A Special Titles Update!

One of the nicest parts of looking up newly nominated titles for a Special Titles Listing is discovering and rediscovering great books. This time around, we were struck by how many of the titles we had to research for the present list were actually perfect summer reading material. We came across exotic settings, sea travel, luxury lifestyles and an over-all fairy tale quality. Here are some of the new titles that we found especially interesting, sorted by the list they are part of. Check out all of the results here.sleeping-beauty_jpg
Fairy Tale Romances: What could be more perfect for summer than a romance based on a fairy tale? These romances can evoke childhood memories of listening to tales of Sleeping Beauty or Snow White or Beauty and the Beast, with the added kick of a grown-up romantic relationship. All told 29 titles were added to the list, with the most — 13 — added to the Beauty and the Beast section, including Eloisa James’ When Beauty Tamed the Beast and E.D. Walker’s The Beauty’s Beast.

Pirates, Sheiks & Vikings: The summer reading element in these novels consists of the settings. Visions of crossing the ocean on the one hand, be it with a Viking or a pirate, and spending time in a palace right out of A Thousand and One Nights on the other, make for a perfect summer escape. The latter can be found, for example in Hajar’s Hidden Legacy by Maisey Yates, in which a scarred sheik hides his deformity until a beautiful princess arrives as his bride. In contrast, Darlene Marshall’s historicals, the latest of which is The Pirate’s Secret Baby, feature buccaneers and azure waters. Michelle Willingman’s To Sin With a Viking takes us even further into the past, back to 9th century Ireland. What their romances share is a glimpse of a world that is alien to us but that promises high adventure.

Royalty in Romance: The attraction of romances that feature royalty is twofold. If you look at historical romances, it lies in the seductive closeness to power, with its potential and danger, that the protagonists experience. Such a novel can make for a deeply emotional ride, like Libertine’s Kiss by Judith James, in which the heroine must choose between King Charles II and one of his courtiers. Looking at contemporary monarchies, power is much less an issue here than presentation and the pressure of being constantly in the public eye. Add to this the charm of a quaint imaginary European kingdom, and you as reader can enjoy the mixture of a fairy-tale-like setting and a social position whose intricacies we can only guess at, but which make for fascinating reading. Among the new addition to the this list are novels with a fairly light take on this, like Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase or Lessons in Love by Kate Davies. Others, like Pretender to the Throne by Maisey Yates, carry far more emotional punch. Reading any of these romances you can enter palaces and view the glittering Mediterranean Sea, and what could be more charming for a summer evening? Possibly being there in person, but as this cannot always be, enjoying it in a book can be an excellent second best.

Perfect First Spouses: The first spouses list doesn’t have the same fantasy element as the other lists. But it does have a similar “guilty pleasure” feel for many readers. While some readers complain about having read one too many “perfect first spouse” romances, for others, this is a guilty pleasure. The list is divided into “truly wonderful” first spouses, those spouses our hero or heroine struggles to compete with, and “deceptively wonderful” first spouses, the ones everyone thinks was wonderful, but turns out they had at least one major flaw. Two wonderful new additions to the list, both nearly ten years old, both DIK recipients here, are Nora Roberts Blue Dahlia and Black Rose. Once again, we’d like to thank all of the marvelous readers who submitted new entries for the list; we couldn’t do this without your help. We hope the updated lists provide you with some ideas for some new reads. As for us, we’re going to take a brief break from updating the Special Title Lists, and try to catch up on some reading of our own. Look for more lists to open up this fall.

 

Cindy, Rike, and LinnieGayl

19 Responses to “A Special Titles Update!”

  1. LinnieGayl says:

    Huge apologies! Something’s gone wrong with the new pages and they’re not appearing. They should be up shortly. So sorry.

  2. LinnieGayl says:

    Okay, as a quick fix, you can find the updated lists here:

    Fairytale: http://www.likesbooks.com/fairytale1.html

    First Spouse: http://www.likesbooks.com/firstspouse1.html First Spouse

    Pirates, etc.: http://www.likesbooks.com/pirates1.html

    Royalty: http://www.likesbooks.com/royalty1.html

  3. Paola says:

    In the first spouses list Unleashed by Lori Borrill got a D at AAR. Why is it worth being in the list now?

    • LinnieGayl says:

      Good question, Paola. When we started updating the lists again we decided that the old requirements (a B- or higher at AAR OR a B- or higher at The Romance Reader — now defunct — were no longer applicable). So we use a variety of resources and online reviews. It’s why we ask readers who nominate the books to provide us with the reasons for the review and links to other online sites that have provided the review.

      • LinnieGayl says:

        I should add that this is why it takes us so very long to vet the submissions. In the past all that needed to be done was check for grades at two sites. Now, we check each submission at anywhere from 10-20 different sites.

      • Eliza says:

        I love the change and the inclusion of AAR grades when they’re available. This has been one of my favorite AAR features and I really appreciate all that all of you have done and continue do to make it happen. Thank you so much.

    • library addict says:

      I loved the book. And as LinnieGaye said it received much higher grades from other review sites.

  4. Paola says:

    In the first spouses list Betina Krahn’s Make Me Yours is not contemporary, but Europena Historical.

    • LinnieGayl says:

      Thanks Paola. I’ll fix that this weekend. That’s how I have it listed on my spreadsheet I prepare for the lists I’m responsible for (just checked). Somehow must’ve left it off.

  5. Yulie says:

    Always nice to see the Special Title Lists updated :)

    With regard to Pirates/Sheikhs/Vikings, I never noticed before that this was a single list and I’m not sure I understand the rationale for putting these together. The settings and characters are not at all alike; wouldn’t it make more sense to split them into separate lists, and maybe a further split by period in the pirates list?

    • Eliza says:

      If you check out the list, Yulie, you’ll see that it is divided into three sections, one for each group. I like viking, but not pirates of sheikhs so much. FWIW, I had a similar kind of reaction about Marriages of Convenience when I got onto a Mail-Order Bride glom but happily discovered that list while not separated carefully did note those with a mail-order bride theme. Hope you don’t mind my jumping in and that it was helpful.

      • Yulie says:

        Yes, I checked the list, which is why I posted my earlier comment. What I was suggesting was that there shouldn’t be a single list with three sections, but three separate lists (one at least separated by historical period). Sheikhs have little in common in pirates and I find ti strange for them to be lumped together.

        • LinnieGayl says:

          I’m not really sure what the logic was in having these three together originally. From looking at the descriptions in a number of the lists it appears that in numerous cases oddly combined lists were eventually split. And it’s true that these three would make another logical group to split and divide by genre at some point.

  6. Eliza says:

    I have a potential suggestion too, although it may be difficult or too time and labor intensive to pull off. The suggestion is to distinguish between western, frontier, Americana, colonial, and time frame, for instance. I’ve noticed different folks have different definitions and prefer different time frames, for example, colonial, early Oregon Trail types of books, settlers in general, western/cowboy stories that usually feature guns, frontier vs small town, all the way to 1900 pre-war America. Of course to make it even more difficult some books have settlers and cowboys for instance or other combinations, but I’ve found I’m particularly drawn to settler type stories. I thought of it too because of seeming past confusion over the Top Ten Western List and what categories to include. No biggie, though; just an idea since those of us who seem to like westerns *really do* like westerns. :)

    • Eliza says:

      Oops, I forgot that an all-new new list could be called western or whatever but distinguished by time periods or types within that single Special Title (whatever it would be called). Thanks.

      • Eliza says:

        Another oops: How about the simple title American Historical?

        • LinnieGayl says:

          I have wondered about that myself when preparing various lists. If they’re separated by genre there’s just one “American Historical” section and it combines a lot of different types of historicals. One problem is that most of those lists that I remember don’t seem to have that many entries in the section (as opposed to the European Historical section). But it would make sense, if we knew, to add a bit more information about each entry in the “American historical” section. Will think on it.

  7. CarolineAAR says:

    Thank you for your hard work!

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