Tags and Fun

February TBR Challenge: Finish It Up Feb

This is pretty much the opposite of last month’s challenge – in February I want to finish some series that I’ve had ongoing for a while! I’ve picked six sequels where I’m eager to know how things end. Want to see what they are?

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Tags and Fun

January TBR Challenge: New Year, New Starts

In the spirit of fresh starts, this month I thought I’d focus in on starting some new series that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while! I’ve chosen six books that kick off duologies, trilogies or longer series, and I’m starting them all to see if I want to continue on, or if I can take the rest of the series off my shelves.

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Tags and Fun

November TBR Challenge: Non-Stop NetGalley

My NetGalley shelves are really getting out of hand, so this month my TBR challenge is going to be focused on reading some of the books I’ve been sent e-ARCS of (and in many cases physical review copies too!) and getting those reviews logged. For several years now I’ve run a mini-challenge of #NonStopNetGalley over on Twitter, so that’s what’s going to be happening all month! I’ve picked out nine of the NetGalley books I’m most excited for – want to see what we’ve got?

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Book Reviews

August TBR Challenge: A is for August Mid-Month Check In

I’ve had a bit of a slow start to August – between a writing deadline and a reading slump I think it was the 7th before I finished a book! However, I’ve made a little bit of progress on my challenge TBR (see here for the introduction post), so here are some quick thoughts on the five books I’ve got to so far:

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Author's Note

June TBR Challenge: Just Get On With It

Can you hear the exasperation in that title?! As you’ll have no doubt seen if you read my May Wrap Up post yesterday, I’ve really been struggling to get my TBR down in the last few months. I’ve been so hectically busy with other projects that my reading rate has fallen below my books-in rate, so this month I’ve decided to focus on a few books that feel like they’re looming large on my to-do list – not necessarily long books, but just things I keep thinking about. I’m also dropping the number to just nine books, as the last couple of months I haven’t managed to finish longer TBRs, and I can always add more later if I need to!

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Tags and Fun

April Reading Challenge: Spring Cleaning Wrap Up

This post is coming to you a little early this month, because I managed to fill up the last few days of the month with blog tour posts! If you would like a refresher of April’s challenge this month, you can check out my TBR post, and if you want to see the eight challenge books I read in the first half of April, that’s here. Two weeks ago I had five books left on the list – I didn’t manage to finish them all, but I did tick off three!

First up was Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B Larsen, which was a DNF for me. I think I probably would have enjoyed this much more if I’d read it as a teen; unfortunately it only came out in 2018, and I think even by then, its super-perfect lavender-haired, violet-eyed princess heroine and its learning-to-use-your-royal-magic themes would have been a bit dated. The first 100 pages of the book were mostly flirting, training sequences, and descriptions of how stunningly gorgeous everyone was, and I just really struggled to become interested. It’s a shame, because I think Swan Lake is under-used as inspiration generally!

After that I tackled A Darkness of Dragons by SA Patrick, which as I mentioned in my TBR post, I’d started before and not managed to get very far into. This time I persevered, and I really do think that the first 150 pages of this book are a slog, and not necessarily representative of the rest of it. The beginning is very slow and extremely dark – like mass murder, horrifying prison conditions, cruel punishments and insane prisoners screaming through the night dark – but the rest of it is a fairly standard upper middle grade fantasy adventure, with bandits, a girl cursed into the form of a rat, various odd magic users and a half-dragon, half-griffin. It’s a little bit dark, definitely 10+, but not nearly as violent or grim as the beginning – it’s a jarring switch and I honestly would have started the book with Patch’s escape from prison and hand-waved the backstory to get things moving earlier. Once the second part of the book was underway, though, this is a pretty fun fantasy adventure, if a little bit heavy on the ‘your princess is in another castle’ trope. I’d read the sequels if I saw them in the library!

My next read was The Archived by VE Schwab, the first book in The Dark Vault bind-up. I was surprised how much I liked it – I was only planning to read a few dozen pages to test the waters, but I ended up finding myself at 100 pages before I knew it. Like all of Schwab’s writing, it’s certainly very readable, and the concept is cool. I didn’t love the main character, who was a bit too much of a traditional punchy YA heroine for me, and the romance particularly felt very predictable by YA standards, but it’s an enjoyable time. There’s a lot of discussion of death, particularly child and sibling death, so it’s one to go carefully into if that’s not your favourite thing. I think I’ll try to read the sequel quite soon, so I can see if the duology overall is one I want to keep!

So I didn’t manage to get to Grounded or Sherwood, but given that I added two books halfway through, I suppose I did actually tick off the planned amount of spring cleaning books! Though I enjoyed most of them more than I thought I would, I ended up deciding to rehome 9 of those 12, so that’s a decent chunk of shelf space regained (though you wouldn’t be able to tell!). I’m definitely going to try this again at some point – it’s been a great exercise in recognising where my tastes have changed.