E-Lending and the LendInk Brouhaha

kindlebook The latest Internet scandal about piracy isn’t about piracy — it’s about misunderstanding what eBook lending is all about. What happened proved that social media can be a powerful force, but those powers aren’t always used in the right way. Just ask the owner and users of LendInk, a legitimate eBook lending site that did not host any files. LendInk was taken down because of erroneous takedown notices from concerned authors. This story even made news in Australia.

Writers are one of the biggest forces in getting eBook pirating sites shut down. This power is a good thing. But what if the site isn’t actually a piracy site? What if, like LendInk, it’s one of several lending sites, sites that are allowed by Amazon, B&N, and other eBook vendors? Then we have a problem. Continue reading

Special Title Listings are Back!

drumroll We asked you, our readers, what you wanted to see on the site and we heard you loud and clear. We are pleased to announce that AAR’s Special Title Listings are being dusted off and re-worked and we would love to get more reader input in how you would like to see the list managed. For those who have lobbied successfully for this change we know you are excited, and for those of you who have not visited the Special Title Listings, we invite you to head on over there and take a look around.

The Special Title Listings were started in 1996 and are organized differently than by genre, setting, or grade alone. After all, when browsing a bookshelf for a great new read, the simple classification of “historical romance” or “category romance” is not enough information for a reader to decide to pick up the book. Continue reading

I’ll Take My Mysteries with a Bit of Romance

I love romance novels, I really do. But, like many AAR readers, I also read other genres, and my other primary reading love is mysteries. I read both contemporary and historical mysteries, serious and light mysteries, cozies and police procedurals. My primary requirements for mysteries are that they be character driven, with minimal graphic details. I’ve read and enjoyed many mysteries, and mystery series, without a touch of romance for the main character, but my preference is that there be a satisfying romance for the main character. The kiss of death for me is when the main character’s significant other is killed off.

Nearly a year ago I wrote here about some of my favorite “recent” mystery finds, including books by Tasha Alexander, Deborah Crombie, Rhys Bowen, and Erin Hart. I’ve read a lot of mysteries since then. Some have a strong romantic component, while others have none, but my favorites all have interesting main characters. Following are a few of my favorite recent finds.

Several AAR readers suggested that I might like Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries featuring policeman Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte. I decided to try the first in the series, The Cater Street Hangman, in audio and was hooked. Ms. Perry does a wonderful job giving the reader a feel for the time. While I listen to a lot of mysteries, I was completely stumped as to the identity of the villain, making many wrong guesses along the way. This is a long series and I’m pacing myself. So far I’ve read the first three, and am getting ready to download the fourth. Thanks to all of you who recommended this series to me; it’s wonderful! I can’t wait to see what happens in future books to Thomas and Charlotte, as well as to other members of Charlotte’s family. How will Charlotte deal with her reduced financial circumstances? Will she continue to investigate cases? I look forward to finding out.

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Eagerly Awaited September Books

I can’t believe the end of summer is almost here. We’re already thinking about September 2012 new releases! Tessa Dare and Meljean Brook have both won over plenty of fans among our review staff, so it’s not surprising that their new releases are topping the list of books we are eagerly awaiting. As always, there are plenty of books catching our eyes. What do you plan to read as the summer winds to a close?

Title and Author Reviewer
A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare Lynn, Blythe, Jean, Lee, Elizabeth C.
Riveted by Meljean Brook Riveted by Meljean Brook Sandy, Maggie,Jean, Pat
The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James Jean,Leigh, Lee
Delusion in Death by J.D. Robb Delusion in Death by J. D. Robb Blythe, Jean
The Lovesick Cure by Pamela Morsi The Lovesick Cure by Pamela Morsi Leigh,Maggie
The Last Renegade by Jo Goodman The Last Renegade by Jo Goodman Jean, Lynn
Low Pressure by Sandra Brown Low Pressure by Sandra Brown Lea, Maggie
Blame it on Texas by Christie Craig Blame it on Texas by Christie Craig Leigh
With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin Maggie
Sins of a Virgin by Anna Randol Sins of a Virgin by Anna Randol Lee
How to Drive a Dragon Crazy by G.A. Aiken How to Drive a Dragon Crazy by G.A. Aiken Louise
A Sunless Sea by Anne Perry A Sunless Sea by Anne Perry Pat
Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl Lynn
Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh Jean
The Good Woman by Jane Porter The Good Woman by Jane Porter Lee

Speaking of Audiobooks: August 2012 Releases

Beautiful DisasterIf you’ve been a regular reader of Speaking of Audiobooks this past year, you’re probably aware that our upcoming releases list is compiled from a variety of sources.  Building this month’s list proved to be more challenging than usual.  Although there are dozens of genuine first-time releases, it’s also a month full or rereleases in hiding, so beware.  Amazon seems to be taking great pains to hide previous audio releases.  For years, I’ve started with Amazon when building our upcoming releases list before gathering release dates from various production company/publishers sites.  Over the past months, I’ve noticed that Amazon is increasingly introducing old titles as new (a long-time practice in publishing – I know) while also including larger numbers of non-romance audios in the romance category.  Don’t trust Amazon’s upcoming romance audio release list for that HEA romance listeners expect.

FictionDB and I are spending more and more time together these days ascertaining a book’s category and the whole process feels a bit like looking under every rock to find a simple piece of information.  So, here’s to those truly new romance audio releases…I think.  Please let me know if one slipped by me!  Now if we could only convince Audible to share a complete list of its upcoming titles.

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Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas Five-Book Giveaway (Giveaway Closed)

LKSummer is 2/3 over and it’s a perfect time to relax with a great book – even better when it’s a highly anticipated book by a much-loved author.  Thanks to the generosity of Lisa and her publisher, I’ve got five copies of Dream Lake to giveaway to five lucky readers.

Honesty alert: I’m in the middle of this one now and I’m loving it.  The third in the author’s series of books set on Washington state’s San Juan Island, this one is Nolan brother Alex’s story.  Here’s what the publisher has to say about the book:

Dream Lake takes readers once again to the exquisite setting of Friday Harbor, and tells the story of Zoe Hoffman, an innkeeper who has all but given up on love. She’s a gentle, romantic soul, but has been so hurt in the past that she dare not trust her heart with anyone. Especially not Alex Nolan. Alex is the most haunted of all the Nolan brothers. He drinks to keep his demons at bay and not only has he given up on love, he has never, ever believed in it. Zoe and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow. But sometimes, it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark. Dream Lake is classic Lisa Kleypas: romantic, powerful, emotional, and magical.”

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Pandora’s Box: Faithful to Laura

faithfullaura As always, the Pandora’s Box discussion may contain some slight spoilers of the book.

We’re back with another Pandora’s Box, this time featuring Faithful to Laura by Kathleen Fuller. This is the second book in her Middlefield Family Series, which deals with families in an Amish community in Middlefield, OH, and it’s an August 2012 release. Amish romances are a hot trend right now in the Inspirational market and keep getting press, so we thought it would be fun to try one out and get two reactions. This time around, Lynn Spencer and Maggie Boyd are stepping into the box.

The book begins with Laura Stutzman sleepwalking to the place where she had been the victim of a vicious attack. We learn that some time prior, Laura had followed Mark King, a man whom she believed she would marry, from Kentucky to Ohio, mindful of how she had enabled him to rob her family of their hard earned savings. Mark’s response to her questions of why had been a horrible barn fire that left Laura scarred not just on her face but deep within her heart. Her faith is in shambles and all she can dwell on is revenge. Her need to repay her parents for their loss leads her to accept a position at a local Amish carpentry shop.

Sawyer Thompson has lived among the Amish ever since his parents died. Now grown, he must either commit to the church and the Amish way of life or leave to live in the Yankee world. He finds himself completely uncertain as to what decision he should make. He loves working at his adoptive father’s carpentry shop, loves his adopted family and extended Amish community but feels drawn to the world in which he was born as well. He also finds himself interested in the new girl at the shop, wanting to help her heal from her recent hurts. And he finds that healing her helps him as well.

Then an unexpected visitor from Sawyer’s past comes back into his life. This guest seems strangely determined to destroy all that Sawyer has cherished the last several years, his budding relationship with Laura included. Will he and Laura be able to move beyond what yesterday holds? Or will the shadows of the past chase them into the future?
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So, Have You Read Any RITA Winners?

rita_award The 2012 RITA winners were officially announced on the last full evening at the RWA convention, on July 28, 2012. Many of us like to compare the winners to what we have already read and AAR reviewers are no exception.

Here are the RITA winners:

Best Paranormal Romance –Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Best Romance Novella –I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden

Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements – First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Best Historical Romance – The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
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