(Not a wrap-up!)

Look, ma, it’s a new post!

In my family, we have a superstition that says whatever you do in the first day of the new year portends the kinds of things that you will do for the rest of the year. Given that it’s been over a month since the last post on Book Thingo, I thought I’d better start the year off with good blogging habits!

I won’t lie: the second half of 2013 absolutely hammered me, in terms of workload and my TBR. I suspect my co-bloggers had similar issues, because we struggled mightily to keep up with reading and reviewing. The number of advance reading copies coming our way far exceeds our ability to read, much less review, and this has led to all sorts of stress, guilt and burn-out. Which is not how we want to be as bloggers!

We had some exciting developments in 2013, the most significant of which is that we invited two more regular bloggers to our team: Gabby and Jodi, both of whom are in academia. This means we now have two bloggers working as booksellers, two in academia, and three with other day jobs. A few of us also do freelance work related to books and publishing, which hopefully adds some additional perspective to our posts.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed editing Booktopia’s Romance Buzz—it’s a lot of work, and there’s a lot of reading involved, but I’m never short of amazing books to read, which bodes well for the genre. The downside is that I don’t always have time to write up a review for Book Thingo. Hopefully, though, my recommendations via the Buzz and Twitter are still reaching you guys. :-)

The highlight of my year, in book terms, was meeting Julia Quinn, and catching up with authors and the fabulous Sarah Wendell at this year’s Romance Writers of Australia conference, but for pure pleasure, it’s difficult to go past the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Brisbane. There won’t be an ARRC this year, but RWAus is in Sydney, so I’m super excited about that!

One of my biggest regrets, though, was my inability to keep my commitments with the Australian Women Writers Challenge blog. I was tasked, as contributing editor, to post monthly wrap-ups for the romance reviews. I think I managed two before this work fell by the wayside. I finally had to admit that this is something I won’t be able to keep up, so someone else will be taking over in 2014. However, I’m hoping to be able to contribute an article or two for the blog when I can. As for the challenge itself, I’ll keep submitting my reviews to the AWW Challenge, and I would encourage other readers who post reviews to do so! I’ll be interested to see how the AWW Challenge evolves as even more reviewers participate.

Projects in the works

Of course, the new year wouldn’t be as much fun if I didn’t mention that I have a Sekrit Project. Hopefully, I’ll have more details for you come February, or thereabouts. :D

Finally, many of you will have heard about the catastrophic typhoon that hit the Philippines in November (known to Filipinos as Typhoon Yolanda, and to everyone else as Haiyan). Many of my friends have been raising funds not only for emergency relief but for ongoing work to rebuild affected areas. I’m planning to hold a book-related fundraising effort in the next month or so, so watch this space for details. I’m currently looking for a venue in the CBD (or other easily accessible area) that can host a book exchange, so if anyone has suggestions, please let me know in the comments or via email. If you’re interested in other ways to help, you can check out the Australian effort’s Facebook page, or the Sydney team’s Tumblr.

Okay, enough navel-gazing! What have you guys been reading? And what are you looking forward to in 2014?


Kat Mayo is a freelance writer, podcaster, Twitter tragic, and compulsive reader. Her reviews have appeared in Books+Publishing, and she was the winner of the 2014 RWA Romance Media Award. She believes in happy endings, and kills fairies with glee.


  1. azteclady says:

    Very happy to see you here, and hoping this brand new year is kinder to you in terms of free time. Happy new year!
    I am sad to say that I have mostly been re-reading for the last o, ten months or so? So I’m completely out of step with whatever is coming out–I just read the Book Pushers’ list of anticipated January reads and was utterly surprised. Jayne Ann Krentz has a new book out? Huh.

  2. Kat says:

    @azteclady — I wish I had more time for rereading. I’ve revisited some books through audiobooks (mainly Kinsales) — fortunately, I’ve enjoyed the audio versions, too. What have you been rereading?

    I haven’t read a JAK book. I tried, but it wasn’t the right book, I think. I have a difficult time with veteran authors because it’s not always easy to sort out their backlist reissues with actual new releases.

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