Tag: Book Chat

Bookish Question: Do you have a Top 5 list of favourite reads in 2018?

Bookish Question #86 | Do you have a Top 5 list of favourite reads in 2018?

Top five? Are you kidding? Maybe I could come up with a top five list if I didn’t read so many books each year. But probably not (maybe I could do it if I only read six books …)

Anyway, I’ve decided to cheat a little. I posted five new favourite authors for 2018 a couple of weeks ago. I’m posting my Top Ten Reads for 2018 over at Australasian Christian Writers in a couple of weeks. So this post is my completely biased top five romance reads.

Cheating? Probably. #SorryNotSorry.

So here are my Top 5 romance reads for 2018:

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Despite the fact I’m a little over writers as main characters (it’s taking ‘write what you know’ a little too far), I still loved The Saturday Night Supper Club. It was probably all the yummy food … and the fact the ending was unexpected.

Click here to read my review.

A Song Unheard by Roseanna M White

Yes, there is a good number of books set in England. There is a good number of books set during World War I or World War II. But this is the first one set in Wales, in the (small) university city of Aberystwyth, where I was born.

Click here to read my review.

More than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

A heroine with two different colour eyes, and a pet pig. And a hero who tries to rescue her from the pig. It could be stupid to the point of ridiculous, but it’s actually a funny and touching historical romance featuring a wonderful makeshift family.

Click here to read my review.

Made for You by Kara Isaac

Yes, this is a completely biased recommendation, given I edited Made for You and Then There Was You. But I loved it, even though I’m not a reality TV fan (and I especially don’t watch shows like The Bachelor). If you’ve read and enjoyed any of Kara’s earlier books, you won’t want to miss this one.

Click here to read Fiction Aficionado’s review because it says what I would have said.

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

I’ve always been fascinated by ballerina stories (isn’t everyone?) A Season to Dance has plenty of ballet, but that’s actually secondary to a beautiful story of love and redemption.

I somehow haven’t reviewed A Season to Dance, so click here to read a review from Narelle Atkins, who recommended it to me.

Do you have a top 5 list of favourite reads for 2018? Which books are on your list?

Bookish QUestion: Have you planned a summer reading list?

Bookish Question #82 | Have you planned a summer reading list?

Umm … No 🙂

My reading plan is generally which books I have in my reviewing pile.

Beyond that, it’s which book in my Kindle to-read folder takes my fancy, or which book on my actual reading pile catches my attention.

I do have a pile of books I’ve mean meaning to read for a while, but I suspect many of them are too deep and serious to read over summer (e.g. Francine Rivers or Lisa Wingate). I’ll probably read a mix of light contemporary romance mixed in with the occasional historical romance (especially Regency), and a few romantic suspense or cozy mysteries for good measure.

What about you? Have you planned a summer reading list? What are you planning—or hoping—to read?

Where would you like to "visit" in a novel?

Bookish Question #81 | Where would you like to “visit” in a novel?

I’m lucky in that I’ve travelled to over 25 countries, and around 20 US states … which means I’ve already visited many of the places I’d otherwise like to visit in a novel. But there’s also places I’d like to visit again in fiction …

Here are three places I’d like to visit in a novel:


Iceland is a beautiful country, but it’s cold and dark for a lot of the year, and it’s a long way from New Zealand. I’d love to visit Iceland. One day! In the meantime, it would be great to read a Christian novel set in Iceland. Any suggestions?


I’ve read a few novels set in India (e.g. the Silk trilogy by Linda Chaikin, and the Twilight of the British Raj trilogy by Christine Lindsay). It’s a fascinating country, and I’d like to know more about India. Have you read any great Christian fiction set in India?


My father’s family are Welsh, as is my name (Iola means valued by the Lord). But I rarely come across Christian fiction with a Welsh setting, and I’d like to see more. The ones I have read have had Welsh settings but haven’t featured Welsh characters—that’s something I’d like to read. Do you have any suggestions?

What about you? Where would you like to visit in a novel?

Which lesser-known Christian authors do you wish more readers knew about?

Bookish Question #80 | Which lesser-known Christian authors do you wish more readers knew about?

It’s easy to find out about the big-name authors in Christian publishing.

Think Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury. It’s not hard to find out about some of the middle rank—the authors whose books you see reviewed, or you find on the shelf of your local Christian bookstore.

But, as a reader, it can be harder to find out about the lesser-known Christian authors.

It’s equally hard—or harder—for those authors to find readers.

I try and feature some lesser-known Christian authors on my blog, either through book reviews, author interviews, or First Line Friday posts. But I still have to find out about them somehow, and that’s often through them contacting me to request a review or interview.

Anyway, here’s my completely biased list of ten lesser-known Christian authors I suggest you watch out for:

What do you think? Which lesser-known Christian author do you wish more readers knew about?

Do you participate in online reader groups?

Bookish Question #79 | Do you participate in online reader groups?

We’ve all heard of book clubs, but did you know there are also online versions?

I’m a member of several online reader groups, but the two I follow most closely are both Facebook groups: Avid Readers of Christian Fiction, and Inspy Romance. As you’d expect, both specialise in Christian fiction (however published).

I’m also involved in a couple of reader/writer groups: Australasian Christian Writers (which posts a book review each Thursday), and International Christian Fiction Writers. Both are open to readers and writers from anywhere.

Some of the groups (e.g. Avid readers) also have a nominated book of the month, and an author-hosted discussion towards the end of the month. But I haven’t actually participated in any of the discussions … There are also a lot of reader groups on Goodreads. Again, many have books of the month which they discuss, but I haven’t participated.

This is sometimes because I’ve either already read and reviewed the book, or because it’s not a book I’m interested in. More often, it’s because I forget, or because I already have so many books on my reviewing pile that I don’t want to add another.

What about you? Do you participate in online reader groups? Which groups?

Bookish Question: Do you treasure autographed copies of books?

Bookish Question 77 | Do you treasure autographed copies of books?

Do you treasure autographed copies of books?

I have a few autographed copies of books, and I do treasure them.

Some are books I’ve won in online contests, like A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal. Others are books where I’ve edited as a pre-publication beta-reader, like Close to You by Kara Isaac or The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky. And some are books I’ve edited, like Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon, or Then There Was You by Kara Isaac.

What all these books have in common are that they are great stories, stories made more special because the author has taken the time to leave me a personal message.

What autographed books do you own? Do you treasure them? Leave a comment and let me know!

Have you been to an in-store book signing?

Bookish Question #75 | Have you been to an in-store book signing?

No, I haven’t.

I do have some books which have been autographed by the author—some I won in online giveaways, some I was given or sent as a thank you for editing the books, and some I have purchased from the author at writing conferences. But none I bought at an in-store book signing.

Why have never attended an in-store book signing? This is mostly because I’ve (almost) never been in the same town as a favourite author when they’ve held a book signing.

Almost? There was one time … I was in Brisbane to attend the Omega Writers Conference, and one of the authors (Jo-Anne Berthlesen, I think) was holding a book signing that morning in the local Koorong store. Well, I had a map, but after completely missing the correct motorway exit twice, I gave up and headed for the conference venue. So I missed my chance to attend an in-store book signing.

What about you? Have you been to an in-store book signing? Who was the author, and what was the book?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Have you purchased books recommended by friends?

Bookish Question #71 | Have You Purchased Books Recommended by Friends?


When it comes to books from the major publishers, I tend to be the friend recommending books to others because I get a lot of advance review copies (ebooks. Even the biggest publishers don’t want to post me paperbacks because I live in New Zealand).

But when it comes to books from smaller publishers, or self-published authors, I often rely on recommendations from friends.

For example, I bought and read The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce after Narelle Atkins recommended it. Now I’m anxiously waiting for the sequel (and would love a review copy, hint hint). I was introduced to the brilliant Amy Matayo by Catherine Hudson, while Andrea Grigg told me I *had * to read Bria Quinlan (she was right). Most recently, Christine Dillon recommended Criss Cross by CC Warrens, and I ended up buying and reading the whole trilogy on one wet weekend.

I also get recommendations from fellow book bloggers. One of the best-worst parts of my week is reading the First Line Friday posts. I usually read them on Saturday, because time zones mean most people post after I’ve gone to sleep on Friday night. Anyway, it’s rare that I’m able to make the rounds of my fellow First Line Friday bloggers without downloading at least one Kindle sample, or buying the book because it’s on a limited-time sale.

What about you? Have you purchased books recommended by friends? Which books or authors?

Do you read seasonal-themed books?

Bookish Question #70 | Do You Read Seasonal Themed Books?

Lots of books have seasonal themes. Christmas-themed books (and movies) are probably the most popular, but I’ve come across others.

Summer-themed books seem more popular than winter-themed books.

But that could be because Christmas comes in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere, so Christmas books are winter books. Or vice versa. I’m not a big reader of either summer or winter books, and I think that’s because I live in New Zealand. I see summer book advertisements when I’m cuddled up by the roaring winter fire, so a “beach read” isn’t exactly a selling point. Equally, when I’m looking for a summer beach read, all the books show snow scenes and big red mugs of hot chocolate. Yeah, no.

I’ve also seen romance novels with a Valentine’s Day theme, but I have to admit I’m not a big Valentine’s Day fan. It wasn’t a big part of the Kiwi culture when I was growing up, and not it seems mostly commercial. Anyway, it always strikes me that we don’t have to wait for a specific day to buy flowers or chocolates for the ones we love. Any day the shops are open is a good day to buy flowers and chocolate. And books.

What about you? Do you read seasonal-themed books? Does your answer have anything to do with where you live?

Join the conversation below.

Bookish Question: Do you borrow books from the library?

Bookish Question #54 | Do you borrow books from the library?

My local library has an excellent selection of Christian fiction from the major publishers. A lot of it is in the paid section ($3 for two weeks, instead of free for three weeks). It might cost, but the cost still represents a saving over buying the paperback myself—most new releases cost between $25 and $30.

I used to visit the library most weeks. This was partly to feed my own reading addiction, and partly in an attempt to institutionalise and indoctrinate my children give my children a love of reading (I have a 50% success rate on that).

But the children got older, and I got a Kobo ereader, followed by a Kindle.

I found some of the books I was paying $3 for at the library were as cheap or free on Amazon. And I discovered NetGalley, which gave me free ebooks from many of my favourite authors if I reviewed the books. My library visits have gradually dwindled to nothing, even though they now offer free ebook loans as well as the traditional print books.

Why? Because I have more than enough to read at home between my physical print and virtual Kindle to-read piles (files?).

What about you? Do you borrow books from the library? Let me know in the comments.