2018 Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge

Forum » Book Talk | Refresh | Search

Sort Options 

Complete Thread
Twitter hashtag #aww2018

The AWW 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, living in or outside Australia, 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.

You can sign up on the official AWW website here:
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 e.g. “Classics Challenge”.

The challenge will run from Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2018.
You can sign up at any time throughout 2018.

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:

So, post your challenge level and your reads here.


"Until I Met Her" by Natalie Barelli

She’s gone from nobody to somebody. And she’s not going back.
When ordinary Emma Fern strikes up a friendship with glamorous Beatrice Johnson Greene, her favourite author, she can’t believe her luck. But Beatrice has an unusual favour to ask, one that will change Emma’s life forever.
For Emma, desperate to please, it’s an offer she can’t refuse. All she has to do is let Beatrice publish her latest novel under her name. But the book becomes a huge triumph and after her first taste of success, Emma wants more. And she’ll stop at nothing to get it. This is her masterpiece, after all. It says so on the cover.
Only Beatrice knows the truth. And surely there’s a solution to that.

A book purchased for 50p in Wales (UK), written by an Australian, set in New York....that's a fair few boxes ticked right there for "must be a good read" criteria!
This was brilliantly original, I loved it from page 1 to page 285, a mere few hours later!
The web of deceit that the author weaves had me loving every lie and betrayal that cropped up. So may twists that you are sure you can predict exactly what is coming, only for the author to slam you with a different twist.
As much as I loved the premise of the story, I also loved Emma Fern.
I mean for any avid reader there is a touch of "I could do that" about writing a book...right?
I thought this book nailed what it set out to do and what a writing achievement it is for a debut novel.
Excited by this author's writing future and look forward to discovering more.


"One Foot Wrong" by Sofie Laguna

“The stars shine brightest out of the deepest dark . . .”
A child is imprisoned in a house by her reclusive, religious parents. Hester Wakefield has never spoken to another child, nor seen the outside world. Her one possession is an illustrated children’s Bible, and its imagery forms the sole basis for her capacity to make poetic, real-life connections.
Her companions at home are Cat, Spoon, Door, Handle, Broom, and Tree, and they all speak to her, sometimes telling her what to do.

One day she takes a brave Alice in Wonderland trip into the forbidden outside, at the behest of Handle, and this overwhelming encounter with light and sky and sunshine is a marvel to her. From this moment on, Hester learns that there are some things she cannot tell her parents, and she keeps this secret to herself. Hester buries it among her other secrets, the ones that take place in the shadowy corners of her insular world, and she keeps them all locked inside her as they multiply and grow, waiting until she can find other ways to be free.

I bought this book purely because I want to read Sofie Laguna's 2017 novel "The Choke", but with my idiosyncrasy in that I read an author's books in the order they were written, regardless of whether their books link on to one another or not, I needed to start here with her debut novel for adults, "One Foot Wrong".

This is a book which throws you straight into deep end, with no airs or graces. You are granted a small observation window to look with awe into Hester Wakefield's abstract brain, and explore her tiny world which is governed by her religious parents.
There are some really horrific turns to this book, and they are addressed by the author briskly and unapologetically. Its a writing style I have come to appreciate.

An overall great read and I look forward to reading more from Sofie Laguna.


"After He Killed Me" by Natalie Barelli

Emma Fern has won at life: she’s a prize-winning author and she’s blissfully happy with her husband, Jim. It wasn’t an easy rise to the top, but Emma knows you can’t achieve success without sacrifice. The trouble is, Jim knows that too.
As her literary triumph starts to fade into the past, Emma comes under pressure to write a second bestseller. But her big secret is that she didn’t write the first one. She’s a fraud, and the only people who ever knew the truth are…no longer a problem.
What Emma didn’t count on was Jim playing the long game too. He has his own secrets—and a dangerous plan that could derail her beautifully orchestrated life. Faced with the loss of everything that defines her, Emma is forced to take increasingly desperate steps.
She won’t go down without a fight. And as Jim should know, she won’t fight fair.

Oh I do love to hate Emma Fern!
This book was by no means as polished at the first in the series, but once you're hooked on her, its hard not to cheer Emma on in her fight.
Its amazing how I actually disliked practically everyone in this book, and yet it somehow made it even more fun to read.
This doesn't seem to be a very well known series, and I am surprised because the writing and plots are brilliant.
I'm not sure there will be any more in this series, but have just discovered that Natalie Barelli released a stand alone novel last month. Looking forward to reading that. Really enjoying this author.


"Nefarious Doings" by Ilsa Evans

For Nell Forrest, life in the little town of Majic is not going smoothly. One of her five daughters has just swapped university for fruit-picking, another is about to hit puberty, while a third keeps leaving aggrieved messages on the answering machine. On top of all this, her mother is infuriating and it's only been a matter of months since Nell lost her husband of twenty-five years. It's no surprise, then, that she is even struggling to write her weekly column.

But the floodgates of inspiration are about to swing open, almost knocking her out in the process. Murder and mayhem, arson and adultery, dungeons, death threats and disappearances are just around the corner. Despite Nell's abysmal aptitude for investigative work, she manages to shine the light on the local Richard III Society and that's when things really start to heat up. Throw in some suspicious widows, nosy neighbours, a canine witness, plus a detective who is getting a little closer than he should, and it's clear that nefarious doings are well and truly afoot.

Oh how much better is my week having read this joy of a book.
Nell Forrest is a lady I'd like to have a wine with.
I found everything about this book refreshing; the plot, humour, and setting of rural country Victoria. The mother/daughter dynamic in this novel boldly breaks the social norm - Yen was truly one of the best things about this book - and I really enjoyed the interaction between these 2 characters.
I'm not normally a cosy mystery fan, as I prefer a little more "grit" but this is certainly a series I will be reading in full.
A true Aussie classic.


"Dr. Stanton" by T.L. Swan

If happiness is a gift.
Then Cameron Stanton is my Santa Clause.
I can’t tell you the exact moment I fell in love with him.
Only that I did.
With every glance, every touch, every minute…. he stole a little more of me.
They say that all men are created equal.
Well that’s a blatant lie!
I know because I met Gods gift to women in Vegas,
I pretended he was my husband to get rid of another guy.
He took our fake marriage seriously and it became his personal goal to consummate.
He spoke to me in French and I lied to him in German.
His laughter was addictive.
But I thought what happens in Vegas would stay in Vegas.
Until it didn't.

Dr. Stanton turned up where I least expected and my lies came back to haunt me.

The attraction is palpable.
The secrets unchangeable.
I need him more than air.

A somewhat mash together of Fifty Shades and Grey's Anatomy plot wise.
Some really good writing, and for a 600 pager, this really kept my interest throughout.


"The Dark Lake" by Sarah Bailey

Published in 2017 by Allen & Unwin
The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind's student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind's life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town's richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind's enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.

I like to find somewhat unknown authors, (hence the amount of debut novels I read) and when I saw a review for this one on Twitter, I instantly ordered a copy.
A very atmospheric novel with a very engaging storyline, and some very relatable characters thrown in for good measure.
With recent international hype about the (very good) debut novel "The Dry" by Jane Harper, I'm surprised Aussie mystery/thriller/crime fiction isn't getting more attention. It should be, and this one should be right up there.
This is quite some debut novel!


"The Rules of Backyard Croquet" by Sunni Overend

Disgraced fashion prodigy Apple March has gone into hiding, concealing herself within the cashmere and silk folds of a formerly grand fashion boutique - the hanging of blouses and handling of difficult patrons now her only concern.

But when her sister Poppy needs a wedding dress, old passions are reignited ... along with threats from her past.

As Apple finds herself falling for someone she shouldn't, her quest to re-emerge becomes entangled in a time she wants forgotten, and life unravels as quickly as it began to mend.

From the cool heart of Melbourne, to Paris and New York, in an effervescent world of croquet, Campari and cocoon coats, can Apple prevail over demons past to become the woman she was born to be?

Its been a while since I read anything chick-list-ish, in fact I tend to steer clear of them in general, so this was a really nice one to be lured into by its funky title and catchy cover!
This is as humorous as it is sassy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The book itself was first published in 2013, in a self published format, and was released again by Harper Collins Books Australia in 2018.


"Resurrection Bay" by Emma Viskic

Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside - watching, picking up telltale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead.

This book fell victim to it being hugely hyped in my networks, and for that it suffered because I expected more.
It was an enjoyable mystery/triller and I did not foresee the twists at the end, but for something so hyped, I was disappointed, and also disappointed for those other Aussie crime thriller writers who in my opinion wrote better books, but didn't get that hype that this one did.
Now, all of that aside, this was my first experience of reading a book where the main character is deaf, and that brought about an interesting narrative.
Overall this is a great read, especially so for a debut, I just wish I'd read it not having seen any hype for it!


Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.