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Here is my roundup of the books I’ve read, the books I’m reading, Internet places I’ve visited and quotes that have taken my eye.

Books I have recently finished:

Book: Storm Clouds by Bronwyn Parry

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Thoughts: Set in outback Australia, two women are found dead within days of each other. There is a connection to one of the National Parks rangers – One of the women is Simon’s wife. The other woman was her close friend. Were the two women part of the alternative lifestyle ‘Community of Bliss’ that has moved into the area? The community says no – but Simon and his work partner Erin think not – and Erin goes into the community undercover. The storm clouds gather and when the storm broke I was on the edge of my seat willing the hero’s on!

Book: Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction/Romance

Thoughts: A wonderful bit of fluff reading – about female humans being dumped on an ice planet by their alien kidnappers after a technical difficulty on board their spaceship. The residents of the planet are mostly male and looking for mates – well you can guess the outcome. 12 ladies – 12 books – lots of delicious rumpy pumpy.

Book: Meet Ruby by Penny Matthews

Genre: Middle School/Historical

Thoughts: Ruby is a well off young girl who lives in Adelaide, Australia, during the Great Depression. An easy to read book that looks at the changes in circumstances that many families found themselves in at this time.

Book: The Last Train by Sue Lawrence

Genre: Historical Mystery

Thoughts: Separate review here 

Book: Wildwood by Elinor Florence

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Thoughts: Separate review here

My Current reads:

The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Middle school/YA Fantasy) – After this book was touted at the Frankfurt Book Fair – eight major publishing houses were vying for the rights; not long after 20th Century Fox secured film rights. Absolutely a ripper of a story about a cursed eleven-year-old girl who escapes death (as all cursed children die when they turn 12) and finds herself in a magical world. In order to stay there she has to take a quest – if she fails she has to go back and accept her fate. I am love, love, LOVING this story

Kahayatle by Elle Casey (YA/Sci-Fi/Apocalyptic) – First in the Apocalypsis series. All those who haven’t reached puberty and are over 20 die. Bryn is all alone in Orlando, Florida, after the passing of her father and is running out of food. In fact in the city starvation is rife and some gangs, called canners, are now eating whoever they come across. She has to find somewhere safe to live and has made a decision to get out of her home and go – well – somewhere.

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon (Historical) – set in WWII Italy during the German occupation, Angelo is a Catholic priest who is risking everything to be one of the Catholic nuns and priests hiding Jews in a convent – one of the hidden is Eva, his childhood friend and one time girlfriend until the Church called him. Eva, on the other hand, now has to deal Angelo, knowing that this man that she loved, still loves, actually chose to be a priest instead of a life with her.

Quote/s and links for the week

Links:

Here are a few online articles I found this week:

February 1st was read aloud day (who knew?) any how here’s a link:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/the-romance-of-reading-books-aloud-its-not-just-for-kids/2018/01/29/cfdf6e32-0507-11e8-8777-2a059f168dd2_story.html?utm_term=.bb980aef5000

While February 23rd was international Dog Biscuit day – my bad beagle boy’s favourite day after his birthday:

http://pawsitivelysweetbakery.com/february-23-international-dog-biscuit-day/?v=47e5dceea252

And because we all need to take time and get into nature sometimes:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/tours/most-beautiful-gardens-in-the-world/

Quotes:

These have recently caught my eye:

But what it comes down to for me is that it’s not an ideal world. There are people out there who torture, burn, maim, bomb and enslave others. Mostly because of religion and territory, and they’re not going to be dissuaded from their path. Kids should be able to chase butterflies and feed ducks and go to school without fearing a bomb or a bullet. Or worse. And I guess that’s why I do what I do

From Storm Clouds by Bronwyn Parry – the MC explaining why a Quaker raised man who loves peace is in the SAS.

…It was called sheltered accommodation, but I’d never quite been able to work out what we were being sheltered from. The world was still out there. It crept in through the newspapers and the television. It slid between the cracks of other people’s conversation and sang out from mobile telephones. We were the ones hidden away, collected up and ushered out of sight, and I often wondered if it was actually the world that was being sheltered from us.

From Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

(I’ve got this one on my wish list)

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

C.S. Lewis

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Wildwood by Elinor Florence

Title: Wildwood

Author: Elinor Florence

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Opens: I turned my back for a minute, and she was gone.

Blurb: Broke and desperate, Molly accepts the ironclad condition laid down in her great-aunt’s will: in order to receive her inheritance, Molly must spend one year in an abandoned, off-the-grid farmhouse in the remote backwoods of northern Alberta. If she does, she will be able to sell the farm and fund her four-year-old daughter’s badly needed medical treatment. With grim determination, Molly teaches herself basic homesteading skills. But her greatest perils come from the brutal wilderness itself, from blizzards to grizzly bears. Will she and her child survive the savage winter?

My Thoughts:

If you are looking for a whizz bang, thrill a minute story then WILDWOOD is not going to be for you. However, if you are looking for a story that draws you in from the very first page and gradually immerses you in a struggle for survival – then Bingo! You’ve found your book.

The main character is single mum Molly Bannister and she is at the end of her tether, as she has lost her job and unable to pay her rent so facing eviction. Out of the blue she gets a letter from a lawyer informing her she has inherited her great-aunt’s abandoned, off-the-grid farmhouse in the remote backwoods of northern Alberta. The farmhouse was abandoned when her great-aunt voluntarily admitted herself to a nursing home when she came down with Alzheimer’s – neighbours have been keeping an eye on it for years and it is exactly as she left it – fully furnished and sound. In order to fully take ownership of it Molly must live there for a year. Molly accepts the challenge with the plan of selling the house and land and move back to the USA once the year was over. Her daughter, Bridget, suffers from select mutism so she wants the money to pay for her daughter’s treatment.

What a contrast for this city dweller – Canadians drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and the cabin has no running water, no electricity and an outdoors drop toilet. With just $400 a month to live on, along with a 2 hour drive to Jupiter to get the money and supplies, Molly finds that cooking, cleaning, heating the house, washing their clothes and keeping clean in the back of beyond to be a huge challenge.

Fortunately she is not totally alone, out in the wilds neighbours look out for each other rather than ignore each other and she soon gets to make friends – and her great-aunt has left books behind. Including her diary about her first year homesteading in the cabin. Reading how her ancestor coped in the past – helped Molly survive in the present. There are other connections – including the fact her great-aunt had a close friend, Annie, who was a medicine woman from the local Cree community and now Annie’s granddaughter, Winona, is friends with Molly. This is a wonderful thread within the story.

The descriptions of the settings – the house, the land, the cold, the wild forests and animals are astounding and certainly gave me a sense of place. The characters just came alive on the pages and there is so much growth in the characters of Molly, Bridget and Winona. The author, Elinor Florence, also managed to subtly introduce some of the issues facing the farmers out there – not just the bitter winters, short growing season and isolation; but fraud, mining exploration and fracking.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to Dundurn Publishers and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

Title: The Last Train (alternative title – The Night he Left)

Author: Sue Lawrence

Genre: Historical Mystery

Opens: The storm raged on. In the pitch black, the thunder cracked as a roaring gale whipped through the narrow wynds and filthy closes of Dundee’s tenements.

(A wynd is a narrow ally – Scottish term)

Blurb: At 7 p.m. on 28 December 1879, a violent storm batters the newly built iron rail bridge across the River Tay, close to the city of Dundee. Ann Craig is waiting for her husband, the owner of the largest local mill, to return home. From her window Ann sees a strange and terrible sight as the bridge collapses, and the lights of the train in which he is travelling plough down into the freezing river waters. As Ann manages the grief and expectations of family and friends, amid a town mourning its loved ones, doubt is cast on whether Robert was on the train, after all. If not, where is he, and who is the mysterious woman who is first to be washed ashore? In 2015, Fiona Craig wakes to find that her partner Pete, an Australian restaurateur, has cleared the couple’s bank account before abandoning his car at the local airport and disappearing. When the police discover his car is stolen, Fiona conducts her own investigation into Pete’s background, slowly uncovering dark secrets and strange parallels with the events of 1879.

My Thoughts:

THE LAST TRAIN is my first book by Sue Lawrence, and her second fiction book, and I really, really enjoyed it. It opens in Dundee with Ann Craig and her children watching a train with her husband, Robert, on it, plunge into the icy waters of the River Tay when the bridge collapsed. The Dundee Tay Bridge disaster is a historical fact – you can read more about it here: http://taybridgedisaster.co.uk/

Shortly after this heart in mouth opening chapter, the reader is transported to 2015 to meet Fiona Craig and her son James. Fiona is having a similar problem to Ann – except instead of a train disaster her partner, Peter, has done a runner – when she went to sleep he was there – when she woke up he was gone along with the contents of their bank account; she was now destitute. Fiona moves back to her parents’ house in Dundee. Both women have lost their men and now have to fend for themselves and their fatherless children. Both women start to investigate where their men have gone, because Ann very quickly has reason to believe her husband was not on the train and, like Peter, has done a runner.

The two different plots of THE LAST TRAIN twist and turn and occasionally there is a modern day link to the activities in the past. I like how the author linked the events and locations from the past into the present, so questions asked in 2015 are answered for the reader in 1879. The overall feeling of the book is one of intrigue – what has happened, is happening and is going to happen? What are the hidden secrets and how will it end? The resolution is not cut and dried for either of the two women – the ending of the modern day plot felt a bit rushed and out of the blue – but when joining the dots it did make sense and fitted the overall mood of the book.

Sue Lawrence has obviously done meticulous research into the train disaster and brings it alive on the pages Dundee in 1879 is a mill town full of overcrowded company owned tenements where badly paid cold, hungry, and dirty factory workers live. This is contrasted to how the rich live – and emphasises why Ann fights to keep her comfortable life. Both of the men were utter horrors and both women deserved better. Ann was a strong character – she loves her children and their well-being is one of her motivations, but she is also vain, an utter snob, kept to herself and was a hard taskmaster to her servants. There is a reason for this however, and the reader gets to find out what that reason is. In contrast, Fiona is a bit wishy washy when compared to Ann. Ann had no one to help and had to use her wits – Fiona had parents to help her and a plethora of friends to advise and help her while she searched for Peter.

I preferred the historical parts of the story – they had more atmosphere, more mystery, and more angst for the lead lady, I could understand her motivation. I did not get as involved so much in Fiona’s story – and didn’t understand her motivation for chasing up Peter’s past – I would have just moved on.

Overall, this was one hell of a story – and as I said in my opening, I really, really enjoyed it.

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it

With thanks to Allen and Unwin and the author for my copy to read and review.

Here is my weekly roundup of the books I’ve read, the books I’m reading, Internet places I’ve visited and quotes that have taken my eye.

This week so far I have finished:

Book: Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster (Australian Author)

Genre: Contemporary YA Fantasy

Thoughts: Didn’t really grab me all the much, had all the elements of a really good fantasy but just didn’t fully pull me in – however, some of my friends have read it and really enjoyed it to the extent they are waiting with baited breath for the second in the series. Me? Not so much.

Book: Merry & Bright: A Christmas Anthology by Fiona Roarke et al

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Christmas stories

Thoughts: As with all anthologies some stories you love, some leave you scratching your head and the rest are good. All the stories are set in the fictional place of Nocturne Falls which is the literary invention of author Kristen Painter. She invited some other authors to write books set in her world and called the series Nocturne Falls Universe. Now these authors have each written a Christmas themed chart story. I haven’t read many of the invited authors so feel this might have effected some of my opinions of some of the stories as I think I should have read the book before the short story. My three favourite stories were The Sorcerer’s Christmas Miracle by Cate Dean, Magic’s Frost by Sela Carsen and The Witch’s Snow Globe Wish by Larissa Emerald.

Book: The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir

Thoughts: For the most part I really enjoyed this memoir. Helen Russell and her husband move to Denmark when her husband is offered a job with Lego. They move to a small village on the coast in Jutland and Helen proceeds to go through their year month by month. Each chapter is a different month and a different topic – politics, health, drinking, children, religion, traditions and Viennese pastries. Each topic comes out of experiences – dancing cow celebrations lead her into the agricultural area – she then proceeds to interview expert people, Google facts, chat to friends and neighbors and then present the information in an easy to read manner.

Book: Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

Genre: YA, Horror

Thoughts: Cynthia has to save her friends from the new librarian who is young, super cute but also, it turns out, a demon who seems hell bent on sucking the life force out of the entire student body. A couple of deaths, a double cross by a demon minion and a deal fraught with danger all occur before the end. The book is described as “…horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor…” and it fitted the description perfectly.

Book: Murder of a Werewolf by April Fernsby

Genre: Cozy Paranormal Mystery

Thoughts: I love, love, loved this quick read. Two world – a murder mystery and some magical moments.

Book: The Bookshop on the corner by Jenny Colgan

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Thoughts: This was one of my top two books of January. Based around a move from city to country, setting up a mobile bookshop in Scotland and falling in love. There are beautiful descriptions, without being wordy. Jenny Colgan has written a few other books that I am anxious to get my hands on.

Book: The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Genre: YA Fantasy

Thoughts: Separate review here

My Current reads:

Books I am currently reading:

The Last Train by Sue Lawrence (Historical mystery) – Due for release in February, two women more than 100 years apart have something in common. Their husband/partner disappears without warning. One in a train smash – the other at an airport. The blurb says there are more links than that.

Storm Clouds by Bronwyn Parry (Mystery/Thriller) – Set in outback Australia, two women are found dead within days of each other. There is a connection to one of the National Parks rangers – One of the women is Simon’s wife. The other woman was her close friend. Were the two women part of the alternative lifestyle ‘Community of Bliss’ that has moved into the area? The community says no – but Simon and his work partner Erin think not – and Erin is going into the community undercover.

Wildwood by Elinor Florence (Contemporary Fiction) – This book is due for release in March. The main character is single mum Molly Bannister. In order to receive an inheritance in her great-aunt’s will, Molly must spend one year in an abandoned, off-the-grid farmhouse in the remote backwoods of northern Alberta. If she does, she will be able to sell the farm and fund her four-year-old daughter’s badly needed medical treatment.

Quote/s and links for the week

Links:

There is a theme this week – not forcing yourself to finish a book if you are not enjoying it – I gave myself permission not to finish a book I wasn’t enjoying a few years ago – it was liberating. There are SO many great books out there – why waste it one that is not rocking your socks off!

!0 signs that you should stop reading:

https://www.bustle.com/articles/137119-10-signs-you-should-give-up-on-a-book-youre-in-the-middle-of-no-really

And the rule I abide by – the 50 page rule:

https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-rule-of-50-helps-you-know-when-to-give-up-on-a-bo-1676241613

Quotes:

These took my eye this time around:

I’m not interested in whether the glass is half empty or half full.

I’m interested in figuring out how to fill the glass

Donald Kaberuka

…One moment she would look up from her book to see a gentle brown heath, the golden light playing through the heather; the next she looked up in time to see an osprey dive across the road toward a lock, which made her start; then, as the crested the next mountain, a ray of sunshine came out and she put her book down altogether…

From The Bookshop on the corner by Jenny Colgan

Here is my weekly roundup of the books I’ve read, the books I’m reading, Internet places I’ve visited and quotes that have taken my eye.

Actually – this is my reading month so far – as is the first ‘weekly’ post I have done this year

This week month so far I have finished:

Book: Sanctuary by Judy Nunn (Australian Author)

Genre: Contemporary Australian Fiction

Thoughts: Absolutely fabulous book. Set in Western Australia the story looks at the very topical subject of illegal refugees (boat people as they are called in Australia). I was very worried how the author was going to finish the story – but she did a stellar job. Thoroughly recommend this book.

Book: His to Protect by Elena Aitken

Genre: Paranormal romance

Thoughts: I am into bear shape-changers right now. This is a good romance story – with a bit of drama on the side. Is the first in the series, so will follow up with the others.

Book: Bear’s Mail Order Bride by Candace Ayers

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Thoughts: Yes, I like paranormal romances – and currently going through bear shape-changer ones – but there is a limit to what I will stoop to – and this one reached it. Will not be continuing with the series.

Book: Skyfire by Michael Adams (Australian Author)

Genre: Y/A Science Fiction

Thoughts: Aimed at the younger end of the teen market; this is a fast-paced adventure story. The first of seven books, with seven protagonists from each of the seven continents, seven disasters and seven days to solve the clues and save the world.

Book: Fairway to Heaven by Lily Malone (Australian Author)

Genre: Romance

Thoughts: Nice story set in Western Australia and covers single motherhood, infidelity and friendship. As you can guess from the title, golf is involved – but is not the main focus.

Book: The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Genre: YA Fantasy

Thoughts: Separate review here

My Current reads:

Books I am currently reading, and really enjoying, are:

The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell – Really loving this memoir of Helen Russell’s first year in Denmark. Her husband accepts a job with Lego and as she works from home as a freelance journalist. Moving from London to a small town in Jutland in the middle of winter is quite a culture shock – but the Danes have a secret weapon – Hygge.

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen – Paranormal YA, Teen Cynthia has to save her friends from the new librarian who is young, super cute but also a demon who seems hell bent on sucking the life force out of the entire student body – the book is described as horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor – so far it is fitting the description perfectly.

Merry & Bright: A Christmas Anthology by Fiona Roarke et al – Been plodding through this since Christmas – is an anthology of 9 Christmas themed paranormal romance stories all set in the fictional town of Nocturne Falls. It is my bedside read which is why it’s taking me a while to read. Like all anthologies some short stories are really good – others leave you scratching your head.

Quote/s and links for the week

Links:

These fake book subtitles are hilarious!

http://didyouknowfacts.com/dude-instagram-adding-fake-subtitles-library-books-results-hilarious/?utm_source=HOT-FB-Page&utm_medium=HOT-FB-Page&utm_campaign=HOT-FB-Page

And the shortlist for the “Bad Sex Scene” award for 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/nov/23/bad-sex-award-2017-shortlist-the-contenders-in-quotes

Looking for some good Australian and New Zealand romances? Here’s a list:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/72020.Romance_in_Australia_New_Zealand_and_or_Australian_New_Zealander_Heroes_and_Heroines#25159746

Quotes:

Only one this week – as it is a long one. Oh OK – it’s an excerpt – but is a good indicator of my current read:

…It all started simply enough. After a few days off work my husband and I were suffering from post-holiday blues and struggling to get back into the swing of things. A grey drizzle had descended on London and the city looked grubby and felt somehow worn out – as did I. ‘There has to be more to life than this…’ was the taunt that ran through my head as I took the tube to the office every day, then navigated my way home through chicken bone-strewn streets twelve hours later, before putting in a couple of hours of extra work or going to events for my job. As a journalist on a glossy magazine, I felt like a fraud. I spent my days writing about how readers could ‘have it all’: a healthy work-life balance, success, sanity, sobriety – all while sporting the latest styles and a radiant glow. In reality, I was still paying off student loans, relying on industrial quantities of caffeine to get through the day and self-medicating with Sauvignon Blanc to get myself to sleep

From The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

Title: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

Author: Cynthia Hand

Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Fantasy

Opens: The first thing you should probably know is That Yvonne Worthington Chase is dead

Blurb: Holly Chase has the job of saving souls, but it is her own that she realizes needs examining. On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t. And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company, Project Scrooge, as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year, everything is about to change.

My Thoughts: I was asked by the publisher if I would like to read THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE just before Christmas. Looked at the blurb and I immediately thought Christmas Carol spin off, which is a good thing. To cap it off when I received the email I was watching a Muppet Christmas Carol on the TV (as you do) so it seemed like I was meant to read it. And I am so glad I have. Because it is so much more than three ghost visiting a mean old scrooge and then that scrooge turning his/her life around with everything coming up roses. No – Holly ignores the warning and dies. Bummer!

Of course, she doesn’t go to heaven – well she is a bad girl after all – but she doesn’t go to hell either, instead she finds that she is in some sort of half-way house where she is hired as The Ghost of Christmas Past for a company that runs “Project Scrooge.” A new “Scrooge” is found every year and then the team swings into action to encourage the chosen scrooge to change their ways and not die. Lots of research goes on before the big event which takes place each Christmas Eve. As the Ghost of Christmas Past, Holly gets to mind meld with the scrooge to find out what made them like they are.

Holly, our failed scrooge, is a truly unlikable person with no redeeming qualities and totally unrepentant even in death. After five years Holly is still with ‘Project Scrooge’ with no attitude change, she just does her job and feels unjustly treated, and just a little bit lonely. Then Scrooge number 173 is picked – and he is a good looking guy who, once she starts delving into his mind, Holly discovers she has a lot in common with. And after finding that commonality she finally starts to recognise that by saving him she has to admit she might not be a very nice person after all. Can she actually start to hope that she may be able to move on to a better place? Will she find the courage to break all the rules to get there? The author portrays Holly’s growth as a character so well. The Holly on the first page is a whole different person just before THE END.

While Holly is the star of the story – and front and centre all the time. The supporting cast is very good as well and carry her story very ably. There has to be a boss, and of course if there is a ghost of Christmas past there needs to be two more for present and future. As well as the ghosts, there are the tech people and a sweet little work experience PA who is assigned to Holly just as Scrooge 173 is selected.

So that was good, now the grumble. I have to confess it got a bit bogged down for me in the middle – so no I wasn’t glued to every page from beginning to end. There was also a little bit of information dumping – where the characters in the book explained who they were talking about, and what the role was in the story. I understand this would be for those readers who hadn’t read A Christmas Carol so they could follow the action, but I found it a tad annoying. Having said that, they were tiny niggles and THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE is still an above average read and I recommend it to anyone who loves wisecracking YA paranormal and Christmas. I loved the ending – take nothing for granted.

For more about the author – Click Here

C – Above average – was very readable and I really liked it but was easily able to put it down and walk away for a while.

With thanks to HarperCollins Publishers Australia and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

Final Book Stats for 2017

Final Book Stats for 2017

I took a break from my blog and reviewing for most of 2017. However, I was still reading up a storm!!! I am dipping my toe into getting back into reviewing for publishers again – but keeping it to a minimum. I will then do a review if something WOW comes along – and will continue to do my weekly summary posts when I can.

Anyhow, in 2017 I managed to read a colossal total of 198 books.

My top 10 books of the year:

I find this task to be very hard as all my books scream “pick me, pick me!” Then when I make my choice there is ALWAYS a group of sad little books that didn’t make it on the list – lower lips wobbling, tears in their little book eyes, and turning their backs to me! To help alleviate massed misery on my book shelf I have divided my top 10 into two – top 10 books by Australian authors – and top 10 books from the rest of the world.

Top books by International Authors:

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Love, Lies and Linguine by Hilary Spiers

The secrets of midwives by Sally Hepworth

Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil

Year One by Nora Roberts

Top books by Australian Authors:

Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss

Three Hours Late by Nicole Trope

The Secrets She keeps by Michael Robotham

The Three Miss Allens by Victoria Purman

Talk of the Town by Rachael Johns

The Golden Child by Wendy James

A Time to Run by J.M. Peace

Memories of May by Juliet Madison

Secrets between Friends by Fiona Palmer

The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns

My top books of the year: (it’s like picking a favourite child)

Australian: The Golden Child by Wendy James

International: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Statistical Bits and Pieces:

Average number of books per month: 17

April was the highest number of books read (23) and I’m not absolutely sure why as other than a 4 day break for Easter I was very busy. The lowest month for reading books was July (12), this was because I did read a lot of large (over 500 page) books which slowed me up.

Number of ‘new for me’ Authors: 121

This means that 61 % of the books I read during 2017 were by authors I have never read before. Of these, a small handful (4%) will never darken my bookshelf again.

Number of Australian Authors: 54

Roughly 27% of the books I read were by Australian Authors. This is more than last year – I put this down to being a part of an Australian reading group on Goodreads (Aussie Readers) so lots of tips of new for me Aussie authors as we chat.

Author Gender:

Male Authors: 14

Female Authors: 186

For the observant the totals of my Male and Females add up to 2 more than my total number of books – this is because 2 of my male authors co-wrote books with their wives – so each get a mention. I don’t deliberately set out to not read books by male authors – that’s just the way it turned out. – If it’s any consolation gentlemen, male authors take up 10% of my top 10 books.

Genre Break-up

Many of the books I read fall into a couple of genres – so I have only divided them into the main category they come under – so if it is a romance between a Witch and Vampire – it is a paranormal romance – paranormal would be the main genre. My favourite genres are Romance, Mystery (mostly cosy mysteries) and paranormal – of course as with most of my reading this is light and fluffy involving cute werewolves and other shape-changers, sexy vampires, funny witches and the occasional wisecracking ghost.

I’m going to overhaul my genre assigning this year – so this will change.

Historical 18 (The setting is over 50 years previous to current date)

Paranormal 36

Mystery 39

Romance 50

Women’s Fiction 24 (yes, I use this term – I like it, helps me place certain books I love, deal with it)

Science Fiction 2

Fantasy 12

Contemporary 8 (Often means I’m not sure where to place it)

Non-Fiction 2

Horror 1

Adventure 4

Dystopian 2

Out of these 12 main genre:

22 were Young Adult – YA (over 12 years) books, and

2 were classified as Children’s (under 12 years)

My Scoring System:

A – Excellent Stuff – this was a real page-turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author gives me their shopping list, I will certainly read it.

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

C – Above average – it was very readable and I really liked it but was easily able to put it down and walk away for a while.

D – Average – it was OK, a bit of a struggle to finish whatever redeemable aspects there were to this book, but they were not fleshed out enough for me to truly enjoy it.

E – Let’s not go there – suffice to say it was only finished because I needed it for a book challenge

My complete list of books read during 2017:

A – 48 books

Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss – Historical

Three Hours Late by Nicole Trope – Women’s Fiction

The Secrets She keeps by Michael Robotham – Mystery

The Three Miss Allens by Victoria Purman – Women’s Fiction

Talk of the Town by Rachael Johns – Romance

The Golden Child by Wendy James – Women’s Fiction

The Twisted Knot by J.M. Peace – Mystery

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon – Fantasy

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – Mystery

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris – Mystery

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena – Mystery

Beartown by Fredrik Backman – Contemporary

Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb – Mystery

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan – Women’s Fiction

Love, Lies and Linguine by Hilary Spiers – Women’s Fiction

Second Form at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton – YA Adventure

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn – Historical Romance

A Highlander’s Obsession by Vonnie Davis – Paranormal Romance

The secrets of midwives by Sally Hepworth – Women’s Fiction

A Time to Run by J.M. Peace – Mystery

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs – Paranormal Mystery

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – YA Fantasy

Her Vigilant SEAL by Caitlyn O’Leary – Romance

Lost Library by Kate Baray – Paranormal Romance

Sunshine Hunter by Maddie Cochere – Cosy Mystery

Water Song: A Retelling of The Frog Prince by Suzanne Weyn – Historical

Ready to Were by Robyn Peterman – Paranormal Mystery

Some Were In Time by Robyn Peterman – Paranormal Mystery

No Were to Run by Robyn Peterman – Paranormal Mystery

Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham – Mystery

The Vampire’s Accidental Wife by Kristen Painter – Paranormal Romance

Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham – Mystery

Family Secrets by Liz Byrski – Women’s Fiction

Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil – Mystery

Memories of May by Juliet Madison – Romance

The Shape of Us of Lisa Ireland – Women’s Fiction

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – Historical

Risky Business by Amy Andrews – Romance

Changes by Judith Arnold – Romance

A Yorkshire Christmas by Kate Hewitt – Romance

The Twins at St Clare’s by Enid Blyton – YA Adventure

Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis – Women’s Fiction

Secrets Between Friends by Fiona Palmer -Women’s Fiction

Dead Man Talking by Jana Deleon – Paranormal Romance

Miss Frost Cracks a Caper by Kristen Painter – Paranormal Mystery

The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns – Women’s Fiction

Year One by Nora Roberts – Fantasy Apocalyptic

The Runaway Children by Sandy Taylor – Historical

B – 62 books

Kakadu Sunset by Annie Seaton – Mystery Romance

Choral Society by Prue Leith – Women’s Fiction

Looking for Mr. Good Witch by Joyce & Jim Lavene – Paranormal Mystery

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn – Historical Mystery

The Cauldron’s Gift by Marina Finlayson – Fantasy

Daintree by Annie Seaton – Mystery Romance

Miss Frost Saves the Sandman by Kristen Painter – Paranormal Mystery

Different This Time by Tess McCallum – Romance

Alien Warrior by Sadie Carter – Romance

Autumn’s Dance by Sarah Gai – Romance

Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson – YA Science Fiction

Runaways, Vol. 1: Pride and Joy by Brian K. Vaughan – YA Fantasy

Hex on the beach by Gina LaManna – Paranormal Mystery

Who killed the Bride? By Lily Malone – Romance

In the Shadow of Satellites by Amanda Dick – Romance

Single Dad, Outback Wife by Amy Andrews – Romance

Grimsdon by Deborah Abela – YA Dystopian

Mine till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas – Historical Romance

Footprints in the Frosting by Laura Pauling – Cosy Mystery

No Ifs, Ands, or Bears About It by Celia Kyle – Paranormal Romance

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie – Cosy Mystery

A Spell of Trouble by Leighann Dobbs – Paranormal Mystery

The Saxon Bride by Ashley York – Historical Romance

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner – Historical Children’s

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – Women’s Fiction

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match by Kat Latham – Romance

Any Witch Way you can by Amanda M Lee – Paranormal Mystery

Little House on the Pararie by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Historical

The House on the Beach by Linda Barrett – Romance

Long and Short Australian Stories by Margaret Lynette Sharp – Romance

For the Love of a God by Rosanna Leo – Paranormal Romance

Murder in Murdoo by Brigid George – Cosy Mystery

Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovitch – Mystery

Sorcery by Terry Prachett – Fantasy

The Dragon finds Forever by Kristen Painter – Paranormal Romance

The Littlest Cowboy by Maggie Shayne – Romance

The Truth about Cats and Wolves by Alethea Kontis – Paranormal Romance Switching Hour by Robyn Peterman – Paranormal Mystery

Top-Notch Surgeon, Pregnant Nurse by Amy Andrews – Romance

Dragons of Wendal by Maria E. Schneider – YA Fantasy

Heaven in His Arms by Lisa Ann Verge – Historical Romance

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick – Contemporary

Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman – Cosy Mystery

Just Good Friends by Rosalind James – Romance

Mary’s Christmas Goodbye by Linda Byler – Romance

Dark, Witch & Creamy by H.Y. Hanna – Cosy Mystery

Death at the Café by Alison Golden – Cosy Mystery

Christmas Light by Jolyse Barnett – Romance

A Baby for the Alien Prince by Miranda Martin – Science Fiction Romance

Shield Maiden by Richard Denning – YA Fantasy

Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue – Romance

Oracles of Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie – YA Fantasy

Upper Fourth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton – YA Adventure

Sweet Dreams Baby by C.J. Carmichael – Romance

Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found by Emma Davies – Contemporary

Steam and Sensibility by Kirsten Weiss – YA Historical

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber – Romance

Sleighed by Harmony Raines – Paranormal Romance

A Cornish Christmas by Lily Graham – Women’s Fiction

A Very Country Christmas by Various – Romance

The North Wind by Bronwyn Parry – Romantic suspense

When Birdie Babysat Spider by Kristen Painter – Paranormal romance

C – 47 books

A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell – Non-Fiction

Amber by Elizabeth Rose – Historical Romance

The Grass is Greener by Loretta Hill – Women’s Fiction

In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park – Non-Fiction

I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk – Women’s Fiction

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens – YA Mystery

A Monsterous Place by Matthew Stott – YA Horror

Alice-Miranda in Japan by Jacqueline Harvey – Children’s Mystery

Blueburied Muffins by Lyndsey Cole – Cosy Mystery

Intensive Care by Nicki Edwards – Romance

Isla’s Oath by Cassandra Page – YA Fantasy

The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown – Women’s Fiction

Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools by Victoria Twead – Non-Fiction

Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed by Anna Campbell – Historical Romance

Her Accidental Husband by Ashlee Mallory – Romance

Changeling by Philippa Gregory – Paranormal Historical

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer – Non-Fiction

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny – Mystery

Girl with Flying Weapons by Aya Ling – YA Historical

A Woman Transported by Sharon Robards – Historical

Murder Goes to Church by C.D. Jarmola – Mystery

Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lövestam – Contemporary YAt

The Unbroken Line of the Moon by Johanne Hildebrandt – Historical

A New York Christmas by Anne Perry – Historical Mystery

Bound To Die by Mak K Han – Mystery

The Outback Doctor’s Surprise Bride by Amy Andrews – Romance

Were me out by Robyn Peterman – Paranormal Mystery

Found by Brenda L. Harper – YA Dystopian

Christmas Spirit by Morgana Best – Paranormal Mystery

A sudden Crush by Camilla Isley – Romance

Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton – Paranormal Mystery

Tiger Men by Judy Nunn – Historical

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – Women’s Fiction

How to find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry – Women’s Fiction

Captured by the Alien Savage by Marina Maddix – Romance

Haley’s Hangdog Holiday by Tamie Dearen – Romance

Summer Term at St Clare’s by Enid Blyton – YA Adventure

A Knight to Remember by Cynthia Luhrs – Historical Romance

The Turnaround Treasure Shop by Jennie Jones – Romance

Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory – Historical

Jogging is bad for Your Health by Cynthia Hickey – Cosy Mystery

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – Paranormal

Holding by Graham Norton – Mystery

Two steps forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist – Contemporary

A Demon and His Witch by Eve Langlais – Paranormal Romance

All Roar and No Bite by Celia Kyle – Paranormal Romance

Ain’t He Precious? by Juliette Poe – Romance

D – 18 books

Accidental Leigh by Melanie James – Paranormal Mystery

25 Stories of Life and Love in Australia by Margaret L Sharp – Romance

Tell a Thousand Lies by Rasana Atreya – Women’s Fiction

Force of Temptation by Suzanne Wright – Paranormal Romance

Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes – Women’s Fiction

Captive Bride by Johanna Lyndsey – Historical Romance

The Cat who went bump in the night by Angela Pepper – Horror

Wilderness Trail of Love by Dorothy Wiley – Historical Romance

The Blogger and the Hunk by Jane Matisse – Romance

Friends, Family & Other Strangers from Downunder by Liza Perrat – Contemporary

The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe – Women’s Fiction

To Catch a Bad Guy by Marie Astor – Mystery

Wimmera by Mark Brandi – Mystery

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith – Romance

Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead by Christiana Miller – Paranormal Mystery

Scotland by Starlight by Nancy Volker – Romance

Death of a ghost by M.C. Beaton – Cosy Mystery

Jake & The Gingerbread Wars by E.G. Foley – Children’s Fantasy

E – 23 books

The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury – Non-Fiction

Booty Camp Dating Service by Debra Anastasia – Contemporary

The Corpse with the Silver Tongue by Cathy Ace – Cosy Mystery

Desperate Housedogs by Sparkle Abbey – Cosy Mystery

Naughty Boss by Whitney G. – Romance

Jasmine moon murder by Laura Childs – Cosy Mystery

The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley – Historical

Mother of All by Heather Marie Adkins – Paranormal Mystery

The Onesies: Fall by Janet Brown – Women’s Fiction

Getting Old Is Murder by Rita Lakin – Cosy Mystery

Siren Call by Kimberly Llewellyn – Paranormal Mystery

Australia Day by Melanie Cheng – Contemporary

Queen of America by T.J. Slee – Historical

Still Life with Murder by P.B. Ryan – Historical Mystery

Blessed are the cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch – Romance

Destination Dachshund by Lisa Fleetwood – Non-Fiction

Joy Cometh with the mourning by Dave Freer – Cosy Mystery

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka – Mystery

Other People’s Baggage by Lynn Kendel et al – Cosy Mystery

Frey by Melissa Wright – YA Fantasy

Dance of the Winnebagos by Ann Charles – Cosy Mystery

Witch Glitch by Robyn Peterman – Paranormal Romance

The North Pole Challenge by Kevin George – YA Fantasy

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