Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of 2015 ~ Top 10 Favourite Reads

In 2015 I:

made wonderful memories with my granddaughter, she is such a joy and I've loved sharing some of those special moments with you.

had fun times with family

shared my love of reading with Mia

celebrated my youngest son turning 21, my eldest 24 and Mia 1

pursued my love of photography

read 90 books (86 fiction and 4 non-fiction)

completed 3/5 reading challenges 

epically failed at updating challenges 

swam with the turtles at Lady Elliot Island & saw turtle hatchlings

started a vegetable plot in our local community garden

cooked some great and not so great recipes from Pinterest 

battled peripheral neuropathy in my hands

embraced "clean-eating" (mostly)

bought a Thermomix, to make cooking with my dodgy hands a little safer and easier

got heart healthy walking with FitReaders and my Fitbit for another 12 months ... pats self on back :)

read even more Australian fiction (5 Australian authors** on my favourite reads list)

Loved participating in:


So many amazing books, it's hard to narrow it down but here's my best ... the reads that have left a lasting impression for one reason or another.  Click on the title if you want to see my full review. Bring on another wonderful year of reading!

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah ~ one of the best books I've read ... the kind of best that lands a novel on my books-to-be-buried-with list. I left a piece of my heart on the pages of The Nightingale.

COME FULL CIRCLE by Sherryl Caulfield (Iceberg Trilogy #3)** ~ breathtaking ... my heart is happy! 

BLACK-EYED SUSANS by Julia Heaberlin ~ intelligent, edgy and tight. The best kind of pyschological thriller ... the suspense nearly killed me. 

BURNT PAPER SKY by Gilly Macmillan ~ Tight, pacy and smart and OMG the tension, it kept me guessing. A heart-in-mouth read ... start to finish. 

THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton** ~ love, loyalty, loss and long-held secrets. I lost myself in another time and place.

THE PARIS KEY by Juliet Blackwell ~ a story about secrets, family, friends and discovering one's true self ... in Paris. It's warm and touching and delightful. A just-because favourite this year.

THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE by Amy E. Reichert ~ a foodie's dream story; warm, funny, sweet, delicious, sad and I adored every mouth-watering, lip-smacking minute of it. 

INSIDE THE O'BRIENS by Lisa Genova ~ education and awareness gently wrapped in humour and heart.  

NORTHERN HEAT by Helene Young** ~ an addictive mix of nail-biting tension and characters to emotionally invest in. Totally worth the sleep deprivation.

THE THINGS WE KEEP by Sally Hepworth ~ heartbreaking and heartwarming (review January)

I'd feel bad not mentioning these wonderful reads ... 


MENAGERIE by Rachel Vincent ~ Menagerie is dark and brutal and superbly imagined, the complex world building blew my mind and ripped at my heart. Gabra Zackman nails the narration, pacing, distinct voices and personalities for an array of characters. I loved this one! 

THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir ~ The Martian was A-MAZING. Narrator R.C. Bray, deserves a high five, a medala raise ... absolutely brilliant narration. It's tense, emotional, snerk funny and a surprise favourite read this year. 

OUTBACK MIDWIFE by Beth McRae** ~ Beth's memoir is an entertaining read with humorous and heartbreaking anecdotes and with 40 years experience as a midwife, it's like getting the history of midwifery in Australia without the dry history lesson. Caroline Lee's narration is compelling.

THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand ~ The strength of The Last Time We Say Goodbye is in its down-to-earth simplicity, it's the raw, simple, messy truth that is grief. Julia Whelan is one of my favourite narrators, she has the uncanny ability of becoming a character. 

THE WINTER CROWN by Elizabeth Chadwick (Eleanor of Aquitaine #2) ~ Katie Scarfe's narration is brilliant. Her tone, inflection, emotion; I could listen to her all day. In this and The Summer Queen, she is AliĆ©nor ... one female historical figure I never tire of reading about. 19 hours ... who knew? 

and you can't go wrong with these 


BE BRAVE, PINK PIGLET by Phil Cummings ~ Mia's favourite ... 'nuf said :)

Happy Birthday to my amazing Dad who turns 73 today. Love you Dad xx 


  1. What a great year you had! I've enjoyed your Mia updates and your photos. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who failed at updating challenges! It's definitely not my strong suit! Pretty much all the books you named I either loved or are on my TBR. Hope 2016 is fantastic!

  2. I love your lists! Hoping 2016 will be even better and you feel better as well. I need to go look up Mia's favorite. I love the cover.

  3. Oh, I love reading about your year. So many wonderful things and a few sorrows - but that's life, right? I do enjoy your blog so much. Have actually read a couple of your favorites and have several more on my shelves to read in 2016. I know that we all will have a great year of reading in 2016. How could we not? Happy New Year to you and your family!

  4. Happy Birthday to your Dad! It looks like you've had an overall marvelous year. I've only read the Nightingale on your list, but all of your books sounds great including Mia's. I'm planning on getting a Fitbit to see what all the fun is about. I hope you have a wonderful 2016!

  5. Nice post! Both The Menagerie and Winter crown sound great, I love a good historical and Eleanor of Aquitaine would be fascinating to read about. Maybe I should get the audio...

    And The Iceberg trilogy and Black eyed susans look good too. Looks like a pretty fabulous reading year! Hope 2016 is the same! Happy New Year!

  6. What a precious picture and fulfilling year you've had! I completely agree with you about those books I've read that are on your list. Several on your list are on my backlist; you're making it hard to pick my next book.

  7. We also bought a thermomix this year! Hope you continue on your path to healthy living and the benefits that follow. Sounds like despite some set backs you have had s good year!

  8. Happy Birthday to your dad! Despite some difficulties with my health this year having Cole around helped get me through it. He brings such joy as I am sure you can attest to with Mia! We are expecting a granddaughter in February! The Nightingale will be on my list too.

  9. A lot of your faves are on my list too ... #1 being The Martian -- hands down my fave book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. What a lovely year and I also love that our lists are so different! Looking forward to continuing our book-blogging relationship in 2016! xx

  11. What a year, great things and not so great. Love the sound of nearly all your books listed and I am going to check out a couple of those audios. Interesting to see Sally Hepworth's book there, that sure wrung me out. I am going to listen to The Menagerie in 2016 because you have loved it so much and just seen it mentioned to by Debbie at The Reading Frenzy so.... You are a big influence on my reading!!! And I love it. By the way there is a book on NetGalley at the moment that has turtles in it - A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden, not sure what it will be like, debut and NZ author. Thought of your experience this year when I requested it. Waiting for the first book of 2016 reveal!!

  12. I have added a few to my must read in 2016. I hear Kate Morton definitely takes away, I want to try her. One of your choices is going to be my 1st read of the year and I love Lisa Genova, can't believe I missed this release to be honest. You had a great year of reading.

  13. What a wonderful year!! I'm seeing several books I need to add to my list. The Nightingale is so unforgettable and definitely made my list for the year. I hope 2016 is equally wonderful for you. Happy New Year!

  14. Sounds like you had a great year with some great reading too! I loved The Nightingale. That is definitely my favorite book of the year. I also really liked Inside the O'Briens and The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. I will have to give The Martian another try. Maybe I'll listen to the audio this time.

    Happy 2016! May it be the best year yet!

  15. So delighted to make your Top 10 list amongst such esteemed authors and so grateful to have this great list of books as a reference. The Nightingale was a favourite read of mine too, along with All The Light We Cannot See. And now 2016, time for me to start my next story! Exciting and overwhelming at the same time! xo

  16. I want to read every book on your list! You are a great advocate for your favorites :) I think I need to get my hands on Nightengale first. I LOVE that pic of Mia and your son. Perfect! How are your hands doing? Is the clean diet making you feel better?


Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box