Special Title Listings are Back!

drumroll We asked you, our readers, what you wanted to see on the site and we heard you loud and clear. We are pleased to announce that AAR’s Special Title Listings are being dusted off and re-worked and we would love to get more reader input in how you would like to see the list managed. For those who have lobbied successfully for this change we know you are excited, and for those of you who have not visited the Special Title Listings, we invite you to head on over there and take a look around.

The Special Title Listings were started in 1996 and are organized differently than by genre, setting, or grade alone. After all, when browsing a bookshelf for a great new read, the simple classification of “historical romance” or “category romance” is not enough information for a reader to decide to pick up the book. There are certain themes or issues that draw readers in whether it’s the need to laugh (Favorite Funnies) or cry (Two-Hanky Read), to meet a new hero who is gentle and kind (Beta Heroes) or a couple that can’t stand to be in the same room together (Best Enemies) but just can’t turn away. And then there are the times when we want to read a romance set in an unusual setting such as Egypt or China (Special Settings). These lists have been invaluable for those readers who know what they are looking for and for those who aren’t sure but who have an idea that a book with characters who have been imprisoned might be just the ticket.

The lists are not part of the blog, and so we had to do some technical work behind the scens, but we are now ready to start updating some lists each month. None of us have been directly involved with updating the Special Title Listings before, so we’re going to take it a bit slowly at first. We don’t know how many book suggestions you all will have, so we’re starting off slowly and opening four lists for updating on Tuesday September 4th. More lists will be open in future months. This new endeavor will be a labor of love and your help is needed in making some key decisions.

First and foremost, we would like you to list up to ten of the current categories that you would like to see updated first, in numbered order of your preference, in the comments section below. We’ll review all of your suggestions and announce the categories that will be open and have a link to a submission form on this blog on Tuesday, September 4. We’ll use the remaining suggestions, in your priority order, for subsequent months. Second, we would like your suggestions for new categories you might like to see. If you are happy with the listings as they are, no problem, butif you want new listings but aren’t worried about priority of updating we still want to hear from you. We want to update your favorite existing categories first, but we would also like to start thinking about some potentially popular new categories. At some point over the next few months, we may ask you to vote on your favorite potential new categories.

Finally, several of you have indicated that if a book in a Special Title Listing was reviewed at AAR you would like to see the grade assigned as well as a link to the review. We thought this was a wonderful idea, but wondered how much time it would require. Adding a grade isn’t too time-consuming and we plan to add the grades as we revised the lists, but adding in all of those links is time-prohibitive for us.

We look forward to your responses and are excited to be teaming up with you to update the Special Title Listings.

– Cindy Smith, Rike Horstmann, and LinnieGayl Kimmel

This entry was posted in All About Romance, Cindy AAR, LinnieGayl AAR, Rike AAR and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to Special Title Listings are Back!

  1. B says:

    So glad to see this is happening!
    1. Less than Perfect
    2. Plus-Sized Heroines
    3. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
    4. Sports Romances
    5. Unrequited Love
    6. Troubled Marriages
    7. Heroes in Pursuit
    8. Special Settings

  2. ragg2 says:

    I am glad these lists are updated because I have used them a lot.
    One thing I found irritating was that there was usually no description.
    I guess it might be too much to ask, but woud it be possible to attach a short (1-2 sentence) sunmmary of the book? Maybe at least for the newly added ones?
    Otherwise one has to look up every title in amazon or here to find anything out about it.
    A title alone gives no information if the book is any good and what it is about.
    So most important lists:
    1. Less than Perfect
    2. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
    4.shy heros (is that the same as beta heros?)
    5. cabin and road romances
    6.favourite funnies
    7. tortured heros (should also say why the hero is tortured)
    8.fairy tales

  3. Vol Fan says:

    1. Epic romance
    2. Old skool bodice ripper or bodice ripper-lite
    3. Small town romance
    4. Sweet and/or homespun romance

    • Rike says:

      Thanks for your suggestions, Vol Fan! I have put down Epic romance, Old skool bodice-ripper/bodice ripper-lite and Small town romance on our list of possible topics for new listings.
      Could what you call Sweet and/or homespun romance be covered by the One Foot on the Floor list?
      Anyway, please feel free also to list your favorites among the existing lists, which can be found here: http://likesbooks.com/lists.html
      This way, your voice counts in the ballot, too!

      • Vol Fan says:

        It probably could be there, since the list is broken down into western/medival, etc. I was thinking of the sweet older romances such as Lorraine Heath’s “Sweet Lullaby” and “Always to Remember”. Those are such wonderful books, that I would love to find more like that.

  4. Anne says:

    1. Experienced heroines
    2. Courtesans, Mistresses and Prostitutes
    3. Reunited
    4. Not your usual conflict
    5. Tormented heroines.
    6. Virginal Heroes
    7. Marriages of Convenience
    8. Troubled Marraiges
    9. Friends
    10. Plue-sized heroines

  5. PatF says:

    1.Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
    2. Beta Heroes
    3. Suspense and Mystery
    4. Less Than Perfect
    5. Plus-Sized Heroines
    6. Blue-Stockings
    7. Favorite Funnies
    8. Luscious Love Stories
    9. Older Couples
    10. Spies, P.I.s and Warriors

  6. jane says:

    alpha males would be nice since your already have beta males

  7. Carlotta says:

    1. Courtesan, Mistresses & Prosititutes
    2. Tortured Heroes
    3. Less than Perfect
    4. Across the Tracks
    5. Luscious Love Stories
    6. Cabin and Road romance
    7. Addiction Romances
    8. Marriage of convenience
    9. American Indian
    10. Arranged Marriages

    Grades would be good, and we could look it up ourselves without links.

  8. Kayne says:

    1. Luscious Love Stories
    2. Favorite Funnies
    3. Tortured Heroes
    4. Troubled Marriages
    5. Young Adult
    6. Across the Tracks
    7. Twins
    8. Reunited


  9. Vol Fan says:

    I would also love to see an indication of what kind of sexual content is in a book. Not necessarily for me, but I have to chose books for my elderly mother and she doesn’t like explicit sex scenes. Needless to say, it can be hard sometimes to figure out by a blurb or cover. Often even a review doesn’t say much on this either. Now that the trend is toward more sex (i.e. Grey), I would love to know if a book is warm, medium, or extra hot. LOL

  10. Mary says:

    1. Spies, P.I.s and Warriors
    2. Luscious Love Stories

  11. TerryS says:


    1. Troubled Marriages
    2. Beta Heroes
    3. May-Dec/Dec-May
    4. Across the Tracks
    5. Opposites Attract
    6. Marriages of Convenience
    7. Arranged Marriages
    8. Shotgun Marriages
    9. Two Hanky Reads
    10. Tormented Heroes

    Possible Added Category – Romances where children play a pivotal role
    (Okay, obviously you’d have to give it a more catchy title, but you get my drift.)

  12. alicet says:

    1. Troubled Marriages
    2. Reunited
    3. All in the family
    4. Marriage of convenience
    5. Arranged marriages
    6. Two-hanky reads
    7. Favorite funnies
    8. Twins
    9. Amnesia or not
    10. Luscious romances

    I am glad you are updating the list. A lot of the older books in the lists are out of print.

  13. Liz says:

    You made my day! This is my fav AAR feature and it’s led me to so many wonderful books.

    1. Beta Heroes
    2. Across the tracks
    3. Sports Romances
    4. Unusual Professions
    5. Tortured Hero/Heroines
    6. Not your usual conflict
    7. The Limelight
    8. Unusual settings

    I agree w/the poster who said a little bit of explanation is nice, such as the hero/heroines’ unusual occupation; who is from across the tracks, etc. I’d actually prefer this to the review grade.

    Regarding new categories I love the epic romance and old skool BRs and BR- Lites idea. Maybe these aren’t new categories but I don’t remember them. Though I’m not an erotica or same sex romance reader, I think it would be good to have listings that cover these areas as there’s a lot of growth and reader interest in them.

  14. xina says:

    I go to this list at least once a week, so I am so happy to see this being updated. Thank you!

    1. Friendships
    2. Heroes In Pursuit
    3. Favorite Funnies
    4. Cabin adn Road Romances
    5. Courtesans, Mistresses and Prostitutes
    6. Luscious Love Stories
    7. Amazing Animals
    8. Across The Tracks

  15. bungluna says:

    1. Comedies of Manners
    2. Second Chance at Love
    3. Opposites Attract
    4. Beta Heroes
    5. Road Trip
    6. Sports Romance
    7. Marriage of Convenience
    8. Minorities other than the usual suspects (Hindu, Chinise, etc.)
    9. Unusual settings
    10. Meet Cute

  16. Ash says:

    I’m so glad these lists are going to be updated :D

    1. Arranged Marriages
    2. Marriage of convenience
    3. Favourite Funny
    4. Rakes and Rogues
    5. Best Enemies
    6. Cabin and Road Romances
    7. Cons, Burglars and Pickpockets
    8. Heroes In Pursuit
    9. Tortured Heroes

    Future suggestions:

    I would love to see a list for

    “The Pretend Couple”: In which the H and h are pretending to be affianced, married or romantically involved, later of course they become a couple for real

    “Matchmaker Romances”: where either the H or h is helping the other win the affections or hand of another.

    “Pygmalion Romances”: I think the name pretty much says it all for this one :P

    • Karat says:

      Hi Ash!
      Loved your suggestions! I already have a couple of ideas for “The Pretend Couple” list :-)
      One quick note on “Pygmalion Romances”: this list already exists, as a category in the “Fairy Tale Romances”. I have read only one of the books currently listed (The Proposition by Judith Ivory – great book, by the way!), but if you like this theme, I think you might be able to find other good recommendations there now (and of course, add a couple of suggestions for us when this list re-opens!).

      • Ash says:

        Thank You Karat!!!
        I found several books I want to read in the “Fairy Tale” list.
        going on a shopping spree now :D
        Oh happy day!!!

  17. Tonia says:

    1. Reunited
    2. Alternate Reality
    3. Scots & Irish
    4. Unrequited Love
    5. Road Romance

    The Alternate Reality list was a favorite because it splits the type of paranormal character. I LOVED Joy Nash’ Druids of Avalon series and am always looking for something similar (paranormal historical).

  18. Vol Fan says:

    Just thought of another of my favorite categories: Apocalyptic/Dystopian books (ala: Joss Ware’s Envy series and Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14) I find myself reading a LOT of these type books lately!

  19. RobinB says:

    Glad to see that Special Title Listings will be back! Most of my favorite lists have been cited by others, but I do have a question. Since it’s been quite a while (and many books have been published) since the last STL update, would it be possible to include books that have been published in the interim?

    I know that’s extra work for you lovely AAR folks, and I think many of us will understand if it’s not doable. Still. . .a retro addition might be nice!

    I do like the idea of including the AAR grade for a particular book; it will help with decision-making as to whether or not I want to read said book!

    • Rike says:

      Thank you, RobinB. When we open up the first four lists for updating on September 4, there will be a link to a form that you readers can use to recommend any books you feel fit into each list. They can be books that were published in 2012 or books that were published any time earlier. We’ll have more guidelines in the September 4th blog, and on the submissions form, to help you out. Considering the lists were closed for two years, we hope for a lot of submissions of recent romances!

      And feel free to list your own favorites again, although they have been named by others. Anything you list here will be included in a poll, and the choice which of the lists will be tackled first depends of the poll’s results.

  20. PatF says:

    Also, would like to add Alpha Males.

  21. Danielle says:

    Wonderful news, thank you so much!

    1. Special Settings
    2. History 101
    3. Inter-Ethnic Romances
    4. Adventure Romances
    5. Two-Hanky Reads
    6. Unusual Professions
    7. Villains
    8. Cabin & Road Romances
    9. Christmas Romances

    I’ll second Vol Fan’s suggestion for Epic Romance. Also, although I hesitate to suggest this because on one hand it is weird to place them in a separate category when they obviously belong in all of them, a same-sex romance category might be a helpful starting point for those of us who are new to them or find it difficult to navigate the vast offerings out there. On the other hand, this applies to many of the existing categories, too – Older Couples, for example – so why not?

    Once again, thank you so much for the work you are willing to put into this, one of my favourite features at AAR.

  22. Krista says:

    I would love it if you included the rating for any books that have been reviewed. One of the problems that I have with the list is that some of the books are not very good. It’s great that you have such great lists for each theme, but for me it’s kind of pointless if most of the books don’t have great ratings.
    In the past, I have gone through a few of the themes and looked up the reviews on each of the books for hours, only to find a handful with reviews above 2 stars.

    Troubled Marriages
    Fairy Tale Romances
    Tortured Heroes

    • Rike says:

      Thanks, Krista. We are planning to include the ratings of the books if they were reviewed at AAR – old submissions and new submissions alike. These will be the grades as given here, however, and will not reflect how the books have been rated elsewhere.

      More information about what books we accept for the lists and how that relates in grades will be included in the guidelines that will be published once we ask for submissions for the first four lists at the beginning of September.

  23. CarylGee says:

    How about only adding AAR reviewed books that score B or above?

    1. Arranged Marriages
    2. Marriages of Convenience
    3. Beta Heros
    4. Alternate reality
    5. Luscious romances

    • Rike says:

      CarylGee, actually that is our main policy. But making this an iron-clad rule would exclude some excellent books that just have not been reviewed at AAR, or others that had the terrible luck of being reviewed by a reviewer who hated them, while other reviewers adore them. So we need some further guidelines, which will be introduced when we ask for your first submissions to the lists proper at the beginning of September.

  24. Renee says:

    Glad Special Titles are coming back! I like the ideas already mentioned of having a brief summary attached with the rating. Here’s my list:

    1. Reunited
    2. Troubled Marriages
    3. Suspense and Mystery
    4. Interracial/ Inter-ethnic romances
    5. Favorite Funnies
    6. Spies, PIs, and Warriors
    7.Not Your Usual Conflict
    8. Special Settings
    9. Older Couples
    10. Alternate Reality

  25. pwnn says:

    Older Couples
    Beta Heroes
    (Not Your Usual) Conflict
    Cons, Burglars & Pickpockets
    Unusual Professions
    Courtesans, Mistresses & Prostitutes
    Addiction Romances
    Adventure Romances
    Troubled Marriages

    I like the suggestion that m/m titles should be added to the lists since there’s as much variety in those as in m/f romances.

  26. Jillian says:

    YAY!!! This is one of my many favorite features on AAR.

    1) Across the tracks
    2) Opposites attract
    3) Psychic (do you still have that?).

    Would it be possoble for reviewers to “tag” the book in their review if it fits in one of the Special Title Listings ? That would be awesome :-)

    • LinnieGayl says:

      Hi Jillian, I looked through the lists and don’t see anything that jumps out at me as being the Psychic one. Maybe this sounds familiar to someone else?

  27. Heather says:

    Happy Dance! Happy Dance!!!

    1. Tortured Heroes
    2. Luscious Love Stories
    3.Not your usual conflict
    4. Fairy Tale romances
    5. Comedies of Manners
    6. Heroes in Pursuit
    7. Favorite Funnies

    Would love to see:
    Epic Romance
    And I second Ash: Pretend Couples

    I am just happy that these are coming back! Woohoo!

  28. chris booklover says:

    This is great news. Here’s my list:

    1. Marriages of convenience
    2. Inter-Ethnic romances
    3. Luscious love stories
    4. Arranged marriages
    5. Unrequited love
    6. Guardian/ward romances
    7. May-December/December-May romances
    8. Time travel
    9. Special settings
    10. Cabin & Road romances

    Categories to be added:

    1. Bodice rippers
    2. Heroines in pursuit (a listing for heroes in pursuit already exists).

  29. Karat says:

    Great news! Thanks a lot, AAR!
    My favorites:
    1. Reunited
    2. Beta Heroes
    3. Troubled Marriages
    4. The Limelight
    5. Cons, Burglars & Pickpockets
    6. Sports Romances
    7. Cabin & Road Romances
    8. Fairy Tale Romances
    9. Addiction Romances
    10. Special Settings

    Suggestions for new lists that I would like to second: Pretend Couples, Matchmaker Romances and Romances where children play a pivotal role.

    New suggestion: epistolary books – romances were the H/h “meet” each other or even fall in love through letters.

    Thanks again!

  30. Michael says:

    1. Troubled Marriages
    2. Courtesans, Mistresses, and Prostitutes
    3. Virginal Heroes
    4. Marriage of Convienience
    5. Tortured Heroes
    6. Tortured Heroines
    7. Favorite Funnies

    I think it would be a good idea to add a category for Adultery/Cheaters.

  31. Julie L says:

    1. Favorite Funnies
    2. Beauty is in the Eye. . .
    3. Reunited
    4. Best Enemies
    5. Beta Heroes
    6. Troubled Marriages
    7. Time Travel
    8. Cabin & Road Romances
    9. Marriages of Convenience
    10. Nerds & Absent-Minded Professors

    I’d like to see Alpha Males added as well.

  32. Rachel says:

    1. Reunited
    2. Favorite Funnies
    3. Tortured Hero’s
    4. Less than perfect
    5. Beauty is in the eye
    6. Beta Hero’s
    7. Shotgun weddings
    8. Marriages of Convenience
    9. Plus Sized Heroines
    10. Virginal Heros

    Some suggestions for new categories:
    Pretend couples
    No Kids
    Slow Buildup/Long Courtship? I’m not sure quite how to label this but basically couples who’ve either known each other for a long time before starting a relationship or who take things slowly once they do start a relationship (as opposed to many romances where a couple meets and falls in love within a few days time).
    Second Marriages

    • Rike says:

      Thanks for your suggestions, Rachel! We do, however, already have a list “Childless”. Was that what you had in mind?

    • Rike says:

      Thanks for your suggestions, Rachel! Two of your suggestions might actually overlap with what the lists that already exist – Childless and Perfect First Spouses. Were these what you had in mind?

  33. Angelique says:

    Marriages of Convenience
    Arranged Marriages
    Cabin and Road Romances
    Beta Heroes

  34. Kris says:

    Yes! Thank you for bringing this AAR feature back.

    1. Unrequited Love
    2. Troubled Marriages
    3. Favorite Funnies
    4. Opposites Attract
    5. Heroes in Pursuit
    6. Friendships
    7. Nerds & Absent-Minded Professors
    8. Less than Perfect
    9. Bluestockings & Feminists
    10. Plus-sized Heroines

    I’d like to see new categories for Matchmaker Romances, Heroines in Pursuit, and Alpha Males as well.

  35. Ashley says:

    1. Two-Hanky Reads
    2. Rakes and Rogues
    3. Guardian/ Ward Romances
    4. Perfect First Spouses
    5. Tortured Heroes
    6. Reunited
    7. Unrequited Love
    8. Marriages of Convenience
    9. Villains
    10. Beta Hero

  36. Janet W says:

    I printed out the list so I wouldn’t forget any. I like the idea that the AAR review grades should be given — that’s quite helpful (at least going forward).

    Thank you so much for listening to and responding to the AAR community :)

    Without further ado:

    1. Marriages of Convenience
    2. Shotgun Weddings
    3. Arranged Marriages
    4. Beta Heroes
    5. (Not Your Usual) Conflict
    6. Courtesans, Mistresses & Prostitutes
    7. Experienced Heroines & Femme Fatales
    8. Opposites Attract
    9. Less Than Perfect
    10. Virginal Heroes

  37. NoirFemme says:

    1. Special Settings
    2. History 101
    3. Inter-Ethnic Romances
    4. Tormented Heroines
    5. Cabin & Road Romances
    6. War
    7. Virginal Heroes
    8. Experienced Heroines & Femmes Fatales
    9. Courtroom Dramas
    10. Nerds & Absent-Minded Professors

  38. CathyShuford says:

    1. Favorite Funnies
    2. Two-Hanky Reads
    3. Tortured Heroes
    4. Road and Cabin Romances
    5. Across the Tracks
    6. Comedies of Manners
    7. Bluestockings and Feminists
    8. Alternate Reality
    9. Sports Romances
    10. Cross-Dressing and in Disguise

  39. HeatherS says:

    Yay! I love this feature and am thrilled an update is planned. I would love to see:
    1. Cabin and Road Romances
    2. Two-hanky Reads
    3. Fairy Tale Romances
    4. Special Settings
    5. Opposites Attract
    6. Courtesans, Mistresses, and Prostitutes
    7. Reunited
    8. The Limelight
    9. Scots and Irish Romances
    10. Favorite Funnies

    Thanks to everyone!

  40. Nikki H says:

    I’m so excited y’all are bringing this back. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used these lists.
    1. Luscious Love Stories
    2. Tortured Heroes
    3. Two Hanky Reads
    4. Sports Romances
    5. Favorite Funnies
    6. Shotgun Weddings
    7. Spies, P.I.’s & Warriors
    8. Marriage of Convenience
    9. Arranged Marriages
    10. Unrequited Love

  41. AJ says:

    So excited!

    1. Troubled Marriages
    2. Arranged Marriages
    3. Marriages of Convenience
    4. Held Captive
    5. Opposites Attract
    6. Across the Tracks
    7. Imprisoned!
    8. Unrequited Love
    9. Experienced Heroines & Femmes Fatales
    10. (Not Your Usual) Conflict

  42. Palan C says:

    Thank you for bringing this back!

    1. Unrequited Love
    2. Reunited
    3. Troubled Marriages
    4. (Not Your Usual) Conflict
    5. Across the Tracks
    6. Marriage of Convenience
    7. Scots & Irish Romances
    8. Beauty is in the Eye…
    9. Less than Perfect
    10. Friendship

  43. Leena says:

    Yes! I love these lists – sometimes you are in the mood for a particular plot line and nothing else will do.

    1. Virginal heroes
    2. Unrequited love
    3. Arranged marriages
    4. Shotgun weddings
    5. Friendships
    6. Fairy tale romances
    7. Troubled marriages
    8. Less than perfect

    Can’t wait for them to be back!


    I recently stumbled across HerStory Books, a cool site with lots of free romance novels in serial format and as downloads. If you love to read romance novels and are looking for great ebooks to read, I think you should check it out. You should get some free romance novels now!

  44. JessieG says:

    1. Beauty is in the Eye
    2. Plus Sized Heroines
    3. Less than perfect
    4. Spies, PIs & Warriors
    5. Experienced Heroines & Femme Fatales
    6. Cabin & Road Romances
    7. Marriage of Convenience
    8. Arranged Marriages

    I love the idea of an Epic romance category.

  45. Brianna says:

    Don’t have witty titles. Please forgive me.
    1. Older herione/hero
    2. Across the tracks
    3. Friends to Lovers
    4. Favorite Funnies
    5. Alpha or Beta Heroes

  46. Donna says:

    1. Marriage of Convenience
    2. Tortured Heroes
    3. Marms, Teachers and Governesses
    4. Less Than Perfect
    5. Plus Sized Heroines
    6.Guardian/ Ward
    7. Troubled Marriages
    8. Bluestockings and Feminists
    9. Secondary Romance
    10. Suspense and Mystery

  47. LinnieGayl says:

    Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! We’re going to close the process now and tally up all of your choices so that we can open the first four lists on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012. We may ask you for additional suggestions in a few months.

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