Did I read my winter TBR?

It’s officially the last day of winter on the 20th March, but as I’ll be sharing my spring TBR with you tomorrow for Top Ten Tuesday I’m here with another wrap-up post to look back at my winter TBR and see just how much of it I read!


A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos; translated by Hildegarde Serle

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

NOS4R2 by Joe Hill

The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

8/10 – not bad at all!

I was so hopeful I might be able to make it to 9/10, I just haven’t been able to fit The Priory of the Orange Tree in which is a shame because I’ve started it and I’m really enjoying it, but I do the majority of my reading on the bus to and from work and I can’t fit an 800+ page hardback in my bag. I also had every intention of reading The Toymakers, which I received through NetGalley, but I foolishly didn’t reach for it until January where I discovered that it’s set around Christmas and I just can’t read Christmas books after Christmas. It’ll have to wait until this December instead!

Everything else, though, I read and (mostly) enjoyed. I say mostly because I ended up DNFing two of these books, which is a real shame.

I got almost halfway through A Winter’s Promise before I decided to put it down. It was weirdly sexist for a current female-led YA fantasy novel written by a female author and I just didn’t care about anyone or anything in it, and that’s a real shame because it had so much potential when I started it. Sadly the only character I gave a crap about was the heroine’s scarf, so take from that what you will.

I also got a little over a third of the way through Blood Heir before I had to put it down – it just wasn’t for me, and I felt like it fell into every YA fantasy trope there is. Also the heroine’s love interest is someone who literally sells people into slavery and, while I’m all for morally grey characters, there was nothing else about him that was understandable or made me feel any empathy. He wasn’t even so bad that you can’t help but want to follow him around, he was just a bellend.

I’ve linked my teeny DNF reviews on Goodreads for both of these books above, so you can head there if you want to see exactly why I decided to DNF them!

Thankfully I enjoyed all of the other six – in fact Lair of Dreams ended up being my first (and so far only!) 5 star read of 2020, and it’s made me so excited to continue with this series this year. Despite them being rather chunky, I feel like I fly through the books in this series and now that the fourth and final book is out I want to savour the final two so it doesn’t have to end too soon.

My other highlight was The Sword of Kaigen, which was such a nail-biting, heart-wrenching, wonderfully written Asian-inspired fantasy novel. I’ve written reviews for both of these books, they haven’t appeared yet because I devoted February to romance reviews so keep an eye out for them if you’d like to know my thoughts on them.

After reading NOS4R2, Joe Hill is definitely a horror author I’d like to read more from – I’ve always been drawn to The Fireman, so perhaps I’ll reach for that one at some point this year – and Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s first thriller, Untamed Shore, impressed me just as much as her SFF does and has me even more excited for Mexican Gothic.

My winter reading was also incredibly satisfying because I finally crossed Mortal Heart and The Bear and the Nightingale off my TBR. I’m so glad I finished the His Fair Assassin trilogy at last – although, admittedly, Mortal Heart was my least favourite of the three, even though I still liked it – and The Bear and the Nightingale is a book I received via NetGalley that I should have read literal years ago and it was beautifully written. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy this year, which I’ll be able to borrow from my library!

How was your winter reading? What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

23 thoughts on “Did I read my winter TBR?

  1. imyril says:

    “the only character I gave a crap about was the heroine’s scarf”

    …enough said!

    I didn’t do too well on my winter TBR, but after a rocky start to March I’m ready to tackle spring. I’ll be kicking off with some fantasy – off to Paris with The Gilded Wolves for some light relief after Children of Time, and then to Russia for The Bear and the Nightingale.

    I keep hearing such good things about The Sword of Kaigen – I must try and squeeze it in some time this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dinipandareads says:

    Well done Jess! 8/10 books is pretty awesome 🙂 I didn’t have a winter TBR (mostly because I don’t really do TBRs) but I’ve been in such funky reading moods lately that I’ve just been going with it. Of course, there’s also the fact that I had tons of blog tours to read for so that helped structure me 😂 Glad to hear you enjoyed most of them! I’m even more curious about Blood Heir now. I’ve heard some mixed reviews but mostly positive. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Priory!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tammy says:

    Wow, you did great! And I’m so glad to read your thoughts on A Winters Promise. I absolutely despised that book and wrote a ranty review on my blog a few years ago. I actually skimmed the last half, although I was tempted to DNF.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. acquadimore says:

    The Bear and the Nightingale really is the perfect winter fantasy.
    I’m not too surprised to hear that about A Winter’s Promise – I don’t think French publishing is that different from here in Italy, and Italian fantasy tends to be sexist as well; there’s not an SFF community the way there’s one in English, so certain conversations just aren’t happening (while they sometimes do for things that have more following like comics/graphic novels).
    Also congrats, 8/10 is good!

    Liked by 1 person

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