AAR Staff Top Ten Favorites – Pat’s Picks

slightlydangerous 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

Quirky Is as Quirky Does: When Romance Doesn’t Follow the Formula

kinsaleThe formula: Boy meets girl; girl meets boy. They fall in love. A complication or two, or a misunderstanding or two separate them. The complication or the misunderstanding is cleared up. They live HEA.

That about sums up the typical romance, right? But what if that’s not exactly what happens? What if the plot and/or characters, the tone or voice are so different from the usual romance that for a while the reader might wonder if what’s being read really is a romance at all?

Then we have what I call a quirky romance, the kind of romance story I seek out and love. Laura Kinsale’s historical Flowers from the Storm, one of the best known representatives of this type of romance, features rake and mathematician Christian Langland, Duke of Jerveaux, as the most unlikely of romantic heroes, especially since he suffers a stroke rendering him incapable of speech at the beginning of the book and is clapped into a madhouse.

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