Historical Romance Book Club discussion

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Gaol/Buddy Reads & Challenges > 2018 Challenges Feedback

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message 1: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Hi all!

Since we are more than half through the year, we wanted to see if there are thoughts, opinions or general comments on the two primary challenges we have had this year.

The Romance Across The Ages, which is a 12 to 24 book challenge, attempting all or most of the sub-sub genres of the Historical Romance sub-genre. A few questions to consider:
1. Do you like having it broken up by months?
2. Are there any themes that are missing that should be included?
3. Are there any themes that were included but should not be?
4. Anything else that you would like to see different or improved upon?
5. Would you like to have this challenge next year?


The Series Challenge is a challenge that had different levels ranging from 1 series to 4+ series. Some questions to consider:
1. Did the levels make sense?
2. Did not having milestones help or hinder you (in comparison to the monthly categories on the other challenge)?
3. Anything else that you would like to see different or improved upon?
4. Would you like to have this challenge next year?


Besides the current challenges, do you have any ideas on one that you would like to see this group do?

We appreciate your Feedback!


message 2: by Missy (last edited Jul 31, 2018 04:15PM) (new)

Missy | 1062 comments I would definitely like to have this challenge next year. I had to remove Mary Balogh's Huxtable series, because I don't think I'll have time to begin and finish the series this year. Plus, Jan said that it's not her favorite series by MB, so I'll hold off for a while.

I'm not participating in The Romance Across The Ages, so no comment on that challenge.


message 3: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
I have changed up my series a couple of times too.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments For RATA: I was confused by having 1) Scottish and; 2) Highlander


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Mods,

Would you be interested in considering a challenge that runs from month to month with the purpose of knocking out books that one just can’t get around to reading?

If a month is 31 days long, the number of people to do it each month is determined by 31 people signing up. But since we are a smaller group, perhaps some folks would like to sign up more than once.

I it’s a really fun way to tackle the ever-growing tbr pile.

I got “clearance” in another group back in 2014, to use this and the convo is still sitting there in the group archive.

Joanna and Priya, if you guys are interested, I could send more details via pm.


message 6: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Oh yeah, I can see that. Most of the Scottish books are highlander ones anyways. I read a book last year as an ARC that said the heroine was a highland lass when she was a borderland on, so I think that distinction is confusing for many.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna,

It’s really confusing for me bec highlander/Scottish HR aren’t what I read very often, so when I saw both in the challenge, I was like “duh! Now what do I do?”


message 8: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Mods,

Would you be interested in considering a challenge that runs from month to month with the purpose of knocking out books that one just can’t get around to reading?

If a month is 31 days long..."


I think a TBR challenge would be fun. I would be interested in learning more.


message 9: by Lorien (new)

Lorien | 389 comments I enjoyed both challenges.
But I think I'd choose just one series next year. Plus having a buddy to read through the E.James series has helped a LOT.

As for the RATA challenge: I have liked having it be month by month, I have found it frustrating though trying to find books that take place in some of the less popular eras. Like with Tudor or Elizabethan ( I think) I had trouble finding anything that didn't include being a illegitimate child of a royal or a spy of one.

I also agree on the Highlander/ Scottish thing.


message 10: by Missy (new)

Missy | 1062 comments Awhile back, I contemplated a personal challenge along the lines of “Complete TBR list created in 2015” but never got around to it since I was focused on the series challenge.


message 11: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Lorien wrote: "I enjoyed both challenges.
But I think I'd choose just one series next year. Plus having a buddy to read through the E.James series has helped a LOT.

As for the RATA challenge: I have liked havin..."


I think I avoided some of the more difficult ones, but I had a tough time with 17th Century other than England. Maybe some should be combined.


message 12: by Lorien (new)

Lorien | 389 comments Or we could nominate a group buddy read that fits the era and would take some of the tress of finding out of the equation. Leaving others free to read something else.


message 13: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Lorien wrote: "Or we could nominate a group buddy read that fits the era and would take some of the tress of finding out of the equation. Leaving others free to read something else."

Yep, we could do that for upcoming ones as well this year.


message 14: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Joanna,

It’s really confusing for me bec highlander/Scottish HR aren’t what I read very often, so when I saw both in the challenge, I was like “duh! Now what do I do?”"


I like Scottish books and read them occasionally. I also enjoy their history to a certain extent. Highlander = Scottish, but Scottish is more than just highlander. It is essentially geographically where the mountains are in Scotland. It is more rugged and remote. So Highlanders are the rugged bad-boys of the Scottish. Lowlanders are very Scottish and we’re on the frontlines of wars with England, but they also had to deal with England more in a general way every day, especially the Borderlanders (who lived on the border).

I think Scottish heroes became really popular partially due the 90’s movies Braveheart and Rob Roy. Interestingly, William Wallace was a lowlander and Rob Roy was a highlander.

At least that’s the way I understand it.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna,

Thank you for clearing this up. Yes, Scottish/Highlander HR I’ds very popular if my feed is an idecator.

I don’t hate these books, but I’m just not that attracted to them. Unlike other books that appear in my feed, I add very very few of these compared too other titles that I add bec my friends are reading and I find them appealing.

I think there is some truth to what you say why these books are popular—the Braveheart/Rob Roy effect. I didn’t see either of these movies, but they were big films.


message 16: by Priya (new)

Priya (priyachennareddy) | 1544 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Mods,

Would you be interested in considering a challenge that runs from month to month with the purpose of knocking out books that one just can’t get around to reading?

If a month is 31 days long..."


All of us, here, have ever-growing tbr pile. Knocking off a few sounds interesting. Please share details of this challenge.


message 17: by Priya (new)

Priya (priyachennareddy) | 1544 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "For RATA: I was confused by having 1) Scottish and; 2) Highlander"

I was confused too, intially. Later I understood that all highlanders are scottish but not all scottish are highlanders. Like Joanna said, there are lowlanders ( I thought these people lived near the border). But I still find it tough to find non-highlander scottish books.


message 18: by Jan (new)

Jan (jan130) | 1964 comments I am doing both challenges and enjoying them. I haven't kept up fully with the RAA but I'm still in and liking it. I'm probably going to have to update my series challenge books (again) and maybe change up my level. But, yeah, I'd do both again in 2019. With the RAA, it would be good if the message listing links to our personal trackers could be message #1 so you don't have to keep scrolling to find your own tracker.


message 19: by Cath (new)

Cath | 283 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Joanna,

It’s really confusing for me bec highlander/Scottish HR aren’t what I read very often, so when I saw both in the challenge, I w..."


Thank you! I always find the terminology confusing and just thought all terms were synonymous. Going forward, when I read one from this category now, this info will make my reading experience much richer


message 20: by Priya (last edited Aug 01, 2018 11:03PM) (new)

Priya (priyachennareddy) | 1544 comments Jan130 wrote: "..With the RAA, it would be good if the message listing links to our personal trackers could be message #1 so you don't have to keep scrolling to find your own tracker.


We have a participants' list on the first page of the challenge thread, after the challenge rules and Ally's sample tracker (message#6). Clicking on your name in this list will take you directly to your tracker post. Because Ally and I are in different time zones, I had to post the participant's list a day later.

Next year we will make sure it comes right after the rules post.


message 21: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 2261 comments I love both of the challenges this year!

I enjoy reading series, so including a series challenge definitely works for me.

I prefer the RATA challenge broken up into months. In previous years, it seems like some people completed by July and others gave up by October (including me). With the division by month, it encourage's interaction about books in a specific time period all year long.

I am not sure if there are any specific genres left out. How far in the past should a book be set to be considered historical romance? I might consider something set more recently, such as during one of the world wars.


message 22: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Mariana wrote: "I love both of the challenges this year!

I enjoy reading series, so including a series challenge definitely works for me.

I prefer the RATA challenge broken up into months. In previous years, it ..."


Thanks Mariana. I like it broken it up too. The only downside is people joining mid-year.

We have a twentieth century category. Should it be less broad, maybe?



I think a Renaissance theme would be a good replacement for 17th Century other than England. Most of the recommendations I received were set during the renaissance.


message 23: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 2261 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Mariana wrote: "I love both of the challenges this year!

I enjoy reading series, so including a series challenge definitely works for me.

I prefer the RATA challenge broken up into months. In pre..."


I like the idea of Renaissance theme.

Although I have not joined mid-year, I do not see it as a downside when divided by month. If it is a total number of themes for the entire year, people who join in July or August will feel they can't catch up. Only planning Out Future months, I would think would work for any.


message 24: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Mariana wrote: "Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "Mariana wrote: "I love both of the challenges this year!

I enjoy reading series, so including a series challenge definitely works for me.

I prefer the RATA challenge ..."


Thanks Mariana :-) ... I agree, just throwing it out there to see if there is dissenters.


message 25: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
One consideration, and I think this is becoming more prominent in this genre, is a Diversity category, perhaps. Something to support marginalized groups, LGTBQ or lead character(s) from races/ethnicity outside the typical found in HR. What do you all think of that?


message 26: by Lorien (new)

Lorien | 389 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "One consideration, and I think this is becoming more prominent in this genre, is a Diversity category, perhaps. Something to support marginalized groups, LGTBQ or lead character(s) from races/ethni..."

I love this idea.


message 27: by Jan (new)

Jan (jan130) | 1964 comments I love this idea too. And there are more and more HRs out there to pick from that fit into this category.


message 28: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 348 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Mods,

Would you be interested in considering a challenge that runs from month to month with the purpose of knocking out books that one just can’t get around to reading?

If a month is 31 days long..."


I love this idea! I've seen this in another group, but this is the group I'm active in so I've never tried it. My TBR list is getting out of hand. I really don't want a hundred books there that I'll never get to. This would push me to read one that may never make it to the top. ;)

As for the Across the Ages: I loved this challenge even though I won't finish it. Maybe I'll have better luck with it next year. I think a diverse category would be awesome!

I didn't do the series challenge since I've always tended to read books as standalones. However, I have finished at least one series this year and would definitely give that a shot next year.


message 29: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 348 comments BTW, thank you to all the avid book readers who volunteer their time as moderators to keep this group rolling and current. It is my favorite go to place. You've introduced me to authors I've never heard of and some I've never read. It's been a pleasure. :D


message 30: by Lorien (new)

Lorien | 389 comments Maybe we could add a bonus book, something that's been on your tbr for over a year.


message 31: by Jan (new)

Jan (jan130) | 1964 comments Shannon wrote: "BTW, thank you to all the avid book readers who volunteer their time as moderators to keep this group rolling and current. It is my favorite go to place. You've introduced me to authors I've never ..."

Hear hear.


message 32: by Jan (new)

Jan (jan130) | 1964 comments Lorien wrote: "Maybe we could add a bonus book, something that's been on your tbr for over a year."

Yeah that's a good idea too.


message 33: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Shannon wrote: "Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Mods,

Would you be interested in considering a challenge that runs from month to month with the purpose of knocking out books that one ..."


Can you point us to the group with the challenge? I would like to peek and see how it’s done.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna,

I still need to send you information about the “Dusty TBR Books” game that I mentioned in an earlier post on this thread.

I have to find the info in the archive folder in another group. It’s still there, I just have to find it.


message 35: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Midniteillusion wrote: "I've been doing both of the series this year and I'm enjoying them. RAA is so much fun, I love having to get out of my Regency rut and read other books I have on TBR or ones I've never thought out...."

Thanks Midnite! Great thoughts!

First question, is anything preventing participants from using LGBTQ books for their categories?

We can consider upping to 36, but it’s starting to sound like a lot at that point. Not necessarily opposed, but curious if anyone would participate over 24 books. Would they tie to the month categories?

Love the idea of including more LGBTQ. I actually mentioned something similar in message 25, but it was just one category and more broad. Another idea we could consider: Allow 4 to 6 alternative options. So if you want to read 24, but there are a few categories that don’t work for you, you can switch it out with a LGBTQ or other marginalized group?


message 36: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new)

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 4060 comments Mod
Midniteillusion wrote: "I've been doing both of the series this year and I'm enjoying them. RAA is so much fun, I love having to get out of my Regency rut and read other books I have on TBR or ones I've never thought out...."

Oh and on the series option, I do think we should consider tweaking the levels. Suggestions on what they should be? Considering that most participants are at the highest level, it would be appropriate to rebaseline based on how we read!


message 37: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Sep 11, 2018 02:39AM) (new)

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments For the RATA I read an M/M Romance that was HR.

I didn’t see any restriction from doing so.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments The reading of 24 books is a lot for me. I actually had to miss some months. I think I’d go down in flames trying to read 36 books.


message 39: by Lorien (new)

Lorien | 389 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "The reading of 24 books is a lot for me. I actually had to miss some months. I think I’d go down in flames trying to read 36 books."

Agreed, I could read that many, but it would defiantly restrict me from reading out side the challenge.

But then of course, we all set our own limits, I never thought I'd get around to reading all 24 of this challenge.


message 40: by Debby*BabyDee (new)

Debby*BabyDee | 659 comments I liked both challenges and would be interested in a TBR for RATA. I piled up quite a bit of series reads i would like to knock out next go round.

Tryng to read more than 24 bookswould definitely put restrictions on other reading for me.

I do like the suggestion about the other group challenge though. Thx


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