All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

May Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 22
Fiction: 21
Non-Fiction: 1
Library Books: 3
Books On My TBR List: 3
Books in a Series: 8
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 9
Male/Female Authors: 1/21
Kindle Books: 0
Audiobooks: 1
Books I Owned or Bought: 7
Favourite Book(s): Six Of Crows {re-read} & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, The 99th Koala by Kailas Wild, Act Like It by Lucy Parker {re-read but listened to on audio this time}
Least Favourite Books: The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 9

May was a really nice reading month. Got through quite a lot of books – I think because even though it wasn’t winter yet, May felt like winter. It was pretty cold, few rainy days, just had those winter vibes. I did a lot of reading.

As I write this, Melbourne is back in lockdown – we had a 7 day “circuit breaker” lockdown announced last week and it’s supposed to end in 3 days but I’m not 100% confident it will. We’re heading back into a danger time for the virus, the vaccination roll out has been slow here and hotel quarantine is still an issue. Lockdown doesn’t bother me (to be honest it’s not hugely different for me) but I’m in a privileged position to be able to say that. There are others where these conditions impact on them hugely and for their sake, I hope this is kept under control and we come out the other side soon. But if nothing else, lockdown does give me lots of opportunity to read and that’s a good thing, because my June reading pile is huge.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 40/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 4/6

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 16/25

Well, I’m cranking my way through the Australian Women Writers Challenge – I could easily get to the target I set myself by the end of June. I did slow down a bit on the other challenges, adding only 1 to my total for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge and none for my non-fiction challenge. However I’m in a comfortable position with both of those and have several in my June pile that will fit for the Historical challenge. I have one book out from the library that will contribute to my non-fiction challenge as well. As some of you might notice, I wiped out the fourth challenge I had intended to participate in, because I hadn’t read anything that contributed after five months and given it’s a challenge that contains 30-ish prompts, let’s just agree it was never going to happen! Maybe next year, because it is a challenge I enjoy. It’s just that because the prompts change, sometimes they fit and sometimes they just don’t work for me.

The June pile is reminiscent of the huge April pile I had.

So yeah, there’s 12 books on this pile but the bottom one is 1000p which is almost like 3 books in one! I knew that if I was going to be able to get through this, I’d have to start early so, I have actually read some of these already.

I also still have all my library books because even though they were due back, the library renewed them all due to the lockdown which works in my favour! Now I just need to fit them in, amongst all the books in this pile here. And also think about books I’ve bought recently (I just bought another one, because a store was offering free postage to people with a Victorian postcode while they were in lockdown).

If you’ve read anything on my June pile, be sure to let me know. I could do with a way to prioritise things!

4 Comments »

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.

 

2 Comments »

July Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 26
Fiction: 21
Non-Fiction: 5
Library Books: 10
Books On My TBR List: 7
Books in a Series: 9
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 5/21
Kindle Books: 14
Books I Owned or Bought: 10
Favourite Book(s): Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie, The Farm At Peppertree Crossing by Lèonie Kelsall.
Least Favourite Books: Confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 10 (technically 7 books but one counted towards 3 challenges)

Well, July was a month. We had about three weeks of June, where my kids went back to school and things began slowly opening up, with restrictions. The kids finished school and went onto winter break and as they did, the numbers of COVID cases began to escalate as it escaped into the community. From July 8, I think it was, greater Melbourne (which is where I am) went back into lockdown, essentially Stage 3, with only 4 reasons to leave your house: essential supplies, to give or receive medical care, work if it cannot be done from home and exercise within your suburb. The kids were granted an extra week of school holidays and then remote learning was to begin again. They’ve done two weeks of that so far and it’s a lot more face to face this time around, with zoom check ins every day and focus groups of 3/4/5 also doing zoom calls for things like reading and maths.

So I read a lot. The numbers are grim at the moment – Victoria has registered 3 days over 500 recently, including a 700+ and my postcode is the one with the highest amount of cases currently. We are staying very much inside here. My husband still goes to work, but his job is a solitary one and his industry has no confirmed cases. He travels in his car to work, he works alone in his room, he comes home. And for some overseas those numbers are tiny, I definitely get that. But they’re not tiny for us. It’s crept into aged care in Victoria and as everyone knows, once that happens it’s very difficult to get back under control and unfortunately the fatalities increase as those are some of the most vulnerable people in the community. This second stage of lockdown was originally scheduled for 6 weeks but given we are halfway in and registering our highest numbers of this whole illness being a thing, it’s pretty much a guarantee that lockdown will be extended and probably even tightened. (Edit #1 – Yesterday it was announced after I had written this post that we would enter stage 4 restrictions here in Melbourne for the next 6 weeks – there’s a nighttime curfew, restrictions on how far from home we can travel for food/essentials, how many people can go shopping/exercise etc).

My husband was supposed to be having surgery on August the 4th but last Tuesday the government announced that all surgery other than Cat 1 and the most urgent of Cat 2 would be suspended. My husband is Cat 2 but we don’t know how urgently they class it. Probably not very but at the moment getting an answer about it seems to be almost impossible. I suspect he’ll be told it’s been cancelled on the day, so right now we are in a bit of limbo about that. (Edit #2 – it will go ahead we found out this morning, but next Tuesday August 11th).

Reading is my escape and I certainly escaped plenty. I read 26 books in July, which is my equal highest total for the year (I also read 26 books in April). Well technically I read 24 books and listened to 2 audiobooks. I’ve been utilising my library a lot, both physical copies and those I can borrow electronically. The library has been excellent for allowing me to read books that fit with the mood I have at the moment, which is ‘please give me all the good feels’. However I’ve also been doing a bit of non-fiction reading as well though, which was one of the things I wanted to accomplish this year.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 49/50

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

Reading Women Challenge: 13/26

And with that in mind, and how much I’m turning to books at the moment, I have a lot of books to choose from, for August.

These were mostly sent to me and the top one was a purchase I made myself. As well as these books, I have been taking advantage of the fact that we can still request books through our local library system (even though it is shut) and if you fill out a form, they will collect and deliver your holds to you each week. I received a pretty decent sized delivery from them on Friday:

Quite a stash! Plenty of Karen Swan books, in order to continue my project of reading all her backlist. I’m finding her books quite comforting at the moment. Also grabbed a couple of Connie Willis books but I think there’s some others I should read before these – my library didn’t have them, so I will have to hunt around. I’m really interested in Ronan Farrow’s book as well. I requested the Kiley Reid way before even the first lockdown – for now, we can keep library books until like October or something, but you can return them if you like. Someone must’ve just recently returned this one.

I also have a significant number of eBooks, including about 6 or so review copies for the month of August also also some books I’ve borrowed electronically from my library. This month is also the month of the Melbourne Writers Festival, which I normally attend every year. This year it’s 100% online and anyone can attend – and the best thing is you can pay whatever you can afford, for tickets. If you can afford to make a donation, excellent. However if times are tough, most events (not sure about the workshops) can be booked into for free, which is an amazing thing at this time. A lot of people will be doing it tough, having lost jobs or put onto JobKeeper or had reduced hours so the fact that there are things that can be enjoyed for relatively little to no outlay, is awesome. I have booked into quite a few sessions and some of the eBooks I’ve borrowed from the library relate to those.

If you’re in Melbourne like me, or another area where the numbers are still a concern, then I hope you’re staying safe & at home as much as you can. If July was a good reading month for you, let me know – and also, your reading plans for August!

7 Comments »

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?

3 Comments »

April Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 26
Fiction: 26
Non-Fiction: 0
Library Books: 2
Books On My TBR List: 6
Books in a Series: 6
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 9
Male/Female Authors: 0/26
Kindle Books: 7
Books I Owned or Bought: 4
Favourite Book(s): Shadow Study, Night Study, Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder.
Least Favourite Books: Nothing below a 3 this month
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 10

April began a “new normal” in a way, for the foreseeable future. For the first two weeks, my kids were on school holidays and we enjoyed lazy sleep ins and then found ways to entertain ourselves inside as much as we could before fitting in a daily walk if the weather allowed, to get us out of the house for our permitted exercise. On the 15th, my kids started their ‘remote learning from home’ and…..it’s been going okay. The first day was a lot of setting up types of tasks – getting your learning area ready, creating a timetable, that sort of thing. And since then the work has been pretty manageable for them and most of the time they’ve been quite enthusiastic about it and cooperative.

April was noteworthy because I finished ALL of the books in my TBR pile, showcased in my March wrap up post here – and I finished them on the 17th April! This pretty much never happens – I have occasionally read everything on my pile before but nearly always there’s 1-2 books I don’t get to as I get distracted by other new shiny things. Well I can’t go to the library as such, I haven’t ordered anything online for now and the postal service has been a bit slow as well, so I found it quite easy to get my pile finished! I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the rest of April – I could get started on my May books and get a few of those read and reviews scheduled as well, be ahead of the game. I could pick random books off my shelves that I’ve had for ages and read those. I could tackle some of the eBooks that I have or grab a few newbies from NetGalley to read. In the end I decided to do a bit of all of that, trying to mix things up as much as possible in order to keep things interesting.

I do have a May pile however, so here it is:

Originally this pile was bigger…but there were a couple of books that had their release dates changed so I had to remove them from this pile and shuffle them to later in the year. Because I finished April so early, I have already read a couple from this pile, reviews to come next week of The Hidden Beach and Fool Me Once and a review of The Viennese Girl has already been posted.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 28/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 5/12

Reading Women Challenge: 9/26

As expected, my challenge participation for 2 of the challenges continued to stall without my library usage or much purchasing. I didn’t read any nonfiction this month, so contributed nothing towards my Read Non Fiction challenge, however I do have a book on my pile this month (the Jacinda Adern biography) which I will use for the published in 2020 prompt as well as the biography prompt for my Reading Women Challenge. Which will enable me to make a little bit of progress! The Australian Women Challenge keeps trucking along though, I’m more than halfway through the goal I set for myself of 50 books at the beginning of the year.

However, I actually got around to downloading the apps my local library uses to lend both eBooks and eAudiobooks, so going forward, I should be able to source some non fiction and books that will help me complete my Reading Women Challenge. I had meant to do it ages ago, when my local library first closed its doors but I only got around to doing it in the latter part of this month. I was specifically looking for something, hoping that I’d be able to borrow it as it appears I cannot buy it in Australia but unfortunately, no luck. However I did discover that the range of material is pretty good and I borrowed 2 eBooks – The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi and From Alaska With Love by Ally James. I also requested a couple of others and so far, so good in terms of accessibility, ease of usage, etc.

I purchased one physical book in April! My local Dymocks is actually still open, because it’s also a newsagent. My kids had run out of books to read so we had to venture out into the world. They can read eBooks on their iPads but quite honestly they were spending enough time staring at screens so we went to the bookstore to pick up some actual physical books. The kids got a couple each and I chose The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel. My husband got a book as well and I’d say we’ll make another trip there next week once the kids have finished the books they chose. I’d really like to see my 11yo choose something challenging and devote some time to getting stuck into a book but at the moment he seems to be choosing more easy reads. One of the books my 8yo chose he finished in 20 minutes so……I’d like to see him get something a little more challenging as well next time, something that will last a couple of nights of the 30m reading time they are supposed to complete each day.

I did read a ridiculous amount of books in April, including 2 re-reads of old favourites but it’s not a pace I expect to keep going forward. It’s just with nowhere to go and not much to do…..I chose to read to pass my time.

Wherever you are, I hope you had a good reading month for April….stay safe!

Leave a comment »

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!

 

 

4 Comments »

February Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 17
Fiction: 14
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 8
Books On My TBR List: 5
Books in a Series: 3
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 7
Male/Female Authors: 15.5/1.5 (one is a collection of essays written by both men and women)
Kindle Books: 1
Books I Owned or Bought: 1
Favourite Book(s): With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo, Charlotte Pass by Lee Christine, The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan, Break The Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli
Least Favourite Books: Nothing below a 3 this month
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 13

February was almost a mirror image of January! I read 17 books in both months, 14 fiction and 3 non fiction in each as well. I think overall February probably had books I rated higher and it also gave me my first 10/10 for the year with The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan, the 3rd in the Cormac Reilly series. All of the series is fantastic (I’ve rated the previous 2 books 9/10) and I’d urge anyone who hasn’t given this one a go yet to definitely go out and pick them up. They keep getting better and this one had a lot of subtlety and was excellently crafted. As well as the 10/10, I had 3 other books that I rated 9/10 and nothing was below a 6 so everything this month was actually really solid.

Challenge update!

Reading Women Challenge: 4/26. At the end of January, I was 0/26 so I have actually gotten myself pretty much up to date with where I should be with this one.

Read Non-Fiction Challenge: 3/6. Added another book to this one in February. Pretty sure that I’ll end up reading more than the 6 I signed up for.

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 14/50. Added 7 books to this one, but as I’ve mentioned before, this one isn’t really a challenge as such! A lot of my reading is Australian women writers.

I’ve really been utilising my local library in February. I read 8 books from there during the month. I’ve been using it a lot to source books for challenges for specific prompts. I think everything I’ve read for the Reading Women Podcast Challenge so far has been from the library and I’ve also used it to contribute to the Read Non Fiction Challenge as well. I still have a bunch of books checked out, some that will apply for one challenge or the other and some more on request too.

February was a no purchase month! This year I’m trying to cut down on the books I buy (because I actually buy more than I can read, especially when I factor in the books I get for review or from the library) and because we’re going on a big-ish (for us) holiday this year, I decided that I would limit myself to 1 book purchase per month in print form. eBook purchases are different, because they do not contribute to the clutter in my house! I actually did not use my book purchase for February (nor did I buy any eBooks) so potentially I could have 2 purchases for March if I wanted or store it up for a month in the future where I’m tempted by more than one book!

Onto the March TBR:

Interesting mix here. Of these I actually only actively requested three – the top one, Break The Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli, which I’ve already read and reviewed as part of a blog tour, The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte and The Secrets Of Strangers by Charity Norman. The rest were unsolicited/suprises. I am quite curious about the Kathy Reichs. I used to love this series a long time ago….probably close to a decade or more now. But they really started to drop off in quality for me into the teens and I stopped buying them and started reading them from the library, much like I did with the Janet Evanovich books. Then I abandoned the series entirely and I thought it was probably actually finished. I think it was in some sort of publishing limbo for a couple of years so I haven’t missed as many instalments as I might have thought. So it’ll be interesting to see what Temperance Brennan is up to now and is she on or off with Andrew Ryan…and do I still care? In terms of the others….I’m most interested in The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke which looks like it might be fun and The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood. The latter is LGBT fantasy according to Goodreads, definitely not something I read a lot of but I’m on a big fantasy kick right now so I’m looking forward to it. The author is LGBT as well so I actually think that will fulfil a prompt to read a novel by someone from the LGBTQ+ community for the Reading Women Podcast Challenge. Code Name Hélène is about Nancy Wake, so I’m thinking that’s going to be good. Julian Leatherdale is an Australian author I’ve heard a lot about but I haven’t actually read any of his previous books. They’re all doorstoppers, but this one looks quite a bit slimmer so I think it might be a good one to start with. Saint X is a thriller/mystery type about a child who was abducted and murdered on the Caribbean island of Saint X and her sister’s quest to find the truth as an adult. The Paris Model arrived beautifully wrapped from the publisher, with a little chocolate heart and an Eiffel Tower keyring. It’s about an Australian living in post-war Paris working as a model/mannequin for Christian Dior.

Hope you all had a wonderful reading month for February (and enjoyed that extra day to sneak another book in!). If you’ve read anything on my March TBR or something looks intriguing to you, be sure to leave a comment.

 

2 Comments »

January 2020 Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 17
Fiction: 14
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 2
Books On My TBR List: 4
Books in a Series: 4
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 2/15
Kindle Books: 3
Books I Owned or Bought: 3
Favourite Book(s): Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, Headliners by Lucy Parker
Least Favourite Books: The House Of Brides by Jane Cockram
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 7

First month of the year, done and dusted! I managed to hit 17 books for the month, which is about my average, despite being on holidays for the first third of the month, including two days travelling back home. It was a solid reading month too, lots of pretty good 4-star reads.

As an aside – one of the books I read in January was American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. I had a very early ARC which I read while I was away on holidays, before it was released, before all of the revelation that it’s not #ownvoices etc. I enjoyed the book when I read it (before I realised, before the stuff like the barbed wire centrepieces, etc) however I’ve taken the time to read some of the criticism on it, especially on the fact that she was given such a huge advance to tell the type of story that she’s not actually a part of, which raises a lot of interesting questions about the publishing industry and what sells and why it sells. One of the pieces I read suggested some #ownvoices immigrant stories and I thought well, I’ve been made aware of some other authors and books now so I can try and find some stories told by people that have lived it, or have some experience with it through family or cultural connections. My local library is amazing, it has five branches, it rarely doesn’t have the book I’m searching for and it often has books I am sure it won’t have. However when I tapped in a half dozen of these authors from one of the articles I’d read, I discovered that none of the works by them were in the system. The only hit I got was one of them was included in an anthology of stories about the immigrant experience, so I requested that. I’m on a sort of book no-spend for 2020 (I’m restricting myself to one book a month) so I’m going to try requesting that the library buy in some of these books and see how I go. If I’m not successful, I shall use my one book a month some months, to buy a couple of them.

Challenge Progress:

I thought as I’m doing a couple of challenges this year, every month I’d track my progress here, so I can see how well I’m winning or failing at them!

Reading Women Challenge: 0/26

2020 Read Non Fiction Challenge: 2/6 (if I continue to do well in this challenge I may boost my participation to include a book from all 12 prompts)

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2020: 6/50

Yikes. Already I can see that I’m behind on the Reading Women Podcast Challenge – I need to read around 2 titles a month + a couple more to hit my target and so far I’ve read nothing that qualifies. Going to have to get onto that pretty quickly and hopefully make some progress there although the TBR I have knocked up for February doesn’t seem to help. Speaking of which…….

These are the books I hope to read this month (plus at least one on my kindle, The River Home by Hannah Richell).

In some ways, this does feel like an ambitious TBR, especially as it doesn’t include anything that will qualify for the RWP challenge and I’ll have to try and find some others that do. I’m finally reading Kingdom Of Ash, which has been on my TBR since it was released, because I had to get through the previous book first. It’s quite sizeable, close to 1000p I think. However, Maas books are always quite a quick read, no matter how long they are, there’s something about them where they never feel as long to read as other books of the same length. I’m hoping to tackle that one over a weekend…… Also at the time of writing this post, I have already gotten a bit of a head start, and I’ve read a couple of books from this pile already as reviews for them are to be posted this week. I’m seriously looking forward to The Good Turn but it’s not out until quite late in the month, so I’ll probably leave that one until closer to the release date. I also have a couple of books to pick up from my local library, so I have to try and squeeze them in somewhere too! Sidenote – how cute is my new little desk plant? I’d been feeling like getting something new to cheer up my desk a bit so I ended up getting two plants, the one you can see in this pic and also a succulent which is in a pot on the other side of my monitor.

Hope everyone had a productive and enjoyable first month of 2020 – if you’ve read something from my TBR pile feel free to let me know your thoughts on it!

8 Comments »

December & 2019 Yearly Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 13
Fiction: 12
Non-Fiction: 1
Library Books: 2
Books On My TBR List: 1
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 4
Male/Female Authors: 1/12
Kindle Books: 3
Books I Owned or Bought: 4
Favourite Book(s): The Only Plane In The Sky by Garrett M. Graff
Least Favourite Books: Nothing below a 3/5 this month
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 6

December was a quiet month but then, I knew it was going to be. I completed my Goodreads goal in November and with going away, I figured that I probably wouldn’t be reading as much. I’m still quite happy to have read 13 books. As of writing this I’ve read 4 on my holiday – I actually pictured reading a bit more out by the pool but honestly? It’s been too hot to sit comfortably outside. We still have just over a week of holidays remaining and then I’ll probably be back to my normal reading habits. January is generally a pretty big reading month for me….the last 2 years it’s been one of my most prolific reading months.

And the yearly reading wrap up…….

Total Books Read: 217
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 106
Male/Female Authors: 32/187 (some are counted under both, which is why it adds up to 219)
Kindle Books: 35
Library Reads: 27
5-Star Reads: 31
Most Prolific Reading Month: October – 29 books
Least Prolific Reading Month: June & December – 13 books

The spreadsheet I used this year to track my reading allows me to actually have a much more comprehensive reading break down at my fingertips without having to go back and re-read every monthly reading wrap up I did or scroll through my Goodreads and reviews. It’s got pie charts and lists which allow me to see things like:

  • I read 179 adult titles in 2019
  • 31 YA titles
  • 7 middle grade or children’s titles
  • 16 non-fiction titles
  • 20 books by POC and 23 featuring main characters of colour
  • 14 books with a queer author or main character
  • 2 books in translation
  • 16 titles that are ‘own voices’
  • 63 books I read in 2019 I purchased myself
  • 27 were from my local library
  • 112 were ARCs from publishers either digital or print
  • 6 books were re-reads
  • General/contemporary fiction was my biggest genre with a whopping 81 titles. Next is historical fiction (35), then romance (32). I read 1 classic and 1 book I considered to be ‘horror’.
  • It takes me on average, 1.3 days to read a book and I read an average of 219 pages per day
  • Overall I read 79,585 pages and I listened to 1x 9hr audiobook.
  • My lowest rating was 1×2 star
  • I rated 27 books a 4.5/5 and 4 books a 5/5 (9/10 and 10/10 on my blog)
  • 98 books were between 3-400p. I also read 11 books that had over 600p throughout the year

Comparing 2019 with 2018, I read more books in 2019 – 11 more. I also read a lot more male authors – only 18 in 2018 compared with 32 this year. However new authors to me were slightly down – 106 this year compared with 113 last year. My eBook consumption has been dropping steadily in the last few years….it was 56 last year but I only read 35 this year. That’s just under 3 a month. I think a few years ago, eBooks would’ve been a much higher percentage of my overall reading. In 2017, I read 82 kindle books. I’m not overly sure why this is….I don’t think I receive too many more print ARCs now than I did in 2017 but I do certainly use NetGalley a bit less. I still buy eBooks, especially during sales – I will often stock up with 10 or so books when they have $1.99-$4.99 sales. So they’re there. I’m just not reading them as often. I did nab a lot of eBooks to read while I’m on holidays though, so I’m going to have to make a concerted effort to choose them over print books that might be lying around.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my reading in 2019. I’ve ticked over 200 books for the year for the last few years now but certain life changes in the next year or so may mean that trend doesn’t continue. My Goodreads goal for 2020 is going to be lower because sometimes I find it a bit judgy and stressful. And I’m aware it’s stress I put on myself, as I’m the one that sets it!

I’m happy with the amount of reviews I wrote this year. I didn’t review about 40 books – 6 or 7 of which were re-reads and I have already reviewed previously before. Another 5 or 6 were cookbooks and I don’t really review cookbooks although I do still have plans for a series of posts about changing the food I eat and finding new dishes to become ‘regulars’ for our family. That’s kind of a work in progress so maybe that’s something I can get to and work on a bit more in 2020. There were just some books that I read that I felt a review wasn’t really necessary or I didn’t have anything to say. So I probably wrote close to 180 reviews in 2019 which is almost 4 a week. I always aim to try and publish 4 posts a week so that works with my blog goals.

I don’t know how I feel about resolutions – I’ve had years when I’ve made blogging and reading resolutions and years where I haven’t made any. I think I work better when I do have a few goals and aims to achieve for the year, so in the coming week I might try and get a goals for 2020 post up as well.

Normally I post a picture of the this month’s TBR but I don’t have a January TBR as I’m not at home – I do have some books waiting for me when I get home but for now, maybe it’s time to get to those eBooks that are sitting around being ignored!

Hope you all had a wonderful reading year and that 2020 is enjoyable and filled with amazing books.

6 Comments »

November Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 20
Fiction: 18
Non-Fiction: 2
Library Books: 2
Books On My TBR List: 6
Books in a Series: 11
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 7
Male/Female Authors: 5/15
Kindle Books: 5
Books I Owned or Bought: 8
Favourite Book(s): Up On Horseshoe Hill by Penelope Janu, The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black.
Least Favourite Books: So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 6

Bye November. Feels like you went so fast.

And so it’s December. The last month of 2019. I feel like I say this every month but I am not sure what happened to 2019. So much of this year just seems lost in a bit of a blur, things have gone so quickly. At the moment we are immersed in end-of-year things – my kids have 2.5 weeks left of school and after that we leave to go interstate for 3 weeks. We are having Christmas with my family this year (they live 14hrs drive away) and I’ve been making arrangements for our cat and travel arrangements, sorting out getting our car serviced and tyres checked before we leave, all that sort of stuff. We are driving up so that we will have our car with us while we’re there and it’s much cheaper than flying and hiring a car.

I don’t know how much reading I’ll get done while I’m away. I can never tell – sometimes I think I’ll get very little done and I end up reading a lot. Sometimes I think, well the conditions will be perfect. It’s summer, my parents have a pool, my kids can swim while I read. But it rarely works out the way I imagine it will. My husband will be with us, he’s on holidays too so it’s possible we’ll spend more time doing things than just lazing around at home. It’ll probably be a mix, but there’s also family to visit as well and catch up with so I’m not making any reading plans past the 18th December. Prior to that though…..here’s my December pile:

All publisher ARCs apart from the top book, Dark Emu which I purchased after it was trending on twitter because Andrew Bolt had his knickers in a knot over it. Anything that gets up that right wing zealot’s nose is worth investigating so I decided to check it out and it sounds very interesting. It’s basically about a suggestion that indigenous Australians were not just the nomadic hunter-gatherers that Europeans assumed and were sowing, harvesting and storing crops, which doesn’t fit the tag. The author suggests that the usage of the term hunter gatherer was a convenient lie, presumably to better the argument or justify the colonisation of the country. There’s a lot of very interesting primary sources that the author uses to support his argument. It’s blown up quite a lot on twitter in recent times so I picked up a copy.

Challenge check in – with just one month left to go, I have completed my Goodreads reading goal of 200 books for the year (thanks October, for being such a crazy reading month!) and am sitting on 204 books read. So far I’ve completed 22/26 books for the Reading Women Podcast Challenge and realistically, I can probably only complete another 2 of the prompts, maximum. I don’t see myself reading a play and I don’t see myself reading a translated book published before 1945 because I’ve trawled through the recommendations and nothing suggested is available at my local library. Some are available on eBook but to be honest they’re rather expensive (almost $20AU) and I’m just not interested in purchasing a book I’ll probably never read again just to satisfy a prompt. Same with the play. My library does not have any plays that I can see available for borrowing so I’m just going to have to wipe those two out basically. The prompts I can complete are read a Jesmyn Ward book (I own Salvage The Bones somewhere) and read a myth retelling (either The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey or Circe by Madeline Miller). Interestingly I’m potentially going to struggle with finishing the goal I set of 80 books in the Australian Women Writers Challenge. I’ve read 73 and two of the books on my December pile would qualify, bringing me to 75. Potentially the Pip Drysdale might, I’ve seen some people count her books as I think she spent time growing up in Australia but it’s probably stretching it. I also have The Weekend by Charlotte Wood out from my library for an online buddy read, which would be 76. So I still need to find another four books by Australian women to read by the end of the year in order to successfully finish that challenge. Well, finding them isn’t the issue – I probably have several hundred in my TBR piles of both print and eBooks. It’s actually reading them! But I shall try. Plus I’m going to raid NetGalley before I go away so I should be able to find some candidates there.

Hope you all had a wonderful reading November and that December is a stress-free time in the build up to Christmas.

 

5 Comments »