Eagerly Awaiting in November

Some months I’m struck by how in sync our reading tastes seem to be here at AAR, and then other months, I’m reminded of how diverse our interests can be. November seems to be one of the latter sorts of months. Quite a few of us are Sarah Mayberry fans, but beyond that, our picks seem to be all over the map this month. I’m almost getting new reading ideas just putting the list together! So, what do you want to read next month?

Title and Author Reviewer
Suddenly You by Sarah Mayberry Suddenly You by Sarah Mayberry Rike, Lynn, Leigh, Dabney, Pat
My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr Maggie, Heather S., Pat, Leigh
Scorched by Laura Griffin Scorched by Laura Griffin Lynn,Lee
Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis Dabney, Heather S.
A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long Blythe,Lee
Spellfire by Jessica Andersen Spellfire by Jessica Andersen Heather S., Louise
The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen LinnieGayl
Colorado Heart by Cindy Holby Colorado Heart by Cindy Holby Pat
Lord's Fall by Thea Harrison Lord’s Fall by Thea Harrison Louise
A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano Maggie
Come Fly With Me by Addison Fox Come Fly With Me by Addison Fox Lee
Still Life with Shape-Shifter by Sharon Shinn Still Life With Shape-Shifter by Sharon Shinn Leigh
Snowbound Wedding Wishes anthology Snowbound Wedding Wishes by Louise Allen, Lucy Ashford, and Joanna Fulford Lynn
A Gentleman Never Tells by Juliana Grey A Gentleman Never Tells by Juliana Gray Lee
Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell Heather S.
Wyoming Fierce by Diana Palmer Wyoming Fierce by Diana Palmer Pat
Forbidden by Jacquelyn Frank Forbidden by Jacquelyn Frank Louise
Polterheist by Laura Resnick Polterheist by Laura Resnick Rike
An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser Lynn
Her Mother's Shadow by Diane Chamberlain Her Mother’s Shadow by Diane Chamberlain Leigh
The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann Maggie
Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione Louise
Heart of a Texan by Leigh Greenwood Heart of a Texan by Leigh Greenwood Pat

Updating the Special Title Listings

We’re pleased to announce that after nearly two years, the first of what will hopefully be many updates, have been completed for four of the Special Title Lists: Beta Heroes, Favorite Funnies, Marriages of Convenience, and Troubled Marriages. A big thanks to all of the AAR readers who took the time to send in their suggestions for additions to these four lists. We’ll be opening up additional lists on Monday, October 15, so make certain to check back here on that day.

We have incorporated most, but not all, of the recommendations submitted by readers onto the revised lists. While a couple of readers wrote on their submission form that we should just accept everything the readers entered, we used the three criteria stated at the top of the submission form when reviewing the submissions. Any additions to the list have to be: (1) the best of the best, (2) stand the test of time, and (3) actually fit the list for which they were submitted.
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Until We Meet Again…

This is a bittersweet post to write.  I am announcing my departure from AAR, a site I have loved and worked for the past 11 years.

I have loved working here, writing reviews, editing, managing the ad program, interviewing authors, blogging, and getting to know many of you.  But the time has come for me to move on and embrace new challenges.

I do so knowing that I am leaving AAR in the most capable of hands.  I wish all the luck in the world to Blythe, Lynn, and their talented staff.

As for me, I’ll still be in Romance World since I’ll be adding ad design and social marketing services targeted to romance authors to my other advertising business.  I’ll also still be on Twitter and Facebook as I always have been. I may even explore Good Reads since I haven’t found time to join in there yet.

I am grateful for the years I spent here and the wonderful experiences and friends I’ve made.  I hope to stay in touch with many of you.

So, onwards and upwards!

For the last time, signing off as…

- Sandy AAR

Speaking of Audiobooks – It’s All Reviews October 2012

It’s time for another All Reviews column here at Speaking of Audiobooks. Eight audiobooks are up for review including: Karen Rose’s No One Left to Tell, Susan Wiggs’ Dockside, Kerry Greenwood’s The Castlemaine Murders, Maya Banks’ Never Love a Highlander, Christine Warren’s Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale, Sally MacKenzie’s The Duchess of Love, Elizabeth Lowell’s Beautiful Sacrifice, and Sherryl Wood’s Waking Up in Charleston.

No One Left to Tell – Karen Rose

Review written by Kaetrin

Narrated by Marguerite Gavin

Paige Holden is a trainee Private Investigator working pro bono for Maria Munoz, the mother of Ramon, currently in prison for the murder of a woman six years earlier. Maria is convinced that Ramon is innocent and asks Paige to look into it. Early one Tuesday morning, Elena Munoz (Ramon’s wife) is killed in front of Paige and thus starts the roller coaster ride that is No One Left to Tell.
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Midweek EBook Giveaway!

As readers on this blog probably already know, I’m always on the lookout for an unusual (or at least under-utilitized) historical setting. And I would love to see some 20th century historicals! I’ve enjoyed Carrie Lofty’s books ever since I reviewed her debut novel, and her latest book, His Very Own Girl, promises to be a wonderful read.

Set during WWII, this book tells the story of of Lulu Davies, a British civilian pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, who has already lost her parents and her fiance to the war. She throws herself into her flying, but there is an American medic who is going to turn her world upside down. That would be Joe Weber, a medic assigned to the 82nd Airborne and stationed in England. The two have an intense romance in the days leading up to D-Day. If you haven’t read Carrie Lofty before, I personally think she tells a good story, and you can find an excerpt from His Very Own Girl here. Though I will warn you, that once you start reading, you just may end up buying!

Or, as you may have guessed from the blog title this morning, Pocket Books has generously provided a copy of His Very Own Girl for us to give away. Details are at the bottom of this post!

Are you more of a paranormal fan? Then you may want to pay attention to this one. In addition to Carrie Lofty’s latest historical, Pocket Books has also provided us with a giveaway copy of Lifestyles of the Rich and Undead, a recent release in Katie MacAlister’s Dark Ones series.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Undead is a short story featuring an interview with vampire Grayson Soucek, and is meant to serve as a prologue to MacAlister’s novella in the October 2012 anthology The Undead in my Bed. If you’re curious, you can enter the contest below, or you can find the story for purchase on Simon & Schuster’s website.


Looking to win an eBook? The entry rules are simple – just comment below and let us know whether you want to be entered to win the Carrie Lofty novel, the Katie MacAlister short story, or both. The contest is open from now until Monday, October 8, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. EST And I’m sorry, but my sources at the publisher tell me their codes are good in the United States only. Good luck to all who enter!

– Lynn Spencer

Character Arcs and Reader Expectations

Lately I have been wondering about characterization. What is it actually? If an author makes a point of drawing a heroine as self-sufficient and independent but in the middle of the book, she turns needy and clingy, is that a problem with characterization or is the author putting in a touch of realism?

I know an individual’s confidence and self-assurance can vary from situation to situation but I have discovered if an author writes some aspect of a character’s personality down, if I read it, then I expect that character for the most part to act in that manner. Rightly or wrongly, if an author draws a character in the beginning one way, then while they may grow as people, I don’t expect them to regress for no good reason. When I say this, I am not talking about situational reactions. I can easily give an author a lot of leeway if I understand why a character is acting a certain way. For instance, Deborah Smith’s heroine Cathryn Deen from The Crossroads Cafe goes from gorgeous, self-assured, and privileged to isolated, solitary, and desolate after a horrific car crash destroys her movie star looks. Instead of people looking at her in awe they turn away in horror. Her personality and her feelings about herself make a dramatic change, but it’s one that makes sense under the circumstances.
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Tales of a Reformed End-Peeker

Just over two years ago I wrote here about how I like to be spoiled. I talked about being a regular end-peeker when reading non-romance books, after being burned a few times when the main character’s love interest in a mystery series was killed off. In Chick Lit, end-peeking lets me know if the heroine is going to end up with anyone (not always a sure thing) and if so with whom (because there are often multiple love interests). Well, I’ve had a few experiences lately that have me questioning not only end-peeking, but also what constitutes a spoiler and what doesn’t.
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