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2016 Awards: winners

26 February 2017

AwardsThe winners of the 2016 Australian Romance Readers Awards were announced last night at our Awards Dinner in Melbourne. We started the announcements off with our Members’ Choice awards:

  • Favourite Cover: the winner was Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein.
  • Favourite Heroine: the winner was Daisy Chance in The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie.
  • Favourite Couple: the winner was Daisy and Flynn in The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie.

In the main categories the winners were:

The Favourite Paranormal Romance for 2016 is Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh. The award was presented by Tiffany Shon.

The Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance 2016 is City of Light by Keri Arthur. The award was presented by Erica Hayes.

The Favourite Short or Category Romance 2016 is Play by Her Rules by Amy Andrews. The award was sponsored by Harlequin Australia and presented by Lilia Kanna.

The Favourite Historical Romance 2016 is The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie. The award was The award was sponsored by Hachette Australia and presented by Laura Boon.

The Favourite Contemporary Romance 2016 is Dirty by Kylie Scott. The award was sponsored by Hachette Australia and was presented by Essie Orchard.

The Favourite Erotic Romance 2016 is Bossman by Vi Keeland. The award was sponsored by eXtasy Books and was presented by Michelle Tompsett.

The Favourite Romantic Suspense 2016 is Sunset Shadows by Bronwyn Parry. The award was presented by Alli Sinclair.

The Favourite Continuing Romance Series 2016 is the Chance Sisters series by Anne Gracie. This award was sponsored by Harlequin Australia and presented by Jo Mackay.

The Favourite Australian Romance Author 2016 is Anne Gracie. This award was presented by Sarah McDuling on behalf of the sponsor Booktopia.

Thank you to everyone who came along to the dinner and made it such a success, and particular thanks to all our sponsors. Congratulations to all the winners!


Dinner sponsors

Feature book: Husband Heel

22 February 2017

husband-heelHusband Heel by Louise Cusack

Louella Knight is the socialite of Sydney who is trying to keep her head high after her divorce from her husband, who was gay even before they got married. But his troubles keep coming after her and have caused her to hire a bodyguard for her protection. Louella had always been the one to keep her wits about herself and to show everyone that nothing bothers her. When everything falls apart she has her three best friends to help her but also someone she wasn’t expecting.

Nick Aston is a bodyguard who is used to protecting those who can’t protect themselves. He works in a successful security company and knows what danger is. He projects the typical bodyguard persona so that no one gets close to him and he can do the job he is paid to do. What he doesn’t expect is to find Louella Knight, and how she affects him.

In this book Louella and Nick fight their attraction for each other until they can’t anymore. There are many revelations on both sides and you can’t judge a person on their shortcomings or what they project, as who they are underneath is someone completely different. This is the third book in the series and you can see the characters develop from the previous books even though you only got a glance at them. The other three girlfriends, Fritha, Angela and Jill, all make their appearances and you get to know them even more from their interactions. What a great read and they are getting more interesting as the books progress.

Reviewed by Di

A review copy of this book was provided by the author’s publicist.

Release day: Lady of Silver

21 February 2017

Today is the official release of Lady of Silver by Shona Husk (book 1, Blood and Silver) (ebook, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

lady-of-silverA man on a mission

A brutal crime is haunting detective Dale Morgan. A young woman has been murdered on the city’s outskirts, and her blood drained. Dale suspects the leader of a depraved cult may be to blame. Yet with barely a shred of evidence at the crime scene, Dale will have to turn to the one person he despises almost as much as the killers he puts behind bars.

A woman with secrets

To humans, Saba Venn is a psychic, but she’s Albah, a race long forgotten by humans but who live amongst them, her powers fueled by blood and silver. She agrees to help Detective Morgan, if it means stopping the vampire cult she believes is behind the killing. But the attraction she feels with Dale is immediate, and as their relationship intensifies she begins to doubt she can keep her secret from him.

Shona dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

The idea for the Blood and Silver series came about years ago. It’s part my love of lost civilisations and part my desire to have vampires be bad again. In Lady of Silver I wanted to have the hero human and the heroine other. Usually in paranormal romance it’s the hero who gets to have cool powers and the heroine has to learn his world. I wanted to flip that (at least for the first book). Writing a hero coming to grips with the paranormal and working out how he was going to do his job as a cop when he knows the truth was fun 🙂

You can find out more about this book, including where to buy it, at Shona’s website.

Weekly poll: 20 Feb 2017

20 February 2017

Occasionally—OK, more than occasionally—I delve into the realm of what is celebrated on a particular day. Today is, among other things, Cherry Pie Day and Handcuff Day and February is Library Lover’s Month and Heart Month. Which is how we get to today’s poll…


Release day: The Currency Lass

20 February 2017

Today is the official release of The Currency Lass by Tea Cooper (ebook and print, Harlequin MIRA). Here’s the blurb:

the-currency-lassSometimes running away leads you right back where you started

As her father’s only heir, Catherine Cottingham expects to inherit their sprawling property in the Hunter Valley. What she doesn’t understand is why her father is trying to push her into a marriage to the pompous and repulsive Sydney businessman Henry W. Bartholomew.

When the will is read it becomes clear money, or the lack of it, lay behind her father’s plans. Catherine is mortified — as a married woman all her possessions will pass to her husband, the overbearing Bartholomew. Her only alternative is to wait until her twenty-first birthday and inherit the property in her own right, but can she elude such a determined man until then?

A chance encounter with a travelling circus and its fiery lead performer, Sergey Petrov, offers the perfect solution and Catherine escapes to the goldfields. But there is more to the circus than spangles and sawdust and Catherine finds herself drawn into a far-reaching web of fraud and forgery…

Tea dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

The Currency Lass is a sweeping Australian love story set in the Hunter Valley and the goldfields of NSW in 1851. Inspired by the history of the circus in Australia it will appeal to lovers of historical suspense and rural romance.

You can find out more about this book at Tea’s website or buy it from Harlequin.

Guest blogger: Melanie Milburne

19 February 2017

melanie-milburneDoes becoming a romance writer inhibit or enhance your love of reading romance?

Before I was published I used to read dozens of romance novels every year. I read bundles of category and single titles as well as other genres of fiction. But now with having just completed my 75th book for Harlequin Mills and Boon, I’ve been reflecting on my current reading patterns and they are quite different from the start of my career.

Firstly, I find it almost impossible to read a category romance now (or any romance, really) without my editor/author cap on. It takes a really powerful and well-crafted story to make me take that cap off and get fully immersed in the story.

Do I still enjoy them? Yes, mostly. But that pesky editor inside me is often critical of things like head hopping or overuse of adverbs, or a weak plot or unrealistic dialogue or clichéd characters.

Did I do those things early in my career? Yes. I am ashamed to say that up until my 47th book I was still head hopping, not sentence by sentence but it was still head hopping. I thought that was the way romance novels were supposed to be written but then I started reading more and more books on the craft of writing and found it was considered a big no-no. One scene, one point of view. It took me a while to change but I’m so glad I persevered.

I am sure there are many readers (and writers) who don’t worry at all about head hopping. But I’m noticing more and more of the newer writers are not head hopping and I think it gives their writing a level of sophistication I wished I’d had early in my career.

Secondly, I read category with more caution now, as I’m worried my subconscious will pick up a phrase or scene and transplant it in my mind. I often sit in front of my computer after I’ve typed a phrase that sounds good and thought: Yikes! Is that mine? Or someone else’s?

The thing is, creative people do think alike so there will always be a book on the shelf next to mine with a similar story line or even characters in similar careers.

But is it just romance novels that I am critical of? No. I am just as critical when I read other genres of fiction. Perhaps this happens to most authors, they see things differently because they are now part of the industry, which used to have mystique when they were outside of it.

What are your experiences as a reader or writer? Have your tastes or tolerances changed? One signed copy of The Temporary Mrs Marchetti, my March 2017 Harlequin Presents release for one commenter.

Best wishes,
Melanie Milburne

Melanie Milburne loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it. She grew up with a love of reading and reading her first romance book at age seventeen heavily influenced her decision to become a romance author.

She has won several awards for her fast-paced, passionate stories, including Australian Romance Writers Romantic Book of the Year in 2011 and Australian Romance Readers in 2008 and RT top pick and Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Awards. And a HOLT Medallion winner in 2015. RWNZ Koru Award of Excellence in 2015. As well as HOLT Medallion Award of Merit in 2014 and 2016.

You can find Melanie here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Author Page

the-temporary-mrs-marchettiThe Temporary Mrs Marchetti

The rules of engagement …

hen Cristiano Marchetti proposes to former mistress Alice Piper, the deal has an expiry date. He has six months to fulfil the conditions of his grandmother’s will. But the hotelier has another agenda—exacting revenge on Alice for daring to walk away seven years before!

Alice needs the financial security her enemy is providing, but soon their every clash is a shockingly tempting encounter. Yet as she uncovers the man beneath the hard-hearted exterior, the future Mrs. Marchetti wonders if she could break the rules of their engagement … and walk down the aisle as more than Cristiano’s temporary bride!

Find it on Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

Release day: Caught Out

17 February 2017

Today is the official release of Caught Out by Leesa Bow (ebook and paperback, self-published). Here’s the blurb:

caught-outAva Walters never expected her ex-boyfriend and Indian superstar cricketer to walk into her restaurant six years after she left him. The break up almost ruined her, but she refused to deny him his dream of playing International cricket for Australia. With her life on track as co-owner of a fashionable restaurant, and supporting her five-year-old son alone, Ava cannot risk falling for his charm a second time.

After the initial shock of seeing her again, Jardine Kumble is determined to win Ava back. His gut tells him it’s more than ‘playing hard to get’ and he intends to get answers to why she is pushing him away…

Leesa dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

The story begins with the couple at 18 years-of-age in the prequel Jardine. (A story about young love and full of angst, which is available for free on Instafreebie). Caught Out begins six years later, where the couple have not seen each other in as many years. Both have matured, and their priorities shifted. Except cricket remained strong in Jardine’s career. I have always enjoyed cricket, especially international games and there appeared to be a shortage of cricket romance books. So the logical solution was to write one, along with a multicultural character. India’s love of cricket only complemented my fascination with this beautiful country. Writing the story (and yes it’s a secret baby romance) was most enjoyable. I only hope readers delight in reading it as much as I did writing, Caught Out.

You can find out more about this book at Leesa’s website or buy it from Amazon.

All ARRA members who leave a comment on this post will go in the draw to win a copy of the ebook. The giveaway will close on 28 February.