The AAL Spring 21 ARC Schedule

Review titles, rules for requests, blog tour details and more

All Things Netgalley…

When I started blogging I was amazed at the people saying they were booked up(ha) months in advance for reviews. Now just over two years later here I am about to share my ARC schedule for 2021! For today I’m focusing solely on my pre-agreed Netgalley reviews.

I have a little method when it comes to requesting on Netgalley. I have to admit I don’t always stick to it but most of the time it keeps me in check. I know some of you have hundreds in your backlist! At the time of writing I have 17 and a NG ratio of 82%.

5 rules for requesting:

  • Spend no more than 30 minutes once a fortnight browsing books. I even set a strict timer.
  • View my favourite publishers sorted by latest publication date first and never request anything due for release before next month.
  • Allow myself no more than 4 unread ARCs at a time due for release in each upcoming month.
  • Never request a book for the sake of it. It must be something I believe will be a 4+ stars for me.
  • Put myself on a Netgalley ban if my ratio dips below 70%

My intent is always to publish my book review on this blog the day of it’s release. I then try to remember to upload that review to Amazon and Goodreads a week or so later.
My NG review goes up the moment I finish reading, partly to keep my ratio accurate but also to contribute for those checking NG reviews before they request.

Last year I had a slump during first lockdown which left a few books in arrears, these I tend to then leave to one side for a spare moment in my later schedule so that I can continue to meet the deadlines I set myself for my unpublished ARCs.

So here is where I stand today:

My Spring ’21 Netgalley Schedule:

The Eighth Girl – Maxine Mei Chung

The Last House on Needless Street – Catriona Ward

All The Murmuring Bones- A G Slatter

The Library Of The Dead – T L Huchu

The Castaways – Lucy Clarke

Dark Lullaby – Polly Ho Yen

Shadow In The Glass – JJA Harwoo

Mirrorland – Carole Johnstone

Her Last Holiday – C L Taylor

Sorrowland – Rivers Solomon

Circus Of Wonders- Elizabeth Macneal

The Decagon House Murders- Yukito Ayatsuji

But of course even the best laid plans fail. I’m ashamed to admit I have four titles in long term arrears, some even over 12 months since request. Luckily I always immediately download any books I’m accepted for. They may be locked in the Netgalley archive vault but they still patiently await my attention on kindle…

A Witch In Time- Constance Sayers

Descendant Of The Crane- Joan He

Bone Harvest – James Brogden

Incendiary – Zoraida Cordova

And that’s where I am right now for the period of March to May. I have two more lined up in June ready to begin my summer schedule but I’m desperately attempting to stay away from any more requests for now. My poor owned books TBR has been ever growing whilst the ARCs distract me, which gave rise to my new frequent post, Topshelf Tuesdays! Stick around the blog to see more.

If you haven’t overfilled your review schedule as I have, don’t forget to join up to the BBNYA panel, or there are loads of fantastic tours you can sign up to with Dave over at The Write Reads 


Are you a Netgalley user? Tell me, what’s the oldest ARC on your shelf? Are your arrears worse than mine?

Have you read any of these titles? Drop me a comment, link me your review, share the book love.

AnAverageLife’s Top 10 Books of 2020

I don’t need to say it was a hard year, we all know it, we all feel it. I struggled at times to immerse myself in reading, or in anything at all if I’m honest, so I read a little less. Even so, of the 80+ fiction novels I did escape into, these were my favourite..

10. The Year Of The Witching – Alexis Henderson


9. Cinderella Is Dead – Kalynn Bayron


8. The Hollow Places – T Kingfisher


7. The Secrets Of Strangers- Charity Norman


6. A Deadly Education- Naomi Novik


5 . The Silent Wife – Karin Slaughter


4. The Hunted – Gabriel Bergmoser


3. Feathertide – Beth Cartwright


2. The Misfits – Hunter Shea

Misfits BT Poster.jpg

1. The Devil And The Dark Water


Have you read any of these titles? What made your top 10 of 2020?

Book Review; Mondo Crimson- Andrew Post

Blood full of adrenaline, that’s worth killing for.

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Publication date: November 2020

Page Count: 304

GoodReads link


When Melanie, a car thief, is sent to find a certain vehicle only to discover it’s owned by dangerous hit-woman, Brenda, the two begin to wonder if their fateful encounter wasn’t just pure coincidence. It turns out they both work for a man named Felix Eberhart, who may or may not have had the hopes that Melanie and Brenda opened fire the second they laid eyes on each other. Melanie learns that Felix’s network of car thieves, fixers, and drug runners have all been set against one another. But why? Business was going so well..


As with his previous novel Chop Shop, Post doesn’t hold back when it comes to violence. Ideal for those that like to hear the bones crack in their horror movies, he paints a stunningly accurate picture of blood and gore inflicted by humans, on humans.
No fanciful terms or metaphors to soften the blow, just a second by second account of a man sifting his wife’s brains through his fingers.
If you have a sensitive stomach you won’t make it far in Mondo Crimson.
I for one LOVED it.

Its easy to believe the characters Post creates. Dragged into the most dangerous parts of the criminal world through pure desperation. His horrors are human and though we may not see anything quite like this in our real lives, you don’t have to look far to see people like this exist all over the world.

What I really enjoy is the way he can make you almost empathise if not sympathise with the predicament his characters are in. You understand how and why they came to this life and the futility of it all.
For Mel a few poor financial choices and she’s trapped by debt.
Brenda was more complicated, her enjoyment of killing versus the pure love for her husband and children made it a fascinating read.
Merritt is the ever present insidious creep, the mentally disturbed man child with the overbearing mother we expect to find in such tales.
I was also thrilled to discover Amber resurfaces from Post’s previous novel Chop Shop, I love when authors tie their work together in this way.

Each character was drawn into Felix’ criminal network for differing reasons but all will end up in the same predicament once his deadly game of dominos begins… just wait til you find out what ‘Mondo Crimson’ really means!

The synopsis doesn’t do justice to Mondo Crimson, prepare yourself for an insane and gloriously barbaric ride!

Massive thanks to Flame Tree Press once again.

Roxanne’s Reactions:

Birthdays And Blogiversarys

Today is my 32nd Birthday and 2 years since I officially relaunched An Average Life!

Since life has gotten so busy I’ve taken to mostly posting book reviews in 2020, although I do have a LOT of half written discussion posts saved in various places calling out to be scheduled. One day my pretties. One day.

Right now I should be in Minehead visiting family and checking out the EAT! Food & Drink festival.
I’m willing to bet it’s raining since in my 32 years of August birthdays I have had FIVE sunny ones. FIVE. The rest were either torrential rain and/or thunderstorms.

I am cursed.

I’ve accepted it. If you could do a little sun dance for me today though I would so appreciate it.

So to mark the 32/2 occasion here is a freestyle post I whipped up just for me!

On the subject of BIRTHDAYS; Top 10 novels on my Wishlist

Every birthday I receive book vouchers without fail and I am certainly not complaining. I’ll be agonising later over which to choose from my horrendously long Wishlist including..

Afterland – Lauren Beukes

The Hollow Ones – GDT & Chuck Hogan

Into The Drowning Deep – Mira Grant

Winterwood – Shea Ernshaw

Malorie – Josh Malerman

The Tenth Girl- Sara Faring

Brother- Ania Ahlborn

Piercing- Ryu Murakami

Neverwhere- Neil Gaiman

Dream Fall – Amy Plum

I’m also hoping JB has remembered I desperately wanted one of those wooden trays that sit over the bath so I can finally be trusted to read in there without dropping my tablet! I am THE clumsiest.

On the subject of BLOGIVERSARYS; 10 things I’ve learned about book blogging so far.

Limit your time spent on Netgalley and always check the publication date.
Lord knows you don’t really need more books on an already tight review schedule.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to publishers.
What’s the worst that could happen? Keep trying.

Drama drama drama. Ignore it. Block it. Mute it.
Whatever you need to do to get back to the topic on hand, BOOKS.

Pick a theme and format your review posts in batches before you read the books.
All you have to do is add the review text when ready, I do that in batches too. I schedule several book reviews at a time to keep my engagement steady if I get too busy to post.

Write the review before you start your next read.
It needs to be fresh. Especially if like me you forget every character name the very next day!

Stick your nose in.
Are people tweeting about a book you’re interested in? Jump on into that thread. They can’t see you, they can’t hear you, sure they might ignore you a few times but you won’t know if you never speak up.

Read for yourself and only yourself.
You know what you like, don’t feel pressured to buy the latest releases or read them before anyone else. You’ll only waste your own time and money.

Interact with the newbies.
We’ve all been there, feeling like an outsider, wishing someone would converse with us, busting your ass for minimal views. Lend a helping hand, these are the people who will become loyal followers and bonus- they aren’t yet tainted by the dramarama.

Massive discord/ DM groups are a time suck and a battery drain.

Find your tribe or make your own.
Everyone belongs, you just need to discover where.

Well I hope that was interesting if not entirely useful to you! Thankyou all for reading my rambles. Here’s to the next year of living and blogging.

It’s gotta get better than 2020 right?


October Reading Wrap-Up

Welcome back ghosts and ghouls,
I think it’s about time I posted another wrap up, it’s been a while! Being October you’ll find my TBR was mostly Halloween themed last month.
I’ve shied away from long novels recently, (my re-read of IT was abandoned before it even began) so I managed to finish a good amount of books this month. Take a look;

Continue reading “October Reading Wrap-Up”

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