All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

April Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 19
Fiction: 15
Non-Fiction: 4
Library Books: 8
Books On My TBR List: 3
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 13
Male/Female Authors: 2/17
Kindle Books: 0
Audiobooks: 2
Books I Owned or Bought: 0
Favourite Book(s): Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly and Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Least Favourite Books: Trick Of The Light by Fiona McCallum
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 14

April was again, a really nice reading month. I think part of that was because, for April which should still be a pretty nice month weather wise, we actually had a lot of really cold and crappy weather. Days to stay inside and get lots of reading done – which I did! I read 19 books for April, 15 fiction titles and 4 non-fiction titles. I utilised my local library a lot this month, reading 8 books from there, 6 in print and listening to 2 audiobooks via Borrow Box. I still have a large amount of books checked out from the library so I expect the total for next month to be pretty generous too. However I’m still not going great with ebooks – another month where I read 0 on either my kindle or iPad. Whoops. I have books on there I want to read, just find myself picking up print books instead, especially after it felt like I was getting a lot of headaches when trying to read on a screen.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 31/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 4/6

Reading Women Challenge: 0/28 (honestly might as well just abandon this one now)

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 15/25

Good progress made in my other 3 challenges though – 8 books for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, 3 books for the Read Non Fiction Challenge (so despite getting off to a bit of a slow start, I’ve made up a lot of ground there) and 5 more books completed for the Historical Fiction Reading challenge.

For those who remember my huuuuuuuge TBR pile for April – I almost finished it. I read all but 2 books on it, which I’ve added to the shelf of “books I didn’t get time for during their release months but still want to read”. One of them is my online bookclub choice for May, so I’ll do my best to fit that in this month, which should be doable as the pile this month is considerably smaller than that last one!

Here’s my May TBR:

As mentioned, apart from this pile I still also have quite a few library books checked out. I’ve also bought a few book recently and thanks to watching Shadow And Bone on Netflix (and loving it!) I’ve been rereading Six of Crows and I’m planning to finally read Crooked Kingdom straight after – by the time this post goes up, I should’ve actually finished both of those. I also picked up King Of Scars and Rule Of Wolves to read but I have yet to finish the original Shadow and Bone trilogy. I’ve read the first book but never got around to reading 2&3. I do have them, but part of the problem is that book-Mal bores me so much. I just need to push through to meet the relevant characters so that I can move on to the other duology. I also bought a copy of Ariadne by Jennifer Saint and I’m looking forward to reading that too, hopefully this month.

Hope that you all had a fun reading April and that you have some exciting things to look forward to for May. If you’ve read anything from my pile, be sure to let me know.

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January Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 13
Fiction: 9
Non-Fiction: 4
Library Books: 4
Books On My TBR List: 5
Books in a Series: 4
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 9
Male/Female Authors: 1/11 (and one author identifies as non-binary)
Kindle Books: 2
Books I Owned or Bought: 4
Favourite Book(s): Starting From Scratch by Penelope Janu, A Life On Our Planet by David Attenborough
Least Favourite Books: Nothing below a 3/5 this month
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 6

For the last few years, January has been one of my more prolific reading months. My kids are on holidays all month long so there’s opportunity for a lot of mornings lazing in bed reading rather than having to get up and get their lunches, get them ready for school, etc. However this year my parents, who I haven’t seen in 12 months due to it-that-shall-not-be-named, made a decision to come down and see us once the protocols changed on interstate visits, so they arrived on the 20th January and stayed until the 31st. I only finished 2 books while they were here and I’ve been listening to an audiobook at night but I’m not quite finished it yet, so it will be included in next month’s count.

Of the books I did read, it was a solid and quite well-rounded start to the year though. A good mix of fiction and non-fiction, books by authors of colour and featuring characters of the same as well as a book by an author who identifies as non-binary and also featuring a character who identifies that way as well. I listened to one audiobook, which was brilliant. David Attenborough is a worldwide treasure and I will hear no different! His voice is soothing, it was wonderful listening to him narrate his book even if the subject matter was a little alarming.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 5/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 0/6

Reading Women Challenge: 0/28

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 3/25

All in all a good start to the challenges for this year although……I would’ve liked to get a book or two for the Reading Women Challenge checked off actually. But because a third of the month was pretty much out, I am a bit behind there already so I’m going to have to try and prioritise that for this month. I also read several non-fiction books, however none of them actually count for my non-fiction reading challenge! But that’s okay, I have plenty of time to find ones that do.

In other news…..there’ll be a post about these quite soon….

While my parents were here, we did take the opportunity to do a few things – we went to Port Campbell (about 2.5 hours away) and visited the 12 Apostles (of which there are not 12). Both my kids loved Port Campbell – there’s a bay there that they went swimming in and kid #1 was happy to go out as far as he can as there’s really little in the way of waves, and also jump off the pier. Kid #2 is less adventurous and was happier to play in the shallows closer to the shore. When we got home, we were already googling places where we could stay for a weekend down there, so we’ll probably do that in the future.

We also went to St Kilda, because my dad had wanted to go there for years and drove around the Esplanade to Brighton, had a bit of a look down there. I’d never been down that way in over a decade of living here, so it was a bit of fun. We had a look at the Brighton bathing boxes (which, if they do come up for sale, which is rare, sell for $200-400k).

Also currently in all sorts of locations around Melbourne at the moment are these little things called Uoo-Uoo (pronounced “you-you”) which are some sort of fundraiser/awareness thing for the Royal Children’s Hospital. There are 100 of them, each decorated differently by local artists and you can download an app to find them and check them all off a list. We happened to come across this one at St Kilda and I might dedicate a day or two to hunting some more down in the future.

And now for the February TBR!

Not going to lie, I honestly don’t know a whole lot about most of these! A few of them arrived while my folks were here and I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and have a look at them! I was pleasantly surprised to receive the Lee Christine book, I didn’t know she had one coming out so soon and it’s probably a follow on/spin off from her last book, Charlotte Pass, which I loved. I’m also doing a blog tour for The Moroccan Daughter by Deborah Rodriguez (author of The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul) and my date for posting is the 5th of February, so that will probably be the first book I read from this stack! So if you have read any of these, or have heard good things, be sure to let me know so I can decide which ones I must get to soon.

 

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August Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 22
Fiction: 19
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 6
Books On My TBR List: 12
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 3/19
Kindle Books: 10
Books I Owned or Bought: 0
Favourite Book(s): The Sister’s Gift by Barbara Hannah, The Secret Life Of Shirley Sullivan by Lisa Ireland, The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy, A Nanny Called Alice by Barbara Hannay and The Bush Telegraph by Fiona McArthur.
Least Favourite Books: I Give My Marriage A Year by Holly Wainwright
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 16

August was a mixed reading month! In the first 10 days, I had read 11 books. But in the 11 days after that, I read only 3. My husband went in for surgery on the 11th and remained in hospital for that 11 days and I found a lot of it quite stressful and I couldn’t really relax enough to read. The day he had the operation, it ended up lasting over 8 hours when for some reason, I thought that it would be much shorter. It wasn’t a very serious operation as such (other than all operations are serious and carry with them inherent risks, etc) but it was a very precise one with a plastic surgery and reconstruction component that ended up taking about 6 hours after the orthopaedic component. Because there was a huge risk of infection, his hospital stay had to be lengthy so he could be closely monitored and to avoid having to go back if anything did happen. Thankfully his recovery has been textbook, he’s been home for about 10 days now but I’ve had less time than normal to read because he’s not really able to do anything. He’s in a full leg brace and on crutches although his mobility is improving every day. So I did still read a lot of books for August, but mostly because I read so many in the first third of the month! Also a lot of the books I read were quite short – I’d say probably more than half a dozen were under 200p and there was probably almost nothing over 400.

We are still in Stage 4 lockdown here. Only allowed out for essential items like food/medical supplies and we can’t travel more than 5km from home for them. To be honest I pretty much haven’t gone anywhere. I arranged for some groceries to be delivered and I’ve made one trip to a supermarket for bread and milk. The weather has been slowly improving (today is the first day of spring here in Australia!) but we’ve also had some last kicks of winter too and it’s been all too easy to stay inside. We have about 2 weeks left of this Stage 4 implementation and the numbers have really been falling steadily although they will be cautious in lifting restrictions, I’m sure. They don’t want things to escalate and get out of control again and I’m 100% supportive of that even though it’s inconvenient and I know I’m coming from the lucky position of no one in my household having lost their job. There are many other people doing it a lot tougher.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 64/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 7/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 14/26

I’ve fallen slightly behind on the bottom two challenges, I only read one book towards the Reading Women Challenge in August and nothing towards the Non-fiction challenge. I think that was largely because I was seeking a certain type of read in August and those types of reads don’t count towards those challenges. I did however, read 15 books that count towards The Australian Women Writers Challenge which means I’ve achieved my goal of 50 books read in 2020 although I’ll continue to count the books I read that qualify. I did deliberately pick a low number for that in terms of what I knew I’d read because I knew the other two challenges would be “more” of a challenge and require more time devoted to finding books that qualified. I’m going to need to read 3 books a month that count to finish the RWC and another five books in 4 months to complete the Read Non-Fic.

Here’s my September TBR pile and it’s a bit of a tower!

The pile on the left are ARCs for the month and the one on the right, The Thorn Birds is for the Rachael Johns Online Book Club September read. The club has almost 3000 members and there’s a dedicated book each month that we read and then there’s a discussion at the end of the month. Usually we choose a newer book but I think one of the choices was pushed back in publication because of covid so we ended up with a free month and there was a vote and this retro title won. I’ve never read The Thorn Birds although I have owned this copy for a few years and have intended to read it for ages. It’s a very large book though and as you can see, I have a lot to read throughout the month so my plan is to break it down into chunks and devote each weekend to reading a certain amount of the book.

Hope your July was productive and/or enjoyable! If you’ve read anything on my TBR pile, feel free to let me know – likewise if you see something you’d like to read. Stay safe everyone 🙂

Little reminder: you can follow my blog on Facebook here now.

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June Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 20
Fiction: 17
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 8
Books On My TBR List: 3
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 8
Male/Female Authors: 1/19
Kindle Books: 9
Books I Owned or Bought: 5
Favourite Book(s): The Year The Maps Changed by Danielle Binks, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen narrated by Rosamund Pike
Least Favourite Books: Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 9

In a lot of ways, June mirrored May for reading. In both months, I read 20 books – 17 fiction and 3 non-fiction. Almost half the books I read for the month were eBooks and for the first time, I also listened to an audiobook – actually, two audiobooks! One day I logged into Audible for something and I noticed that I had 6 credits that’d probably been sitting there for ages. So I ended up getting the audiobook of Pride & Prejudice which I had chosen for a read-a-long event and also Obernewytn by Isobelle Carmody, which is the first book from a series that has been one of my favourites for over 20 years. The audio of P&P was amazing – I enjoyed it hugely. Rosamund Pike does an excellent job narrating and conveying the humour that is rife within the story. She does fantastic versions of several voices and even though she’s in the 2005 adaptation as Jane, I actually got a lot of 1995 BBC version vibes from her reading, particularly around the voices of Elizabeth and Mr. Collins. For me, the BBC version is the superior, particularly in the casting of Elizabeth and Darcy. The second audiobook was read by the author and I’m not experienced enough with audiobooks to know if this is a good thing or a bad thing in general but I do know that Isobelle Carmody did a fantastic job narrating Obernewtyn. The good thing about the author themselves narrating, particularly a fantasy/sci-fi/post-apocalyptic novel is that they know exactly how everything should be pronounced, how every individual character’s accent and way of speaking should be enunciated. I very much enjoyed listening to this favourite and Carmody reads all her books on audio so I’m definitely going to move on to The Farseekers, book 2 in the Obernewtyn Chronicles. The first Obernewtyn book is quite slim, Elspeth is around 14 and I think it probably straddles that upper middle grade/lower young adult and so it only came in at 6hr, 44m. By the time I get to the last in the series, that book will be over 40hrs to listen to as they increase exponentially in size with each volume. I know now that for me to to really enjoy an audiobook, it actually has to be a book I’ve already read! Otherwise I just zone in and out too much.

In June, I finished my ARC pile and got to everything on my TBR pile for the month except for one book – Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I just found that I wasn’t quite in the mood for it. So I’ve got it sitting on my desk until I feel like cracking it open. I still am really keen to read it but I know it’ll be like Wolf Hall in that it will require quite a bit of focus and I’ve found that I just don’t have that at present.

In terms of life outside reading – well. It’s been a bit up and down! My kids went back to school for 3 weeks, none of which was a full week! They’re on winter break now which I’m sort of relieved about given that cases of coronavirus have been steadily rising here in Victoria. Yesterday we registered the fourth highest total since it began and for the first time, there was a case that has resulted in a school in my local council area having to be deep cleaned. It’s not the school my children go to and it’s a couple km away but things have been getting a bit more complex since the government relaxed restrictions, allowed children to go back to school and things to start opening up again. It’s clear that there are a lot of people who haven’t taken things seriously – big family gatherings, going out when they’ve been feeling unwell or even awaiting test results. I know in terms of the world we are still really low in cases and much higher testing numbers are always going to result in higher numbers of confirmed cases. But given we are going into winter and a lot of indication seems to be it thrives in winter, we obviously all still need to be very cautious and continue to practice social distancing and avoid large groups. Given that it’s holidays here, it’s going to be quite easy for us to revert back to “isolation mode” and it things continue to worsen here, it’s likely that the schools might close again. Given my husband is definitely high risk and soon needs to have an operation, I wouldn’t be upset if that happened.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 42/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 6/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 12/26

Now my TBR this month is going to be a bit different – I’ve actually got 2. One is the ARCs I’ve been sent for this month that I want to read, the other is some books I’ve chosen to read for personal development/education/understanding etc. Obviously last month the #blacklivesmatter movement exploded after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers, which sparked massive protests around the globe, including here in Australia. It’s given a lot of people the motivation to think about things from a different perspective and for me personally, the chance to address the fact that I know I have more work to do in terms of the number of books I read by authors of colour. At the moment, it’s around 10%. I made quite a lot of purchases in June (me and the rest of the world it seems, because a lot of the books I ordered went out of stock and have quite long wait times). So far I’ve received 2, there are 2 more on the way to me and 3 that are still pending, awaiting new deliveries of those books. Some should be arriving this week to be mailed out but one won’t arrive until mid/late July. Most of what I ordered was non-fiction, but I did also grab a couple fiction titles as well. I probably made twice the amount of book purchases in June that I’ve made for the whole year! I also had a book sitting waiting for pick up at my local library (which is still not open) but they’ve implemented a delivery service and dropped it off to my house, which I thought was awesome! And it’s about the last female Aboriginal in Tasmania, so fits in with my goal this month to read more books by and about people of colour. Hopefully in each monthly TBR I can dedicate space to some of those books – the fact that books will be arriving over the next couple of months probably, will definitely help with that. July also incorporates NAIDOC (National Aborigines And Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week however this year it has been moved to the 8-15th November, due to coronavirus and the fact that it has severely limited the types of observances that can be held during such an event.

So here are the ARCs I was sent

And also, the other books I’ve chosen:

The top one is a book I’ve owned for many years, the middle 2 are the recent purchases that have arrived and the bottom one is the library book they delivered.

This is a pretty ambitious TBR, bigger than ones I’ve constructed for myself in recent months and I’m aware that it might be too ambitious, particularly as the ARCs are all of a pretty solid size and there’s not much scope here for the lighter books I’ve been chasing lately. But these piles combined make up about half the books I read in a month, so that does give me some room to balance them out with some others from the library or ones that I’ve had stashed on my iPad for years. I will be reading a NetGalley book or 2 as well hopefully as I try to lower the amount of titles I still have that are unreviewed.

This turned into a really long post! I hope you all had a lovely reading month for June. What will you be reading in July?

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May Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 20
Fiction: 17
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 9
Books On My TBR List: 4
Books in a Series: 8
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 2/18
Kindle Books: 11
Books I Owned or Bought: 4
Favourite Book(s): Hidden Victims by LynDee Walker & Something To Talk About by Rachael Johns
Least Favourite Books: Jacinda Ardern by Michelle Duff
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 9

May followed in April’s footsteps for pretty much everything. My kids “learned from home” for the entire month, although it’s been announced that they will both return to school next week, on June 9th. I’m in two minds about them going back. I’m happy for it to happen, because I think there’s probably only so far they can progress at home in this way, doing the tasks they are set in each day without interacting with their teacher and their fellow students. They are happy to return, so that’s good. Their school is large, so it will run four separate timetables to prevent a lot of students (there’s about 2000) pouring in and out of the gates at once, plus parents etc. Thankfully both of mine have the same beginning and end times. They’ll start and finish a little later than normal.

I ventured out a few times to run errands and was surprised by the sheer volume of people out and about – and how much I didn’t like it. I had to go to a local shopping centre to get something my kids needed for school and it was incredibly crowded, despite only department stores, supermarkets and take away food places being open. No one was respectful of your personal space either – normally shopping is something I enjoy but honestly? I couldn’t wait to get out of there. And get home.

In terms of reading, I read 20 books in May, which was down a bit on the two previous months but considering one of those books was Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which took me a long time by my standards, I still feel I got a lot done! I also struggled at times with my mood – I knew what I wanted to read, finding it was a different story. I found that I had little desire for anything that felt too heavy or with a depressing subject matter, particularly in the second half of the month. I began borrowing a lot of books from my local library electronically so that I could read the lighter, contemporary romance-style books that I was really craving. And you can see that my library count is much higher than in recent months.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 34/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 6/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 11/26

Progress made in all challenges this month!

Here’s my June TBR pile:

The six lying horizontally are books received by review from the publisher. I am part of a blog tour for Sticks And Stones and my review will be up on the 6th of June. Quite a few of the other books look like they fit the bill of the sort of books that I’ve been wanting to read lately.

The two on the side upright are the 2 books I purchased for myself in May. After finishing Wolf Hall, I had to pick up the next book in the trilogy. I was going to buy both of them, but the third book, The Mirror And The Light was a ginormous hardback which did not match either of my others. The two I have don’t match anyway, because one is large format and one is small. I’m going to have to either wait for the third to be released in paperback (which means waiting) or suck it up and buy it as a hardback I guess. #readerproblems I also bought The Year The Maps Changed by Danielle Binks. Danielle is also a book blogger (these days she wears many hats: agent, book blogger, author, editor, youth fiction advocate) that I have known almost since I began my own book blogging journey. I’m looking forward to reading her book – and also hoping that my older son might read it too.

The weather is starting to change here….this week is going to feel well and truly like winter. I’m not a cold-weather person but I have to admit, if we are to keep staying inside, then winter is probably a good time to do it. It’s good reading weather.

I hope you all had a great May. Next time I do one of these, the dumpster fire that is 2020 will be half over!

 

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Top 10 Tuesday 12th May

Welcome back to another 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! This week our topic is…..

Top 10 Books I Abandoned

1. Milkman by Anna Burns. Every now and then I have these random whims to read either the longlist or shortlist of a bookish prize and almost every single time it turns out…..not great. In 2018, I read most of the Man Booker shortlist and guess which one was the winner? Yeah, this one….which was the one I DNF’d. I’ve seen lots of people lavish praise on this book but yikes, I would rather stick forks into my eyes I think, than read this. I lasted about 35 pages and honestly, that was probably 34 pages than I wanted to read. I found it painful to read. My brain hurt.

2. Absolute Proof by Peter James. I was sent this by the publisher and although I wasn’t really enthused about it, I said I’d give it a go. And I did. But a combination of the size of it (it’s a brick, large paperback form weighing in at 700 pages) and the subject matter (absolute proof of God’s existence, hence the title) I just could not get into it. I stumbled my way through a couple of chapters but I was pretty bored and abandoned it pretty quickly.

3. The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich. This used to be my absolute favourite series. I’m talking about 20 years ago – I think I discovered it in the year 2000, when there were 6 books published. I absolutely loved them. Re-read them obsessively. I enjoyed it all the way up until about 12 I think? But then after that, for me, the quality of both the writing and the story went downhill fast. The endless circular plot got on my nerves. The animal moments were tedious and Lula took over far too much of the narrative. I stopped buying them around #17, limped along reading a few more from my library and finally gave up altogether a few books ago. I just do not care.

4. The Temperance Brennan Series, by Kathy Reichs. This is a very recent abandonment. I actually thought I was done with this series, it’d been years since I’d read one. Then I was sent one for review so I thought I’d give it one last go. It was probably a mistake. I did not enjoy it and it’s definitely cemented the decision to no longer bother reading books about Temperance Brennan and Andy Ryan, who are a shadow of their former selves.


5. The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. A friend loaned me the first 2 books in this series and they sat on my shelf for ages before I decided to read the first one before the TV series aired here. Look, it was….okay. I enjoyed the history and mythology stuff but the romance? Yikes. It was not for me. Matthew is creepy as hell. I think I described him in my review as a grown up Edward Cullen. I didn’t much enjoy the TV series either and abandoned that only a couple of episodes in. Originally I planned to continue with this series but honestly I think now, in hindsight, there’s just too many other books I’d rather be reading.

6. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. Ooooh, controversial! So, book lovers everywhere used to look at me aghast when I admitted I’d never read the Harry Potter series. I was in my teens when the first book came out, I had zero interest in it and that interest got less, not more, over time. I’m aware it’s a b i g  g a p in my reading. I caved a little when my eldest son began reading the series and wanted me to read too. I read the first book. It was…..alright. Nothing special. The writing was honestly not as good as I was expecting. I was going to read the second book but then my son lost interest when he was part way through the Azkaban book so in the end, I just never felt the need to. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out. We own the box set, I can read them at any time if I choose, but I’ve just never really wanted to.

7. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. This was recommended to me a lot. I can recall one of my only childhood reading friends recommending me the first book in probably the mid to late 90s. But I didn’t end up reading it until about 9 or so years ago, after I’d started blogging. It was another one that just didn’t blow me away. I don’t like Jamie and I’ve no interest in the love story. I feel the same way about the TV series.

8. Nora Roberts Books In General. This one might also be a bit controversial? In my day I have read and enjoyed many Nora Roberts books, particularly some of her romantic suspense-style trilogies. However – I’ve also read a lot of Nora Roberts books that I did not enjoy and to be honest, the ones I’ve read more recently, just don’t feel fresh for me any more. I just can’t see myself picking one up now.

9. The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. The first few books in this series are fabulous. For me, everything that comes after that is an epic train wreck with proportions of the like I rarely see. I hate everything that comes after the end of Shadowfever, which is book 5. I hate Dani. I hate Ryodan. I hate Dani and Ryodan with the fury of a thousand suns. I hate Cruce. I hate how Mac and Barrons backtrack. I skimmed Iced and read through Burned and that was enough. I wonder if Mac is still invisible. Anyway. I don’t care. For me, this series ended with Shadowfever and I’ve wiped the rest of it from my mind.

10. Abbi Glines’ Books. I got sent an absolute plethora of these by the Australian publisher a few years ago. They were turning up what felt like every other day. I read a few of them and in the end I had to stop because a lot of her tropes are just really not for me. Manwhores and slutshaming abounds! Just not my thing – happy to abandon this author and move on.

Most of what I have abandoned are series’ that didn’t work out for me or that I feel have gone on too long/have lost their focus. I do tend to finish most books that I start, even if I just skim read to the end and it’s rare that I’ll DNF something once I’ve begun it. It does happen, as the first two books prove but it’s quite rare.

Do you finish books once you start them or is life too short for that?! Let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Have You Read? The Dymocks Top 101 Books For 2020

So every year Australian bookstore chain Dymocks hold a vote for our favourite books. It’s an eclectic mix generally, of new releases and old faves. There’s always something surprising in there and I always like seeing what I’ve read, what I’d like to read, what I hadn’t maybe thought about reading until now. You can get a printable or eCopy to tick off yours here.

So obviously I ticked the ones I’ve read which is 56 of the 101 – look, I did “cheat” a little bit. I ticked The Rosie trilogy even though I’ve only read 2/3, The Six of Crow duology even though I’ve only read 1/2 and the Nevermoor series even though I’ve so far only read 1. The ones with a green dot beside them are ones I want to read some day and the ones with a purple dot beside them are books I already own or have in my possession but I have not yet read. You can click on it for a bigger version in order to see what those are better.

I think the thing that surprised me the most was that The Book Thief was equal number 1. Not that it isn’t a wonderful book – it definitely is. I am surprised that it was so high as sometimes a lot of people vote for the books that are freshest in their mind that they loved. Obviously The Book Thief has made a really lasting impression on a lot of Australian readers who continue to vote for it, year after year or lots of new people are still finding it to read. I absolutely adored Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine so I’m thrilled to see it so high. Boy Swallows Universe was only published last year I think, so it’s obviously made a powerful impression on a lot of people. It won a swag of literary awards as well – I had borrowed it from the library but had to return it before I had a chance to read it. I do intend to still read it – I’ve seen a lovely hardcover copy that I might purchase at some stage. The author’s next book, All Our Shimmering Skies will be out later this year and I’m expecting that to be big.

There’s a few books on this list that I have on my shelves at home, that I’ve actually mentioned recently in terms of potentially using this time of self-isolation etc, to finally get around to reading them. One is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara which I probably bought in 2015 or 2016, so that’s been kicking around on the shelves for a while now. It’s intimidating though, especially because a lot of people have mentioned that the content is emotionally quite traumatic and…well, are things not traumatic enough right now? I also purchased All The Light We Cannot See at the beginning of the year after having wanted to read it for a long time as well and maybe I need to finally read Lion: A Long Way Home so that I can watch the movie I recorded on my satellite tv harddrive about four years ago. I also borrowed The Dutch House from my local library before it closed.

I don’t always pay a lot of attention to lists etc but I know some people enjoy having a bit of direction in reading, when it can feel overwhelming trying to choose something. In fact I know someone who used to collect lists just like this one and then make her way through them until she’d read everything on it. And at the moment, I kind of understand being directionless – I have books to read, plenty of them, but I can’t always make a decision about what to read next! Things like this can give a bit of focus if needed or suggest books that you might not have thought of or been aware of. It can be a good way to find new reads that people are talking about. And there’s a little something for everyone here – classics, popular fiction, non fiction, YA, autobiographies, historical fiction, sci-fi/fantasy etc.

How many have you read? Is there something that you should think should be there and isn’t? Let me know!

 

 

 

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March Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 25
Fiction: 21
Non-Fiction: 4
Library Books: 5
Books On My TBR List: 7
Books in a Series: 15
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 10
Male/Female Authors: 0/25
Kindle Books: 6
Books I Owned or Bought: 5
Favourite Book(s): Know My Name by Chanel Miller, The Secrets Of Strangers by Charity Norman
Least Favourite Books: Nothing below a 3 this month
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 8

Well. March was a thing that definitely happened.

Things got pretty crazy in the second half of the month. Where I live, the government finally closed the schools (a week early, as the kids were just about to go on Easter holidays) so now they’ll have 3 weeks break instead of 2. The extra week was technically just ‘early holidays’ so I didn’t have to direct any online or home learning but there’s every chance they may not go back on the day they’re supposed to and will spend a portion of the next term learning at home. Most non-essential industries shut down here, we’re only supposed to leave home for 1 of 4 reasons (essential food shopping like groceries, to seek or administer medical help, exercise in groups of no more than 2 or to work or study if it is unable to be done at home). Our numbers remain relatively low comparatively, helped by our sparse and spread out population as well as our world isolation. We aren’t really a transit country and there’s a lot less flights in/out from other countries and destinations than elsewhere in the world. Still it’s been somewhat disappointing to see people flocking to beaches in their thousands, etc instead of doing their best to help keep those numbers down.

My reading month was weird – I read a lot of books in early March, figuring I’d read while I can in case schools closed abruptly and I ended up having to support my children at home. Then they did close but for holidays and I think it felt more real then because I didn’t pick up a book for days after that. I started off slowly, reading a graphic novel series to get me back into it (which also boosted my numbers as really the 3 bind up volumes I read wouldn’t even be equivalent to one averagely sized paperback). It definitely kickstarted some binge reading though and I did little else for the last few days of March. I finally got around to reading my collection of Maria V. Snyder books and burned through 6 of those in a few days. I think a series like that, where I already owned most of the books, was just what I was looking for.

So all in all, March could be termed a very successful reading month, both in total of books read and also the quality. I only rated 2 of them 5 stars on GR but I had a huge amount of books I rated 4 and nothing below 3 stars.

My April review books pile! These are split about half-half in terms of requests and those that showed up unsolicited. I’m part of a blog tour for Suzanne Leal’s The Deceptions, my post for that one will be up on April 15th. I’m really excited about both The Octopus and I by Erin Hortle and also Deep Water by Sarah Epstein. Also quite curious about Gulliver’s Wife by Lauren Chater and The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning. All in all, this looks like potentially a good pile of reading!

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 18/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 5/12

Reading Women Challenge: 9/26

Happy with my progress on all my challenges although I will say that not having access to my local library for the foreseeable future will definitely slow my progress on the latter 2 challenges, as I need to hunt books down for those whereas with the Australian Women Writers Challenge, I always have a lot of books that qualify!

In March I purchased one book – House of Earth And Blood by Sarah J. Maas. My book buying ban probably doesn’t even need apply now as I had to cancel our planned family holiday for May unfortunately. We aren’t permitted to travel between most states and I don’t believe it’ll be at a state where we will be able to holiday in less than 6 weeks. Luckily I was able to get a credit on our flights and cancel our accommodation no penalty as I had the foresight to book the option where you could cancel no financial penalty as long as it was more than 30 days out from your arrival date. So we will rebook in the future but it might not be possible until this time next year. So I guess I’ll be buying up some books to try and support local businesses!

Wherever you are, I hope you’re keeping safe and looking after yourself!

 

 

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January TBR & Holiday Book Haul

After three weeks away interstate, we are back home now. The drive home felt very long (I mean it IS long, it’s about 13 hours and we do it over two days, stopping halfway southern NSW). A neighbour across the road was kind enough to collect our mail while we were away and he managed to grab a book parcel or two from the postman however I also got a couple of parcel cards which meant I had packages for collection at a local post office hub. Unfortunately……those cards were delivered right at the beginning of our holiday so whatever they were, they’ve been returned to sender. However I’m pretty sure I know what they are so I’ll have to be in touch with those that sent them and hope they can be posted to me again.

Now that I am home, I can include a January TBR (of sorts). Of course almost half the month is gone so it’s quite small – but one of the books is very big!

Two of these are actually books that I didn’t get to in December before we left – The Strangers We Know by Pip Drysdale and also The House Of Brides by Jane Cockram. The House Of Brides is also the book for next month in my online book club, so I definitely have to get to that so that I can join in the discussion. The other three are review copies I received and I have to admit I don’t know much about any of them. Deep State looks interesting and like a good political thriller. A Murder At Malabar Hill is the first book in a series by Sujata Massey. I actually think this is published elsewhere as The Widows Of Malabar Hill. It’s recommended for fans of Phrynne Fisher and Precious Romotswe. I haven’t read the Phrynne Fisher books but I have read a dozen or so of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency books so I think I might enjoy this. It also fits a prompt for my Reading Women Podcast Challenge, so that’s a bonus as well. And the last one is a Sharon Penman novel. Penman is an author I’ve seen a lot of people praise (and she comes recommended by my reading/blogging friend Marg) but I’ve never read her before. This is a chunky book and the type is actually quite small.

Now it’s pretty much impossible for me to go anywhere without acquiring new books so I thought I’d share the ones I picked up on this holiday. Firstly I was involved in two Christmas/Holiday book swaps (one of which I was also organising) and had both of my book swap partners in those send the books to where I was staying for the holidays. In both cases we had to provide a few examples (about 3-5) of books on our wish lists for our partners to choose from, that way no one would get sent something they already had. In the first one, I received this book:

This is a really lovely hardback book, which we don’t see too often here in Australia – they’re simply too expensive to produce. It also has a beautiful cover. I’d heard a lot of pretty good things about this and I’ve actually already read it – sitting here, watching my kids try to drown each other in my parent’s pool. I enjoyed it. It’s set in France during the French Revolution and there’s a lot of rich history, including a voyage to China and some romance etc.

The second swap was an Aussie book blogger swap and I think for that one I put down a few YA titles I was interested in reading. My swap partner ended up choosing probably the one I want to read the most:

Internment by Samira Ahmed. I’m really excited to read this, it’s one of those books that feels incredibly relevant at the moment and on one hand you’re thinking “how could this happen?” and on another you’re thinking “well, it happened before and why not?”. In this book, Muslims are declared a threat to America and those living there are rounded up and forced into internment camps for Muslim American citizens. This is a girl’s fight for freedom. In Australia, during the war, those of German and Italian descent and heritage were also rounded up and placed within camps. I know in America those that were Japanese or even those born in America but of Japanese heritage also had the same happen. It’s honestly not too far a stretch to think of something like this.

Last but not least – second hand bookshops are a bit of a dying breed here in Australia. There aren’t a lot of them anymore. Where I live I don’t think there’s one in a 30k radius. But in my parent’s town, there is one near a beach which has books, records and coffee. It’s a tiny place, crammed with shelves overflowing with books. I’ve been there before and it’s fun to while away an hour or so, picking through the selection and finding some gems. My husband and I went there one afternoon and came out with 11 books. He found a book he’d been trying to buy online for ages but no where had a copy. He found a book by an author he’d just discovered and is now intending to read his backlist. Second hand bookshops are like that – you can find the most random things, get lucky and discover books you’ve been searching for for ages without any luck, only to find one sitting on a shelf right in front of you. I’m a bit picky about my books – I like them to be in good condition and books that spend too much time near the sea unfortunately get a bit spotty. And too many books crammed in together end up smelling a bit. So I fossick for ones that are still in good shape, or that haven’t been there too long. I was pretty happy with what I came away with:

I’m always in two minds a bit buying from a second hand bookshop because I know a sale from there isn’t a sale for the author. But in buying books there, I know it’ll lead to me buying more books elsewhere. I’ve been wanting to try a Ken Follett series for a while and actually, I have some on iBooks. But I don’t like reading super thick books on eReaders, even though that probably seems weird. After all big books are awkward and heavy. But I like to flick back and forth and I need physical evidence of my progress. A bar down the bottom isn’t enough! If I enjoy this, I’ll be buying the rest of the series. Same goes for the other authors in there – I already know I’ll be buying Nina Kenwood’s next book, because I loved It Sounded Better In My Head. I’m hoping that the Barack Obama book might fit into my Non Fiction Challenge for this year. And the others are books I’ve had on my radar for a little bit, or are authors I’ve liked previously.

If you’ve read something from either my January TBR pile or from the list of books I accumulated on my holiday, feel free to let me know your thoughts!

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October Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 29
Fiction: 26
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 4
Books On My TBR List: 7
Books in a Series: 12
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 4/25
Kindle Books: 2
Books I Owned or Bought: 11
Favourite Book(s): I Am Change by Suzy Zail, Guest House For Young Widows: Among The Women Of ISIS by Azadeh Moaveni.
Least Favourite Books: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 11

October was a big reading month.

I’m not 100% sure why I managed to get through so many books – a combination of having a lot of good books to read, making more reading time, especially at night when I’d usually be watching mindless TV and also joining the Mate-A-Thon Challenge, which had set challenges but all pages read counted towards your overall total, so I was motivated to read more and add more pages for my team! I read a lot of really solid books in October, but there were two real stand outs for me. Both of these titles tackled women’s issues and being women in difficult situations. In I Am Change, the main character is a young girl in rural Uganda, struggling to break tradition and get herself an education so that she might become a writer. This was an amazing, eye opening book, often difficult to read at times. And Guest House For Young Widows was also difficult too, in lots of ways, challenging thinking about women who left in some cases, safe and secure countries to go and be a part of something new. I only had one book that I didn’t really enjoy that much for October, which was an audiobook. Actually the only audiobook I think I have listened to this year. It’s not really my preferred format but it suited my situation at the time.

This is my November ARC pile. It’s actually relatively tame but I do have quite a lot of other books I hope to read this month. I’ve got a few out from my local library at the moment plus I’ve bought some recently that I am looking to make time for as well. I am definitely trying to read more books that I own, rather than just moving them to my unread shelf! I’m attempting to make my way through the Leigh Bardugo Grisha books – I read Shadow & Bone this month, which was actually a re-read but it’s been 6 or so years since I’ve read it! Hopefully I’ll move on to Siege & Storm this month. I also have to read Smoke In The Sun to round out that duology and considering I have In Darkness Visible in my ARC pile, I picked up the first book, The Twentieth Man from my local library. In October I also bought The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth and I also have Scrublands Silver by Chris Hammer which I’d like to fit in too. I’ve heard really amazing things about both of those and I want to see what all the fuss is about! Last month I got through all of my ARC pile except one so that rolls over to this month too, I need to fit it in because it’s the December read for my online book club.

The year is beginning to wind down, we are getting pretty close to the end now. We will be heading away in mid December or so, trekking north for Christmas and I won’t be taking any books away with me, although I’ll have my iPad and access to everything that’s on there. Ideally I’d like to be finished with my challenges by then, and just take the three weeks that I’m away to read purely books that I’ve had on my iPad for a long time and fluffy holiday type reads. So November is my ‘ticking things off’ month, where I hope to finish my Goodreads challenge and try and get to 80 books read for my Australian Women Writers Challenge.

Hope you all had a great October!

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