Read3r’z Re-Vu celebrate multicultural diversity in books on Harmony Day: 21 March 2018

Multicultural diversity is one of the reasons why Australia is such a great country. Harmony Day is a celebration of our cultural diversity and belonging. Celebrated on 21 March, this occasion has been celebrated since 1999 and more than 70 000 events are held in workplaces, community groups, schools, childcare centres, churches and religious organisations as well as Government Departments. Given how culturally diverse Read3r’z Re-Vu is, this is one celebration we could not miss!!!

The theme colour for Harmony Day is orange as it represents social communication and meaningful conversations – the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect.

Some Facts as found from the organisers of Harmony Day
-Australia’s cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and it is the heart of who we are.
-Approx. 49% of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was.
-Australians identify with over 300 ancestries
-85% of Australians agree multiculturalism is good for Australia and more than 70 indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.

As part of this special occasion, this specific blog post is celebrating the books that relate to, promote or represent cultural diversity. The following are books as recommended by Read3r’z Re-Vu and our friends in the wider literacy community.

Read3r’z Re-Vu Committee

NJ recommends Freedom Swimmer by Wai Chim
“A heart-rending story set in real-life dystopian history of China’s cultural revolution. A story of friendship, hope, and freedom… I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Freedom Swimmer, I was attracted to this book initially because there weren’t many books written in English on the cultural revolution in China. During the revolution period of 1962-1976 people living in China had to use ration tickets in exchange for food, clothing and furniture. This was a period where family members turned against each other, teachers and business owners publically whipped and shamed for being “exploitative”, and young students recruited to the Red Guard to spread the words of Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao). Mao Zedong’s words and ideology brainwashed and manipulated a generation of young men and women, putting them through unimaginable suffering, separating them from their families and “re-educating” their ideals; in short, robbing people of their freedom to choose and think for themselves.”

Meredith recommends Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
“Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah. I can’t believe that I just finished a book that took me on emotional roller coaster ride. It’s been well over a decade since that has happened. The tears are still coming. Throughout Autoboyography I was crying my eyes out, squealing with joy, felt like my heart is braking in two and slowly mending again…”



Crystal recommends Who’s Afraid? By Maria Lewis
“This Urban fantasy brings out a mix of Maori Culture and the supernatural. The protagonist is Tommi Grayson, a young Scottish woman living an ordinary life, who stumbles violently into her birthright as the world’s most powerful werewolf. Werewolves are one of my many favourite mythical creatures so it’s no wonder this book captivated me like it did. I couldn’t help but be amazed at how the author managed to blend in street art, music and the colourful parts of everyday life so effortlessly. Tommi isn’t your typical everyday woman & neither is her name, this book takes you on such a journey and I truly enjoyed how Tommi came across as such a feminine character and yet so powerfully adaptable. She has some sass about her but not the overwhelming kind which is why I found her to be such a loveable character & her hair being blue had me pausing while I resisted the urge to go out and buy some blue hair dye. Definitely a book for the girls with lots of shirtless male scenes and blushing moments.”


Read3r’z Re-Vu is a network of readers and host sessions once a month. A time where we take a couple of hours out of our busy schedules to get together and talk all things books!! Rather than a book, a theme is assigned to each session so we can endorse wide reading. It is a reason why our TBR has sky rocketed over the years. Within our network we have made many friends with other readers, bookish entrepreneurs, authors and bloggers who catch up with us at our sessions and are based around Australia!!! Here are some recommendations from the bloggers in our network of readers…


Tien of Tien’s Blurb recommends Laurinda by Alice Pung
“I loved Laurinda as it tells the story of Lucy Lam, daughter of Vietnamese immigrants who won a scholarship at a prestigious school for girls. It was absolutely intense as Lucy literally straddled East and West and had to basically adopt a double identity. Hiding the worst of each world from the other. On top of all of this, she has to navigate this new school in which she tried to cruise unnoticed but then discovered its sinister side. The author herself, Alice Pung, is a daughter of Vietnamese immigrants so those aspects of the book felt truly authentic to me. I also felt that the struggle between reconciling East and West to be very honest in this book and is something all us, immigrants, refugees, all had to struggle with on a day to day basis. I’d highly recommend this read to all and I am looking forward to its adaptation!!!”







Lyn of Storyline recommends the PsyChangeling series by Nailini Singh
‘This series is set in 2080 has the most wonderful descriptions of her characters diverse genetics and an ongoing warning of the dangers posed by those that seek ‘racial purity'”

And for the kids… Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
“Every day all over Australia, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same or speak the same language, but inside, they are just like you. This story weaves its way across cultures and generations, celebrating the bond that unites us all.”


Both Verushka of Edit Everything and Sarah of The Adventures of Sacakat both recommend When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon.

“Seeing an Indian Girl on a cover, someone I could possibly identify with – yes, even though this is YA, it still means something to see myself (at that age) reflected on the cover of a book. Rishi might give me some reservatons but the cover and the book that revolves around an Indian girl, who is trying to forge her own path, is something I identified with.”

“This book game me a warm and fuzzy overload (and I mean that’s a good thing). There are bits of humour sprinkled throughout this awkwardly adorable love story about juggling parental expectations and following your dreams. I loved the positive examples of arranged marriage portrayed in the story.  Everything about this book was a breath of fresh air to me.”









Creators of The YA Room, Melbourne Sarah and Alex both recommend When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah and Between Us by Clare Atkins

“We chose ‘When Michael Met Mina’ by Randa Abdel-Fattah and ‘Between Us’ by Clare Atkins because they are both such sensational novels that are set in Australia and they’re equal parts gripping and realistic. It’s s interesting and so necessary to read #LoveOzYA novels with a diverse range of characters, especially protagonists who are minorities. These two novels absolutely blew us away and we need more books like this – books about Australia and for Australian Teens that show what is going on in our own country. We cant recommend these two novels enough!!”
-Sarah and Alex

Vlogger Maisie whose booktube channel can be found on Sleepy Wired Studios recommends Pilate’s Wife by Antoinette May and Emma Vol. 1 (Manga)
Pilate’s Wife: “I really enjoyed this book,  story about a daughter of privilege in the most powerful empire the world has ever known, Claudia has a unique and disturbing “gift”: her dreams have an uncanny way of coming true. As a rebellious child seated beside the tyrannical Roman Emperor Tiberius, she first spies the powerful gladiator who will ultimately be her one true passion. Yet it is the ambitious magistrate Pontius Pilate who intrigues the impressionable young woman she becomes, and Claudia finds her way into his arms by means of a mysterious ancient magic. Pilate is her grand destiny, leading her to Judaea and plunging her into a seething cauldron of open rebellion. But following her friend Miriam of Magdala’s confession of her ecstatic love for a charismatic religious radical, Claudia
begins to experience terrifying 
visions—horrific premonitions of war, injustice, untold devastation and damnation and the crucifixion of a divine martyr whom she must do everything in her power to save”

Emma Vol 1. (Manga): “This volume had a great introduction and the art is very cute as well. I also loved the character interactions. In Victorian England, a young girl named Emma is rescued from a life of destitution and raised to become a proper British maid. When she meets William, the eldest son of a wealthy family, their love seems destined. But in this world, even matters of the heart are ruled by class distinctions.”




Kelly of Diva Booknerd recommends Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey.
“This is a narrative that will resonate with Australian readers. A young part Indigenous boy is ostracised by the community of Corrigan, a predominately white town in the nineteen sixties. Jasper Jones is a harbinger of disorder, culpable for crime and leading their youth astray, his white father is an alcoholic who has abandoned his sixteen tear old son. Charlie is a Caucasian young man sharing experience, the town of Corrigan is fuelled by racial tension and exclusion during the Vietnam war era, experienced by Charlie’s best friend Jeffrey Lu and his family, having migrated by Vietnam. Rural Australia prejudice and bigotry is confronting, although Charlie’s white narrative tends to obscure the explicit nature for the adolescent audience. Indigenous Australians are often excluded from our discussions surrounding diversity in fiction and characters like Jasper Jones only further highlight the atrocities of colonisation and the continuing racism faced by our Indigenous population.”


Jessica, Emily & Amber aka The Book Bratz recommend American Panda by Gloria Chao

“The book we chose is American Panda by Gloria Chao! You get exposed to a lot of culture in this book. We learned a lot about Taiwanese/Chinese culture, marriage practices, and language in this book, and it was really refreshing to be exposed to something like that — because we think reading diversely and expanding your cultural knowledge and experience is something that should be important for everyone — and as Gloria Chao says in her author’s note, hopefully there will be more Chinese writers and storytellers coming forth in the future!”



Deanna of Deanna’s World recommends The Last King by Katee Robert.

Ultra wealthy and super powerful, the King family is like royalty in Texas. But who will keep the throne? (The Kings, Book 1)

“I liked the diversity in this book because the heroine was Indian and the author was not shy about talking about her heritage even giving her a obviously Indian name like Samara. Both her parents had very traditionally Indian names as well and she called her mother “amma” which I think is Indian for “mum”. You don’t see many Indian characters in books, so I was glad to see it in this one.”



Finally.. my own thoughts and recommendations…
I was born and raised in Australia. My mother is Indonesian from the Island of West Java which makes her Sundanese and my father is Australian of Irish ancestry. Growing up in a multicultural household can be challenging as one may feel trapped between two cultures but in all honesty, it is an amazing experience of having the best of both worlds. Having the ability to speak both languages (Indonesian with bits and pieces of the Sunda dialect and English) and getting in touch with both cultures is a wondrous experience a lot of us in Australia do take for granted. As an avid reader, one of my favourite themes is fantasy fiction, especially fantasy fiction stories that are inspired by culture – some may call it alternate history, some call it speculative fiction – I just call it awesome. There are a lot of books I have read over the years but just have a few recommendations here.

The first one I want to recommend is Snow, Fire, Sword by Sophie Masson. This was the first book I ever came across in my reading life that is derived from Indonesian culture and explores myths and legends that were told in my own family in West Java!!! This is a story that follows a perilous journey of a Kris (small dagger) apprentice and a Kampung (village) girl as they race against time to discover the heart of an ancient secret: the truth about Snow, Fire and Sword. Set on the backdrop of mythological Indonesia, the referencing to Indonesian culture, food, landscape – even language is so accurate, you can just imagine the fan-girling going on in my house as I was reading this book!!! A very special book as it was a book I was able to share with my Mum, we were forever talking about this book, going back to it and reading extracts that referenced legends.. This is definitely a collectable for me.

Throughout the blog, you would have seen quite a few recommendations. Most recently I read the final showdown of the Rebel of the Sands series by Alwyn Hamilton. This trilogy is inspired by the Arabian nights tales which are my absolute favourite – stories of the desert – a story with djinn.. swords.. sand.. amazing trilogy really worth investing in!!!

Taking it to contemporary YA now, there are a few books that have resonated with me: I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan, Hate is such a Strong Word by Sarah Ayoub, and When Michael Met Mina by Randa-Abdel Fattah just to name a few that explore the struggle of cultural identity and our sense of belonging. One that resonated with me that explored Indigenous Australia was Nona and Me by Clare Atkins.

I would like to thank everyone who took part in this post, for being involved in Harmony Day – Read3r’z Re-Vu style and for your amazing recommendations and links to your fantastic blogs. Having beautiful people like you as part of the Read3r’z Re-Vu network makes it such an incredible experience!!!

Wishing you all a wonderful and happy Harmony Day!!
A day to celebrate culture and bringing everyone together..
For more information on Harmony Day, visit:

Harmony Day special blog post compiled by Annie (Founder of Read3r’z Re-Vu)


Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton


Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir. The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself. Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero… In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in… who will triumph???

First of all.. I love Jin.. This was a great conclusion to one of my all-time favourite trilogies. Just as great as the first instalment, Rebel of the Sands and the second instalment, Traitor to the Throne this story really took me back to the desert and my love for the Arabian nights tales and stories of djinn, battle and magic. Following on from “Traitor to the Throne” it picked up nicely, even a year later, it brings back memories of the first 2 stories and I was able to immerse myself so quickly into this book. Although parts of the story slowed down to gear us up for something significant – like the final show down – it was still fast paced and there was always something happening in each chapter, parts even made me ‘wide eyed’. This final instalment, this final battle for the throne, was a stunning conclusion that gave me closure on the characters I came to care about, it tied it up so neatly we know of each character’s destinations in the end and it also answers that compelling yet dreadful question – who will survive and who will die? I am so sad this series is over, I thoroughly enjoyed all three books!!!

Hint hint, nudge nudge to the author: I would LOVE to read a Novella about Jin or Ahmad *wink*

Special thanks to Allen & Unwin publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy.

Between the Blade and Heart by Amanda Hocking

The first of a new YA fantasy fiction duology inspired by Norse mythology

Valkyries have one responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them.

As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos. Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart….

This was a pretty good read – YA fantasy fiction with elements of Norse mythology set in current urban times. At first I thought it was set in time of myth until Malin pulled out her iPad LOL! I found this book to be a fast paced read full of interesting plot twists with diverse characters. I also liked the ending as yes the ending gives you a cliffhanger but holds you enough for to wait for the second instalment. Interesting characters and relationship dynamics too. I say this is one for fans who love the hybrid Norse mythology with urban fantasy.

Special thanks to Pan Macmillan Publishers for sending me a review copy.


Burning by Danielle Rollins

Tucked away, deep in the woods, Brunesfield Correctional Facility’s cold walls and empty hallways keep dangerous girls away from the world . . . girls like Angela Davis, whose fate was determined by one bad decision. After a few years in juvie, Angela is finally close to her release, but everything changes the day a new warden with dark plans takes over. Angela knows evil when she sees it, and as strange disappearances and frightening incidents happen more and more frequently, it becomes clear that Brunesfield could be the end of them. Angela and her friends must find a way to get out, but how can they save themselves from very place keeping them locked away?

My review
I really enjoyed this book as it took me down memory lane and reminded me of one of my favourite childhood movies called Firestarter; a movie with a very young Drew Barrymore with the ability to control fire with her mind and I loved how the author also included the importance of water and then added in so so much more. Full of conspiracies theory’s to keep the mind boggled and puzzling out what is going to happen next with plenty of suspense. A very enjoyable read that will give an insight into what it’s like to be faced with the impossible odds and having to make hard choices for the sake of survival.

My Recomendation
I’m going to say ages 13 and up depending on maturity level as it has a lot of conspiracies that might confuse some of the young readers. However if you love conspiracies and intrigue then this is a great book.

Many thanks to Bloomsbury Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

– Crystal

Reign the Earth by A.C Gaughen

Release Date: January 2018

A fantastic start to a promising series!!!

This was one book that had me on the edge of my seat as I was gasping, cringing and rapidly turning the page to simply know what happened next. The plot was interesting as it follows the story of a young girl, Shalia, who is a proud yet naive daughter of the desert and after many years of war with another tribe/kingdom, she was used as a pawn via an arranged marriage with the king of the opposing tribe as a means to bring peace to both worlds. Shalia’s betrothed, Calix, the king, is motivated by a strong desire to kill all who identify as Elementae – magical people who have powers that can control the elements: earth, air, wind and fire.

So the question is, when two worlds become one family, what becomes of the proud, naive daughter of the desert when she is crowned queen as a result of this arranged marriage and learns of her new husband’s plans then later discovers her true self once she is thrown into this whole new world?

I found it was interesting to follow Shalia’s perspective during the story and how she grows as a character when taken out of her world of order and thrown into a world of chaos where, for her, it’s sink or swim – follow what is expected of her to retain peace or question everything, be true to herself and risk war. Does she thrive or just manage to survive?

This story is dark and it does take you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. For some of the themes covered, I would be more likely to recommend this to older YA readers, adults who enjoy fantasy fiction stories or who, like me, LOVE stories set in the desert. This had a great plot, is fast paced and it even confused me when I was trying to decide where my loyalties were during the story. I would love to read the sequel!!

Many thanks to Bloomsbury Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.

Thankyou 2017… That’s a Wrap!!!

As I am sitting here writing this 2017 wrap up, I am wondering – where did the year go!?
2017 was once again, a great success for Read3r’z Re-Vu and in 2018, we will be entering our 9th year!!! Next to getting our hands on some fantastic reads this year, a most honourable achievement is how much we have grown as a network. Read3r’z Re-Vu continue to network with authors, publishers and reading enthusiasts who become such great friends and it’s amazing to see the growth and the friendships formed over a common bond – the passion for reading. It’s been so much fun at our monthly sessions hanging out with well read friends and getting to know authors and their writing journeys. Attending bookish events and book launches throughout the year was also a highlight.

Many thanks goes to the authors who spent their time with us this year by attending our sessions and exclusive events as special guests. It gave members such a unique and memorable experience. Many thanks to Krystal Sutherland (author of “Our Chemical Hearts” and A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares”) who was the first author to join us this year as she joined us as special guest for our March session and who also had me emcee her book launch for “A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares” at Kinokuniya Bookstore.

Many thanks also to E.R Murray (author of “Caramel Hearts”) who, whilst visiting Australia all the way from Ireland, had a special lunch with us at Volcanos Steakhouse. It was amazing to learn all about your writing journey and life in Ireland.

To author Garth Nix, (author of newly released “Frogkisser!” thank you for joining our Read3r’z Re-Vu special: Author in Focus session at Galaxy Bookshop. We had so much fun with you that day, thanks so much for the Haigh’s Chocolate Frogs and for giving away Frogkisser! audio books and an advance review copy of “Have Sword, Will Travel

Lynette Noni, (author of “The Medoran Series“) thank you so much for spending time with us over high tea while you were in Sydney during the Sydney Writers Festival. We had such a great time chatting over tea and cakes with you!!

To Wai Chim (author of “Freedom Swimmer”) thank you so much for joining us for our July session, it was so insightful learning about your inspiration to write Freedom Swimmer.

James Bradley (author of “The Silent Invasion”) thankyou to you also for joining us as special guest at our September session, it was great to chat all things books with you!!!. Many thanks also goes to author Brittany Riley, author of (“Enchantment”) who also joined our September session as an attendee. To Gabrielle Williams (author of “My Life as a Hashtag”) lunch with you at the New York Metro was amazing, thank you so much for joining us while you were visiting Sydney from Melbourne.

To Marita Smith (author of “Convergence”) and the wonderful Harbour Publishing House team who visited Read3r’z Re-Vu over afternoon tea at The Coffee Club all the way from Ulladulla – thankyou also Marita for the homemade cookies!!

 Special shout out goes to our creative partner – The Curio Boutique, created and owned by the ever so talented NJ!!! Thank you so much for partnering with Read3r’z Re-Vu and sponsoring prizes from The Curio Boutique for our session giveaways. We are so honoured to be such great friends with you and we are so proud of your creativity and talents!!! Also, big congrats to you for hosting your very first stall this year at the Allen and Unwin YA Fest!! It was very exciting to be there to support you and we hope to see you running more stalls in the future and really look forward to your 2018 creations.

To all the publishers who take a chance on us to consider, read and review their books as well as help organise for the authors to attend our sessions, thank you so very much!!! It’s great to be affiliated with great Australian Publishers and we really look forward to continue working with you in the New Year.

Read3r’z Re-Vu Members – session attendees, online members and blog followers, thank you so much for always engaging with us and for your enthusiasm that keeps this network alive!! 2017 was a great year for books and here is a list of titles some of our session members have noted to be their 2017 book of the year…

NJ: “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas and “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor
Meredith: “Autoboyography” by Christina Lauren
Lyn: “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut
Monica: “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer and “Bitter Greens” by Kate Forysth
Allison: “The Hidden Legacy Series” by Ilona Andrews
Rebecca: “Keys of the Kingdom” series by Garth Nix and “The Silent Invasion” by James Bradley
Sarah: “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

As for me.. like everyone else.. it really is a tough choice!!! Nevermoor” by Jessica Townsend was such a great read.. so was “Wreck” by Fleur Ferris, “All Rights Reserved” by Gregory Scott Katsoulis, “The Crown’s Fate” by Evelyn Skye.. “Flying Through Clouds” by Michelle Morgan had a very personal connection for me.. Just some of the great titles I had the pleasure of reading this year and I am psyched for the 2018 new releases!!!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to send you all much love and many thanks to you all for making Read3r’z Re-Vu, the 2017 season such a great success!!! Wishing you all the very best for the festive season and many happy returns for a happy new year!!!

Well, 2017… that’s a wrap!!!

new year – new books – more for our TBR!!!

featured image: Pintrest

The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy

Blurb as seen on Goodreads
16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad. Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear. With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever

My Thoughts
How to do justice with this review of ‘The Last of the Firedrakes’. I don’t know if I have the words. I’m going to be dreaming about this world for a long time to come. Aurora grows as a character. As she learns about her world, family and of those around her. She won’t step aside if one of her friends is getting picked on.