This year has been a breakthrough year for me in terms of reading. I have discovered so many incredible authors, expanded my reading range and been lucky enough to chat to lots of wonderful book people. There have been so many incredible books cross my path. Some published this year, some previously, major publishers, self-published, contemporary, historical, dystopian erotica – romances of every shape, size and description.
Thanks to the wonderful citizens of Romanceland, my TBR pile is still ridiculously out of control – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What have been my best books of 2013?
Picking my Best Of 2013 books was like picking one’s favourite child should be like – bloody impossible. There are many wonderful books that I have read that could have easily squeezed into the list, but in the interest of not boring the living suitcase out of you, my dear readers, I’ve limited it to a few honourable mentions and a Top 5. Books 2 through 5 aren’t in any particular order, but my number 1 book this year is a definite clear victor – a brilliant, unusual story unlike anything I’ve read before.
Honourable mentions this year go to:
A Night of Southern Comfort by Robin Covington – the first appearance for 2013 of a true Captain Sexypants.
Beyond Control by Kit Rocha – a deliciously filthy, hot, powerful story where anything (and I do mean ABSOLUTELY anything) goes.
Fish Out of Water by Ros Baxter – how could you not love a land-living, chain-smoking female sheriff who just happened to be a mermaid?
For Your Eyes Only by Sandra Antonelli – ahhhh, JT, you silver fox.
Making It Last by Ruthie Knox – so much of this gorgeous novella rang true for me and my past experiences.
Letter from a Rake by Sasha Cottman – humorous, sweet, heartbreaking and emotional.
I also have nothing but good things to say for Sarah Mayberry’s The Other Side of Us and Her Favourite Rival, the wonderful Entangled anthology When Honey Got Married and Outback Bride by Louise Reynolds. There were many others that rated 4.5 and above this year, and you were all wonderful! I wish I could have put you all in, but then you would still be reading this post come next Christmas.
Now, for my Top 5 Romances for 2013:
Saved by the Bride by Fiona Lowe – My review said of this book: “Saved by the Bride has such a wonderful humour and sense of fun about it. Fiona Lowe, you have created a couple, and a town, that you just can’t help but cheer for.” I just had such a big smile on my face when I read this book.
Flame Tree Hill by Mandy Magro – I read this in a single sitting on the flight to Fremantle for RWA this year. It was just gorgeous – not afraid to tackle a very hard topic (breast cancer), and it did so in a beautiful way.
Outback Dreams by Rachael Johns – I love friends-to-lovers stories and this was one of the best I’ve read of late. The chemistry between the hero and heroine was just wonderful.
The Sunburnt Country and The Outback Heart by Fiona Palmer – I found it really difficult to separate these two, so I’m counting them as one. Both books are full to the brim with unique Australian characters, a wonderful sense of community and lush Outback romance.
Number 1 for 2013 was just simply unlike any romance I’d read before. Traditional Regency, you will not find it here. This is a book that does and will continue to elicit powerful opinions on either side of the romance fence.
As I said in my original review back in May, the exquisite Untamed by Anna Cowan “plays with regular romantic conventions, smashes them and seems to create a whole set of its own”. The hero and heroine were so wonderfully and darkly different, and the chemistry between them was just…..WOW!
Since reading it, I’ve come across so many other people who have had the same reaction as me. Many a conversation has been had about this book, and whenever Anna Cowan releases another title, I will be right there with my trusty wallet ready to buy and devour it.
Reflections on my reading year in 2013:
The thing I have noticed the most this year, and of which I am exceptionally proud, is what fabulous romance authors Australia is producing. All of my top five for this year were Australian authors, and not for any other reason than they were AWESOME!
I would never have thought before this year that I would enjoy reading about sexually adventurous dystopian gangs or mermaids, however I am so glad that I put my reservations aside and read outside of my usual boundaries.
And now for the thank yous!!
Reviewing over this past year has just been the best fun. Thanks to all of the wonderful people (authors, publishers, publicists etc.) who have given me the opportunity to read their work. Another big thank-you goes to the lovely people of Romance Writers of Australia – I had a wonderful first conference in Fremantle this year and I cannot wait for RWA 2014 in my home town of Sydney. My ultimate goal is to create a story that has the sort of impact on others that this year’s top reads have had on me as a reader. Thank you for the encouragement I received from some fabulous ladies at the conference and afterwards – you’ve certainly helped me believe I can get there.
I am so looking forward to the year to come – both in terms of reviewing and working towards my own book. There are plenty of things planned for My Written Romance, and I look forward to sharing them with you all – the lovely people who have taken the time to read my reviews!
Merry Christmas and a marvellous New Year to you all!
I hope you all have a wonderful festive season full of fun and happiness, and plenty of time to read.