What’s on your Bookshelf #1

Welcome to our new challenge!

Welcome to What’s On Your Bookshelf, #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge, hosted by SueDonnaJo and me.

The simple purpose of this challenge is to share our love of reading.

Why do we read?

Everyone has their own reasons for reading. My main reason is for relaxation, escaping to other worlds, stress relief and a love of words.

I love travelling to different times, past and future, through books, learning about other cultures, history and seeing the world through different eyes. I am in awe of the clever authors who manage words, plots, personalities, all the while weaving stories for us to lose ourselves in.

There isn’t much I won’t read and I love getting recommendations from others. Goodreads is a great way to see what others are reading and what’s been enjoyed and why – are we friends there yet? I sometimes leave reviews and always rate books based on my personal rating system.

The rating system I use:

1* = did not finish/terrible; 2* = OK; 3* = enjoyable; 4* = really good; 5* = excellent

You can see the full list of books I’ve read so far this year, complete with my ratings, here: Reading Challenge for 2021 – I love challenging myself to read a variety of genres, although I draw the line at some!

If I’ve read a really intense book which I adored, say like Hamnet, I might choose a softer read next to mix it up a little and give myself a break from the intensity. I often have a few books on the go at once, depending on how I’m feeling. I read quite fast and can lose hours, do you do that too? I definitely count ‘listening’ to books as reading, I’m not a huge fan of audio books but I find I’m better if I’m driving or walking.

recent books read
A list of some of the recent books I’ve read

Book Clubs x 2

I’m currently in two book clubs (one is local, and the other is online is with my co-hosts).

Online group

Since early January 2021, Sue, Donna, Jo and I have been reading our way through the Brontë sisters. So far we’ve read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Agnes Grey by AnneBrontë, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and currently we’re working our way through The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. They are all so different, diverse and way more interesting and engaging than I’d first thought!

The way we do it is to divide each book into three or four sections, then read, discuss, read, discuss, read, discuss and then we bake! We usually take a few weeks/months for our reading and discussing, over Zoom for an hour or so at a time. After we have finished reading and discussing each book, Jo (who is a very talented author, blogger, baker and photographer) leads us in baking something from the time period of our novel, again over Zoom. So far we’ve made Crumpets, Soda Bread, Fat Rascals and for our current novel, it will be Bakewell Tarts, which may be interesting as I’m not known as a particularly good cook. It’s just so much fun cooking with friends that I forget my inadequacies and just do what Jo says!

Local group

My local book club is a lovely mix of 10 women, who have been meeting in each others’ homes once a month for over 25 years. I’ve been involved for many years and just love the friendship we have. It’s a very sociable group and lots of catching up gets done as well as talking about the current book – although the Mathematician doubts that! He’s been known to time our discussions on the actual book and compare it with our time socialising – how rude!

Just a few weeks ago, due to lockdown restrictions, we met in the local park for an afternoon tea to catch up and discuss some of our recent books. We arrange the books with the help of the library (we pay an annual fee), who provide each of us with a copy of the chosen book and a set of questions to help the discussion along. Our current book is Danger Music by Eddie Ayres, which is quite fitting due to what’s going on in Afganistan at the moment. At the beginning of each year we get a list to choose from and each select a book, we never know what we’re reading next, it’s usually a good surprise!

Are you in any bookclubs too?

Book Club in the park on a cool Sunday afternoon

So what’s on my bookshelf?

For the first WOYBS, I’m going to have a look back at my ‘most…’ books so far this year. So without further ado:

Most surprisingThe Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison by Meredith Jaffe. Given my background as an Education Manager in a Men’s Prison this was right up my alley from the start. A great read!

Most intriguingThe Rose Code by Kate Quinn. This had me on edge all the way through and I just couldn’t put it down. A lot of history was incorporated.

Most funSpring Clean for the Peach Queen by Sasha Wasley (and her subsequent books in this series).

Most inspiringThe Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

Most scaryThe Darkest Shore by Karen Brooks. Why? It was based on a true story and that makes it very scary!

Most heartbreaking (but uplifting)Sam Bloom: Heartache and Birdsong and Penguin Bloom. So sad and sweet and a fabulous movie too.

Most HistoricalThe Good Wife of Bath: A (mostly) true story by Karen Brooks (based on Chaucer’s work). I hadn’t read Chaucer so don’t think you need to have that background, it was a really good read!

Most worthy of a mentionThe Family Doctor by Debra Oswald and Wild and The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I gave them all 5 stars for a reason.

Most compelling series – The Joseph O’Loughlin series by Michael Robotham – easy to read, intriguing, suspenseful, scary but not too bad, full of psychological twists and turns. I’ve been working my way slowly through these and always enjoy a good thriller.

I’m now reading Louise Penny’s Inspector Armand Gamache series and they are proving to be compelling too. A Canadian Detective series which is quite gentle and easy to enjoy!

Book of the Year (so far) – Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – yes that’s a big call but I loved it!

What am I currently reading?

Up until last month, I was in the habit of writing a Friday Fiction post towards the end of each month, but from now on, I’ll be joining my friends to share What’s on your Bookshelf instead – on the third Friday of each month. Reading, like life, is always more fun with friends. Hope you enjoy our offerings!

What’s on your bookshelf guidelines:

What: What’s On Your Bookshelf #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge
When: Third Thursday PM (Northern Hemisphere)/ Third Friday AM (Southern Hemisphere).
Why: Share a love of reading.
Where: Blog, Blog Comments, Instagram or other Social Media.
Who: This linkup is open to everyone.
How: You can share in the comments, with a blog post, or on other social media of your choice. Include the special hashtag #Whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge so that we can find you and include your link in our posts.

But Wait, There’s (Even) More!

To show our appreciation to all participants, contributors are welcome to display this badge on their blog, website or social media. Cool, Huh?!
Simply take a screenshot of the image below, and follow these easy-peasy instructions here. Prefer a jpg? Drop me your email, and I’d be happy to email one to you.

Contributor’s Badge

Now it’s over to you, will you join us?

Sue, Donna, Jo and I hope that you will join us in this new series! If you have any questions just ask us. You can also link to any, or all of our posts, with a pingback, that way we get to see your posts quicker!

Don’t forget to tell me about the book(s) you’re reading at the moment!

You can read more from our co-hosts here: Jo , Sue and Donna

Also joining us are:

We’re all in this together 🙂

Deb xx

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Debbie in rock chick mode

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

Copyright © 2023 debs-world.com – All rights reserved

72 Replies to “What’s on your Bookshelf #1”

  1. Such a great list! Thank you for sharing. I have just finished Peeps by Erin Gordon – a light read and Wintering by Katherine May. I try to alternate between fiction and non fiction. Because I am a French Canadian, born in the beautiful province of Quebec and French being my first language, I also read many French books. P.S. You will love the Armand Gamache series – mon coin de pays i.e. where I come from lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janis, it’s surprising how good the Bronte sisters books are, and quite timely too. Hope you enjoy some of these titles, it’s such a joy to join Donna, Sue and Jo in this new collaboration.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Debbie – You are so right — reading (and so many other things) is more fun with friends. I greatly look forward to this adventure ahead.
    I loved your ‘most…’ categories, and was very impressed that Hamnet was your #1 book so far this year (very cool). Feel free to call me ‘chicken’, I will definitely stay away from the ‘Most Scary!’ 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so exciting, not to mention fun, to be involved in this with you all! I enjoyed looking back at what books could fit the ‘most’ categories. Thanks for your inspiration Donna 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Is there a link up? Currently listening to the The Word is Murder – it’s just a bit of fin crime but Anthony Horowitz is so clever – he’s turned this ode to Sherlock Holmes into a playful meta mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lydia, there’s not an actual link up (yet) but we are happy for you to pingback to our posts and let us know so we can include it in our post. Or use the hashtag #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge so we can find your posts . That book sounds very clever, and fun as well. Thanks for joining in.


  4. Hi Deb, so exciting to be doing this with you, Jo and Donna. I am only in the one bookclub and I’ve been really enjoying reading the Classics in bite-sized pieces and our discussions. I also love the twist of our Bookclub baking! Like you, if I’ve read a ‘heavy’ book I like to follow up with lighter ones. I adored Hamnet, but just read one of Maggie O’Farrell’s first books and you would not think it was the same author. I really didn’t like it at all. Okay #whatsonourbookshelf? #1 is done and dusted. Now back to reading LOL 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s fabulous to be involved with such a great bunch of friends in this project Sue. You’ve been a great source of recommendations for me during the year, so thanks for that! Isn’t it funny how one book can be great from an author and another not so good? Take care xx


  5. Great idea for a blog. I agree with your “most inspiring choice”. The Midnight Library was surprising and touchingly inspiring..thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to checking some of these titles out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed my first offerings for this monthly challenge. I always enjoy hearing from others about their reading lists so let me know what you’ve read that’s been good.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on the launch of WOYB I’ve been looking forward to it. I miss my book club so much. It’s a community book club and we are in covid hiatus. I haven’t read any of the book you’ve read recently so they’re going on my TBR list. I’ll probably read The Huntress first

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Jen, we’re excited about our new project! Our local bookclub hasn’t met for ages so the park outing was a great idea.
      l’ll be interested in your opinion of The Huntress too.


  7. Congratulations to you all! What a great “read” this post is. I will read with interest each month. My “reading” is listening via Audible and is about 90% non fiction with memoirs and stories from & about life. Whilst I no longer actually read a physical book I admire those who do and can! It’s my interest and attention span I blame! I love your park book club photo. Denyse

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks Denyse, it’s very exciting for us to work together and share our love of reading. The book club in the park was fun although it got a bit cool as the afternoon wore on and I had to ride my bike back up the hill to home afterwards.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so good to have you join in, I’ll add your post to mine so others can see it as well. You can either click on the badge and save it to add to your post or I can email you a version if you’d rather do that. Just let me know what you’d prefer. The Canadian series has been recommended by quite a few different people so that augurs well!


    1. Thanks for joining in Deb, can’t wait to read your post and I’ll link it into my post as well. Many of my reads are ones you’ve recommended on Goodreads and through your book reviews, so thanks to you 🙂


  8. I absolutely balance out heavy reads with light reads and will sometimes have multiple books going. I just recently finished the Rose Code and had read her other books The Huntress and The Alice Network (maybe a year or two ago?) which I also really enjoyed. I am a sucker for historical fiction novels. I’m currently reading Angels Fall by Nora Roberts alongside a historical fiction novel about Coco Channel and Elsa Schiaparelli.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yers I seem to be going down the historical fiction path at the moment too and love getting lost in that sort of time travel. I’ve not read any Nora Roberts but I have a friend who always recommends them to me too. I must have a look. Thanks for joining in with us, great to have you.


  9. I finally finished my post, haven’t written anything for a while due to hubby’s health and medical appointments. I didn’t post it yet, wasn’t sure if there was a time limit and I would love to have a copy of the badge. msomerville@susumc.org and a question for clarification. Should I post the link here to you or just post it as usual with the # ? Thanks and blessings, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michele, that’s great to hear you’ve managed to write a post to join us. There’s no real time limit as it will be a monthly challenge. If you right click on the contributor badge image in my post you should be able to save it and then upload it into your post. If you could post a link to your post in a comment that would work and maybe link to my post somewhere in your post as well. Also use the hashtag 🙂 So pleased to have you join in. I’ll send an email to you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You’ve got an excellent list there, Debbie. I read at my own pace and haven’t joined any book club. I can get lost in a good book and read non-stop for hours, too. I read The Suspect by M. Robotham, and a few Gamache books by Louise Penny. Louise Penny and Hilary Clinton are co-writing a fiction to be released later this year so I’m looking forward to reading it. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Natalie, that’s very interesting about the co-writing by Louise Penny and Hilary – sounds intriguing! It’s great to have you join in with us and share your books and thoughts.


  11. Hi Debbie, what a great idea you gals had, and thanks for sharing. This is a challenge I can embrace. Your rating system makes perfect sense, as does balancing heavy books with lighter ones. I tend to follow that pattern also. I have been in a neighborhood book club for sixteen years and enjoy our monthly meetings. I like moderating historical fiction and psychological thrillers. Those always lead to additional research, which adds to the discussion. So many titles, so little time…. Congrats and best wishes for a very successful challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Suzanne! It’s funny I rarely do additional research when reading a good book, but my husband always does! I agree so many titles, so little time. It’s great to have you join us!


  12. Hi Debbie – you’re all giving us a wonderful selection of books to read – and I especially like the way you’ve summarised your books and given us ‘a slot’ to put them into … I still need to read a Louise Penny and noticed she had a new one out recently. Thank you … cheers – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hilary, I’m so glad you enjoyed the variety of books we all came up with for our first WOYBS. Yes quite a few people have recommend Louise Penny’s books and I’m enjoying the series set in Canada. Thanks for stopping by with a lovely comment.


  13. Hi Deb.
    I’m late this week due to the crunch of work last week. I did carve out enough time to get two new stories out the door, but am still trying to catch up on almost every thing else.
    I miss our old book club back in the late 1980s just before our children started arriving. It was a great group, diverse and opinionated and often sarcastic. We dug into our books and our conversations were all over the map. I still recall one book that was chosen almost at random by my friend’s wife and everyone of us, even her – HATED that book. It was brutal and fun. We heard about how one of our members was so appalled that she threw the book across the room at one point. A couple could not / would not even finish it.
    It was all great fun.
    I don’t have time to read as much as I used to and am trying to spend a bit more time creating my own stories to share.
    With that, I’d like to ask if you would consider reading my longest posted story. It’s about an hour long and is the result of a shorter story about the same thing, but many of my readers told me it needed to be longer. Having worked so hard to cut it down, I was keen on the idea of recasting it with more words. It’s a positive piece of fiction, redemptive in theme and a bit gutsy in how it concluded, but I’ve had some good feedback from some of the readers I really respect. I’d love to count you among them if you were willing.
    Here’s the link ::

    Ayem Notthymn: The Second Door

    You could tell me if you think Havilah acted credibly or ???

    Regardless, thanks for this visit. Sorry for being so late.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gary, I enjoyed reading your thoughts here and also your story. You have a real talent and as i said in the comment I left you, I’m not sure I would have been so forgiving as Havilah but you wrote it really well!


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