Back in April, we began, on each Tuesday, publishing a reviewer’s Top Ten list. There were no rules other than the books be in the romance genre. Over the next five months, we published twenty-three lists. Out of the 230 entries, we listed 201 books. We hit every genre (although we have a definitive fondness for historical romance), and waxed upon the works of 121 authors. After every one had weighed in, only one book garnered five–the most–votes: J.R. Ward’s Lover Awakened. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Jean AAR’ Category
See, I knew that signing up for this blog would cause me a headache. How are you supposed to choose the top ten romances that rock your world? How? How? (At the back of my mind I have the Baha Men singing along, except it’s “How do you choose now? How, how, how, how?” Great. Hence the headache.)
Anyway, I figured the only way I can keep sane is a) recognize that I won’t hit them all, and b) acknowledge that if I am actually stuck on a desert island with only ten romance novels, I’d go crazy anyway, no matter what I chose. (Unless I chose, like, the Koran, Paradise Lost, and Journey to the West. Then maybe I’d not go all loopy.)
I decided that what I’d probably crave the most is variety, a little bit of every genre to suit every mood. It actually turned out to be relatively easy once I’d decided on this, looked at my Top 100 list, scanned my shelves, and sliced through the different categories. I’m happy with my choices – they’re all different in setting, subgenre, writing style, and character. I’ve also read each of them at least twice – I’m a serial re-reader, so I know when something works for me, when it doesn’t, and (most of important of all) when it stands up to the test of time. (more…)
Around the time that I discovered the internet as a place of leisure, and not just research, I discovered movie reviews. I found it hugely satisfying to read movie reviews in the major publications – the New York Times, the New Yorker, Rolling Stone. It was like sitting in on a cinematic round table with the leading lights of the film critics’ world. Some of their reviews were near works of art, literary pieces in their own right, offering insights into films that I couldn’t possibly dream of, and sometimes didn’t understand. I reacted to films and I could analyze my response, but not on the same level.
But there was one critic whom I read for his own sake, not the publication’s reputation, and that was Roger Ebert. I’d never seen his shows, either with Siskel or with Roeper, so I only know Ebert’s voice through his writing. And his reviews changed me. (more…)
And Pandora’s Box is back again! This time around, Blythe Barnhill and Jean Wan are taking on a European historical by debut author Juliana Grey. In A Lady Never Lies, Lady Morley has fled to Italy to escape creditors and there she meets inventor Phineas “Finn” Burke. Each of the two, and their traveling companions, are staying in a remote castle in Tuscany. With an unusual setting and a backstory involving the invention of motorcars, this book stood out among recent historical romance offerings.
Blythe: I chose A Lady Never Lies by debut author Juliana Gray for two reasons: 1) she was a brand new European Historical author I’d never tried and 2) I happened to have two copies on hand. Well, from my end, it was a happy accident. I really loved the book. I had no idea that it was set in 1890 – in Italy, no less – and featured a hero who designed electric cars. I am predisposed to like novelty, so this suited me down to the ground. Then I ended up liking the hero and heroine as well. But what did you think?
The other day on After Hours, I blogged about my love for the TV show Sherlock, and remarked it’s basically the only TV I watch, and like. This is not the first time I’ve made the remark, online or in person, and 99% of the time, people probably look at me like I’m nuts, pompous, or both.
I once had a conversation with my friend about True Blood (I flatter myself that I converted her to the books, even though I haven’t read them), and we had this conversation about me not watching TV. “Wait – you don’t watch TV, I accept it, even if I don’t get it (because there are some damn good shows on TV, Jean, and you’re missing out, but never mind because you’re weird). But you haven’t read the books? How can you read romance and not read the Sookie Stackhouse series?”
Good question, Eva. And looking through my bookshelf, reading history, and preferences, I think I’ve narrowed it down. It’s not series that I don’t do, per se – it’s the serialized, episodic, plot and character development surrounding a central cast of characters over a long period of time that I can’t stick with.
Introduction first: In case you were unaware of the 1000 Awesome Things blog, Neil Pasricha was at a down point in his life a couple of years ago, and decided to cheer himself up by blogging about the good, often unnoticed, things in life. When gas prices go down just as you need some gas. When you turn a pillow onto its fresh side. The fact that we exist. When a cashier opens a new cash line. You know – awesome things.
1000 posts and 3 bestsellers later, the blog is over. In (belated) honour of the 1000th post, I decided to write about the awesome things in romance. It’s been a good exercise, because too often I focus on the annoying or tedious in romance novels. But despite the bad stuff, there are many reasons I stick with romance novels, and they’re all awesome (in my opinion, anyway). So here, counting down, are my Five Awesome Romance Things.
5. You can’t please everyone, but you can please someone. Publishing is a transient business. Just think of all those thousands – no, millions of books that clutter used bookstores, books that are in and out of print, remembered and forgotten. But what’s great about romances is that even 999 people think a book’s absolute crap, there’s probably at least one person who finds it awesomer than Kraft Dinner.
I don’t care if George Bernard Shaw gave us the greatest modern incarnation of the makeover myth – when it comes to teaching, he’s a pompous twat. On behalf of teachers around the world, I thumb my nose at you.
Today is National Teacher Day, and in honour of it I decided to blog about educators in romance. As I was thinking about books with teachers, I realized that compared to other professions, teachers actually get pretty good press. They know how to relate to children, are held to be intelligent and are usually hardworking; half the time they solve a mystery or two, and nine teachers out of ten figure out what’s wrong with the kid (absentee parent, lack of love, wanting to paint instead of do math, etc.) and use it to unite child with parent. Sure, there are the occasional boring tutors or cruel headmistresses, but they’re rarely bad enough to qualify as villains or evil.