We pick the “Buried Treasures” of 2013

Starfish-beach-wallpaperIn 2013, self-publishing was mainstream, social media allowed authors more specific ways to publicize their work, and everyone had a strongly held opinion about what constituted a great romance novel.  This environment makes the idea of a “buried treasure” more difficult to define. So, let’s agree to accept this definition: a buried treasure is a book you loved you think isn’t as well known as it should be. Continue reading

TBR Challenge – Back to School and Some Catching Up to Do

gatheringstorm February proved to be quite the “challenging” month for me and I finished only four books that applied to my challenges. The good news is that reading three of those books helped me finish off my geography challenge. None of the books were standouts to me unfortunately, although A Gathering Storm by Rachel Hore was certainly the most memorable.

In Hore’s novel, Lucy Cardwell’s father seemed to have some sort of breakdown shortly after his mother’s death. He divorced his wife and seemed obsessed with some strange branch of family history. When Lucy sorts through his papers she finds out about an uncle she never knew she had. Intrigued she finds herself visiting her father’s childhood home, the once beautiful Carlyon Manor. The house has burned down but the village near it is still around and it is there that she meets Beatrice, an old woman who knows all the secrets of Lucy’s family. Starting in the 1930’s and ending shortly after the war we learn of a boy, a girl and a breathtaking adventure. Continue reading

Getting Started on Those 2014 TBR Challenges!

threeriverranch Once again, I’m participating in the multi-blog TBR Challenge but this year we’re doing things a little differently here on the blog as a couple of my fellow AAR reviewers are working on reading challenges, too. So, each month we’ll all be talking reading challenges and if there are any challenges you want to hop onto for yourself, you’ll find links down at the bottom.

My challenge for the month was to read something short – a category novel or a novella or short story. I tend to buy plenty of category romance so this was no problem for me. When Entangled launched, I had purchased several books from their various category lines to try and a few were still sitting unread on the Kindle, so this time around I decided to try Three River Ranch by Roxanne Snopek. Three River Ranch is a 2012 release from the Bliss line, a line that seems to feature American settings, strong family/home/community themes and fairly low-level sensuality. I have a feeling this line would appeal to readers of Harlequin American Romance or Special Edition. Continue reading

Why I Love Reading Challenges

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. Continue reading

Romances I Want to See on the Large or Small Screen

byrdtheatre Recently we’ve seen a spate of books made into movies – Ender’s Game, Catching Fire and The Book Thief being three of the most recent. Which got me to thinking about romance novels I think would make excellent films or TV series. Books that I feel contain enough grit and depth to appeal to a wider audience while still containing the kind of luscious love stories that romance fans adore. I’ve added some casting hints just in case Hollywood needs the help. Here’s my list:

1. Nobody’s Baby but Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips – The story: Football hero and brainy scientist meet in the most unusual of ways. I can totally see Emma Stone as the brainy, feisty Jane. Cal is a bit harder but I can picture Mathew Fox (or a younger, hotter version of him) delivering the cereal killer line with aplomb. This sweet tale of a brainy gal and the jock she brings to his knees would make a terrific rom com. Continue reading

About Time – Love and Time Travel Go To the Movies

aboutime Fans of Love, Actually have a lot to look forward to this Friday. That is the US release date(wider release coming November 8) of the new movie by writer/director Tim Curtis titled About Time. As it says in the tag line it’s “A new funny film about love. With a bit of time travel.” And what a love story it is.

This is a gentle, frequently sentimental comedy, about Tim (Domhnall Gleeson), a young man from Cornwall, who is “too thin, too tall, too orange”. He mostly bumbles his way through life and love. After a truly horrendous New Year’s Eve party, where he fails to kiss the girl standing beside him and brings her to tears, he goes to bed dejected and not wanting to face the morning. Fortunately, the dawn brings good tidings: At the age of 21 the men in his family develop a magic power – they can travel through time by entering a dark space, clenching their fists and closing their eyes. Initially, Tim is deeply skeptical but when he is able to use his new found power to fix his New Year’s Eve error he is completely sold on the concept of time travel. Continue reading

Wonderful Reading Quotes

grouchomarx Reading is beyond a doubt my favorite hobby. You probably wouldn’t be reading this blog if it wasn’t one of yours as well. One of the many things I love about books is finding words that express what I feel. So often authors concisely say in a few lines concepts I have been struggling to give words to. Over the years many of those lines, or rather quotes, have made up a large part of the thread from which I weave my beliefs and behaviors. But some I collect just for fun. And among those just for fun favorite quotes are pithy comments about reading. I am surprised – and delighted – at how I find them everywhere. For example, I was tickled when in the film Ratatouille brother Emile asks hero Remy, “You read?” in an accusatory voice. His slightly defensive response? “Well, not excessively.” Yep, I’ve been in that defensive position myself when someone asks, “Is that another book?” in much the same tone you would ask, “Good Lord, is that heroin in your pocket?” Continue reading

The results of the AAR Top Ten Lists are in and the winner is….

loverawakenedBack in April, we began, on each Tuesday, publishing a reviewer’s Top Ten list. There were no rules other than the books be in the romance genre. Over the next five months, we published twenty-three lists. Out of the 230 entries, we listed 201 books. We hit every genre (although we have a definitive fondness for historical romance), and waxed upon the works of 121 authors. After every one had weighed in, only one book garnered five–the most–votes: J.R. Ward’s Lover Awakened. Continue reading

Favorite Teen Romance Movies

Jenna’s recent blog on teen romance novels reminded me of another teen love: The teen romance movie. It seemed like the 80s and 90s were full of high school romantic adventures. These days those simpler tales have been replaced by renditions of vampires and werewolves such as in Twilight, witches as in Beautiful Creatures or angels like in City of Bones. But I am a sucker for the old boy meets girl and they fall into first love. Here are a few of my favorites.

Romeo and Juliet (1968)

The original teen love story, complete with endless angst., this is hands down my favorite film version of the classic tale of the Montagues and Capulets. The leads are lovely and do an outstanding job of capturing the myriad of emotions felt by the characters. What truly sets the film apart is the song What is a Youth by Nino Rota. It haunted me for days after the first time I saw the film. Continue reading

Buried Treasures: The Movie Version

simplyirresistible We’ve discussed romantic movies here several times, most recently in Jean’s March 2012 blog. Many of the films we talk about are popular, something we most likely have all seen or at least heard of. However, a recent viewing of a movie I literally stumbled across while searching for something else had me thinking of films that sit quietly waiting to be discovered. I don’t know that the movies are obscure so much as just not often discussed and therefore often hard to find (or at least, find out about).

A romantic movie doesn’t necessarily have to be a romantic comedy, although all the films listed below do contain that element. It does have to have a couple actually falling in love, though. Too many films meant to be romances lack actual romance. And for me, if the couple is going to be doing battle I’d prefer it to be of the sweet and zany variety. Downright cruelty, such as that highlighted in The Ugly Truth starring Katherine Heigl, doesn’t appeal to me.

The humor can be subtle – a smile can work every bit as good as a laugh. And the love story can be as sweet and silent as a snowflake. And like Sleepless in Seattle I don’t need a complete HEA, the promise of a future one is enough. Continue reading