January 2023 Monthly Round-up and Reading Challenges

Hello, I’m going to attempt to check in every month even if I’m the only person who reads the post. This year is off to a smashing start in the reading department.

I have chosen to keep my challenges to ones I know I can achieve, well, I hope so anyway.


As usual, I am doing the Goodreads Reader Challenge and I am already charging ahead so I will probably need to increase my goal by June.

I have already read some really great books and I think it’s my highest 4.5- star or 5-star reads ever in a month.

9/34 of these were audiobooks.


I’m also going to attempt the Aussie Readers A-Z Title Challenge on Goodreads and have picked all my books (subject to change) except for my Q book, so I’m open to suggestions for a book to read for Q. I’ve managed to read 6/26 so far this year.


I am going to attempt to read a minimum of 12 of my Backlist Review Books #Backlistreads2023, so far I have read two, but I’ve only written the post for one of them the second will be up soon.

All About Ella by Meredith Appleyard


I’m also going to do the #HQReadingChallenge as it’s only got 12 boxes to mark off. You’ll find this on Instagram @harlequinaus

I have marked off

YA book – 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

A book published this year – The Husband Hoax by Saxon James

An Australian author – Penelope Janu

Title begins with the first letter of your name – Can’t Say Goodbye by Eden Finley

Fantasy or sci-fi – January Blues by Jax Stuart

So, as you can see I’m nearly halfway there with this one, my hardest will be A genre I’ve never read before because I think I’ve read most genres so I’ll have to do some investigating.


And last but not least I will try, for at least the third time to do the 2023 Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Book’d Out #ReadNonFicChal.

Every year I sign up to do the Nonfiction Nipper but only manage to read 2/3 which is pretty ridiculous going. So, this year I will aim to read all 3 books.

Choose a goal:

Nonfiction Nipper: Read & review 3 books, from any 3 listed categories

Nonfiction Nibbler: Read & review 6 books, from any 6 listed categories

Nonfiction Nosher: Read & review 12 books, one for each category

Nonfiction Grazer: Read & review any nonfiction book. Set your own goal

Categories:

History
Memoir/Biography
Crime & Punishment
Science
Health
Travel
Food
Social Media
Sport
Relationships
The Arts
Published in 2023


On the personal front, I don’t have much going on, I started back at my art lessons after just over 3 months break and managed to finish the painting I started last year. So that feels good to be creating again and I’m ready to start a new painting next week.

Well, that’s me for this month I will check in again at the end of February, happy reading.

My Reading Year in Review: Top Reads & Challenge Updates, Life in General & a Giveaway

2022 has been a hell of a year and not just for me, I know many people have found this year to be a test in getting by, I’m lucky I have had my reading to keep me somewhat sane in a trial of a year.


The Life Stuff

The year started with me losing my furbaby Cricket quite suddenly which was heartbreaking and the worst start to the year.

I then adopted a rescue dog, Suki, from the Wheatbelt pound, she has mostly kept me sane except for when she jumped the fence and went missing in the bush for 9 extremely long days (to read about this check out my post). She has come a long way since she first came to live with me, she was terrified of everything, but is getting past a lot of her fears and has grown into a total beach baby.

Life has been a bit of a battle this year, hopefully, a new or second job is on the horizon in 2023 which will help with the increased mortgage rates I know many of us are struggling with. My cousin passed away in October, this has been heartbreaking for my small family and I am so glad I got to spend some of his last day with him before he passed and that I was with him when he left us. Grief is going to be hanging around for a while.


The Book Stuff

This year I set myself the goal to read/listen to 150 books, I was pretty certain I would surpass this, but to err on the side of caution I thought this was a good number. I well surpassed 150 making this my biggest year of reading yet.

87 of these books were by Australian Women Authors and my most read genre was MM Romance which is different from previous years where historical fiction played a big part, who knows what 2023 will bring.


Audiobooks were a big part of my year with me listening to 64 audiobooks which is also a record for me, I have one playing whenever I’m driving, doing housework, walking on the beach and just chilling out when I can’t stop listening.

My top audiobooks were The Brink by Holden Sheppard, Wild Dogs by Michael Trant, Code Blue by N.R Walker and Nova Praetorian by N.R Walker.


My 5 Star reads are below and are varied in genre so be aware if checking them out, some won’t be for everyone.


My favourite reads of the year, now this is a tricky one and so hard to pick one or two. These are in no particular order and I’ve added a link to my review if I have written one, one or two may still be pending so I will link them to the Goodreads page.

Wildflower by Monique Mulligan

The Return (Return to Nam #5) by Carole Brungar The whole Return to Nam series is not to be missed.

Broken Things (Lost & Found #4) by Barbara Elsborg

Shah Mat (Shattered Pawns #4) by Jennifer Cody The whole Shattered Pawns series is brilliant but you need to read The Diviner’s Game series first (also brilliant)

The Brink by Holden Sheppard

Wild Dogs by Michael Trant

12 Weeks of June by Rania Battany

The Hidden Species Series & Here be Dragons Series by Louisa Masters

The Opal Miner’s Daughter by Fiona McArthur

East of Alice by Annie Seaton

As the Tallgrass Grows (Wild Ones #4) by Rachel Ember The whole Wild Ones series is great

I could easily keep going but I won’t lol, I’ve linked the picture at the top of the page to my reading stats page on Goodreads if you want to check out any of the books I read in 2022.


Challenge Update and I have to say I got off track this year again with my challenges other than my Goodreads one, so unfortunately I didn’t get all of the boxes ticked on the two I was hoping to complete. I last did a Check-in post way back in August (you can see how far I got here) instead of my planned monthly post, maybe next year will be the year I follow through on a challenge.


2023 Reading Hopes

I haven’t had a look at the challenges going around for next year yet, so if you have one you think I should look at doing please let me know about it. I’ll set my Goodreads Challenge, probably for 200 books, I’ll see when it comes time to set it up. I’ve already started a few Advanced Reader copies of books coming in the new year, so look out for them soon. I will try and do a check-in post regularly in 2023 even if it’s just to keep track of things for myself. I’m also planning on spending as much of my free time this summer at the beach swimming and reading.


Giveaway

To say thank you I’m giving away a copy either digital or paperback (sorry Australian addresses only for the physical copy) of either The Nurses’ War by Victoria Purman or Dressed by Iris by Mary-Anne O’Connor. Both of these are historical fiction novels.

Leave a comment telling me your favourite read/s for 2022 and if there’s a book you’re looking forward to in 2023 I’d love to hear about it.

Follow me on either here on my blog, Instagram or Facebook

One entry for each place you follow me so let me know so I can confirm and put your name in the running.


Until next time happy reading and thanks for your support through 2022, Happy New Year.

Check-in Post & Challenge Update

Wow, where has this year gone, I started off really well checking in at the end of every month, but somehow I haven’t managed a Check-in post since May. This year seems to be flying by, I don’t feel I’ve accomplished much other than to realise I’m not really happy in my job, so am on the lookout for something different and definitely something more reliable, relying on a casual paycheque just isn’t working.

I have managed to keep up with my art lessons, the majority of my paintings this year have been of my furbaby Cricket, if you remember she passed away in January and this has been my way of healing and getting through my grief.

Now I need to save money to get them framed.


I managed to cross a couple of books off of my challenges.

I reached my goal of 150 books on my Goodreads Challenge which was exciting, I wonder how many I’ll read by the end of the year.

You can check out all the books I’ve read here




I crossed off – A retelling of a classic – with Bennett, Pride Before the Fall by Anyta Sunday, an MM romance retelling of Jane Austin’s classic. I really enjoyed this retelling, the author has 6 books in the Love, Austin series.


I crossed off two from this challenge – An Adventure – with the debut novel Gone to Ground by Bronwyn Hall, an action/romance that I was hooked on from the start. And +450 pages – with A Caravan Like a Canary by Sasha Wasley, which I both read and listened to together. A contemporary fiction read about family, secrets and finding yourself on a road trip.


To cross the rest off on the two challenges I’m going to have to be selective about my book choices and not hope for the best, which is how I’ve been playing it so far. Any suggestions you have for my missing books, please let me know in the comments.

Until next month, happy reading.

Check-in Post and Challenge Update

So, I’m a bit late to post this month, everything fell by the wayside on the 26th of March when my furbaby Suki, who you were all introduced to in February went missing. (If you want to skip to the book part scroll down) .I came home from work to find she’d jumped the fence and when she couldn’t get back in the must’ve panicked and run. My poor girl was lost in the bush for 9 days, and if you know the Australian bush, then you’ll know this is a scary concept. Below is a clip of where we were looking for her.

I engaged a service called K9 Welfare Mission which is run by volunteers to help people get their dogs back who are lost in the bush, the lady I worked with was amazing. From advice to support whenever I needed it, she was there. And though her advice went against what I wanted to do and what others were telling me to do, I chose to listen to her, she was after all the expert. I’m so glad I did because I honestly don’t think I’d have gotten Suki back if I hadn’t done everything she asked of me. This involved many cold nights sitting in the bush cooking sausages, setting up food and scent stations and laying my scent trail to hopefully lead her home.

She ran a fair way from home, at least 4.5km south from home and another 4.5 km north, there were 6 days between sightings and I had just about lost hope.

The final night; a brief story: Last night I went out and laid my scent again, I set up the food station with a tiny bit of food. Then I walked from my house with hot sausages, to where I’d left a cushion the week before that she’d found and moved, I sat in the dark for an hour, she came down the hill at one point, stopped when I said hey Suki you coming home, then ran off, but not a full-on run. I sat for another 45 minutes then left a sausage on the pillow, I walked home with the rest of the sausages, where I heated them up at the front of my carport and put the container on the roof of my car. She followed my scents home, 💓💓💓 she’s so clever.

I couldn’t believe it, I was sleeping and heard her cry outside the window. I opened the back door, said hey baby and she ran through the gate and into the house, so excited to see me.

She was so happy to see me, she was covered in ticks, had lost weight and was so tired and I couldn’t stop crying. Happy tears obviously. She got some love, and a bit of food and promptly fell asleep on the couch she’s still sleeping. We’ll go to the vet later after some tick medication.

I couldn’t have done it without them, and without the community behind me.


So, now to the books, I’m a bit behind in some of my reviews, as you can imagine, reading was not my priority, even if my brain had allowed me to concentrate. But I did read a good amount of books up until Suki had her 9 day misadventure. I read 18 books and listened to 2 audiobooks.

This month I didn’t cross anything off of my challenges other than my Goodreads challenge which I am now on 64/150 books for the year. I don’t do TikTok and one of the things to cross off is a book trading on #booktok, so if anyone has a suggestion from there please let me know.

Here’s hoping April is full of reading and no dramas.

Check-in Post & Challenge Update

For the most part, February was a much better month than January, Suki is settling in well, she decided to help (or hinder) me make my bed the other day, it took 20 minutes to get all the corners of the fitted sheet attached to the mattress and the blanket, well apparently that was a no!

In not so good news I managed to fracture my ankle on a hike, so I’m in a fair bit of pain and waiting for an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist, you’ve got to love the public system.


I managed to read 12 books and 1 audiobook, I have nearly finished an 18-hour audiobook but that will go in next month’s check-in. So that is 4 books better than January, I’m happy with that.

I managed to cross a couple of items off the challenges:

The Sunday Bookclub Challenge – A book with 5 or more words in the title – The Trouble With Trying To Date A Murderer by Jennifer Cody (I loved this book). A book with nature on the cover – Penninsula Promises by Heather Reyburn.

The Dymocks Reading ChallengeIllustrated Cover – Tidal Wave by Beth Prentice. Start of a series – (I’ve got three to choose from in this category) Wicked Heat by Ella Frank. Re-read a favourite – Capture by Jennifer Cody. Finished in a day – Restored Ruins by G.R Lyons.

My Goodreads challenge is at 21/150.

What I’m reading now – The Felicity Theory by Davina Stone, and one of my most anticipated reads, Wildflower by Monique Mulligan. I’ve got some good books on my list to read after I finish these two.

Until next time happy reading.

Check in post & Challenge update.

So January hasn’t been a good month for many reasons, the biggest being I had to send my beautiful furbaby Cricket over the Rainbow Bridge, it was unexpected which made it even worse and has made it a tough start to the year emotionally.

It has also meant my mind has struggled to read much, so I only managed to read 8 books this month.

I managed to cross a couple of items off the challenges:

The Sunday Bookclub challengeA YA novel – Fish Out of Water by Kate Hendrick. A book by an Australian author – I read three of these – Roommate Arrangement by Saxon James, Clouds on the Horizon by Penelope Janu and Fish Out of Water by Kate Hendrick.

The Dymocks Reading ChallengeA Love Story – All the books except A Fish Out of Water. Australian Author – I read three of these – Roommate Arrangement by Saxon James, Clouds on the Horizon by Penelope Janu and Fish Out of Water by Kate Hendrick. Released this year – All 8 were released this year. Feel-good – His Boy to Ride by Jamie Luther was probably my most feel-good read.

In happier news, I adopted a beautiful 2-year-old Mastiff cross girl from the pound, she’s very timid and scared of everything, but getting a bit braver each day. My house felt so lonely without my beautiful Cricket and although I miss her every day and have at least one cry a day, my heart is happier having Suki to come home to. She has definitely made herself at home.

I’m reading a few really great books at the moment, I’ve nearly finished the thrilling new release Wild Dogs by Michael Trant, so look out for that review in the next few days. I’m reading/listening to one for my book club that I’m not really getting into, which is a shame because it had some great reviews, but we can’t all like the same things.

Until next time happy reading.

Check-in posts and Challenges

To try and hold myself more accountable and share some of the books I read that I don’t blog about, I plan on doing an end of month post each month listing the books I’ve read and links to my Goodreads reviews for the ones I haven’t blogged about.

I’m going to try to do a couple of challenges, but I’m not going to stress myself out about it if I don’t get them all crossed off. Reading is supposed to be fun, so I’m really just going to use some of the prompts on each challenge to pick some of my reads. Some of these overlap, so yay, I can cross them off more than one challenge.

I also plan to do the Nonfiction reader challenge hosted by Book’d Out. I’m aiming for other Nonfiction Nipper which means I have to read 3 books (in total) from the Categories:

  1. Social History
  2. Popular Science
  3. Language
  4. Medical Memoir
  5. Climate/Weather
  6. Celebrity
  7. Reference
  8. Geography
  9. Linked to a podcast
  10. Wild Animals
  11. Economics
  12. Published in 2022

I have several books that have been languishing on my shelves waiting to be read (well, more than several).

As I do every year I have set a goal of 150 on Goodreads, Last year I read well over that and I’m hoping to do the same this year. You can follow my challenge here.

So, I’ll keep you up to date on how I’m going.

Australian Women Writers Challenge and Goodreads Challenge Update 2020

I actually completed both of these challenges, unfortunately I didn’t complete any of the other challenges I set myself, but I think I may have overestimated my ability to multitask, especially with everything that went on this year.

FB_IMG_1577105032228I set myself the goal to read and review 50 books by Australian Women Writers and I have managed to read 147 books according to Goodreads, and reviewed and linked 79 of these on the AWW data base. There are a lot that didn’t make it to my blog, so be sure to check out my AWW 2020 Goodreads reviews to see what else I read.

 

 

I originally set myself the goal or reading 100 books for the Goodreads Challenge, at some point, surprisingly, I passed 100 and changed it to 160 which I have also, even more surprisingly, passed and reached 220 books. I say surprisingly, because I had a couple of major reading slumps throughout the year, so I certainly didn’t expect to read anywhere near 200. For the full list of all my reads for 2020 go here.

Anyway, it was a year of some fabulous books and if you want to check them all out you can here.

2020

 

20201

 

AWW 2021Next year is going to be another great year of reads and a much better year to live in. I’ve once again set my goal to read and review 50 books by Australian Women Writers, to join the AWW challenge go here.

I’ll set the goal of 150 books on Goodreads and see how I go.

 

 

The only other challenges I’m hoping to do are the:

nonfiction readers challenge 20212021 Nonfiction reader challenge hosted by Shellyrae @Book’d Out, I’m hoping to read 3 non fiction books this year in the Nonfiction Nipper category.

 

 

And I’ll attempt the A-Z reader challenge on the Aussie Reader group on GR.

I hope you all read some great books during 2020 and you met any challenges you set yourself. Happy reading in 2021, I hope to see you here then.

GR Aussie Book Bingo Challenge – Post #2

One of my challenges for 2020 was the GR Aussie Book Bingo. Every fortnight on a Wednesday I will aim to post which square I’m crossing off of the GR Aussie Book Bingo card.

There are 4 levels to the challenge:

  • Shelf: (10 books – 2 rows)
  • Bookcase (15 books – 3 rows)
  • Library (20 books – 4 rows)
  • To Infinity and Beyond ( 25 books – 5 rows)

Obviously, I’m aiming towards infinity.

I got a little behind in my posting for this one, so I’ll cross off three squares today.

Screenshot_20200217_172512

 

I’m crossing off the Non-fiction square with Bowraville by Dan Box a true crime/memoir, the 400+ pages square with The Pearl Theif by Fiona McIntosh, which has a huge 500 pages and Set in Another Country with Bound by Silence by Suzanne Cass which is set in Hawaii.

I will endeavor to post on time next time, which should be in two Wednesday’s time.

Screenshot_20200130_091042 IMG_20200206_190147Bound by Silence

A-Z Author Challenge – Update

A-Z

I’ve now crossed off 4 letters from the A-Z Authors Challenge, M, Q, W, X, I’m going slowly, but I am 1 book behind, I may have to make changes to the books I’ve put down, but for now I’ll leave it as it is.

A – Alissa Callen – The Boundary Fence

B – Anna Bradley – To Wed a Wild Scot

C – T.M Clark – Cry of the Firebird

D – Pip Drysdale – The Strangers We Know

E – Ella Carey – Beyond the Horizon

F – Fiona Lowe – Just an Ordinary Family

G – Kathryn Gauci – Conspiracy of Lies

H –  Susan Hoddy – Security

I – Sue Ingleton – Making Trouble

J- Rachael Johns – Just One Wish

K – kim Kelly – Walking

L – Julian Leatherdale – The Opal Dragonfly

M- Katie McGarry – Echoes Between Us

N- Joanna Nell – The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker

O – Sunni Overend –

P – P.J Tracy – Ice Cold Heart

Q – Kate Quinn – The Alice Network

R – Kelly Rimmer –  The Things We Cannot Say

S – Sasha Wasley – Love Song

T – Kendall Talbot – Out of Luck

U – Jacquie Underdown – Meet Me in the Middle

V – Vanessa Diffenbaugh – The Language of Flowers

W – Carol Wyer – The Blossom Twins

X – Alix E Harrow – The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Y

Z – Tiffany Reisz – The Rose