Thursday, December 11, 2014

Challenges Completed!

I made it!  I took up three reading challenges this year, and have completed them all with a little time to spare.

Goodreads Challenge - I set a targe of 50 books this year, and am currently at 59 completed, so that's well and truly achieved.  And of course will be added to before 31 December.

Australian Women Writers Challenge - 6 books to read, and 12 completed, with the chance of 1 or 2 more before 1 January.

Eclectic Reader Challenge - completed with the anthology Epic:  Legends of Fantasy

Bring on 2015, I'll definitely do these again.

Many thanks to Shelleyrae for hosting the Eclectic Reader this year, and I see there is a new challenge for 2015.  Time to start planning!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Goodreads Challenge

I have just noticed that I've already completed my challenge at Goodreads.  I only challenged myself to read 50 books, which is a bit of a slack year for me, but I've done it already so I'm pleased with that.  I really can't remember why I took it down a bit this year; I think I've aimed for 55 previously and will probably go back to that next year.

I'm not going to list them all, but can report that I have enjoyed most of them very much.  There have been a couple of duds and one or two didn't make it to Read status, in fact they have been removed altogether because I just didn't want them anywhere near my lists.

And by the way, just because I've reached my target that doesn't mean I'll stop reading for the year. No, that just wouldn't be right.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Nearly there!

I've finished Northanger Abbery, by Jane Austen, and enjoyed it immensely. 

So now there is only one book to go to complete the Electic Reader challenge, and I'm about half-way through it.  It's the Anthology one and I've been reading Epic:  Legends of Fantasy for quite a while now, in between other books. 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


This book by Len Deighton is set in London, 1941, after the German victory.  Churchill is dead, the king is imprisoned in the Tower, the queen and princesses are in New Zealand.  There is a murder and Superintendent Douglas Archer investigates.  Of course, it turns out to be more than a simple murder (if there is really any such thing in fiction) and soon Archer finds himself dealing with the German hierarchy and the Resistance.  All in all, it was an interesting read.

I have two more to read for the Eclectic Reader challenge, am just about to start Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, and haven't yet finished the anthology Epic: Legends of Fantasy.  I'm not really a fan of short stories and some of these are more novellas, but no doubt I will get there.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Nearly There!

I have finished Bill Bryson's Down Under, which I really enjoyed.  My very short review on Goodreads is here:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Not a good blogger!

I wondered about the wisdom of trying to keep track of my reading here, and with good reason as it turns out.  All my reading is on Goodreads, and I think I'll keep it there.  I will, however, update the Challenge pages.

I have completed the Australian Women Writers Challenge, and read a few extra so far.  I'll definitely do that again next year as I have enjoyed finding some new authors.

The Eclectic Reading Challenge is continuing, with Alternate History, Gothic, Anthology and Travel (Non-fiction) yet to be completed.  I have plans for all of them, so that can only be a good thing.

Alternate History (SS-GB by Len Deighton),
Gothic (Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen - strange as it seems, I have never read this)
Anthology (Epic: Legends of Fantasy - I have been reading this for ages now and WILL finish it!
Travel - Non Fiction (Down Under, by Bill Bryson)

So there is my plan, and there will be more books as well.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The House of Memories, Monica McInerney

This is really different to Monica McInerney's usual offerings.  It's the very poignant story of Ella O'Hanlon, whose son has been killed in a tragic accident.  Ella runs away to London, trying to escape her grief only to find that's impossible.

The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith

I wonder if I would have come across this one if not for the revelation of the true identity of the author, who turned out to be J K Rowling of Harry Potter fame.  I liked it very much, and now am waiting for the next in the series - I'm assuming there will be a part 2 because it is identified as Cormoran Strike #1.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

I'd had this one on the Kindle for a while, but put off reading it because of all the hype surrounding the series.  I tend to be a bit dubious about that, but its turn came up, and I'm very glad it did.  I really liked the story of Katniss and the Hunger Games was well done.  Catching Fire (part 2) is now on the TBR list.

Even the Wicked, Lawrence Block

Another favourite series with Matthew Scudder as the protagonist.  Very satisfying read.

The Black Ice, Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly's series of Harry Bosch books is one of my great favourites, which I started re-reading a while ago, and still like them.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

One Shot, by Lee Childs

This is the ninth Jack Reacher book, and is up to Lee Childs' usual standards.  I enjoyed it as I have done all of his books up to now, and expect to carry on the same.  You could almost describe them as ripping yarns, in a way.

Burial Rites, Hannah Kent

I finished this one about a week ago, but haven't caught up here since then.

It is a fascinating book, the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland.  It is interesting not only because of her story, but for the glimpses of life in Iceland in the late 1820s, which is so far removed from my own experience that I can't really begin to imagine what it must have been like.

Agnes has been convicted of murdering two men, and condemned to death by beheading.  Until sentence is carried out, she is sent to live with the family of District Officer Jon Jonsson on their farm, and the book tells of their lives until her sentence is carried out.

I liked this book very much.  

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Enemy - Lee Child

This book is set during Reacher's MP days, when he was a member of the elite MP group who could investigate anybody at all in the military.  And that's just what he did in this one, starting with the mysterious death of a general from the armoured corps.

I enjoy the Reacher books, and this one was right up to par.  I like the reasoning and the way the story unfolds, even though sometimes I want to yell 'Don't do it!' because it's going to lead to all sorts of complications.  However, Reacher sorts it all out.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Glenrowan, by Ian W Shaw, tells of the siege at Glenrowan, the final act in the tale of the KellyGang.

I found this book very interesting. I have read quite a bit about Ned Kelly over the years, and found this added a lot to my knowledge. The book goes into great detail about the siege at Glenrowan, and although there is a lot of detail it is never overwhelming. It is well-paced, and keeps track of quite a large cast of characters very clearly.

Ian Shaw has researched extensively, and lets us observe the action over the period of the siege, using the words of those who were there to make it live for the reader.  He presents the story in an unbiased way, which is quite a change from much of the Kelly literature.

Eclectic Reader Challenge, True Crime category

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Eclectic Reader Challenge

This challenge is designed to get people out of their normal comfort zones in reading.  My own comfort zones are crime fiction and fantasy, with some general fiction and the occasional non-fiction thrown in, so I'm looking forward to stretching my wings a little.

Here are this year's categories:

  1. Award Winning
  2. True Crime (Non Fiction)
  3. Romantic Comedy
  4. Alternate History Fiction
  5. Graphic Novel
  6. Cosy Mystery Fiction
  7. Gothic Fiction
  8. War/Military Fiction
  9. Anthology
  10. Medical Thriller Fiction
  11. Travel (Non Fiction)
  12. Published in 2014
I have a bit of a plan for most of them, but still have no real idea for the Alternate History Fiction, the Grpahic Novel and the Anthology.

I'll make a separate post to update my progress as I go along.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman

Winner of three ABIA awards for Best Literary Novel, Best Newcomer and Book of the Year
Winner of two Indie Awards for Best Debut and Book of the Year

The Blurb

This is a story of right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same.

1926. Tom Sherbourne is a young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia. The only inhabitants of Janus Rock, he and his wife Isabel live a quiet life, cocooned from the rest of the world. One April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant - and the path of the couple's lives hits an unthinkable crossroads. Only years later do they discover the devastating consequences of the decision they make that day - as the baby's real story unfolds ...

My Review

I really loved this book, which is about the ethical dilemma this young couple face when the boat washes ashore with a dead man and a baby.  What should they do?  On the face of it, the answer is obvious - report the matter to the appropriate authorities and let them take over.  However, things are not so simple.  Isabel desperately wants a child, and Tom loves her very much.  What they do next has consequences that affect other people as well as themselves.  The book tells us what happens, not only to Tom and Isabel but also to others involved in the life of the little baby.

This is a story of people, and how a person's actions can carry through for many years.  As a study of the moral dilemma, I found it fascinating.  As I read about the other side of the coin, it became even more so.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about characters rather than a fast-moving action plot - it's definitely not that - but a most enjoyable read.

Monday, February 03, 2014

The Black Box

I finished The Black Box, by Michael Connelly.  His series about Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch is one of my favourite crime series, and the lastest book has not let me down at all.

Harry is a detective in Los Angeles, now working in the unsolved cases unit.  In 1992 he was working during the riots, and was called to the site of the death of a woman who had been shot in an alley.  Now, in 2012, Harry has the chance to solve the crime at last.  There is a personal backstory too, with Harry's daughter and his relationship with his new lady making progress.

I always these books very satisfying, and I like Harry.  He's a good character, and very well drawn by Michael Connelly.  The books are definitely best read in order, and some intersect with Mickey Haller, who turns out to be Harry's half brother.

Top marks.

And now for a complete change of pace, I have started The Light Between Oceans, by M L Stedman.  I'm about a quarter way through, and really liking this story.  More when I'm finished.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Second Challenge

I have also entered the Eclectic Reader Challenge.  This is designed to take readers out of their comfort zones, the requirement being to read a book from 12 different categories:

  1. Award Winning
  2. True Crime (Non Fiction)
  3. Romantic Comedy
  4. Alternate History Fiction
  5. Graphic Novel
  6. Cosy Mystery Fiction
  7. Gothic Fiction
  8. War/Military Fiction
  9. Anthology
  10. Medical Thriller Fiction
  11. Travel (Non Fiction)
  12. Published in 2014
Several of these will definitely be challenging for me, but no doubt I'll make my way through. I'll be searching for some ideas to get started.

It's a start

My first book for the Australian Women Writers challenge is The Railwayman's Wife, by Ashley Hay.

The blurb:

In a small town on the land's edge, in the strange space at a war's end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story.

In Thirroul, in 1948, people chase their dreams through the books in the railway's library. Anikka Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act. Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. Frank Draper is trapped by the guilt of those his treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle with the same question: how now to be alive.

 I really enjoyed this book, it's all about characters and how their lives are affected by an accident.  Quite often when I finish a book I'm ready to move on to the next one quickly, but find I want to live with these people a bit longer.

Reading Challenges

A couple of weeks ago I signed up to the Australian Women Writers Challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to encourage the reading of books by Australian women authors, and I decided to create a blog to keep track of my reading. I'm also using Good reads, so we'll see how it goes.
I found the Eclectic Reading Challenge too,but still undecided about that one. 

 AWW Badge 2014