Romance & the Australian Women Writers Challenge

I read a lot of romance novels. It’s what I write, so you could call it market research, but really it’s because I love their hopefulness, the emotional journey and the guaranteed happy ever after. However, because I read so much romance, I hoped to make my Australian Women Writers (AWW) Challenge about non-romance books. This year I signed up to the Franklin level — read ten books by Australian women authors and review at least six of them.

I think I was a tad ambitious. 2013 has been incredibly busy.

So when Elizabeth Lluede (founder and driving force behind AWW) tweeted me recently about how I was going with the challenge, I panicked. I hate not meeting my commitments! Fortunately, Elizabeth saved my bacon with a suggestion that I do one huge post on the ROMANCE novels by Australian authors that I’ve read this year.

I can do that!

But as I was checking my reviewing failure this year … I found I hadn’t failed. I’ve reviewed five books for the AWW Challenge, which means I only need one more for the Franklin win! 😉 Two of the books are romance, one romantic suspense and the other young adult, which I seldom read.

Even though I’m almost on track and don’t need to seek forgiveness for over-committing and under-delivering, here is my giant round up of happy Aussie romance reading – I’ve probably read others, but this is a good sample. Each title links to my Goodreads review of the book. Also (full disclosure) many of the Aussie authors are fellow members of the Romance Writers of Australia, friends or published with the same company.

Who Needs Enemies, Keri Arthur
Fun and original Australian paranormal world. No vampires – which I like. Some emotional depth that hooked me in and makes me eager for the next instalment.

I Dream of Johnny, Julie Madison
There’s not enough romantic comedy in the world, and a touch of magic makes this special. A novella.

For Your Eyes Only, Sandra Antonelli
Romantic suspense with a mature age couple. I hate that term – the truth is the hero and heroine have enough life experience to value love and that makes for a great story.

Detained, Ainslie Paton
Powerhouse of a book. So many twists and turns with emotionally honest characters.

Banquet of Lies, Michelle Diener
Said it before, I’ll say it again: Michelle is the Georgette Heyer of today.

Dark Child, Adina West
My link is to the last episode. My advice: buy the omnibus edition i.e. the complete book not the serial instalments. The story rocks. Paranormal romance and beautifully written.

Sealed with a Kiss, Eleni Konstantine
I had no idea…ok just read the short story before I spoil the surprise. Vampires, but a nice one.

The House on Burra Burra Lane, Jennie Jones
Jennie’s debut book, selling really well for a reason. Lovely rural romance.

Dreaming of Djinn, Liz Grzyb
Antho that I have a story in – just sneaking it onto the list – not all stories are romances, far from it!

Black Diamonds, Eliza Redgold
I LOVE that Eliza used the romance of truffle growing in south west Australia – plus a sexy Frenchman. Yum! (Soon after reading Black Diamonds, Eliza and I became crit partners. I’m so lucky!)

Forget Me Not, Nina Blake
Amnesia story that works. Intensely emotional.

Man Drought, Rachael Johns
Rachael is deservedly a star of rural romance.

Dark Secrets, Shona Husk
Very dark steampunk world with magic and a Wild West setting. If you love anti-heroes… Novella

Getting Real, Ainslie Paton
Rock chick!

Under the Hood, Juanita Kees
A touch of suspense, a lot of love, plus mechanics!

One Little White Lie, Loretta Hill
Loretta has a great voice. Clear and Aussie. Very real. Novella.

A Man Like Mike, Sami Lee
Like a giant hug. Lovely warm book.

Real Men Don’t Break Hearts, Coleen Kwan
As great as the title. Coleen’s another author with a wonderful style.

Soul Stealer, Anna Hackett
Paranormal romantic suspense. Novella. Love this series!

A Paler Shade of Autumn, Jacquie Underdown
Beautiful, slightly fey romance.

A Basic Renovation, Sandra Antonelli
The book that intro’d me to Sandra’s madcap heroines. Love them!


Do you have link overload? I do 🙂