Fun for Monday: Mid-Year Check-in Tag

In previous years preparing for this tag has always led to my being surprised at just how much I’ve read in six months. Unfortunately, not so this year. This year my Books Read list is pitifully short. I know that much of this is because my reading time has been seriously curtailed by the new job, but it’s still frustrating.

Nevertheless, I can still celebrate what I have read …


Best book you’ve read so far in 2022

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I think everyone knows by now that I am in love with C S E Cooney’s Saint Death’s Daughter. I can’t imagine anything trumping it.


Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2022


Lynn and I are just finishing up our buddy-read of Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie and if anything, I’ve enjoyed this even more than I did the first instalment.


New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

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I bought Mischief Acts by Zoe Gilbert last month and am eagerly anticipating.


Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Oh, I’m never any good at this. I don’t follow new releases all that closely and, if I’m honest, I’m more interested in what has been published than what is going to be published. It’s the difference between being able to get my sticky mitts on it immediately and having to wait. And I really don’t like to wait.

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne   59431090

I am keen to read The Legacy of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson and The Moonday Letters by Emmi Itäranta, although I think both of these are already out in the world?

Oh, and this year I backed the Kickstarter for Apex Magazine’s 2021 Compilation Anthology so I’m excited about that, which should be coming out in August, I think.


Biggest disappointment

1978 book cover for The World in Winter by John Christopher

I was disappointed in John Christopher’s The World in Winter more because of my expectations than because it was a ‘bad’ book. Where I was hoping for a study of societal decline into savagery, I got a more domestic story of two messy marriages, and some very of-its-time post-colonial and class observations. It was an … irritating … read, in the way that a small stone in your shoe is irritating.


Biggest surprise

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That I only liked A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chamber, when I was sure that I would love it.


Favourite new author (debut, or new to you)

1982 book cover for Downbelow Station by C J Cherryh

(I could happily place C S E Cooney in quite a lot of these categories, so I hope you’re appreciated the restraint I’m showing in not doing so).

While Downbelow Station was not my first encounter with C J Cherryh exactly (I came across her first when I was a teen), it was the meeting that made an impression. It made such an impression that I wonder if I actually read Rusalka or The Dreamstone at all, or if I perhaps just flicked through them before returning them to the library.

Because Downbelow Station has me smitten with Cherryh’s muscular writing style and very excited to read more of her work.


Newest fictional crush


Mrs MacNamara and Mr Long! Let’s hear it for middle-aged romance!


Newest favourite character(s)

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And Dave from Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Summer Tree.


Book that made you cry

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Not an SFF title, I know, but sheesh, this did a number on me. While painting the kitchen I’ve been listening to audiobooks via Libby, and I decided to give Goodnight Mister Tom a go because I’d not read it when I was younger. Everything was fine until we got to Will’s reunion with his mother, at which point I triggered and sobbed pretty much all the way to the end.


Book that made you happy


Ciel Pierlot’s Bluebird was a very satisfying space romp with all the right vibes. This was a book that made me hum with appreciation, like a contented cat. Only with thumbs. And a slightly nicer nature.


Favourite book to film adaptation

*continues (from last year) to roll around on the floor laughing*


Most beautiful book you’ve received so far this year


Not counting the ARC of Saint Death’s Daughter naturally, volume one of Isola by Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl is pretty darn pretty.


Which books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Ummm, see below …


Reading Challenges Update #2

This is where the head-hanging begins…


The 12 Challenge

(Created by bookstagrammer Shadowbooker)

I am reading The Conductors by Nicole Glover as we speak, so I’ve crossed it off in anticipation. Otherwise, it looks like I just stopped trying, because I’m now 3 books behind schedule. I’m not going to let myself get stressed out about this – it’s been a busy year so far.


The TBR Reduction Challenge

(Created by Matt AKA Runalong Womble of Runalong the Shelves)

  • April – New Openings read the first book in a series: Song of Sorcery by Elizabeth Scarborough
  • May – Radommmm pick a random book from your TBR: The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • June – The Longest Day read the longest book on your TBR: I’m not going to do any better than the 804 pages of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon that I read for the 12 Challenge back in February, so I’m counting that here. There are only so many hours in a day, after all.


The Adult SFF Backlist Books Challenge

(Created by Bookish Valhalla)

  • April – Hidden Places: Cold Storage by David Koepp
  • May – Starlight: The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard
  • June – To Sea: The Black God’s Drums by P Djeli Clark


Picture Prompt Book Bingo

  • For the anatomical heart I decided nothing would fit so well as Saint Death’s Daughter by C S E Cooney because I loved it and, well, it was, like, about death and stuff.
  • For the Ex Libris owl I chose The Library of the Unwritten by A J Hackwith because it amused me to count a library book about a library for the picture of a ‘from the library of’ book label.
  • And for the award cup I’m counting Tea with the Black Dragon by R A MacAvoy. MacAvoy won the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer for Tea with the Black Dragon, and the book was also nominated for the Hugo, Locus and Nebula Awards.


Half a year down (can you believe it?) and so much awesomeness as yet unread! I’m fairly pleased with how it’s going so far though. And I hope you’re all smashing those reading challenges/goals/dreams too. x




  1. I think it is an impressive list, and this mid-year look-back is very thoughtful and well-organized. I also read it without expecting to see my name on it, so I’m filing that under “Surprised By”! I’m reading it first thing as I go through my emails, so I’m hardly half-awake, but your words made me very happy. Lanie would get along with you like a house on fire.

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  2. This is a great selection of books! If you want to do a buddy read for one of your 12 Challenge books let me know! The only one I’ve already read is Sistersong, which is very good!

    Liked by 1 person


    So glad my grumpy lad is getting some love 😀

    Lud-in-the-Mist has been on my shelf for YEARS and is definitely a book that I would welcome some moral support whilst reading it, so… want to buddy up when/if you get that far? (altho I won't tackle it before September)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maryam also kindly offered to buddy-read Lud-in-the-Mist with me. Maybe we could try a buddy-read with three if you and she are game?


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