Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Terms of Endearment

Thursday, July 7th, 2011


 Reading books by authors from different countries always gives me a subject to talk about in the blog.  I might not have noticed if I had been reading the book, but after listening to an audio book by Jill Mansell, the differences in terms of endearment jumped out at me.
I have always been fascinated by regional and country etymology especially expression of love, probably brought on by being called pumpkin and sweet pea by my mother. I mean really pumpkin?  However doing some research I found that the language of love is filled with fruit, vegetables and animals and even an insect. While there are many common endearments like these:

Pastimes: What Do You Enjoy?

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

sewingJane Eyre had her painting.  Marianne Dashwood played piano.  Often the heroines in our favorite romance books have interests other than finding husbands and running households.

The same is true for AAR staff members, who beside reading books and writing their considered opinions, are addicted to interesting sidelights. Some have pastimes based on what were once called the womanly arts, knitting, sewing, and the like, while others do activities unheard of by our ancestors.

Probably one of the oldest and most traditional pastimes is bookbinding which Rike enjoys. She says this “encompasses crafting and restoring actual books.” In addition, Rike creates boxes out of cardboard and colored or printed papers. She explains, “At the moment I am making individual treasure boxes for my nieces and nephews, a rather long-term project, but lots of fun.”

Leigh and Sandy also share a traditional pastime reminiscent of Medieval ladies in their solars: needlepoint. As Sandy says, “There is a something about the sense of accomplishment. I can sit down for an hour and I can look back at the area I just worked on and feel a real sense of purpose.”


Starting a New Chapter

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

american-university-campus My first review here at AAR was published May 17, 2007 — almost exactly four years ago. When I first started reviewing here, I was finishing up my senior year in high school. My first package of books coincided very closely with my AP tests — what a dilemma! Now, four years and 200 reviews later, is another landmark in my personal life: on Sunday, I graduated cum laude from American University with a degree in International Studies.

Saying that I have a degree in something makes it sound like I know a lot more than I feel that I do. (My roommate assures me that I do, in fact, know more about international studies than the average person – an endorsement of my school if there ever was one.) I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do with myself. I am lucky enough to have plans for the next year, working with the homeless through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. But after that… who knows?

Pets and Romance

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

dogAs I was reflecting this week on elements that unify us as readers, it occurred to me that many of my reading colleagues are also fellow animal lovers. I live in a house filled with rescued cats and dogs, which is by turns delightful and frustrating. Delightful because life doesn’t get much better than snuggling with a book and a kitty in my lap. Frustrating in that many of my books are now missing covers courtesy of a certain coonhound who has an affinity for ripping them off when my back is turned.

Since I am such a sucker for animals I almost always find it a bonus when a good romance features a furry companion. Especially if the author is adept at creating a unique personality to where the pet becomes an actual character in the story.

Without further ado, here are a few of my favorites:


No Personal Jet Packs Yet, But Still

Friday, January 14th, 2011

O CarAccording to the experts, there was very little or nothing particularly new at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.  Well, pooh on you, you jaded roosters – I found it plenty fascinating.

It’s not just the whole tablet thing, although there’s more than enough variation to keep us occupied for at least another year.  We’ve got tablets that slide out and tablets that dock in, tablets that swivel and flip and connect.  (Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if next year they came up with a tablet that could dance.)  But aside from all the tablets, and the obvious implications for readers on the digital book market, one thing struck me in general: The In Death reality is a lot closer than I thought.

For those who aren’t familiar with J.D. Robb’s In Death series, it depicts a world fifty years in the future, where there are autochefs and robot servants, handheld audio/visual communication devices, lots of synthetic foods, weird and wacky cars;  in short, everything that could be touched by technology has been touched, and possibly enhanced.


Playing Games

Friday, December 17th, 2010

black_cobra_screen_shot Between end of the year work and getting ready for the holidays, I’ve been a little short on reading time lately.  Life is fun, just really hectic.  When I got an email from Avon announcing that they had created a new game based on Stephanie Laurens’ Black Cobra Quartet, I thought it might be fun for a quick break.  I was right about it being a diversion – but I got sucked in for entirely too long.


Book Bully

Friday, November 19th, 2010

meangirlsThis summer I had quite the shock when I discovered that my son’s peers could actually influence his reading choices at the tender age of eight.  Clothes were already an issue, but poor, naïve me didn’t realize book characters also radiate a sense of coolness or lameness among the younger set.  My world tipped when my darling son made the statement, “Harry Potter’s lame.  Insert name of cool neighbor kid here said so.”

Upon hearing this, I began to sputter, ask questions rapidly, and get really, really defensive.  Things like, “How do you know?  Have you read Harry Potter?  What makes cool neighbor kid an expert on Harry Potter? Harry Potter is soooo not lame,” all began to fly at my poor, defenseless son who really had no logical reply.  I don’t count, “Because he’s 12!” as a logical reply, at least not yet anyway.


Enter to Win One of Five $50 RedEnvelope Gift Cards (Contest Closed)

Monday, October 25th, 2010

redenvelopeBelieve it or not, the holidays really are right around the corner.  And to help with your gift giving (or maybe you’re giving a little gift to yourself), we’ve got a terrific giveaway to kick off your week.

Just comment to this post by 11:59 pm on Thursday, October 28th to enter for your chance to win one of five $50 gift cards for RedEnvelope, a site for unique and personalized gifts.

RedEnvelope is all about indulging yourself or someone you love in a little bit of luxury and they offer everything from spa packages to silk pajamas to help you do just that. And, since presentation is part of the experience when you’re giving a gift (or an indulgence for yourself), everything comes packaged in the signature red gift box with ivory ribbon pictured on the left.  As someone who received a gift from RedEnvelope,  I can personally report that it’s lovely.

To make the giveaway even more fun, we’d love it if you’d tell us who is the toughest person on your gift list.  No need to name names, of course, but who leaves you scratching your head until the very last minute each and every year?  If you’d just prefer to comment, that’s okay, too.

Remember, this contest closes on 11:59 pm on Thursday, October 28th.  And a further note:  Each gift card is good for $50 at the RedEnvelope site and  expires on 12/31/2010. The cards were given to AAR for reader giveaways by RedEnvelope.

So, fess up:  Who stumps you every year?

- Sandy AAR

RWA 2010!

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

disney Next week is the national conference for Romance Writers of America (RWA). Blythe Barnhill, Sandy Coleman and I will all be attending, and hopefully learning a lot. Last year was my first time at RWA, and while the conference is almost overwhelmingly huge, I had a blast getting to meet some wonderful authors (both published and aspiring), reviewers, and other book industry types. I’m also looking forward to seeing what the publishers have in store for us going forward.

We’ll be there with our laptops, and will be blogging from the conference. In addition, if you want to follow what’s going on throughout the day, I’d suggest keeping an eye on Twitter. We’ll be doing most of our tweeting from the @allaboutromance account. In addition, you can find us all individually at: @blytheaar, @LynnAAR,and @SandyAAR.
I’m getting into Orlando late Tuesday afternoon, and Blythe and Sandy will both be arriving Wednesday.

Now here’s the important part for you: Is there something from an author or publisher(or about Romanceworld in general) that you would like to know? If so, put it in the comments below, and we’ll try our best to help you out and get you the news you want to be reading.

Hope everyone is having a lovely summer!

– Lynn Spencer

The Historical Dress Fantasy

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

regencydress The other day, I was sitting in the car and I realized just how little clothing I had on. My outfit wasn’t strange or extraordinarily scandalous. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

But at the time, I was reading an historical romance novel. Those of us who enjoy Regency or Victorian era settings have read many times that even the sight of an ankle (the horror!) could be titillating or scandalous, and a man and a woman touching bare hands outside of marriage was just not done in polite society. And here I was, sitting cross-legged, my legs totally bare. I could practically hear all of my favorite dowagers and Society matriarchs calling for salts and fanning themselves.