Posts Tagged ‘All About Romance’

Getting Started on Those 2014 TBR Challenges!

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

threeriverranch Once again, I’m participating in the multi-blog TBR Challenge but this year we’re doing things a little differently here on the blog as a couple of my fellow AAR reviewers are working on reading challenges, too. So, each month we’ll all be talking reading challenges and if there are any challenges you want to hop onto for yourself, you’ll find links down at the bottom.

My challenge for the month was to read something short – a category novel or a novella or short story. I tend to buy plenty of category romance so this was no problem for me. When Entangled launched, I had purchased several books from their various category lines to try and a few were still sitting unread on the Kindle, so this time around I decided to try Three River Ranch by Roxanne Snopek. Three River Ranch is a 2012 release from the Bliss line, a line that seems to feature American settings, strong family/home/community themes and fairly low-level sensuality. I have a feeling this line would appeal to readers of Harlequin American Romance or Special Edition. (more…)

Why I Love Reading Challenges

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

books.lots Back in 2008 several readers on the Romance Potpourri Board discovered they shared a similar problem – they weren’t reading much romance anymore. That problem had led to a secondary dilemma – since they were still buying romance novels they had rapidly growing TBR piles. The solution arrived at was the 9 in 2009 Reading Challenge. Participants were encouraged to read just 9 novels off their TBR that met specific criteria. For most the challenge was an unexpected success and thus the unofficial AAR Romance Potpourri Board Reading Challenge was born. (more…)

Starting a New Year

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

penpaper There’s something about starting a new year that just feels fresh and inspiring. New places yet to see, new books still to be read, and somehow on that first day of each year, the world itself feels a little more new.

I moved recently, and as I’ve been unpacking my books (and even with my Kindle, there are still tons of paper books!), I find myself thinking about how I want to be reading in 2014. Here are some of the things important to me for next year:

Discovering new-to-me authors – I started reviewing at AAR when I was not long out of school. 2013 marked my 10th year here, and one of my favorite things about being a reviewer has been the discovery of books and authors I probably would not have discovered on my own otherwise. AAR is what led me to (more…)

YA Corner – Dystopias

Friday, December 27th, 2013

undertheneversky Welcome to the YA Corner! This is an ongoing feature in which Caroline and Jenna, two AAR reviewers who love their YA fiction, discuss a set of YA novels related by genre or theme.

The focus of this YA Corner is Science Fiction Dystopias, either full romance or with strong romantic elements. The books we chose are:

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Aria lives in the domes, which protect her from the toxic environment of her planet, so life expectancy and medicine are advanced, and technology like her SmartEye allows her to escape to virtual realities. Perry lives on the outside, where violence is too real and technology is less important than his heightened senses. When Aria learns a secret and is thrown out of the domes, her survival will depend on Perry – unless she can learn to save herself.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: Cassie and her brother are among the rare human survivors of the first four waves of an alien assault on Earth. She’s learned that she can trust no-one, so when her brother is taking by soldiers, she reluctantly joins forces with farmboy Evan to find him. But no group or individual is quite what they seem, and choosing wrongly will mean instant death.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis: Amy reluctantly agrees to follow her parents into cryo-sleep so that, after a three hundred year space journey, she can be one of the pioneers to settle on Centauri Earth. When Amy is mysteriously awakened some fifty years too early, she finds herself on a ship ruled by a dictator, ruling suspiciously compliant passengers, while other sleeping passengers have been murdered. Elder, the boy chosen to become the next leader, must help Amy solve the mystery. (more…)

A Little Bit of Book News for the Holidays

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

christmastree Maybe it’s my lack of affection for the massive consumption side of Christmas(or my resistance to being anywhere near a mall between Thanksgiving and New Year’s), but for some reason, I always find myself coasting into those last few days before Christmas just a bit unprepared. Even as I resist the gift frenzy, I do find myself with an affection for holiday romance, listening to carols on Pandora, and maybe feeling a bit more festive as I wander the internet. Here are some of the interesting reads I’ve found in my travels lately:

– For those who completely missed out on their internet/social media ruling, there was A Kerfuffle last week. I thought about writing a blog piece to cover this trainwreck of a piece by Palash Ghosh and the backlash that ensued, but in the end decided that there really wasn’t too much to say that hasn’t already been said by me or other bloggers in the past – not to mention Laurie and some of the romance authors and reviewers who were online way before some of us writing today. Quite frankly, after having seen romance readers mocked in the press for years, this round of looking down on romance readers has a feel of “same condescension, different jackass” about it. (more…)

TBR Challenge 2013 – Getting Into the Holiday Spirit?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

comfortandjoy As we coast into the last month of the 2013 TBR Challenge, we get to one of my favorite categories – holiday romances. Since I was unpacking from a move, I just ended up reading the first holiday tale I encountered – Sandra Madden’s 2001 Christmas romance, Comfort and Joy. I probably should have kept right on digging because this frustrating little book definitely lands squarely in C grade territory for me.

The book has its good points. For starters, I loved the 1870s Boston settings. It’s refreshing at times to have a break from the Regency/Victorian England That Never Was. And since I tend to like romances with characters from different classes, the old money Boston hero and Irish immigrant heroine in this story caught my eye as well. Though acceptance of their romance comes perhaps a bit more easily than it would have in real life, the author does still give some consideration to the prejudices and class tension of the time. (more…)

Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction Recommendations for Best of 2013?

Friday, December 13th, 2013

loveliestchocolate LinnieGayl: One of my favorite categories in AAR’s Annual Poll is Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction. In most years I’ve read several books in the category and have a hard time deciding which book to vote for. This year is different. With just one month before polling begins on January 13, I realize that I haven’t read a single chick lit or women’s fiction book that I would consider voting for in the 2013 Annual Poll.

So I decided to take the advice we give readers: Do a power search at AAR. For Chick Lit titles published in 2013 that didn’t produce very helpful results; only Katie Fforde’s A Perfect Proposal, which received a B- from Maggie, has been reviewed this year at AAR.

A power search for best Women’s Fiction yields more titles published in 2013, including the following that interest me: (more…)

It’s the Holiday Season – But We’re Still Opening Special Title Lists!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

suggestionbox So here we are in the thick of Holiday season and you have groceries to buy, baked goods to prepare, gifts to buy, decorate the house inside and out, buy a new dress for that annual Holiday party, all while trying to keep your home in tip top shape in case you get the lovely drop in. We here are AAR believe you could use a little ‘you’ time without a Christmas thought barreling through your head so we have opened 3 new Categories for the Special Title Listing and there isn’t a single Christmas theme in any of them! (more…)

Heads Up! The Annual AAR Reader Poll is Coming

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

winteriscoming Can you believe that in less than a month we will be celebrating a new year? Before that, we hope that many of you will have lots of free time during the holiday season with more time to read. So, with those wonderful thoughts of time to yourself running through your head we would like to remind you that on January 13, 2014 we will open AAR’s Annual Reader Poll for romance books published in 2013. That’s right, it’s time to buckle down and read those “to be read” books of 2013.

This year’s poll will be a bit different from previous years as we lay to rest a few categories that AAR readers have shown little interest in (Guiltiest Pleasure, Best Inspirational and Most Disappointing) while adding/changing categories that we hope will spark some interest.

First we are going to split the Paranormal category into two new categories: Best Paranormal/Time Travel Romance and Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance. The paranormal romance has come to encompass so many different creatures, magical abilities and types of world building that we wanted to try and give our readers more room to vote for their favorite books. (more…)

What Books Are You Thankful For?

Friday, November 29th, 2013

thankfulbooks Perhaps it’s the fact that Thanksgiving was yesterday and the crazy crowds of Black Friday are something I try to avoid when possible. Or maybe it’s that I’m in the midst of moving. As I pack up my books and decide what to keep and what to donate, I’ve felt like I’m at a reunion with old friends. I pick up each book and remember encountering the characters within, and I have a few seconds of savoring that first time I encountered favorite characters ranging from Alinor of Roselynde, the Bridgertons, Katniss, or the cast of the Harry Potter books.

I pick up Venetia and want to read just a few scenes, or I find Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series and try to decide if I can spare a few minutes from packing to enter that world. I spend plenty of time picking out the weaknesses of books with improbable plots, poor writing and idiot characters, but there are so many good things to read as well. And for some reason, today I’m feeling sentimental and very thankful for the ways that the best books make me feel.

So, today instead of lots of commentary, I have a question for readers to answer in the comment section below. I want to know what book you’re thankful for and why. I’m curious to see what people say. I’m also planning another column for later and could use your help on this, so please do chime in!

I’ll give one to start. Since I’m rereading Bet Me at the moment, I’ll use that one. I love this book and I’m thankful for it because it’s one of those sweet, fantasy/wish fulfillment books that leaves me with a smile on my face. The dialogue makes me laugh every time.

Now, what about you? What book are you thankful for and why?

– Lynn Spencer