Main Challenge Wrap Up

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Every year I challenge myself to read more – and last year I had a goal of 150 books and ended up reading 205 books in total. I didn’t manage to read all the Jane Austen books, but I am aiming to read more this year. Below are is a breakdown of my challenges, and the linked posts. I definitely surpassed my #Dymocks52Challenge as well.

Many of these books were either ones sent to me for review, or as books for work to write quizzes on for an educational publisher in Australia as well as my own reading, so it is a very varied list.

2019 also marked my first year as Young Adult editor for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge, and from this year, will be combining it with the Children’s entries. I wrote more about this in my other round up, so I won’t repeat it here.

AWW2019 – YA editor

Book Bingo with Theresa and AmandaBINGO  

POP Sugar 2019 challenge– one category to fill

Overall Goal: 150 – 205/150

AWW2019 Goal: 25 – reached. Up to 100 now.

#Dymocks52Challenge – up to 205 for the year.

Reading Log

  1. All the Tears in China by Sulari Gentill
  2. Bella Donna: Coven Road by Ruth Symes
  3. Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner
  4. Bella Donna: Too Many Spells by Ruth Symes
  5. Dragon Masters: Treasure of the Gold Dragon by Tracey West
  6. Vardaesia by Lynette Noni
  7. Best Foot Forward by Adam Hills
  8. Saving You by Charlotte Nash
  9. Zelda Stitch Term Two: Too Much Witch by Nicki Greenberg
  10. Australia’s Sweetheart by Michael Adams
  11. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume One: Squirrel Power by Ryan North
  12. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
  13. Enola Holmes: The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets (Enola Holmes #3) by Nancy Springer
  14. Enola Holmes: The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan (Enola Holmes #4) by Nancy Springer
  15. Beauty in Thorns by Kate Forsyth
  16. What Lies Beneath Us by Kirsty Ferguson
  17. The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble
  18. The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion
  19. The Familiars by Stacey Halls
  20. The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers
  21. The French Photographer by Natasha Lester
  22. Harry Potter: A History of Magic, The Exhibition Guide by British Library, JK Rowling
  23. D-Bot #8: Dino Corp by Mac Park
  24. Kensy and Max: Undercover by Jacqueline Harvey
  25. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  26. 52 Mondays by Anna Ciddor
  27. The Incredible Hulk by Alex Irvine
  28. Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
  29. The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag
  30. The Deep: Selkie Warrior by Finn Black
  31. Zebra and Other Stories by Debra Adelaide
  32. Captain Marvel: Higher, Faster, Further by Kelly Sue DeConnick
  33. Free Rein: The Steeplechase Secret by Jeanette Lane
  34. Esther by Jessica North
  35. Mermaid Holidays: The Talent Show by Delphine Davis and Adele K. Thomas
  36. Cuddles by Ellen Miles
  37. The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl
  38. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  39. Middle School: Born to Rock by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
  40. The Honeyman and the Hunter by Neil Grant
  41. A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino
  42. Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson
  43. Poppy Field by Michael Morpurgo
  44. The Artist’s Portrait by Julie Keys
  45. The Lost Magician by Piers Torday
  46. The Suicide Bride by Tanya Bretherton
  47. The Bad Mother’s Book Club by Keris Stanton
  48. Rabbit and Bear: Attack of the Snack by Julian Gough
  49. Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley
  50. Deltora Quest: The Forest of Silence by Emily Rodda
  51. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames
  52. Deltora Quest: The Lake of Tears by Emily Rodda
  53. Children of the Dragon: Race for the Red Dragon by Rebecca Lim
  54. Toto the Ninja Cat and the Incredible Cheese Heist by Dermot O’Leary
  55. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

56. Christopher Robin: The Little Book of Pooh-isms: With help from Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, and Tigger, too! by Brittany Rubiano

57. Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson

58. Deltora Quest: The City of Rats by Emily Rodda

59. Fabio, the World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective: Mystery on the Ostrich Express by Laura James

60. Life Before by Carmel Reilly

61. Alice to Prague by Tanya Heaslip

62. Upside Down Magic #5: Weather or Not by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins

  1. The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green
  2. The Monster Who Wasn’t by T.C. Shelley
  3. The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn
  4. Squidge Dibley Destroys the School by Mick Elliott
  5. Lintang and The Pirate Queen by Tamara Moss
  6. Alfie takes Action by Karen Wallace
  7. The Great Toy Rescue (Puppy Diaries #1) by Yvette Poshoglian
  8. As Happy as Here by Jane Godwin
  9. Women to the Front: The Extraordinary Australian Women Doctors of the Great War by Heather Sheard and Ruth Lee
  10. Deltora Quest: The Shifting Sands by Emily Rodda
  11. Deltora Quest: Dread Mountain by Emily Rodda
  12. Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl and Ms Marvel by Devin Grayson, Ryan North and Willow Wilson
  13. Mermaid Holidays: The Magic Pearl by Delphine Davis and Adele K Thomas
  14. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  15. Eco Warriors: Microbat Mayhem by Candice Lemon-Scott
  16. Explorer’s Academy: Nebula Secret by Trudi Trueit
  17. The Time Travel Diaries #1 by Caroline Lawrence
  18. Chanel’s Riviera by Anne De Courcy
  19. Maternal Instinct by Rebecca Bowyer
  20. When We Were Warriors by Emma Carroll
  21. Powers of a Girl by Lorraine Clink and Alice X Zhang
  22. Stasi 77 by David Young
  23. The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth
  24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (20th Anniversary Ravenclaw Edition)
  25. Rumple Buttercup by Matthew Gray Gubler
  26. Fled by Meg Keneally
  27. Squirrel Girl #2: Squirrel You Know It’s True by Ryan North
  28. Split edited by Lee Kofman
  29. Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M Martin (Babysitters Club #1)
  30. Choose Your Own Adventure #2: Journey Under the Sea by R.A. Montgomery
  31. The Last Dingo Summer by Jackie French (Matilda Saga #8)
  32. The Silver Well by Kate Forsyth and Kim Wilkins
  33. Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood (Phryne Fisher #6)
  34. The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
  35. The Secret Dragon by Ed Clarke
  36. Aladdin and the Arabian Nights
  37. Deltora Quest: The Maze of the Beast by Emily Rodda
  38. Deltora Quest: The Valley of the Lost by Emily Rodda
  39. Deltora Quest: Return to Del by Emily Rodda
  40. Deltora Quest #1 by Emily Rodda
  41. Somewhere Around the Corner by Jackie French
  42. Alexander Altmann A10567 by Suzy Zail
  43. The Binder of Doom: Brute Cake by Troy Cummings
  44. Beatrix the Bold and the Curse of the Wobblers by Simon Mockler
  45. Where the Dead Go by Sarah Bailey
  46. Firewatcher #1: Brimstone by Kelly Gardiner
  47. Purrmaids #1: The Scaredy Cat by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
  48. The Dragon in the Library by Louie Stowell
  49. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition by JK Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay
  50. The Burnt Country by Joy Rhoades
  51. The Book Ninja by Ali Berg and Michelle Klaus
  52. Pages and Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James
  53. Top Marks for Murder by Robin Stevens (A Murder Most Unladylike #8)
  54. Bentley by Ellen Miles
  55. Fast Forward to the Future (Time Jumpers #3) by Wendy Mass
  56. Is it Night or Day? by Fern Schumer Chapman
  57. The Battle for Perodia (The Last Firehawk #6) by Katrina Chapman
  58. Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda
  59. A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison
  60. The Puppy Who Couldn’t Sleep by Holly Webb
  61. Mermaid Holidays #3: The Bake Off by Delphine Davis
  62. Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls by Ann M Martin
  63. The Truth About Stacey by Ann M Martin
  64. Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M Martin
  65. While You Were Reading by Ali Berg and Michelle Klaus
  66. The Unforgiving City by Maggie Joel
  67. Matters of the Heart by Fiona Palmer
  68. Harry Potter: Spells and Charms: A Movie Scrapbook by Judy Revenson
  69. Mary Poppins She Wrote: The extraordinary life of Australian writer P.L. Travers by Valerie Wilson
  70. Kensy and Max: Out of Sight by Jacqueline Harvey
  71. The Loneliest Kitten by Holly Webb
  72. The Land of Long-Lost Friends by Alexander McCall-Smith
  73. The Lily and the Rose by Jackie French
  74. The Impossible Quest #1: Escape from Wolfhaven Castle by Kate Forsyth
  75. A Lighthouse in Time by Sandra Bennett
  76. Tiny Timmy: The New Coach by Tim Cahill
  77. 488 Rules for Life by Kitty Flanagan
  78. Boa Constructor (Binder of Doom) by Troy Cummings
  79. Silver by Chris Hammer
  80. Beauty, Beast and Belladonna by Maia Chance
  81. There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett
  82. Rebel Women who Changed Australia by Susanna de Vries
  83. The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  84. The Book of Dust Volume 2: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
  85. The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch by Tom Fletcher
  86. Dragon Masters: The Land of the Spring Dragon by Tracey West
  87. The Mitford Scandal by Jessica Fellowes
  88. Whisper by Lynette Noni
  89. The Glimme by Emily Rodda
  90. The Frozen Sea by Piers Torday
  91. Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames by Lara Maiklem
  92. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  93. The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch
  94. Weapon by Lynette Noni
  95. Pages and Co #2: Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales by Anna James
  96. Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
  97. Total Quack Up Again by Sally Rippin and Adrian Beck
  98. The Starthorn Tree by Kate Forsyth
  99. With Love from Miss Lily by Jackie French (short story)
  100. The Lily in the Snow by Jackie French
  101. Christmas Lilies by Jackie French
  102. Skate Monkey: Fear Mountain by Paul Mason
  103. Illustrated Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
  104. The Case of the Wandering Scholar by Kate Saunders
  105. The Wildkin’s Curse by Kate Forsyth
  106. Why You Should Read Children’s Books Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell
  107. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  108. The Starkin Crown by Kate Forsyth
  109. Clancy of the Overflow by Jackie French
  110. Jane Doe and the Cradle of the Worlds by Jeremy Lachlan
  111. Wolves of the Witchwood (Impossible Quest #2) by Kate Forsyth
  112. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  113. The Sisters of Auschwitz by Roxane van Ipren
  114. The Beast of Blackmoor Bog (Impossible Quest #3) by Kate Forsyth
  115. Mr Dog and a Hedge Called Hog by Ben Fogle and Steve Cole
  116. The Drowned Kingdom (Impossible Quest #4) by Kate Forsyth
  117. Cavern of The Fear (Deltora Shadowlands #1) by Emily Rodda
  118. Battle of the Heroes (Impossible Quest #5) by Kate Forsyth
  119. A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Secret Game that Won the War by Simon Parkin
  120. Ella and Olivia: Reef Explorers by Yvette Poshoglian
  121. Pippa’s Island: The Beach Shack Café by Belinda Murrell
  122. Venus and Aphrodite: History of a Goddess by Bettany Hughes
  123. Crossing the Lines by Sulari Gentill
  124. Gom’s Gold by S.L. Mills
  125. Pippa’s Island: Cub Reporters by Belinda Murrell
  126. Pippa’s Island: Kira Dreaming by Belinda Murrell
  127. The Clergyman’s Wife by Molly Greeley
  128. Mermaid Holidays #4: The Reef Rescue by Delphine Davis and Adele K Thomas
  129. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll and Mina Lima
  130. The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher
  131. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Secret of the Realms by Meredith Rusu
  132. Tiger Heart by Penny Chrimes
  133. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A Hoffman/The Tale of the Nutcracker by Alexandre Dumas
  134. Ask Hercules Quick by Ursula Dubosarsky
  135. Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
  136. The Nutcracker and Other Christmas Stories
  137. Isle of Illusion (Deltora Quest: Shadowlands #2) by Emily Rodda
  138. The Shadowlands (Deltora Quest Shadowlands #3) by Emily Rodda
  139. Deltora Quest Shadowlands Omnibus by Emily Rodda
  140. Roxy by Ellen Miles
  141. Pippa’s Island: Camp Castaway by Belinda Murrell
  142. Time Warp: The Seventh Journey Through Time by Geronimo Stilton
  143. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

I almost made it to 206 books in 2019 – but didn’t get the other one finished, but as the majority of that will be read in 2020, it will count towards this year’s count. For book bingo, I have to hit the ground running, choose my square and book from what I have available, and have it done by next Saturday! Not all of these books were reviewed, but many were, and many will be this year as well. If you’re doing any reading challenges this year, best of luck!

2019 Australian Women Writer’s Challenge Completed,

2019 Badge

At the start of the year, I pledged to read fifteen books across the year, and ended up reading one hundred, and reviewing about ninety-seven of those – as some were read for my job as a quiz writer and I didn’t get a chance to review them all.

Of the one hundred, it is hard to choose a favourite, however one highlight was meeting the author of the Ella and Olivia books, and the Puppy Diaries books, Yvette Poshoglian, and getting to read and review a book I edited earlier this year. I read quite broadly, in various genres, as well as kids, young adult and adult books.

I completed the Matilda Saga this year – and hope to reread the entire series back to back soon. It was a journey of one hundred years of the people of Gibber’s Creek, and has to be one of the most well written and well-researched series I’ve ever read. Below is my list, and linked reviews.

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge

All the Tears in China by Sulari Gentill – Reviewed

  1. Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner – Reviewed
  2. Vardaesia by Lynette Noni– Reviewed
  3. Saving You by Charlotte Nash – Reviewed
  4. Zelda Stitch Term Two: Too Much Witch by Nikki Greenberg – Reviewed
  5. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne– Reviewed
  6. Beauty in Thorns by Kate Forsyth– Reviewed/Revisited post
  7. What Lies Beneath Us by Kirsty Ferguson – Reviewed
  8. The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble – Reviewed
  9. The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion – Reviewed
  10. The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers – Reviewed
  11. The French Photographer by Natasha Lester – Reviewed and Q&A
  12. Kensy and Max: Undercover by Jacqueline Harvey – Reviewed
  13. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer– Reviewed
  14. 52 Mondays by Anna Ciddor– Reviewed
  15. Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte– Reviewed
  16. Zebra and Other Stories by Debra Adelaide – Reviewed
  17. Esther by Jessica North – Reviewed
  18. Mermaid Holidays: The Talent Show by Delphine Davis and Adele K. Thomas – Reviewed
  19. The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl – Reviewed
  20. Miss Franklin: How Miles Franklin’s Brilliant Career Began by Libby Hathorn – Reviewed
  21. Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson – Reviewed
  22. The Artist’s Portrait by Julie Keys – Reviewed
  23. The Suicide Bride by Tanya Bretherton– Reviewed, Interview
  24. Deltora Quest: The Forest of Silence by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  25. Children of the Dragon: Race for the Red Dragon by Rebecca Lim – Reviewed
  26. Deltora Quest: The Lake of Tears by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  27. Deltora Quest: The City of Rats by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  28. Alice to Prague by Tanya Heaslip– Reviewed
  29. Life Before by Carmel Reilly– Reviewed
  30. The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green – Reviewed
  31. The Monster Who Wasn’t by T.C. Shelley – Reviewed
  32. The Lost Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn – Reviewed
  33. Lintang and The Pirate Queen by Tamara Moss– Reviewed
  34. The Great Toy Rescue (Puppy Diaries #1) by Yvette Poshoglian – Work book, not reviewed
  35. As Happy as Here by Jane Godwin – Reviewed
  36. Women to the Front: The Extraordinary Australian Women Doctors of the Great War by Heather Sheard and Ruth Lee – Reviewed
  37. Deltora Quest: The Shifting Sands by Emily Rodda– Reviewed
  38. Deltora Quest: Dread Mountain by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  39. Mermaid Holidays: The Magic Pearl by Delphine Davis and Adele K Thomas – Reviewed
  40. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers– Reviewed
  41. Eco Warriors: Microbat Mayhem by Candice Lemon-Scott – Work book, not reviewed.
  42. Maternal Instinct by Rebecca Bowyer – Reviewed
  43. The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth– Reviewed
  44. Fled by Meg Keneally – Reviewed
  45. The Last Dingo Summer by Jackie French (Matilda Saga #8)– Reviewed
  46. The Silver Well by Kate Forsyth and Kim Wilkins– Reviewed
  47. Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood (Phryne Fisher #6)– Reviewed
  48. Deltora Quest: The Maze of the Beast by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  49. Deltora Quest: The Valley of the Lost by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  50. Deltora Quest: Return to Del by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  51. Deltora Quest #1 by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  52. Somewhere Around the Corner by Jackie French – Reviewed
  53. Alexander Altmann A10567 by Suzy Zail– Reviewed
  54. Where the Dead Go by Sarah Bailey– Reviewed
  55. Firewatcher #1: Brimstone by Kelly Gardiner – Reviewed
  56. The Burnt Country by Joy Rhoades– Reviewed
  57. The Book Ninja by Ali Berg and Michelle Klaus– Reviewed
  58. Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  59. Mermaid Holidays #3: The Bake Off by Delphine Davis – Reviewed
  60. While You Were Reading by Ali Berg and Michelle Klaus – Reviewed
  61. The Unforgiving City by Maggie Joel – Reviewed
  62. Matters of the Heart by Fiona Palmer – Reviewed
  63. Mary Poppins She Wrote: The extraordinary life of Australian writer P.L. Travers by Valerie Wilson– Reviewed
  64. Kensy and Max: Out of Sight by Jacqueline Harvey – Reviewed
  65. The Lily and the Rose by Jackie French – Reviewed
  66. The Impossible Quest #1: Escape from Wolfhaven Castle by Kate Forsyth– Reviewed
  67. A Lighthouse in Time by Sandra Bennett – Reviewed
  68. 488 Rules for Life by Kitty Flanagan– Reviewed
  69. There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett– Reviewed
  70. Rebel Women who Changed Australia by Susanna de Vries – Reviewed
  71. Whisper by Lynette Noni– Reviewed
  72. The Glimme by Emily Rodda-Reviewed
  73. The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch – Reviewed
  74. Weapon by Lynette Noni – Reviewed
  75. Total Quack Up Again by Sally Rippin and Adrian Beck – Reviewed
  76. The Starthorn Tree by Kate Forsyth – Reviewed
  77. With Love from Miss Lily by Jackie French (short story) – Reviewed
  78. The Lily in the Snow by Jackie French – Reviewed
  79. Christmas Lilies by Jackie French – Reviewed
  80. The Wildkin’s Curse by Kate Forsyth – Reviewed
  81. The Starkin Crown by Kate Forsyth– Reviewed
  82. Clancy of the Overflow by Jackie French – Reviewed
  83. Wolves of the Witchwood (Impossible Quest #2) by Kate Forsyth– Reviewed
  84. The Beast of Blackmoor Bog (Impossible Quest #3) by Kate Forsyth – Reviewed
  85. The Drowned Kingdom (Impossible Quest #4) by Kate Forsyth– Reviewed
  86. Cavern of The Fear (Deltora Shadowlands #1) by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  87. Battle of the Heroes (Impossible Quest #5) by Kate Forsyth – Reviewed
  88. Ella and Olivia: Reef Explorers by Yvette Poshoglian – Work book, not reviewed
  89. Pippa’s Island: The Beach Shack Café by Belinda Murrell– Reviewed
  90. Crossing the Lines by Sulari Gentill – Reviewed
  91. Gom’s Gold by S.L. Mills– Reviewed
  92. Pippa’s Island: Cub Reporters by Belinda Murrell– Reviewed
  93. Pippa’s Island: Kira Dreaming by Belinda Murrell– Reviewed
  94. Mermaid Holidays #4: The Reef Rescue by Delphine Davis and Adele K Thomas – Reviewed
  95. Ask Hercules Quick by Ursula Dubosarsky – quiz book, not reviewed
  96. Isle of Illusion (Deltora Quest: Shadowlands #2) by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  97. The Shadowlands (Deltora Quest Shadowlands #3) by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  98. Deltora Quest Shadowlands Omnibus by Emily Rodda – Reviewed
  99. Pippa’s Island: Camp Castaway by Belinda Murrell – Reviewed

Next year, I am aiming to read twenty-five – and will post my official sign up post soon.

Cavern of The Fear (Deltora Shadowlands #1/Deltora Quest #2) by Emily Rodda

Title: Cavern of The Fear (Deltora Shadowlands #1/Deltora cavern of the fearQuest #2)

Author: Emily Rodda

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 1st February 2002

Format: Paperback

Pages: 144

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: A second Deltora quest begins in this fantasy trilogy that’s sure to engage Deltora fans and bring in all new readers!

The Shadow Lord’s evil tyranny over Deltora has ended. He and the creatures of his sorcery have been driven back across the mountains. But thousands of Deltorans are still enslaved in the Shadowlands, the Enemy’s own terrifying and mysterious domain. To rescue them, Lief, Barda and Jasmine, heroes of the quest for the Belt of Deltora, must find a weapon powerful enough to combat the Shadow Lord’s magic on his own ground. According to legend, the only thing the Shadow Lord fears is the fabled Pirran Pipe. But does the mysterious pipe still exist? And if it does, what dangers will the companions have to face to find it? Will its ancient magic still prevail against the Enemy’s sorcery? Filled with doubts the companions move on, knowing that whatever happens, their quest will end in the darkness and horror of the Shadowland itself.

~*~

Lief is now King of Deltora, and even though he defeated the Shadow Lord with the help of his friends, Jasmine and Barda, there is still a threat looming. With many Deltorans still enslaved, nobody is truly free. To unite Del and Tora, Lief must wed the Toran princess. But first – the three heroes who reunited the belt of Deltora must seek the Pirran Pipe – the only thing the Shadow Lord truly fears. Split into three pieces, Lief, Jasmine and Barda head off on a quest to find the pieces – yet as dangers lurk behind every corner, will they succeed in saving the enslaved Deltorans?

The first series ended with Lief discovering he was the true king of Deltora and driving the evil forces out of the castle that had enslaved Deltora for sixteen years. Now, he must seek to free those who are still enslaved, using his skills and wits. Yet he is distracted by his duties as king and impending marriage to the Toran princess. Yet he sets out across the land again, belt intact, to find the Pirran Pipe – split into three pieces.

2019 Badge

The first piece – the mouthpiece – is said to be in the Cavern of The Fear. As Lief, Barda and Jasmine seek the first piece, they will face dangers and the unknown in the exciting second Deltora series.

The second series picks up soon after the first, with Lief crowned as king of Deltora, and getting ready to take on the responsibilities. Yet as things continue to trouble him, he turns once again to thoughts of the dangerous Shadow Lord and the years of torment the people of Deltora faced haunt him.

This series is a wonderful follow-up to the first, and continues the story seamlessly, by referring back to the first series, yet at the same time, identifying a unique threat that continues to grow and threaten their peace. It is exciting, engaging and quite a quick read – and heads straight into the action, with just the right amount of set up to prepare the reader for what is to come. Yet this is a series that is a continuation and should be read once you have completed the first series.

Another great book from Emily Rodda.

The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch

the orange groveTitle: The Orange Grove

Author: Kate Murdoch

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Regal House Publishing

Published: 11th October 2019

Format: Paperback

Pages: 250

Price: $22.90

Synopsis: Blois, 1705. The château of Duc Hugo d’Amboise simmers with rivalry and intrigue. Henriette d’Augustin, one of five mistresses of the duc, lives at the château with her daughter. When the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines a new mistress, Letitia, Henriette is forced to choose between position and morality. She fights to maintain her status whilst targeted by the duchesse who will do anything to harm her enemies. The arrival of charismatic tarot reader, Romain de Villiers, further escalates tensions as rivals in love and domestic politics strive for supremacy.

In a society where status is a matter of life and death, Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart, all the while hiding a painful secret of her own.

~*~

Set almost nine decades before the French Revolution and the beheading of Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, The Orange Grove explores the intricacies and relationships of powerplay at a court like Versailles in 1705, as a duc takes on yet another mistress, as well as his wife, Charlotte. Charlotte, his wife, and his mistresses are aware of each other, and how they can fall in and out of favour with the duc.

When a young mistress falls pregnant, Charlotte, the duc’s wife and the one who is supposed to be producing him legitimate male heirs (but has thus far failed to do so and has her own secrets bubbling along throughout the novel that are cleverly revealed slowly), she asks another mistress, Henriette, to choose her loyalties – Charlotte, or the mistresses?

Soon, Romain de Villiers, a tarot reader arrives, and more tensions and political intrigue enter as he finds himself drawn to Charlotte, and the implications that this, and the whispers of witchcraft bring to the palace and its domestic politics as people try to keep secrets and favour.

Cleverly built around early eighteenth century gender politics, domestic politics and fears of the unknown and keeping up appearances, The Orange Grove looks at life and death, and the importance of status, and how even the slightest indiscretion can flip the narrative for anyone, and alter their lives in ways that they never thought possible, whilst coming to conclusions that were not quite expected.

2019 Badge

Most historical fiction novels focus on a big event, through the eyes of specific characters, yet this one focuses on a very tight, and deeply complicated chateau in France during the years of the ruling aristocracy, and the privileges they enjoyed and could exercise over whomever they wished, tossing people away and punishing them in ways that these days seem a bit extreme, yet made sense in the context and understandings of the world these people inhabited. These characters are all flawed – none are wholly good nor are they wholly evil. They are ruled by human emotions of love, desperation and self-preservation, which makes this a very interesting novel as we get to see how people respond to certain conditions and the lengths they will go to so they can save themselves – sometimes with disastrous consequences.

The Frozen Sea by Piers Torday

the frozen seaTitle: The Frozen Sea

Author: Piers Torday

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Hachette Australia/Quercus

Published: 24th September 2019

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 330

Price: $26.99

Synopsis: ‘If you can imagine it, it exists … somewhere.’  The second incredible instalment of a spellbinding fantasy adventure from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Last Wild trilogy.

‘If you can imagine it, it exists … somewhere.’ The second incredible instalment of a spellbinding fantasy adventure from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Last Wild trilogy.

It is 1984 and forty years since Simon, Patricia and Evelyn and Larry first stepped through a magical library door into the enchanted world of Folio. When Patricia’s daughter, Jewel, makes a mysterious discovery in an old bookshop, she begins a quest that will make her question everything she thought she knew. Summoned to Folio, she must rescue a missing prince, helped only by her pet hamster and a malfunctioning robot.

Their mission to the Frozen Sea will bring them face-to-face with a danger both more deadly and more magnificent than they ever imagined.

What Jewel discovers will change not just who she thinks she is, but who we all think we are…

~*~

In 1984, Jewel is trying to escape from school bullies with her pet hamster, Fizz, when she takes refuge in an old bookshop with peeling letters on the door, that is seemingly abandoned. Yet whilst there, she is pulled into the world of Folio by Thumb, and those seeking the help of a Reader – Jewel – to help rescue her aunt Evie, who disappeared before Jewel was born. In this strange world, Jewel finds herself caught between different forces and factions who either want to help her or hinder her, and in doing so, she must journey across Folio, through the various lands of Reads and Unreads, myths and monsters, to the Frozen Sea in search of a lost prince and her aunt.

Yet as Baby Bear pursues them under claimed they and their Folio friends know to be false, Jewel is forced to confront things about herself and who she is that will influence her journey. And towards secrets that will change Jewel forever.

Picking up seamlessly forty years after The Lost Magician, Jewel’s journey is interspersed with government communications that leave little clues as to Evie’s fate, and where she disappeared and when. It doesn’t spell it out, rather, but leaves it open to interpretation for the reader, is fun, and brings the story to life even more.

Jewel’s journey is different to the Hastings siblings of The Lost Magician. Living in the eighties, she is in a world of movies and books, and technology, and straddles each world uniquely, finding ways to separate or incorporate them where she can and needs to. It is a story that continues on, yet is also its own, and pays homage to Narnia, and books in general – even going so far as to reference Narnia itself at times, as books the characters read and enjoy.

The world of Folio has changed – and perhaps not for the better, but maybe Jewel can set things right. A Reader can only visit once – but when they try to return, what are the consequences to their actions? How does Folio respond?

This series is delightful. Lately, there have been many books and series that involve books, reading and bookstores or libraries – celebrating reading on the page in a delightful way for audiences and readers. Books in themselves celebrate reading – yet seeing readers in key roles is delightful and magical and shows that reading has a power unto itself and shows just what is special about this world of books we inhabit. It is a world of dreams on paper and falling into books like The Frozen Sea is a magical experience and one I wonder if the author will continue. Whilst we have a satisfying ending, there is also potential for further stories, and either would be fine with me. An excellent book for readers aged ten and older.

The Book of Dust Volume 2: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

book of dust 2.jpgTitle: The Book of Dust Volume 2: The Secret Commonwealth

Author: Philip Pullman

Genre: Fantasy/Mystery/Steampunk

Publisher: Penguin Random House/David Fickling Books

Published: 3rd October 2019

Format: Paperback

Pages:784

Price: $32.99

Synopsis: Master storyteller Philip Pullman continues the incredible journey of Lyra Silvertongue in the second volume of The Book of Dust.

It is twenty years since the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One unfolded and saw the baby Lyra Belacqua begin her life-changing journey.

It is almost ten years since readers left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford’s Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, bestselling His Dark Materials sequence.

Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child . . .
The second volume of Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right.

Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost – a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust.
The Secret Commonwealth is truly a book for our times; a powerful adventure and a thought-provoking look at what it is to understand yourself, to grow up and make sense of the world around you. This is storytelling at its very best from one of our greatest writers.

~*~

The long-awaited second volume of The Book of Dust picks up twenty years after La Belle Sauvage and ten years after the events of His Dark Materials, where we left Lyra and Will in their respective Oxfords, in the same botanic gardens as a way to connect. The Magisterium is still a threat in this book, in the shadow of Mrs Coulter and Lord Asriel dying in His Dark Materials, and as readers might recall from The Amber Spyglass, Lyra and Pan discovered they could do something that no other person in their world could – which forms the part of the backbone to this book, and what drives the narrative along with the threat of the Magisterium, daemons and the mystery of Dust, that has been infused throughout each book in the sequence.

Old friends from La Belle Sauvage and His Dark Materials return – Alice, Malcom and Hannah are back, and helping a now adult Lyra as she navigates a world where she is no longer welcome at Jordan College, and where the factions once thought to be defeated rear their ugly heads in new and uneasy ways. As Lyra and Pan, as well as their friends work separately for the same goal, Ma Costa and Farder Coram return to help our Lyra, a heart-warming sequence because it feels as if Lyra has truly found a home as she travels across the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia, seeking a city of lost and haunted daemons. But it is the trials that Lyra and Pan face along the way, the people they meet and the judgement they receive that sharply mirrors our world.

Refugees – ripped from their homes as trade in a special rose threatens their livelihoods are turned away, forced onto boats, and where some people look away, whilst Lyra and others try to help. It mirrors our world in that we have refugees fleeing war, climate crises, and many other things seeking safety in countries that so far, are untouched. The reactions are the same – those who wish to ignore the crises are heard more than those who wish to help. Yet those affected by these issues and other issues related to Dust and daemons that make people turn away in fear are the ones who are the voices heard in this book. There is dissent against the Masters of Jordan when Lyra is thrown out. People are trying to use their power and influence to achieve their means and ends, and we see that the things that occupied Lyra’s mind as a child have changed. Yet Dust still occupies her thoughts, and as the book moves on, nothing will ever be the same.

In true Philip Pullman style, we do not get everything answered. People are not reunited quickly, or perhaps at all,  and as everyone works towards the same goal and location, the end hints at how the third book might open and what we might expect – and I do hope that my feelings about who might meet up at the start of the third book are right, because it is a reunion I had been hoping for since the beginning of this book. Throughout the book, we are reunited with Lyra, Pan and other familiar characters, but perhaps not in the way we might expect.

Throughout the book, revelations that cleverly link back to His Dark Materials and La Belle Sauvage emerge, so I would advise reading these first, starting with His Dark Materials: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass and then La Belle Sauvage before delving into this volume. Even though chronologically, His Dark Materials takes place between La Belle Sauvage and The Secret Commonwealth, the delight is in reading those three first, before the Book of Dust, and making the connections. However, having read them, it might be an interesting experiment to read La Belle Sauvage, followed by the three His Dark Materials books and finishing with (for now) The Secret Commonwealth.

 

I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how this all concludes and where Lyra goes next – and how it changes her just as her experiences in this book and His Dark Materials changed her. An excellent addition to this series and a must read for the fans.

September 2019 Round Up

Readings and Musings on all things books, Aussie authors and everything in between

 

This month, I reached my overall reading goal of 150 books with Whisper by Lynette Noni. Overall, I have reached 71 books in my Australian Women Writer’s challenge, and am nearing the end of my PopSugar Challenge, with only a few categories left. I also filled out my Book Bingo card for the year, with my final wrap up post to be written after my final post for that goes live.

#Dymocks52Challenge

Here is a breakdown of what I read.

September Round-Up – 15    

Book Author Challenge
The Impossible Quest #1: Escape from Wolfhaven Castle Kate Forsyth General, #Dymocks52Challenge, #AWW2019
A Lighthouse in Time Sandra Bennett General, #Dymocks52Challenge, #AWW2019
New Coach Tim Cahill General, #Dymocks52Challenge
488 Rules for Life Kitty Flanagan General, #Dymocks52Challenge, #AWW2019
Silver Chris Hammer General, #Dymocks52Challenge
Beauty, Beast and Belladonna

 

Maia Chance General, #Dymocks52Challenge
There Was Still Love

 

Favel Parrett General, #Dymocks52Challenge, #AWW2019
Rebel Women who Changed Australia

 

Susanna de Vries General, #Dymocks52Challenge, #AWW2019, Book Bingo
Binder of Doom: Boa Constructor Troy Cummings General, #Dymocks52Challenge
The Deathless Girls Kiran Millwood Hargrave General, #Dymocks52Challenge
The Book of Dust Volume 2: The Secret Commonwealth Philip Pullman General, #Dymocks52Challenge, Book Bingo
The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch Tom Fletcher General, #Dymocks52Challenge,
Dragon Masters: The Land of the Spring Dragon Tracey West General, #Dymocks52Challenge,
The Mitford Scandal Jessica Fellowes General, #Dymocks52Challenge,
Whisper

 

Lynette Noni General, #Dymocks52Challenge, #AWW2019,

2019 Badge

  1. The Impossible Quest #1: Escape from Wolfhaven Castle by Kate Forsyth
  2. A Lighthouse in Time by Sandra Bennett
  3. Tiny Timmy: The New Coach by Tim Cahill
  4. 488 Rules for Life by Kitty Flanagan
  5. Boa Constructor (Binder of Doom) by Troy Cummings
  6. Silver by Chris Hammer
  7. Beauty, Beast and Belladonna by Maia Chance
  8. There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett
  9. Rebel Women who Changed Australia by Susanna de Vries
  10. The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  11. The Book of Dust Volume 2: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
  12. The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch by Tom Fletcher
  13. Dragon Masters: The Land of the Spring Dragon by Tracey West
  14. The Mitford Scandal by Jessica Fellowes
  15. Whisper by Lynette Noni

 

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Book Bingo

 

Rows Across:

 

Row One: BINGO

 

A book with a red cover: Children of the Dragon: Race for the Red Dragon by Rebecca Lim – #AWW2019

Beloved Classic: Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner – AWW2018

A novel that has more than 500 pages: Rebel Women who Changed Australia by Susanna de Vries, The Book of Dust Volume 2: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

 – #AWW2019, The Book of Dust Volume 2: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

A novella no more than 150 pages: Deltora Quest: The Forest of Silence by Emily Rodda – #AWW2019

Prize winning book: Somewhere Around the Corner by Jackie French – #AWW2019, Alexander Altmann A10567 by Suzy Zail – #AWW2019

 

Row Two: BINGO

 

A book by an author with the same initials as you: The Book Ninja by Ali Berg and Michelle Klaus – #AWW2019

Non-Fiction book about an event: The Suicide Bride by Tanya Bretherton – #AWW2019

Fictional biography about a woman from history: Fled by Meg Keneally – #AWW2019

Memoir about a non-famous person: Australia’s Sweetheart by Michael Adams

Book written by an Australian woman more than 10 years ago: Deltora Quest: The Lake of Tears by Emily Rodda – #AWW2019 (2001)

 

Row Three: BINGO

 

Themes of Science Fiction: Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson

Themes of Culture: The Lost Magician by Piers Torday

Themes of Justice: What Lies Beneath Us by Kirsty Ferguson – AWW2019

Themes of Inequality: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer – AWW2019

Themes of Fantasy: Vardaesia by Lynette Noni – AWW2019

 

Row Four: – BINGO

 

Book with a place in the title: The French Photographer by Natasha Lester -AWW2019

Book set in the Australian Outback: The Last Dingo Summer by Jackie French (Matilda Saga #8) – #AWW2019

Book set on the Australian Coast: The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion – AWW2019

Book set in the Australian Mountains: The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers – AWW2019

Book set in an exotic location: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte – #AWW2019

 

Row Five: BINGO

 

Written by an Australian Man: The Honeyman and the Hunter by Neil Grant

Written by an Australian Woman: Zelda Stitch Term Two: Too Much Witch by Nicki Greenberg – AWW2019

Written by an author under the age of 35: Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson – #AWW2019

Written by an author over the age of 65: Miss Franklin: How Miles Franklin’s Brilliant Career began by Libby Hathorn – #AWW2019

Written by an author you’ve never read: The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble – #AWW2019

 

Row Six: BINGO

 

Literary: Zebra and Other Stories by Debra Adelaide – AWW2019

Crime: All the Tears in China by Sulari Gentill – AWW2019

Historical: The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Romance: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Comedy: Best Foot Forward by Adam Hills

 

Rows Down:

 

Row One:  – BINGO

 

A book with a red cover: Children of the Dragon: Race for the Red Dragon by Rebecca Lim – #AWW2019

Book by an author with the same initials as you: The Book Ninja by Ali Berg and Michelle Klaus – #AWW2019,

Themes of science fiction: Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson

Book with a place in the title: The French Photographer by Natasha Lester -AWW2019

Written by an Australian man: The Honeyman and the Hunter by Neil Grant

Literary: Zebra and Other Stories by Debra Adelaide – AWW2019

 

Row Two: BINGO

 

Beloved Classic: Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner – AWW2018      

Non-Fiction book about an event: The Suicide Bride by Tanya Bretherton – #AWW2019

Themes of culture: The Lost Magician by Piers Torday

Book set in the Australian outback: The Last Dingo Summer by Jackie French (Matilda Saga #8) – #AWW2019

Written by an Australian woman: Zelda Stitch Term Two: Too Much Witch by Nicki Greenberg – AWW2019

Crime: All the Tears in China by Sulari Gentill – AWW2019

 

Row three: BINGO

 

Novel that has 500 pages or more: Rebel Women who Changed Australia by Susanna de Vries

 – #AWW2019, The Book of Dust Volume 2: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

Fictional biography about a woman from history: Fled by Meg Keneally – #AWW2019

Themes of justice: What Lies Beneath Us by Kirsty Ferguson – AWW2019

Book set on the Australian coast: The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion – AWW2019

Written by an author under the age of 35: Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson – #AWW2019

Historical: The Familiars by Stacey Halls

 

Row Four: – BINGO

 

Novella no more than 150 pages: Deltora Quest: The Forest of Silence by Emily Rodda – #AWW2019

Memoir about a non-famous person: Australia’s Sweetheart by Michael Adams

Themes of inequality: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer – AWW2019

Book set in the Australian mountains: The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers – AWW2019

Written by an author over the age of 65: Miss Franklin: How Miles Franklin’s Brilliant Career began by Libby Hathorn – #AWW2019

Romance: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

 

Row Five: BINGO

 

Prize winning book: Somewhere Around the Corner by Jackie French – #AWW2019, Alexander Altmann A10567 by Suzy Zail – #AWW2019

Book written by an Australian woman more than ten years ago: Deltora Quest: The Lake of Tears by Emily Rodda – #AWW2019 (2001)

Themes of fantasy: Vardaesia by Lynette Noni – AWW2019

Book set in an exotic location: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte – #AWW2019

Written by an author you’ve never read: The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble – #AWW2019

Comedy: Best Foot Forward by Adam Hills

 

 

Of these, due to work obligations, not as many were Australian Women as I would have liked but will aim to get more read in the coming months. Other challenges will hopefully be filled in then as well so I can add those lists in towards the end of the year and in my final wrap up posts for each challenge.

 

Until next month!