Books

I love reading. And I love reading physical books.
Thus, I have a huge number of books on my bookshelves and my “TBR”.


Favourite genre:
Space Opera, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action, Adventure…


Good books are stories well told.



Reading has always been one of my favourite ways to unplug, but also I enjoy becoming immersed in the worlds built by the authors. I am a fast reader, and depending on the writers style, I can polish off a book of up to 350 pages in a few hours.

My Wish Lists: Amazon, Booktopia
Follow me on: Goodreads
If you’d like to read along together: Not Just Heather’s Book Club!
Follow a visual journey of my reading adventures on Instagram

In the past I used an app called My Library to keep track of what’s on my bookshelves.
Now, I use Reading List & Goodreads.

Professional Reader

Photos or links are non-affiliate links to the author’s work/website directly where possible.


My 2024 Reading Goals:
Read 150 books
Complete the 2024 52 Book Club Challenge
Complete the 2024 yearlong read-along of War and Peace
Use the CAWPILE spreadsheet to record books
Read from my shelves
Build more shelves in my library room
Request and be approved for books on NetGalley to share my reviews on upcoming books

2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Just Heather has read 18 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Last Year’s Goals:
Exceed 52 Books – Check
Read Star Wars – Check
Request and be approved for books on NetGalley to share my reviews on upcoming books – Check

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Just Heather has completed her goal of reading 52 books in 2023!
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Books I’ve Read:

Just My Last 3 Books

How To Be Luminous
it was amazing
I picked this up in a clearance sale. I read some of the reviews. And so I went into reading this with very low expectations… however, I was pleasantly surprised to find I didn’t have any of the issues that were mentioned in other revi…
tagged: books-i-own
Scented
it was amazing
I really enjoyed Scented by Laurence Fearnley! I was drawn to the title, the cover, and the book itself wove it’s way into my life in a way that will stay with me for a while. It feels like a NZ book; not just because it’s set in NZ, bu…
tagged: books-i-own
The Hush
it was amazing
This was a great read. It felt like a more interesting, relateable and smoother read than Prophet Song which I read in 2023 before the winner of the Booker was announced.
tagged: books-i-own

goodreads.com

Books I’ve Read

How To Be Luminous
Scented
The Hush
Chocolat
Tunneling to the Center of the Earth
Lanny
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World
Cataclysm
Sea of Tranquility
The Shadow and Bone Trilogy
Before You Know It
The Dark Side of Happiness
The Fraud
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Modern Graphic Retelling of Little Women
Distant Sun: Part 2
Kindred
We Three Heroes
Eugenia: A Man
Eta Draconis


Just Heather’s favorite books »

Books that I’ve been ‘reading’ for a while…

Slowly, but surely, I will finish The Count of Monte Cristo. It is a chonker!
I’m slowly making my way through the Harry Potter series for the first time, and enjoying the experience.
If I make it through The Hobbit it will feel like an achievement…
It’s like LOTR, which I’ve attempted to read many times, but have yet to finish.

Audio Books:
These are some of the Audio Books I have on Audible that I want to listen to:
Links are not affiliate links.

Doctor Aphra by Sarah Kuhn
Jedi Battle Scars by Sam Maggs is currently on my Audible Wishlist

Just a few of the books I’ve read

Listened to in March 2023, whilst reading along with the physical script. Loved it! The Star Wars audio dramas are fun and I definitely prefer the duo listening/reading experience with the audiobook and script!
Really enjoyed this alternative tale of Tangled / Rapunzel. I have also collected the rest of the Twisted Tale series and I cannot wait to get to them!
Loving the adventures throughout The High Republic!
NetGalley Audiobook – narrated by the author.
Jae Nichelle has an incredible way with words, and hearing her share her own poetry with the pacing, intonation, nuance of her voice, made hearing her poems more powerful.
Book 4 in The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey.
I borrowed Ken Folletts book The Pillars of the Earth from the library this year, and while it was a relatively good saga, when I found his contemporary novel Never for $8 at Kmart I decided to give it a go. Really enjoying it so far. Reminds me of Matthew Reilly.
Loved the series! Well written, and an interesting take on what would happen if…
I wasn’t into reading the Animorphs books, but did watch the tv series back in the 90s.
And have seen a few other things out by Michael Grant since picking up the Gone Series.
I have had a copy of The Alienist by Caleb Carr for many years and was one of those that I almost found difficult to get into. But I finally got round to reading it. I would be interested in the next book but after that the characters appear to change. It was an interesting read. I haven’t seen the tv series.
Fellow New Zealander Sam Hurley published his first book ‘Compliance’ and I recently finished reading it. Well done Sam on becoming an author and I enjoyed the story. Looking forward to watching Sam’s journey.
Awesome buddy read with Nic (aka theoriginalbookchook)
5 Stars with the caveat that I got a little lost at the start of Book 2 (chapter 6) because the narration seemed to be different than the style of Richard Papen.
– Buddy read with Nicole Magolan
I didn’t rate this on Goodreads… I read it, I struggled with it. I do want to read Sylvia Plath’s unabridged journals though.
I recently started my Firefly comic collection (March 2021). Being late to the party it’s been hard to find copies, however I recently experienced exceptional service from Comic Book Shop here in New Zealand. They have been the best to deal with (fast, great tracking, and well packaged), as I’ve ordered from various NZ based online retailers while trying to piece together my collection. It’s not easy to find online comic book stores that ship to NZ if they are international, and the postage usually makes it extremely expensive.

Like most things I should have started earlier, but after being a guest with On the Subject for an episode about Serenity, revisiting the film and tv series, and listening to Malcolm share about the Greg Pak Firefly comics, I decided to jump in.

I’ve managed to source quite a few but missing the essentials like #1 & #2. So my collection starts at number three (I have the above cover but inverse: with a red background and grey characters).
I also would love to get #8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25 and 26… haha good luck she says!
Candice Fox is an Australian author who has written a gripping trilogy beginning with Crimson Lake. I have the read the set and though it’s uncomfortable reading in some parts, I was interested in her narrative style and setup. There are twists and turns, but she’s an author like Karen Slaughter – not for the faint hearted.
The other two books in the series are:
Redemption Point and Gone by Midnight.
Book 1 of The Nahx Invasions by G.S. Prendergast.
Listed as YA (Young Adult) – which never bothers me… Some of my most enjoyed books are YA! Found this and its sequel in a sale. The story is told by different characters which isn’t always my favourite narrative style. However I stuck with it, and it was worth it. The author does a good job with the character of Eighth. This book reminded me of a favourite of mine Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden.
One thing I like is that the Nahx suits need solar power – which relates to my solar power life!
The second book in the series is: Cold Falling White.
And I look forward to the continuation of this series.
I read this in an afternoon.

2022 edit: I finally picked up Honor’s Knight from Book Depository (eeek, it was expensive). I found Heaven’s Queen on Amazon AU, and when book 2 finally arrived, I re-read Fortune’s Pawn, then dove straight into Honor’s Knight and Heaven’s Queen and thoroughly enjoyed the series!
I read all three books in the Phobos series by Victor Dixen. They were a fun read and interesting take on settlement on Mars. Apparently there are mixed reviews but I enjoyed the. The other two books are: Distortion and Collision.
Buddy read this with Nic (aka theoriginalbookchook) and really enjoyed the short descent into the ridiculous as Dorian Gray just gives into temptations.
March 2023 – NetGalley ARC
Loved this more than The Dictionary of Lost Words! I am so grateful I had the chance to read the ARC on NetGalley, and can’t wait to own a physical copy.
Book 1 of the Indranan War series by K.B. Wagers. Really enjoyed it, easy to read, was keen to continue the story so began Book 2: After the Crown.
Book 2 of the Indranan War series by K.B. Wagers. Another full action story, following from the saga of Hail & her empire. Bring on Book 3: Beyond the Empire
I had to order the 3rd book in the Indranan War series by K.B. Wagers. I have really enjoyed the action, the backstory that led to this particular matriarchal society, and I would enjoy watching this series as a film – which apparently has been optioned for film & television…
K.B. Wagers has another trilogy on The Farian Wars which is related to the Indranan War trilogy.
She has also begun another series NeoG – which has been compared to The Expanse meets the Battle Room in Ender’s Game… which I am interested in reading if the opportunity arises.
Loved this story. Really on a theme with all these space adventure stories, but I love the escape into sci-fi. I look up at the stars as often as I can, and dream of having my own space adventures!
The first of the Constellation Series by Claudia Gray.
I loved this series telling the tale of Noemi and Abel and the very different worlds they are from. Another excellent space adventure, where the values we hold are what define us.
The other books in the series are:
Defy the Worlds and Defy the Fates.
I found a box set of the GrishaVerse trilogy on sale and eventually finished the third novel in Jan 2024.

Incomplete/On Hold:

I was recently gifted this copy of Dune, and so began another re-read! And have got part way and shelved it for now… just not in the mood for the density of Dune, and my re-read has got me feeling like I’m not actually making progress because it’s all too familiar but in a bad way.
This is my 2nd attempt at reading this one. Since I have been on a theme with my reading list lately I figured I might as well attempt to read this behemoth of a book! At 1144 pages, it’s hefty and one I have to read at a desk/table or with it propped on the armrest of the couch… Not one for reading in bed, because I have dropped many a book on my face, and this one would probably do some damage!
The Telesā series has been on my bookshelf for a while, and it’s been referenced as the ‘Twilight of the Pacific’…
Another New Zealand author: Dan Salmon.
Picked this up in a clearance sale, and had a quick look at it. My first concern is the type font, I find it hard to read… so we’ll see how it goes.
I have put reading on hold for volume one of the Dhulyn and Parno novels. I’m up to page 56-57 but it’s been too hard to really get into.
I found it in a book clearance sale. The pronunciation of the character’s name is addressed before you begin the book in my edition. The author also summarises how she got to the point of writing this story, and I always enjoy that kind of backstory.

Fiction Favourites

My first and all time favourite series that I have read countless times! I wish I had a perfect set like the above photo – however I pieced mine together, including The Ellie Chronicles which came after.
My best friend Bronwyn introduced me to John Marsden’s Tomorrow Series and I was hooked.
The Septimus Heap series is by far my favourite fantasy series. My mum found them, and picked up a few, and I binge read them because I love the characters and the adventures. We pieced together the collection by rummaging through thrift stores/op-shops/second-hand-book stores, and even a library had a sale table where I was able to acquire one of the set.
The 6th book in the Jack West series by Matthew Reilly – I LOVE many of his books…!
I highly recommend Matthew Reilly books for their fast, efficiently written adventures.
The cover I have on mine is different, but I enjoyed this story by Tad Williams, it’s the only one of his books I’ve managed to read. I bought it in England at a quaint bookstore, and carried it all the way home to NZ…
Jasper Fforde is such a clever author. Bringing characters of stories to life and in a comedic but fully believable way, as if they were real people acting out the stories as we read them… His books are a must!

Non-Fiction Favourites

On my journey connecting with nature I found this book by Johanna Knox which is an incredibly useful guide to NZ plants.
Another coffee-table favourite is this book by Lonely Planet!
After missing out on my USA trip in 2020 due to international travel being cancelled, I was feeling at a loss. I picked up this book by chance, and love the images of places far away and the information about them!
Travel the world vicariously through the pages as you enjoy just some of the amazing places the world has to offer!
Anna Akana is a YouTube celebrity. This was another library sale find. I found it interesting learning more about Anna from her book and the lessons in her letters to her sister. She shares similar things on her YouTube channel, and occasionally I watch some.
Recommended by friend Mark Diaz, the Austin Kleon series that started with Steal Like an Artist have been a great pick me up when I’ve faltered. I particularly like this one, Keep Going. Simple, common sense suggestions for how to keep calm and carry on.
The Creative Writing Journal by Julian Flanders is a book similar to Embrace Your Weird where the writing prompts/activities help to get you out of creative funk and nudge you into the direction of creating something.
Stop Look Breathe Create featured in my Favourites of September 2020 video I made for Geeks Rising because it resonates with all the things I am and love; nature, creativity, writing, photography, mindfulness. This book Is beautiful, and inspires a feeling of fresh creativity. Wendy offers four steps to mindfulness through creativity there are 9 projects to complete. I am currently working through these projects and can’t wait to share the results with you!
Workbook to help you get out of a creativity block or in my case a bout of depression – this book by Felicia Day appeared at a time when I needed some help and encouragement to express myself. Fellow Geeks Rising member Zach Jackson interviewed Felicia for the Conversations With Creators podcast and after listening to their conversation I ordered a copy and began working through the activities.
I loved being a part of the FEA (Female Entreprenuer Association) and bought several copies of Carrie Green’s first book She Means Business to share with friends and family. I love Carrie’s approach to empowering women in their endeavours.
I don’t often buy magazines or anything, but this book reminded me of a magazine and it stood out as a reminder to be intentional in our lifestyle about self-care.

Self care is one of the hardest wellbeing practices for me, but I love this coffe-table style book to enjoy as part of my self care.
This awesome series of books by Herron Publishing features mini books on a variety of wellbeing topics that offer 150 little ways to make a big change.

Simple, yet effective reminders to help us check in and take action on our wellbeing journeys.

I also have a card set that compliments the series which are fun draw a card from as like an affirmation or thought for the day card.
I loved this book so much. It resonated with me by giving a voice to my feelings, but also making me feel anguish for the struggles of the author. I laughed out loud in several places, and also cried. I haven’t been as moved by any other book as I was by this one by Jenny Lawson…. It might not be your cup of tea, but I am glad I read this, and even more so that I have my own copy.
This was a another of my library clearance bargain finds… I love books, like Jasper Fforde that twist an idea and create something unique. As a book lover, this one is an interesting take on the history of books, written by a ‘book’…


Books I am mentioned in:

Emily Prokop included me in the chapter on Solar Panels! Thank you so much Emily! 🥰

#EmilyIsAmazing – Emily Prokop is a podcaster I met at the beginning of my podcast journey with Sunshine & PowerCuts. She was so warm and welcoming and supportive of my crazy idea for a podcast featuring two very different types of episodes. And so I listened to her podcast The Story Behind, where she shares trivia about every day things, that you may or may not know. I was so excited to hear she got a book deal, and if you skip to the chapter on Solar Panels – Emily was amazing and mentioned me!
Notable mention in Field Work by Ben Brown 🥰

Field Work by Ben Brown
SO EXCITED for this photography book by friend, favourite photographer, host of The Tourette’s Podcast, ambassador for the Tourette’s Association, Ben Brown of Ben Brown Multimedia!

P.S. The first edition pre-orders sold out faster than hot cakes! So happy for Ben!
He has signed them and posted them out.