Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weekend Wind-Down - Meet our Reviewers!

If you didn't already know, in addition to our wild and zany blog here, the Pink Heart Society also has a category romance reviews blog. We've got some changes coming up in the new year that we're really excited about, and as December and 2008 are rapidly coming to a close, I thought it would be cool to let you know what the reviews blog is all about.

We've got a brand new coordinator who is our main contact. Authors looking for reviews - head on over to the reviews blog and there's a little button that says Contact our Coordinator. That e-mail goes right to the fabulous, wonderful, Julie Bonello. Julie then takes your request, finds you a reviewer, and just like a great dating service, matches you up. The great thing about Julie is that she knows exactly what lines and types of stories our reviewers prefer, so you won't be paired with someone who doesn't enjoy your kind of thing. So for example, if someone doesn't enjoy the spicy stuff, they won't be sent a Blaze. :-)

You send the reviewer your book; she reads it, is hopefully properly thrilled and enthralled, and posts an indepth review on the blog. Our reviewers don't just go for one rating. They rate all kinds of things...stickability of the heroine and hero, hotness factor, weepy factor...they really go the extra mile to give detailed, thoughtful reviews.

Who are these wonderful people? Well, first and foremost, they're readers, and they are readers who LOVE category romance. Some are also aspiring writers. Either way, they're hooked, and delighted to volunteer their time to the blog. How lucky are we? (Pretty darned lucky!)

So...drum roll our reviewers!

Meet Donna:

I'm in my 60's, a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 10. I'm quite artistic, and love doing crafts of all kinds, but most especially card making and woodworking. I've been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember, cutting my reading "teeth" on The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. I've participated in the eHarlequin book challenges every year except the first year. My first choices in reading material are the Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense lines. I'm thrilled to be reviewing for the PHS - who can refuse the lure of free books?

Here's Anne:

I admit it : I am a closet romance reader. Now, I've say it. I would even go further by saying that.... I am addicted to romance books. I love a good story that makes me dream and amazing characters that I am sorry to say goodbye to when I close the book. I have tried to read many genres over the years, and I have discovered that the category romance is the genre that I love. (Ask my husband, who, every time he see the bookshelves in the living room, slowly shakes his head)

The idea of reviewing books is, for me, something very important because by doing so, I am able to help other readers to make a good reading choice and give feedback to the authors, so I can read even more books.

And Joanne:

In my teen years my father was in the forces and I quickly read my way through most of the English books at the barracks in Germany. My nanna knew how much I loved to read and so started saving me her Mills & Boon. She was a subscriber and so gave me carrier bags full of books whenever we visited family in England. She had various subscriptions and so my reading of category romance has always been varied. I read romances, modern heat and also love historicals. I have recently discovered Steeple Hill inspirational books and have really enjoyed those too. I think the only subject I am not keen on is paranormal. I think the reason I like to review is the chance to share with others books I have read, in much the same way as my nanna did with me.

Meet Lisa:

I'm a big fan of category romances, ever since I got my first one for Christmas in my teens, a Super Romance. Today my favorite lines include Historical, Blaze, Desire and Nocturne. The only lines I'm not really partial to are the inspirational ones, but I've even got a few of those on my bookshelves. Where else can you find such amazing stories in a size that you can tear through in one day and the characters still stick with you long after you close the book? What drew me to reviewing books is that now I have a chance to let the author know how much I like their work. Plus getting a chance for a few extra reads isn't a bad incentive either. :)

And now Marilyn:

As a child I always had a book in my hand - in fact I must have been a series reader as I adored Nancy Drew mysteries. In my adult years I continued to read but not until my son and daughter were grown and off to college did I really become a "romance reader". Then it almost became addictive as I would read an author and then search the Internet and purchase everything she had written. It was fun and then while I was working at Princess Cruises a co-worker and I started a library in our lunch room and I became the Princess Romance Junkie (that's what the men in the office called me.)

Through my Internet search I found Writerspace and met Leena Hyatt, Jane Porter, Kate Walker, Lucy Monroe, Susan Mallery, Anne Macallister, Trish Morey, and two new authors Annie West and Abby Green. There on Writerspace Forums we discussed the Presents and other genres Eventually some asked me if I would like to read their books and I was hooked! These very generous women would send me their books and in return I thought, what can I do to say thanks? That's how my review career began and seven years later I'm still for the Pink Heart Society, Reader to Reader and on my blog Marilyn's Romance Reviews. I read mostly Presents, Desire, HQN and American Romance.

Say Hello to Karen:

My name is Karen, I'm 45 years of age and yes, you've guessed it, I'm a hopeless romantic!!

Reading Mills and Boon, can become addictive and obsessive. If I can't find a particular book, my whole life is put on hold until I get it!

What do women really want in a book? Well, that's a question: If you mean, what do we need in a romance, well Mills and Boon fulfills my needs thanks. That's not to say, that I don't read other mainstream romance, because I do, and enjoy it. Being a romantic, I need the happy ever after, I need the perfect man in which to have a relationship that will last to the end of our days.

What do I love about the books so much? They take you away from your humdrum life, to a place of magic and dreams, to a place where lovely things do come true, and love can conquer all. Oh my, that statement could very well be ridiculed, but I don't care, that's what I feel.

What drew me to reviewing books? Umm, the only thought I can come up with is quite simple, a desperate desire to read about more gorgeous and romantic men from every different category there is. Does that sound too much? No, I don't think so, the more the better. There are so many fantastic authors amongst the whole category family, that an adventure into differing lines and genres, can only enrich my poor romantic soul.

And our fab coordinator Julie:

I truly cannot imagine my life without category romances! I read my first Mills and Boon, furtively stolen from my mother’s bookshelves, when I was a teenager and I’ve been in love with genre since then. I love the gorgeous heroes, the spirited heroines, the heart-wrenching emotion, the rib-tickling laughs, the intensity, the intrigue and the passion. Every book is a brand new adventure which will whisk me away either to a sophisticated metropolis, a beautiful rural landscape with breath-taking scenery or an exotic island paradise. Life without category romance would be a poor life, indeed!

I’ve been a reviewer for the past six years and I am so thrilled to be part of the PHS team! To share with like-minded readers the books which you love is a great gift and I do hope that our readers will enjoy reading our reviews as much as we enjoy writing them!

The new structure of the reviews team means we're actively looking for YOUR books to review, authors! As long as it's category romance, you're in! Everyone is quite keen to get fact the first of the new reviews are already up, even though we haven't hit 2009 yet!

What are you waiting for? Christmas? You can contact Julie with your request!

Donna's newest release, The Rancher's Runaway Princess, was the first review done by brand new reviewer Donna B! It's out on eharlequin this month, and is out for general release on January 13!

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