Looking back over 2018 and forward to 2019 (but it’s all about the books)

I’ve seen a few ‘recaps of 2018 reading’ posts, and a few ‘reading plans for 2019’ posts and I figured I’d just combine them!


Goodreads reading goal:
120
Total number of books read in 2018:
112.  Yeah, it’s not bad, but I missed my goal by a mere 8 books!

Average rating for 2018: 3.7 out of 5.  That’s pretty good for an average actually, I think!

My five star books for 2018:
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Auctioned by Cara Dee
Riven by Roan Parrish
For Real by Alexis Hall
More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

The big disappointments of 2018:
His Obsession by Violet Noir
Match Day by Mercy Celeste
Cowboy Outcasts by Stacey Espino
Dragon Desire by Amelia Jade
No Fear by Nora Phoenix
No Shame by Nora Phoenix

Favorite passages/quotes from books I read in 2018:

‘Upon entering, we were served champagne, which I sipped once before putting it down, because it tasted like a thousand smarmy assholes.’ – Lev by Belle Aurora

‘There in the distance was St Paul’s Cathedral, pointing up into the sky like a silicone-stuffed Hollywood breast.’ – Miranda’s Big Mistake by Jill Mansell

‘It wasn’t the guy, or his smile, or the sound of his voice. It was the promise of the dream. And, at the time, he probably would have accepted that from a three-legged iguana shifter if it had been able to speak that promise to him.’ – A Chosen Man by Jaime Reese

‘He imagined he would be crapping sugar cubes at any moment.’ – A Chosen Man by Jaime Reese

‘Wall didn’t know shit about computers, programming, and wouldn’t be able to find the dark web in a well-lit room.’ – A Chosen Man by Jaime Reese

Goodreads reading goal for 2019: 120 (because I’m an eternal optimist!)

Books on my TBR pile:
Unwritten Law by Eden Finley (56% read)
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
Shadow Touch by Marjorie M Liu (87% read)
Dark Longing by Aja James
One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Globejotting by Dave Fox (67% read)
Play of Passion by Nalini Singh (21% read)
The Proposal by Mary Balogh
The Healer and the Warrior by Bekah Clark
Tiger Eye by Marjorie M Liu

What’s on your TBR list for 2019?

Volume 1 of the family recipe book DONE!

“Mum would make porridge for breakfast every morning. My brother used to run down the stairs every morning to see what colour porridge it would be today – maybe blue or green, perhaps red or purple or could be coconut. Mum made everyday porridge an everyday surprise.”

I haven’t been very active online lately.  I started a new job in December, which kept me pretty busy, and when I wasn’t working, I was trying to make progress on the family recipe book.  I’d reached that point where I wanted to change projects, but I refused to go back to my old modus operandi.  That was the reason it’d taken me five years to write a children’s novel, although I did finally finish that last year.  That was the reason it’d taken me eight years so far to create a family recipe book.  No more!  No more flitting from project to project and crowning myself the Queen of Unfinished Projects. I was determined to finish the projects, and I’d prioritised them, and the recipe book was next cab off the rank.

“When my dad used to get off work, I used to go and meet him and he’d give me a penny to go and get chips at the chip shop, hot chips. We also used to get a ha’penny worth of batter bits – it was all the crunchy bits that had dropped off the fish.”

Well, I finally gave in to popular opinion and agreed to make the recipe book in volumes.  It makes it more affordable for people (including me), it’s more practical to actually use in the kitchen, and it allows me to do it in stages which makes it less daunting.

Don’t get me wrong, I do all these projects because I want to, not because I have to.  They’re not a chore.  But I tend to get bored of a project after a while and start a new one, and some of these projects are important to me and I actually wanna finish them.

“My family always used to have a roast dinner on Sunday. Mum used to do cabbage, which I didn’t mind. We used to drink the cabbage juice which was put in a green glazed china jar on the table with salt and pepper and I used to like that. When she cooked a chicken, she always used to boil up the neck and put herbs and things in and make a beautiful gravy.”

Well, by staying off social media for the past few weeks, I’ve made good progress.  The first volume is ‘Meals’ and includes Breakfasts, Starters and Snacks, Soups, Main Meals, Side Dishes and Desserts and Puddings.  It’s done.  I uploaded it to Blurb, and ordered myself a copy.  It should arrive in about 3 weeks or so.  Exciting!

I can’t sell the book commercially, because they’re not all my recipes.  Indeed, some of them are recipes from famous chefs.  It’s a combination of heirloom recipes and family favourites and some of those family favourites are from other recipe books or websites.  But it was never intended to be available commercially.  Just for family.  Just all our favourite and heirloom recipes collated in one place.

You can have a look if you like.  Hopefully the preview function is working, I’ve been having a little bit of trouble with it.

Click here to check out the preview at Blurb

Thoughts of Grace

I walked down Queen Street, in central Auckland, today and heard a busker singing this song as I walked past people lighting candles to go with the tributes left for Grace Millane.

I don’t often blog about current events.  In the 18 years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve probably blogged about national or global events ten or so times where the news has not directly impacted me.  It’s not something that I do.  I’m not interested in current affairs or politics.  But every now and then, I am touched, saddened, heartened or angered by such things.  I am emotionally affected, and therefore it seems appropriate to share that.

What makes Grace’s story so different from others?  Others have died.  Others have been murdered.  People as young or younger.  People with as much potential or more.  The truth is, I don’t know what makes Grace’s story different.  Only that it is.

My colleagues at work have discussed Grace.  Perhaps that’s because we work literally next door to the hotel in which she was murdered.  Perhaps it is because she is being discussed in offices around the country.  I have overheard people talking about her on the train.  And she has been discussed at home.

Every day as I walk past the hotel on my way to work, I see the tributes that people have left for Grace.  Flowers, gifts, etc.  From people who didn’t know Grace.  From people who never met Grace and never will.  People are grieving for someone they have never met.

I haven’t been following anything on social media, but I did notice there were a few people climbing on their soap boxes.  Saying that those who condemned Grace for travelling alone were perpetuating the cycle of violence against women. That any woman should be able to travel alone and be safe.  I agree.  I agree that any woman travelling alone should be safe.  But it is not the way it is.  I am reminded of the John Lennon song, Imagine.  There are so many dreams and wishes we might have for society, that every person should live in peace and never go without food, clean water, shelter and love.  But that’s not the way it is either.  Does that mean we don’t want it?  No, we do want it.  Does that mean we do nothing for those who are suffering?  Turn a blind eye?  No, it does not.  But it also does not mean that we turn a blind eye to the risks that are out there in the world.

I have been saddened by Grace’s death, and she has been much on my thoughts this week.  I don’t think she is a lesson to be learned.  But it is a tragedy.  As a mother of a daughter, I am very saddened by Grace’s death.  And I felt compelled to write something, to commemorate her.