Challenge Check-In January

Challenge Check-In – January 2023

In 2023 I’m starting a new monthly feature, Challenge Check-In which is kind of like a Monthly Wrap Up, but not quite. I will focus on my progress regarding my reading goals (check out THIS post), and will also offer 5-5 recommendations for 2 The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge prompts each month. It’s never too late to join if it catches your interest! Without further ado, here comes my Challenge Check-In for January 2023.

The Month in Reading

January 2023

At the start of the year, I put together a handy spreadsheet to be able to plan my reading better. For January 2023 I had 3 ebooks and 2 audiobooks planned, but only managed the ebooks and 1 audiobook. And all were on my self-imposed TBR!

One of those ebooks was a surprise beta read for my favorite author (a surprise, because when I very subtly asked if he had anything coming up, what I actually wanted to know was when I can get my hands on it. I did not expect it to be right away, lol. But hey, it totally worked for me!). Sadly, I can’t say much more about Slumdog Deckbuilder besides that it’s the first book in the Card Mage series, and will be released this spring! Check out Benedict’s announcement.

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

TitleEmily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries
Author: Heather Fawcett
Series: Emily Wilde #1
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: January 19, 2023
Format: ebook
Status: Read
Rating: 3.5*

While I liked the premise and I was very intrigued by this cozy(ish) romantic fantasy release, unfortunately, I didn’t connect with it as much as I wanted.

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries is an ambitious entry into this new series that I’m sure will find its audience. It’s perfect for curling up with on a cold winter night in a cozy nest of blankets if you want to get away for a couple of hours. It might didn’t wowed me, but it still has a charm that readers who like stories about the Folk will appreciate.

Dawn Razed by Josh Erikson

Title: Dawn Razed
Author: Josh Erikson
Series: Ethereal Earth #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: December 13, 2022
Format: audiobook
Status: Read
Rating: 3.5*

Admittedly not my favorite book in the series, but then I still have the Ethereal Earth in high regard, and would love it if more people checked it out!

It’s witty, and dark, and brings together mythological creatures with a cosmic twist. In Dawn Razed Erikson definitely raises the stakes and it’s going to be interesting to see how far Gabe can be stretched before he breaks.

Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burges

Title: Scales and Sensibility
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Series: Regency Dragons #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: October 4, 2021
Format: ebook
Status: Read / RTC
Rating: TBA

Regency Romance in a Fantasy setting. Well, color me intrigued. I eyed this book for a while now, and SPFBO made me finally pick it up! In case you missed it, Stephanie Burgis’ novel is one of our finalists in SPFBO 8. Official review coming soon.

The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies

Title: The Thirteenth Hour
Author: Trudie Skies
Series: The Cruel Gods #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: September 29, 2021
Format: audiobook
Status: Currently reading
Rating: TBA

Another SPFBO 8 finalist. One I didn’t manage to finish just yet – it’s my unfinished audiobook I mentioned above. If I’m being honest, I’m not really into the audiobook anyway, so I’m switching to the ebook and will finish it in February as we are starting to post reviews and I need to get my ass in gear. So, review coming soon.

Womble's TBR Reduction

The prompt for January was “end to end temptation”. We were allowed by the mighty Womble to read our most recent addition to our TBR. I decided to go with The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies (see above), as it was the last book I added to my TBR in 2022 which I already own, plus I already planned to read it anyway, because of SPFBO. Ironically, it’s the book I failed to finish, but I’m working on it! I’ll report back next month.

The Sound of Madness

I only added one book to my card, and that’s Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett. It fit perfectly for The Diary of Jane prompt. I could have added Dawn Razed too, but I haven’t entirely decided yet which prompt I’m going to use for it, so I’m still waiting and seeing how things will progress. Here is what my card looks like right now:

The Sound of Madness progress January 2023

And as promised, I’m going to give you some recs for the first two prompts on this lovely card.

Are You Gonna Be My Girl

This is the “love” prompt. That is to say, anything goes that has a romance plot or subplot, or features a couple, or a hopeless love interest. LGBTQ people are absolutely included. Don’t let the title deceive you.

Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

Title: Meet Me in Another Life
Author: Catriona Silvey
Series: standalone
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: April 27, 2021

This book was one of my favorite reads in 2021 and I’m still not over it. It’s criminally underrated. It portrays the many kinds of love that can exist between two people. I very highly recommend it!

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Title: Book Lovers
Author: Emily Henry
Series: standalone
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 3, 2022

I’ve read some romances last year, but Book Lovers was definitely my favorite of them. It had its laugh-out-loud moments, and it was about book editors who love books. Come on, this was supposed to be good!

Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen

Title: Beneath Cruel Fathoms
Author: Anela Deen
Series: The Bitter Sea Trilogy #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: May 1, 2019

Beneath Cruel Fathoms was a surprise I never saw coming. It was one of our SPFBO 5 semi-finalists. It tells the story of Isaura and Leonel, an unlikely pair divided by a world. It deals with some heavy topics and it leans toward dark fantasy. It also has a sneaky way to grow on you and suddenly you realize that you are naming the author names in private, because HOW DARE SHE. Anyway. Go check it out!

Small Miracles by Olivia Atwater

Title: Small Miracles
Author: Olivia Atwater
Series: standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: May 6, 2022

I couldn’t not include Small Miracles. One of my top 10 reads of 2022 and also our SPFBO 8 finalist! Although romance not its main focus, it still has enough to pick it as one of my recs. Especially as it’s LGBT romance.

The Lord of Stariel by AJ Lancaster

Title: The Lord of Stariel
Author: A.J. Lancaster
Series: Stariel #1
Publisher: Camberion Press
Release Date: November 1, 2018

Another one from my top 10 of 2022 list. Romance! Fae! Mystery! All the intrigue! Honestly, what’s not to love?



This one is pretty straightforward. Any book with a strong theme of justice – whether the MC seeks it, or it’s a book about a criminal investigation. It has some good possibilities.

Dissolution by C.J. Sansom

Title: Dissolution
Author: C. J. Sansom
Series: Shardlake #1
Publisher: Pan Books
Release Date: April 28, 2003

Shardlake is my absolute favorite historical fiction series, which is set in the Tudor era. The MC is Matthew Shardlake, a disfigured lawyer who has an uncanny ability to find himself in the middle of deadly political games while investigating murder cases. Dissolution is the first book.

The Killing Floor Blues by Craig Schaefer

Title: The Killing Floor Blues
Author: Craig Schaefer
Series: Daniel Faust #5
Publisher: Demimonde Books
Release Date: July 30, 2015

I could have picked some other Craig Schaefer books, but I decided on The Killing Floor Blues because it’s mostly set in jail. So, a different view on justice for sure. Especially since Daniel didn’t exactly get there for something he actually did. If you already started this awesome UF series, this might be a good reason to pick up book 5 😉

Priest of Bones by Peter McLean

Title: Priest of Bones
Author: Peter McLean
Series: War for the Rose Throne #1
Publisher: Jo Fletcher
Release Date: October 2, 2018

I. Freaking. Love. This. Series. Like, seriously. I want everyone to pick it up. Justice is a main theme throughout, especially when Tomas Piety hands it out to those he thinks to deserve to be served so. Plus, the whole series has these political games waving throughout. Any of the books in this series would be an excellent choice for this prompt.

The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan

Title: The Justice of Kings
Author: Richard Swan
Series: Empire of the Wolf #1
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: February 22, 2022

Well, I guess this pick is pretty self-explanatory. I couldn’t just not include it for this prompt. Especially since the sequel just came out, and I wager you can’t go wrong with that one either. As long as Vonvalt is involved, who is basically a traveling judge/executioner/detective so pretty much a figure of law. Although the book really wasn’t up my alley that much, it might be up to yours.

The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes

Title: The Imaginary Corpse
Author: Tyler Hayes
Series: standalone
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: September 10, 2019

Oh man, The Imaginary Corpse was one of my most favorite reads in 2019, and I use every opportunity I can get to recommend it to absolutely anyone who would listen to me. Plus, let’s face it, this list needed a cozier book after all the killing and mayhem. This one is about a stuffed triceratops who investigates different crimes in the Stillreal where discarded ideas and imaginary friends go to live. It’s going to give you ALL the feels, mark me!

And that concludes my Challenge Check-In for January 2023. On the whole, I did pretty well, and hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it up. Let me know how you progressed with either my challenges or the ones you set for yourself!

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