Anne Calhoun on sex, love, and romance

February 21st, 2014

kissing-683My pick for best romance  of 2013 was the very sexy Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun. (AAR readers liked it too: It won Best Erotica/Romantica in our most recent Annual Reader Poll.)  Read the rest of this entry »

Speaking of Audiobooks: It’s Here – Lord of Scoundrels in Audio Format!

February 19th, 2014

Lord of Scoundrels lgRomance audio enthusiasts – it’s here! After years of wishing for Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels in audio format, Blackstone Audio released this eternal romance favorite on January 28th. To make it even more irresistible, the highly talented Kate Reading narrates.

In both the 2011 and 2012 Speaking of Audiobooks Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll, Loretta Chase was overwhelmingly voted the Author’s Romance Backlist You Most Want to See in Audio. And, in discussions at Speaking of Audiobooks, our Romance Audiobooks Goodreads group, and beyond, romance listeners mentioned that Lord of Scoundrels was at the top of their Loretta Chase wish list. Read the rest of this entry »

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

February 18th, 2014

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. Read the rest of this entry »

The Annual Poll results for books published in 2013 are now in!

February 17th, 2014

Happy bride jumping on a bed_photo by Elizabeth Messina (1)We added several new categories this year:  New Adult, Young Adult, Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and Best Sci-fi/Fantasy Romance. We are pleased to see that the new categories also resulted in some new authors winning some of the categories for this year.

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Juliana Stone talks about bad boys, rock and roll, and why she names her Thanksgiving turkey

February 14th, 2014

The Day He Kissed HerJuliana, 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 »

My Favorite Mysteries of 2013

February 12th, 2014

female-detectiveNext 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.

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Random Thoughts on Nonfiction Reading

February 10th, 2014

nonfictionbookclubI 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?

Maggie Boyd

 

 

Romance was reviewed in the NYT…. Let’s make it happen again!

February 8th, 2014

book-review-podcast-logo2009-articleInline-v3In December I interviewed historical romance author Sarah MacLean. I had contacted her because of a letter she had sent to the New York Times taking them to task for excluding romance authors and their works from a “Sex” issue published in the Sunday Book Review. Read the rest of this entry »

Eagerly Awaited March Books

February 7th, 2014

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 City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn Lynn, Caz, Pat, Lee, LinnieGayl, Rike, Maggie, Alexandra, Melanie
The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin Maggie, Caroline, Lynn
All a Man is by Janice Kay Johnson All a Man Is by Janie Kay Johnson Heather, Pat
Carolina Man by Virginia Kantra Carolina Man by Virginia Kantra Lee, Haley
Night Broken by Patricia Briggs Night Broken by Patricia Briggs Maggie, Heather
The Fall of a Saint by Christine Merrill The Fall of a Saint by Christine Merrill Caz
Awakened by His Touch by Nikki Logan Awakened by His Touch by Nikki Logan Rike
Secrets at Court by Blythe Gifford Secrets at Court by Blythe Gifford Lynn
Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell Maggie
The Bride Insists by Jane Ashford The Bride Insists by Jane Ashford Lee
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop Heather
Atonement by B.J. Daniels Atonement by B.J. Daniels Pat
For His Eyes Only by Liz Fielding For His Eyes Only by Liz Fielding Caroline
The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland Alexandra
The Rome Affair by Addison Fox The Rome Affair by Addison Fox Lynn
Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty Melanie
The Dark Affair by Maire Claremont The Dark Affair by Maire Claremont Caz
The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan Rike
Precious Thing by Colette McBeth Precious Thing by Colette McBeth Maggie
A King's Ransom by Sharon Kay Penman A King’s Ransom by Sharon Kay Penman Caz
Love Another Day by Gina Robinson Love Another Day by Gina Robinson Lee
The Kindred of Darkness by Barbara Hambly The Kindred of Darkness by Barbara Hambly Caroline
Dancing With Dragons by Lorenda Christensen Dancing With Dragons by Lorenda Christensen Lynn
The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O'Neal The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal Heather
Death by the Book by Juliana Deering Death by the Book by Julianna Deering Maggie
All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins All I Ever Wanted(reissue) by Kristan Higgins Jenna
Double Blind by Heidi Cullinan Double Blind(reissue) by Heidi Cullinan Pat
An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley An Arranged Marriage(reissue) by Jo Beverley Rike

No, I’m not shipping this romance

February 5th, 2014

elementary_cbsWhen 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 »