It’s been almost 2.5 years since we awarded an Opal Award for what we consider to be an outstanding book. So here is a quick recap on just what is an Opal Award.

First of all, why Opal?
“Outstanding Piece Around…” … um, unfortunately no, Opal is not an acronym for anything.  We’ve tried to come up with something relevant, but to no avail. (Suggestions are always welcome!) Opal is an Australian precious stone, and since we are Australian, we wanted something that reflects that.
Why create this award?
We don’t have a rating system on Book Review Sisters because we believe that the enjoyment of a book is largely a matter of personal taste.  There are many books out there we personally enjoy, many we classify as “favourites” (these can be found by the ‘favourite books’ tag).  We wanted to have something to highlight to our readers when a book comes along that stands out to us.   Something that we really really enjoy.
What sort of books qualify for a BRS Opal?
There’s no hard and fast rule.  It can be from any genre.  It does not signify an outstanding piece of literature (though it may be) and it does not signify that it will be loved by everyone.
The main criteria for the BRS Opal Award is that either one of the Book Review Sisters LOVES the book, and so much so we’d be quite happy to read it again and again.  It is not awarded with objectivity, rather it is strongly influenced by our particular tastes.  This means that if one of us awards an Opal to a book, the other would not necessarily do so.  In order to establish whether an BRS Opal Award winning book would be relevant to you as a reader, consider our preferences, inclinations and tastes:
Helen prefers romances with substance, with a particular inclination for historical fiction.  Whilst being warmed by a good romance novel, she loves the added benefit of learning about how people lived during different periods and transporting herself into the past.
Jess loves a well told romance, filled with suspense and heart stopping moments. She also enjoys historical fiction, but would rather delve into contemporary women’s fiction. As long as the book has solid characters, a great plot and can take her into another place then she is sold.

Are all BRS Opal Award winners Christian?

Yes.  Although we do not limit reviews done on the Book Review Sisters to Christian books (we only advocate clean, non-witch, non-vampire books), the vast majority are.  We have decided that in order to win this award the book must be Christian.

So next week we will announce our latest Opal Award recipients! 

Helen’s favourite genre is historical fiction with a strong romantic element.  She also enjoys contemporary romance, chick-lit and YA.  She’s not caught up in the spell of fantasy fiction, despite The Faraway Tree series being a strong influence in her childhood.
Helen is currently working on her first book, a Christian young adult novel set between two opposite but equally fascinating places in Australia.

Jess’ favourite genre is contemporary women’s fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women’s fiction/romance set in a small country town.