Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In



One month down in the 2020 TBR Challenge! Did you start off with a bang or a whimper?

I seem to have started off with a bang for a change 🙂 I think I’m still in Read All The Books mode even though I’ve been back at the day job for weeks now. I’m not complaining, though! I’m working my way through Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series, and her books are always a treat. I managed to read one of the Random App books that I’d purchased in 2012 (!) and discovered that another was a duplicate of one I already had, so I’m making progress on that front, too. Plus, Goodreads says I’m a little bit a head of the game for my overall reading goal, which will make it easier to get back to writing more than just a few words here and there (which I need to do soon!).

So overall I’m pretty happy with where I’m at, reading-wise. We’ll see how long that lasts 😉

courtesy of Jbuatti via Wikimedia Commons

Cora’s 2020 TBR Challenge

courtesy of Jbuatti via Wikimedia Commons

We’re a few days in to 2020 and I’m in the process of getting organized in writing, reading, and around the house. I started a modified bullet journal, which for me mostly means all my To Do lists and calendars and appointments are in one place. I’m working out my writing/release schedule for this year, trying to wrap my brain around a smaller per week word count in an effort reduce my fatigue level this year. And I think I’ve settled on my TBR Challenge conditions for this year:

1. How many books from your TBR pile will you read?  I’ve decided on an overall goal of 30 books for my Goodreads challenge, and 20 of those must be from my TBR list. It doesn’t seem like a lot–especially when I was regularly reading over 50 books a year a few years ago–but it’s more than I read in 2019, and I always have the option to change it later.

2. How long have your books been waiting?  Everything pre-2020 is fair game this year, which I think is fair given that the purpose of this challenge is to read books I’ve already acquired 🙂  I also want to pay special attention to the 6 books that I somehow ended up with on various apps that I’d forgotten I even had. They’ve been sitting there for several years and it’s high time those books get read, too.

3. How will you hold yourself accountable? Like years past, I’ll post here once a month to share my progress and see how you all are doing. I found that creating a Goodreads shelf and the dedicated page on this website to be enormously helpful, too, so I’ll do both again. I’m a very visual person and being able to see the collection of books that I’ve read gives me a nice sense of accomplishment, which makes me want to read more TBR books.

4. What about adding more books to the pile? Like previous years, I’m going to keep track of how many books I purchase with another Goodreads shelf. I’ve found it really helpful to have an exact number readily available that I can compare to how many books I’ve read. By the end of the year, I’d like to have read more books than I bought.

So that’s my set up for this year. What plans do you all have? Anybody feeling really ambitious? Cautiously optimistic? Reading to comfort yourself through hard times? Let me know!


Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

It’s the last day of 2019, fellow readers! Did you complete your TBR Challenge?

I am one book away from making my revised goal this year, so you can guess what I’ll be doing for the rest of the day 😉  Bo has been cheering me on, too…as long as I can hold my book or ereader with one hand and pet him with the other!

Happy holidays, and happy reading!

UPDATE: I made it! I didn’t get to spend the day reading, but ended up completing the challenge with a novella that I’d purchased nine years ago, which I thought was fitting.

I read 14 TBR books (meeting my revised goal) and 36 books over all (meeting my Goodreads Challenge goal). I also purchased 37 books in 2019, so I came out nearly even in intake vs outgoing. This is the first year that’s happened since I started keeping track 🙂


Traveling Holiday Party Hop


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The authors of The Regency Salon have holiday gifts for you…

Download 14 Free Historical Romances This Weekend! (Dec. 13-15th)

PLUS Enter to win fun prizes all along the way, as well as the grand prize of 14 more full length novels! Visit the event page for links to all participating authors and giveaways.


TBR Challenge Check-In

Happy Halloween, fellow readers! Are you making progress on your TBR Challenge?

I am, but at a snail’s pace. I did finish listening to William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (it was as fantastic as I expected such a mash-up to be!), and I flew through Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastion (which was *such* a lovely story!).

Ye Olde Chronic Fatigue has been rearing its ugly head, though, so my previous plan of reading in the evenings hasn’t been sustainable lately–I’m just too tired most days. I’ve also got crochet projects lined up to make as gifts for Christmas, which I talked about last month, and I’m writing As Long As You Love Me So, both of which sap my remaining energy (though if I’m going to expend my limited energy on things, crocheting and writing are at the top of the list 🙂 ).

In light of all that, I’ve decided to do something I’ve never done in a TBR Challenge: modify the terms. I’ve dropped my Goodreads challenge from 36 books to 24, and I’m rolling back my TBR Challenge goal from 24 books to 14. That relieves some of the stress I’ve been feeling about making these goals, which helps make reading more fun again and knocks back my overall stress level. It’s always good to re-evaluate your goals and how you plan to achieve them–I think that should apply to reading challenges, too 🙂

TBR Challenge Check-In


Just three months left this year, fellow readers! How is your TBR Challenge going?

Mine, as usual, is going slowly. But it’s going 🙂  I’ve started listening to audiobooks again–it’s a good way to pass the time while I’m crocheting Christmas gifts, especially when the pattern is kind of boring. Currently I’m listening to William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope, which is fantastic for so many reasons. I remember just enough about The Bard from high school to enjoy the style, I grew up watching Star Wars, and I love a good mashup! This is one of those books, too, that I think is better in audio–there are multiple performers, sound effects, and a little (familiar) music which enhance the experience, and I’d miss all that if I were reading instead of listening.

Kissing by the Mistletoe is available for pre-order!



Who’s ready for a sweet Regency Christmas novella?

Kissing by the Mistletoe is available for pre-order at all your favorite e-tailers! It’s priced at $0.99 US during the pre-order period, and will increase to $1.99 US when it releases on October 1. If you purchased the Christmas Ever After last year, you do not need to pick this one up–this is the same story that was published in that anthology.

This is a sweet, traditional Regency romance, set in the same world as my Maitland Maidens novellas but written as a stand-alone story. If you like cinnamon roll heroes and the best friend’s sibling trope, this one’s for you 🙂

Cora’s TBR Challenge

Four months to go, fellow readers! How goes your TBR Challenge?

I’m making some progress 🙂  It’s not a lot, but I’ve finished two more books for the TBR challenge and am nearly through another. I’m also trying to carve out time to read on a regular basis–lately it’s been right before I go to bed–and I think that’s what’s been making the difference this past month. I may only read for an hour before I get too tired to continue, but an hour a day gets me through a novel by the end of the week. And if I can squeeze out more than an hour I can read more (or longer) books, which makes me happy. I get grumpy when I can’t/don’t read for more than a few days in a row!

Author Commentary: No Rest for the Wicked, Chapter 2



Welcome to Author Commentary! Each month I’ll be re-reading a chapter from one of my books and talking a bit about what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I made certain choices, any easter eggs that might be hiding, research I’d done for that part, etc. This month I’m reading No Rest for the Wicked, which is available for free at your favorite e-tailer if you’d like to pick up a copy and read along.

You can find the commentary for chapter 1 here.

No Rest for the Wicked, Chapter 2

Chapter 2 opens with Joanna perusing Michael’s clothing, without having told him why she wanted to see it. Even though he gets grumpy a few paragraphs in because she hasn’t told him the whole story, this opening shows that there’s still some trust between them (though I don’t think either of them realize it just yet). Michael could have refused her request or demanded an explanation, but instead he allows her to go through his things.

“Better,” she said, running her hand over a red silk waistcoat. Was she remembering that he’d worn it at their wedding? He did, every time he put it on. That read waistcoat was a photo I’d found on Pinterest of a 1790s-style gentleman’s satin waistcoat while I was outlining the story. I thought it was such a good-looking piece I found a way to work it in!

You have the education and bearing of a gentleman. Even though he’s the son of a poor, Catholic laborer, Michael was sent to school then later to university courtesy of an anonymous benefactor. Honestly, I have no idea who that is yet, lol, but as an homage to Daredevil, Michael needed to be a lawyer and lawyering takes education. I would someday like to give Michael and Joanna a longer story, and this is one of the questions I hope to answer in it.

That was how he walked The Liberties at night—dressed in the same manner as his neighbors, attracting as little attention as possible. No body armor and helmet with horns, though 😉

“You did belong there,” she said firmly. “And you may actually be his lordship’s cousin. Wasn’t your grandmother a Talbot?” The Earl of Waterford, who is the lord they’re discussing here, is also the Earl of Shrewsbury. Waterford is an Irish title, and how he would be referred to in Ireland. The Waterford/Shrewsbury title has belonged to the Talbot family since the 15th century, and those of you who have read The Good, The Bad, And The Scandalous might remember that Sarah’s best friend was a Talbot, too. If Michael’s grandmother is also a Talbot, he might have some very powerful cousins (perhaps including Diana). How distant they are is the question 😉

She reached out and took his hand, squeezing it with a gentle pressure. If you read down a few sentences, you notice that Michael doesn’t react to Joanna’s touch until the conversation becomes personal. Part of that is shock on his part, I think–it’s been five years since he saw her last, and her she is standing in his bedroom holding his hand, just like old times. It’s also partly because that’s the kind of relationship they had before she disappeared–one of holding hands, of casual caresses and knowing looks even when out in public–and he automatically drops right back into that groove.

“Sir Arthur needed someone in Ireland in case the French made another invasion attempt…” France did actually attempt to invade Ireland in 1796 in support of emancipation for Irish Catholics. The fleet was set to land at Bantry Bay, near Cork, but was scattered by storms and never made port.

Instead, he released her hand and began gathering up his rejected clothing to return it to its case. She’s only just come back and this reaction is totally justified, but it always makes me feel sad for them both. Joanna’s overture is being rejected, or at least put aside, while Michael finally has his love back but he doesn’t–can’t–trust her or what they used to have together. At least not yet.

The thought of him brought to mind another list she’d been mentally keeping—the list of things she needed to tell him before they reached Cork. Particularly the fact that she— I want to say that Joanna was about to confess something important here, but I honestly have no idea what she was thinking, lol. I simply wanted Michael to interrupt her thoughts!

He again appeared not to have even noticed, and Joanna sighed inwardly. She’s missing their old relationship here, too, how easy they used to be together. Five years apart with no word will make things awkward though 😉

“There are nine others that Sir Arthur has invited from all over Britain.” This is a reference to a main character from each of the other books in the series, each also an homage to a modern superhero.

“…though I strongly suspect there are women who will indirectly be important parts of what we accomplish.” And that is a nod to the other main characters in each of the books. The way it worked out, it was the heroes who all ended up with invitations from Sir Arthur, but I wanted to make sure to acknowledge somehow that the heroines would also play important parts in their stories.

“Not more important than ensuring the safety of your neighbors,” she replied, patting his knee. “Just a way to do so on a larger scale.” “Yet, at least in my case, still working on a small scale.” This was me, basically figuring out how to incorporate a street-level hero into the world-saving reality of the Avengers.

“The Romans never conquered Ireland, so they never laid roads here.” And interesting tidbit I picked up researching this story. Ireland was notorious at the time for its terrible roads, and this is one of the reasons.

…but there was one rather important matter that had been neglected. He covered her hand with his, large and warm. “What is it?” “I didn’t bring a maid,” she whispered. “And I cannot get into—or out of—my clothing without help.” This is likely what Joanna was thinking of when Michael interrupted her thoughts at the stable in Dublin, but I didn’t think of it until later 😉

“They would if I weren’t carrying secret correspondence and weapons on my person.” One of my favorite lines!

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In


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Happy August, fellow readers! Are you getting in a lot of summer reading?

I’m still woefully behind, as has become usual for me 🙂  And I had an e-reader mishap, in the bargain–somehow An Extraordinary Union got reset back to the first page, and I have no idea where I was! I suppose I’m going to have to start that one over, but the first half was so good I don’t think I mind too much.

I’ve also begun reading Darcy Burke’s novella To Love a Thief, which has been languishing in my TBR for nearly 7 years! So progress is being made, and my working/writing schedule has become less frantic for a bit so I’m confident that this progress will continue, at least for a while 🙂