All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

June Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 20
Fiction: 19
Non-Fiction: 1
Library Books: 9
Books On My TBR List: 6
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 3/16 (plus one m/f anthology)
Kindle Books: 9
Audiobooks: 1
Books I Owned or Bought: 3
Favourite Book(s): The Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn, Someone I Used To Know by Paige Toon, The House In The Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune, You And Me On Vacation by Emily Henry.
Least Favourite Books: Talk Bookish To Me by Kate Bromley
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 9

Very happy with the reading stats for June – it felt like a very well rounded month. After reading 0 eBooks last month, I read a whopping 9 this month, almost 50% of my monthly total. I also listened to one audiobook, so ended up reading 10 books in print.

We came out of our 14 day lockdown but now quite a lot of the rest of the country are currently experiencing their own lockdowns after various outbreaks, so it feels quite unusual for us to have quite a bit of freedom whilst many others are undergoing restrictions. It’s currently school holidays, we are almost through the first week. Later after this post goes up, I’m taking my kids for a walk along the beach and through some Botanical Gardens because there’s supposed to be some pretty gross weather coming over the weekend – plenty of rain and about 11 degrees so we’re going to get some sun while we still can! We have plans for some other days next week as well and my husband is having a week off work. We also have quite a large amount of television to catch up on (we record a lot of things and watch later, as my husband works several nights a week) so I guess this coming weekend will give us plenty of opportunity to do that!

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 45/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 4/6

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 23/25

I made quite a lot of progress on my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge this month – 7 of the books I read contributed towards the challenge! I also read 5 that count towards my Australian Women Writers Challenge and for both of those I’m 2 books and 5 books off my goal respectively and probably should reach both in July. I also still only have 1 book to read for my Read Non Fiction challenge to achieve my goal there – I actually thought I’d read one that would fit in July but it was published last year, not this year, so I’m on the hunt for something else!

Onto the July TBR pile!

I’m taking part in three publisher blog tours this month, for The Missing Girl by Kerry McGinnis, The Eighth Wonder by Tania Farrelly and Catch Us The Foxes by Nicola West. I’m also really keen for The Wattle Seed Inn by Leonie Kelsall because I loved her first novel. There’s a few on this pile that were surprise arrivals which is always fun. And I’ve heard some amazing things about Felix Ever After so that’s definitely one I’m really excited to read.

I also have some library books to get through – The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni (I loved her Medoran Chronicles), Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah so hopefully I can find some time for those this month as well.

If you’ve read anything on my pile be sure to let me know so I can prioritise! Happy reading.

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Top 10 Tuesday 9th June

Welcome back to another Top 10 Tuesday! Originally created and hosted by The Broke & the Bookish, Top 10 Tuesday now resides with Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl and features a different book or literature related theme each week. This week out topic is…..

Top 10 Books I Added To My TBR & Have Forgotten Why

I’m writing this from my bed – it’s quite bleak and miserable here today and it’s a good place to both stay warm and get things done. Also in this room I have a bookcase which is entirely filled with books on my TBR – it’s one of several TBR bookcases I have but the books in this one are supposed to be my “high priority” books, however looking at them now I’m aware that I have increasingly forgotten the reason that some of them were deemed high priority…

Bone Ash Sky by Katerina Cosgrove. No idea. I do remember that when this book came out, I had to have it. But honestly I cannot remember what drew me to it and all I think I know about it, is that it has something to do with the Armenian genocide.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. Yeah, I also don’t remember why I bought this one either. I do know that I’ve never picked it up although at some stage I deemed it a high priority.

 

Fallen & Torment by Lauren Kate. For some reason I own both of these and they’ve survived several book culls but I’ve never read them. I suspect I probably only kept them to see if they’re really as bad as some of the reviews I’ve read suggest, but I don’t care enough to actually pick them up and see. The cover is stunning, so perhaps I bought it for that alone, way back in probably 2011 or so.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Now that I’ve added this in here, I actually suspect that it isn’t mine and may have been loaned to me by Marg from The Intrepid Reader. However I cannot remember why I either wanted to borrow it or why she recommended it to me, so it’s still on my TBR and I can’t remember why!

Ink by Alice Broadway. No idea. Don’t remember buying this.

Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed. I actually do remember buying this one – I bought it from a children’s and teen’s bookstore a few suburbs away during a day out where we visited both the children’s and adult versions of the bookshop and came away with quite a few new books. However I don’t remember what it was that made me choose it.

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. I don’t remember what made me buy this – must’ve read about it somewhere. It’s an absolute brick and I’ve never picked it up. There’s a TV series now (haven’t watched that either, I try not to watch things until after I’ve read the book). Chances of either of these happening in the next…..5 years? Probably slim.

The Art Of Fielding by Chad Harbach. This belongs to my husband and I know he’s read it but for some reason, it’s on my TBR shelf. I don’t know why, because I don’t like baseball. My husband must’ve recommended it to me as a story that transcends my disinterest in baseball, perhaps. I’m not sure.

Blindness by José Saramago. Can’t remember what it was that made me want to buy this, many years ago now. I’ve actually read the first page once or twice and gotten no further than that.

Frozen Tracks by Åke Edwardson. I’ve no idea why I bought this. It’s #5 in a series and I haven’t read any of the others. It’s a mystery. I’m not even sure why I still own it.

I didn’t even dare look at my Kindle or iBooks collections for this prompt – I am forever one clicking freebies and deals on there and I suspect I could find at a very minimum, hundreds of books I’ve added to my TBR and have zero idea why. Most of my TBR in physical books are books sent by publishers that I haven’t gotten to yet, but want to in the future, or books I’ve bought but I remember the reason I bought them, so weren’t relevant to this list. It actually took me a little while to compile this – which is a good thing I suppose. Don’t want to have too many books lying around and no idea why they’re here. And you’ll probably notice that I’ve most likely forgotten because all of these books were purchased a while ago, with the probable exceptions of Ink and The Nowhere Girls, which were probably only a couple of years.

 

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Top 10 Tuesday 2nd July

Hello and welcome back to another instalment of Top 10 Tuesday! Originally created and hosted by The Broke & the Bookish, Top 10 Tuesday is now found at Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. There’s a different literary themed topic each week and this week we are talking…..

Top 10 Childhood Favourites

Oh what a fun topic! I’ve been an avid reader for literally as long as I have memory and I was also a passionate re-reader as a child, I had a lot of favourites.

  1. A bunch of Enid Blyton. Enid Blyton is pretty much the first author I can remember reading a lot of books from. And I was into so many of them, especially The Faraway Tree series, The Magic Wishing Chair series, The Famous Five series. This is primary escapism and fun and now my kids are reading some of these books as well and we are talking about the lands at the top of the tree and the adventures the kids get up to on the chair.
  2. The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin. I think my love of a long ranging series stemmed from these books. Even if the same chapter describing Kristy’s great idea for the club and introducing each member briefly was in every single book. I started reading these when I was around 7 (the BSB were about 13 except for Mallory and Jessica who were 11) and now my oldest kid is nearly 11 (August) and I aint letting him babysit anyone anywhere. It makes me realise how young they were, just out there babysitting little kids! I stopped reading these when I was about 11 or 12. It wasn’t as fun when I was actually the same age as the characters.
  3. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. I got a hardcover copy of this the Christmas I was 7 and I became absolutely obsessed with it. I re-read it so many times and I even ended up writing my own story plagiarising this terribly where I shipwrecked myself and my friends on a random island somewhere.
  4. The Chronicles Of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This is actually one of the occasions were I saw an adaptation before I read the book. BBC had a children’s TV series based on this when I was about 9 or 10 and I enjoyed it so much I ended up hunting the books down to read. I actually have never read this entire series – I seem to lose interest around book #5 or so but I absolutely adore the first few and have read them many times. I probably should set my kids up to read these.
  5. Anne Of Green Gables Series L.M. Montgomery. Like Narnia, I’ve never actually finished this series either, I still haven’t read the last 2 books. But I do absolutely love this, it’s so pure and it spoke to me a lot because like Anne, I have red hair and when I was probably 7 or 8 reading these, the chosen insult for redheads was “carrot top” which I absolutely loathed. Also Anne & Gilbert are probably my original OTP.
  6. The Billabong Series by Mary Grant Bruce. This is a very Australian series set mostly in rural Victoria in around the early 1900s I think, focusing on the Linton family – Dad David who is a widower and his two children Jim, who spends terms at boarding school and comes home to the family property Billabong in the holidays and Jim’s younger sister Norah, who doesn’t go away to school. Jim often brings random friends home with him and each book kind of revolves around their adventures on the family property. It’s been republished to remove words that would be super offensive and it’s probably problematic in this day and age but as a kid, I absolutely loved this series.
  7. Thoroughbred Series by Joanna Campbell. I was a frustrated horse girl growing up. Because I really loved horses but my parents didn’t have the money or the facilities in order for me to have a horse but several of my friends all had horses, so I was around them peripherally but without ever being able to actually be part of the community. So I lived vicariously through books and read a lot of horse-girl books, especially these. I absolutely loved this series, which kept spinning off to new characters as other ones aged. It was very wholesome (everybody married their first and only ever boyfriend). I think I stopped reading these after about 25-30 titles and fun fact: I just looked these up on Goodreads and there are 72 books, they were still being published into the 2000s. I probably stopped reading them in around 1997/98.
  8. The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody. Started reading these in 1996, finished reading them in 2014 haha. This series is famous for how long it spanned – some of the gaps between books were epic George R.R. Martin types but Carmody did get it done and finished and I stuck with it the whole way. I have re-read the first 3 of these so many times. Probably a hundred.
  9. Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal. Moved on from BSB to SVH. These were a little more grown up. Elizabeth and Jessica were 16 and drove! They had boyfriends! Sometimes there was things like alcohol involved. There was a lot of stuff that happened in the SVH books and I was definitely really into it. Naturally as I approached 14 or 15, this led into….
  10. Sweet Valley University by Francine Pascal. Jessica and Elizabeth headed off to college in this upgrade of the series and of course the chaos with friends, study and boys followed them around. I didn’t last too long with these……I think I started switching to adult books after I’d read maybe a dozen or so of these. They got pretty crazy, like people getting married without anyone in their family knowing, etc. I mean they’re all crazy but SVU took it to a completely new level. But for a while, I was definitely super into these.
  11. All Of The David EddingsI discovered David Eddings in probably middle high school….so for me that’s around 14. After I’d read The Hobbit and failed at reading The Lord of the Rings. These were definitely a much easier read. I read them in the wrong order though! I read The Mallorean before The Belgariad, because my high school library had book 1 of The Mallorean at the time when I found them. In the end it didn’t really matter in a way. I also read The Elenium and The Tamuli as well as Belgarath The Sorcerer and Polgara The Sorceress but I drew the line at The Rivan Codex. I’ve reread these too, including all of The Belgariad just a few years ago. I’ve also been tossing up reading The Elenium again soon too.

Okay so this ended up being 11 because I couldn’t decide which one of these to leave out. I couldn’t leave any of them out because they all shaped my childhood and adolescent reading. Some of these I wasn’t really a child – I was in my early teens but these are what I think of when I think of books that are influential from my younger reading years. I don’t really have much memory of picture books or anything like that, my memories all start with those early chapter books like the Baby Sitters Club.

I’m really excited to check out the books that shaped other readers and see what we have in common and what I might’ve forgotten or what’s new to me that maybe I can get my kids to read.

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June Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 13
Fiction: 11
Non-Fiction: 2
Library Books: 0
Books On My TBR List: 3
Books in a Series: 3
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 7
Male/Female Authors: 2/11
Kindle Books: 1
Books I Owned or Bought: 3
Favourite Book(s): The Forgotten Letters Of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn, A Mother’s Story by Rosie Batty and The Ex by Nicola Moriarty
Least Favourite Books: Nothing below a 3/5 this month!
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 7

June was the quietest reading month of the year for me and I can’t really put my finger on why. I was really struggling at times to find the motivation to sit down and pick up a book. I did manage to finish 13 books and it was a very good reading month – 3 of those were 4.5/5 reads and another 6 were 4/5 star reads! So whilst it was low in quantity it was pretty high in quality, which is great. I’m also pretty happy that I managed to read a few TBR ‘dinosaurs’ – A Mother’s Story by Rosie Batty and Black Rock, White City by A.S. Patric, which have been on my shelf for about 3 years!

My June TBR pile was pretty large…….I didn’t get to 2 of them, nor did I get to the one I didn’t complete from May’s TBR pile! This month my pile is pretty small.

There’s just 7 books here. I went pretty easy on the requests because…..I’m on holiday! For the first 2 weeks of July I’m away visiting my parents up north and I knew that would have a big impact on what I could accomplish because I did not bring any print books away with me. 2 kids + me = enough crap already to pack! I did however, stock up on some eBooks and request a few things from NetGalley to read while I’m here. And my nan buys a lot of books so there’s a lot floating around up here to choose from, should I need it. However I have enough unread books on my iPad to probably last me 2-3 years! So I should be able to still find plenty to read while I’m here.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be here. Happy reading!

 

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Let’s Talk! Writing Spaces

I thought it might be fun to talk a little about my ‘writing space’ which is where I do 99% of my review and post writing these days. I picked up this desk about 4-5 years ago from the ‘Salvos’, an op/charity shop here in Australia. It was $140 and it’s solid wood – it requires at least 2 men to lift it and when we moved last year they had to use the piano trolley to get it anywhere! It’s huge….1.65m long (the same height as me actually) by 90cm wide. It’s in my living room – to my left is a half wall which divides the living room from the dining room and to my right is the L shaped modular couch, which basically divides the living room from my desk space!

I decided this was a good time to do a post on it because I just cleaned and tidied it up and rearranged it a bit yesterday. Because it’s so big it gets dusty and also cluttered because it’s so easy to just dump things on it. Every few months I crack it and clean it all off and tidy it up – so it won’t look like this for much longer! As you can see I like candles and tend to burn one whenever I’m sitting at my desk. I have 2-3 on rotation and some faves at the moment are Coconut and Elderberry by ecoya and Rhubarb & Pear by a local company called Kennedy Smith. I pick up the Kennedy Smith ones at a makers market that’s on here every couple of months.

On the left is also my TBR pile, which I changed, it used to be on the right but I swapped it and the pens around. I’ve got 3 books left to read from this month’s pile. I keep them here to basically keep me focused on what I’ve still got left to read and I often stack them in the order I want to read them. Also on this side is my personal planner which I use to keep track of family appointments, my kids sporting and school commitments, my husband’s work roster, basically anything that I feel I might forget if I don’t write it down and keep it handy!

Another thing necessary for review writing – a cup of tea! Usually its in a mug but it’s super cold this morning so I made it in the travel mug my youngest son gave me for Mother’s Day his first year of school so that it can keep its heat longer. These things are really good! My tea stays hot for hours. I freaking love tea. I have so many different varieties and they almost know me by name at T2.

I like things that make my desk a bit fun and so I always have my little glass floaty collection of paperweights, although I don’t use them as such. I buy these to remind me of places I’ve been – I have 2x penguins (1 from Taronga Zoo in Sydney, 1 from the penguin parade at Phillip Island), koalas from the koala hospital where my parents live, seals from Melbourne Zoo and the Dog on the Tuckerbox from Gundagai in NSW. Sometimes I pick them up and shake them when the inspiration doesn’t hit! Also there is a little echidna dish which I picked up from Healesville Sanctuary when we went there a couple weekends ago. My family and I did the echidna experience, where you got to pat and feed them and it was amazing. So I bought the little trinket dish as a reminder of that day.

I love pens…..so now over on the right is my pen collection, watched over by my 2x pikachu and my panda. There’s also my bluetooth headphones in that case and my blog planner as well as any books where I still have outstanding reviews. I’m fairly up to date so there’s actually only the book I read yesterday, Shot Down which is an analysis of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, shot down over the Ukraine almost five years ago. There’s also some flowers that my husband randomly brought home for me the other day, which are kind of being killed because they’re under the ducted heating vent.

Before I got this desk, I used to write reviews sitting on the couch with my laptop on my lap and it was super not good for my back. My back isn’t great to begin with and that really didn’t help so I moved to the dining room table but that was the wrong height and the chairs were hard AF and so….also not good for my back. So I wanted somewhere that was comfortable for me to be at for long periods of time where I could have all the things that I needed. I tend to go through ups and downs with review writing – sometimes (like at this moment) I’m pretty organised with a few scheduled and ready to go in advance and at others I can be almost a dozen books behind. When I was writing on the couch, those books could be anywhere in the house so quite often I’d start a post, get up to hunt the book down and then kind of lose interest. The only thing that would improve this in terms of aesthetic would be a view out the window. But it just looks into the dividing fence with my neighbour, which is super not at all interesting. At least it’s one less thing to distract me though! I learned recently that I can get a lot of stuff done with no distractions! I went to my husband’s work not last Sunday but the one before and they have free wifi but it was really only good enough to have my blog and Goodreads open. Facebook wouldn’t load, news and forum sites, twitter etc, so I just sat down and wrote reviews and I got 4.5 written in the 4 hours I was there. It can take me anywhere between 1-3 hours per review depending on how difficult I find it, how involved it is and how often I get distracted.

I’m really curious to know if anyone else has a dedicated writing space or if they just tend to write reviews/books/etc wherever, like in bed or on the couch or at their dining table. I do occasionally take a day (quite often a Sunday) and work in bed as well, but that also isn’t great for my back so I try not to do it too often. I found that having a lumbar chair has helped quite a bit as it keeps me sitting upright, so I try to do most of my computer work here. But sometimes I get lazy, especially in winter and just want to be on the couch, TV on, under a blanket!

So, bloggers/writers, how do you write? Let me know!

 

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Top 10 Tuesday 25th June

Welcome back to another instalment of Top 10 Tuesday! Originally created and hosted by The Broke & the Bookish, it now has a new home with Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This is one of my fave topics and I really enjoy getting to do them every quarter. I also like going back and checking previous ones to hold myself accountable. So……this week it is:

Top Books On My Summer Winter Reading List

(Australian, so yes it is winter here, which means there’s probably a distinct lack of summery, beachy themed reads here!)

1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Okay I’m not sure how, but I literally only just discovered this book when I sat down to write this post. I don’t tend to place too much stock in Goodreads ratings but the fact that this one has a 4.05 rating from about 77k is impressive. And the blurb…….

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

That’s just the first paragraph and honestly, how good does that sound? I need to get a copy of this ASAP.

2. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. I already have a copy of this and I’m really looking forward to it. The Kiss Quotient was so fun and I’m really hoping that I get the same vibes from this one, because that’s the sort of thing that I’m interested in reading atm. I’ve been reading quite a bit of suspense and thriller-type books and I’m going away for 2 weeks in July so I’d like a few light-hearted books that give me summer feels, even if it’s not actually summer here, if you know what I mean.

3. Brazen And The Beast by Sarah MacLean. The second in the Bareknuckle Bastards series. I really enjoyed the first one and I’m keen to see where it goes and as I was saying to a blogging/reading friend of mine the other night, it’s been forever since I read a historical romance. I picked up a few others on iBooks the other day too, so hopefully I’ll find time for more than just this one.

4. Shot Down by Marianne Van Velzen. Something a little different now. I’m really interested in airline disasters and how they happen. Every time you step aboard a plane, you put yourself into someone else’s hands and you never know if the pilots are well rested, has the plane been appropriately serviced, will someone be bearing a grudge……or will the plane be mistaken for something else and shot down. There were quite a few Australian fatalities in this incident and I’m interested to read the story behind it and the investigation, etc.

5. Field Notes On Love by Jennifer E. Smith. I have a bit of a hit/miss record with Jennifer E. Smith’s books…..there’s some I’ve seriously loved and others have just been meh. This sounds really cute though and I love a road trip type story – this has a train journey, so that sounds really fun.

6. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I’ve had a copy of this on my iPad for ages now, I picked it up cheap in a sale and I figure that while I’m on holidays is the perfect time to read it as I’m not going to have any actual books with me, just what’s on my iPad. This is something I’ve been wanting to read for a long time now, it has a lot of love and the second book is probably coming out soon, so seems like this will be a good time.

7. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I’ve also had this one on my iPad for quite a while and it’s one I’ve earmarked for my Reading Women Challenge for this year, which I have fallen woefully behind on. I haven’t read a book that’s counted towards it for a couple of months, so I really need to lift my game. I absolutely loved Little Fires Everywhere so I’m hoping that I enjoy this one just as much!

8. The Chain by Adrian McKinty. Adrian McKinty is an author I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. I have seen a lot of good things about his Sean Duffy series but I’ve never actually gotten around to picking them up. This is a stand alone and it sounds really good:

You just dropped off your child at the bus stop.
A panicked stranger calls your phone.
Your child has been kidnapped.
The stranger then explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger.
The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child – within 24 hours.
Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child.
And most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered.
You are now part of The Chain.

This taps into all those parental fears about my kids and their safety and that whole ‘what would you do if’? type thing. Would I kidnap another child and put another set of parents through hell, if my child had been kidnapped and was threatened with death? It gives me the shivers just thinking about it.

9. Playing House by Ruby Lang. I nabbed this off NetGalley for my holiday because it just seems like a lot of fun and has some things I really enjoy – especially people pretending they’re in a relationship. That’s like crack for me. I am hoping this might give me similar vibes to The Flatshare and The Hating Game.

10. Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal. I also nabbed a copy of this from NetGalley – it came out a while ago, so I’m not sure why it was still on there and it was the American publisher I think, and they never approve me anymore. I requested it positive I’d get rejected and was so surprised to get a copy! It’s a modern day P&P adaptation but set in Pakistan and I have read almost nothing set in Pakistan so I’m super excited for this! It’ll probably be one of the first books I read on my holiday.

So here are the top 10 books on my TBR for the foreseeable future…..I honestly expect to get quite a few of these read in the first couple weeks of July when I’m on holidays and I don’t have any of my print books with me but others will have to wait until I return home. I’m super excited for all of these……some of them aren’t new releases at all, so if you’ve read any, definitely let me know your thoughts on them.

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Top 10 Tuesday 5th February

Welcome back to another edition of Top 10 Tuesday! Originally created and hosted by The Broke & the Bookish, Top 10 Tuesday now lives with Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week our topic is:

Top 10 Upcoming Releases I’m On The Fence About

1. Chains Of Gold by Cassandra Clare. Do I really want to get into another Shadowhunter trilogy? I’ve read TMI, I’ve read TID, I’m about to start on TDA at some stage. I sort of am getting to the stage where I feel if you’ve read one of these, you’ve kind of read them all. They just repeat various plots in different timelines with characters who are quite similar but have different names. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, because I mostly do. I’m just not sure I need to read anymore? Although this cover is lovely. So we’ll see.

2. The Red Scrolls Of Magic by Cassandra Clare. Oh look, it’s more from this world. Cassandra Clare is really going at this for all that it has, isn’t she? The thing is, Magnus is actually my favourite character from the entire universe and this is about him so…… Although the blurb sounds a bit meh, I do quite like Marcus and Alec but I like them a lot more when they’re all angsty and having issues. I’ll probably read this before I read Chains Of Gold.

3. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell. I was on the fence about Carry On before it came out and I ended up enjoying it. I’m not sure I’m keen for more though. I also don’t know about this cover either, tbh.

4. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh. I am actually behind reading this author. I’ve read The Wrath & the Dawn and really liked it and I still have to read The Rose & the Dagger as well as her other duology. I’m just not sure if I want to read about vampires.

5. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Do I? I don’t know! I’m probably going to have to.

6. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella. I have to admit, I really like the sound of the blurb for this one – except the main character’s name is “Fixie” and that is ridiculous. Even if it’s a nickname. However, I have this weird relationship with Sophie Kinsella books. The ones I love, I absolutely adore. However the other ones……oy. And I never know what I’m going to get until I’m part way in. So every single time it’s a random draw.

7. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. Okay, people have been singing Christina Lauren’s praises lately, the last few releases especially but I read a couple a little while ago and they really didn’t do much for me. Maybe they’ve switched plots a bit, and I need to give some of their more recent work a go.

Honestly, this is all I have this week. I don’t tend to be on the fence about a lot of books – I either want to read something or I know it probably isn’t for me. Sometimes I get sent books that I give a go, not thinking I’ll be super into them and sometimes I end up loving them. So often I’ll decide to read something on a whim not sure if I’ll love it or not but I don’t tend to look at lists of books and wonder if I’m so-so on them.

I try to surround myself with books I know I really want to read, rather than worrying about the ones I’m not sure about!

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January Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 21
Fiction: 20
Non-Fiction: 1
Library Books: 4
Books On My TBR List: 4
Books in a Series: 10
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 9
Male/Female Authors: 1/20
Kindle Books: 4
Books I Owned or Bought: 6
Favourite Book(s): Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Least Favourite Books: Nothing rated below a 3 this month
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 8

I feel as though January brought back my reading mojo after a pretty quiet November and December. There’s something about January that just feels like reading time. Last January I had a good reading month too, something about kids being on holidays, lazy warm summer days, I don’t know. I always feel like January is a good ‘reset’.

First month of the year also resulted in the first 10/10 rating for 2019 – Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. If you haven’t read this one yet, I highly recommend it. It’s such an amazing book in ways I cannot describe properly without ruining things but go ahead and check it out. Also I didn’t rate anything below a 3/5 on Goodreads and for such a high total of books, that’s a pretty damn good month. I’m using this spreadsheet to track my reading and it’s working out really well. I like being able to see at a glance via the pie charts what my percentages of ARCS/bought/library books are or how many books by POC I’ve read. It also helps keep my Reading Women Challenge organised as well, as I can see immediately which prompts I’ve ticked off, as there’s a tab for that.

Challenge update – I’m currently doing 2 challenges for this year: the Reading Women Challenge and the Australian Women Writers Challenge. In January I finished 8 books that counted towards a challenge and I think it was an even split. 4 for the RWC and 4 for the AWWC. I’m going to have to pick the pace up for the AWWC because I think I signed up to read/review 80 books for it this year and so far, that is not the sort of pace that is going to get me there!

Moving onto February. Here’s my TBR pile and it’s a bit of a whopper:

So there are 12 books on this pile but I’ve actually already read 2 of them (the reviews will be posted this month). I am more excited (and scared) than I can say about Vardaesia by Lynette Noni. I’m so ready to find out how this ends but I know there’s probably likely that everyone I love will not make it to the end alive. Also What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume! Jenna is so amazing and this is her debut novel and I can’t wait to get to know Maisie and learn her story. Also The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan takes us back to Cormac Reilly and I am totally here for it. The rest look like a good mix to keep things from getting too similar as well.

I also have a few other books I have an interest in reading this February – some for my RWC of course and I also bought 2 books today actually. One is the 2x winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards: No Friend But The Mountains by Behrouz Boochani, which won both the non-fiction title and the overall literary award. The amazing thing is that Boochani has been on Manus Island since 2013 and wrote the book basically by text message in Farsi. He was given special dispensation to enter the awards as he’s not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, which is a requirement. I have actually been curious about this for a while (I follow him, or whoever tweets for him on Twitter) and the announcement of these awards was enough for me to head out and pick myself up a copy. I also picked up Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi which I have seen lots of people praising highly.

Hopefully February is as successful a reading month as January.

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Top 10 Tuesday 22nd January

Hello and welcome back to another instalment of Top 10 Tuesday! Originally created and hosted by The Broke & the Bookish, Top 10 Tuesday now has a new home with Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. It features a different bookish related theme each week and this week we are talking…..

Top 10 Books I Mean To Read In 2018 But Didn’t Get To

  1. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. Seriously I’ve lost count of how many lists I’ve put Obsidio onto. I want to read it. I just haven’t actually picked it up yet. I know that once I do, that’ll be it, I won’t put it down until I’m done, it’s just finding the time and the headspace to be in that position.
  2. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I really enjoyed Six Of Crows. I need to finish this. I’m hopelessly behind with a lot of Leigh Bardugo’s books, I still haven’t finished the first Grisha trilogy and everyone is really excited about a new one that’s coming out soon.
  3. Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin. Have you seen it? It’s a doorstop. Who knows when I’ll get around to it!
  4. Children Of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Heard a lot of good things about this but I’m not gonna lie – the behaviour by the author directed at Nora Roberts of all people, has really made me question how I feel about reading this. If you have a query or problem, maybe you approach that person, or your publisher in private and make your concerns known so that they can be addressed.
  5. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I picked up a copy of this one on iBooks and I’ve had it for a little while now. I’ve heard a lot of really good things about it but just never got around to it. Maybe in 2019. Before #2 comes out? (Probably not. Let’s be realistic).
  6. The Rise & Fall Of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning. I love Sarra Manning’s books! All the books of hers I own are eBooks but I actually wanted to buy a hard copy of this only I haven’t come across it anywhere. I’ll have to order it online.
  7. The Last Woman Hanged by Caroline Overington. Last year I read a fictionalised retelling of the story of the last woman hanged in Australia and it was really good. This book by Overington is a non-fiction account and I really wanted to read it to learn more. I own a copy, just need to you know, like everything else, find the time amid all the new releases etc.
  8. Circe by Madeline Miller. I loved The Song of Achilles although it took me forever to read that too! So it’s no surprise that I haven’t read this one yet.
  9. The Boat People by Sharon Bala. I really like the sound of this and even though this is about people reaching Canada, it’s really relevant to me as an Australian because of what our government does to people who arrive or try, to arrive by boat. This has reminded me that I really need to order a copy of this. I haven’t seen it anywhere locally.
  10. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Because it is even a Top 10 Tuesday list of mine if this book isn’t on it?
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Top 10 Tuesday 15th January

Welcome back to another Top 10 Tuesday, originally created by The Broke & the Bookish and now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week our topic is…..

Top 10 New Authors I Read In 2018

  1. Holly Black. I read both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King in 2018 and am madly obsessed with this series. I’d never read Holly Black before even though I’ve been seeing her name around for quite a few years. I really do need to go back and read some of her backlist while I wait for The Queen Of Nothing.
  2. Holly Ringland. I read Holly’s debut novel, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart and it was one of the few books I gave a 10/10 to last year. It’s such a beautiful story and Holly’s writing is just…..incredible. She’s an Aussie living in England (or at least spending a lot of time there) and I hope this book has a lot of success in overseas markets too. And I can’t wait to read whatever she comes up with next.
  3. Dervla McTiernan. The Rúin, first in the Cormac Reilly series gets Dervla McTiernan into my list. I loved this book – and I have the second one, The Scholar sitting on a pile here waiting for me to get to it. It’s an Irish detective series and it just has such atmosphere and Cormac is so interesting.
  4. Jenny Han. Of course 2018 was the year I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You and Always & Forever, Lara Jean. These books had been on my radar for a while but the Netflix adaptation was the push I needed to finally read the first one, because you have to read the book before watching the movies! This is a super cute series and hopefully they make the other 2 and they’re just as good.
  5. Gail Honeyman. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine made a big impression on me last year – such a powerful story. I really loved it and I am super keen to read Gail’s next book, whenever that may be.
  6. Kelly Rimmer. The excellent Before I Let You Go had me hooked – such an interesting book that explored a really tricky legal restriction and a moral dilemma really well. Kelly has another book coming out very soon, in March I think and I will definitely have that top of my pile.
  7. Helen Hoang. The Kiss Quotient was brilliant. Super funny and really engaging, exactly the sort of book I like to read. And I’m really excited for The Bride Test. I have so many books I’m really excited for this year, from authors that I love so it’s really looking like being such a good reading year!
  8. Christian White. Author of The Nowhere Child. If you’re not Aussie, keep a look out for this one in 2019, because it’s getting published in other markets and it is amazing.
  9. Michelle McNamara. It’s really unfortunate that I’ll never get to read another piece of investigative non-fiction from Michelle McNamara because sadly she passed away, even before her book on the Golden State Killer, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark was published. She did such an amazing job and the way it was written was really incredible.
  10. Hillary Rodham Clinton & Michelle Obama. I’m putting these two together so I can a) fit both of them into my list and b) because they are quite similar in that they are former First Ladies who wrote memoirs. The one I read from Hillary Clinton was What Happened, detailing her loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election and I read Michelle Obama’s Becoming, a story of her life before and in the White House. I love them both. I hope Michelle Obama writes more in the future and I have other books from HRC to read.

And there’s my list of new authors I enjoyed the most in 2018!

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