Some books are good and bad at the same time #WOYBS

Welcome to another month of #WOYBS!

April is almost at an end which means it’s time for our monthly What’s On Your Bookshelf post and linkup. What have you been reading?

I’ve been quite busy this past month and it seems I haven’t been reading at the same pace as in previous months, but that’s good, it means I’ve been busy exploring different things.

What’s On Your Bookshelf Challenge (WOYBS)

brought to you by Sue, Donna, Jo and Debbie

What have I read since my last post?

Last month I wrote about That empty feeling when you finish a series and others agreed with me that it’s a real ‘thing’.

A bit of a mixed bag again this month, I do like to mix things up!

Two stand out books from this list

Estella by Kathy George

Estella was a serendipitous find on NetGalley. It will be published on 3 May 2023.

From Goodreads:

‘A haunting and darkly beautiful retelling of Dickens’s Great Expectations.’ Karen Brooks, author. The icily enigmatic anti-hero of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations tells her own story … and changes the ending in this beguiling feminist take on a classic for readers of Pip Williams and Karen Brooks.

Estella is beautiful, headstrong, enigmatic – but who is she, really? Will she ever be able to break free from the constraints of society’s expectations and her own childhood? Will Estella finally find a way to tell her own story?

This evocative and mesmerising retelling of Great Expectations sheds light on a little understood character in one of Dickens’s most beloved novels.

This was a fabulous book to read especially as I’d just finished Great Expectations for our online bookclub. It tells the story of Great Expectations through the eyes of Estella and was very cleverly done. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt

From Goodreads:

Once you’re online, there’s nowhere to hide

Is it paranoia – or is someone watching?

For years, Reagan Carsen has kept her life offline. No socials. No internet presence. No photos. Safe.

Until the day she stumbles on a shocking murder in a Sydney laneway. The victim looks just like her.


As more murders shake the city and she’s increasingly drawn out from hiding, Reagan is forced to confront her greatest fear.

She’s been found.

A riveting psychological thriller drawn from true events, Dark Mode delves into the terrifying reality of the dark web, and the price we pay for surrendering our privacy one click at a time.

This was a fabulous book and kept me engrossed and scared me at times too!

Books that are both good and bad (at the same time)

I’m specifically talking about the End of Days series by John Birmingham which I’ve been listening to on Audible.

These books have me in a quandary.

They are both good and bad at the same time. They can be confusing, frustrating, and even infuriating, but they also have the potential to be entertaining and thought provoking. These types of books challenge me to keep reading, to think critically, to question my assumptions, and to think about my values. Also I get to wonder how I’d react if it was me in this situation.

On the one hand I am enjoying the story, I always like the dystopian, post apocalyptic genre but on the other hand the content and some of the characters are at times misogynistic, macho, violent, sexist, sexual and just plain awful. There is a warning on the books – Please note: this audiobook series contains mature content and listener discretion is advised – which is very appropriate, as the content isn’t for the fainthearted.

I’ve finished both book 1 and 2 and am currently working my way through book 3 – which says a lot! I have considered stopping but there are some characters who I care about and I’m keen to see where the author takes us in this new world order. It’s showing some of the worst of human behaviour but there are glimpses of hope in there too. So I’ll carry on for the moment!

  • Book 1 – Zero Day Code is set in a realistic near future with dwindling global food supplies under increasing pressure from worsening droughts, floods and extreme weather events. Written by prolific Australian writer John Birmingham, the thriller follows a handful of survivors from the first day of society’s descent into violent, uncertain futures.
  • Book 2 – Fail StateOn Zero Day of the first and last cyberwar in human history the internet went dark, transport and power grids collapsed and cities began to starve. Ten days later millions have died from thirst and starvation, from violence and from the simple failure of the world’s machines to keep them alive. All of them are seeking sanctuary. A safe place where the madness hasn’t penetrated. But does such a place exist?
    And what if they need to sacrifice their very humanity in the struggle to reach it?
  • Book 3 – American Kill SwitchWhy do some societies collapse into lawless savagery while others prove resilient and lasting? This final instalment of this prescient epic of civilisation collapse finds the small ragtag band of survivors come together to face a new, but eerily familiar threat – the rise of a fascist militia among the ruins of a failing country.

Books that are good and bad at the same time are often worth reading precisely because they challenge us and force us to engage with difficult topics or areas outside our comfort zones. It’s a very personal thing and sometimes it’s the timing of reading a book, not that the book itself is ‘good’ or ‘bad’We shouldn’t shy away from them, but rather embrace them as opportunities for growth and learning. If you can manage to keep reading that is!

Have you read any books that fall into this category? Share them in the comments and let’s have a conversation!

What am I reading at this very moment?

  • Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – our online bookclub has started reading classics and this is our next book
  • Fire with Fire by Candice Fox – I always enjoy her writing and this one is gripping!
  • American Kill Switch by John Birmingham (end of days #3) – listening to this via Audible
  • Homecoming by Kate Morton – we’ve just started listening to this while driving and it’s taking a while to get into but I think it will be good!

What’s on Your Bookshelf link party

I’m very happy to co-host this link party with my good friends, SueDonna,  & Jo and enjoy discovering new books to add to my ever increasing piles. I always make notes of new books to read as I go through everyone’s posts each month. Do you do that too?

We all share different tastes in books so we’ll probably have something to interest you, and it could even lead to a new author or genre! We all try to visit everyone who has joined the linkup and we appreciate your support.

Will you join in?

If you’re into reading, please consider joining us, even if it’s just to leave a comment with what you’ve been reading. We’ve added a linkup (at the end of my post) so you can add your posts directly there and see what others have posted about for the month as well.

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

Sue from Women Living Well After 50

Donna from Retirement Reflections (Donna’s on a blogging break)

Jo from And Anyways

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

All my WOYBS posts can be found here – we started this series in August 2021 and the good news is that it’s still going strong!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter…

Happy reading!

Deb xx

Guidelines for WOYBS:

What: What’s On Your Bookshelf #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge
When: Third Thursday PM (Northern Hemisphere)/ Third Friday AM (Southern Hemisphere).

Third Thursday, 2 pm (PST)/Third Friday, 8 am (AEST).

Coming dates:

  • May 18/19
  • June 15/16
  • July 20/21
  • Aug 18/19
  • Sept 14/15
  • Oct 19/20
  • Nov 16/17
  • Dec 14/15

Why: Share a love of reading.
Where: Linkup, 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. You can use the hashtag #Whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

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 – All rights reserved

46 Replies to “Some books are good and bad at the same time #WOYBS”

    1. I’m glad you get what I mean Barbara, it’s not bad enough to give up as I really want to see what happens in the end – which means it’s not that bad really! I found Dark Mode to be good, so I hope others enjoy it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Deb another great round up of books. I had trouble getting Estella to open so haven’t been able to read that one. Mrs Dalloway is confusing me but after reading reviews it appears I’m not the only one. Dark Mode is definitely on my list so thanks for the review. Love co-hosting the WOYBS link up with you and thanks for being a stunning host. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a shame Estella wouldn’t open for you Sue! It was a great way to follow up on Great Expectations and gave me different awareness of Estella’s role. I’m so glad we have this monthly opportunity to share our books, both good and bad, as it’s a great way of learning from others and finding new books to read! Thanks for being a great co-host too 🙂


  2. I’ve read a few books where I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed reading them, yet scenes, characters and elements have stayed with me long after the scenes and characters in books I’ve enjoyed have gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like how you noted the category of books that are good and bad and might have value “if one can keeps reading” – ha
    But it also says a lot that you were able to care about the characters and I would say the author had some skill if they were able to do that with readers
    And Paris for One sounds like an above Xmas gift!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Yvette, I had trouble articulating what I meant by good and bad books as it is highly personal and can even depend on what’s going on in our daily lives as to how we react to certain books.


  4. Interesting stuff! I’m especially interested in Fire with Fire. And I note books that I want to read while reading these posts. I go right to my library online and add them to my shelf for later. And it doesn’t have Fire with Fire but lots of others by that author. I’ve got a post ready to go but I’m going to wait until morning to post as I’m about to call it a day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great idea to take notes as you read through the posts and I do the same! You never know what might be your next great read! I use our library a lot for both ebooks and audio books, it’s much cheaper than buying them! Candice Fox is a good Australian author so in my opinion you can’t go wrong with any of her books. I really The Chase. Fire with Fire isn’t released in UK or US until early May from what I can see. I enjoyed your post, thanks for linking up 🙂


      1. Ah, that’s obviously the reason it’s not at my library. I just looked up The Chase and the only copy they have is large print 🤓 Oh! I could try out large print, whee! ha ha. Going to place that one on my shelf which I hope will remind me to look for the other one in the coming months. Thanks for the info!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked a Gentleman In Moscow too and have The Lincoln Highway to read but have heard it’s not as good as A G in Moscow. Hope you can join us next month Marsha 🙂


  5. I am definitely not reading Dark Mode. I am such a light weight with that kind of stuff. I hate when it comes out at night in my dreams. I tried to find Fire with Fire on my library app but didn’t find one by that author but just put Homecoming on hold. Thanks for the suggestions. Unlike you when I find a bad book — I just return it and don’t finish it. I figure life is too short for books one does not enjoy. Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Dark Mode isn’t for everyone Bernie, I understand! Fire with Fire isn’t out in the US or UK just yet from what I can see, maybe look for it in early May. I agree life’s too short at times 🙂


  6. The John Birmingham books sound intriguing, I love dystopian thrillers. And I’ll add the Estella book to my holiday list. I found her an interesting character in Great Expectations but we didn’t know too much about her. Have a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really want to finish the series Gail, and as I said in my post, I care about some of the characters now, so the books aren’t all bad! Estella was a great read and I enjoyed reading the fictional view of her life.


  7. Quite a few people have recommended Dark Mode so I’m going to read that. I thought you were one of them but maybe I’m mixed up…I went to see the play of A room of one’s own after reading Mrs Dalloway but in my head I’d read a room of one’s own and I kept thinking “This is nothing like the book” HA! About midway thru I realised my mistake….I did like A room of one’s own a lot more….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I think I mentioned that I was reading it or had just finished as I pressed publish on a previous post so I may have double-dipped on Dark Mode, but I thought it was worth mentioning and hope you enjoy it too. Let me know! I think Mrs Dalloway is confusing in lots of ways – good story though 🙂


  8. Finally figured out how to add my post to InLinkz. I tried to remove my pingback as it looks like I shouldn’t have done that? 🤷‍♀️ Sorry about that. And now I see more bookshelf posts that I didn’t happen upon with tags on WP. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well done, hope you enjoy reading the posts from others and thanks again for persevering to get your link included. It’s great to have you join us 🙂


  9. The Dark Mode book sounds interesting – another one to go on my wish list.
    I’m impressed that you have stuck with the dystopian series by Birmingham. I like the premise of the stories but think I might find them a bit too depressing as they sound like they could become reality with the way the world is going these days. You have certainly got me thinking about trying this type of genre. Thanks for sharing your reads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoyed it Janine and hope you do too! I’m down to the last 3 hours of the John Birmingham series and can see the end in sight now. It’s been quite good to see it through, although I had to remind myself I was listening to a fictional story and not real life at times!


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