Archive for the ‘Lynn AAR’ Category

What Books Are You Thankful For?

Friday, November 29th, 2013

thankfulbooks Perhaps it’s the fact that Thanksgiving was yesterday and the crazy crowds of Black Friday are something I try to avoid when possible. Or maybe it’s that I’m in the midst of moving. As I pack up my books and decide what to keep and what to donate, I’ve felt like I’m at a reunion with old friends. I pick up each book and remember encountering the characters within, and I have a few seconds of savoring that first time I encountered favorite characters ranging from Alinor of Roselynde, the Bridgertons, Katniss, or the cast of the Harry Potter books.

I pick up Venetia and want to read just a few scenes, or I find Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series and try to decide if I can spare a few minutes from packing to enter that world. I spend plenty of time picking out the weaknesses of books with improbable plots, poor writing and idiot characters, but there are so many good things to read as well. And for some reason, today I’m feeling sentimental and very thankful for the ways that the best books make me feel.

So, today instead of lots of commentary, I have a question for readers to answer in the comment section below. I want to know what book you’re thankful for and why. I’m curious to see what people say. I’m also planning another column for later and could use your help on this, so please do chime in!

I’ll give one to start. Since I’m rereading Bet Me at the moment, I’ll use that one. I love this book and I’m thankful for it because it’s one of those sweet, fantasy/wish fulfillment books that leaves me with a smile on my face. The dialogue makes me laugh every time.

Now, what about you? What book are you thankful for and why?

– Lynn Spencer

TBR Challenge – Can’t Escape the Hype

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

exclusivelyyours This month’s TBR Challenge was to find a book that got inescapable buzz. As it turns out, I have had one sitting in my Kindle for ages, waiting for that perfect time to be read. When Carina Press launched back in 2010, one of their debut titles, Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey generated lots of chatter almost from the beginning and it filled my Twitter stream for months. In fact, this title generated so much buzz and so many sales that it ended up being picked up for reissue in print by HQN. As it turns out, it ended up being the perfect companion for me as I sat through my 3 hour glucose test(ah, the joys of pregnancy.) If you like single-title contemporaries, this one is a cute, light-hearted read. I’d give it a B+ for the huge smile it left on my face.

The basic set-up is this: Hero and heroine fall in love in high school. Heroine wants a life outside of small-town New England and she takes off for the West Coast, where she starts to build a career for herself writing for celebrity tabloids. Hero, meanwhile, goes on to become a famous author and also notoriously reclusive in his private life. (more…)

Eagerly Awaited December Books

Friday, November 8th, 2013

As we coast into the holidays, December is looking like it will shape up to be a slower reading month for many of us here at AAR. I’d love to get my hands on a good meaty historical, but those seem to be perilously thin on the ground lately. Several of us are happy to see new releases from Anne Stuart and Connie Brockway, and we’ve still got several other books we’re looking for on shelves as well. What about you? Looking forward to any end of the year reading?

Title and Author Reviewer
No Place for a Dame by Connie Brockway No Place for a Dame by Connie Brockway Lynn, Lee, Caz
Never Trust a Pirate by Anne Stuart Never Trust a Pirate by Anne Stuart Lea, Caz, Cindy
The Devil Wears Kilts by Suzanne Enoch The Devil Wears Kilts by Suzanne Enoch Caz, Lee
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean Dabney, Caz
Passion and Peril by Suzanne Brockmann and Jill Sorenson Passion and Peril by Suzanne Brockmann and Jill Sorenson Rike. Lynn
The Heart of a Duke by Victoria Morgan The Heart of a Duke by Victoria Morgan Lee, Caz
Running From Scandal by Amanda McCabe Running From Scandal by Amanda McCabe Lynn
Heirs of the Body by Carola Dunn Heirs of the Body by Carola Dunn Rike
Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong Maggie
Out to Lunch by Stacey Ballis Out to Lunch by Stacey Ballis Lee
Caught Up in You by Beth Andrews Caught Up in You by Beth Andrews Rike
Christmas at the Castle by Marian Lennoc Christmas at the Castle by Marian Lennox Caroline
Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne Maggie

Eagerly Awaited November Books

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

It looks like both historical and contemporary romance lovers have big releases to look forward to in November. On the historical side, our staff are all looking forward to reading the newest books from favorite authors Sherry Thomas and Julia Quinn. And if you like contemporary, Kristan Higgans has a new one coming out, too. What if you’re not in the market for big releases? Well,there are plenty of other interesting-sounding books catching our eyes as well.

Title and Author Reviewer
The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas Lynn, Lea, Caroline, Dabney, Cindy, Rike, Heather, Jean, MaryLee, Jenna, Caz, Alexandra
The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn Blythe, Caz, Mary, Heather, Lee, Wendy, Rike, Lynn, Alexandra
The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins Lea, Lee, Maggie,Alexandra, LinnieGayl, Heather, Wendy, Jenna, Mary
Striking Distance by Pamela Clare Striking Distance by Pamela Clare Brenda, Dabney, Cindy, Lea
Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh Jean. Lea, Wendy, Brenda
When the Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke When the Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke Lee, Caz, Mary
Kinked by Thea Harrison Kinked by Thea Harrison Wendy, Jean, Brenda
Sins of a Wicked Princess by Anna Randol Sins of a Wicked Princess by Anna Randol Caz, Lynn
The Counterfeit Mistress by Madeline Hunter The Counterfeit Mistress by Madeline Hunter Mary, Lee
Dark Witch by Nora Roberts Dark Witch by Nora Roberts Blythe, Alexandra
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger LinnieGayl, Maggie
In Love With a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle In Love With a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle Dabney, Cindy
Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell Heather, LinnieGayl
Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming Lynn
The Misfortune Cookie by Laura Resnick The Misfortune Cookie by Laura Resnick Rike
The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen Caz
The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette Van Heugten Maggie
Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis Haley
Jagged by Kristen Ashley Jagged by Kristen Ashley Wendy
What the Bride Didn't Know by Kelly Hunter What the Bride Didn’t Know by Kelly Hunter Lynn
Promise Me Texas by Jodi Thomas Promise Me Texas by Jodi Thomas Pat
Horde by Ann Aguirre Horde by Ann Aguirre Maggie
Playing Dirty by Jennifer Echols Playing Dirty by Jennifer Echols Jenna
Unbreakable by Stephanie Tyler Unbreakable by Stephanie Tyler Lee
The Silvered by Tanya Huff The Silvered by Tanya Huff Melanie
The Trap by Andrew Fukuda The Trap by Andrew Fukuda Maggie
Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn Pat
Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish Lynn
Just Like Other Daughters by Colleen Faulkner Just Like Other Daughters by Colleen Faulkner Maggie
Once a Rake by Eileen Dreyer Once a Rake by Eileen Dreyer Lee

Pondering Reviews, Community – and a Bit of Goodreads

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

bookscommunity Even before all the fun and games started at Goodreads over the weekend, I found myself thinking quite a lot about reviewing, community and boundaries. This piece from Liz over at Something More started it. Her arguments in favor of writers reviewing one another made me think. On the one hand, I’ve known some authors who have expressed discomfort with the idea of writing in-depth, critical reviews of other romance novels because they fear that they either (1) would not be able to be objective or (2) would not be perceived as objective. Romlandia can be a small world at times, so I understand those concerns. I can also see the difficulties for authors not wanting to damage relationships or hurt their own careers. Then again, as a reader, I would love to see authors who know their craft reviewing books and telling us what they really think of them. Such reviews would carry much more weight with me as a reader than a glowing cover blurb that does little to tell us why Author X thought this book was “such a fun read!” (more…)

TBR Challenge 2013: The Wild West

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

daughteroftx For this month’s TBR Challenge, we’re reading Westerns – contemporary or historical. Most of the Westerns in my TBR are historical, but I was in the mood for a little mystery, so I decided the Texas Ranger tie-in of Terri Reed’s 2011 Daughter of Texas would work. This novel is 1st in the multi-author Texas Ranger Justice series from Love Inspired Suspense. LIS seems to do one of these series each year, and I’ll admit that they often suck me in. Each book has its own self-contained romance and mystery, but there is also an overarching suspense plot that winds through all 6 books of the series and doesn’t get solved until the end. When it’s done well, it can be addictive. In this case, I’d say Daughter of Texas starts things off fairly well. I have a few quibbles with the romance and the heroine sometimes drove me a little nuts, but this was still a pleasant enough read, and I’d give it a C+. (more…)

AAR Staff Top Ten Favorites – Lynn’s Picks

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

toloveandtocherish As with everyone else here, I found it quite difficult to whittle my list of book loves down to 10. I could handle 50 or even 25, but 10 just seems like such a paltry number when compared with the sheer number of books and characters I truly adore. Just to keep things manageable, I kept my list to post-1970s romance, which cut out some classic favorites such as Persuasion, Venetia, my little stash of Betty Neels books, or Elswyth Thane’s wonderful Williamsburg novels. I also stuck with romance, rather than picking some of the books I’ve loved in other genres which have romantic elements, such as Julia Spencer-Fleming’s mysteries or Catherine Asaro’s science fiction. So, what did I come up with? Well, in no particular order, here they are:

To Love and To Cherish by Patricia Gaffney – The controversial emotional powerhouse that is To Have and To Hold tends to get most of the attention, but this first novel of the Wyckerley trilogy is the one that I’ve always loved the most. It’s a tender, touching love story and hero’s struggle over his love for a woman trapped in a horrible marriage is filled with such amazing tension. If you like your romances emotional and angsty, this is one not to miss. (more…)

Why Do Stores Still Practice Segregation?

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
An enjoyable read, but good luck finding it in the romance section!

An enjoyable read, but good luck finding it in the romance section!

Back in the late 90s, when I was still in school, I remember one of my friends raving about a book by science-fiction author Octavia Butler. I wanted to give her a try, so the next time I was in Borders, I went looking in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section for one of her books. To my surprise, I could find no books by this award-winning author on the shelf. I knew Butler had won Hugo and Nebula awards as well as receiving a MacArthur genius grant, so I decided that perhaps the store now classified her as “literary”, and I went looking in general fiction.

I must have looked lost because at that point, a clerk asked me what I was trying to find. When I told her, she smiled and said, “Oh yes. We’ve got several of her books.” To my surprise, she led me back through the store to a small alcove by the bathrooms – and a single bookcase labeled “African-American Literature.” Sure enough, Octavia Butler’s books resided there, shelved in with everything from The Color Purple to the works of Maya Angelou to Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. It made little sense, and one reason I remember the incident so clearly is because of how much it bothered me. The store grouped all of the other books in the store by genre and/or subject matter. All these books had in common was the race of their authors, and that grouping made no sense. If a fantasy book by any other author is fantasy first and foremost, why should a fantasy novel by an African-American author suddenly become a work that is first about the author’s race and only secondarily about the type of story written? (more…)

Bloggers, Reviewers and Street Teams?

Friday, August 16th, 2013

getwordout The idea of the street team isn’t brand new; it’s been around the music industry for a while now and it started crossing over into romance at least 5-6 years ago. However, as self-publishing has grown and as ebooks have opened up a whole new world for indie publishers, these seem to be popping up more and more. At RWA this past year, we heard “street teams” mentioned in every other workshop, it seemed. Authors discussed them, and publishers highlighted them as an important part of the marketing process. The idea of authors branding themselves was everywhere and street teams definitely constituted a significant portion of that.

It seemed like everyone wanted to get book bloggers on board with the idea of street teams and certainly the promise of exclusive info and fun freebies has its allure, but what exactly does it mean to join a street team? (more…)

Eagerly Awaited September Releases

Friday, August 9th, 2013

As we ease back into fall, there’s no one blockbuster book that has everyone buzzing around here for September, though more than a few of us are looking forward to Jeannie Lin’s newest historical. It’s more of a grab bag of things – everything from paranormal to category romance to suspense to more historical (and boy, do I wish there were a greater choice of historicals coming out in September!). What do you want to read this fall?

Title and Author Reviewer
The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin Lynn, Caroline, Maggie, Dabney, Alexandra
Her Favorite Rival by Sarah Mayberry Her Favorite Rival by Sarah Mayberry Heather S., Pat, Caroline, Lynn
Sometimes a Rogue by Mary jo Putney Sometimes a Rogue by Mary Jo Putney Lee, Mary
Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon Wendy, Melanie
Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King Garment of Shadows(trade pb reissue of hardcover) by Laurie R. King Jean, Melanie
The Runaway Countess by Amanda McCabe The Runaway Countess by Amanda McCabe Lynn
The Hero by Robyn Carr The Hero by Robyn Carr Pat
The Arrangement by Mary Balogh The Arrangement by Mary Balogh Lee
Soul Kissed by Erin Kellison Soul Kissed by Erin Kellison Wendy
Love Overdue by Pamela Morsi Love Overdue by Pamela Morsi Maggie
Gentle on My Mind by Susan Fox Gentle on my Mind by Susan Fox Pat
Gabriel by Grace Burrowes Gabriel: Lord of Regrets by Grace Burrowes Lynn
Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson Lee
Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb Maggie
Junk by Josephine Myles Junk by Josephine Myles Pat
The Rake's Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell The Rake’s Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell Mary
Perdition by Ann Aguirre Perdition by Ann Aguirre Wendy
Cast in Sorrow by Michelle Sagara Cast in Sorrow by Michelle Sagara Melanie