2020 was a good reading year for me. I set my goal on Goodreads as 15 but I managed to read 30. I haven’t reviewed many of these books, but I hope to do a better job this year.
I love reading people’s wrap up book posts, so I thought I would share my own. Hopefully this will make up for the fact I haven’t done many reviews through 2020.
Daevabad trilogy by S.A Chakraborty – 5 stars. I loved everything about this series. Imaginative, unusual, great setting, wonderful characters. I hope Chakraborty has a new book out soon, definitely up there with my favourite authors.
Firewalker Series by Emma Miles – 5 star series so far. I loved the first two books in the series and plan to make book 3 one of my first reads for 2021. Here’s my review of the series so far.
Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso. A cool start to a Urban Fantasy series that I hope to continue with this year. Here’s my review.
Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine. Last book in the Great Library books and I loved it. 5 stars across the whole series! Don’t know why I didn’t get around to reviewing it. My goodreads review;
The perfect end to the series. I loved reading these books over the last few years but feel it reached a natural and very satisfying conclusion. I imagine the characters having the happy ever after they deserve, at least for a little while!
Origins – Summoner series by Taran Matharu – Enjoyable and quick origin story for younger readers. It entertained me at the time though I’m ashamed to admit I don’t remember much of it. I know my son loved the series a few years ago, so it might be worth revisiting one day.
The Last Wish by Andrezej Sapkowski – I loved the Witcher series on Netflix and although this was a good introduction to the books, I didn’t love it as much as I was hoping too.
As I started writing a romance series myself in 2020, I challenged myself to read as many romances as I could. I’ve read some really great books but again haven’t reviewed as many as I would like.
Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas. Another fantastic romance by Jo Thomas. My review.
The Chestnut Tree by Jo Thomas. A sweet novella with Jo Thomas’ usual magic.
Chocolate Wishes by Trisha Ashley. Not a bad read, kept me entertained but I didn’t love it.
The Little Kiosk by the Sea by Jennifer Bohnet. Pretty good read.
Meet me at Beachcomer Bay by Jill Mansell. Very enjoyable story and I will be reading more of Jill Mansell’s books.
Katie’s Cornish Kitchen by Rosie Chambers – Another enjoyable romance that I highly recommend.
Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas – A heart-warming Christmas story. Maybe not quite as great as Jo’s other books but still very, very good!
Children of Sinai by Shelley Clarke – As I state in my review, this is a hard book to put into a category. It is well worth a read though. Check out my review here.
Operation Dawn Wolf by G.J. Stevens. This was a fast paced read, very gripping. Here’s my review.
White Knight, Black Swan – Ross Harding (David Gemmell fantasy legend!) A thriller by the great fantasy author David Gemmell. Despite it not being fantasy, it was still a great read.
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. I was surprisingly hooked by this book. It is worth a read.
I got really into my non-fiction books towards the end of 2020 and read quite a few on the craft of writing. They are all good and worth a read. I hope to share a bit more of a review on them in the future. For now, here are the covers to show what I’ve been reading…
Nigel by Monty Don – Lovely book about the dogs in Monty’s life. A tearjerker if you’re an animal person.
Astronomy by Patrick Moore – A research book for my Starlight Prophecy series though it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.
And that’s it as far as I can tell. It has been great to look back over my reads and it has inspired me to keep going through 2021. I’ve set my reading goal to 20. Who knows how the year will pan out. I am hoping to do a lot more writing this year and that is more important than anything else right now.
Happy reading and I look forward to sharing more books with you very soon.
Have you read any of these books? Do you have any favourites?
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy
Though I managed to reach my Goodreads target of 35 books in 2018, I decided to go for a more conservative figure in 2019. I want to focus on writing much more and don’t want to stress about reading. I’m aiming for 30 books.
I hate to be restricted in what I read so reading to a list doesn’t suit me. I found that the books I planned to read last year just didn’t happen. This year I want to go with the flow and read whatever takes my fancy.
That mindset will take over as of February, because I do have a couple of books that I need to read in January.
Currently reading my first ever ARC from Netgalley – The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. The official release date is 17th January and I want to post a review then. The book is going well so far, and is a very different kind of fantasy for me.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman is my January book group choice, and I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages so I’m looking forward to it.
I still have to read the book I won a few months ago – City of Lies by Sam Hawke. As a competition winner, I feel it’s only fair that I review this book once I’ve read it, but it is a big book and I keep unintentionally pushing it down my tbr list.
And there is a non-fiction book I’ve been meaning to read for ages ‘Writing short stories to promote your novels’ Rayne Hall’s writer’s craft series.
Plus I cannot forget to mention that I’m planning to re-read my own books (The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign) to fully immerse myself in the Silent Sea Chronicles ahead of completing the draft of book 3 – The Sentinel’s Alliance. I’m really excited to get stuck in, and can’t wait to show off the cover of book 3!
My thoughts on reviewing…
I fell out of love with reviewing books in 2018. I felt I didn’t have enough to say and some of my reviews were just going through the motions. So this year I only want to review books that I really loved and just have to share with you. I also want to read more writer’s guides and plan to review them and how they’ve helped me. I read a couple late last year. Once I’ve used the techniques mentioned I will share my thoughts on how they worked for me.
Tomorrow I will be sharing my first review of the year so you know it’s got to be a good book! Please stop by then.
I thought I would do a quick post on the books I bought during November’s SPFBO promo. I’m excited to add these to my Goodreads TBR, but I won’t state when I’ll read them as I still haven’t read the books I purchased during the previous sale. My TBR pile keeps growing and has reached 410. That is one of the reasons I only bought 8 books this time around, the other is I’ve spent all my money on ads. Anyway here they are…
Between the Shade and the Shadow – Coleman Alexander
Phoenix Descending – Dorothy Dreyer
The Dragon Song Saga – J C Lang
Sorcerous Rivalry – Kayleigh Nichol
A Keeper’s Tale – J A Andrews
Song – Jesse Teller
The Fire Eye Refugee – Samuel Gateley
Balam Springs – Travis M Riddle
I’m really excited by this collection. I tried to be guided by the blurbs and the covers rather than be influenced by reviews or what I’ve heard through the SPFBO pages. A couple of these I’ve had my eye on for a while so I was really pleased to find them in the sale and be able to support my fellow indie authors.
I can’t promise when I’ll read them, but I will review them on my blog, Amazon and Goodreads eventually.
I think I may have sold a couple of copies of my own 2016 SPFBO entry – Visions of Zarua but with the birthday blitz and a couple of ads running at the same time, its hard to know what sparked the purchases.
What did you pick up during the sale?
Did you pick up any of the books above? Or have you already read them?
My reading has really been slow these last few months, what with publishing my own book and all that goes with it. I’m hoping to step up the reading through the rest of the summer and what better way to achieve this than to tell the world my plan!
I’m using the format of WWW Wednesday, as I didn’t get this post finished in time to share it yesterday.
What I’m currently reading.
Jo Thomas The Olive Branch.
I only picked this book up quickly last night to get a taste of the story. 50 pages later, I know I’m going to enjoy it. I’ve read one of Jo Thomas’s books before and loved it. Here’s the review of Late Summer in the Vineyard.
What I’m currently listening to
My Husband’s Wife
It’s ok. Seems a bit slow, but there are intriguing titbits to keep me interested so far.
What I recently finished reading
Senlin Ascends Josiah Bancroft
I’m not sure what to say about this book. I didn’t love it and felt it was slow in places. I found the tower concept very hard to picture and it was hard to really connect with Senlin. However, towards the end I did find myself not wanting to stop reading, so I’ll be interested to see what happens in book 2. I’ve heard the pace picks up, fingers crossed.
What I plan to read next
Anthony Ryan’s Collected Non-fiction
I think this is a newsletter subscriber offer and I can’t wait to read his non-fiction articles.
David Gemmell – Rhyming Rings
I have been saving this book since my birthday last year as it’s one of the only books I haven’t read by my all time favourite author.
This is my book group choice for August and a book I have been interested in reading for a while.
Knowing from experience how hard it is to get reviews, I want to read a couple of Indie books and support my fellow authors. So I intend to read;
The Exercise of Vital Powers – Ian Gregoire
Not Like Anyone Else – Jennifer Leigh
I still have a couple of trilogies I want to finish by the end of this year
Queen of Fire – Anthony Ryan
Magic Borne – Crown of Stones – C. L Schneider
There are 350+ on my goodreads TBR shelf so I have plenty of other great books to choose from. Plus my kids are always recommending books and I know I should get stuck into Robin Hobb’s latest trilogy. If I do, I won’t be doing anything else for a while!
I hope to do another post in Autumn, I wonder how many books I’ll have read by then and how many of the above will be finished!
I’m been very busy working through edits over the last few weeks so my reading has been a bit slow.
I thought I’d use WWW Wednesday for a reading update and to get me focused again. You can take part too by answering these questions;
What are you currently reading, What have you just read, What will you read next and link your blog post to ‘Taking on a world of words‘ You can also see who else is taking part.
What I’m currently reading
Sparrow by Michael Morpurgo
I needed something short to read and my daughter suggested this. I haven’t read any Morpurgo before, but I’m enjoying it so far. It’s based on the Joan of Arc story.
I am also reading an ARC for Jesper Schmidt – How to write fantasy book descriptions, but I don’t have the cover to display just yet. 25% in and so far, so good. I think this could really help fantasy writers.
Last time I took part in WWW Wednesday I had hoped to finish a couple of trilogies, but I’d forgotten about my monthly book group reads. With my lack of time I’m having to reconsider what books I can fit in. In the next month I need to read Senlin Ascends, which I’m really excited about as it was my choice for book group.
And I still hope to read book 3 Magic Borne to finish Ian Troy’s story,
In the next few days I will also be reading my own book The Sentinel’s Reign (book 2 of Silent Sea Chronicles) prior to its publication at the end of June. Cover reveal and pre-order links coming very soon!
I think that is plenty of books to be getting on with. What are you reading?
I’ve decided to take part in this book tag for a change to try and keep my reading on track. The book meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words
Three questions; What are you reading? What have you just read? What will you read next?
What I’m currently reading…
I picked up Ninja School Mum during its recent blog tour as I really like the cover and fancied something different to read.
I re-read the first few chapters of Visions of Zarua before starting to submit to agents and decided I should read the whole thing again. If it’s not too big-headed to admit, I still enjoy my own writing and still love the characters.
What I’ve just read…
I read an ARC copy of The Sand Scuttler and will be sharing my review in May. In the meantime, I would definitely recommend it to fantasy fans. It’s currently on pre-order.
All the Birds in the Sky is my book group choice and after 294 pages I decided to DNF this book. I just didn’t care enough for the characters and not enough seemed to happen. Once I’ve heard what the others in the reading group have to say, I may change my mind though.
What I will read next…
I decided this year that I would commit to finishing a few trilogies. These two in particular I’ve been looking forward to reading.
Don’t forget to head on over to Taking in the World of Words and check out who else is taking part in this weekly event.
This is the first book review I have written this year and what better way to start than with Book 3 in the YA fantasy series The Great Library. Originally thought to be the last book in the trilogy (at least by me) I was delighted to hear that Book 4 is due out later in 2018.
Held prisoner by the Burner forces in Philadelphia, Jess and his friends struggle to stay alive in the face of threats from both sides … but a stunning escape guarantees worse is coming. The Library now means to stop them by any means necessary, and they’ll have to make dangerous allies and difficult choices to stay alive.
They have only two choices: face the might of the Great Library head on, or be erased from life, and the history of the world, for ever.
Win or die.
Ash and Quill picks up where book two finished, with Jess and the gang captured and transported to Philadelphia. It was interesting to get to know the Burners and there are some explosive moments in store!
It is harder to review books from a series without spoilers, so I just want to say that this is another exciting read, full of action, intrigue, plotting, double-crossing and a touch of romance. I love the interaction between the characters, especially Jess and Morgan, and I just want them to save the world and have their happy ever after. Of course that’s never going to happen until they take down the Great Library who have upped the stakes and will do anything, even commit mass murder to stop them.
As with the other books in the series, this is a fast paced story that drags you along and keeps you interested to the last page.
This is a 5 star read and I cannot wait for book 4.
At the start of 2017 I wrote a list of the books I planned to read. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to reach my goal because I spent most of my time editing rather than reading. Looking back at the books I did read in 2017 I noticed I haven’t read as much fantasy as I would like. So in 2018 I hope to immerse myself in the genre.
I decided to record a few of the books I plan to read and hopefully by telling you all, it will inspire me to keep on track. Here goes…
Ash and Quill (The Great Library book 3) – Rachel Caine
(Book 1 and 2 were my Christmas reads over the last few years and I loved them. I’m 100 pages into book 3 and loving it just as much.)
A Gathering of Shadows (Book 2) A Conjuring of Light (Book 3) – V E Schwab
(I loved book one and chose it as a standout fantasy read for me in 2017. Here’s the post.)
Queen of Fire – Book 3 – Anthony Ryan
(When I read book 1 – Bloodsong a few years ago I knew I had discovered my new David Gemmell in this author. I enjoyed book 2 almost as much, but for some reason haven’t got around to reading the last book.)
Magic-Born – Crown of Stones book 3 – C L Schneider
(Crown of Stones is another great series that I can’t wait to finish reading.)
Magisterium books 2, 3 and 4. Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.
(A brilliant children’s series that my son and I adore. Hopefully the last book will be published in 2018?)
Rhyming Rings – David Gemmell
(David Gemmell is my all time favourite fantasy author! When I heard this unpublished book was being released in 2017, I snapped up a copy. I’m waiting for the right moment to sit and read this book without any distractions.)
Keepers – Sacha Black
(I’ve followed Sacha’s blog for quite a while now and have been eager to read her new book, which I won in a blog competition. I’m hoping it’s one I can recommend to my son as well.)
Caraval – Stephanie Garber
(Some of the reviewers I follow have loved this book and it’s on the strength of their reviews that I bought this. I’m looking forward to checking it out.)
I also have trilogies by Joe Abercrombie and Brandon Sanderson to complete, and it’s about time I started Throne of Glass by Sarah J Mass to see what all the fuss is about. I also hope to read some writing guides early in 2018 including;
111 tips to create your book trailer
111 tips to get book reviews
111 tips to market your book for free (all by Doris-Maria Heilmann)
13 steps to evil by Sacha Black
Fantasy Writing Prompts by Rayne Hall.
Currently I have 283 book on my To Read shelf on Goodreads, bookshelves full of unread paperbacks, plus the kids have lots of books they’ve been recommending, and I have more books on my kindle and audiobooks to listen to. So once I’ve tackled the above list, I have plenty more books to choose from. Have you got any books that you think I should read in 2018?
What are your reading goals and what’s on your must read list?
Here’s to another year of great books. Happy reading!
I’m surprised to say I beat my reading challenge target on Goodreads. I read 34 books throughout 2017, my target was 30. I read 33 in 2016, so I think I’ve found a good reading level for me, but I might aim a little higher in 2018. I plan to be more organised in my reading next year, finishing a few trilogies I’ve started etc. But I’ll post about that later. Right now, I’d like to share my Top 10 Reads of 2017…
My kids have recommended a few books this year, which have been really addictive. It’s hard to choose between them, so I’ve selected two…
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver.
I love wolves, have done since I read Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy. This book has emotion, excitement, adventure and friendship. It has been enjoyed by three generations of my family, so don’t let the fact its a children’s book put you off. I haven’t reviewed this book on my blog yet, but it is a 5 star read.
The Iron Trial By Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Again I haven’t reviewed this book yet, but it’s an amazing read and my first try of both these authors. I highly recommend this unputdownable 5 star book.
I tried a couple of historical fiction novels this year and I was so impressed with IREX by Carl Rackman, which I read when I was a reviewer on Rosie Amber’s book review team.
IREX by Carl Rackman
This book really draws you into the Victorian era and the mystery elements keeps you intrigued right to the end. I was sad this book had to end at all. Here’s my review.
I also tried Urban Fantasy for the first time and loved…
Eleonore by Faith Rivens
This was another 5 star read, here’s my review. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed changing my usual fantasy genre. I highly recommend this demon hunting, kick-ass heroine’s story.
Two of my stand out fantasy reads in 2017 were…
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
This was my book club choice and I loved it. Here’s the link to my original review. I loved this magical book and I’m jealous of Naomi Novik’s story telling skills.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab
I was taken by surprise by this novel. I loved the characters and can’t wait to read the rest of this series in 2018. I plan to share my review of the series then. It was another 5 star read.
I have listened to a few audiobooks in 2017 and two that really stand out are;
Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek
The premise of this book really drew me in and I couldn’t stop listening. I may not have been over the moon with the ending, but it was still a great book and a 5 star read. Here’s my review.
The Breakdown by B A Paris
This book was another addictive listen, with plenty of twists and shocks. You feel as unsure of whom to trust as the main character, Cass, and I loved the ending. A must read, and I hope to share my review of it early in 2018.
I have read a few writing guides this year. Again it was hard to choose between them, but I’ve selected two favourites…
The Writer’s Lexicon by KathySteinemann
This book is a great editing companion. I found it really helpful in helping me focus on over used and redundant words, with plenty of helpful word alternatives. Here’s my review.
Overwhelmed Writer’s Rescue by Colleen M Story
A great book to help you re-evaluate your life and focus on what matters. There is so much in this book to help you find more time to write. Here’s my review.
So looking back at my reading in 2017 I’m impressed that I managed to read so many books considering I’ve published my second novel, The Lost Sentinel, edited a third and wrote 40k of another during NaNoWriMo.
I don’t know what 2018 will hold, but I’m looking forward to immersing myself in more fantasy books and following more review blogs to build up my TBR shelf even more.