It’s been a tricky year to release a new book. Few signings, no cons, libraries and bookshops closed half the time so fewer opportunities for eyes to snag on display copies. If it was bad for established names, think how much harder it was for authors putting their very first book out into the world. So today I’m looking back at some of the fantasy debuts since last year’s Wyrd And Wonder.

Welcome to the Wyrd And Wonder read-along! This year, we’re buddy reading The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart, with discussions over the next four weeks. This is a fantasy of magic and revolution, set in an island empire whose citizens donate their bones – and their life force – to power the strange creations the Emperor uses to govern them. Intrigued? Let’s get to it…

Book cover: The Obsidian Tower - Melissa CarusoIn Vaskandar, everything boils down to power. As a Witchlord’s mage-marked granddaughter, Ryx is undeniably powerful. But her magic is flawed: it kills everything she touches. When she accidentally kills a visiting dignitary, she gives an ambitious neighbour a pretext for war… which is about to be the least of her worries.

April began with a delightful weekend of SFnal novellas for All Systems Read, which left me very focused for both hoovering up my reading list and tackling my review backlog. In other areas, April served up a reality check thanks to my beloved and his sense of humour: turns out some jigsaw puzzles really are absurdly hard and take days. SO MANY DAYS. Consider my patience well and truly tested.

So I was procrastinating over some overdue reviews (shh, I know) at the weekend and before I knew it I was tinkering with the Challenge to see if I could turn the prompts into a Wyrd And Wonder Book Bingo. The answer was not really, but I kept going because who doesn’t love book bingo? So for those of you who fancy a fantasy reading challenge for May, here you go!

It’s only a week until the start of a month of Wyrd and Wonder! I’ll be spending May celebrating the fantastic with a band of like-minded adventurers. I’ve got some clear reading goals this year as I’ve got lots of fantasy ARCs and Subjective Chaos reads outstanding. Feel free to place your bets on how long it takes me to get distracted and deviate from this TBR…