Tag Archives: Goodreads challenge

The Month that was … January 2022

Welcome to my monthly blog with a round up of what’s happened in my corner of Melbourne. I hope you enjoy it.

It was a shaky start to the year when my husband caught Covid-19 and I was forced to isolate in the same house. We, like many thousands, waited in long queues for testing and searched for non-existent rapid antigen tests. Fortunately, our house is big enough and he was accommodated in the back part of our home previously occupied by our children. And it wasn’t long before he was feeling better.

Isolating for seven days and caring for my husband did leave me time to concentrate on my next book, The Palace Hotel (a working title). I managed to finish the first draft and I can’t tell you how excited I am. Of course, as any writer knows that’s only the beginning not the end with relentless, editing and rewriting to come, but I’m happy the plot and characters are all worked out.

Isolating coincided with a long stretch of hot weather in Melbourne. Ruggs, our cat fell ill and we thought the end had come to her little 22-year-old life but she revived and is as energetic as ever.  Perhaps she caught covid?

I managed to read a few books and get a head start this year on my Goodreads challenge. I was disappointed that I didn’t reach my goal last year so have been conservative this year. Under plan and over deliver always makes me feel that little bit better. Reviews will come out in the next few weeks although you can check out my review for Lucky.

After coming out of isolation I was raring to go and headed out with my daughter to see Moulin Rouge. The vibrancy, energy and music was outstanding and well worth masking up to see it. If you haven’t had a chance, and live in Melbourne try and see it.

And in case you’re not aware, The Good Child has been out in the world since November 15, 2021 accompanying readers all over Australia. Here are two pics sent to me.

Photo sent to me by Alan Forsyth On a plane to Queensland
Pic by Andrew Richards A summer day in Mount Martha

Readers responses for The Good Child so far have been overwhelmingly positive. Check out reviews on Goodreads

Until next time…

Book Review: The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

The Ruin is McTiernan’s debut novel and what a novel it is. It’s a cracking read, fast-paced which hooks the reader in and never lets her go until the climactic end.

It begins in 1993 in Galway, Ireland when as a new recruit, Reilly is sent to a scene in a lonely broken down old house to find two abused and starved children, Maude and Jack alone with their dead mother. Twenty years later, Jack is found dead, supposedly suicide… or is it? Reilly uncovers secrets, lies, and corruption and struggles to trust anyone, most of all his own colleagues.

I confess to reading this crime series featuring Cormac Reilly a little out of sequence. The second novel The Scholar was enthralling and I scratched my head about the inclusion of Carrie O’Halloran’s character but now having read this novel, it all makes perfect sense. You can check out my review here. (https://sckarakaltsas.com/2019/05/29/book-review-the-scholar-by-dervla-mc-tiernan/)

Don’t get me wrong. The two novels are strong enough to stand on their own. But if you do read them in sequence, the nuances of the common characters become clearer.
There are two points of view, Reilly and Jack’s girlfriend, Aisling. I enjoyed all the characters which I thought were drawn well. Aisling, an ambitious doctor struggles with her grief and her scenes were particularly heartfelt. Reilly, at times, floundered and the reader felt as much on the outer as he did. I also enjoyed the inner workings and politics of the police department too. I did wonder about Reilly’s method of investigation; why didn’t he go to Maude immediately and ask her questions first, instead of going to the old next door neighbour? But what do I know? I’m not a detective.

Yes, this one is very difficult to put down and there’s lots in it. I’d definitely read another of McTiernan’s books. Check it out.

Reading, Raving and Reviewing for 2019

 

I’ve been sorting out my reading  for 2019. My Goodreads Challenge is set at 30 for the year and although it’s down on what I actually achieved in 2018, I like to set myself an achievable goal.

I’ve finished two books so far (The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton and The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein – reviews to come ) and have started a  list to keep me out of mischief during the year. So to give you an idea, here’s some of them.

  1. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
  2. The Lost Man by Jane Harper
  3. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  4. Beartown by Frederik Backman
  5. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  6. The Corset by Laura Purcell
  7. Imperfect by Lee Kofman
  8. The Power by Naomi Alderman
  9. Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
  10. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
  11. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  12. The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
  13. Milkman by Anna Burns
  14. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  15. The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre
  16. Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales

There’s some long books in this list and some very good ones so I’m excited to get right into it.
Watch out for my reviews in 2019. Do you have any suggestions for books to get me to my goal of 30?

Reading Rap Up of Results for 2018

 

I’ve previously written a couple of posts about the reading challenge I set for 2018. (https://sckarakaltsas.com/2018/09/14/my-2018-reading-progress/)

My goal was 24 books for 2018 and managed to read 36 so I’m pretty happy about that. What made the difference for me? It was the ability to track my books by using Goodreads which is a great place for readers (and authors too). I love to be able to look back at the list. Since joining Goodreads more than five years ago I’ve been astounded at what I have read.  It might sound a lot to some but compared to others, the amount is a mere morsel. I’ve seen others who read over one hundred. Perhaps I’m a slow reader. Maybe I’ve been busy writing. That’s right, I did just publish my third book, A Perfect Stone.

So for a summary of 2018 I list some stats below.

Books: 36 (27 for 2017)

Pages: 11999 (8901 for 2017)

Books by Women: 21 (17 by Australian women)

Books by Men: 15 (8 by Australian men)

Book of the Year: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Other books which were strong contenders for Book of the Year were: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Now to sort out my challenge for 2019. Any suggestions?

 

My 2018 Reading Progress


In a post earlier this year (https://sckarakaltsas.com/2018/01/05/my-reading-list-for-2018/) , I listed 18 books I wanted to read by the end 2018. I’ve read ten from my original list so far, but somehow seem to have added many more along the way . Check out the list below of the additional books I’ve read so far.

I joined the Goodreads Challenge for the first time this year and what a difference adding a target has made to my reading. I set myself a challenge of 24 books which was conservative as I’d read 27 in 2017. I’m up to 28 now and will now doubt crash through the 30 barrier. It might seem a lot to read but I’ve been astounded that the average Goodreads Challenger has pledged to read 55 books and I’m a long way from that.

I’ve also tried to review most of the books I read although it hasn’t been possible for each one. When looking at my list so far, I was startled to see so many books by Australian authors (fourteen) but then, it’s hardly surprising as Australian authors are producing incredible work. If you don’t believe me check some out for yourself.

  1. The Sister’s Song by Louise Allan (Aus)
  2. What Was Left by Eleanor Limprecht (Aus)
  3. Castle of Dreams by Elise McCune (Aus)
  4. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Aus)
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood
  6. The Rules of Backyard Croquet by Sunni Overend (Aus)
  7. Movemind by Robert New (Aus)
  8. The Passengers by Eleanor Limprecht (Aus)
  9. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland (Aus)
  10. The Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning (Aus)
  11. Watching Glass Shatter by James J Cudney
  12. Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic (Aus)
  13. The Unfortunate Pilgrim by Mario Puzo
  14. The Lion by Saroo Brierley (Aus)
  15. The Bridge by Enza Gandolfo (Aus)
  16. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  17. First Person by Richard Flanagan (Aus)
  18. The Last of the Bonegilla Girls by Victoria Purman (Aus)

Do you have any you’d like to recommend?