All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

September Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 17
Fiction: 15
Non-Fiction: 2
Library Books: 10
Books On My TBR List: 3
Books in a Series: 8
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 
Kindle Books: 17
Books I Owned or Bought: 4
Favourite Book(s): The highest I rated a book this month was 4 stars – those books were A Doctor In Africa by Dr Andrew Browning, Against A Wall by Cate C. Wells, The Torrent by Dinuka McKenzie, Strange Love by Ann Aguirre, The Couple At No. 9 by Claire Douglas & The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin.
Least Favourite Books: Priest by Sierra Simone, which was a DNF, Moon Blooded Breeding Clinic by C.M. Nascosta and Poly by Paul Dalgarno. All of those got 1-star.
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 2.

I actually read way more books in September than I thought I would, considering most of the 17 I did read were read whilst I was on holiday. I’ve only finished three (and had one DNF) in the 2 weeks I’ve been back and most of that is because I got so behind with uni classes and assignments whilst away that I’ve been spending all my spare time catching up on those and also because my parents arrived not even two days after we got back from holiday and stayed for a week for my youngest’s birthday and so I didn’t get any reading done while they were here.

I did a lot of other things in September other than reading – the holiday was great, we stayed in a really lovely place with a wonderful view, which I’ll pop in here during one of the (many) sunrises I saw because it gets light much earlier up there:

We went to three theme parks: Sea World (great, really liked it), Movie World (awful, wouldn’t go there with someone else’s money) and Wet N Wild (fabulous, best of the three especially for the kids). Movie World was a waste of time, by the time we got there we attended one show (which was great) but then when we went to go check out rides, the queues were already as much as 110 minutes and 222 minutes! Half the rides were closed, there was no way I was spending close to 4hrs in a damn queue for one ride. When we went to Wet N Wild, it was a Saturday, it was 25*C (about 80*F) and the most the kids had to wait for a ride was about 20 minutes. By about 3:30-4pm it had started to thin out and the kids were just getting off a ride and going straight back down it again, there were no lines. We stayed until they kicked everyone out at 5 and I think the kids would’ve stayed there twice as long! If (when) we go again, we’ll just go to Wet N Wild more than once and skip Movie World all together. Reading the comments on the MW Facebook page, it seems our experience is the norm, not the exception which is disappointing.

My youngest and I also got tickets to the AFL Grand Final at the MCG in Melbourne (for the Americans, it’s this sport’s equivalent of the Super Bowl). The less said about the actual result the better, because our team got slaughtered but we still actually had a huge amount of fun despite that. It was great to experience a Grand Final in person – it’s notoriously hard to get tickets, only about 35,000 of the 100,000 seats are allocated to the paid members of the two competing teams and those two teams have a combined membership base of about 127,000. We were category 2 so not guaranteed of getting a seat – we went into a ballot and I think it was random after the guaranteed member seats were allocated. I never thought I’d get the opportunity to see one live – so that’s ticked off the bucket list, even if my team didn’t actually put in much of a performance during the game, unfortunately. The pre-match entertainment, which was Robbie Williams, was excellent and I’m actually not a huge Robbie Williams fan. I love Let Me Entertain You, which he opened with but he was just great all round. Everyone always talks about how good he is live in concert and I see it for sure.

Challenge check in!

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 6/6 

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 38/15

Aussie Author Challenge: 6/12

My 22 in 2022: 8/22

I only read three books that count towards my challenges in September – one for my Historical Fiction Challenge, which I have really exceeded my expectations on and also one for the Read Non Fiction Challenge, which completes the commitment I chose. I also counted one towards the Aussie Author Challenge (but I only remembered to do that now, to be honest I’ve probably completed this 2-3x over, I just keep forgetting to allocate books read to it).

Now for the October TBR pile – if some of it looks a little familiar, it’s basically because half of it is my September TBR pile that I didn’t get to! So hoping to knock them over this month – this week is half semester break from university so I am aiming to spend it reading! I do have one essay that I have to submit today and then…reading, for the rest of the week!

I hope you all had a great month of reading in September! Let me know if you’ve read anything from my pile here.

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September Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 19
Fiction: 18
Non-Fiction: 1
Library Books: 4
Books On My TBR List: 6
Books in a Series: 6
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 13
Male/Female Authors: 3/16
Kindle Books: 10
Audiobooks: 0
Books I Owned or Bought: 9
Favourite Book(s): The Housemate by Sarah Bailey, The Last Bookshop In London by Madeline Martin, Dark Rise by C.S. Pacat, The Happiest Man On Earth by Eddie Jaku.
Least Favourite Books: The Highland Fling by Meaghan Quinn
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 10

September was much like August, really. We stayed in lockdown. I supervised remote learning for my kids and read a lot of books. I had my first vaccination and my second one is scheduled and apparently when the population gets to 80% fully vaccinated, that’s when pretty much most of the restrictions will ease and life will go back to normal.

I read a lot of book books and I bought a lot of books! I can’t seem to help myself at the moment – I suppose because reading is one of the few things I can do at the moment, I’ve just been buying a lot of books, both in print and in eBook varieties.

I read quite a few eBooks this month – just over half, which is definitely a high number for me. I bought a couple and read a few from my library. The library is a great resource for when I’m looking for something shorter – a lot of the books I have at the moment on my shelf are long or feel like they’ll be a significant emotional investment so sometimes I search out something shorter or lighter-feeling. I’ve also been making use of my library’s delivery service and am expecting 4 books delivered Tuesday/Wednesday of next week.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 76/50 {technically complete!}

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 5/6

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 27/25 {technically complete!}

Still need another non-fiction title to go to technically complete that challenge.

Onto the October TBR pile:

These 3 are my publisher ARCs for the month or October. It’s a really small pile – I definitely know I was expecting more, they just haven’t turned up. The mail has really been struggling lately, with a large part of the population under stay at home orders, online shopping has exploded. That coupled with a portion of the workforce in isolation for covid exposure has meant delayed shipping and stuff has been taking 2-3x as long to reach me. And of these 3, I’ve read one and am a third of the way through another, so technically I only have one full book here to read!

That leaves me quite a bit more freedom in the rest of my reading this month – I have lots of choices, I’ve still got a significant amount of books unread from recent hauls, I have library books, I will probably buy a few more books! It feels very freeing to have such a small pile (I also have plenty of books I never got to from previous piles that I still intend to read, maybe I could pick 1-2 of those to read).

Hope you all had a lovely September!

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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.



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 🙂

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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?


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!



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.








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!





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!