a reduction, so it’s a good job I did the reading I did!

I’m still setting monthly goals for this one, as they seem to be working, so I’d like to hit 460 for real by the end of May – and then keep it under that number!

Physical Review Copies

I sort of lost track of the spreadsheet I use to track my review copies, but I’m pretty sure this has gone up to 60 physical review copies awaiting review, though far more of them (25!) are read and just waiting on me to have the time to type my review up. I think I’d better focus on the actual writing rather than the reading this month, and clear that backlog. I’d like to get this down to 50 by the start of June.

Wrap Up

My reading was a little bit less intense this month, but I still had some books I really enjoyed!

Least favourite: Random Sh*t Flying Through the Air by Jackson Ford

Favourites: The Midnight Bargain by CL Polk; The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller; Otherland by Louie Stowell

Shortest: Find Tom in Time: Ancient Rome by Fatti Burke

Longest: Daughter of No Worlds by Carissa Broadbent

How was your reading month? If you have a wrap-up post, I’d love to see it!

Author's Note

TBR Check In: April 2021

It’s already April, unbelievably, so it’s time to check in on not only the last month, but also the quarterly goals I set myself at the beginning of the year! This will be quite a chatty check in, so I’ve bolded my new goals for easier reading.

Goodreads Challenge

This month has been a phenomenal reading month for me – my best since I started keeping track on the blog! I read 56 books in March, bringing me up to a total of 122 so far this year.

This was definitely helped by the introduction of #SweepUpYourSmols, which is my new readathon – you may be aware I’ve run #ConquerAChonker for a good while now, which is where you spend a weekend making time to read a long book, but I’ve just added this sister readathon, where you spend the weekend after reading the shortest books on your TBR. When I take the time to read a longer book over several days, I always feel like I need to swing back the other way to avoid getting slumpy, and it definitely did what I wanted it to! I read 11 books under 300 pages over the #SweepUpYourSmols weekend alone.

It also helped that I started to get very frustrated with my TBR, as I’ll discuss in the next section, so I really made a huge push to weed out some older things I knew I wouldn’t want to keep or review! I DNFed a bunch of things too, but I don’t tend to count those anywhere.

As a reminder, I’m aiming for 300 books read in 2021, so I’m pretty sure I’m doing okay… I really need to work on actually logging these in Goodreads, though!

My Owned TBR

My goal for April 1st was to go from 505 books to 480 books on my TBR. I ended up at 473, which I’m really pleased with! During March, I realised I had totally failed on getting the TBR below 500 – it went up during January, and I started March at 509 books. So really, all the reading down happened in the last month!

However, I’m even more frustrated with my TBR as a whole than I was on January 1st. It’s got to the point where even books I was incredibly excited to read when I got them have started to feel more like obligations, and I genuinely hate having to choose my next read because I have to prioritise one book over all the other hundreds waiting.

I feel like having such a large TBR keeps me on the back foot when it comes to reading. I’ve not been able to do any rereads for a long time, which means some of my very favourite books I haven’t touched in a couple of years. I also feel like it means I don’t get the chance to show you the books that really represent my reading taste, but are less current – I never talk about my love of Robin Hobb, for example! At my current reading rate, I have just about a year and a half’s worth of books planned out for me in advance, and that’s really not as much fun as being able to read more freely – plus, I have a baby, a job, and a ton of other hobbies, so I can’t spend all my time as focused as I was in March! Great books are only going to keep getting released, so something has to give. Clearing out my TBR to be somewhere under 100 would give me so much breathing space – I don’t know when I’ll get there, but I’m determined to make it at some point.

This time, I’m going to be setting a monthly goal (to avoid that last minute crunch again), so by May 1st, I’d like to have no more than 460 books on the TBR. It’s only a reduction of 13 books overall, but my birthday is at the end of April so I’m leaving lots of room for any book-shaped presents!

Physical Review Copies

I’m back down from 62 to 57 physical review copies, with 11 read and awaiting review, 7 of which are for two Kitten Corner posts. This is definitely not going well! I started the year with 47, and although there has been a lot of turnover, I have been hugely lucky with ARCs being sent to me both requested and unsolicited, and I spent a lot of time in March focusing on clearing out books other than review copies, as I mentioned. I was supposed to be getting down to 30 by April 1st, so I’m clearly going to need to rethink this one. It’s not just about reading them, it’s about making time to review them too! I think a smaller monthly goal will help, so let’s say I’ll try to get this down to 50 by May 1st. I don’t have too many requests in with publishers for April/May, so hopefully I’ll surpass this.

Wrap Up

I actually had a great month, despite having to re-evaluate some of my goals. Most of the 54 books I read I really enjoyed, even the ones I decided not to keep!

Least favourite: A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick; The Book of Swords Part 2 ed. Gardner Dozois

Favourites: To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers; Voidbreaker by David Dalglish; The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis

Shortest: Sometimes by Stephanie Stansbie and Elisa Paganelli

Longest: Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

How was your reading month? If you have a wrap-up post, I’d love to see it!

Author's Note

New Books from February 21st – March 6th!

I missed a week last week – life got in the way – but I only had a couple of things to show you, so I’m just going to roll them together into today’s post!

ARCs and Review Copies

Even and Odd by Sara Beth Durst

I enjoy Sarah Beth Durst’s writing in all age brackets, so I’m looking forward to this middle grade fantasy I picked up on NetGalley, which follows twin sisters on a magical quest. It promises wizards, unicorns, and a portal to another world, which is definitely a recipe for a book up my street!

The Way of the Argosi by Sebastien de Castell

This is the prequel to one of my favourite YA fantasy series (check out my Spellslinger review for more about that). We know Ferius Parfax as the card-fighting, gun-toting, hat-wearing mentor to Spellslinger‘s protagonist, but in this new book we get to glimpse her youth and her first steps onto the path of the Argosi. I’m so excited – this is a NetGalley eARC but I will eventually be buying the hardback!

Continue reading “New Books from February 21st – March 6th!”
Author's Note

TBR Check In: March

Goodreads Challenge

I’m very behind on logging books into Goodreads, but my own TBR tells me I read 38 books in February, which is brilliant, especially for such a short month! February is historically a really good month for me reading-wise, I don’t know why… I’m at a total of 67 books read currently so ahead of where I need to be for reaching that goal of 300 for the year, but I’ve been pretty slumpy for the last week or so, so I’m not sure how much reading I’ll get done in March – we’ll see!

My Owned TBR

I promised an unhaul last month and I ended up doing a huge one! Over 60 books left my shelves, and though the majority were books I’d already read and decided not to keep, I did knock a few things off the TBR that I’d lost interest in. The total is down this month, from 517 to 509 (though it’s still higher than January 1st thanks to a lot of lovely review copies!) so I’m making some progress towards my quarterly goal. Tracking all the books that come in has been a great idea for keeping me on top of it, and I’m also keeping a tally of how much I spend on books, which is definitely making me think twice about buying more. Wish me luck getting this down again – I’d love to report back on April 1st and tell you I’ve hit that goal (just, uh, 39 books to get off the list…)

Physical Review Copies

Last month I had 57 physical review copies awaiting review, and this month it’s 62. I have reviews for 12 of them scheduled or part-written, so it’s just a case of getting those up and then getting stuck into the rest. I’m so annoyed that this category is only getting worse – I really need some time to write up these reviews, but I’m just so busy with baby things!

Book of the Month

February’s books of the month were:

  • Dead Man in a Ditch by Luke Arnold
  • Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore
  • Master of One by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett

and I only managed to read Dead Man in a Ditch. It was brilliant, though, and I’m so glad I made time for it! I’m going to drop to two books for March to try to coax my mood-reading self into actually getting to them, so I’ll be aiming to read:

  • Dragon Tamer by Ophelia Silk
  • Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen

Wrap Up

I’m adding a new section! I thought it would be nice to give you a little glimpse into what, as well as how much I’ve been reading, so:

Least favourites: The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson; The Jewel by Amy Ewing; Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Favourites: Dead Man in a Ditch by Luke Arnold; A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker; Picklewitch and Jack and the Sea-Wizard’s Secret by Claire Barker; The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting by KJ Charles; Botanical Curses and Poisons by Fez Inkwright

Shortest: Love by Emma Dodd

Longest: The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson and Dead Man in a Ditch by Luke Arnold tie at 464 pages!

How was your reading month? If you have a wrap-up post, I’d love to see it!

Author's Note

This Week’s New Books #7

I thought I was doing so well this week but then I put this post together and realised that I really wasn’t, haha! I write these posts on Friday mornings, even though they go up on Saturdays, and I had a totally unexpected huge delivery last Saturday morning that played havoc with my numbers (although I’m delighted to have had it)! Read on to see what’s been added to the TBR this week, from picture books to epic fantasy and more…

ARCs and review copies

I had the most amazing parcel from the fabulous Little Tiger Books this week, absolutely chock-full of lovely picture books and board books for me to review on Kitten Corner! Just take a look at all of these pretties!

Bear and Mouse: Birthday Party by Nicola Edwards and Maria Neradova

I Can Learn My First Shapes: Busy Day by Lauren Crisp and Thomas Elliott

Where’s My Dinosaur? by Kate McLelland

Little Hen Little Hen What Can You See? by Amelia Hepworth and Pintachan

These four board books all have different fun interactive elements, from flaps to sliders to feely bits to twirly bits – they’ll be great for little hands! Look out for reviews in an upcoming Kitten Corner post!

Continue reading “This Week’s New Books #7”
Author's Note

This Week’s New Books #6

Another pretty hefty week – but I’m not feeling too bad about things as I did do an enormous unhaul and got rid of nearly 40 physical books from my shelves! I should probably cool it on NetGalley for a few weeks, though…

ARCs and review copies

The first three are all from NetGalley!

Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding

This new series, featuring a young Jane Austen investigating mysteries, looks like a lot of fun – and that’s a really cool cover.

The Magic Place by Chris Wormell

I’m always on the lookout for middle grade fantasy featuring cats, so this was an obvious one for me to request (the cat is named Gilbert!).

Continue reading “This Week’s New Books #6”
Author's Note

This Week’s New Books #5

Oof, it’s been a big week for new books for me! I can’t believe how many have come in since last Saturday – someone at NetGalley had a funny five minutes this week and approved me for a whole bunch of requests that had been hanging around for ages, which has done a lot of the damage (everything without a physical copy here is from NetGalley!), but they’re all things I’m excited for – so let’s get to it!

ARCS and review copies

Sprite and the Gardener by Rii Abrego and Joe Whitt

I’ve really enjoyed the graphic novels I’ve read from Oni Press before, and this one looked like it had really beautiful art, so I jumped in when I saw it on NetGalley without knowing too much else about it. This should be a fairly quick read for me, I hope.

The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Lu

I’ve never read Monstress, but I’ve always admired the art style, so I’m very intrigued by this collection of shorter dark fantasy fiction from Marjorie Lu. This was another cover-induced click – I mean, just look at it!

Nightingale by Deva Fagan

Middle grade fantasy is one of my favourite things, and when I saw the words “stealing a magical sword right out from under the nose of Prince Jasper” and “heist goes off the rails” I was sold!

Continue reading “This Week’s New Books #5”
Author's Note

TBR Check In: February 2021

Goodreads Challenge

I read 27 books in January, which is a pretty good, if not spectacular, month for me! That puts me more or less exactly on track for that 300 in 2021, so that’s excellent. If you’d have asked me offhand, I don’t think I would have said it’s been a particularly good reading month, but I did have some wonderful reads, including two proofreads of forthcoming books that I’m very excited for. I also lucked out by reading a strong contender for favourite book of the year as my very first read – Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater was a great way to kick off January!

My Owned TBR

So, I’m aiming for 480 books by the end of March, and I’m going to be honest… it’s not going well. Over January my TBR has increased from 505 to 517. You may have seen that I’m now tracking the books that come in each week, and it’s definitely making me think twice about requesting and buying new books, so I’m determined that next month will be better. I also feel like an unhaul is on the cards…

Physical Review Copies

I spent some time this month making a much nicer spreadsheet for my review copies, and while that’s been really helpful, I’m sorry to say that this number has increased too, from 47 to 57. Eleven of those are picture or board books, so shouldn’t be too bad, but I do need to crack on with a few of these!

Book of the Month

January’s books of the month were:

  • Master Artificer by Justin Call
  • Heart of Stone by Johannes T Evans
  • Dead Man in a Ditch by Luke Arnold
  • Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

and I did read the first two! I’m especially pleased I found time for the enormous chonk that is Master Artificer – I loved it (my review will be up soon), but I really had to sit down and focus on something with so many plotlines and characters. Even though it helped to have this mini TBR to focus on, I still found myself getting sidetracked over the month, so I think I’ll make it a little easier this month and just choose three. Dead Man in a Ditch and Winterkeep will carry over, and joining them will be Master of One by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett.

How was your reading month? If you have a wrap-up post, I’d love to see it!

Author's Note

This Week’s New Books #4

I almost managed not to buy any books this week! That doesn’t mean I don’t have plenty of new ones to show you, though…

ARCs and review copies

Switch-A-Picture: Day and Night by Harriet Evans and Lirios Bou; I Can Learn: Dinosaurs by Lauren Crisp and Thomas Elliott; and Who Said Cheep? by Yi-Hsuan Wu 

These three board books from Little Tiger all have different kinds of interactive flaps and sliders. These kinds of playful books are getting a lot of love at the moment in this house, so I’m hoping that these will also be a hit – so far Day and Night has been the favourite, with its sliding images! Dinosaurs is a bit advanced for my little one, with a lot of words on each page and quite delicate flaps, but is so lovely and I’m looking forward to sharing it with him once he’s a little older.

A Little Bit Worried by Ciara Gavin and Tim Warnes; I’m Sorry by Barry Timms and Sean Julian; and Along Came A Fox by Georgiana Deutsch and Cally Johnson-Isaacs

Little Tiger also sent me these three gorgeous picture books to review, and they make a surprisingly co-ordinated set with their night settings and orange forest animals! It’s always nice to find stories that tackle the topics of emotions, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the first two handle anxiety and apologies.

Dragon Tamer by Ophelia Silk

I really enjoyed DN Bryn’s Our Bloody Pearl, which was a wonderfully cute story that made my top books of 2020 list – my review of that is here! So when they offered me a chance to review their newest work (as part of writing team Ophelia Silk), I couldn’t resist – this fantasy romance looks like it’s going to be just as much fun. I love the description ‘idiot of idiots’ for the heroine in the blurb!

Journey Beyond the Burrow by Rina Heisel

I grew up on the Redwall books and I’m still a sucker for a mouse on an adventure, so I couldn’t resist requesting this on NetGalley – it looks so lovely! This should be a nice read to have on hand for when I need a bit of a palate cleanser between adult fantasies.

Purchased by me

A Sea of Pearls and Leaves

I was doing so well with not buying any books this week! But then I saw this gorgeous cover pop up in my BookBub recommendations, and when I clicked on it, the blurb sold me – a bi princess with a sorceress girlfriend and seven princely suitors competing for her hand! Plus, it has fantastic reviews, so it sort of accidentally fell onto my Kindle.

Have you read any of these? Or are you tempted by any of them? I’d love to know your thoughts!

(running 2021 total: 36 books in, 23 read. TBR at 517)

Author's Note

This Week’s New Books #3

Saturdays are coming around fast! I have a few new books to show you this week, so let’s get into it!

ARCs and review copies

How to be Brave by Daisy May Johnson

I’m about halfway through this NetGalley read at the moment and it’s weird, but fun. I requested it because the author is a big fan of classic girls’ school stories (one of my favourite genres) and this is about a girls’ boarding school, but it’s not exactly what I was expecting. I like it though!

The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme

This was a NetGalley book that I don’t even remember requesting – it must have sat for a long time before being approved! It looks like a fun YA fantasy romance with court intrigue, so definitely my kind of thing.

Continue reading “This Week’s New Books #3”