Well, half way through 2021 and we can certainly say it has been another one with challenges and unsettling times.  Thanks to everyone who has continued to read and contribute to the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge over the past six months.  During June we had 54 reviews submitted covering 39 books.

Our first book for the June round up is Rozzi Bazzani’s The Piano Woman.  Bazzani sounds like a kindred spirit as we share the same profession, although Rozzi has done a myriad of other things in her life as well as being a librarian.  The Piano Woman is her first novel and it was released in March 2021.  I am definitely adding this to my TBR after reading mrsbbookreviews wonderful review.  She commented that “Rozzi Bazzani is an award-winning writer who brings her audience a breathtaking dual narrative title with The Piano Woman. A story that encompasses love, family relations, secrets, mystery, history and intrigue, it is easy to get lost in this well written multiple timeline novel.  Dabble in the present day and take a step back in time with the memorable characters of The Piano Woman. Rozzi Bazzani’s title is a guaranteed great read.”

The next title comes from the awesome team of Buist and Simsion.  Anna Buist has co-authored this novel Two Steps Onward with partner Graeme Simsion and it is the sequel to Two Steps Forward released a few years ago.  In this novel we reunite with the characters that we met ‘somewhere along the way the Camino’ and this time they are taking the less-travelled Chemin d’Assise and Via Francigena to Rome, the mountainous path down from rural France.  Carolyn Scott really enjoyed this novel and explained a bit more about its context.  “Three years after Zoe and Martin met and fell in love walking the Camino de Santiago they are once again on another journey. One that will not only take them on a physical journey walking a thousand miles through France and Italy, but also on a deeply personal journey as they reflect on their lives and what they most want from the future.”  And without giving too much away she felt it was “an engrossing and inspiring read with a satisfying ending.

Our next writer to feature in the round up is Melbourne based writer and academic Briohny Doyle with her new novel called Echolalia.  Shelleyrae@Bookdout’s review has me intrigued as her review finishes with this comment “With its crisp and evocative prose, Echolalia is a raw, poignant and unsettling novel that left me uncomfortable, but thoughtful.”  She describes the novel as perhaps “literary domestic suspense”

Popular Sydney based writer Sophie Green has a new novel to be released later this month, set in Far North QLD it sounds like it will be another heartwarming favourite.  Marianne’s Reviews gave it a five star review, “Green divides her tale into seasons, prefacing each with a list of current songs, movies, TV series and world events that firmly establish the era (1993-5) and may well induce a sense of nostalgia in readers of a certain vintage. Her plot does have some predictable aspects, but there are enough surprises and topical issues to easily keep the reader’s interest. Once again, Green gives the reader a wonderfully heart-warming read.”

Karly Lane released Take me home in May this year and if you are keen to daydream about a road trip overseas this novel will take you to Scotland.  Veronica includes a positive review on her blog  Burgeoning Bookshelf and said “Take Me Home was such a fun read. Elle was very easy to connect with and I adored Elle and her gran’s relationship. Even though we read about it after Iona’s death we can clearly see how close they were.  I enjoyed the armchair travel through Scotland to all the tourist spot and the little snippets of history about the places.  Take Me Home is a story of self discovery as Elle meets her Scottish family, including her arty cousin, she feels right at home.   A Scottish castle, a legend, a prophecy, family secrets and a fledgling romance made Take Me Home a story I did not want to end.  Karly Lane has proven herself time and time again in the rural romance genre and now she has smashed the contemporary fiction genre with Take Me Home.

And to finish off the round up we have Nicola Marsh who has become well known internationally for her romance novels and according to her website has had 77 novels published selling over 8 million copies!  My sister’s husband is a psychological thriller and was reviewed by Brenda’s Reviews who wrote “My Sister’s Husband by Aussie author Nicola Marsh is an intricate psychological thriller which I enjoyed. I had worked out most of it, but not all – the twist at the end was a good one! The amount of lies that were told; managing to keep those lies straight in the retelling as the years went by – it makes me wonder how some people’s minds work! An enjoyable read by a new to me author which I recommend.”

A great variety this month with a touch of travel, romance and suspense.  Look forward to reading your reviews next month.  Take care, stay well and stay safe.