What’s on your Bookshelf #5 – Christmas, a good series, and my top reads for 2021


It’s lovely to have you back for another month of the What’s On Your Bookshelf Challenge, #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge, hosted by SueDonnaJo and yours truly.

We are all thrilled with how our challenge is going, thanks to everyone who has joined in. If you’re into reading feel free to join us, even if it’s just to leave a comment with what you’ve been reading lately. This month we have added a link page to add your posts to, see the bottom of my post and add yours.

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

Quote from the Hosts of #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

My co-hosts are all different and we all lead different lives, so it stands to reason all of our posts are different too. I love reading my co-host’s posts and seeing how they have treated the monthly challenge. We don’t discuss what we’re writing about beforehand just in case you were wondering.

Christmas book and reader memes - Olivia Savage

What’s on my bookshelf?

Since we started this monthly challenge, back in August 2021, I’ve written about the ‘Most…’ books this year and enjoyed sharing my thoughts and breaking down my favourite reads (so far in 2021).

In my 2nd WOYBS post (September) I talked about reading Vs listening to books and included some of my 5 star ratings.

In October I talked about library books (October) and having a due date to read them by, which helped me prioritise what to read next.

Last month (November) it was all about Children’s Books with a few examples of books I have bought for my grandchildren for Christmas.

And this month I have two Christmas Books with a twist – an Aussie twist!

I went through my bookshelves looking for some Australian Christmas books that I knew we had when my daughters were little. I managed to find two books (different versions) of The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas.

One is by Michael Salmon first printed in 1988 and which my youngest daughter received on Presentation Night in 1995, she was in Year 1 at the time 🙂 Proud mother moment right there!

It starts off: On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a kookaburra in a gum tree. On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Two snakes on skis…it goes on with three wet galahs, four lyrebirds, five kangaroos, six sharks a-surfing, seven emus laying, eight dingos dancing, nine crocs a-snoozing, ten wombats washing, eleven lizards leaping, and finishes with twelve possums playing. It has fun illustrations and ends with everyone at the beach on Christmas Day! You can listen to this version in the youtube clip below.

The second one is The Twelve days of Christmas, illustrated by John Mcintosh and written by June Williams from 1986, and belonged to my eldest daughter who was born in 1983.

It’s beautifully illustrated and has extra words telling more of the story of each gift. No spoiler alerts from me!

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, an emu up a gum tree. On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me two pink galahs, three jabirus, four kookaburras, five kangaroos, six platypuses, seven koalas climbing, eight possums playing, nine wombats working, ten lizards leaping, eleven numbats nagging, and finishes with twelve parrots prattling.

The Aussie version of the 12 Days of Christmas

I think I’ll have to update my selection now that my grandchildren are old enough to enjoy listening to stories and singing along.

I also used this book in my recent #SundayStills post for Christmas song lyrics, adding in my photos of each of the animals mentioned (where I had a photo to use) and it was such fun! You can see the post here – The Twelve Days of an Aussie Christmas

I love a good series

I do like a series and recently I’ve finished a few – I’ve not read them all in the last month, but throughout the year:

  • Jackson Brodie series by Kate Atkinson – I’ve now finished the Jackson Brodie series by reading: #1 Case Histories, #2 One Good Turn, #3 When will there be Good News and #4 Started Early, Took my Dog – all one after the other, which was probably the best way as the characters were fresh in my mind. I enjoyed them but some were more compelling than others. They all got 3 or 4 stars from me. Funnily enough I’d read the 5th book in this series, Big Sky, ages ago but was encouraged to fead the others by Ali (I think) who linked up with our What’s on Your Bookshelf challenge recently.
  • Joseph O’Loughlin series by Michael Robotham – I’ve also worked my way through this series with 9 books in total – this has taken me most of the year but I did it! I read them mainly in order which also helped keep the characters fresh in my mind. They are good psychological thrillers with the main character Joe, having Parkinsons Disease (which my dad had when he died) so I can relate to some of his issues.
  • Candice Fox’s Crimson Lake series was mentioned a while ago but the three books were great reading and kept me enthralled – #1 Crimson Lake, #2 Redemption Point and #3 Gone by Midnight. These were great Australian crime stories with quirky characters.
  • Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series – I have started on the Inspector Gamache series, having read two so far – #1 Still Life and #2 Dead Cold. These are easy enjoyable reads.
  • Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club – I’ve really enjoyed the two books in this series Thursday Murder Club and The Man Who Died Twice but most of all I’ve loved hearing The Mathematician laugh and snort as he read them 🙂
  • Jo Bartlett – Just to mix it up a bit I’ve read a few books by Jo Bartlett, her Cornish Midwife series and others in that vein – nice for a light change. #1 The Cornish Midwife #2 A Summer Wedding for the Cornish Midwife #3 A Winter’s Wish for the Cornish Midwife
  • The Nancys by R.W.R McDonald – who could possible forget these? They were quirky fun and totally over the top with a touch of Nancy Drew but definitely for adults!! The Nancys and Nancy Business – so much fun!
  • Detective Harriet Blue series by James Patterson and Candice Fox – I’ve just this minute finished the first in this series, Never Never, listening to it via my library’s ebook app, and enjoyed it! I have to wait until the next one, Fifty Fifty, is available (in early January) for me to listen to. The third and fourth in the series, Liar Liar and Hush Hush, are available and while I’m tempted to jump ahead I always try and read a series in order if I can! I’ll see if I can hold out!

Have you read any of these? Do you have a series you suggest I read? Please leave me a comment with your thoughts/suggestions 🙂

Other books I’ve enjoyed this month

I’ve also read Kyle Perry’s The Deep and enjoyed the drama of it, rating it 3*. I read his earlier novel The Bluffs, which reminded my of the Aussie classic Picnic at Hanging Rock and he’s an interesting Aussie writer.

Well, Hello – by Leigh Sales and Annabell Crabb, Australian journalists and good friends who present a fabulous podcast called Chat 3 Looks 10. This book was full of good cheer, interesting snippets and kindness. This was a great book to pick up whenever I needed to be reminded that the world is in fact a good place. I didn’t read it all in one go, a great book to pick and read bits when I felt like it.

I’m up to 123 books in my Goodreads challenge, with my goal of 105 well and truly ticked off – maybe I’m an overachiever or maybe I just have too much time on my hands??

Currently reading

I’m currently reading The Professor by Charlotte Bronte with my online Bookclub and listening to Never Never written by James Patterson and Candice Fox. I’m also working my way through Charlotte Bronte A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman based on our bookclub’s reading of the works of Bronte Sisters and it comes highly recommended by Donna.

My Top 3 Books for the Year

Drumroll please…..my top three books of the year are:

  1. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell which I read back in January/February 2021. I adored the writing, the viewpoint and the imagery.
  2. Coming in a close second is our very own Joanne Tracey’s Little Cafe By The Lake – because she’s a stunning writer!
  3. The Darkest Shore by Karen Brooks -simply because it stayed with me long after I finished it!

Guidelines for WOYBS:

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: Linkup below, 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 a contributor’s badge on their blog, website or social media.

A book is a gift you can open again and again.

Garrison Keillor

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

Sue, Donna, Jo and I hope that you will join us in this fun series! If you have any questions just ask us. You can also link to any, or all of our posts, with a pingback. We now have a linkup at the bottom of our posts – all your posts can be added directly!

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

You can read more from my stunning co-hosts here:

We’re all in this together, sharing our love of reading 🙂

Happy Holiday reading to you.

Deb xx

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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

Debbie - mother of a 40 year old

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

75 Replies to “What’s on your Bookshelf #5 – Christmas, a good series, and my top reads for 2021”

    1. It seems to be either loved or hated from some of the comments I’ve received in the past when I’ve talked about it, but I’m happy to hear you are enjoying it. the wiring is so descriptive and drew me into that time.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Deb, I love a good Aussie Christmas book and have mentioned one I recently read to the boys in my post. We like similar authors I see and I’m so pleased I read the Crimson Lake which you recommended. I’m loving our What’s On Your Bookshelf? Challenge and even more because we now have a link party. Thanks for co-hosting and here’s to reading more books in 2022. x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s so amazing Debbie, how on earth do you read so much! Hats off to you. I’m so glad you liked all of the Jackson Brodie series. There are many books here that will have to go on my list also. Loved the Australian 12 days of Christmas. Hopefully I can work on my post soon. Happy reading 📚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always enjoy reading book recommendations and have read quite a few (although not as many each year as you) because of them. I have Hamnet on order from the library and eagerly await it. Although I haven’t yet read Jo’s The Little Café by the Lake, I have read Happy Ever After and am reading Wish You Were Here. I really enjoy her writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awww thanks for the shout-out. I love a good series and while I’ve read the Nancys and the Thursday Murder Club there’s a few on here that I need to have a look at. Thanks for co-hosting this super fun link up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve had a big reading year Deb. I love series as well and there are some (some on your list) that I will read no matter what. Some are often disappointing but it takes several poor books in a row for me to disengage from a series completely!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Three cheers for ‘Hamnet’ and ‘Little Cafe by the Lake.’ These were both five-star (plus) reads for me. I’m glad that they made your top list as well. I’m sadly not much of a book series reader (so many books, such little time). I greatly admire that you are. From your series list, I read just one of the Louise Penny books (All the Devils Are Here). I quite enjoyed it.
    Great post, Deb! I love sitting back on release day and discovering what everyone has shared,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay for Hamnet and anything our fabulous Jo writes!!! It’s been such a great way of learning about what others are reading. You are a great co-host and I thoroughly enjoy our monthly linkups.


  7. There’s so much I could comment on here. I also love a series. I really enjoyed the Harriet Blue and Crimson Lake Series. I have the Darkest Shore at the top of my TBR pile l. I haven’t read Jo’s book yet but it’s getting great reviews so I have it on my list. You brought back beautiful memories for me of the Twelve Days of Christmas. I loved that book as did my children. The cover I’ve always thought is amazing. Thanks for such a great pist and for providing this linkup for us readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have read a few of the books on your list. I love Louise Penney and have read them all. I am listening to the madness of crowds now as an audio book. Richard osman is well known here as a TV quiz show host so I was surprised how good the Thursday murder club books are. I would give Kate Atkinson three stars as well. They are well written but too many coincidences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I knew Richard Osman as the quiz show host when we visited England so I was pleasantly surprised with his writing. I agree with your comment re Kate Atkinson.


  9. masjust read through your post more slowly this time and I am breathless with the reading you have accomplished this year, also impressed and inspired. I don’t aspire to as much reading, but one never knows. I love the Australian version of the 12 Days of Christmas could not help singing it as I read both lists! Blessings for the Holidays and the New Year. Michele

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love a good series, Deb. From your list, I’ve read Louise Penny, Candice Fox and Michael Robotham’s series. Thank you for hosting #WOYBS and linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow! You are definitely in the resolution list of reading notebooks this year 🙂 HIGH FIVE! I’m gonna look up the Well Hello book you mentioned because we can always use a good feel-good book 🙂 in reading Michael J Fox’s No Time Like The Future and finished listening to The Graveyard by Neil Gaiman such a GOOD book 🙂 thanks for the post! #WhatsOnYourBookshelf

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the Michael J Fox suggestion, I’ve followed hi along due to my father also having Parkinsons disease (we lost him nearly 4 years ago). Great to have you join in with this challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Deb.

    I read others, but really like two genres of books a lot; hard SciFi and historical fiction. That being true, It is so easy to find lots of decent hard SciFi titles on kindle that it pretty much owns my recreational reading time. Good historical fiction takes more time to find and is more expensive and is more brain work to read, so it ends up further down the stack of to-be-read titles.

    The audience for any kind of SciFi is very polarized; folks either like it or hate it so I won’t presume that you’d be interested in any of those titles, but one of our peers in the coffee share group pointed me at a title of historical fiction that I’m enjoying but is often painful to read. “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque takes the reader to front lines of WW1 but focuses on how the experience detaches a man from normal society. It’s not a normal war story at all, but the message is timeless in how damaging war is to the warrior.

    I actually prefer more normal historical fiction like “Gone With the Wind” the book, not the movie and one of the best books I’ve ever read, Passport, by Bruce Herschensohn.

    These stories inspired by to try my hand at a short story set in a real spot, valuable to our local folks as a classic roadhouse that has been there since 1859 and has a colorful history, which left me lots of room to play with. If you’d like to try it out, it’s about a 30 minute read and can be found at this link: https://garyawilsonstories.wordpress.com/the-last-helping-of-roadhouse-stew/

    Hope you’re having a great holiday season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gary, for sharing your thoughts and what you like to read. I enjoy some sci-fi and dystopian stories as well as historical fiction. So much to read, so little time is often my refrain.


  13. I’ll have to put Jo’s book on my list. I’m with Gary as far as reading historical fiction is concerned. That’s my favorite. I like mysteries and romances as well. Sci Fi is growing on me.

    Liked by 1 person

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