Welcome to the first romance wrap up of 2015. As we enter the fourth year of the Australian Women Writers Challenge, a high number of romance reviews continue to be shared. January produced 31, so an average of one per day which is very impressive.

Maxwell Sisters Hill


AWW Challenge favourite Loretta Hill released her latest book, The Maxwell Sisters early in the month and it received the highest amount of reviews, 6 in all. Here Hill takes readers away from the FIFO life in mines and on construction sites and instead we are deep in the Margaret River on a family winery. The book was universally well received by reviewers with Sam from Samstillreading writing that “The story alternates chapters between the three girls, but it never feels contrived or out of place. The story flows beautifully and there are many humorous scenes…”. This review from Monique at Write Note Reviews was generous with its praise: “Warm, reassuring and refreshing, The Maxwell Sisters is my favourite of Hill’s books. There’s a maturity about it that shows her continued growth as a writer. If you’re looking for a book that explores themes of self-discovery and sisterhood, with a healthy dose of romance thrown in, put The Maxwell Sisters on your to-read list.” Like both Sam and Monique I was a big fan of this book as well, stating in my review here that “I feel as though Loretta Hill has become one of those authors who can basically do no wrong for me, every release is charming and contains characters I love who stay with me.”

storm clouds parry

Popular romantic suspense author Bronwyn Parry also released a new title in January and it takes readers back to the setting of a previous Parry novel, Dead Heat. Brenda from Goodreads rated it 5 stars and wrote “Another brilliant suspense novel by Aussie author Bronwyn Parry. Storm Clouds is filled with mystery and intrigue and the twists kept me reading late into the night. Light romance mixed with suspense and murder with a wonderful plot; a great mix that left me satisfied and looking forward to reading more about the National Parks team!” Monique of Write Note Reviews talked up the suspense in Parry’s work, stating that “Storm Clouds also demonstrates Parry’s skill at conveying her love for the wild places of Australia, mixing plenty of description into the narrative to paint a beautiful but forbidding landscape. Her brand of rural fiction is darker, less rosy than many of her rural fiction counterparts, with her remote locations adding to the restless tension. In Storm Clouds, the weather is used to great effect, creating an atmospheric build-up that promises to wreak havoc.” 

House Bottom Hill Jones

The House At The Bottom Of The Hill by Jennie Jones is the third in The Swallows Fall Series. SallyfromOz rated this one 5 stars and said that “As with all the books in the Swallow’s Fall series THE HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL has a believable story, real to life characters, love, drama, laughter and tears.” Over at Love Reading Romance the book is described as “…a sweet small town romance that I’d recommend to anyone wanting a light, heart warming read to escape the hustle and bustle.” 

monkey's mask porter

Many of the reviews posted are understandably for new or recently released books so when I see one that’s a little older, it gets me intrigued. And who can resist the description: The Australian publishing sensation. A lesbian thriller in verse. The Monkey’s Mask ticks a lot of AWW Challenge boxes but I thought I’d highlight it here for those who might be looking for a romance that doesn’t feature the m/f scenario. Brona of Brona’s Books read this one and writes that The Monkey’s Mask is gritty, exciting & passionate. Not one single word is out of place” and “Porter’s words have captured me – they will haunt me for years to come.”

unsuitable paton

Unsuitable by Ainslie Paton sounds like a romance that shakes things up a little by giving the reader a high-flying female executive character and a male hero who has chosen a profession as a nanny. Marcia from Book Muster Down Under says of Unsuitable: “It is pure real-life and, although the romance is central, Ainslie skilfully weaves in themes of gender equality, older woman/younger man relationships, single motherhood, family dynamics and friendship.”

I’ll be back next month with more romance titles. Soon the database will be public and you can click through and find all our romance reviews.


About me: I’m Bree and I’ve had a book in my hand since I learned to read at 5. I’m a mother of two and almost five years ago I began blogging my thoughts about books in an attempt to find others who were as obsessed as I was. You can find me at my blog or tweet me @1girl2manybooks