AAR Staff Top Ten Favorites – Alexandra’s Picks

ravishingtheheiress Although I know other reviewers and staff have had a lot of trouble deciding upon their top ten romance novels, I have to confess it was mostly easy for me. This likely has something to do with the fact that I’ll be stranded on what is essentially a desert island for the next few months—that’s right, I’m off to college. There’s not much space in a dorm, so only the crème de la crème of my romance novel collection travels with me, and since many of those books have already been mentioned, it’s actually been fairly simple to whittle my list down to just ten.

Even so, I still have some books (like Julia Quinn’s Romancing Mr. Bridgerton or Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm) which I ache to write about and recommend. The books on my list have all been read and reread dozens of times. I take scrupulous care of all my books, and if you ran your hand down the spines of everything sitting on my bookshelf, you’d find perhaps 80% are in fairly pristine condition. These ones, however, look much more worn. They’re carted around (on vacation, off to college, etc.), they’re lent out to family and friends, and they’re the books most likely to be found sitting on a coffee table waiting to be spilled on.

So, without further ado, here are, in no particular order, some of my top bunch of romance novels—the true DIKs which I’ll be carting off to college this week. Continue reading

AAR Staff Top Ten Favorites: Cindy’s Picks

Hi, I’m Cindy, I have been doing AAR Reader polls with LinnieGayl and Lee for the last 7 years, and now I help with the updating of the Special Title Listings with Rike and LinnieGayl. It would be fair to say I love reading lists, my favorite lists being AAR Readers’ lists of favorite books. Now, ask me to rank my favorite romances and I freeze up. But I’ve learned from the best how every list created by a reader may have some caveats attached. I loved reading Jenna and Maggie’s lists because each came at it in different ways. Jenna took Pride and Prejudice off the table – it is just her very favorite book, it’s a classic and almost always ends up on a reader’s top romance ballot, so she posted it as a given. Maggie spoke of the books that created a journey to her reading preferences today and she mentioned the very first series book she read that would be considered an emotional favorite but left it off her final list.

In listing my favorites I originally made the rule that no author could be on the list more than one time. It forced me to think in a different way. Ask me to list my top 10 favorite Anne Stuart books and it would be agonizing, but to only allow one book made me look for the very best of each author’s work. I then promptly broke my rule because one author surprised me and showed me she could make any situation work. And finally, knowing this list wasn’t etched in stone helped me to move forward because I know tomorrow I can change my mind. With that, my list: Continue reading

Books with Buzz: Nalini Singh Interview and Five-Book Giveaway (Contest Closed)

tangleThe minute I read Nalini Singh’s Slave of Sensation, I knew we had something special in our hands.  In the intervening six, short years, Nalini has published fifteen stories in her thought-provoking Psy/Changeling series, each of them gritty, passionate, and loads of fun.

With this month’s release of Tangle of Need, we took the opportunity to ask Nalini a few questions, and she’s coming along with some free books in tow.  Five lucky readers will have their pick of any one book from the previous 10 books in the Psy/Changeling series (not including Tangle of Need – sorry), and all you have to do to enter is comment on this post by Friday, June 8, 11:59 p.m. EST.  We will notify winners by email on Saturday morning, and they will have 24 hours to respond.  If we don’t hear from a winner within that time, a new winner will be selected.  If you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Unfortunately, only residents of the U.S. and Canada are eligible to enter.

Now, on to Nalini!

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Careers With Staying Power

glitter_baby Reading Maggie’s blog about the unique backgrounds of individuals now writing romance novels caused me to think about writing as a career and how some authors are able to make a success of it for years and even decades, while others fall off the map. Think of all the authors that you loved who no longer have a current contract. (The ease of self- publishing eBooks has given me hope that they will be back.) Some are able to carve out a very comfortable and in a few cases, even wealthy, lifestyle, but then there are many others who have to keep their day jobs. Ability, commitment, hard work, and a bit of luck all have a hand in an author’s longevity. And I think one other element helps authors as well: a perception or aptitude to keep their books unique but familiar.
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Speaking of Audiobooks: June Releases and Slave to Sensation Discussion

Book ClubSpeaking of Audiobooks has now been around for two years!  This represents our 52nd column and if you are wondering about anything concerning romance audiobooks, you’ll probably find it in our audio archives.  They remain an invaluable resource.

It’s Time!  Our Group Discussion of Slave to Sensation

On April 6th, we announced our Group Listen of Slave to Sensation.  We decided to celebrate Tantor’s decision to release all ten of Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling Series (over a period of 4-5 months) by listening to the first in the series, Slave to Sensation as a group.  Our announcement was followed by a giveaway of ten audiobook copies (courtesy of Tantor) of Slave to Sensation and the excitement has been growing since.  I requested that we save our comments for this column to facilitate the group discussion.  Our Goodreads Speaking of Audiobooks group has kindly followed suit although I know many are bursting at the seams to talk about it!

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Reporting from the Other RWA

kate It was only a couple of weeks ago that many Americans and Canadians (and a few from further afield) were attending and reporting from the Romance Writers of America national conference in Orlando, Florida. However, there is another RWA out there, or down under, to be more precise. The Romance Writers of Australia just wrapped up their national conference early this week. Our much-missed former AAR-er Kate Cuthbert attended the conference and she’s visiting today to blog about it. Without further ado, here’s Kate!

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