Category Archives: Reading Challenge

Mount TBR Challenge Update – September 2018

Challenge Update

How is it September already!?  Honestly, I’ve no idea where the time goes!

I read two books from my backlist this month.  I’ve not posted the reviews yet, but they have been drafted up and will be posted within the next couple of weeks.  Probably.

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh

the blinds

Imagine a place populated by criminals – people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who’ve been granted new identities and a second chance.  Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don’t know if they’ve perpetrated a crime or just witnessed one.  All they do know is that they opted into the programme and that if they try to leave, they will end up dead.

For eight years, Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace – but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town’s residents revolt.  Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her – and the mysterious outsiders who threaten to tear the whole place down.  The more he learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway, it’s simmering with violence and deception, heartbreak and betrayal, and it’s fit to burst.

Artemis by Andy Weir


WELCOME TO ARTEMIS. The first city on the moon.

Population 2,000. Mostly tourists.

Some criminals.

Jazz Bashara is one of the criminals.  She lives in a poor area of Artemis and subsidises her work as a porter with smuggling contraband onto the moon.  But it’s not enough.

So when she’s offered the chance to make a lot of money she jumps at it.  But though planning a crime in 1/6th gravity may be more fun, it’s a lot more dangerous…

I’m making good progress up Mt. Ararat, and at this stage, I’m fairly confident that I’ll complete my challenge to read all of my backlist titles (I started with 52, so 6 to go) before the end of the year!

Mount TBR Sep 18

TBR Watch

I managed to read 14 books in August thanks to a little holiday in Majorca, and this has actually helped get my TBR down every so slightly!  😀

  • Total: 60
    • Backlist: 6
    • ARCs: 12
    • New: 42

Of course, those titles that are currently labelled “new” will be backlist next year, so I’ll get to do yet another backlist challenge!


Mount TBR Challenge Update – July 2018

Challenge Update

What a month it has been!

The house move went very well, with the only casualty being an old terracotta plant pot, and my book mark, which I’m fairly sure I’ve tucked inside a book, but can’t remember which one!  It’ll turn up, I’m sure!

It does mean that my reading has been a little slower than usual, as packing, unpacking, and general house-related activities have taken up a rather large amount of time, but I’m hoping that now I’m settled in that I’ll get back up to speed.

I managed to read three backlist titles this month, but didn’t get around to reviewing any of them:

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimer McBride

From the writer of one of the most memorable debuts of recent years, a story of first love and redemption.

One night in London an eighteen year old girl, recently arrived from Ireland to study drama, meets an older actor and a tumultuous relationship ensues. Set across the bedsits and squats of mid-nineties north London, The Lesser Bohemians is a story about love and innocence, joy and discovery, the grip of the past and the struggle to be new again.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, fight in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Having both fled terrible hardships, their days are now vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Then when a young Indian girl crosses their path, the possibility of lasting happiness seems within reach, if only they can survive.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. For inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself…

This does mean that I’ve just started my ascent of Mount Ararat, which was my aim when I started this challenge at the start of the year!

Mount TBR Jul 18

TBR Watch

Whilst I’ve not read as much over the last month, my purchasing of books hasn’t slowed down at all! 😀

  • Total: 61
  • Backlist: 14
  • ARCs: 13
  • New: 34

Mount TBR Challenge Update – June 2018

Challenge Update

I was making really good progress in this challenge, but my reading has slowed down over the last month or so and I’ve only read three titles from my backlist this month.  Whilst I’d like to make up for this in June, it’s just not going to happen, as I’ll be moving to a new house later this month!  This does mean that I’ll be blogging less than usual, and I won’t be able to blog hop and share as much as I would like.  Hopefully July will see things get back to normal.

The backlist titles I did manage to read were:

  • The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico – unfortunately, I didn’t get around to reviewing this, but I loved Pachico’s writing style, and the way that this seemingly disparate collection of short stories had little connections to join up the collection
  • Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic – I really wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t get into it.  I do think that this is a case of me being the problem rather than the novel, however, so I’ll probably give this another go in the future
  • A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge – now, I may have cheated a little with this one, as I bought it on Kindle when it came out late last year, but then picked up a physical copy in order to get it signed at this year’s Hay Festival (I’m glad I did, because Hardinge drew a very dapper looking goose for me) – BUT I originally bought it in 2017, so I’m still counting it as a backlist title 😛 My review for this title will be up soon


So what does this mean in terms of the challenge?  Well, I’m ALMOST at the top of Mount Vancouver!

Mount TBR Jun 18

Hopefully I’ll reach the summit this month!

TBR Watch

Hay Festival always causes a spike in my TBR, and this year is no exception – although I was more restrained than usual this year!

  • Total: 59
  • Backlist: 17
  • ARCs: 12
  • New: 30

Mount TBR Challenge Update – May 2018

A little later than usual, but here is my progress in this year’s Mount TBR Challenge!

Challenge Update

You guys aren’t going to believe this, but I read 11 books from my backlist in April!  Admittedly this was helped significantly by a holiday and Dewey’s Readathon, but I’m really pleased with this!

I read:

  • The Child by Fiona Barton – unfortunately, I didn’t get around to reviewing this one, which is a shame as I think I liked it more than The Widow!
  • The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey – very enjoyable prequel to The Girl with all the Gifts.  I didn’t like it quite as much, but it was very good
  • Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King – an interesting and original story looking at what might happen if women were to disappear from the worl
  • The Girls by Emma Cline – very interesting look at cult mentality and what inspires such devotion in the followers of cult leaders
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee – unfortunately, this one just wasn’t for me – I’ve never been all that keen on urban fantasy, so this was very much a case of the book not being right for me!
  • Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff – I wondered how he was going to follow up Nevernight, and the answer is: brilliantly!  I absolutely LOVED Godsgrave!
  • Origin by Dan Brown – a little predictable, but still enjoyable if you’ve enjoyed the other Robert Langdon novels
  • The History of Bees by Maja Lunde – an absolutely brilliant novel with three very different narratives
  • Into the Water by Paula Hawkins – I liked this, but I didn’t like it as much as The Girl on the Train
  • The Death House by Sarah Pinborough – I liked this, but I had questions at the end of the novel – that said, I was hooked throughout
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter – I really enjoyed this small town thriller

Mount TBR May 18

So, Mount Blanc proved to be less challenging than I thought, and I’m now well on my way to the summit of Mt. Vancouver!

TBR Watch

  • Total: 46
  • Backlist: 20
  • ARCs: 10
  • New: 16

Whilst I’m pleased to have got down to 46 unread books, it won’t last, as I’ll be visiting the Hay Festival later this month, and I always come back with a ton of new books!

Mount TBR Challenge Update – April 2018

Challenge Update

My progress in the Mount TBR Challenge hasn’t been quite as good this month, but I did still manage to read another 5 books from my backlist:

  • Devil’s Day by Andrew Michael Hurley – a brilliantly creepy novel that is heavy on atmosphere
  • The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz – with it’s premise of a woman being murdered within hours of arranging her own funeral this novel has a great hook, and is a crime novel with a bit of a twist
  • A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys – I loved this novel featuring a journey from the UK to Australia by ocean liner at the outset of the Second World War
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding – not my usual kind of read, but I really enjoyed this novel
  • Zodiac by Sam Wilson – I… didn’t get on with this novel.  I’ll leave it at that.

Mount TBR Apr 18

So, I’m three quarters of the way up Mount Blanc, which I hope to have completed by the end of April.  Wish me luck!

TBR Watch

  • Total: 53
  • Backlist: 31
  • ARCs: 9
  • New: 13

Mount TBR Challenge Update – March 2018

Challenge Update

We’re another month into 2018 (seriously, where does the time go?!) and so it’s time to catch up on my progress in my Mount TBR Challenge.

I initially signed up for Pike’s Peak, which I’m delighted to say that I have already completed!

The books from my backlist that I read this month included:

  • Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood – a wonderful retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest
  • Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor – I found this novel a little difficult to get into, and I didn’t get around to reviewing it.  Whilst it wasn’t entirely to my tastes, it does successfully portray the lives of those living with substance addiction
  • Skitter by Ezekiel Boone – in preparation for the third instalment next March!
  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov – not what I expected, but I really enjoyed this collection of linked stories chart the development of robots and AI
  • Zero K by Don Delillo – DNF
  • Devotion by Ros Barber – another book that I didn’t get around to reviewing, but this looks at a society in which religious fundamentalism is considered a form of mental illness
  • Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters – an absolutely brilliant portrayal of how the world might look if slavery had been allowed to continue
  • The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet – review to follow

So, I’ve now read 16 books from my backlist, which, from a challenge perspective, means that I’ve completed Pike’s Peak, and I’m currently a third of the way up Mount Blanc:

Mount TBR Mar 18

TBR Watch

I was doing really well at reducing my TBR, and then I went to the Orenda Books Roadshow on 27th February.  This was an absolutely wonderful evening, and whilst I did manage to show some self-restraint (I only bought three books!!!), it did mean that my TBR didn’t go down as much this month:

  • Total: 56
  • Backlist: 36
  • ARCs: 11
  • New: 9

Mount TBR Challenge Update – Feb 18

In keeping with last year’s Beat the Backlist challenge updates, I’ve decided to do a monthly Mount TBR Challenge Update to share my progress in the challenge.  It will also include some funky graphs because, as I’m sure you’ve realised by now, I do like a funky graph.

I initially signed up for Pike’s Peak – which is to read 12 books that have been on your TBR from before 1 Jan 2018.  My intention is to read more than this, but I thought I’d start with a small goal, and then move onto the next level.

And, in January, I read a HUGE 8 books from my TBR!!! OK, this does include two DNFs, but these do count towards the rules of the challenge.

These include:

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Tony & Susan (aka Nocturnal Animals) by Austin Wright
  • Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck
  • The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray – DNF
  • Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris
  • What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi – DNF
  • The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis – review to come
  • The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson – review to come

So, I’m well on my way to completing Pike’s Peak:

Mount TBR Feb 18

I started the year with 52 books eligible for this challenge, so I am hoping to at least make a start on Mt. Vancouver, if not Mt. Ararat further down the line, but we’ll see how it goes.