Sherry Thomas Book Celebration and ARC Giveaway (Contest Closed)

BTBSince Sherry Thomas first burst onto the scene in 2008 her reputation has grown as one of the most literate and lush writers of romance.

Now, after a wait of two years (during which Sherry switched publishers), readers are about to delight in a new book by the author when Beguiling the Beauty, the first in the author’s new Fitzhugh series, is released tomorrow.  Here’s a plot description:

When the Duke of Lexington meets the mysterious Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg on a transatlantic liner, he is fascinated. She’s exactly what he’s been searching for—a beautiful woman who interests and entices him. He falls hard and fast—and soon proposes marriage.

And then she disappears without a trace…

For in reality, the “baroness” is Venetia Easterbrook—a proper young widow who had her own vengeful reasons for instigating an affair with the duke. But the plan has backfired. Venetia has fallen in love with the man she despised—and there’s no telling what might happen when she is finally unmasked…

Sherry is celebrating her new release by giving AAR readers the chance to win one of five ARCs of Ravishing the Heiress, the second in the Fitzhugh series, to be released on July 3.  Want a tease?

RTHMillicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage—and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives.

It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more… Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabelle, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife…

As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship—or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love?

To enter to win your ARC, simply leave a comment by Thursday, May 3rd at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be notified by email on Friday morning and will have 24 hours to respond.  If we don’t hear from you by Saturday morning, a new winner will be selected.  This giveaway is open only to readers in the U.S. and Canada and, since the contest is designed to get advance copies into the hands of readers who wouldn’t otherwise have access, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.

Good luck to everyone. And happy reading!

Sandy AAR

Speaking of Audiobooks: Giveaway Plus Author and Narrator Interviews (Giveaway Closed)

The Madness of I MacWhen I discovered that Tantor was set to release Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie on March 26th, I enthusiastically shared the news far and wide.  Published in 2009, it’s a favorite among romance readers winning Best Romance of 2009 in AAR’s Annual Reader Poll and ranking #10 in AAR’s 2010 Top 100 Romance Poll.  In print, we were mesmerized by hero Ian Mackenzie and, in audio, we hope to move the entire experience up a notch by actually hearing him interact in his matter-of-fact manner as he determinedly pursues Beth.

Today, we are celebrating the release of this much loved book with a giveaway and interviews with both author Jennifer Ashley and narrator Angela Dawe.

The Giveaway

We are giving away FIVE MP3 CD copies of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie courtesy of Tantor Audio.  Place your name in the hat by commenting on this column by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Thursday, March 22nd. Due to the cost of postage, the giveaway is open only to listeners in the U.S. and Canada.  We encourage multiple comments in our discussion, but you will only be entered in the contest once.  If you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  The winner will be notified by email on Friday morning and will have 24 hours to respond.  Another winner will be selected on Saturday morning if the winner has not responded.  Audiobooks will be mailed to the winners upon release of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.

Talking with Jennifer Ashley

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Books with Buzz: Lisa Kleypas Interview and 10-Book Giveaway (Contest Closed)

RainshadowAt long, long last after a draught of one solid year without a book from Lisa Kleypas, her loyal readers catch a break at last when Rainshadow Road is finally released on Tuesday, February 28th.   To celebrate, we’ve got Lisa herself to answer a few questions and she doesn’t come empty handed.  Lisa has 10 books donated by her publisher to give away to 10 lucky winners.  To enter, all you need to do is comment to this blog by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 24th.  Winners will be notified by email on Saturday morning and will have 24 hours to respond.  If we don’t hear from a winner within that time, a new winner will be selected.  This contest is designed for readers, so please don’t enter if you review for another Web site or blog.  Due to the high cost of international postage, entries are open only to those from the U.S. and Canada.

Now, let’s hear from Lisa!

Lisa, thanks so much for joining us today.  Could you please tell our readers a bit about Rainshadow Road?

Sandy,  thank you so much for inviting me!  Rainshadow Road is the first in a series of contemporary romances set in Friday Harbor,  Washington.  It’s about a young glass artist,  Lucy Marinn,  who is dumped by her boyfriend at the beginning of the story–and if that’s not bad enough,  she discovers that he’s dumped her for her younger sister!  So about fifteen minutes after this happens,  she sees this handsome stranger on the beach,  who happens to be Sam Nolan,  a local vineyard owner.

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Interview and Giveaway with Author Heather Killough-Walden (Giveaway Closed)

Heather Killough-Walden is about to publish her first paperback book, Avenger’s Angel. I’m a fan not only of Heather’s work but of the extraordinary path she forged to get this book published. Several years ago, Heather began publishing for free on several Internet sites and was struck by how positively readers responded to her work. It occurred to her that perhaps she could get paid to do what she loved, so she began self publishing her eBooks on Amazon. When one of her books hit number one on Amazon in the vampire category, her career took off. An agent sought her out, signed her, and now she has just published her first non-eBook with Signet, Avenger’s Angel.

I’m excited to say that Heather is giving five lucky readers each an autographed copy of her new book, Avenger’s Angel. Want one? Just comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Thursday, December 1st.  And, although we’d love for you to comment many times, you will only be entered in the contest once.  If you review for another Web site or blog, please abstain from entering. The winners will be notified by email on Friday morning and will have 24 hours to respond. Another winner will be selected on Saturday morning if the winner has not responded. Books will be mailed to the winner the following week.

Heather, thanks for taking the time to talk with AAR.

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Books with Buzz: Connie Brockway Interview and Giveaway (Giveaway Closed)

tgobWe’ve been following Connie Brockway’s Adventures in Publishing for some months now and – ta da! – the wait is almost over.  One week from today The Other Guy’s Bride, her eBook of the sequel to As You Desire will be available from Amazon, with the print edition following one month later.

But, for five lucky readers the wait might not be that long.  AAR and Amazon are giving away five copies of The Other Guy’s Bride.  And, just to make sure everybody is happy, winners can choose whether or not they want the eBook edition or a print copy.  Those who choose the eBook will get their prize right away.  Winners who choose the print book will have to wait until early December to receive their copy.

To enter for your chance to win, simply leave a comment to this post by Thursday, November 17th at 11:59 p.m., eastern time. Since this giveaway is designed to get early books into the hands of those who might not otherwise have access, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Also, due to high postage costs and geographical restrictions, this giveaway is open only to those who live in the U.S. or Canada.

Ready for the next chapter in Connie’s Adventures?  Let’s hear from her:

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Speaking of Audiobooks: Anne Flosnik Interview and Six Audiobook Giveaway

Anne FlosnikAnne Flosnik – in my mind she’s the queen of historical romance audio.  Narrating for romance greats such as Mary Balogh, Elizabeth Hoyt, Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick, Julia London, Catherine Coulter, Elizabeth Lowell, and Jo Beverley (and that’s not all), she’s once again proving her reigning status by narrating Laura Lee Guhrke’s first books in audio, the Abandoned at the Altar trilogy.  Releases are scheduled for October, November, and December of 2011 by Tantor Audio and, as a big Guhrke fan, I’ll be listening to each one.

Anne is known well throughout the audiobook industry for her performances in a multitude of genres.  Although her recordings now average 75% in the romance genre, she has received numerous awards in other genres and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few of those awards – the Library Journal Top 40 Audiobooks of 2009, Earphones Awards in 2008 and 2009, AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of the Year 2009, American Libraries Association Special Services for Children Award 2000, and the Audie Finalist performances (Audie awards can be likened to the Oscars for audiobooks) in 2005, 2008, and 2010.

Although Anne’s romance narrations have consistently received their share of praise from listeners, my thoughts on Anne’s work can best be compared to a journey.  My first listen, Elizabeth Lowell’s Untamed in 2008, made the first steps a challenge.  In my early days of reading romance, I had given Untamed my highest grade but listening in audio made me wonder about my love for the hero, Dominique.  He seemed uncaring and brutish.  What had I been thinking when I read in print?  But after listening to two more Flosnik narrated romances, I realized that all three heroes had sounded gruff and emotionless and concluded that rather than unlikeable heroes, it was the narrator’s interpretation of those heroes that affected me negatively.  I became hesitant to listen to more.

Fortunately, that didn’t mean I quit listening to Flosnik narrations as I later found Mary Balogh’s First Comes Marriage to be a success – first in print and then in audio.  I expected Elliott to be unfeeling and superior and that’s just how he sounded.  I have relistened to First Comes Marriage twice.

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Speaking of Audiobooks: July Releases and Jacquelyn Frank Giveaway (Contest Closed)

GideonAs Audiobook Month winds down, Speaking of Audiobooks is featuring its third special event for the month.  We kicked off with our first annual Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll followed by last week’s special edition of an All Reviews column.  Now we’re finishing with a giveaway featuring two sets of the first two audiobooks in Jacquelyn Frank’s soon to be released Nightwalker series.

Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll Ends June 28th

But first things first – only one day remains in our Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll.  All ballots must be submitted by midnight eastern standard time Tuesday, June 28th.   So, if you have yet to submit your ballot (here), it’s time!  Let us know your favorite romances in audio!

Jacquelyn Frank Giveaway

Jacquelyn Frank’s popular Nightwalker series will soon be offered in audio format and we are giving away two sets of Books 1 and 2, Jacob and Gideon respectively in our latest giveaway courtesy of Tantor Audio.  Since the release dates are currently scheduled 3-4 weeks apart, the two winners will receive their copy of Jacob first followed by a separate mailing of Gideon upon its release some weeks later.

A quick look at the rules:

Place your name in the hat by commenting on this column by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Sunday, July 3rd.  Due to the cost of postage, the giveaway is open only to listeners in the U.S. and Canada.  We encourage multiple comments, but you will only be entered in the contest once.  If you review for another Web site or blog, please refrain from entering.  The winners will be notified by email on Monday morning and will have 48 hours to respond (due to the July 4th holiday).  Another winner will be selected on Wednesday morning if a winner has not responded and will have 24 hours to respond.  Audiobooks will be mailed to winners after Jacob’s and Gideon’s release dates.

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Books with Buzz: Deanna Raybourn Interview (Contest Closed)

coverJune 21st is the date many readers have been awaiting when The Dark Enquiry, the fifth installment in the adventures of Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane, will be released.

With just over a week to go, we’re celebrating with an interview with author Deanna Raybourn and, courtesy of Harlequin and just to sweeten the deal, we also have two Advance Reader Copies of the book to give away.  To enter for your chance to win, simply comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Thursday, June 16th.

The usual caveats apply:  If you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Due to high postage costs, this giveaway is open only to readers in the U.S. and Canada.  You are welcome to comment more than once, but you will be entered only once.  Winners will be chosen at random and will be notified by email on Friday morning.  If a winner has not responded within 24 hours, another winner will be selected.

Now, ready for Deanna?

Could you start by telling our readers a bit about the plot of The Dark Enquiry?

Absolutely! In this outing, our sleuthing couple, Lady Julia and her husband Nicholas, investigates the murder of a mysterious medium at a club for Spiritualists. Matters are complicated when they discover that Lady Julia’s eldest brother, Viscount Bellmont, visited the club himself. Readers of the series will also be interested to know that we get another few pieces of Nicholas’ past to add to the puzzle in this book…

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Books with Buzz: Julia Quinn Interview (Contest Closed)

JQUpdate: Due to a miscommunication, the wrong prize was originally listed for this giveaway.  One winner will receive an (early) signed final copy of Just Like Heaven. This is the same book that you would find in stores; however, it will be autographed by Julia Quinn and you will probably receive it before the on sale date.  Julia Quinn and AAR apologize for the error.

Was there ever any doubt that the Smythe-Smith girls, those lamentably untalented victims of their mother’s ambitions who cropped up so often (and so memorably) in Julia Quinn books, were going to get their own HEAs?

On May 31st the author begins a new series with Just Like Heaven. And, to commemorate the occasion, we’ve got a brief interview with the talented Ms. Quinn and, courtesy of the lovely author herself, a signed book to give away to one lucky reader.  To enter all you need to do is comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Thursday, May 12th. The usual caveats apply:  This giveaway is designed to get an early copy of the book into the hands of a reader who otherwise wouldn’t have access, so, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Unfortunately, due to high postage costs, this giveaway is open only to readers in the U.S. and Canada. You may comment multiple times (and we hope you do!) but you will be entered only once.

Julia, I see that the Smythe-Smith girls at last get their stories!  I’ve always had the feeling that at least a few of those poor young women knew how awful they were at the annual Smythe-Smith musicales where JQ heroes and heroines were tortured in previous books.  Please tell us a bit about the story and about your new quartet of stories.

Honoria Smythe-Smith is a terrible violinist, and she knows it, but her family means so much to her that she manages to grin through all of the family performances.  In fact, she’s the one who corrals her reluctant cousins and insists that they practice:

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Speaking of Audiobooks: Narrator Interview (Giveaway Closed)

Slave to SensationAs audio enthusiasts we often wonder about routine decisions made by production companies.  How are audiobooks and narrators chosen?  What are the considerations when matching a narrator to a particular book?  Do they take listeners’ requests seriously?  What is a general production schedule?  Why is notification of upcoming releases often such a mystery?

Over the next few months, Speaking of Audiobooks will feature a number of columns to address those questions and more.  First in line is Tantor today, followed by Harlequin and Audible in May, Penguin in July, and a Narrators’ Forum in August.  There’s more to follow in the fall but we’ll get to that  later.  Right now, it’s time to talk about the most exciting news of the day.

Slave to Sensation Giveaway and Group Listen

If you’ve been hanging around Speaking of Audiobooks lately, you know we’re excited about Tantor’s decision to release all ten of Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling Series (over a period of 4-5 months) starting with the release of the first the series, Slave to Sensation, on April 25th.  In our last column, we announced that Slave to Sensation is our next Group Listen (see more details below) and to celebrate it all, we’re giving away ten audiobook copies of Slave to Sensation courtesy of Tantor.

Place your name in the hat by commenting on this column by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Friday, April 22nd.  Due to the cost of postage, the giveaway is open only to listeners in the U.S. and Canada.  We encourage multiple comments, but you will only be entered in the contest once.  If you review for another Web site or blog, please refrain from entering.  The winners will be notified by email on Saturday morning and will have 24 hours to respond.  Another winner will be selected on Sunday morning if a winner has not responded.  Audiobooks will be mailed to winners on Slave to Sensation’s release date.

Moving on to our narrator discussion, I’ll start by explaining that it includes two segments and both focus on the process of choosing a narrator.  The first is an interview with Karen White about the narrator’s side of the process, as well as insights into the audio industry in general.  The second segment features a look from the production side as Tantor comments on their efforts to select the right narrator.

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