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Why I LOVE AAR--please Add!

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Lynda X

Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1625

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:07 pm    Post subject: Why I LOVE AAR--please Add! Reply with quote

In view of Laurie's turning AAR to others to run in November (see this week's At the Back Fence column), I'd like to tell her (and you) why I love this site so much, and I ask people to add to it. I am putting it here (and hope it will remain here) instead of under At the Back Fence because I think more people will see it.

1. The reviews are accurate. Most of the time, if a book is given an A or B, I like it. Just enough plot is usually given to whet my interest, and the critiques are usually right on the money. This is the first place I go when I'm considering buying a new book; Amazon reviews are good, but are too often partisan.

2. The discussion boards are fantastic! I find myself repeating what others have written here with my romance-disdaining friends who often ask, "Where did you read that?" They are always surprised at my answer, and maybe, if I continue for another thousand instances, it might move their minds. I don't know of another site where people are as respectful, even in disagreement, and have such an interesting variety of opinions. I adore the historical knowledge that many people give, without condescension.

3. I find the At the Back Fence columns fascinating. I really look forward every Monday to them and am amazed that after all this time, new topics occur. These intelligent, well-reasoned editorials are always thought provoking.

4. Before I came to AAR, I was in despair about romances because they had become so expensive to buy and almost all my old standbys had become boring, so I didn't know where to go to find new loves. When I found AAR, I combed through their listings and noted all the A and A- books, breathing new life into my reading choices. Because of AAR, I discovered Loretta Chase, Carla Kelly, Lynn Viehl, Nalini Singh, Stephenie Meyers, Eva Ibbotson, and many others.

5. If I'm bored, I just go to the Purple Prose parodies and laugh anew.

I'll probably think of more reasons, Laurie, as I go on, but I want to thank you for making my romance-reading life so much fuller. Your staunch support and demand that romance books be respected have improved this genre's status. We all owe you a lot.
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Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 889
Location: SE Wisconsin

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love many things about AAR and look forward to being apart of what comes next.

1. The reviews are well-written, intelligent, and honest. The summaries are informative without providing spoilers. I appreciate that reviewers get specific about what they liked and didn't like about the book. Sometimes, what one person doesn't like is not an issue for me and vice versa. It helps me make a more informed reading choice.

2. The wide variety of information about the world of romance that is available on this site such as upcoming publications, special title listings, if you like.., favorites books by favorite authors, the annual reader polls, and so much more.

3. The ATBF column which offers commentary and insight into a wide variety of romance-related topics.

4. The discussion boards where you can speak your mind and exchange views and information. I have learned so much about romance writing and reading on this site. There is usually a lively exchange of ideas and viewpoints. I have discovered so many new authors and titles here that have enriched my reading.

5. The diversity represented on this site. And the respectful way everyone is treated on the discussion boards.
So many books; so little time!
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Joined: 07 Oct 2008
Posts: 117
Location: Pacific NW

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Why I love AAR Reply with quote

I first used AAR as a way to find new reading material, especially via the reviews but also the special title listings, polls, etc. (Now I love to read the reviews after I read a book instead, to prolong the enjoyment!) But what I've come to love about AAR is the forums. The reviews forum is another kind of way to drag out the enjoyment of a good book, by continuing to read about it through the eyes of other readers. (Or a way to deal with the disappointment of a bad one...) And the other forums have helped me to stop thinking of romance reading as a guilty pleasure, and instead as a perfectly valid and enjoyable way to enjoy great writing by talented authors.

Thank you Laurie!!
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Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1342
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, even though I'm now a pollster and help run the trivia contests, I'd like to add my two cents.

I can't even remember when I first stumbled onto AAR, but what an eye-opening website it was to me.

1) I agree with the above pollsters that the reviews have always been incredibly well written and very honest. And even the F reviews are fun to read and sometimes good for laughs.

2) The forums. I too have learned about books, authors, movies, miniseries (North and South -- the BBC version), places to buy books, etc. etc.

3) The polls -- oh wait! I tally those. But even before I became a pollster, I always looked forward to the year end poll for the best (and worst) of the year's books. And the Favorite Books by Favorite Authors is a wonderful feature for those who want to read everything written by favorite authors.

4) AAR AfterHours -- so many different and interesting blogs.

5) Annual Cover Contest -- I know it has its own separate website now but if I ever need a laugh, I just go to the section and look at the previous years' winners and losers. (Check out the comments for "Get Lucky" as the worst cover for the year 2000.)

Well, I could go on and on but do yourself a favor and explore the various dropdown menus -- there is SO much on this fantastic website.
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Donna Lea Simpson

Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 249
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

May I chime in as an author who frequents these boards, and occasionally posts?

1 - I like that though authors are welcome were, there are no red carpets rolled out. Sycophancy would be boring.
2 - I like listening to readers' views on what works and doesn't work, because it helps me formulate my own ideas and see how they work for me.
3 - I like the tone of active debate without a lot of name calling.
4 - I appreciate honest reviews, and that's from an author who has gotten from an 'A' (two DIK's) all the way down to an 'F' here. The reviews are unfailingly honest.
5 - The forum posts are so informative, and sometimes even scholarly!

Thanks, Laurie; though I'm sad you're 'de-activating' yourself, I understand. Thanks for leaving AAR in competent hands.
Visit my blog for the latest!

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Maggie AAR

Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2709

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. I like the community.
2. I like how seriously we take our reading. Often there is only one opinion given of a book and it is all about how great it is. It is refreshing to hear romance seriously critiqued here. To me, that means the books are taken as seriously as they deserve to be.
3. I love the recommendations. Really, you guys notched my habit up to addiction level with all your great recommends.
4. I like the information given via reviews. I may not always agree with the reviewer but I do know AAR reviews give out quality information so I can make my own informed choice.
5. I love ATBF. I just love talking about the topic the author always brings up and I love the many things I have learned from it over the years.
6. I love the professional standards. It's not done in an overly fussy manner but the quality shows through.
7. I love the feature about books coming out, really helps me focus my purchasing.

There is so much to love I can't list it all. I just know I love it and look forward to continue to love it.

maggie b.
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Elaine S

Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 683
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stumbled on AAR not long after I first began using the net about 8 years ago. I don't recall how I first arrived here but was truly excited to find a place to visit where like-minded readers (male and female) had formed a real community. I like the candid exchanges of ideas, the occasional bitching, the funny strings about dreadful covers, the annual polls, the fact that authors (including some of my DIK writers like Carla Kelly, Elizabeth Rolls and Jo Beverley) particpate and seem to take us, the readers, very seriously. I like the occasional bursts of intellectual exchanges on esoteric topics and I am much guided by the reviews in what I select to read. The Special Title lists are invaluable resources for me. I think that such a wonderful site will continue, evolving and meeting the always dynamic needs of those of us who participate. I am grateful to LLB and the team for creating and maintaining the site and hope she will return in the future to express her always interesting opinions. Best wishes to LLB for the future and many, many thanks!
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Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1513
Location: America

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been visiting AAR since I discovered romance novels. It's my first stop after checking email, and it's usually my last stop before signing off for the night. I love the fact that I can come to the boards and discuss just about any topic under the sun, and that there is a steadfast, erudite and wonderful group of readers to debate upon and discuss romance novels with.
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Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I love the reviews, of course. I also love the extras -- the if you like this, try this, what's due to be published, etc. However, what I love most is reading the forums. Dayam, but a lot of the posters here are extremely well educated, articulate, and bright. I have learned a great deal about writing, literary analysis, and history from the people who post here. I don't generally have as much time to read my books or post as I would like right now, but when I do pop in I'm always glad I did.
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Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 503

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't remember when exactly I discovered AAR, but this board has become the ONLY board I trust for my reading selections because:

1. The reviews here are honest, well written, and generally spot on.
2. I also love the tone of discussion on this board. It can get a bit heated but the discussions still manage to be intelligent and insightful, without name calling.
3. Readers' opinions about books on this board are fair and don't have the cheerleading and one-sided attitude authors' message boards often do.
4. The wealth of information for romance books on this board is priceless!! Everytime I need something new to read, all I have to do is search this board, or post a question for recommendations, and voila! I have a new booklist.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 649
Location: Gulf coast Florida

PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been reading romance in various genres for 40 plus years. It was great to discover on line reviews of any kind, however when I happened on AAR I knew I had found a terrific resource.

1. I love the reviews because they include the reasoning behind the opinions being offered. I can match my preferences with those reasons and know I’m going to enjoy a book (or not). So useful….
2. I have discovered new genres and authors because of recommendations from the forums. This includes ones I have never heard of before, to ones I had wondered about.
3. I love the diversity of the participants in the forums – the different countries, the different professions, and the age groups represented. I love that many can (and do) offer factual information – be it historical data, medical data, etc – from their real lives. I have learned a lot that way!
4. I love that authors (including some all time favorites like Carla Kelly) participate and let us see things from their side.
5. I love that the forums represent serious even handed discussions of romance. This is a community of like minded individuals and I agree with several previous posters that I feel “at home” here.

Thank you AAR – I can’t imagine navigating the world of romance reading without you!
When in doubt, read.
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