Monthly Roundup – November 2020

November had barely started before England was once again forced into lockdown. With gyms closed and club sports banned, life for my little family became even more constrained. Mood was not helped by the inclement weather and shortening days. There have been moments when I have felt a dearth of hope that we will ever again be allowed to travel freely. I look back on time spent enjoying restaurants and hotels with nostalgia, throwback photos on my social media platforms reminding me of good times had. Until the hospitality industry is permitted to be hospitable again – no curfews, distancing, masks or demands to use hand sanitiser – and the threat of closure at the whim of government is removed, we will not be booking nights out or time away.

To retain a degree of mental stability – until a minor foot injury late last week made it seem unwise – I had been out running three or four times a week, walking or cycling on most other days. I value our local lanes but was growing bored with the repetition. Driving further afield for the sake of variety felt like going against the spirit of what lockdown is trying to achieve. I may rail against restrictions but am trying to adhere to the rules however inconsistent the reasoning.

With gyms due to reopen this week I hope for a better December. Life is short and being made to mark time rather than enjoy what days we have left feels such a waste. Nevertheless, we count our blessings. They are abundant and I must focus on this.

I posted reviews for nine books in November (2 novels, 1 novelette, 1 short story collection, 1 short story chap book, 1 children’s fiction, 1 poetry collection, 2 works of non fiction). Most were outstanding – a good reading month. Robyn added a further eleven reviews. The eagle eyed among you will notice that we both posted our thoughts on one of the books.

Click on the title below to read the review and on the cover to learn more about the book.



Cat Step by Alison Irvine, published by Dead Ink
Inside the Beautiful Inside by Emily Bullock, published by Everything With Words

You Ruin It When You Talk by Sarah Manvel, published by Open Pen


Short Stories

London Gothic by Nicholas Royle, published by Cōnfingō
Signal by Michael Walters, published by Nightjar Press


Children’s Fiction / Horror

They Threw Us Away by Daniel Kraus (illustrated by Rovina Cai), published by Henry Holt



Vertigo to Go by Brendon Booth-Jones, published by The Hedgehog Press


Non fiction

My Second Home by Dave Haslam, published by Cōnfingō
Absolutely Delicious by Alison Jean Lester (illustrated by Mary Ann Frye)


Robyn Reviews

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter, published by Orbit
Paris by Starlight by Robert Dinsdale, published by Cornerstone

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar, published by Harper Collins
Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly, published by Hot Key Books

They Threw Us Away by Daniel Kraus (illustrated by Rovina Cai), published by Henry Holt
The Betrayals by Bridget Collins, published by Harper Collins

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang, published by Harper Voyager
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry, published by Pantheon Books

The Tower of Fools by Andrzej Sapowski (translated by David French), published by Gollancz
Infernal by Mark De Jager, published by Rebellion

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, published by Hodder & Stoughton


Sourcing the books

Robyn is on Netgalley and is grateful for all approvals of titles requested. She also purchased or received quite a number of hard copies, including several special editions.


I was delighted with my November book post and read a couple immediately.

December is always a quiet month for new releases so I plan to use the time to tackle my TBR pile. Robyn has decided to focus on books by one of her favourite authors – Brandon Sanderson. She wrote about her plans for a Cosmere Christmas here.

As ever I wish to thank all the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.

And to everyone reading this, I wish you and yours good health and as much mental stability as can be mustered in these challenging times. May we strive, at all times, to be kind  xx


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