September 2023 Book Reviews

September 2023 Book Reviews

The post September 2023 Book Reviews is part of the #What’sonyourBookshelfchallenge

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Hello Everybody,

How has your reading gone this month?  I feel like it was only yesterday that I was reviewing my August reads.  Consequently,  I don’t seem to have as many books to review this month.  I think this is probably because I am back into the usual routines of life and don’t have the same amount of time to read that I did when I was away travelling.  Anyhow, you can find my slim September 2023 Book reviews below.

In other book news:

I went to my first Gold Coast Writers meeting and listened to author Michelle Upton, who has just released her latest book ‘Terms of Inheritance’.

terms of inheritance Michelle Upton

She is a fellow ‘pom’ now living in Australia, originally from Birmingham.  She is a great talker and deep dived into her whole writing process.  I loved how she comes up with much of her story development when she is out on a run.  The best ideas always come when you are away from your desk/computer.  

The blurb for her new book:  Multi-millionaire Jacki Turner decides to set each of her daughters a challenge to complete before they can be eligible to inherit her vast fortune.   I have bought a copy of the book and will hopefully review it in my next book review post. 

The second half of the talk was from Cynthia Terelst who is a romance author.  She talked about the importance of writing the first chapter so that you catch your reader’s attention.  I think as reader’s we can all relate to the fact that if we don’t get drawn into a story within at least the first 3 or 4 chapters we may not stick with the book (I’m certainly learning that I don’t have to finish a book if it doesn’t interest me!).

Then they had a raffle and I won!

gold coast writers group

I received a copy of Jen Swenson’s latest book ‘Goldie the Unchicken’.  It’s a great children’s illustrated book, perfect as a kids Christmas gift.  It’s in the style of the Ugly Duckling story but better!   I especially liked that it has hidden surprises for kids to search for throughout the book.  

Goldie the Unchicken book cover

book illustration Goldie the Unchicken

Thanks to the following bloggers for allowing me to take part in the #Whatsonyourbookshelf challenge.

Deb from Deb’s World

Jo from AndAnyways

Donna from Retirement Reflections

Sue from Women Living Well after 50

Please follow the link here to check out the other book reviews in this challenge.  I’m sure you are going to discover lots of interesting books to add to your book wish list.

Redemption (Eva “Lightning Dance” Duran Book 1) – Deborah J. Ledford (fiction)


I’m not sure how I feel about this book.

It’s set on a Native American reservation, so I really enjoyed the insights into the difficulties that the people who live their experience and it provides a new setting for the genre of crime writing.

The plot centers around four native women who go missing.  They are all important and well recognised in their community for their talents of basket weaving, drum making, jewellery making and White Dove, who is an outstanding hoop dancer, is even revered outside the reservation.    Her best friend, Eva Duran is a cop and sets about trying to find out what has happened to her fellow native women.   Eva is also trying to look after Kai, White Dove’s teenage son.  

Added to the mix is the fact that all four women had sunk into drug addiction so the police are generally not concerned about looking for the women.

When each woman starts turning up dead,  Eva is in a race against time to find her friend before she suffers the same fate.

The issue I have with this book is that the reader knows from the start where the women are and who has them, so there is no guessing games for the reader.  Plus, I didn’t feel the author really explained the killer’s motives fully.

I did enjoy the book as it explored a different culture and place. The characters were all engaging and well developed but I just felt that I would have enjoyed more mystery to the plot.

That being said, I will look out for the follow up books and give them a go, as it has been really interesting learning about Native American culture.  Ledford also has another police procedural series which I might check out as well.  Ledford is part Eastern Band Cherokee so I feel I am getting an authentic insight into Native American culture through her stories.   Overall a refreshing change to the usual crime thriller set up.


The Land Girls – Victoria Purman (fiction)

 I saw this book for sale for just $8 (which is cheap by Australian book prices) when I was in the post office, so I couldn’t resist snapping it up.  I had recently heard the author, Victoria Purman on the Writer’s bookclub podcast (you can listen here) so I thought I would give it a go.
I guess the genre is women’s historical fiction.  Set during World War II (my unintentional theme at the moment) it tells the story of three young Australian girls who’s lives are torn apart by the war.  With brothers, sisters, boyfriends and husbands sent off to war, the girls search for a way to do their bit for their country.  They all decide to join the Australian Women’s Land Army.  The reader is then taken on their adventures to remote agricultural farms in Australia, picking cherries, apples, grapes, flax etc.  The scenery is beautifully described and provides a safe haven from the ugliness of war.  But that ugliness is never far away and it begins to take it’s toll on the girls in different ways.
This was a really easy and entertaining read.  I loved the historial context of learning about life in Australia during the Second World War and the impact it had on people’s lives there.  The characters were all engaging and likeable and I wanted to read to the end of the story to find out what happened to them all.
I’m going to look out for Victoria’s latest novel, A Women’s Work next which is about two very different women entering the Australia Women’s Weekly cookery contest in 1956.  

The Lottery – Shirley Jackson (short story fiction)

The Lottery Shirley Jackson

This story was recommended in a newsletter and I just ended up following the link.  You can read it here

Written in 1948 it’s a story about a mysterious annual lottery that takes place in a village/country but the reader doesn’t really know where. 

It’s rather a dark short story but a good read over a coffee break.

I checked out this book as part of my word of the year “CREATE

The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to higher creativity – Julia Cameron (non-fiction)

I have heard so many creatives rave about this book, so I thought I should really check it out.

Many of these creatives swear that by using Cameron’s techniques such as ‘artist’s dates’ and ‘morning pages’, they have released their creativity and productivity.   They rave about Cameron’s descriptions of the artist’s journey and how anyone can find their creative side.

Sadly, i just couldn’t get into this book at all.  Cameron has a very wordy and literary style, and unlike Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic where I couldn’t wait to continue reading, I found myself dreading reading the next page of this book.

So, in my new found liberation of not reading a book to the end just because I think I should, I didn’t!

Anyone else read this one? Did you enjoy it?  Is it just me?


Well, that’s it for this month.  Drop me a comment below, and do let me know what you’ve been reading this month. I love hearing about good books!

If you missed my last book review you can catch up here

September 2023 Book Reviews

6 thoughts on “September 2023 Book Reviews”

  1. Hi Janine, finally getting around to commenting! It’s great to have you join up and I like that the regular posts help keep you on track with your reading. It helps keep me accountable too and I always enjoy seeing what others are reading. The Artist’s Way sounds interesting but more interesting is that both you and Jo had trouble getting into it, although as you say I’ve heard so many people rave about it and follow her ideas to the letter -which is good if it helps them find creativity. Some of your books mentioned are going on the wait list! Thanks again 🙂

    1. Hi Deb – I’m not surprised you have only just had chance to comment – you look like you have been very busy. I hope you are enjoying your time in Queensland with family. I definitely need to have a go at the Murwillambah cycle track – hopefully when my kids go back to school!
      These regular link ups are really helping me blog regularly, which in turn is helping me develop more creativity. Thanks again for putting the effort in to make the link ups such good fun.

  2. You know what, when I first read The Artists Way about 20 years ago I thought it was great although I never actually got past about week 3 and I struggled with parts. I recently tried to get into it again and … yeah and nah. Big Magic though, that does it for me. Really does it for me.

    1. Oh that’s interesting. I guess reading tastes have changed. When Julia wrote hers I guess we accepted/expected more formal/literary styles of writing. Now it’s much more accepted to have a chatty conversation style. I think that’s why Big Magic really works. I love hearing Julia Cameron in interviews though and understand her philosophy far easier in that format.

  3. Hi, Janine – Thank you for helping to nourish our bodies and our minds with your meals and your reviews. Love the spaghetti bolognaise. I haven’t (yet) read any of the books on your current list but will explore them further. Thank you for joining us for #What’sOnYourBookshelf.

    1. Hi Donna – thanks so much for your comments and support. You guys have really helped me to be more consistent with my blogging and I love reading what everyone else has been reading and eating. Thanks again for the link parties

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