Wednesday 19 December 2018

Reading Challenges 2018 - Wrap-Up

Blogging just hasn't been a priority for me this year. I haven't had books to review, and really I haven't felt like posting.

So for now this will be my last post - until I decide the direction I want this blog to take in the future, or if I even want it to continue.

I managed to get to 100 books (there's still one that doesn't show up on my Goodreads total), and I'm still reading.

As for the Bethany House Challenge, that is finished too!
These are the ones I had already done:
  • With a car on the cover - A New Name by Grace Livingston Hill
  • Whose protagonist has a fascinating career - True Honor by Dee Henderson
  • Set in a place you've visited - Life's Adventures by Arthur Barton (this is the one that doesn't appear on Goodreads) - There is a photo in the book of the author in almost exactly the same spot as a photo of me was taken!
  • Inspired by a literary classic - Possibilities by Debra White Smith (based on Persuasion by Jane Austen)
  • With a child as a narrator - Once Upon a Summer by Janette Oke
  • Written by an author with your initials - A Girl to Love by Betty Neels (I had a struggle finding a book by an author with my initials and even more trouble finding one that I was actually willing to read. There was another book I initially tried by couldn't even finish the 1st chapter because of the swearing.)
  • Containing letters or diary entries - True Valor by Dee Henderson
  • A librarian recommends to you - From Desk to Dugout by Robyn Youl & Keith Hallett
  • That shares a title with a song - Sweet Home Alabama by Paige Winship Dooly, Pamela Griffin, Lisa Harris & Pamela Kaye Tracy

And these are the final three:
  • That takes place in the month you are reading it - The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh
  • Whose  protagonist is a different race/ethnicity than you - A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow
  • Without words (picture-only kids' book) - I Can't Sleep by Philippe Duspasquier
And so that is that.
Happy reading!

Saturday 21 April 2018

Book Review - Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury

I picked this up for 20 cents when my local library was deleting it from their collection recently and I'm so glad I did. 

This is such a powerful story. 

It made me cry and as I got closer to the end I just couldn't put it down until I was finished. 

It covers topics of autism, bullying, family relationships, friendships and more. 

It's not a romantic love story, but rather looking at the love shown by friends and members of families to each other. It's also about reconnecting.

Autism can be such a tough topic to talk about, particularly when you talk about what might have caused it, how a diagnosis affects family and friends, and the demands of the ongoing care of an autistic child. This book looks at all of these elements in a variety of ways and perspectives.

(This review was not sponsored. I just wanted to share the book.)

Friday 6 April 2018

Reading Challenges 2018 - Update 1

Hi everyone!
By now you're probably wondering what's happened to me and where I am in the progress on my reading challenges.

Well, by the end of January I had started a new full time job (YAY!! - it's been something I'd wanted for a while)! So I haven't had as much time for reading. I've also read more non-fiction books this year, and they take me longer to read.

For this reason, I have dropped my Goodreads goal to 100 books for the year. My current total says 25, but I have actually read 2 more than that - one that I mentioned in my last post that doesn't appear on Goodreads and another that I finished this morning, but haven't added to my Goodreads total.

As for the Bethany House Challenge, I'm actually doing extremely well, with 3/4 of the books read for the challenge.

So here's what I've read for each one:

  • With a car on the cover - A New Name by Grace Livingston Hill
  • Whose protagonist has a fascinating career - True Honor by Dee Henderson
  • Set in a place you've visited - Life's Adventures by Arthur Barton (this is the one that doesn't appear on Goodreads) - There is a photo in the book of the author in almost exactly the same spot as a photo of me was taken!
  • Inspired by a literary classic - Possibilities by Debra White Smith (based on Persuasion by Jane Austen)
  • With a child as a narrator - Once Upon a Summer by Janette Oke
  • Written by an author with your initials - A Girl to Love by Betty Neels (I had a struggle finding a book by an author with my initials and even more trouble finding one that I was actually willing to read. There was another book I initially tried by couldn't even finish the 1st chapter because of the swearing.)
  • Containing letters or diary entries - True Valor by Dee Henderson
  • A librarian recommends to you - From Desk to Dugout by Robyn Youl & Keith Hallett
  • That shares a title with a song - Sweet Home Alabama by Paige Winship Dooly, Pamela Griffin, Lisa Harris & Pamela Kaye Tracy

Friday 12 January 2018

Book News

Hi everyone! Welcome to 2018.
Blogging took a back burner last year, partly because there weren't as many books to review, partly because I wasn't doing any reading challenges and partly because my heart just wasn't in it.

At this stage, there won't be any book reviews this year because the Australian Christian Reader's Blog Alliance (ACRBA) will not be continuing for a variety of reasons. Plus although I am still interested in reviewing books, the only options are to get e-books and I just don't read e-books. I have some sitting on my computer waiting to be read, but I really don't like reading on a screen, and you can't curl up in bed with a computer (I don't have a tablet, smart phone or e-reader).

Good news, however, I am once again doing a reading challenge this year.

In 2017 I did the Goodreads Challenge and ended up smashing my goal. I aimed for 120 books and made that by October, ending up reading 150 books for the year! (This was my biggest reading year since 2010.)

For 2018 I am again aiming for 120 books in the Goodreads Challenge. You'll be able to see a button for it on my side bar, but there is actually one more book that I have read, but I can't put it on the Goodreads total because the book can't be found.

The Goodreads Challenge will not be the only challenge that I am doing this year. I'm joining the Bethany House 2018 Reading Challenge!

It will be fun to see what I find for this challenge and I may have read something this year already!
The only rule is that a book can only be used for one category!

Would you like to join in?
Do you have any ideas for books that might work for any of these categories?

Sunday 31 December 2017

New Years Eve

If there was one place I could be this New Year's Eve, I wish it was my Grandpa's farm in far east Gippsland. (Sadly, this cannot be because the farm was sold just before Grandpa passed away.)

The only music would be the sound of the cicadas, instead of the loud cacophony coming from the neighbours.

We would watch the stars, instead of the fireworks (many of which are illegally set off).

The only drinking would be cups of tea/coffee as we chatted about the memories from the year just ending and our hopes and dreams for the year to come, instead of the raucous, crude language coming from people around us who have consumed too much alcohol.

And, I wouldn't have to explain to people that I actually find New Years Eve a difficult day to navigate because today would have been my Dad's 63rd birthday and I miss him.

So Dad, Happy Birthday!

And to everyone else, Happy New Year!

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Grief ... You Don't Just "Get Over It"

I can tell you now that grieving the loss of someone special doesn't end. It is different as time goes on, and the intensity lessens over time, but there is always an element of grief because you will always miss that person this side of heaven (or that they are no longer around to share things with - like you're grieving over the time that you don't have with them).

I was reading an article today called '10 Things You Should Know About Grieving People'. There are a lot of good things written in it.

When my Dad passed away 6 years ago, it felt like everyone was just going on without me.

Well meaning people said call if you need anything, but what I needed was for them to not forget that I was there and ask me to do something with them. I wasn't feeling up to calling them, and I had been taught not to invite myself places.

One thing I have discovered is that the grief doesn't always hit you when people think it will. So far it is either a little bit before or after the anniversary of my Dad's passing that the grief makes itself known, rather than on the day. One of the biggest things that can trigger it is a smell that somehow reminds me of Dad. It isn't always the same one, and it's not just smells.

I know this post might seem incomplete, and in a way it is, but then my grief is not complete, and won't be until I am no longer on this earth.

Monday 3 July 2017

ACRBA Tour - My Brother Tom by Michelle Worthington

3 - 7 July 2017

is Introducing 
(By Wombat Books, 1 April, 2017)


Michelle Worthington

About the Book:

Tom was born earlier than expected and had the doctors worried. His big brother wasn't worried though, he saw angels outside his window and knew everything would be okay.
My Brother Tom is a story for older siblings of premature babies to help them make sense of what is happening at a difficult time.

About the Author:

Michelle is an author of children’s books, who is also available for workshops on writing for children, book signings and school readings.
Michelle Worthington was born in Brisbane, Queensland and currently works and lives in the Redlands. She enjoys travelling and has spent time studying in France where she lived for a year. 
Winner of the 1988 Little Swaggie Award and other Australian poetry competitions, she has been published in numerous Australian and International poetry anthologies. Since a very early age, Michelle has shown a love of words and rhyme, and has always excelled at English and Creative Writing. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from University of Queensland in 1996, Michelle is currently undergoing studies to further her career as a published author and book publisher.
Australian publisher, Wombat Books has released her first children’s picture book titled The Bedtime Band. It is the story of what the animals in the Australian bush get up to when children are at home asleep in their beds. Michelle has two sons, Jordan and Cody, who she has read to every day since they were born, as she believes in the importance of fostering a love of books in children. Her books encourage children to use their imagination and dare to dream big. Michelle’s other titles are available at

My Thoughts:
Helping children understand what is going on in their world is important. I don't know what the statistics are on how many children are born prematurely, but it is a traumatic time for everyone. Older siblings need to understand what is going on and why their parents need to be with their sibling. This book is a good way to do that.

Monday 5 June 2017

ACRBA Tour - Unnoticed by Amanda Deed

5 - 9 May 2017

is Introducing 
(By Rhiza Press, 1 March, 2017)


Amanda Deed

About the Book:

Plain Jane O’Reilly is good at being unnoticed. Detested by her stepmother and teased by her stepsisters, Jane has learned the art of avoiding attention. That is until Price Moreland, an American with big dreams, arrives in her small town.
Does she dare to hope someone might notice her?
However, Price Moreland may not be the prince that the whole town thinks him to be. Was his desire to be a missionary a God-given call, or just a good excuse to run from his past?
Complete with an evil stepmother, a missing shoe and a grand ball, Unnoticed takes the time-old Cinderella fairy tale and gives it an Australian twist.

About the Author:

Amanda Deed has penned several Australian Historical Romances, including The Game, winner of the CALEB Prize for Fiction in 2010. She resides in the South Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne with her family, where she works full-time in her local church office.
Outside of work and family, Amanda loves to write stories filled with intrigue and adventure using her favourite themes as a backdrop: Australia, heritage, romance and faith. Her books include UnnoticedEllenvale GoldBlack Forest Redemption and Henry's Run. For more information, go to

My Thoughts

This book is another take on the Cinderella story - this time set in Australia during 1877.
I liked it, and this is one book that I will be finding space on my shelf for. I haven't been reading much historical fiction lately, but this one didn't have such a historical feel (apart from modes of transport and things like that).

It is also a wonderful look at forgiveness and the way that letting God into your life can change your attitude even if your circumstances don't change.

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Book Dilemmas

While updating my books on  Goodreads a couple of weeks ago, I came across a blog post about Book-lover Problems. This prompted me to think about my own book dilemmas, and I came up with list of 12 things.

My list is in no particular order. Some of them are the same as ones in the Goodreads list, although I can honestly say I have never had the problem of trying to keep a book dry in the bath because I have never read in the bath.

So, here is my list:

  • Not enough shelf space.
  • Books announced but never published (especially when they are part of a series).
  • Book shops telling you the book is available, but when you order it, the book is out of print.
  • Books that are only available as e-books.
  • When and American author writes a book set in Australia, but still uses American terms to describe things, not Australian terms (e.g. Ranch vs. Station; field vs. paddock; forest vs bush).
  • When a series ends with a baby on the way but you never find out if it is a boy or girl.
  • Books ending without conflicts fully resolved (okay, so this is what life is like, but many of us read to escape life for a while).
  • When authors don't have consistency in characters between books (e.g. A character gets married and has children in one book in the series, but in a later book in the series it says they never married and no children).
  • Knowing a book is released in the USA, but it will take 3 months or more before it arrives in Australia (if ever).
  • Having a friend borrow a book and then not return is for ages even though you know they have finished with it.
  • Wanting to rearrange your bookshelves but not knowing how much space to leave for books loaned to friends.
I'm sure I could come up with more.
What are your book dilemmas?

Monday 3 April 2017

ACRBA Tour - Activate by Adele Jones

3 - 7 April 2017

is Introducing 
(By the Rhiza Press, 1 November 2016)

By Adele Jones

About the Book:
Josh Hammond’s not who he says he is. To stay alive, he must guard his identity, existing isolated from his former life and those he loves. The one enemy he can’t outrun is his failing health, and time is short. Desperate for a solution, Josh leaves the protection of his safe house unapproved. Instead of a cure, he’s left powerless against a cunning adversary. Determined to reclaim his life, he grasps an opportunity for escape, but things go drastically wrong. Can he find a way to expose the lies of a criminal mastermind, or will he be silenced? Forever.

About the Author:
Adele Jones lives in Queensland, Australia. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science – and her broad ranging imagination.

A strong believer in embracing life's journey, Adele delights in sharing that adventure with others, be that through the pages of a story or engaging in a social or professional context. Through her broad personal and professional interests, she has welcomed diverse engagement opportunities, including science based student experience sessions, conference presentations, literary readings and musical exploits.

With a long standing interest in historical fiction, Adele based her Master's dissertation on this topic and is currently anticipating release of her first novel in this genre, A Devil's Ransom ( She has also had a variety of poems, short stories, inspirational meditations, devotions and magazine articles published. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 Caleb Prize for unpublished manuscript, and is due to for release in September 2014. Replicate is the second book in this series and was released in October 2015.   

More information:
Adele Jones:

My Thoughts

I haven't read the first two books in this series, so I felt like I jumped into the middle of something and struggled to pull all the threads together. There were a lot of plot elements that I think came through from the previous books, so I always felt I was missing some information.

There were also a few words included in the book that were unnecessary - close to swearing, but certainly ones that I didn't want in my head.

The suspense kept going through the entire book, so it was hard to put down. While it isn't one that I plan to read again, it might appeal to some.