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2017 Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge

Twitter hashtag #aww2017

You can sign up on the official AWW website here:
http://australianwomenwriters.com/---/sign-up
and choose your level:

•Stella: read 4 – if reviewing, review at least 3
•Miles: read 6 – if reviewing, review at least 4
•Franklin: read 10 – if reviewing, review at least 6
•Create your own challenge: nominate your own goal


What is it?

The Australian Women Writers Challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, Australian and non-Australian, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year. You don’t have to be a writer to sign up. You can choose to read and review, or read only.

The challenge will run from Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2017.
You can sign up at any time throughout 2017.

You can link your review of a book written by a female Australian author to AWW that you have read on the AWW website here:
http://australianwomenwriters.com/---/link-your-review


So, post your challenge level and your reads here.

Complete Thread

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Twitter hashtag #aww2017

You can sign up on the official AWW website here:
http://australianwomenwriters.com/sign-up/
and choose your level:

•Stella: read 4 – if reviewing, review at least 3
•Miles: read 6 – if reviewing, review at least 4
•Franklin: read 10 – if reviewing, review at least 6
•Create your own challenge: nominate your own goal


What is it?

The Australian Women Writers Challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, Australian and non-Australian, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year. You don’t have to be a writer to sign up. You can choose to read and review, or read only.

The challenge will run from Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2017.
You can sign up at any time throughout 2017.

You can link your review of a book written by a female Australian author to AWW that you have read on the AWW website here:
http://australianwomenwriters.com/link-your-review/


So, post your challenge level and your reads here.
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Like last year not entering the challenge but enjoying recording how many books I read by Australian Women Writers
1: big little lies by Liane Moriarty. Yummy mummies and domestic violence. I find DV tales a bit too close to a past life of mine. Flashbacks are triggered. I endorse this tale. Well written. As a former teacher the ganging up of parents was very familiar. Read it.
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The Swiss in Australia by Susanna Wegmann. A library interloan book borrowed as part of my family tree pursuit of my great great grandfather Henri Brunetti who came from Ticino to the Victoria goldfields and then onto the New Zealand goldfields. My research suggests he may have been part of a group of more than 1000 men and 3 women who came, sponsored by their fellow villagers to seek their fortune and to send remittances home. I think they mainly settled in Dalesford Victoria. Many for religious reasons married Irish women. I just need to find his name on some documentation.A retirement project perhaps?
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Pulitzer prize winner Brooks is Australian born. I have just completed her The Secret Chord for the 666 challenge- The story of King David reimagined. She does this so well. A vivid portrayal of a complex man and the society he lived in.
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Let the Dead Lie - the second of hers I have read, they are set in Sth Africa in the apartheid era and they are very good
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https://www.goodreads.com/---/1921425737 - 6/10

A nice paranormal romance with a bit of adventure thrown in. The main characters are dragons of sea & air who live in the world in human form. I liked Destiny very much. Trae was a bit too full of himself but remained likeable. The baddies are veeery bad. There were a few inconsistencies in the story but it was enjoyable & very easy reading.
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I have 1 or 2 nearing the top of Mt TBR, so am pretty confident that as its only Feb I should be able to knock off the 6 required to meet "Miles" for 2017.
Will check back in when I'm underway with #1.
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Dissection Sent to me as part of the Australasian Wishlist Tag Game. The story of a Melbourne GP being sued for negligence while her marriage falls apart. Recommended
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http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14414471

About the Book:
Published March 2016 by Pan Macmillan AU
When 25-year-old Bella Michaels is brutally murdered in the small town of Strathdee, the community is stunned and a media storm descends.

Unwillingly thrust into the eye of that storm is Bella's beloved older sister, Chris, a barmaid at the local pub, whose apparent easygoing nature conceals hard-won wisdom and the kind of street-smarts only experience can bring.

As Chris is plunged into despair and searches for answers, reasons, explanation - anything - that could make even the smallest sense of Bella's death, her ex-husband, friends and neighbours do their best to support her. But as the days tick by with no arrest, Chris's suspicion of those around her grows.

An Isolated Incident is a psychological thriller about everyday violence, the media's obsession with pretty dead girls, the grip of grief and the myth of closure, and the difficulties of knowing the difference between a ghost and a memory, between a monster and a man.

My Review:
Its been a long 4 years since Emily Maguire released a new book, and my word do I wish she gave us more of her writing to enjoy more regularly.
That aside, this was by far her best since her debut "Taming the Beast" which upon reading I described as "A spyglass into the world of abuse, weakness, strength and perversion....not for the faint hearted."
"An Isolated Incident" cemented her as one of my all time favourite authors, and I have no doubt will be hard pressed not to be my “Best Read of 2017”.
Set against a backdrop of violence in Australia's central coast, this story portrays how being a woman can be quite frankly nothing short of shitty!
I miss Chris already!
I love Emily Maguire's unapologetic, shoot straight from the hip prose and look forward to her next book.

Hoping this wins The Stella Prize in 2017
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http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13494246/

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Published 2010 by Penguin
Sydney, 1992. Nhu 'Ned' Kelly is a young detective making her way in what was, until recently, the best police force money could buy. Now ICAC has the infamous Roger Rogerson in the spotlight, and the old ways are out. Ned's sex and background still make her an outsider in the force, but Sydney is changing, expanding, modernising, and so is the Job.

When two bodies are found in the foundations of an old building in Sydney's west, Ned is drawn into the city's past: old rivalries, old secrets and old wrongs. As she works to discover who the bones belong to – and who dumped them there – she begins to uncover secrets that threaten to expose not only the rotten core of the police force, but also the dark mysteries of her own family.

MY REVIEW:
A pretty hard slog up until the last 75 pages or so.
Liked the storyline and the idea behind it, it also tackles some very big taboo subjects...but it just wasn't all that polished.
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Domestic violence in the burbs. Very similar in style to Big Little Lies.
Domestic Violence is horrid but I found this an easier read than the subject deserves, however if it opens up the topic for just one who as a result leaves then that is great.
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Highly recommend this wonderful book set in a remote farming community that is enduring years of drought. Police officer returns to his home town. Is his old mate guilty? What really happened all those years ago. Harper skillfully weaves the two tragic stories together in this very well written novel.
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Highly recommend this wonderful book set in a remote farming community that is enduring years of drought. Police officer returns to his home town. Is his old mate guilty? What really happened all this years ago. Harper skillfully weaves the two tragic stories together in this very well written novel.

This is next in line on my TBR pile - I've heard nothing but good things thus far!
http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14558889
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Surely, I have read more than one Australian woman author this year? I will have to make it so for the rest of the year.

I'm glad I took Edwardstreet's recommendation for this book. One of the best reads this year for me.

Cross-post from 666 thread:-

The Dry (Aaron Falk #1) written by Jane Harper

"Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well..."
https://www.goodreads.com/---/27824826-the-dry

Set in and outback, small town of Australia during a prolonged drought. Aaron Falk left town under a cloud in his teens. Now a Federal Policman, he has returned for his best friend's funeral. Luke's mother doesn't think Luke was capable of murdering his family and she asks Aaron to investigate. Full of suspense, full-on and well-written, so I am putting the next in the series, Force of Nature(?) on my tbr list.

It has been "optioned as a film by American actor Reece Witherspoon's company."


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Earlier this year, I read this memoir of Sally Cooper, a former ABC radio journalist/producer from Sydney .

She writes of the time she spent in Afghanistan between 2003 to 2006, mentoring Afghani trainee journalists for United Nations IRIN news agency. They were trying to establish a number of radio stations in the country with emphasis on including women trainees. Most of Cooper's time was spent in the main office in Kabul with trips to other areas. Interesting reading about the program she was with, the Afghani trainees and their culture and the international volunteer and NGO community shenanigans.


1. The Dry by Jane Harper
2. A Burqa and a Hard Place: Three Years in the New Afghanistan by Sally Cooper
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My latest novel for Australian Women Writers is a crime thriller.

'Only Daughter' by Anna Snoekstra

In 2003 teenager, Rebecca Winter, disappears from her small hometown. Eleven years later a young woman with an uncanny likeness to Bec is caught shoplifting in Bec's hometown. She is running from an 'incident' within her family, so to avoid arrest and being identified and returned home she decides to impersonate Bec until she can slip away.

Surprise! She gets caught up Bec's life and finding out what happened to her. Of course, you have to be a bit of a red, hot mess to consider doing this and then brazenly do it which makes the story that much more interesting. The story goes back and forth between her telling of present events and Bec's voice telling of the events leading up to her disappearance. And there was a surprise in the ending for me anyway.

Liked it. Author has another novel coming out, so I look forward to that.

http://www.annasnoekstra.com/

1. 'The Dry' by Jane Harper
2. 'A Burqa and a Hard Place' by Sally Cooper
3. 'Only Daughter' by Anna Snoekstra

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http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14558889

ABOUT THE BOOK
Published May 2016 by Macmillan Australia
Jane Harper is an author who won the 2015 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript for her novel "The Dry". The $15,000 award was presented at the opening night of the 2015 Emerging Writers Festival. Harper's winning manuscript was chosen from a shortlist of three from more than 130 entries.
The book went on to be published in May 2016 by Macmillan Australia and went on to win the $4000 "Fiction Book of the Year" prize in March 2017 at the 17th Annual Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs), voted by independent booksellers.

A small town hides big secrets in "The Dry", an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery which tells the story of a city policeman who is dragged back to the country township he fled years earlier to investigate a multiple homicide.



MY REVIEW
Ok so firstly I need to point out that earlier this year I read an amazing book, by one of my favourite authors of all time that was similar to "The Dry", so I couldn't not compare the 2.
I have purposely rated this lower than the other book, as I did enjoy that one more.

Ok that over with, what do I have to say about "The Dry".....
I did really enjoy this book and it did stack up to the majority of the hype that has been around it since taking out "book of the year" prize at the Indie Awards back in March.
I do really enjoy reading books set in obscure remote areas of Australia and having lived in the NT for a significant period of time, I really feel at home in that barren dry heat that Australia turns on for most of it's vast land mass.
A gutsy plot for a debut novel - triple suicide - that is well written and really does propel you through the storyline with increasing intrigue into the "who dunnit".

I've seen reviews of people who foresaw the ending and listed that as a downfall of it, but for me there was enough going on throughout the book to keep me engaged enough to not be able to positively pinpoint the ending myself, until I actually got there.
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I have decided to share this book out into the universe by way of an international Bookring: http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/542559
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http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14582673

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Published May 1st 2017 by Allen & Unwin
Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise . . . who are her parents. She's also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old . . . kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents' new next-door neighbour . . . well, maybe just a little.

When you're the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, you sometimes have to face some uncomfortable truths . . . like your Mum's obsession with Cher, your father's unsolicited advice, and the fact there's probably more cash on the floor of your parents' car than in your own bank account.

Thank goodness Lucy's crazy but wonderful best friend, Rosie, is around to cushion reality, with wild nights at the local Whipcrack hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London.

But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life and who she wants to share it with?

MY REVIEW:
Oh this was a brilliant read and I loved it for all of it's bogan glory! (I actually read this over the course of 1 evening.)
I've been somewhat "off" chick lit for a number of years now, but this was a refreshing sidestep from my usual go to reads these days.
Largely set in Rockhampton in northern Queensland of the east coats of Australia - which in itself is a great thing - this is a coming of age tale, in your 30s!
The locations this book weaved between were all familiar to me, so this really did just strike so many chords with me. I couldn't not love it.
The writing is unique outback Aussie and all in all its great to see an author keep it bogan real!
As much as I applaud the author for keeping true to her roots and heritage of Rocky - I can't help but feel a little sad that the people I can share this great read with will be limited due to just how Aussie this is. It will struggle to be appreciated, and even understood fully by the wider audience.
I guess on the flip side, maybe it's a good thing to keep these little gems to ourselves everyone once in a while!
I really hope that this author writes more.
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http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14526165

ABOUT THE BOOK
Published June 2015 by HarperCollins Australia
Cate Carlton has recently died, yet she is able to linger on, watching her three young children and her husband as they come to terms with their life without her on their rural horse property. As the months pass and her children grow, they cope in different ways, drawn closer and pulled apart by their shared loss. And all Cate can do is watch on helplessly, seeing their grief, how much they miss her and how - heartbreakingly - they begin to heal. Gradually unfolding to reveal Cate's life, her marriage, and the unhappy secret she shared with one of her children, In the Quiet is compelling, simple, tender, true - heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.

MY REVIEW
A very simple story which is written with exquisite care.
I loved how I didn't actually notice that the book doesn't have chapters until I was past the midway point of the book.
Oh how I adored the bolshy madam that is Jessa. She was just truly loveable.
This book bordered on having too many characters in the first quarter, but you were so quickly brought into the fold with them that they because familiar to you. I think this also might have been a factor in how fast I sped through the book too if I'm honest.
All in all I really enjoyed discovering this author, and I will look to read more of her writing.
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A wonderful collection of short stories. The author lives in Australia. Her parents originally from Guyana and Jamaica migrated there via Britain. The stories are set in Africa, the UK, Jamaica and Australia. They are tales of migrants and refugees. People trying to settle into new surroundings. I thought they were universally well written and thought provoking.
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The Memory Stones by Caroline Brothers
Set in Argentina at the time of the Generals = the story of the disappeared and those who fled into exile and the incredibly brave (mainly) mothers and grandmothers who go to the squares weekly seeking information. An important story that needs to be told and remembered. Recommended.
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http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14585174

About the Book:
Published Sept 2016
It wasn't just one person who went missing, it was two people. Two very different people. They were there, and then they were gone, as if through a crack in the sky. After that, in a small town like Goodwood, where we had what Nan called 'a high density of acquaintanceship', everything stopped. Or at least it felt that way. The normal feeling of things stopped.

Goodwood is a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. It's a place where it's impossible to keep a secret.

In 1992, when Jean Brown is seventeen, a terrible thing happens. Two terrible things. Rosie White, the coolest girl in town, vanishes overnight. One week later, Goodwood's most popular resident, Bart McDonald, sets off on a fishing trip and never comes home.

People die in Goodwood, of course, but never like this. They don't just disappear.

As the intensity of speculation about the fates of Rosie and Bart heightens, Jean, who is keeping secrets of her own, and the rest of Goodwood are left reeling.


My Review:
An overall ok read, but at times I struggled to be interested in it.
It seemed to lack dimension and the number of characters at times overwhelming to keep up.
The ending is obviously the whole point of the book, but it seems to not be the forefront of the plot anywhere else in the book, and therefore it all just seemed a bit disjointed.
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Delighted to find this wee book at the Stewart Island Unconvention. Written
by a young Aboriginal woman this was shortlisted by The Age for Book of the Year. It tells the depressing story of May and Billy who are taken in by an Aunt after their mother dies. Neglected they leave after yet another night of drunkenness and violence. Billy becomes a junkie and May heads to Darwin to find her Dad and as she travels she finds herself. An impressive first book by a young author.
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http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14722950/

About the Book:
Published August 1st 2017 by Atlantic Monthly Press
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

My Review:
This one left a little to be desired.
I'm not sure if I was confused or just wholly underwhelmed by it, but it just really did nothing for me, and overall was just a hard slog throughout.
I got the dysfunctional family vibe, the rest was just a bit lost on me based on the writing being very underdeveloped and it just seemed to emphasise on abstract stuff that did nothing to bring it all together.
Since reading it, I've discovered that this is actually based on a true story of the accusations of Lizzie Bordon murdering her parents with an axe in 1892. I'm somehow now even less impressed!
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What a long read - not a BC book though if it hangs about on the shelf at work it just might get labeled and posted to a wishlister.

Fiction that reads like a historical unpicking of a family mystery. I persisted on the basis of good reviews but it never really grabbed me.

Is the man in Australia the rightful heir to the Vanderbilt fortune or is he an imposter? How did it get to this - a look at the fraught history in France during WW2, the art world and high society of New York etc.

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