Mt TBR Report: January 2022

My Mt TBR skyrocketed this month, as I got sucked into Kobo’s e-book subscription service. The plan is to stay with it for a couple of months to work through the things I’m interested in reading and then let it go… but we’ll see how that works out.

Mt TBR Status

Mt TBR @ 1 January 2022: 360
Mt TBR @ 31 January 2022: 388

Items Read

1. Spear by Nicola Griffith. Historical fantasy. Review forthcoming

2. A Bush Capital Year: a natural history of the Canberra region by Ian Fraser and Peter Marsack. Non-fiction. Reread

3. Brand of Magic by K.M. Jackways. Fantasy romance. First in the Redferne Witches series. A psychic witch tries to help her neighbour save his family home. This read very much like an early career story, without much chemistry between the main characters or flow between the scenes.

4. Hexes and Vexes by Nova Blake. Fantasy romance. A witch reluctantly returns to her hometown to find out what’s going on when her estranged sister starts behaving oddly. While nominally a romance, the focus was more on the relationship between the sisters, which I rather enjoyed. However, the author seemed confused about the differences between Australian and European magpies.

5. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Contemporary fiction. Book club pick. A nurse with a cleaning obsession gets called in to take care of the crime scene after her younger sister murders her boyfriend… again. This book was not my jam. All of the characters were pretty unpleasant. However, it was smart, well-written and a quick read.

6. Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot. Science fiction. Review forthcoming.

7. A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St Clair. Fantasy romance. First book in the Hades and Persephone series. Book club pick. A contemporary retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth. This was a fun read, nothing too deep. Persephone got a bit annoying from time to time, but on the whole I enjoyed it. I appreciated that the author knew her flower lore. Unfortunately, my book club vociferously warned me against reading the sequel.

8. After Story by Larissa Behrendt. Contemporary fiction. Book club pick. A young Indigenous lawyer takes her mum on a tour of English literary sites. I found this book a bit emotionally distant at times. However, the characters were complex and it does some interesting things with the dual perspectives of mother and daughter.

9. The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. Non-fiction. Organisational system. Unfortunately, this relies on being able-bodied enough to write everything by hand, making it useless for me.

10. Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev. Contemporary retelling of Jane Austin’s Persuasion. Second book in the Rajes series. With her father’s restaurant failing, Ashna allows her friends to talk her into being a chef on a reality TV show… only to find she’s been paired with her childhood sweetheart, now a soccer superstar. Persuasion is a tricky story to adapt to contemporary times; Recipe for Persuasion made an admirable attempt, though I felt it had rather a different tone. I found Ashna a little tiresome in places, but on the whole I enjoyed it.

11. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. Non-fiction. Writing advice. The notion that all ideas are available for stealing reminded me a little too much of the concept of terra nullius. Elsewise, there was nothing particularly original here… which was exactly the book’s point.


Brand of Magic by K.M. Jackways
Hexes and Vexes by Nova Blake
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot
A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St Clair
City of Strife by Claudie Arsenault
City of Betrayal by Claudie Arsenault
City of Deceit by Claudie Arsenault
Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev
After Story by Larissa Behrendt

Year’s Best Aoteroa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by Maria Hodgkinson
Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall
Microscopes and Magic by Andi C Buchanan
Alpaca and Apparitions by Andi C Buchanan
The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc
The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard
The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting by KJ Charles
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliot
From a Shadow Grave by Andi C Buchanan
Birds of a Feather by Narrelle M Harris
Secret Agents, Secret Lives by Narrelle M Harris
Fly By Night by Narrelle M Harris
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
Prem Numbers by Suleikha Snyder
Headstrong Girl by Kim Wilkins
Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher
The Art of Broken Things by Joanne Anderton
Goblin Fruit by Celia Lake
The Sea is Ours edited by Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng
Dominion: an anthology of speculative fiction from Africa and the Africa Diaspora edited by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki
The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll
Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford.