Welcome to the March roundup. I will give fair warning that this is going to be a long post! Not only am I going to be talking about the books that were read and reviewed for the challenge in March I am also going to be talking about the 2013 Australian Romance Readers Awards.
Once again there was a strong number of reviews linked up to the challenge during March with a total of 26. There were several authors who were reviewed multiple times for the challenge including a couple of new releases.
Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.
There were two new releases that were reviewed multiple times this month. The first was Mountain Ash by Margareta Osborn which was reviewed three times. Brenda was one who reviewed the book very enthusiastically over at Goodreads:
Wow! I absolutely loved this novel! It started off with a bang and continued throughout the whole book. I will admit to it being a little predictable early in the piece, but the predictability disappeared to weave a tale of deception, lies, secrets, anguish and insecurity; a wonderful story which drew me in from the start, and left me sighing and smiling when it was over.
The other book that I am going to focus on briefly is Safe Harbour by Helene Young. Shelleyrae at Book’d Out says of the book:
Safe Harbour is a first-rate, absorbing romantic suspense novel, balancing a dramatic story with strong characters and an engaging romance.
And Bree from All the Books I Can Read was similarly impressed
Another truly stellar novel from the go-to author for Australian romantic suspense.
Now let’s turn our attention to the ARRA Awards. Each year the Australian Romance Readers Association runs awards recognising the best romance novelists and books. The 2013 awards were presented in Sydney on March 22 in a glittering ceremony. Well, actually, it was a dinner, but each year there is a “bling off” where guest are asked to wear as much shiny, glittery bling as they can. I was very surprised to see how much bling some of these ladies could find in their wardrobes when I attended the dinner a few years ago! If you want to find out more (of course there are photos!), head to BookThingo’s Storify recap. Anyway, I digress.
I thought that this month I would share some review links and quotes for the winning books. After all, if avid readers of the genre think that these are the best of the best they might be a great place for others to start too!
And the winners were…
The Favourite Paranormal Romance for 2013 is Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh who is a New Zealand author .
The Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance 2013 is Allegiance Sworn by Kylie Griffin, which is the third book in the Light Blade series.
Shelleyrae from Book’d Out reviewed Allegiance Sworn and had this to say about the series as a whole
Set in an imaginative world where humans and demons are on the brink of war, Griffin combines romance, action, intrigue and magic in each book of her Light Blade series. I eagerly read one after another, enjoying an escape into the fantasy of warriors and heroines falling in love and fighting for peace.
The Favourite Short Category Romance 2013 is The One That Got Away by Kelly Hunter. This book was reviewed by Kat at BookThingo who summarised her thoughts about the book by saying:
This is a beautifully written, subtle, angsty story that, for me, cements Kelly Hunter as one of the best writers of modern category romance. It’s my first keeper for the year.
The Favourite Historical Romance 2013 is Untamed by Anna Cowan. This author was also named as the Favourite New Author.
Both Kat from BookThingo and Kaetrin from Kaetrin’s Musings reviewed Untamed and agree that is very unusual book, not your usual run of the mill historical romance. Kaetrin finishes her review by saying
I think the concept and not-the-usual of it deserve mad props and there was much to like. And I’m pleased to say it was not a tangled mess. As this is the author’s debut, I can only expect her craft to improve with time and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.So: the creation in my hands at the end? I think it was an ambitious and curious thing, with parts full of beauty, parts of mystery and overall, pleasing to the eye.
Kat also highlights the unusualness by saying
Untamed isn’t a comfortable story; the plots and characters defy expectations. It takes what romance readers think we know of Regency romance and almost throws it back in our faces, and the reader must make sense of the fragments left.
The Favourite Contemporary Romance 2013 is Holding Out for a Hero by Amy Andrews which was reviewed by Kaetrin who summarises
Holding Out For A Hero is a fun sexy contemporary with an Australian flavour and setting which will feel familiar to the locals but is not so very different as to be a barrier to international readers.
The Favourite Romantic Suspense 2013 is Half Moon Bay by Helene Young which was a favourite here at the challenge too as it was one of the most reviewed books in this category for the last year and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Helene Young’s latest book has just been released so I expect to see lots of reviews of that book over the coming months. I am not going to quote from every one of the reviews for Half Moon Bay but I will share a couple and then add in links to the others below.
Marcia from Down Under said of Half Moon Bay
Fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action and intrigue with some tantalizing romantic encounters, Half Moon Bay is a fantastic addition to Australian romantic suspense and truly is “love in the heart of danger”.
And from Lauren at The Australian Bookshelf
Half Moon Bay is a fast-paced, intriguing suspense novel set against the backdrop of a tranquil setting. From conspiracies about drug smuggling in the Australian army, to the dangerous dealings of Afghanistan to the small town politics of northern NSW, Helene manages to cover all grounds while creating two intelligent and intriguing characters.
Jess at The Never Ending Bookshelf declares herself a fan saying
I highly recommend this novel to fans of the romantic suspense genre, or really anyone who wants to read a beautiful novel about the cost that comes with doing something the right way. It is heart wrenching beautiful, with a powerful love story that might just prove to be more powerful then them all.
Half Moon Bay also won the award for Favourite Cover.
The Favourite Continuing Romance Series 2013 is the Sons of Sin series by Anna Campbell. Whilst there are quite a few reviews for Anna Campbell’s standalone books there weren’t many at all for this series. In fact, there were none for the first book in the series, Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed, and only one by Karen and Teddyree over at The Eclectic Reader for the second instalment in the series (assuming you count novellas as a full instalment) Days of Rakes and Roses. Teddyree also reviewed the latest book in the series, A Rake’s Midnight Kiss saying
Why should you read it? … it’s deliciously naughty, romantic, saucy, funny and I loved it! Good enough? I spent half the book giggling and the other half fanning myself … a little overheating never hurt anyone. Nothing better than a book that makes you smile and when you finish you want to start all over again.
The Favourite Erotic Romance 2013 is Skin by Kylie Scott, the second book in the Flesh series. This book was reviewed by Cathleen at Goodreads in a short but sweet “I loved it” review.
In addition, Kylie Scott also won The Favourite Australian Romance Author 2013. Whilst we didn’t have many reviews for Skin, a couple of her other books have been reviewed. Bree from All the Books I Can Read and Kaetrin reviewed Lick, which is the first book in the Stage Dive series (the second of which has just been released so I expect we will see more about it in future round ups). Both reviews were very enthusiastic with Bree describing Lick as “amazing” saying
I had my kindle handy and just began reading the book I’d most recently loaded onto it, which was this one. I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. The story of David and Evelyn is so compelling and so entertaining that I had to keep going until I’d reached the end, no matter what else was happening around me.
To read Kaetrin’s review click here.
Eleni reviewed Flesh, the first book in the Flesh series over at Goodreads. She finishes her review
Still a brilliant story with great description and wicked dialogue.
Last but not least, the Sexiest Hero was named as Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery from Outback Dreams by Rachael Johns. Rachael was one of our most reviewed authors last year and there are a number of reviews of Outback Dreams included. Sally from Books and Musing Down Under said of the book
OUTBACK DREAMS was a great read, a perfect blend of romance, believable conflict, perfect miscommunication and a happy ever after which will melt the most romance reading resistant heart. Rachel Johns brings the outback community alive and makes excellent use of humour to break up potentially traumatic scenes
Phew! I think I need to go and read my book after all that!!
I’ll be back next month with more highlights from the romance, romantic suspense and erotica genres.
As always you can find more of the romance reviews at any time by clicking on the Weebly pages where new reviews are always being added.
Marg has long been an avid reader of all genres, with the most books read being in the romance genre. Marg has been blogging about all different genres and other things at Adventures of an Intrepid Reader for more than 8 years. You can tweet to her @margreads.