Archive for the ‘All About Romance’ Category

Why I Love Reading Challenges

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

books.lots Back in 2008 several readers on the Romance Potpourri Board discovered they shared a similar problem – they weren’t reading much romance anymore. That problem had led to a secondary dilemma – since they were still buying romance novels they had rapidly growing TBR piles. The solution arrived at was the 9 in 2009 Reading Challenge. Participants were encouraged to read just 9 novels off their TBR that met specific criteria. For most the challenge was an unexpected success and thus the unofficial AAR Romance Potpourri Board Reading Challenge was born. (more…)

Starting a New Year

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

penpaper There’s something about starting a new year that just feels fresh and inspiring. New places yet to see, new books still to be read, and somehow on that first day of each year, the world itself feels a little more new.

I moved recently, and as I’ve been unpacking my books (and even with my Kindle, there are still tons of paper books!), I find myself thinking about how I want to be reading in 2014. Here are some of the things important to me for next year:

Discovering new-to-me authors – I started reviewing at AAR when I was not long out of school. 2013 marked my 10th year here, and one of my favorite things about being a reviewer has been the discovery of books and authors I probably would not have discovered on my own otherwise. AAR is what led me to (more…)

An interview with Courtney Milan (and a giveaway!)

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Countess ConspiracyI am a Courtney Milan fan. I’ve read all her novels and novellas. She shines for me in two very clear ways. One, she is a superb novella writer. Two, she incorporates science into her books seamlessly and accurately.

I contacted Ms. Milan via a mutual Twitter friend and asked if she’d answer a few questions. She graciously agreed to do so. (more…)

YA Corner – Dystopias

Friday, December 27th, 2013

undertheneversky Welcome to the YA Corner! This is an ongoing feature in which Caroline and Jenna, two AAR reviewers who love their YA fiction, discuss a set of YA novels related by genre or theme.

The focus of this YA Corner is Science Fiction Dystopias, either full romance or with strong romantic elements. The books we chose are:

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Aria lives in the domes, which protect her from the toxic environment of her planet, so life expectancy and medicine are advanced, and technology like her SmartEye allows her to escape to virtual realities. Perry lives on the outside, where violence is too real and technology is less important than his heightened senses. When Aria learns a secret and is thrown out of the domes, her survival will depend on Perry – unless she can learn to save herself.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: Cassie and her brother are among the rare human survivors of the first four waves of an alien assault on Earth. She’s learned that she can trust no-one, so when her brother is taking by soldiers, she reluctantly joins forces with farmboy Evan to find him. But no group or individual is quite what they seem, and choosing wrongly will mean instant death.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis: Amy reluctantly agrees to follow her parents into cryo-sleep so that, after a three hundred year space journey, she can be one of the pioneers to settle on Centauri Earth. When Amy is mysteriously awakened some fifty years too early, she finds herself on a ship ruled by a dictator, ruling suspiciously compliant passengers, while other sleeping passengers have been murdered. Elder, the boy chosen to become the next leader, must help Amy solve the mystery. (more…)

A Little Bit of Book News for the Holidays

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

christmastree Maybe it’s my lack of affection for the massive consumption side of Christmas(or my resistance to being anywhere near a mall between Thanksgiving and New Year’s), but for some reason, I always find myself coasting into those last few days before Christmas just a bit unprepared. Even as I resist the gift frenzy, I do find myself with an affection for holiday romance, listening to carols on Pandora, and maybe feeling a bit more festive as I wander the internet. Here are some of the interesting reads I’ve found in my travels lately:

– For those who completely missed out on their internet/social media ruling, there was A Kerfuffle last week. I thought about writing a blog piece to cover this trainwreck of a piece by Palash Ghosh and the backlash that ensued, but in the end decided that there really wasn’t too much to say that hasn’t already been said by me or other bloggers in the past – not to mention Laurie and some of the romance authors and reviewers who were online way before some of us writing today. Quite frankly, after having seen romance readers mocked in the press for years, this round of looking down on romance readers has a feel of “same condescension, different jackass” about it. (more…)

Looking for 2013 Category Romance Recommendations

Friday, December 20th, 2013

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. (more…)

It’s the Holiday Season – But We’re Still Opening Special Title Lists!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

suggestionbox So here we are in the thick of Holiday season and you have groceries to buy, baked goods to prepare, gifts to buy, decorate the house inside and out, buy a new dress for that annual Holiday party, all while trying to keep your home in tip top shape in case you get the lovely drop in. We here are AAR believe you could use a little ‘you’ time without a Christmas thought barreling through your head so we have opened 3 new Categories for the Special Title Listing and there isn’t a single Christmas theme in any of them! (more…)

Heads Up! The Annual AAR Reader Poll is Coming

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

winteriscoming Can you believe that in less than a month we will be celebrating a new year? Before that, we hope that many of you will have lots of free time during the holiday season with more time to read. So, with those wonderful thoughts of time to yourself running through your head we would like to remind you that on January 13, 2014 we will open AAR’s Annual Reader Poll for romance books published in 2013. That’s right, it’s time to buckle down and read those “to be read” books of 2013.

This year’s poll will be a bit different from previous years as we lay to rest a few categories that AAR readers have shown little interest in (Guiltiest Pleasure, Best Inspirational and Most Disappointing) while adding/changing categories that we hope will spark some interest.

First we are going to split the Paranormal category into two new categories: Best Paranormal/Time Travel Romance and Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance. The paranormal romance has come to encompass so many different creatures, magical abilities and types of world building that we wanted to try and give our readers more room to vote for their favorite books. (more…)

Top 100 Poll – The Best of the Rest

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

dukeofherown Now that you’ve all had time to look over the results of the 2013 Top 100 Poll, it’s time to take a look at something many of you asked for, the romances that missed the top 100, but are in places 101 to 200. And since ballots from readers contained 4,961 titles which received at least one vote, being in 200th place is still a remarkable achievement.

A number of titles in the 101-200th places are by authors who also had titles in the top 100. For example, Mary Balogh had five titles place in the top 100 and has an additional five in the second 100. Elizabeth Hoyt had two titles in the top 100 and an additional seven in the second 100. And Lisa Kleypas had 12 in the top 100 and another six in the second hundred. (more…)

Special Title Listings Updated!

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

caressedbyice Whenever we look at the nominations for a currently open Special Title Listing, we are thrilled at how divergent the entries are. Each and every time, there are classics that for some reason no-one had thought of before, there are well-loved novels that were published during the last ten years or so, and there are recent books that have already made a great impact.

Taking the Virginal Heroes, there is Scaramouche, from Rafael Sabatini’s swashbuckling romances of the 1920s. There are Nalini Singh’s Judd Lauren from Caressed by Ice, and the Earl of Ardmore from Eloisa James’s Kiss Me, Annabel – both books were published in the 2000s. As for 2013 novels, there are Kaleb Krycheck from Heart of Obsidian (also by Singh), and Samuel Cooke from Courting Greta by Ramsey Hootman.

Newly entered classics on the May-Dec/Dec-May list are Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman (1947), Arabella by Georgette Heyer (1949), Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart (1956), and The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren (1974), an early male-male romance.
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