Sunday, January 31, 2010

January wrap up

How is it that when we were kids a month would take forever to pass? Now, a month is over in a blink of an eye, tomorrow the boy goes back to school after the Christmas holidays, and it is time to do my January reading roundup! Before I get started, I should make a note about the photo I am using for this post. I was searching around on Google for some kind of image to decorate the top of this post, when I had a sudden brainwave! I had a couple of photos on my phone which I took at the beach a couple of weeks ago. The main reason I took them was to be mean to Stephanie who was talking about all the snow she could see out of her window, when I was going to the beach! Luckily we have been friends for a long time!

In my December Reading Roundup, I talked about the fact that I thought my days of reading 18-20 books a month were over, and that I expected that my new normal would probably be closer to 11-13 books per month. So of course, I had to go and make a liar of myself and get through 18 books in January, and that's with only finishing one book in the last week of the month. Who knows what my new normal is, because I really, really don't!

One of the reasons why this month was a bit odd was the fact that I reread 3 books in January. Last year, I reread three books in the whole year. In 2008, I only reread one book, in 2007 I had no rereads and in 2006 there was only one. It's fair to say that I am not much of a rereader, so the fact that there have been three already in the first month of this year is a bit unusual. There was another odd thing as well. At one point this month I had four books on the go (not all that unusual), and not one of them was a library book. I can't remember the last time that happened.

So here is my list of reads for January, along with my rating out of 5:

The Sharing Knife: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold 4/5
Love at First Bite anthology 4/5
The Awakening by L J Smith 4/5
Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong 4.5/5
Rumour Has It by Jill Mansell 4.5/5
The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien 4.5/5 (reread)
Hunted by P C Cast and Kristin Cast 3.5/5
Bravo Mr William Shakespeare presented by Marcia Williams 4/5
The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters 3.5/5
Shadowfae by Erica Hayes 3.5/5
The Night They Stormed Eureka by Jackie French 4/5
A Dangerous Love by Sabrina Jeffries 4/5
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett 4.5/5 (reread)
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford 4/5
Disco Boy by Dominic Knight 4/5
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett 3.5/5 (reread)
Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale 4.5/5

One of the highlights of January blogging wise was Bloggiesta. Some times that bit of encouragement to get things done is exactly what is required. One of the challenges was the commenting challenge that was being hosted by Pam at MotherReader. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that it turns out that I didn't have a problem commenting on blogs, but I was surprised to find that in the last three weeks I have commented around about 285 times and that is without going out of the way to do anything out of the ordinary. In fact, if anything I have managed to do less blog hopping in that three weeks that I normally would. I would never have thought that I would have commented anywhere near that many times, but apparently I have. I am going to stop keeping track now, because it is a bit time consuming (and not to mention a bit anal to sit there and record every comment made!) but it was a useful exercise to do as a once off.

One thing I was pleased with in January was that I managed to get quite a few books read for the challenges that I signed up for. Not enough to finish any of them, but a substantial start at least!

Not only did I manage to read for a challenge, I also managed to watch something for a challenge as well! For the Period Drama Challenge, which I have been terrible at participating in, I watched and enjoyed all three parts of the mini-series adaptation of Larry McMurtry's Comanche Moon. I also watched another movie that I haven't quite decided if it qualifies as a period drama or not, and that was the movie Grey Gardens which stars Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange amongst others.  The movie covers the period from the late 20s through to the 60s or 70s, so might qualify. I am going to count it for now!

I also, finally, managed to start the L J Smith reading challenge by reading the first book in the Vampire Diaries series, The Awakening. I currently have the second book out of the library so look forward to more progress on that challenge!

I am pleased with the start that I have made for both the 100+ Reading Challenge and the Support Your Local Library Challenge, with 15 books and 11 books read respectively.

Historical fiction and historical romance are among my favourite type of books to read - anything with a historical setting and I am happy! So, when I looked at my list of reads in January and realised that half way through the month I hadn't read one that qualified for the Year of the Historical Challenge, I was a bit surprised. In the end I had a few books to choose from as the book for this challenge, but I think I will stick with The Night They Stormed Eureka by Jackie French. This book is a YA/time travel/historical fiction novel which was set during one of the most famous and influential events in Australian history - The Eureka Stockade. I do have a post half written about this book, so will hopefully be able to finish that post shortly and post a bit more about the book and the event.

I managed to read three books for the Romance Reading Challenge that is being hosted a Royal Reviews. The most pleasing thing about that is that I was able to read across subgenres. I read Shadowfae by Erica Hayes (paranormal/erotic), A Dangerous Love by Sabrina Jeffries (historical) and Virgin River by Robyn Carr (contemporary).  Given that I very rarely read contemporary romance except by Nora Roberts, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Virgin River, and will be trying to locate the next books in the series. It is kind of strange really. My library has the first book in the series, and then every book from the fourth book on, but not the second and third book. To be honest I am not quite sure how that happens so regularly. Next time I go to the library I am going to try to remember to ask for them. I know that they are available through interlibrary loan if my library isn't prepared to purchase the missing parts of the series.

Another challenge hosted by Royal Reviews is the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. A lot of the books that I read for this book will cross over into a couple of the other challenges I am reading for as well. This month, the books that I read that qualified for this challenge are The Night They Stormed Eureka by Jackie French and The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. I am hosting the blog tour for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet over at Historical Tapestry early in February, so I need to hurry up and write the review for the book!

The challenge that I made the most pleasing progress on this month (for me personally anyway) is the Aussie Author Challenge. Every year one of my goals is to read more Aussie authors. So far this year, I have managed to read three books by Australian authors - The Night They Stormed Eureka by Jackie French, Disco Boy by Dominic Knight and Shadowfae by Erica Hayes. It is fair to say that that is a pretty eclectic mix.

One challenge that I do every year, but always make a slow start on is the Pub Challenge. This year's is the 2010 Pub Challenge, where the challenge is to read books that are originally published in 2010. The one book that I read in January that qualifies for this challenge is Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale. If you like your romances historical, then this is one to look out for!

I should probably mention that I managed to read some books for my own challenge this month! (Very nearly forgot). After having not read any books for the Terry Pratchett reading challenge in it's first month, this month I managed to read two, and I have the next book in the series requested from the library. I also discovered some of the books that I don't own on my brother-in-law's bookshelf. I think we may have had a conversation about being Pratchett fans many years ago, but I can't remember talking about it any time recently.

You would think from looking at that list that I have more than enough challenges to keep my going, but apparently not! I am therefore going to confirm my sign up to two more challenges today as well. The first is for the French Historical Challenge: Oh-la-la! being hosted by Lucy from Enchanted by Josephine. I am aiming to reach the La Princesse level, by reading three historical books set in France

The last challenge that I have signed up for (so far) is The Michener Challenge, which is being hosted by Michelle from True Book Addict at The Michener Challenge blog. I have really fond memories of reading some of James Michener's epic novels like Mexico and Hawaii, and I would like to revisit some of them as part of the challenge. This is a perpetual challenge, so no levels, or time frames! I am looking forward to finding some books to read for it.

All that remains now for this month's reading round up is to award myself my NaJuReMoNo award! I read twelve books that qualified for NaJuReMoNo this year (rereads don't count, and neither do books that you had started before 1 January):


Phew! After finishing this challenge update I am ready to go for a lie down and read. In theory, I am going to write a Sunday Salon post today for the first time. Originally I was planning for this post to be that Sunday Salon post but then I remembered that I actually wanted to post about something else!


  1. Wow, you read quite a bit this month...Good job! I am also participating in a few of the challenges you listed.

  2. Wow, you had a fantastic month! I've only read 12 books, so far. January isn't over, yet, here. But, it will be soon enough that I think I can safely say I'm stuck at 12. I can't imagine participating in so many challenges. One seems to be all I can handle. Good for you!

  3. Wow, Marg-that is so impressive!! All those challenges and reading 18 books a month! I really admire you:)

    Hey-thanks so much for joining my challenge- Such wonderful company:) Should be fun!

  4. You definitely made a huge dent on your TBR shelf!! That's a lot of books!!

    Plus a whole lot of challenges! What fun!