I remember the first time I read Jane Eyre and entered Rochester’s house, Thornfield Hall. Coming from a middle-class family in Nebraska, the middle of the United States, I was enthralled with walking into the drawing room where Rochester lounged in his overstuffed chair with Pilot at his feet. Continue reading
I interviewed three groups of m/m romance authors at the Romantic Times convention in May, asking the authors primarily the same questions. I let the discussions go in any direction the authors wanted with the idea that the mix of authors would put a different spin and focus on the topic. Continue reading
One of the things I like best about reviewing for AAR is the fact that I’m encouraged to select books to review rather than being assigned what to read. Of course, this freedom promotes good, rather than bad reviews most of the time. Continue reading
Even though I’ve been to BEA (Book Expo America) quite a few times, I wasn’t prepared for the RT convention this year. Although they both revolve around books and finding the right book for the right reader, they are markedly different.
BEA is geared to publishers and booksellers with very few sessions aimed at readers. It’s staid and business-like, very organized and not given to much fun and frivolity.
RT? Laissez les bons temps rouler, baby!
Here’s a quick overview of the event : Continue reading
First of all, if you don’t know what RT is, don’t worry. I didn’t know what it was until I’d been reviewing for several years. Basically, the romance community has two big conferences a year: Romantic Times and Romance Writers of America. The former is sponsored by Romantic Times and has a strong fan component. The Romantic Writers of America conference is more targeted to professionals in the field.
I’ve never been to either but this year I’m attending both. Continue reading
Before romance novels there were love poems. Sometimes sweet, sometimes tender, sometimes raunchy but always intimate and direct. Most love poems are from the author to a specific lover, a genuine communication that wasn’t necessarily intended for commercial consumption. That authentic, sincere emotional communication can often capture the essence of love in far fewer lines than a romance novel. And it does so in such a way that it lingers on the mind and tongue in a way that a book often doesn’t. Continue reading
In 2013, self-publishing was mainstream, social media allowed authors more specific ways to publicize their work, and everyone had a strongly held opinion about what constituted a great romance novel. This environment makes the idea of a “buried treasure” more difficult to define. So, let’s agree to accept this definition: a buried treasure is a book you loved you think isn’t as well known as it should be. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Coming up with a list of my top romances is not romantic at all. In fact, it can be downright unromantic as I found out the first year I tried to compile a list of my Top 100 favorite romance novels. Really? They must be joking, right? Especially since I’m constantly reading.
My first try at a Top 100 garnered 76 titles, and as I go back over the list, I can barely remember some of the books after #50. How can the books after that be called “top”? So now I keep a running Top 100 list that I purge now and again. But the Top 12 seem to stay fairly constant—until I change them.
What puts a book on my Top 12 list? Readability. I’ve read these books over and over. They are my comfort reads. They are safely tucked away on my Kindle and go with me everywhere. When a review book gets so annoying I want to throw it at the wall, I read one of these. When I have a few minutes of free time, I read one of these. They are my blankies and my Teddy Bears. Continue reading
My early recollections of the dangers of reading center around sunburn. I would lie out on a beach towel in the backyard and get so engrossed in Nancy Drew or some other thrilling story that I would forget the time. Then, lobster-like I would come inside the house suffering.
As I grew, however, the perils of reading became even greater. Three stories illustrate my point.
When I was in high school, I was a page at my local library. For some reason that totally escapes me, I was enthralled with the Jalna series, one of those sprawling historical sagas, by Mazo de la Roche. I remember one afternoon leaving the library with the newest book in hand and wanting to get home quickly so I could continue the story.
What happened is that I backed straight into the brick side of the library. My father couldn’t understand it. “The library wasn’t moving,” he said to me. “How could you just deliberately hit it?” I don’t remember what my answer was, but it certainly wasn’t that reading was dangerous. Yet that’s what the real reason was. In my haste to read, I’d become a hazard in my car.