Some Titles Never Get Old

admin_1-asset-503651a71b465One of the great pleasures of revising AAR’s Special Titles Listings is the re-discovery of old books. A reader nominates a title, or I spot it already on the list while I am adding AAR grades, and I remember I have it on my shelves or on my e-reader. I need to look up the date of publication and hero’s full name anyway, so I pick it up and start browsing. Usually I drag myself away and continue working on the list, but more often than not, I pick up that particular book again in the evening and make it my next read. What a great way to reaquaint myself with my library! Continue reading

Reviving the AAR Mini-Polls: Your Top 10 Favorite Frontier/Western Romances

Back last fall when we were feeling inundated with the Top 100 Poll, several readers asked if we would consider reviving the AAR Mini-Polls, or “Top Ten Polls.” Our rather quick response was, “we’ll think about it, but need to get through the Top 100 Poll and then deal with the Annual Poll in January.” Since two of us (LinnieGayl and Cindy) also update the Special Title Lists with Rike, it seemed rather daunting. But a number of months have gone by and we’ve decided to give reviving the mini-polls a try.

sexy cowboyWe’ve decided to start this month with updating the mini-poll for your top 10 favorite frontier or western romances. Why did we decide to pick this poll as our first to update? Well, it was last updated in October of 2007, nearly seven years ago. That’s seven long years when there have surely been some outstanding frontier or western romances published. Our write-up of the results of that poll can be found here. But more importantly, when the results of the Top 100 poll were released this past fall, a number of readers decried the lack of frontier and western romances in the top 100 (and actually in the top 200). So this is your chance; what are your favorite frontier and western romances of all time? Continue reading

Young Adult Special Title List

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YA writer Kate Hart assessed over the covers of 900+ Young Adult novels

As our Young Adult Special Titles List was only revised two months ago, we did not expect that many new nominations this time around – after all, with the last revision the number of titles on the list had almost doubled, and many of AAR’s staff had already entered their favorites then. We were pleasantly surprised to find that there are several fascinating titles – older ones as well as more recent ones – we had missed so far, and which we are now able to add, among them the creepy 1980s story A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon and Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series, which is a mixture of dystopia, SF and steampunk, but gets listed under Fairy Tale Retellings here (in case you were wondering). Continue reading

Opening the Young Adult Special Titles List

Young_Love_Vol_1_119Unique among AAR’s Special Titles Listings, the YA list originally depended on the taste of three readers only. Three teenagers with ties to AAR listed their favorite books – both children’s and YA literature – and that was the first published list. Later, a second part was created, this time along the usual pattern, sorted according to subgenre and filled with nominations from AAR’s readers. Continue reading

American Indians, Amazing Animals, Time Travel

TimeTravelIn December we opened up three Special Title Lists for new submissions: the American Indian list, Amazing Animals, and Time Travel. We’ll have to be honest, we didn’t really expect a lot of submissions during the busy holiday season. We should have known better as AAR’s readers came through with a lot of new additions for the three lists. Continue reading

It’s time for the annual AAR Reader Poll!

sb-bookIt’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year may be a song about the Christmas season and, in the last many years, that day when kids finally go back to school after summer break, but it is just as relevant to January and the opening of the Annual Reader Poll for many of us at AAR.  The year 2013 may be over on the calendar but we are asking you to look back and reminisce about your favorite books from 2013.

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Looking for 2013 Category Romance Recommendations

suddenly you For years one of the more difficult categories in the AAR Annual Reader Poll was the Best Category Romance. It was never a certain thing that we would be able to announce a winner. Why? Because readers split their votes among a lot of different titles. Not surprising given how many category romances get published in a year. Last year, we were delighted when the category not only wasn’t a problem but was included on many readers’ ballots. We’re hoping things stay that way for the 2013 poll as well.

We pollsters (Cindy, LeeB, and myself) figured out that one of the problems with the category was that on the ballot (prior to last year’s poll) it had been labeled “Best Series Romance.” Well, many readers voted for things like the In Death series by JD Robb, and JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and….you get the idea. No, this category in the Annual Poll is designed to feature the best of category romance; series category books published by Harlequin, Mills & Boon, Entangled, etc. So we changed the name on the ballot last year with a brief definition and believe that helped.

But we don’t think it was just the change in title that helped. It seemed as if a whole flurry of category romance authors caught the attention of AAR’s readers last year, chief among them Sarah Mayberry. Continue reading