This installment will focus solely on the genre that I read the most of and the genre I consider my own books to fit best into, so I'm naturally excited to be presenting today's awards.
Romance ha! What can you say about Romance? It's what makes the world go round! There are so many types of romantic books, that it is hard to categorise them. Some would argue that almost all books have a romantic element somewhere in them and this would be true, however, I've had to draw my line somewhere, so my three romance categories are as follows:
ChickLit (Whatever that is?) / Romantic Adventure and Romantic Action. I'm sure there are plenty who will disagree with my categorisations, but hey! It's my blog, so I get to make the rules and if you don't like it, I'll just pack up my laptop, go home and no further correspondence will be entered into.
So, without further ado...on with the show.
The first nominee in this category is the second of two books, based on the same characters, by an author by the name of K French or Keeley French. The two books in question are called Muse and Desire; short titles that hide fantastic and well-written stories. The nominee in this section of the awards is her second book, Desire.
Desire follows the continuing tale of a now eighteen year old Ava Hart as she comes to terms with her feelings and her emotions.
Ava is a typical teenager with plenty of emotional baggage already, for one so young. French manages to draw her though as a strong-willed, independent, young lady who knows what she wants...or at least thinks she does.
I could definitely see the development of this author from the first book to the second. Much like her character, Ava, she is growing in confidence in her own abilities and it shines through in her work.
For someone who is not technically a fan of chick lit (or love stories, just for the sake of love), I found myself enraptured by this book, its interesting and slightly oddball characters. I really believe K French is an author with talent and I will follow her progress closely. I can't wait to read what she comes out with next.
Please check out Desire here: http://tinyurl.com/zlvls86
Light and Shadows by Estela Vazquez Perez is a beautiful book, written in the most evocative and romantic style. I really have not come across an author who uses words in quite the way Perez does. In my review I described the language of this book as lustrous and that's the best description I can come up with actually. It wraps you up in a warm blanket and takes you to a place where all things are perfect and wonderful.
Light and Shadows is a modern day tale of two beautiful, young, actresses Teresa and Eloisa who are both courted and loved by two wealthy Mexican businessmen who are the epitome of style, sophistication and gentlemanliness. Sound formulaic? I guess in some respects it may be, but Perez's ability to infuse a specialness into the story that I have found from no other author is what lifts this well above the standard romance. This is a beautiful, towering story of love and happiness. I was entranced by the four main characters from go to whoa.
Estela Vasquez Perez is right at the top of my favourite "indie" author reading list. I think her talent is abundant and I look forward to reading more and more of her.
Check out Estelle Vazquez Perez here: http://tinyurl.com/jpsoeda
AND THE WINNER IS:
This was an incredibly tough call, but I'll give it to Desire; by K French, by just a mere smidgeon. Both books are totally awesome examples of their genres.
I wish I could nominate my book Just A Drop in the Ocean here, because it is awesome and I did read it (many, many, many times actually) - Oh well, never mind!
Nevertheless, the two nominees for Best Romantic Adventure are:
First, is a book titled Music From Standing Waves by Johanna Craven. This book could easily fit in a the Young Adult category, but I've chosen to include it here, because although the romance was almost secondary to the main plot, it was beautifully woven through the entire story and an integral part of it.
What this book is, is a wonderful story about a young girl from "the back of beyond" in Australia, who dreams of one day playing the great concert halls of the world, as a concert violinist. The story is beautifully written and the characters well developed and complex. We follow Abby from tiny, little Acacia Bay to the bright lights of the Melbourne Music Conservatorium and live through the pain and angst that goes with such a competitive, driven place. The author keeps us guessing right until the very end, as to how this journey would end up and that really was part of the immense pleasure of reading this book.
Craven does a wonderful job of educating, even the musically illiterate, about something she clearly knows a lot about herself. I noted she had indeed attended the Conservatorium (Con.) and was able to impart her considerable knowledge of the place and its routines.
Check out Johanna Craven here: http://tinyurl.com/znvvp5w
One thing I adore about this author's writing is her ability to tell a simple, straight-forward romantic adventure and engage the reader with her characters. There's nothing blindingly dramatic or new about this story, Soup.
It's a simple story about a group of people whose lives get intertwined through first, a book nook/cafe and then, through a soup kitchen for the down-and-outs.
It is a romance, but it's a human romance, without the hunks and the studs. These people are real and we can readily identify with them.
If you think of it like a movie, Soup is an ensemble cast. There are no real stars in this book, just a parade of believable, real people who meet, find each other and ultimately fall in love. If you like feel-good, honest to goodness stories, then you cannot go past the books penned by this lady. She has the story-telling ability in spades.
You can check out Angela Gascoigne's work here: http://tinyurl.com/jjk57jc
AND THE WINNER IS:
Again, this was an incredibly tough decision to make. Both books are very different and both incredibly memorable for differing reasons, but on reflection, there has to be a winner and for me that is Soup by Angela Gascoigne.
3/ Best Romantic Action Book of 2015:
The first nominee in this section is actually the very last book I finished reading, It was a fantastic story, full of action and sexual tension, called; So About the Money, by Cathy Perkins.
It isn't anything new, but it is a damn, good, murder, mystery, romance, exceptionally well told. I think Perkins has done a wonderful job in fleshing out her characters and making them believable as well as well as easy to identify with. The basic plot is home-town girl reluctantly returns to help her Mother out in their accounting firm after Dad runs away with the yoga instructor. When Holly left for the big city six years ago she left behind a broken heart and a wrecked relationship. A strong, independent woman Holly is not one to let men push her around.
She accidentally stumbles across the body of a murdered friend, whilst hiking and the drama begins. Holly and her hiking companion are the immediate suspects, so Holly sets out to find out just who did murder her friend. This brings her slap back into the attention of her old flame, now a police detective, JC.
The sexual tension between Holly and JC was definitely one of the highlights of this book. Perkins handles the minor erotica exceptionally well in this story. It was easy to see where this whole scenario was headed, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the read.
Check out Cathy Perkins here: http://tinyurl.com/zfv8z29
This is not your everyday action/romance. This is hard-core and horrific, but I also found it intensely moving and very special.
At just 93 pages on Kindle, Where Darkness Dwells is not going to be the longest book you read this year, but one thing I can guarantee is, it will be one of the more emotional and heart-rending stories you will read. This is an horrific story of kidnap, sexual abuse and murder and yet it is easy to read and does not fill the reader with horror, more with empathy and sympathy for the poor victims.
Caleb and Evie are just two normal seventeen year old high school students about to experience the usual teenage angst of attraction and shyness toward each other, when fate intervenes. Kidnapped one evening in the school car-park these two innocent young people are subjected to the most vile of abuse at the hands of professional people traffickers. Nothing can prepare them for the horrors and suffering they are about to experience. I won't ruin the reader's experience by giving away too much of the plot, but you will be mildly surprised and perhaps even shocked by the way this tale plays out.
I think this is Brisia's first novel and it is a good one. It shows me that this author has real talent. Reading this book I was reminded exactly why I love reading "indie" authors. Their work is fresh, exciting and so very often, incredibly rich.
Check out Lynnette Brisia here: http://tinyurl.com/hhsxnnp
AND THE WINNER IS:
Without a doubt the three romance categories have been the toughest for me to choose a winner from this time, but I will go for Where Darkness Dwells, by Lynnette Brisia.
Till then; thanks for reading and have a wonderful peace-filled day!
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