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2012 GraveTells Book Awards: See our picks for Book, Author, & Series of the Year!

2012 GraveTells Book Awards: See our picks for Book, Author, & Series of the Year!

by davincikittieJanuary 1, 2013

Each month, GraveTells recognizes outstanding stories and authors in the genres of paranormal romance and urban fantasy through our Readers Choice Awards and our Book of the Month & Reviewer Top Pick honors.  The winners for the most popular of 2012 have been voted on and awarded in our annual Readers Choice Awards and now it’s time to crown the recipients of our official 2012 Book Awards!

Candidates for these categories, aside from the All-Star Reviewer, were considered using the same qualification criteria as in our Readers Choice Awards.  Go here to see the list and how they were chosen.  Note that all winners of these awards were chosen in early December 2012, before voting for the RCA commenced, and are completely unrelated to those results.

Book of the Year

Reading a story by Joan Swan is like diving head-first into another universe… one where the characters’ chemistry is searingly sensual, the camaraderie heart-warming, and the adrenaline-spiked action palpably tangible.  Here’s a snippet from DaVinciKittie’s review of Blaze, the second story in Joan’s Phoenix Rising series (click the book cover below to read the full review)

Blaze hits the ground running with fiery tension between ex-lovers & firefighter teammates Kiera O’Shay and Luke Ransom, and a riveting action sequence that introduces more questions than it answers. Watching Kiera and Luke interact is like being around a passionate married couple who can’t decide whether they’d rather kill each other or, well, you know; they have major chemistry right from the start. I absolutely loved their banter! Their snarky verbal battles were just as entertaining as the action and adventure, and are just about as consistent throughout the story too… which I really enjoyed. I actually started looking forward to watching them fight!

Joan Swan writes action like you’re right there in the thick of it; pinging bullets, whooshes of fire, the near-tranquil state of severe injury are all masterfully translated through undeniably talented and creative writing. She doesn’t fall prey to technical bad habits like repeated patterns of verbage, and her sentence structure is never boring or predictable. Reading a Joan Swan novel is like living a non-stop, danger-filled, trek through heartfelt friendships and off-the-rails sensual chemistry.

Aaahh, this book was SO GOOD! I did not want it to end! Every character is unique and compelling and every plot twist keeps the story, and series, fresh and addicting. How often do you read a book that wraps up the storyline but still has you jonzing for the next installment without forcing a cliffhanger down your throat, that makes your chest squeeze with every tortured glance and longing touch, whose action scenes make you feel like you just stepped into a Hollywood blockbuster movie? This is why Joan Swan is a master of her craft and why Blaze is a GraveTells Fave and the recipient of our extremely rare, perfect-rating Golden Heart award!

Voted as the 2012 GraveTells Readers Choice Most Promising New Author, Joan is most definitely a rising star in romantic fiction, and Blaze is a “must-read” story, GraveTells’ Book of the Year for 2012!

Click here to read our signature (collaborative short story) interview with Ms. Swan and her Phoenix Rising crew!
Click here to visit Joan’s website

Series of the Year

First published in 2011, Rebecca Zanetti has captivated discerning readers of paranormal romance with her sinfully sexy and brazenly intelligent series about vampires, demons, shifters, and witches: the Dark Protectors.   In the Dark Protectors world, where alpha vampire and shape-shifter kings rule secretly amidst an unknowing human population and intrepid witches craft their spells by manipulating advanced quantum physics, the race is on to beat a debilitating, mate-stealing virus engineered by the evil Kurjans and win the ongoing brutal and bloody war against their mind-shattering demon enemies.  Here’s what DaVinciKittie had to say about the series in her review of Hunted

This is not some cheap imitation quickie story universe. Alluring in its plausibility, the world of the Dark Protectors is thought-provoking and well-planned. It is powerful, original, explosive, and addicting.

If you are looking for a sexy, smart, immersive series to lose yourself in, you absolutely must check out the Dark Protectors!  The fifth book in the series, Provoked, was the recipient of one of only two perfect review scores awarded in 2012 and its hero Kane Kayrs was recently voted as Sexiest Geek at the GraveTells 2012 Readers Choice Awards.  The Dark Protectors series also won for Most Original Story Universe and both Hunted and Provoked were chosen as Books of the Month last year.  Congratulations to Rebecca Zanetti on her stellar work on the Dark Protectors series, the GraveTells 2012 Series of the Year!

Click here to read our signature (collaborative short story) interview with Ms. Zanetti and the incomparable Connlan Kayrs!
Click here to visit Rebecca’s website

Author of the Year

There are a handful of paranormal romance authors who are able to both write wickedly scorching heat, the kind of chemistry that makes your toes curl and your heart pound, and craft high-quality, addicting story universes for readers to lose themselves in… but few so prolific as Felicity Heaton. Her books consistently score 4.5s from our reviewers and there is no shortage of work for us to delve into when it comes to Ms. Heaton’s diverse collection of series and stories. In 2012, Ms. Heaton published 5 new works, some novellas and some full-length novels, and is currently juggling 6 ongoing concurrent series (and at least one other new one in the works!), each with its own set of multi-threaded and twisting plotlines.  As a largely self-published author, Ms. Heaton isn’t bogged down by the traditionally slow-moving publication process, meaning we get more of what we love faster.  She also creates her own cover artwork and manages her own advertising campaigns and book tours… on top of what must be a grueling writing regimen.Felicity Heaton stands out among some of the best Romance has to offer and we are proud to name her as the GraveTells 2012 Author of the Year!

Click here to read our signature (collaborative short story) interview with Ms. Heaton and the elusive vampire Snow!
Click here to visit Felicity’s website

Debut Author of the Year

2012 was a great year for paranormal romance and an excellent time for debut authors in the genre. GraveTells was fortunate enough to be able to review and feature several stellar new PNR authors last year, and one in particular stood out as a force to be reckoned with. A published author through Kensington press as well as her own self-publishing efforts, Joan Swan has crafted an incredibly addicting and sensual series about a group of firefighters blessed (or cursed) with supernatural abilities after a vicious, and suspiciously convenient, chemical warehouse explosion. The first two books in the Phoenix Rising series were released in 2012, garnering Ms. Swan a debut review score of 4.5 for Fever (which was also chosen as our March 2012 Book of the Month AND Reviewer Top Pick) followed by our first, one of only two awarded in 2012, perfect score of the year for Blaze (also chosen as Book of the Month and a Reviewer Top Pick in August of 2012).Joan Swan is a fresh new voice in paranormal romance, demonstrating incredible skill in both storycraft and searing character chemistry, and we are excitedly anticipating her works to come. Congratulations to Joan on being named as the GraveTells 2012 Debut Author of the Year!

Click here to read our signature (collaborative short story) interview with Ms. Swan and her Phoenix Rising crew!
Click here to visit Joan’s website

All-Star Reviewer

2012 was the first full year GraveTells published reviews by a composite cast of reviewers. We have been blessed with an incredible roster of fourteen talented ladies, all of whom have, at some point between mid-2011 and December of 2012, lent their wit and literary review skills to bring you the lowdown on over 200 paranormal romance and urban fantasy books. Since joining the team in November of 2011, the longest-tenured active reviewer on the site besides DaVinciKittie, Rachel Elizabeth has published 30 reviews for GraveTells; 28 of those were in 2012. Folks, that’s (just about) 2 or more reviews every single month, since she joined the team, and is an incredible accomplishment considering the mental toll all that reading, analyzing, and composing puts on a reviewer.Rachel is also the team’s most perfectionistic when it comes to formatting her reviews and following the GraveTells guidelines and quality standards. Her drafts rarely need corrections (of any kind, including spelling, grammar, and sentence structure!), and her insights are always fresh and entertaining. She is also incredibly reliable, almost always meeting the calendar deadlines necessary to organize our busy post schedule, and has a contagious, sunny disposition and positive attitude.This year, Rachel was the only reviewer (aside from DaVinciKittie, who as Executive Editor is understandably personally motivated when it comes to writing reviews for GT) to publish more than 25 reviews, earning her the honor of 2012 GraveTells All-Star Reviewer! Congratulations Rach, and keep up the amazing work!

Click here to browse through Rachel’s GraveTells review collection.
Go here to read Rachel’s bio and visit her on other social media.

I’d like to give a shout-out to all the GraveTells reviewers who have been part of our team in 2011 and 2012. Not all of them are currently active, and some have moved on to more focused writing pursuits and personal projects, but each has made a positive impact on the culture and success of the site. *mwuah!* You ladies are the best!

  • DaVinciKittie
  • Rachel
  • Buffy
  • Molly
  • Kari
  • IMP
  • Renae
  • Chanel
  • The Captain
  • Kenra
  • Meghan
  • Misa
  • Becky
  • Ash

Interested in joining the review team? Go here for more info!

Thank you as well to all of you who are reading this now, especially our regulars! Your support is what makes what we do worth the investment and we love getting to dish about our favorite sexy heroes with our fellow PNR addicts. <3 Bring on 2013!

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About The Author
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at
  • Sophia Rose
    January 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    All the reviewers and authors here deserve applause. The authors have written excellent stories and the reviewers introduced me to them.


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