In honour of reaching the halfway mark of the year, I wanted to do something a little different with this month’s Romance, Erotica and Romantic Suspense round up. While I will be highlighting some titles reviewed and June 2021’s monthly stats, I also want to take a look at how the first half of this year is stacking up in the romance side of the Australian Women Writers Challenge.

JUNE 2021

As always, thank you to everyone who continues to read and support our amazing Australian Romance authors. For the month of June 2021, the Romance, Erotica and Romantic Suspense category of the challenge received thirty-four (34) reviews across twenty-six (26) individual titles by a total of fifteen (15) reviewers.

Monthly Snapshot

Of the thirty-four (34) books reviewed in June, eighteen books (18) were traditionally published and a further eight (8) were self-published. All but three (3) books were published in 2021; the remaining books were published in 2017, 2019 and 2020.

June’s top three reviewers were:

Of the twenty-six (26) books reviewed in June, every title received one or two reviews, thus making it impossible to choose June’s top three reviewed titles as seven books received two reviews each. These books include:

the dictionary of lost words










In honour of Nadoic Week 2021 (4th-11th July), the first book I want to highlight is Dr Anita Heiss‘s Bila Yarrundhanggalangdhuray.  KtBookbingo summed up the book as a “hauntingly beautiful historical fiction read that is exceptionally contemporary and which will stay with you for a long time to come. A book that everyone should read, it’s highly recommended by me and well and truly worthy of five stars” (KtBookBingo via Instagram). While Cass Moriarty has this to say:

This genre-bending novel is a tale of heroism based on true events, an historical account of a natural disaster, a glimpse into Australian black/white relations in the 1800’s, a family drama and a romance. This is a simple, engaging story that reveals complex layers of themes such as racism, feminism, misogyny, female friendship, ambition, greed, environmentalism, belonging and loss. Written with the inclusion of much First Nations language, the book is testament to the wisdom and knowledge of the original inhabitants of this country, an indictment of the colonial invaders who ignored that knowledge at their peril, and a demonstration of the strong connections between Aboriginal people and their country, their totems and their Dreamtime.

In all of these complex examinations of human behaviour, what shines through is Heiss’ generosity of spirit;

 while she is an avid proponent of First Nations culture, history and language, she also recognises the subtleties of race relations. Most importantly, this book pays homage to those real-life heroes of the Gundagai floods – the Black men who risked their own lives to save the lives of their oppressors. That is the poignancy, the generosity, the kindness that fills this novel with heart.

Cass Moriarty via her Goodreads Review

For something different, I want to give a new reviewer to the romance round up a highlight, for Dark Matter Zine. In June, Dark Matter Zine submitted three reviews; two written reviews (Someone I used to Know by Paige Toon; and Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker) and one podcast review/interview with Rob Macdonald and Anna Foxkirk. Their work is quite in-depth and the podcast is fun to listen to, so if you get a chance I highly recommend heading on over to their blog and giving it a listen.

January – June 2021 

Between the 1st January 2021 to 30th June 2021 a total of ONE HUNDRED and NINETY-NINE (199) reviews have been submitted in the Romance, Erotica and Romantic Suspense subgenre of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2021. These reviews have been submitted by just thirty (30) reviewers across one-hundred and thirty-two individual titles! In total there have been ninety-nine Australian Authors reviewed, with twenty-one (21) of these authors having more than one of their book titles reviewed. I want to thank each and every one of you who have taken the time to read and review romance books by our amazing Aussie Authors!

The three top-performing review months so far:

  • May with fifty-five (55) reviews;
  • April with thirty-seven (37);
  • and June with thirty-four (34) reviews.

There were nine individual titles that have received over five reviews throughout this period of time:

Book cover

Our top five reviewers for the first half of 2021 are:

Until next month, I wish you all a fantastic reading month in July and can’t wait to read all your reviews!

Let me know in the comments below what your top romance, erotic or romantic suspense read in 2021 has been so far?


About Me: Hey, I’m Jess from The Never Ending Bookshelf. I’m an avid reader, book collector (sometimes book hoarder) and a hopeless romantic. I live and breathe everything to do with the written word, working by day as a bookseller and by night as a book blogger. You can find me at The Never Ending Bookshelf, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads and on Facebook.