Archive for the ‘Sandy AAR’ Category

Welcome Back, Don Draper

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

draperAfter an interminable 17-month absence, our TV screens are about to see the welcome (make that very, very, very welcome) return of Mad Men, on Sunday night from 9 to 11 p.m. eastern time.

If you’re a fan of the show as I am, the wait has been too damn long, caused largely by creator Matthew Weiner and AMC unable to reach a deal for many months and then AMC’s decision to wait until 2012 to give the show an air date.  Me thinks this dispute involved a lot of hot air, but the result is that Weiner has an end date for the show (after season seven and we’re about to begin season five) and, with any luck, we’re done with all the crap so the wait won’t be so long next time.

I was pretty disgusted with Weiner and AMC for a while there during negotiations, but  never lost my passion for the show – which is surely one of the best on television.  Ever.  Every character is so layered and complex that they are never boring and the show continues to take risks.  Like Don and Betty.


The Obligatory Fifty Shades of Grey Post

Friday, March 9th, 2012

greyEvery once in a while, a book will pop out of nowhere and get all kinds of mega media attention.  Usually, this is limited to Nicholas Sparks’ novels in which the heroine (and sometimes the hero) usually dies, but this time out it’s linked to a novel that is, unmistakably, a romance.  With an HEA and everything.

I’ve read the book – the first two, in fact – and, excuse me, if I just don’t see what the Big Deal is all about.  Fifty Shades of Grey flirts with BDSM, but isn’t really, since the focus is on how “wrong” the hero is for his obsession and it seems to me as if the BDSM lifestyle is diminished increasingly throughout the first two books.  I haven’t read the last one, yet, but I’d be pretty damn surprised if a BDSM-lite HEA isn’t involved.

Now, for the eleventy-seventh time, I’m not knocking BDSM, but it’s just not my thing, okay? But the BDSM in this book is of the ultra mild variety so, if any of the masses out there are reading it for their secret BDSM thrill, the truth is there really have to be books out there that can more effectively satisfy that desire.


Books with Buzz: Lisa Kleypas Interview and 10-Book Giveaway (Contest Closed)

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

RainshadowAt long, long last after a draught of one solid year without a book from Lisa Kleypas, her loyal readers catch a break at last when Rainshadow Road is finally released on Tuesday, February 28th.   To celebrate, we’ve got Lisa herself to answer a few questions and she doesn’t come empty handed.  Lisa has 10 books donated by her publisher to give away to 10 lucky winners.  To enter, all you need to do is comment to this blog by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 24th.  Winners will be notified by email on Saturday morning and will have 24 hours to respond.  If we don’t hear from a winner within that time, a new winner will be selected.  This contest is designed for readers, so please don’t enter if you review for another Web site or blog.  Due to the high cost of international postage, entries are open only to those from the U.S. and Canada.

Now, let’s hear from Lisa!

Lisa, thanks so much for joining us today.  Could you please tell our readers a bit about Rainshadow Road?

Sandy,  thank you so much for inviting me!  Rainshadow Road is the first in a series of contemporary romances set in Friday Harbor,  Washington.  It’s about a young glass artist,  Lucy Marinn,  who is dumped by her boyfriend at the beginning of the story–and if that’s not bad enough,  she discovers that he’s dumped her for her younger sister!  So about fifteen minutes after this happens,  she sees this handsome stranger on the beach,  who happens to be Sam Nolan,  a local vineyard owner.


Are You an Adventurous Reader?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Because, truth be told, I don’t think I am. When LynnAAR sent around her request for Buried Treasures from all of the AAR staff, I racked my brain (I don’t keep a book list) and realized that I hadn’t read anything that would qualify.

Why not? Well, I’m jealous of my reading time.  With work and my responsibilities to AAR, leisure time is sparse and there’s a lot competing for my leisure attention.  Would I rather read a book by an author I’m not sure about or play it safer with an author I already know and love?  The safe bet wins almost every time.

And, gee, what about TV?  Would I rather take a chance on a book or catch up on episodes of Angry Boys?

Digital downloads have changed far more than the world of books.  Now with my Roku player, I have access to almost every movie or TV show ever made — and that’s a whole lot different from the VCR days when I had only what I’d taped and the limited availability of my local video store.  Want to watch the British version of The Office again?  I can.  That and a whole lot more.


Author Interviews: Who’d You Like to Hear From?

Friday, January 13th, 2012

I’m busy planning ahead in this month of January.  (Yes, actually planning.  Not flying by the seat of my pants or anything.)  I’d like to deliver some of the interviews you’re looking for this year.

In the past, we’ve focused on established authors and would like to stay primarily in that vein.  Newbies or debut author interviews are extremely rare.  I’ve been rebuffed only once in all the years I’ve been doing interviews for AAR – Kresley Cole had her assistant turn me down and I won’t ask again – so most everyone will respond favorably to an AAR interview request.  The sky is (almost) the limit.

We’ve got an interview with Lisa Kleypas coming shortly, but that’s all I’ve got formally scheduled for the year.  So, here’s my question:  Who would you like to see interviewed at AAR?

- Sandy AAR

Reading Validation: When Do We Need It?

Friday, December 30th, 2011

how_the_marquess_was_wonI’m happy to say my reading slump may be over, but I’m also now a bit puzzled.

The book that got me out of it is Julie Ann Long’s How the Marquess Was Won.  I read it in a delicious fury over one night and several hours of an afternoon.   I loved the story and the characters, and, as an added bonus for me, the author took aim and scored even higher by delivering on some of my romantic hot buttons.  (A hero who risks making himself look foolish by tearing off to rescue a heroine’s cat?  Now, that’s a man!)

A universally great reading experience, right?  That’s what I thought until I took a look at our review here (grade B) and and another even lower graded review on the Web.  Both reviewers, more familiar than I am with books by Julie Ann Long, found flaws in the book that had eluded me.

I read the author a few years ago and found her a bit disappointing – and, it must be admitted, overly hyped.  Then, considering all the buzz that surrounded What I Did for a Duke, I decided to take a chance on it.  It was absolutely my book of the year.


Romance Rant (Volume XXXVI)

Friday, December 16th, 2011

womanToday is the 16th of December and the biggest holiday of the year is growing ever closer.

In between decorating, shopping, and being busier than I should be work-wise, I’ve had little time to read lately.  Well, let me put it this way:  Time I used to spend reading, I’m now spending more and more of it in other ways.

I wonder what’s up with that?  Is it me?

Well, to a certain extent, I think so. But to a certain extent, not.

I just can’t get excited about yet another Regency featuring yet another Miss and yet another wallpaper duke.

Ditto paranormal  and those fated mates.


Deal Breakers: Have We All Gotten a Bit Too Cranky?

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

stock-vector-policeman-yelling-stop-retro-clip-art-58890815Even a casual visitor to the AAR message boards quickly learns one thing:  We are an opinionated bunch.

And in just about every thread somebody posts about a plot device they loathe.  Be it a couple who jumps into bed right off the bat or an arranged marriage, the list of plot devices that we loathe seems to number in the thousands.  Maybe millions.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit here, but not by much.  We’re a bunch of cranky pants.

And, when you think about it, we’re leaving authors with little to nothing to work with.  Because constructing a plot that doesn’t feature any of the devices that someone loathes would be nearly impossible.

Here’s what I think:  We’ve gotten so narrow in our list of what we’re looking for when we read, that we’re denying ourselves a whole lot of good stuff.


It’s Hot Guy Friday!

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I’ve had one stinking week, complete with jury duty and the kind of work stress it’s hard to even think about.  So, what better way to end a week than with our first annual celebration of Sandy’s Top 10 Hot Guys (November 2011 Edition)!

Seriously.  I just can’t even think about writing a serious blog at this point, so here goes:

jonJon Stewart because funny is always sexy and when you add a massive brain, his appeal is off the charts.

dennisDennis Haysbert because I really do fantasize sometimes about what it might be like to be in his good hands.

alexAlexander Skarsgard because he’s Eric.  ‘Nuff said.


Josh Dallas because he makes a perfect Prince Charming.

ralph,jpgRalph Fiennes because my memory is long.

alanAlan Rickman because of that voice.  And just because.

matthewMatthew Fox because, despite current evidence regarding an unsavory personal life, he played heroic Jack Shepard.  Perfectly.

RyanRyan Gosling because he is beautiful and talented and really should have been Sexiest Man Alive.

hughHugh Jackman because even though I’m not entirely convinced of his sexuality, he seems to be a great guy who loves his family and takes great joy in what he does.

And, finally, the perennial Hot Guy pick, the one, the only…

georgeGeorge Clooney. Because he is hot, of course, but also because he is smart and committed to doing good in the world.  What’s not to love?

So, I hope everyone enjoyed our frivolous little walk down Hot Guy Lane.  Do you agree with my choices?  Do any make you hurl?  Is there anybody I forgot that absolutely, positively needs to be on this list?

- Sandy AAR

P.S. I thought I set up this post so that each photo would be featured next to each guy, but, gosh, Word Press didn’t cooperate and I really don’t have the patience to try and fix it.  (See previous reference to hellacious week.) And, gee, who needs any help identifying these guys, anyway?

Books with Buzz: Connie Brockway Interview and Giveaway (Giveaway Closed)

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

tgobWe’ve been following Connie Brockway’s Adventures in Publishing for some months now and – ta da! – the wait is almost over.  One week from today The Other Guy’s Bride, her eBook of the sequel to As You Desire will be available from Amazon, with the print edition following one month later.

But, for five lucky readers the wait might not be that long.  AAR and Amazon are giving away five copies of The Other Guy’s Bride.  And, just to make sure everybody is happy, winners can choose whether or not they want the eBook edition or a print copy.  Those who choose the eBook will get their prize right away.  Winners who choose the print book will have to wait until early December to receive their copy.

To enter for your chance to win, simply leave a comment to this post by Thursday, November 17th at 11:59 p.m., eastern time. Since this giveaway is designed to get early books into the hands of those who might not otherwise have access, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Also, due to high postage costs and geographical restrictions, this giveaway is open only to those who live in the U.S. or Canada.

Ready for the next chapter in Connie’s Adventures?  Let’s hear from her: