Author's Note

My Friends Pick My TBR!

I had a lot of fun the last time I let people pick my TBR for me (way back in November 2018!), so I thought I’d give it another go! I asked Justine, Judith, my mum and my husband to choose a few things each that they wanted me to read (and then I snuck in a few myself), so let’s see what they went for…

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Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton: Justine says, “I think you’ll love this. It’s a harem book with lots of politicking and backstabbing and ladies with shifting alliances.” I recently finished the first book in the series, so I’m excited to read this.

The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman: This is one of my sneaky picks. I mentioned in my goals post yesterday that I wanted to continue with this series, and I don’t want to lose momentum as I’ve been reading one a week so far!

The Year of the Snake by MJ Trow and Maryanne Coleman: Perry says, “It’s a New Year read and this had Year and Snake in the title!” I won this in a competition ages ago and can’t believe I haven’t got round to it yet.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff: Mum says, “Because if you don’t like it, that’s a whole trilogy you can knock off the list. And if you do (training montages up the wazoo) you need to catch up!” Two very fair points!

Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic: Judith says, “I want to see what you think of it, because people are mixed, but I liked the concept.” To be honest I forgot I had this, so it’s good to bring it up to the top of the list.

A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause: This is my other pick, because it’s one of my oldest ARCs and needs reviewing ASAP!

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard: Mum says, “I think you’ll know quickly if it’s for you.” Mysterious, but I’m looking forward to it.

Seafire by Natalie C Parker: Justine says, “Pirates! Reportedly good female friendships! Also, I want you to report back on it because it has been sitting on my shelf for a while.” It’s been on mine for ages too, despite buying the US edition to get it earlier than the UK publication date, and I do like pirates…

The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty: Perry says, “Taps to add one mana of any colour, but you lose 1 life.” I assume this is a Magic: The Gathering reference I don’t get, but it’s as good an excuse as any to read this, which has been waiting a while!

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor: Mum says, “So I can finally discuss and not fear spoilers. And it’s beautiful. In all ways.” I may need to read a quick recap of Strange the Dreamer before I start, but I do very much need to finish this gorgeous duology.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Mum says, “This is like a glossy afternoon movie, you’ll whisk through it quickly.” I’ve certainly been meaning to read it for ages, so it’s good to hear it’s quick!

Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao: Judith says, “Because honestly, I don’t know if I want to read it, and that way you can just tell me if it’s worth it.” I requested this before I knew it was based on the story of Anastasia, and since that’s a bit of a pet hate of mine (along with most things set in Russia/fantasy Russia, I don’t think I’m going to like it. But I need to at least try as it’s a NetGalley ARC!

A Harmony of Fire and Earth by Antonia Aquilante: Perry says, ” You’ve got to have one “An X OF Y AND Z” title in there.” Perry has heard me rant about how boring YA fantasy titles are before! This is actually not YA, but is the sequel to an adult m/m fantasy romance I really enjoyed last year, so I’m looking forward to reading it!

And that’s it! 13 books for me to try, (mostly) on the recommendation of others. And they haven’t gone easy on me either, there are some big old books in there!

Author's Note

TBR Check In: 2020 Goals

I thought it would be fun both to look back at what I thought I might achieve this time last year, and to set myself some new goals!

Hanging over everything is the query as to whether I will have much time for reading and reviewing after May. I’m going to be really lenient with my yearly goals, and much more focused on smaller, more achievable ones.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

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I absolutely smashed my goal of 365 books in 2019, finishing up with 450 for the year! I’m really proud of this, as I think it’s probably the most I’ve ever read (I didn’t start seriously tracking til April 2018, when I started this blog).

For 2020, I’m thinking 200 will be a fairly safe goal. It’s definitely not me at my reading best, but leaves me loads of time to chill out and not worry about anything. And if it turns out I can still read at my normal pace while looking after a baby, well – I can always move the goalposts up!

My Owned TBR

As of January 1st 2019, my TBR page had 395 books, and I wanted to cut it down by 20 books each month, leaving me with no more than 155. That was… optimistic? Laughable? As of today, my TBR’s sitting at 574, which means a total gain of 179 over the year. I’ve been making great progress getting this down (at one point it was approaching 650!), so I’d like to continue this. I did achieve my later goal of keeping the TBR under 600 by the end of the year.

Let’s aim to get it under 450 by the end of 2020. Since I’m pulling back from NetGalley and blog tours, I should have only review copies I’m extremely excited for, and I definitely won’t have much time or money for book shopping after the spring!

Blog Tours

I am semi-retiring from blog tours. I’m only going to take them if they are for authors or series I already know I adore. I find the pressure of knowing I need to write a positive review (or pull out) hugely influences the book while I’m reading it, which often ends up with me not allowing myself to just enjoy a book. I’d rather read without worrying and then review if I feel like it, as I feel it’s fairer to me and the book.

Kindle Unlimited

I want to read all 10 titles I currently have out with Kindle Unlimited, and then cancel my subscription – I have so many books to read that I really don’t need to pay for the privilege of keeping 10 more on my TBR! The books are:

  • The Horse Lord by Peter Morwood
  • The Complete Dukes of War collection by Erica Ridley (I only need to read two of these)
  • Cara’s Twelve by Chantel Seabrook
  • Fire Falling by Elise Kova
  • The Confectioner’s Coup by Claire Luana
  • Enchanting the King by ED Walker
  • Poseidon’s Academy and the Deadly Disease by Sarah A Vogler
  • Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe
  • A Thief and a Gentlewoman by Clare Sager
  • Heartless by Anne Elizabeth Stengl

Hopefully I can do this before the March billing comes around!

NetGalley

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When I started 2019, I had only 55 NetGalley books, and I wanted to halve them. What an innocent I was. After going nearly all the way up to 150, I’m on a downwards turn and currently sitting at 115. A few of these are read and just waiting to be reviewed (if I can remember what they’re about…). I’m currently at 71%.

Here’s my goal for 2020: completely clear the list by the end of May. Yep, have NO books on the list, and hit that elusive 100%. It’s gonna be tough. It’s going to need focus. But I think I can do it. This also relies on me not requesting new things, which I have been getting better at, but I’m definitely not perfect yet… The thing is, I prefer physical books so much that I might as well request physical ARCs, in order to prioritise them, or wait for the release date so there’s no time pressure.

Finish Series

I’ve shamelessly stolen this idea from Justine at I Should Read That, because I have so many series sitting around unfinished! I’d like to move on with all of these:

  • the Flavia Albia series by Lindsey Davis. I’m an enormous Falco fan and have read his 20 books multiple times, but I’ve gotten so behind on this spin-off series about his adopted daughter Albia. Currently I’ve only read 1/7 (with the 8th coming in July 2020).
  • The Chronicles of St Mary’s by Jodi Taylor. I love the first two books of these smart, fun time-travel romps, but I’ve never got further than that! 2/10 are read, with the 11th coming in April 2020, plus bucketloads of short stories and a spin-off series that already has one book out.
  • The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. These books are utterly fantastic, and I’ve been catching up in the last couple of months. I need to keep up to date. 4/6 are read, and 7 and 8 are coming but don’t currently have publication dates.
  • The Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell. Awesome Wild West-y magic that by all descriptions shouldn’t be my thing, but totally is. I’ve read 3/6 (but at least the series is finished, ready to be caught up with!).

Wish me luck! I’d love to see your goals, if you’ve done a post, or let me know in the comments what you’re hoping to read this year!