Welcome to November, and the October Round up. The year is zipping to a close for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. Right on trend, we have fourteen books reviewed by twelve authors this month – not much has changed, and the most common genres seem to be Speculative Fiction and Historical Fiction.


In terms of diversity, Amy at Lost in a Good Book reviewed You Must be Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied.  Amy says she enjoyed parts of this book, and had mixed feelings – one thing she liked that it didn’t become an ‘Issue’ book – yet at the same time, she felt it needed to flesh out on the issues a bit more so the balance between the universal and individual worked. This can be something that can make a book for a reader – where the balance is right to engage everyone in the target audience to garner empathy and understanding in many ways. Books that touch on issues can be tricky to get right – as a reader, there needs to be a sense of teaching as well as a sense of story – neither should overpower the other in fiction, and I think this is what Amy is getting at with this story.


This month, I reviewed three speculative fiction books by Kate Forsyth – The Starthorn Tree, The Wildkin’s Curse and The Starkin Crown. The Starthorn Tree was the very first Kate Forsyth book I remember reading. I was in the big Sydney Dymocks, after something new to read, and stumbled across it – and it was signed! Since then, I had managed to get the other two, but they were on different shelves and in different piles, and I’ve finally read them all. I ,loved them and the adventure they gave, and the way they incorporated a variety of themes to explore real world challenges in a fantasy setting.

Shelley at Underground Writer’s read If I Tell You by Alicia Tuckerman, leaning into diversity and LGBTQI themes. Shelley loved that she could easily picture the characters and what they were experiencing, and the way a homophobic and intolerant town was painted. These themes directly relate to how the main character, Alex, is feeling and how she feels about herself. The subversion of stereotypes and the way Tuckerman deals with this are things that Shelley picked up on as well, and I’ve added this to my list of books to get and read eventually. It is these kinds of books that we need – like the ones above – to show us different perspectives and how these can impact on lives.


Until next month!