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I don’t mean the blog, I mean the actual www.likesbooks.com site.

Once upon a time, I used to go there fairly often to read reviews etc, but these days, I tend to look for reviews at Dear Author first.

I used to love the At The Back Fence weekly column, which was done away with ages ago. I’m sure their readership is still as strong as it ever was, but I must admit, I miss Laurie Gold’s presence. Whether you loved or hated Laurie, her management of the site was pretty awesome. I think I miss the controversy. There never seems to be anything of note happening over there these days. Or should I say, I’m not hearing about them, which is very unusual.

I wonder if the owners themselves feel as passionate about the site as they once did?


  • Meri
    April 9
    11:13 am

    They had a blog post asking about this – well, about how they are doing. Responses have generally been positive, though of course readers who weren’t happy with AAR have probably stopped visiting and are less likely to respond.

    I still check out AAR, but I don’t find the reviews or the blog posts particularly useful these days. I do feel it’s a great resource for older reviews and materials, but agree that the direction is went in after Laurie Gold left has been disappointing; the current management clearly has different goals and takes a different approach to running the site. I know they claim AAR is doing well numbers-wise, but you’re right that it doesn’t seem to be very visible these days, and I would attribute that at least in part to the content.


  • Las
    April 9
    12:32 pm

    I’ll occasionally check them out, especially for older books, but there pretty low on my list of preferred review sites. I’ll go there maybe a few times a year. I really like their “sensuality” ratings, and I wish reviewers everywhere would employ something similar.

    AAR was my first intro to online Romance, and they were a godsend. Up until I found them I would just randomly pick up romances at the bookstore, which meant I read a whole lot of crap I hated. But once I discovered the various blogs out there, my reliance on AAR slowly died. Once I had something to compare them, too, I realized how much most of the reviewers’ and the boards commenters’ personalities just didn’t mesh with mine. That review of “A Little Bit Wild” complaining that the heroine was just too lusty was the final nail in the coffin for me.


  • jmc
    April 9
    12:34 pm

    When I first started looking for book recommendations online, AAR was the first place I found. And it led me to blogs like yours and Rosario’s 🙂 I stopped checking them out regularly at about the time Laurie Gold left. I do usually check out their annual poll, but mostly as a measure of how different my taste is from theirs; normally I either did not read the winners or read them and thought they were crap.

    Looking at my web browsing more generally, that change is pretty standard for me. There just aren’t a lot of sites that I’ve stuck with over time, as my tastes and interests have shifted. So it is as much a commentary about me as AAR, I suppose, that I no longer consider it a premier source of industry information.


  • @Las, the sensuality rating is a pretty good idea. I might just employ some here at KKB.


  • I wonder if Goodreads has had an impact on their readership?


  • I visit pretty regularly. I subscribe to the blog, which I enjoy, and check for new reviews and new interesting threads. I left a comment just the other day on their post asking for idea to improve the site (I had some suggestions).

    I used to think AAR’s readership was really dwindling, and said as much on my blog, but then someone from AAR (Sandy I think) came over to RRR and shared her numbers, and I had to revise my opinion on that.

    I agree that there is not too much controversy, at least generated by the owners or the actual reviews, although there are sometimes forum threads that get pretty heated.


  • Jane A
    April 9
    4:42 pm

    So what happened is that AAR went mainstream.


  • AAR was the first website I discovered when I started to ease back into romance reading about eight or nine years ago. I liked the reviews but always felt there were too few of them for the number of books that were published, but that’s understandable. I found the discussion threads usually pretty bland except when defending Certain Books that I personally couldn’t stand and putting down anyone who also couldn’t stand them. After reading a couple of those, I stopped reading the discussion threads altogether. A year ago, when I decided to go back to writing, AAR was the first site I went to as a jumping off point, which led me to DA, SBTB, RRR, and more recently KKB. :hi: I think AAR is a great place for the reader who is more interested in reading and less interested in the peripheral issues; my interests are a lot wider than that.

    However, it was because I saw there the notice of Connie Brockway venturing into self-publishing that I caught the bug, too, so I do still check back there a couple times a month to see if I’ve missed anything.

    I haven’t figured out how Goodreads works yet, so I don’t go there.


  • They don’t review multicultural, of course most of the romance sites don’t. So I have no reason to go there. I hit the Janes up for the news and here or the bitches if I need a laugh. Theres nothing for me at AAR and never has been. I’m actually surprised they’re still around.


  • Janet W
    April 9
    6:08 pm

    When did I last visit All About Romance? This morning — I read the two reviews of the latest Miranda Neville. It was one of the first sites I ever visited in my quest to learn everything about romance novels and my book shelves owe a lot to AAR recommendations. I don’t perhaps rely on them as much anymore for reviews (goodreads has stepped up for me) but their discussion boards and blogs still interest me. It’s possible to argue and disagree quite vehemently at AAR and I like that. There’s still a bottom line (as I think there is at most sites) of shared interest in books altho that can feel somewhat strained sometimes. I wish they would rejunvenate the If You Like feature: I’ve recommended that a lot.


  • I visit to read the reviews and blog but rarely comment. The forums are active (I think) but I avoid them because they seem like reader-only spaces. If I could comment on the reviews without going to the forums, I might.

    Roslyn, they do review multicultural romance at AAR. I just did a search for Brenda Jackson, Ann Christopher, and Jeannie Lin. All have multiple reviews there.

    I used to have the impression that AAR was more conservative, but it really depends on the reviewer.


  • I find their reviews gibe pretty well with my tastes and I enjoy their message boards, though a lot of people there have been seeming awfully pissy lately. Perhaps it’s just the state of the world getting people down.

    I haven’t been around that long, but it does seem like more fun stuff originated there in the olden times. The yearly book ballot was much more entertaining the first year I did it. I kind of lost interest after it became so ordinary. And there are all kinds of amusing parodies and such on the site, but I never hear about anything new being offered.


  • Lynnd
    April 20
    8:45 pm

    I guess they got your message Karen. There is a great big shitstorm going on over there right now.


  • @Lyndd Oh do tell! Links please!


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