imageFirst of all, I apologise to all AWW fans for not wrapping this up sooner! Life has been a bit crazy in the Foster household, and I needed to go through my very eclectic reading list from last year! For those of you wondering what it’s all about, the Australian Women Writers challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, 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 or the 2016 challenge and find out more information on their website. There are three entry levels: Stella (read 4), Miles (read 6) and Franklin (read 10).

My year began with Liane Moriarty’s fantastic Big Little Lies and Dawn Barker’s compelling Let Her Go. Soon after that I was lost in the exquisite writing of Yvette Walker’s Letters to the End of Love, and then moved on to a couple of dystopian/apocalyptic YA gems – Genesis: The Rosie Black Chronicles by Lara Morgan and The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn. While in the midst of having three big projects on the go at once, it was the perfect time to read Rachel Power’s brilliant book Motherhood and Creativity – an anthology of artists talking about their experiences of combining these two life-consuming roles on a day-to-day basis. I found myself nodding and writing down passages so I could refer back to them, and found Cate Kennedy’s poem ‘The Zen Master’ a masterpiece of writing. At the end of the year I managed to squeeze in a couple more fiction books: Ann Turner’s brooding and evocative The Lost Swimmer, and Susan May’s thrilling ride Deadly Messengers.

When compiling this list I thought I hadn’t quite met the Franklin status of ’10 books read’, then I remembered I had also read Mem Fox’s Reading Magic and Jackie French’s I Spy A Great Reader – both important books about how to get young children engaged in reading. As as side note, the Foster girls are avid fans of Mem’s and Jackie’s books for children, and this year we loved Wilfrid Gordon Mcdonald Partridge and Koala Lou by Mem, and Josephine Loves to Dance and Diary of a Wombat by Jackie. While I’m on children’s books I can’t help but mention Alison Lester’s wonderful Are We There Yet, which we discovered this year. We spent ages putting the places mentioned on a map of Australia and Miss 6 is now determined we will visit all of them! We also loved Magic Boomerang by Frane Lessac and Mark Greenwood, where the wonders of Australia are brought life by an enchanted boomerang.

So I think I may have just snuck in to Franklin status. And while I suspect that my reading in 2016 will be dominated by dystopian fiction for my PhD, I’m going to aim for Franklin again, because there’s no harm in being ambitious! This initiative has been of inestimable support for Australian women writers for some years now, and I’m very happy to be part of it.


2016australiaday-bloghopThank you for visiting my site. I’m very happy to be participating in the Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop for 2016, the brainchild of Shelleyrae at Book’d Out – and it’s come at a very exciting time for me as I’m just days away from the official Australian launch date of my fourth novel, All That is Lost Between Us. I have only just received my very first box of books hot off the press, and one of them could be yours! To be one of the first to read my new novel, all you have to do is leave a comment here – a ‘hello’ will get you into the draw, but I’d love you to give me a book recommendation too!

When you have entered my giveaway, please visit the Book’d Out Australia Day Book Giveaway page, and check out all the awesome authors, publishers and bloggers who are taking part. There are over 30 chances to win some fantastic Aussie books!

TERMS & CONDITIONS: This giveaway is open to Australian residents only. The winner will be selected at random after entries close at midnight on 27 January and the winning name will be posted here and notified the following day (28 Jan).col-md-2

Writers Ask Writers


I can’t conclude my 2015 inspirations without mentioning this talented bunch of WA writers. I feel privileged to know them, and it’s always great when we get together to share words, ideas and support one another. I have read all their latest releases and they are all bloody brilliant, so do go and grab copies for your stockings if you‘ve missed any of them. They are: Annabel Smith – Author, THE ARK (and don’t miss WHISKY CHARLIE FOXTROT, published in the US in 2015 as WHISKEY & CHARLIE); Amanda Curtin – Author, ELEMENTAL (shortlisted for the Premier’s book awards, and to be published in the UK in 2016); Dawn Barker – author, LET HER GO (which followed her acclaimed debut FRACTURED); Natasha Lester – Author, IF I SHOULD LOSE YOU (and new book A KISS FOR MR FITZGERALD coming in April 2016); Yvette Walker, LETTERS TO THE END OF LOVE (winner of the WA Premier’s Emerging Writers Award); and Emma Chapman – Author, HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE (new book THE LAST PHOTOGRAPH coming in 2016).col-md-2


Three dystopias I read and loved in 2015: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Pure by Julianna Baggott – each one unique but all of them shocking, thrilling, heartbreaking and soul-searching. And all highly recommended.



I love this talk by Ann Morgan on her year reading her way around the world. Ann noticed that her bookshelf was dominated by American and English titles and set herself a challenge to read a book from every country in the world – and so she did. It made me think about my own reading goals for next year – although at the moment my reading pile is dominated by research books! If you’re inspired by her talk too, here’s Ann’s written guide to reading the world.


Of the little worlds that come out of the silence, like prayers, prayed back to the one who prays, make a poem that does not disturb the silence fromThere’s nothing more exciting for a reader than discovering a writer whose words are your soulfood.  In 2015 I had the joy of discovering Wendell Berry’s poem ‘The Peace of Wild Things’, and on doing some research I discovered more and more gems, such as this one. Visit Wendell’s website at and discover him for yourself.


01-big-magic-book-reviewHere’s another great read of 2015. Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest release had a pretty big bandwagon before it was even published, and I’m very happy to join it. This book is full of down-to-earth advice and insight for creative types. If you want to release your inner artist in 2016, I highly recommend reading Big Magic (if you haven’t already!) and keeping it by your desk for those moments you need a pep talk. I’ll be doing the same.col-md-2

18169279One of the joys of my studies this year has been coming across so many brilliant books that might otherwise be out of my usual reading range. Australian author Claire Zorn’s YA book The Sky So Heavy is one of these. Fin is just a regular kid at school, getting by in class and trying to suss out how to get the hottest girl in school to notice him. Then missiles are detonated thousands of miles away, and a nuclear winter descends on Australia. Fin’s father and stepmother go out and never come back, leaving Fin and his brother to try to cope as their world slowly disintegrates around them. Never mind the teenagers, I loved it! If you’re still looking for Christmas gifts for the younger generation, Claire also has a new book, The Protected.col-md-2

IDShot_540x540My favourite book character of 2015 comes from Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. Maud might be losing her mind, but she is sure that her friend is missing, and she’s determined to find out what has happened to her. This is such a bittersweet, intimate portrayal of dementia, and Maud and her tins of peach slices will stay with me for a long time.col-md-2