Juliana, I enjoyed The Bad Boys of Crystal Lake. Your series features three men who have been friends since they were kids and who have all come back to Crystal Lake, the small town in which they grew up. Where did you get the idea for a series set in a small town in northern Michigan? You’re Canadian, right? Read the rest of this entry »
Next Monday – February 17 – we will announce the results of All About Romance’s Annual Reader Poll for the best romance novels published in 2013. Working on the poll has me thinking about the best books published in 2013 from my other favorite genre, mystery.
I admit it: I’m a genre fiction reader. Nonfiction reads rarely find their way on to my TBR. Last year only 5% of my reading was nonfiction. The majority of that was religious reading done through a church book club. The one other read was a Dr. Phil book a friend told me had really helped her. She wanted to discuss it and I found it an easy if not exactly scintillating read.
This year I’ve gotten off to a stronger start. I’ve already finished four nonfiction books but once more they are religious reads and revolve around the subject we are doing in the church book group. To shake things up I’ve begun Living with the Enemy: What Really Happened by Roy McLoughlin which details the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII. So far I’ve found it an intense (and shocking) read. I’ve also been reading Hitler’s Furies by Wendy Lowery which details the role of German women in the Nazi regime. This isn’t exactly cheerful reading but it is thought provoking and educational. The fascinating thing about history is that it reminds us that all those times we accuse a fiction book of not having a dose of reality, we are probably wrong. Reality trumps fiction in terms of being bizarre, emotional and just plain crazy.
When I look over my favorite nonfiction reads of the last several years I realize that it is as eclectic as my fiction reading. Here are five of my favorites:
Gift of a Letter by Alexandra Stoddard – this little gem of a book is dedicated to a rapidly declining art form — the letter. Brimming with enthusiasm for her subject Stoddard gives us history, anecdotes and tips all designed to help us revive this intimate and underappreciated form of communication.
Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard – Stoddard invites us to add beauty to everyday living through simple things. It’s a lovely way to remind yourself that beauty really is all around us.
Home Warming: Secrets to Making Your House a Welcoming Place by Emilie Barnes – My home is more practical than lovely but I love to read books that describe the best ways to make a space both functional and pretty.
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette H Elgin – This is a must read for anyone who has a passive-aggressive in their life. Wonder why you feel insulted when you technically weren’t insulted? Learn the secrets behind those conversations that have frustrated you for years.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell – This fabulously written account of what goes into being successful is an absolutely riveting read.
A lot of these books are out of print because they are older reads I’ve picked up at various sales. Still, they are books that have moved me, helped me or enlightened me in meaningful ways. It’s nice to have books like that in your life – books that haven’t just entertained or taken your breath away with their artistry but books that have really helped you know more about yourselves or others.
So what about you? Do you read nonfiction? What are the books that top your favorites list? What would you recommend adding to my TBR?
I can’t believe we’re already thinking about spring releases! But, March is just around the corner. Judging by the list of books we here at AAR are eager to try, I think it’s fair to say that Deanna Raybourn’s historical novels have our attention. Spring is bringing a variety of interesting-sounding books in other subgenres as well, and there seem to be more category romances than usual catching our eyes. So, what are you looking forward to in March?
|Title and Author||Reviewer|
|City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn||Lynn, Caz, Pat, Lee, LinnieGayl, Rike, Maggie, Alexandra, Melanie|
|The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin||Maggie, Caroline, Lynn|
|All a Man Is by Janie Kay Johnson||Heather, Pat|
|Carolina Man by Virginia Kantra||Lee, Haley|
|Night Broken by Patricia Briggs||Maggie, Heather|
|The Fall of a Saint by Christine Merrill||Caz|
|Awakened by His Touch by Nikki Logan||Rike|
|Secrets at Court by Blythe Gifford||Lynn|
|Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell||Maggie|
|The Bride Insists by Jane Ashford||Lee|
|Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop||Heather|
|Atonement by B.J. Daniels||Pat|
|For His Eyes Only by Liz Fielding||Caroline|
|The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland||Alexandra|
|The Rome Affair by Addison Fox||Lynn|
|Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty||Melanie|
|The Dark Affair by Maire Claremont||Caz|
|The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan||Rike|
|Precious Thing by Colette McBeth||Maggie|
|A King’s Ransom by Sharon Kay Penman||Caz|
|Love Another Day by Gina Robinson||Lee|
|The Kindred of Darkness by Barbara Hambly||Caroline|
|Dancing With Dragons by Lorenda Christensen||Lynn|
|The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal||Heather|
|Death by the Book by Julianna Deering||Maggie|
|All I Ever Wanted(reissue) by Kristan Higgins||Jenna|
|Double Blind(reissue) by Heidi Cullinan||Pat|
|An Arranged Marriage(reissue) by Jo Beverley||Rike|
When I heard CBS was doing a modern day Sherlock Holmes set in New York, my response was pure, unmitigated outrage. Yes, I tried to be moderate and keep an open mind; yes, I understood that any resemblances to the BBC Sherlock would be highly unlikely; and yes, it stars Jonny Lee Miller, who can’t really be a bad thing, ever. But my biggest apprehension came with the news that they had cast a female Watson, as personified by Lucy Liu. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you rip audiobooks from CDs into iTunes so you can listen to them on your iPod? If so, adjusting your iTunes import settings beforehand is a must. These easy changes will save precious space on your iPod and your computer’s hard drive but won’t affect your listening experience. How’s that you ask?
iTunes default import settings are for music; the settings work fine with audiobooks but make the book files much larger than they need to be. Audiobooks don’t require the same quality settings as music in order to enjoy listening.
For example, Audible’s Format 4 at 32 kbps was the highest quality download offered for years before introducing their “e” for “enhanced” format at 64 kbps. In comparison, iTunes imports an audiobook at 128 kbps if the settings are left to default. This makes your audiobook files twice the size of Audible’s “e” format and four times the size of Format 4 downloads. There is simply no need for audiobooks to be that size, taking up prime space on your player. Read the rest of this entry »
A few months ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek guide to writing a successful New Adult novel. I wrote this piece after reading yet another book that seemed to follow such a formula as to be suspect, that this Mad Libs method of simply filling in the blanks with different names, locations and minor details had gone beyond the realm of coincidence. While my blog post was meant in fun, I do believe that there is a definite pattern that far too many NA books follow. But if readers are snatching them up in record numbers, who am I to argue with the maxim, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? Read the rest of this entry »
Unique among AAR’s Special Titles Listings, the YA list originally depended on the taste of three readers only. Three teenagers with ties to AAR listed their favorite books – both children’s and YA literature – and that was the first published list. Later, a second part was created, this time along the usual pattern, sorted according to subgenre and filled with nominations from AAR’s readers. Read the rest of this entry »
Tessa Dare, a perennial favorite here at AAR, releases her latest novel, Romancing the Duke, today. Read the rest of this entry »