June 2020 Wrap Up

 

The Modern Mrs Darcy 11/12

AWW2020 – 67/25

Book Bingo – 12/12

The Nerd Daily Challenge 45/52

Dymocks Reading Challenge 23/25

Books and Bites Bingo 15/25

STFU Reading Challenge: 9/12

General Goal –110/165

 

In June, I managed to read eighteen books in total, fourteen by Australian authors, and all but one of those were Australian women authors. Fifteen of the eighteen were by women authors from Australia and the United Kingdom, and my reading crossed all kinds of genres and audiences this month as I work towards my yearly reading goals.

Towards the end of the month, I participated in an Emma versus Pride and Prejudice read-along with some blogger friends – it seemed several of us went with Emma- perhaps because we had not read it yet and had already read Pride and Prejudice – and two of us found we could use it for a classics book bingo square.

I’m moving slowly through my stacks of books to read, and will hopefully be on top of all of them soon.

June – 18

Book Author Challenge
Elementals: Battle Born Amie Kaufman Reading Challenge, AWW2020, Dymocks Reading Challenge
Lilies, Lies and Love Jackie French Reading Challenge, AWW2020
Kid Normal and the Final Five Greg James and Chris Smith Reading Challenge
Toffle Towers: Fully Booked Tim Harris and James Foley Reading Challenge
Monty’s Island: Scary Mary and the Stripey Spell Emily Rodda and Lucinda Gifford Reading Challenge, AWW2020
Wonderscape Jennifer Bell Reading Challenge
When Rain Turns to Snow Jane Godwin Reading Challenge, AWW2020
League of Llamas: Undercover Llama Aleesah Darlison Reading Challenge, AWW2020
League of Llamas: Rogue Llama Aleesah Darlison Reading Challenge, AWW2020
Kensy and Max: Freefall Jacqueline Harvey Reading Challenge, AWW2020
The Silk House 

 

Kayte Nunn Reading Challenge, AWW2020
The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle

 

Pamela Rushby and Nellé May Pierce Reading Challenge, AWW2020
Roxy and Jones: The Great Fairy Tale Cover Up Angela Woolfe Reading Challenge
Alexandra-Rose and Her Icy Cold Toes by

 

Monique Mulligan and Kate Fox (Illustrator) Reading Challenge, AWW2020
Meet Mia by the Jetty Janeen Brian and Danny Snell Reading Challenge, AWW2020
Meet Sam at the Mangrove Creek Paul Seden and Brenton McKenna Reading Challenge, STFU Reading Challenge, Dymocks Reading Challenge
Death by Shakespeare: Snakebites, Stabbings and Broken Hearts  Kathryn Harkup Reading Challenge
Edie’s Experiments: How to Be the Best Charlotte Barkla Reading Challenge, AWW2020

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Pop Sugar Challenge Wrap Up 2019

In 2019 I also participated in the Pop Sugar Challenge. I missed out on completing this by one, mainly because time just ran out and I never got to it. Below is my list of categories that I completed. I am thinking of trying a different one this year, as I feel the categories are getting too specific and I may struggle to find books to fit some of them, if not many, and whilst it is meant to help expand my reading, I’d be too worried about finding something to enjoy the process. So all of these have been read, and many reviewed in 2019.

Pop Sugar Challenge

  1. A book becoming a movie in 2019: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  2. A book that makes you nostalgic: The Lost Magician by Piers Torday
  3. A book written by a musician (fiction or nonfiction): Best Foot Forward by Adam Hills
  4. A book you think should be turned into a movie: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
  5. A book with at least one million ratings on Goodreads: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling – 20th Anniversary House Editions
  6. A book with a plant in the title or on the cover: Bella Donna: Coven Road by Ruth Symes, Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley
  7. A reread of a favourite book: Beauty in Thorns by Kate Forsyth
  8. A book about a hobby: The Bad Mother’s Book Club by Keris Stanton
  9. A book you meant to read in 2018: Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley
  10. A book with POP, SUGAR, or CHALLENGE in the title: Poppy Field by Michael Morpurgo, Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  11. A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne, The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  12. A book inspired by myth/legend/folklore: Mermaid Holidays: The Magic Pearl by Delphine Davis and Adele K Thomas
  13. A book published posthumously: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  14. A book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  15. A retelling of a classic: Enola Holmes: The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets (Enola Holmes #3) by Nancy Springer
  16. A book with a question in the title: Is It Night or Day? by Fern Schumer Chapman
  17. A book set on college or university campus: Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl and Ms Marvel by Devin Grayson, Ryan North and Willow Wilson
  18. A book about someone with a superpower: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume One: Squirrel Power by Ryan North
  19. A book told from multiple POVs: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
  20. A book set in space: Captain Marvel: Higher, Faster, Further by Kelly Sue DeConnick
  21. A book by two female authors: The Silver Well by Kate Forsyth and Kim Wilkins, While You Were Reading by Ali Berg and Michelle Klaus
  22. A book with SALTY, SWEET, BITTER, or SPICY in the title: Australia’s Sweetheart by Michael Adams
  23. A book set in Scandinavia: The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag
  24. A book that takes place in a single day: Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson
  25. A debut novel: What Lies Beneath Us by Kirsty Ferguson
  26. A book that’s published in 2019: Vardaesia by Lynette Noni
  27. A book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature: Dragon Masters: Treasure of the Gold Dragon by Tracey West
  28. A book recommended by a celebrity you admire: Split edited by Lee Kofman – recommended by Myf Warhurst
  29. A book with LOVE in the title: With Love from Miss Lily by Jackie French (short story)
  30. A book featuring an amateur detective: All the Tears in China by Sulari Gentill
  31. A book about a family: The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion
  32. A book by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America: Children of the Dragon: Race for the Red Dragon by Rebecca Lim
  33. A book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in title: The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames
  34. A book that includes a wedding: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino
  35. A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter: Mermaid Holidays: The Talent Show by Delphine Davis and Adele K. Thomas, The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl, Explorer’s Academy: Nebula Secret by Trudi Trueit
  36. A ghost story: The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
  37. A book with a two-word title: Saving You by Charlotte Nash
  38. A novel based on a true story: The Familiars by Stacey Halls – The Pendle Witches
  39. A book revolving around a puzzle or game: Deltora Quest #1 by Emily Rodda
  40. Your favourite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading challenge:

2016 – A book based on a fairy tale: The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth – based on Chinese fairy tale, The Blue Rose

2017 – A steampunk book: The Book of Dust Volume 2: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

Prompt:

Advanced

  1. A “cli-fi” (climate fiction) book: The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble, Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson
  2. A “choose-your-own-adventure” book: Choose Your Own Adventure #2: Journey Under the Sea by R.A. Montgomery
  3. An “own voices” book: Children of the Dragon: Race for the Red Dragon by Rebecca Lim
  4. Read a book during the season it is set in: Archibald, The Naughtiest Elf in the World Causes Trouble with the Easter Bunny by Skye Davidson (Easter Season), The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green (parts are set during Autumn), While You Were Reading by Ali Berg and Michelle Klaus (Winter), The Unforgiving City by Maggie Joel (Winter)
  5. A LitRPG book:
  6. A book with no chapters / unusual chapter headings / unconventionally numbered chapters: Kensy and Max: Undercover by Jacqueline Harvey (Ciphers used to give the chapter headings)
  7. Two books that share the same title: Deltora Quest: The Forest of Silence by Emily Rodda
  8. Two books that share the same title: Deltora Quest: The Lake of Tears by Emily Rodda
  9. A book that has inspired a common phrase or idiom: Aladdin and the Arabian Nights – Open Sesame
  10. A book set in an abbey, cloister, monastery, vicarage, or convent: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Deltora Quest Omnibus #1 by Emily Rodda – Deltora Quest wrap up

Deltora Quest 1.jpgTitle: Deltora Quest Omnibus #1

Author: Emily Rodda

Genre: Fantasy Adventure

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 1st October 2008

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 774

Price: $29.99

Synopsis: Here, for the first time, the eight books of the international best-selling fantasy series Deltora Quest are brought together in one superb volume.

For centuries, the evil Shadow Lord has been plotting to invade Deltora and enslave its people. All that stands against him is the magic Belt of Deltora with its seven gems of great and mysterious power.

When the gems are stolen and scattered throughout the kingdom, the Enemy triumphs, and Deltora is lost. Abandoned by their king, suffering under the Shadow Lord’s cruel tyranny, the people live in ignorance, terror and despair.

But while most have abandoned hope, three unlikely companions have not.

The great gems have been hidden in fearsome places throughout the kingdom and are protected by terrible guardians. But Lief, Barda and Jasmine believe that they can be found. They cling to their faith that if the magic Belt can be restored, the Shadow Lord will be banished from their land. With only a sketchy map to guide them, the companions set out into the unknown.

So begins the perilous quest which has captured the imagination of millions throughout the world.

~*~

The Deltora Quest series, consisting of eight books, is the story of Lief, Barda and Jasmine seeking to restore the magical Belt of Del and defeat the Shadow Lord who has invaded their homeland. To start with, I have linked each individual review here in this post, listed below.

The Forests of Silence

Deltora Quest 1

The Lake of Tears

lake of tears

City of the Rats

city of rats

The Shifting Sands

the shifting san ds

Dread Mountain

Dread Mountain

The Maze of the Beast

The Maze of the Beast

The Valley of the Lost

valley of the lost

Return to Del

return to del

I read each book and this omnibus as part of the 2019 Australian Women Writer’s Challenge and for a few other challenges, fulfilling several categories, some which I managed to do by bending and reimagining the parameters given in the challenge. Currently, I have this one slated to fulfil my novel of 500 pages or more, as so far, I have not read one yet in all my reading this year so far, but am keeping this open in case something does come across my desk for review or general reading purposes.

Being able to read all eight books in this omnibus version was a very good thing, as I was able to flick backwards and forwards, putting the clues together from each book as I read it over the past few months in between my work as a quiz writer, editor and book reviewer. So, I finally finished it, and really enjoyed it. Throughout, each novel built on the previous ones, whilst still being individual stories. Yet their interconnection means that it is best to read them in order, so everything makes sense and fits in together like a puzzle or game while you read.

2019 Badge

In wrapping up this series, I have not been as expansive as other posts, as I have included each individual review. Astute readers will piece the clues together as they read, and each clue is cleverly included throughout, culminating in the final books to reveal the secrets that need to be uncovered.

Overall, it was a very engaging and action packed series, with the right amount of adventure, humour, darkness and light for readers of all ages to enjoy and engage with.

Wrap Up #3: Favourite Reads of 2017

Wrap Up #3: Favourite Reads of 2017

 

In my third wrap up post for 2017, I am looking at my favourite reads of the year. Over the past twelve months of reading so many books, narrowing down my favourites has been quite hard. There are definitely a few that stick out, though. Deciding how many to include in my favourites for the year was a challenge as well. Three wasn’t enough, five barely covered them and ten seems like the next logical number. However, when it came to ranking the books I chose, I found that it was impossible to do so, because I loved them all equally and for different reasons, so to place one book ahead of another didn’t feel right. With a goal of at least ten favourite reads, more if I need them, I have compiled this list. I have listed them as I thought of them, and linked my review. My one stipulation was that the books on this list had to be published this year. I settled on … books in the end, as these were the ones that really stood out to me as exceptional for a variety of reasons.

 

nevermoorNevermoor by Jessica Townsend – a debut Children’s and YA novel about a cursed chid,Morrigan Crow, who is whisked off to the Wundrous land of Nevermoor to compete for a chance at a place at the academy there, and to escape the death that all children born on Eventide must face at the age of eleven. It has been compared to Harry Potter, and it has that some wonder and magic of the Harry Potter series. With book two out later in 2018, I am anxious to find out what will happen to Mog, Jupiter North and Fen the cat, who became my favourite character rather quickly. I devoured it in two days, and look forward to reading it again.

 

 

Facing the FlameFacing the Flame by Jackie French – the seventh book in the Matilda Saga takes place a few years after the solemn end of If Blood Should Stain the Wattle. Jed Kelly is getting married, and is going to have a baby. In the final days of her pregnancy, Jed must run from the fire and an old adversary to save her life, and her baby. As the fire closes in on Gibber’s Creek, lives will be lost and found, and Jed’s world changes forever. The Matilda Saga is one of my favourite series, and with a new book out each year, I look forward to reuniting with the families of Gibbers Creek each December.

 

 

stars across the oceanStars Across the Ocean by Kimberley Freeman – The story of foundling baby, Agnes Resolute, determined to find her birth mother, whom she thinks is Genevieve Breckby. A journey from the foundling home to London and across the world will lead her to her real mother. It is a story about a strong young woman, determined not to let anything stop her, but a woman of her time as well, finding ways to fit in whilst taking her fate into her own hands. It also tells the dual storyline of a young woman in the 21st century, caring for her mother, and following the journey of Agnes that her mother has been researching. It has a touch of romance that happens as a result

of events in the story, rather than driving the plot. It was a good read, and definitely one of my favourites.

 

Beauty in Thorns by Kate Forsyth – a favourite

BeautyinThorns_Cover

reads list of mine would not be complete without Kate Forsyth’s latest fairy tale infused historical fiction novel.  Beauty in Thorns is about the Victorian Pre-Raphaelite art society, primarily the women w

ho inspired the words and paintings of their husbands and lovers and fathers, and what they contributed. In a world where women were expected to raise children and run a household, the Pre-Raphaelite women did this and inspired the men in their lives, and some even contributed their own artistic talents to exhibitions. Exquisitely told, with the flaws as well as the strengths present, Kate Forsyth is a master at telling the little-known stories of women in history, and bringing historical characters such as Lizzie Siddal to life with her words.

 

Flat Cover_Gentill_ADL_2017A Dangerous Language by Sulari Gentill another author whose books I eagerly await each year is Sulari Gentill, primarily her Rowland Sinclair series. Eight books in, and poor Rowly keeps finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, getting embroiled in murder and mayhem, and involved in the left side of the political spectrum, far from what his brother, Wilfred, wishes he would do. Several months after the total destruction of his Mercedes in a race that almost claimed his life, Rowland is car shopping in Melbourne with Milt, the Jewish Communist poet, and Clyde, a working-class painter, for a new car. On the drive back from Melbourne, they stop in Canberra, where a Communist is murdered, and soon, both Rowly and Milt find their lives in jeopardy. Set in the 1930s as worldwide political tensions lead to the rise of Hitler and the lead up to the devastation of the Second World War, each book gets more political, and Sulari manages this with great skill, ensuring an engaging series that I feel gets better with each book.

 

into the worldInto the World by Stephanie Parkyn – Another historical fiction novel by a debut Australian female author, and another book I read as part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge, as all the books so far have been. Set during the French Revolution of the 1790s, Marie-Louise Giradin leaves her son with a trusted friend, and, disguised as a man, travels on a journey to find La Perouse, lost at sea in the Southern Oceans around the newly colonised Australia. Her journey takes her to Tasmania, where the stories she has heard are far from the truth of what she sees here and on stops along the way, where she tries to speak out, horrified when she sees the slave trade in full swing. It is a journey that is full of surprises – where Marie Louise and the crew find that they may never reach the shores of their beloved France again after Louis XIV is beheaded. It was delightful to read a novel where the woman’s primary role was one of strength and courage, and where women were shown to do things beyond what society expected them to do. A great story, and an enjoyable one.

 

draekoraDraekora by Lynette Noni – Returning to Akarnae and its world each year is a pleasure Set just after the events of Raelia, Alex, Bear and D.C. must find a way to save Jordan, who has been Claimed by Aven, the Meyarin Prince who seeks to reclaim their world at any cost. Sent to Meya, and thousands of years into the past, Alex must find a way to get back, and complete her testing and training before she can face Aven. In this fantasy series, each book has been engaging and enthralling, with a strong focus on friendship as the primary relationships in the novel. With Graevale out in a matter of months, this is definitely making my list of favourite books I have read this year, and I am looking forward to Graevale.

 

baby ganesh 3The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star by Vaseem Khan Up until now, each book has been by an Australian female author, and mostly fantasy or historical fiction. The Baby Ganesh series is set in Mumbai, and revolves around a private detective, Chopra, investigating crimes with his trusty elephant, Ganesha, who loves Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate. The pair often insert themselves into investigations, much to the dismay of Chopra’s formidable wife, Poppy, and end up getting into scrapes that young Ganesha manages to get them out of. In the third book, a famous Bollywood star has gone missing, and Chopra and Ganesha are on the trail. A few rough turns take them to unexpected places, and with an ending that was surprising this series has a character to it that few I have read do.

 

bedlam stacksThe Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley – In what I feel can only be described as historical fiction infused with magical realism, this was one of the most interesting books I read this year. As smuggler Merrick Tremayne is at home, he is summoned to go on an expedition to South America to find quinine to help with malaria outbreaks in East India. What Tremayne and his companions find has them questioning what they know, and how to deal with the world as they have understood and known it. What was clever about this book was that it felt like a historical fiction until nearer the end, when the subtle hints towards the magical realism in the book started to come together. Cleverly done so the reader gets a surprise, I hope that Natasha Pulley writes some more books like this.

 

rotherweirdRotherweird by Andrew Caldecott – This one, set in a town that lives in the current times but whose lives mimic those of Shakespearean times, made the list for its inventiveness, and clever execution, much like Bedlam Stacks. It is part historical fiction, part fantasy, with each section opening and closing with a snippet of the history of the town that history teacher, Jonah Oblong has come to teach in. Cast away from Elizabethan England, Rotherweird seems to have moved on in years but is stuck in a time when a Virgin Queen sat on the throne and a playwright who charmed audiences in the Globe Theatre. It is a place full of anachronisms, cleverly used, and where local history and pre-1800 history is not taught. I look forward to the next book, and what it brings to the mystery and intrigue of this anachronistic little town.

 

Of course, there are many more that I loved, but these are amongst my favourites and the ones that made me think and that offered something a little bit different to some other books out there. Bring on 2018!

 

Happy Reading!

 

The Book Muse, Ashleigh