Archive for the ‘Lynn AAR’ Category

Just Not My Type

Monday, August 5th, 2013

gypsyheiress Do you ever find certain types of characters difficult to like? I wouldn’t say that any particular type of hero or heroine is completely a “no go” for me. I firmly believe that, in the hands of a good author, just about anything can be made to work. However, when I come across certain character types on a book blurb, the description is not going to have me clamoring to pick up the book – often because it’s something I’ve seen handled less than skillfully way too many times before.

Pirates definitely fall into that category for me. I don’t know if it’s my background of having studied European and Middle Eastern history, but nothing I know about pirates makes them terribly romantic to me. Most historical accounts I have read make them sound uneducated and brutal, and conditions onboard ship sound filthy and unappealing. While I will admit that Jennifer Ashley’s pirates worked for me, the first pirate hero I remember encountering came in Joanna Lindsey’s somewhat infamous A Pirate’s Love. If you look up “rapey ‘hero’” in the dictionary, you just might find an image of Tristan there.

Other pirate/privateer novels I read over the years tended to have similar issues. However, even among the ones that didn’t feature rapist “heroes,” I just couldn’t move beyond the difficult life of a pirate to see the story as particularly romantic. Various authors, including Meagan McKinney, wrote pirates or privateers that one could consider dashing, but Jennifer Ashley was the first author I found who managed to humanize that sort of hero and make him truly appealing.

On the heroine side, while I haven’t found too many in recent novels, I used to run across gypsy heroines in older books and I have to admit that they have yet to work for me. As any of us who cut their teeth on Barbara Cartland novels knows, Cartland had a huge interest in gypsy culture that extended to founding several gypsy camps in England. This interest seems to have extended to a hugely romanticized view of gypsies in her novels. (more…)

RWA 2013 – The Conference Begins in Earnest

Friday, July 19th, 2013

atlantanight Today was the first full day of conference and even though I felt like I was scurrying all over the hotel, there’s a pretty high energy mood here this year and I can’t say that I felt particularly tired. I attended publisher spotlights with Carina Press, Avon and Grand Central, and picked up other tidbits of information in chats here and there.

After hearing presentations from three publishers, there are some definite themes emerging at this conference. For starters, one hears the phrase “author branding” everywhere. At all the publisher spotlights and even in more informal conversations with publishing reps, I’m hearing a real emphasis on building brands around an author. (more…)

Eagerly Awaited August Books

Monday, July 8th, 2013

It looks like August will be a promising month for historical fans. We’re excited about a new (non-Regency!) Carla Kelly, as well as new releases from Jo Beverley, Lauren Willig, Grace Burrowes, Kaki Warner, Caroline Linden and several others. As with every new month, I keep hoping that this one will bring more happy reading discoveries and hopefully not disappointments. Hope your summer of reading is going well!

Title and Author Reviewer
The Double Cross by Carla Kelly The Double Cross by Carla Kelly Lynn, Rike, Wendy, Caroline, Melanie
The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig Blythe, LinnieGayl, Lee, Rike
Seduction in Silk by Jo Beverley Seduction in Silk by Jo Beverley Lee, Rike, Anne
Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden Dabney, Mary, Caz
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews Heather S.. Wendy, Maggie
Behind His Blue Eyes by Kaki Warner Behind His Blue Eyes by Kaki Warner Mary, Pat, Lynn
Once Upon a Tartan by Grace BUrrowes Once Upon a Tartan by Grace Burrowes Caz, Mary
Blood Warrior by Lindsey Piper Blood Warrior by Lindsey Piper Wendy
Meet Me in the Middle by L.A. Witt Meet Me in the Middle by L.A. Witt Pat
What Happens Between Friends by Beth Andrews What Happens Between Friends by Beth Andrews Rike
Guardian Demon by Meljean Brook Guardian Demon by Meljean Brook Wendy
Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen LinnieGayl
Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden Maggie
My Cowboy Heart by Z.A. Maxfield My Cowboy Heart by Z.A. Maxfield Pat
The Marriage Merger by Jennifer Propst The Marriage Merger by Jennifer Propst Haley
Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman Maggie
Heart of Briar by Laura Anne Gilman Heart of Briar by Laura Anne Gilman Lynn
The Devil of Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney The Devil of Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney Mary
Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain Anne
Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon Melanie
Turn and burn by Lorelei James Turn and Burn by Lorelei James Pat
The Night Film by Marisha Pessl Night Film by Marisha Pessl Dabney
On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin Maggie
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty Lee
Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik Rike
From This Day On by Janice Kay Johnson From This Day On by Janice Kay Johnson Pat
To Sin With a Viking by Michelle Willingham To Sin With a Viking by Michelle Willingham Haley
A Place of Confinement by Anna Dean A Place of Confinement by Anna Dean Rike
Why Dukes Say I Do by Manda Collins Why Dukes Say I Do by Manda Collins Lee
Highland Hearts by Hannah Howell Highland Hearts(reissue) by Hannah Howell Mary
Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis Animal Attraction(reissue) by Jill Shalvis Caroline

TBR Challenge 2013: Into the RITA Wayback Machine

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

rendezvousatgramercy This month’s theme for the multi-site TBR Challenge had me scratching my head a little. We’re supposed to read a RITA winner or runner-up. Now I have to admit that, at least in recent years, my reading tastes and the RITAs have diverged somewhat. I also noticed as I scrolled down the list of RITA winners that the books I did have from that list were almost all books I’d already read.

Then I got to the real oldies – books I would have been too young to read the first time around. My mother and grandmother both enjoyed Candlelight romances and I’ve ended up with a big box of their former keepers (some people get silver and china, some get antiques, I get old category romances and gothics – no wonder I write on a romance site). Sure enough, I managed to dig out a 1981 novel, winner of the 1982 Golden Medallion for Best Category Historical Romance, entitled Rendezvous at Gramercy by Constance Ravenlock. That’s right. This book goes back so far that they hadn’t even started calling the award the RITA yet. I wasn’t sure what I’d encounter when I read this one but it turned out to be a bit of a gem. I’d probably give it a B. (more…)

Eagerly Awaited July Titles

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Looking for something good to read this summer? We went over the list of July releases to see what all of us here at AAR were looking forward to reading. The most popular picks were upcoming historical releases from Cecilia Grant and Julie Anne Long, as well as the latest in Laura Griffin’s Tracers series. I’m looking forward to having some good reading time this summer. How about you?

Title and Author Reviewer
A Woman Entangled by Cecilia Grant A Woman Entangled by Cecilia Grant Blythe, Dabney, Lee, Caz
Exposed by Laura Griffin Exposed by Laura Griffin Lynn, Maggie, Mary, Lee
It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long Lee, Mary, Caz, Blythe
Mist by Susan Krinard Mist by Susan Krinard Anne Melanie
The Favor by Megan Hart The Favor by Megan Hart Heather S., Lynn
The Hunter by Monica McCarty The Hunter by Monica McCarty Jenna, Mary
The Duchess Hunt by Jennifer Haymore The Duchess Hunt by Jennifer Haymore Dabney
How to Be a Scottish Mistress by Adrienne Basso How to Be a Scottish Mistress by Adrienne Basso Mary
Paradise Valley by Roseanne Bittner Paradise Valley by Roseanne Bittner Lynn
The Newcomer by Robyn Carr The Newcomer by Robyn Carr Pat
Hot Summer Nights anthology Hot Summer Nights by Jaci Burton Carly Phillips, Erin McCarthy and Jessica Clare Haley
The Office and the Secret by Jeannette Murray The Officer and the Secret by Jeannette Murray Jenna
One Wrong Move by Shannon McKenna One Wrong Move by Shannon McKenna Dabney
Austenland by Shannon Hale Austenland(reissue) by Shannon Hale Lauren
An Unexpected Wife by Cheryl Reavis An Unexpected Wife by Cheryl Reavis Lynn
From This Moment On by Bella Andre From This Moment On by Bella Andre Haley
Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas Dream Lake(mass market reissue) by Lisa Kleypas Mary
Caged Warrior by Lindsey Piper Caged Warrior by Lindsey Piper Jenna
City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan Melanie
Taking Him Down by Meg Maguire Taking Him Down by Meg Maguire Dabney
Betrayed by Trust by Ana Barrons Betrayed by Trust by Ana Barrons Lynn
An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands Melanie
Recipe for a Happy Life by Brenda Janowitz Recipe for a Happy Life by Brenda Janowitz Jenna
Scandal in the Night by Elizabeth Essex Scandal in the Night by Elizabeth Essex Dabney
Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison Lee

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 27th, 2013

luminaria For readers in the United States, today is a day off – hopefully a good reading day! However, there’s so much more to it than that. Memorial Day has been a traditional summer party kickoff for so long that it’s become all too easy to lose sight of what it really is.

When I was writing for today, I thought about all the things I could do with this day. Perhaps write about war romances, or military characters and how their portrayals have changed over the years. We read pretty widely across both historicals and contemporaries, and I know we have plenty of examples. However, the more I thought about it, the more that seemed just a little too pale in the face of the sacrifices so many have made.

The military still makes up a very small percentage of the American population as a whole but they make contributions to our country far out of proportion to their numbers. I work in an area surrounded by military bases of various types, so I see the wounded personnel coming home, the families who have lost a father/son/brother/husband, and the veterans who are trying hard to get jobs or an education. So, while we’re enjoying the day, let’s also take some time to remember those who have died to protect us and if you know some veterans, please thank them!

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. – Joseph Campbell

– Lynn Spencer

TBR Challenge 2013: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

unclaimed Given that our “assignment” for the TBR Challenge this month involved reading an author who’s represented more than once in our TBR piles, I couldn’t wait to jump into Courtney Milan’s 2011 release, Unclaimed. If you enjoy strong, character-driven romance, this book is an amazing treat. Definitely a DIK read for me.

This book comes second in the Turner Brothers trilogy, and while it can be read on different levels, it’s deeply satisying no matter how far you want to let your mind dig into it. On the surface, Milan tells an emotional story of two painfully misunderstood people who somehow manage to figure one another out enough to make the other whole. And underneath the surface? Well, Courtney Milan devotes more than a little bit of time to skewering the “keeping up appearances” school of morals. The musings on morality and hypocrisy that run through the story are thoughtfully done and lingered in my mind as long as the actual love story. (more…)

Eagerly Awaited June Romances

Friday, May 10th, 2013

I’ve noticed that time slip books have been having a moment (hopefully it will be a long one), and one of the masters has a book out this June. Quite a few of us here at AAR have been eagerly awaiting Susanna Kearsley’s latest release for months on end now, and the big day is almost here! We have some romantic suspense fans here, too, and we’re all anticipating Jill Sorenson’s latest release. And, given that we all have varied tastes, there are books on everyone’s lists that span most subgenres of romance. June is looking to be a busy reading month!

Title and Author Reviewer
The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley Lynn, Lee, Heather S., Mary, Maggie, Lea
Freefall by Jill Sorenson Freefall by Jill Sorenson Dabney, Jane, Lynn, Maggie, Rike
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare Blythe, Melanie, Maggie, Caz, Lee
The Sword Dancer by jeannie Lin The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin Rike, Caroline, Maggie, Lynn
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman Caroline, Lynn, Melanie
Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James Jean, Maggie
Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews Maggie, Lee
Enticing the Spymaster by Julie Rowe Enticing the Spymaster by Julie Rowe Lynn, Rike
How to Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray How to Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray Lee, Jane
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh Cindy, Jean
Secrets and Saris by Shoma Narayanan Secrets and Saris by Shoma Narayanan Caroline, Maggie
Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller Pat
'She Rises by Kate Worsley She Rises by Kate Worsley Caz
In Plain View by Olivia Newport In Plain View by Olivia Newport Maggie
Sweet Revenge by Zoe Archer Sweet Revenge by Zoe Archer Rike
It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis Mary
Can't Stop Believing by Jodi Thomas Can’t Stop Believing by Jodi Thomas Pat
I'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan I’ll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan Maggie
Surrender to the Earl by Gayle Callen Surrender to the Earl by Gayle Callen Caz
One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton Haley
Never a Hero by Marie Sexton Never a Hero by Marie Sexton Pat
The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright Maggie

Where Have All the Historical Romances Gone?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

historicalromance1 In the past, I’ve bemoaned a lack of variety in historical romance settings, and we’ve even voted on where readers wanted to see historical set (Result: we like 19th c. England but wouldn’t mind reading about other places and times, too!). However, over the past few years I’ve been seeing change in the historical market overall.

Historical romance once dominated the market. When I started reading romance as a 1990s high school student, the vast majority of books out there were historicals – and they were set all over the place. When I started at AAR in 2003, it was harder to find a wide variety of historical settings, but there were still plenty of books. (more…)

New Opportunities for Aspiring Writers – and Other News From Around the Web

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

writing ** I’d noticed recently that Avon redesigned its website, and it has also now announced the launch of Share Your Book, a place for aspiring writers to post writing samples and receive feedback from readers, editors, and other authors. It reminds me somewhat of the First Page feature at Dear Author, but since this one is sponsored by a publishing house, I suspect there will be more of a presence from editors giving comments and hopefully finding new talent. Avon has had similar features in the past, including the FanLit contest that brought us Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan, Manda Collins, Elyssa Patrick, and several other authors.  I’ll be curious to see what new voices emerge from this new feature.  More than a few writers have emerged from the self-publishing world recently, and it looks like Avon is trying to bring some of that talent on board. (more…)