Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Speaking of Audiobooks: Historical Romance Audio News

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

It looks like 2013 will be one of the best years yet for historical romance listening with many popular print books finally scheduled for audio release.

Julie Garwood
It starts this month with the release of Julie Garwood’s The Secret, a book that has made every AAR Top 100 Romances Poll since it started in 1998. It’s classic Julie Garwood and one many recall from their early days of romance reading with its original 1992 publication date. And it is being narrated by one of my favorites for historical romance – Susan Duerden.

Brilliance has scheduled the majority of Garwood’s backlist (that is not already in audio format) for release in 2013. A month ago, we saw the release of Prince Charming (Rosalyn Landor) with projected release dates for: (more…)

Love as a Bridge

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Do you believe in the power of love to reconcile what is opposite or different? I do. Not without reservations: Some positions are opposed too far to be overcome easily, for example a union between an unrepentant racist and a person who despises racism. And in some instances, where there’s no real compromise possible, love may not be enough to bridge the gap, like whether one wants to have children or not, a pet or not. But in many cases love may bring together people that hold opinions and beliefs that differ, and may make a relationship possible that both partners would have declined for rational reasons before they actually fell in love.

My own marriage is an example of the opposites-attract kind. My husband and I are respectively conservative and green, Catholic and Lutheran, of working-class and academia background. And our marriage works well. We still vote differently (sometimes arguing about details, but always respecting the other’s right to a different opinion), we take turns attending both our churches together, and when we visit with our families, one of us may sometimes roll his or her eyes at the other family’s idiosyncrasies, but always prepared for tolerance. (more…)

Multicultural Challenge: Books With African-American Characters

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Prior to this challenge, I had read only a handful of romances starring African American characters. My favorite of those books wasn’t even technically a romance – What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage is actually a woman’s fiction book and an Oprah’s Book Club selection. So before sitting down to do this column I wanted to be sure and get some serious reading done. Here are the results.

My first read was Heart to Heart by Kayla Perrin. I absolutely loved it. Deana Hart was a singing sensation with a bestselling album to her name. Personal issues have caused a slide in her career and put a damper on her creativity. Hoping to find healing, Deana heads home to Cleveland. Circumstances lead her to Eric Bell, the brother of an old flame. Eric was always a friend, always there for Deana when she needed him and now she realizes that the sexy high school principal would be happy to be more. Given her history, she wonders if she can take a chance at love. And what about her future? Is she ready to give up her dreams of stardom and settle down in Cleveland?

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There’s a New Digital Imprint in Town – Interview with Kate Cuthbert

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Recently I was glad to get a chance to catch up a little with Kate Cuthbert, one of our AAR alums who went on to work in the publishing world and is now managing editor of Harlequin Australia’s new digital-first imprint, Escape Publishing. Kate has all kinds of great information about Escape to share, and best of all, the books are available worldwide, so you don’t have to be in Australia to check out this line!

I know you’ve had quite a history in the romance community. Can you tell readers a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Kate Cuthbert: Sure! I’ve been writing about romance for almost as long as I’ve been reading it. In the past I’ve written a fortnightly romance column for a state newspaper, op-eds and reviews for the New York Journal of Books and Bookseller and Publishers Magazine, a romance-focused newsletter for an online bookshop, and, of course, spent a couple of fantastic years reviewing for All About Romance! (more…)

Speaking of Audiobooks: Listening and Changing Reading Tastes

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Reading tastes often change over the years – I realize that. But I find the degree of change I’ve seen in my life over the past five years to be on the rather surprising side. At one time, I knew my favorite romance sub-genres and stuck to them faithfully. If I tired of one, I moved to another, knowing a break would allow me to regain interest in the first. The genres that totally captured my attention five years ago were historical (any setting) and contemporary romance – period. If a contemporary romance developed a whodunit, the grade went down. If a historical heroine started helping the super spy hero find the bad guy or investigate a mystery (usually with no such experience on her part), I could barely finish the book. I needed my contemporary and historical romance titles to be purely just that with no whodunits thrown in. (more…)

Post Traumatic Romance Reader Syndrome

Friday, November 30th, 2012

While I was reading a book last week – a good one, one that I was really enjoying – I found myself reacting in an unexpected way. The book was swimming merrily along, with a hero and heroine I liked and a plot I enjoyed. Then they are caught in a somewhat compromising position, and the hero proposes. The heroine doesn’t say yes immediately, and that’s where I lost it. While I hesitate to compare myself to someone who spent a year in combat and then hits the ground when there’s a loud noise…well, that’s almost where I was, metaphorically.

All I could think immediately was: “What? Is she really going to say no to him, even though she’s attracted to him and down to her last guinea? You’ve got to be kidding me! I can’t handle this anymore!” If I’d waited two seconds, I’d have found out that she soon says yes. She reasons out her response, thinks it out, weighs her options – and says yes. (more…)

Reading about Reading

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

For my last book club meeting, we all read biographies – any biography. While I had enjoyed some biographies in the past (I loved David McCullough’s biography of John Adams), I don’t really gravitate toward them; usually if I am reading one it is because someone else chose it for book club. I hemmed and hawed over my choice until I spotted a book that caught my eye: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. It’s more of a memoir than a biography, but to me it was close enough to be on topic. Better yet, it was of high interest to me because it was essentially someone else talking about her reading life.

That was, in fact, the main draw for me. Almost as much as I like to read, I like to talk about reading, hear about reading, and read about reading. And discussions of childhood reading are probably my favorites. I like to know what drove other people to read what they did, and why they loved their favorite childhood books. (more…)

Until We Meet Again…

Monday, October 8th, 2012

This is a bittersweet post to write.  I am announcing my departure from AAR, a site I have loved and worked for the past 11 years.

I have loved working here, writing reviews, editing, managing the ad program, interviewing authors, blogging, and getting to know many of you.  But the time has come for me to move on and embrace new challenges.

I do so knowing that I am leaving AAR in the most capable of hands.  I wish all the luck in the world to Blythe, Lynn, and their talented staff.

As for me, I’ll still be in Romance World since I’ll be adding ad design and social marketing services targeted to romance authors to my other advertising business.  I’ll also still be on Twitter and Facebook as I always have been. I may even explore Good Reads since I haven’t found time to join in there yet.

I am grateful for the years I spent here and the wonderful experiences and friends I’ve made.  I hope to stay in touch with many of you.

So, onwards and upwards!

For the last time, signing off as…

- Sandy AAR

How Do We Define Romance?

Friday, August 31st, 2012

stormwalker How do we define romance? On a romance blog, one might as well ask what is life. It’s one of those broad, overarching topics susceptible to endless debate. We see authors offering endless variations from the most conventional to the most edgy and subversive. And yet, at the end of the day, we expect our lead couple to end up happily ever after – or at least happy for now. Though I still get irked with market restrictions from time to time, I have appreciated in recent years that we’ve been seeing a market full of change, choices, and great authors. And then I went to RWA 2012 in Anaheim.

The Elimination of Novels with Strong Romantic Elements as a RITA category

At the general meeting in Anaheim, Romance Writers of America(RWA) announced that it had decided upon a plan to reconfigure the RITA awards. (more…)

What I Read on My Summer Vacation

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

I am one of the most regimented readers I know. I follow the same pattern every month: I read three books for review, read my book club book, and use whatever’s left of the month to read whatever I want to read. It sounds rigid, but I’m an order muppet, and this schedule nearly always suits me. In fact, I believe I’ve only taken a month off from reviewing twice in fourteen years. Last month was one of those. With various stresses in my life, I’d had little free reading time over the last several months, and I decided I needed a mental health break. So I allowed myself a month full of the heady freedom most adults experience all the time, and spent July reading whatever struck my fancy. Here’s what I read (mostly) for fun and just for me:
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