After two great yearly wrap ups for the 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge, the baton has been passed over to me to shine a light on the trends defining Romance, Erotica and Romantic Suspense. This is my first experience of composing a yearly wrap up for the challenge, as I took over the role as the resident round up editor of this genre in late 2017. As a result, it is a little hard to make some solid comparisons statistics wise. What I can tell you is that the romance genre has been booming! I have witnessed it myself since taking over as editor, so thank you for all your enthusiasm towards this genre and of course, for your valuable contributions to the challenge via the reviews logged in to the website.

The romance genre is a broad category, it encompasses a number of sub genres. In 2018, romance readers reviewed books ranging from general romance, young adult romance, erotica, paranormal, fantasy, historical romance and my own personal favourite, rural romance.

Overall, romance clocked in 405 reviews, of 244 books, by 156 authors in 2018. I am sure your will agree this is a fantastic final result!

The most popular books read by our romance enthusiasts were:

  • The Lost Pearl by Emily Madden (10 reviews)
  • A Place to Remember by Jenn J. McLeod (8 reviews)
  • Beneath the Mother Tree by D.M. Cameron (7 reviews)
  • The Memories That Make Us by Vanessa Carnevale (7 reviews)
  • Water Under the Bridge by Lily Malone (7 reviews)

Of these five top reads for romance, I have read four out of the five. I can personally attest to all being brilliant books. As romance is such a broad genre, you may notice that a couple of these titles will cross over into other yearly wrap ups.

Beneath the Mother TreeThe Memories That Make Us

Following close behind with 6 reviews:

  • Dressing the Dearloves by Kelly Doust
  • On the Same Page by Penelope Janu
  • True Blue by Sasha Wasley
  • You Wish by Lia Weston

As a big romance reader I have read all of these and they are fantastic! Make sure you put them on your tbr list if you haven’t already!

Finally, trailing just behind with five reviews:

  • Mothers’ Day by Fiona McArthur
  • The Desert Nurse by Pamela Hart
  • The Art of Preserving Love by Ada Langton
  • The Country Girl by Cathryn Hein
  • Six Ways to Sunday by Karly Lane

The Desert Nurse Pamela HartThe Art of Preserving Love

Speaking of Karly Lane, she is our most reviewed author this year, a title she shares with Lily Malone, congratulations ladies! Both Karly and Lily received 13 reviews each for their books in 2018.

Not far behind Karly Lane and Lily Malone were:

  • Emily Madden
  • Penelope Janu
  • Cathryn Hein
  • Jenn J. McLeod
  • Vanessa Carnevale
  • Lauren K. McKellar.

Before I close off this yearly wrap up and move on to a brief glance at our December results, it is time to give recognition to those who contributed the highest number of reviews to the romance sector of the challenge.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Helen Sibbritt is our top reviewer, with almost 100 books of the romance genre alone logged in to the challenge. What an amazing contribution, thank you Helen and congratulations on earning the badge as  our most prolific romance reviewer!

My thanks are also extended to Claire, our resident Speculative Fiction round up editor who logged in an impressive 79 romance books. I trailed a bit behind Claire with 49 entries, followed by Brenda with 40 and Eleni at 31.

My thanks to each and every participant of the challenge that logged in a romance book in 2018. Here’s to an even bigger year for romance in 2019!


Before we close the door on 2018 and officially welcome in 2019, our December trends indicate we had, 31 reviews, of 27 books, by 25 authors.

Karly Lane’s brand new book, The Wrong Callahan, was a popular choice in December, attracting three reviews from Michelle of Beauty & Lace, Brenda and my own blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews.

November’s most popular romance book, On the Same Page by Penelope Janu made a return appearance, collecting another two new reviews via Veronica from The Burgeoning Bookshelf and Theresa Smith Writes. Penelope also stopped by Theresa’s blog for her Behind the Pen interview series.

Lily Malone’s new release, The Cafe by the Bridge, which is the second book in her Chalk Hill series, garnered two reviews in December courtesy of Brenda and Claire. I can’t wait to read this one!

Annie Seaton, Rebecca Raisin and Jacquie Underdown were also noted as popular author choices in December.

December also saw a number of Christmas themed romance books added to the challenge, such as Our Country Christmas, penned by five well-known romance writers. Brenda also read Christmas Blue at Flynn’s by Angela Verdenius. A Gingerbread Cafe Christmas by Rebecca Raisin hit the yuletide spot for me over at Mrs B’s Book Reviews.

Two Heartbeats by Rhonda Forrest is currently sitting on my own tbr review pile and I hope to get to it soon, thanks to a great review from Brenda. Claire, our Speculative Fiction editor, recommends Home to Turtle Bay by Marion Lennox, rating it five full stars.

I hope that you enjoyed my bumper romance issue and yearly wrap up. It has been an incredible journey this year, following your romance recommendations over 2018 and adding to my immense tbr pile! I look forward to all the wonderful romance books to come in 2019, there are some magical romance novels to come, I promise you! From me to you, happy new year and happy reading.

Have you signed up for the challenge this year? Make sure you visit the link to pledge your support here. I would love to hear what your personal reading goals are this year. I’m hoping to read and review 100 books for the challenge in 2019!

Signing off, Mrs B.

About me: I am a mum of two young boys, an early childhood teacher, dressaholic, second hand book stall owner, book reviewer and self confessed book geek. In 2016, I turned my passion for reading into my own blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews. I blog daily and love nothing more than to showcase books by our talented crop of Australian women writers, especially rural romance, along with a number of other genres. Check my reviews out at the following sites, Mrs B’s Book Reviews, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Twitter.