Chatting with Julie Anne Long

Today we’re talking with Julie Anne Long. Wild at Whiskey Creek, the second book in her contemporary series Hellcat Canyon, releases on the 29th of this month. Here’s the blurb:

Everyone knows the Greenleaf family puts the “Hell” in Hellcat Canyon—legend has it the only way they ever leave is in a cop car or a casket. But Glory Greenleaf has a different getaway vehicle in mind: her guitar. She has a Texas-sized talent and the ambition (and attitude) to match, but only two people have ever believed in her: her brother, who’s in jail, and his best friend . . . who put him there.

Sheriff Eli Barlow has secretly been in love with Glory since he was twelve years old. Which is how he knows her head is as hard as her heart is soft—and why she can’t forgive him for fracturing her family . . . or forget that night they surrendered to an explosive, long-simmering passion. But when a betrayal threatens Glory’s big break, Eli will risk everything to make it right . . . because the best way to love the girl from Whiskey […]

Nov TBR Challenge

countessshshameless When I started reading romance, I stuck almost entirely to historicals and romantic suspense. When I saw this month’s TBR Challenge prompt, I knew I had no shortage of historical reading in my closet o’TBR. I decided to go with a new-to-me author and picked up Liana LeFey’s 2012 debut, Countess So Shameless. This Georgian historical, set in France and England during the reign of George II, has enough intelligence and unique characterization to keep me reading but also enough eyeroll-inducing plot twists to make it difficult for me to recommend.

The novel opens at Versailles where the teenaged Melisande Compton has come to court with her French mother and English father. We learn very quickly that this isn’t entirely a pleasure visit and while in France, Melisande learns a dangerous and devastating family secret. Overcome with emotion, she runs headlong into Lord Alessandro Orsini, a rakish diplomat for the Papal States. Though warned early and often by her mother of Alessandro’s unsuitability and danger to properly brought up young women, Melisande finds herself enjoying his company and is quite swept off her feet.

Alessandro feels likewise and when the two cross paths again some years […]

You need to watch this show. Right now.  

crazy-ex-girlfriend-first-season-38605So I didn’t use the show’s name in the title on purpose, because if you’re like me you’d be put off and wouldn’t even read below the break. Which is fine, except you’d be missing one of the most amazing shows currently on TV.

Still here? Okay: the show’s called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – don’t run away!

If you’re anything like me you won’t have seen it (very likely – the ratings suck), you’ll read that, and you’ll think “not in a bajillion years”. That’s what I thought. Show with a title like that? Probably kooky characters who are adorbs even if they’ve got lots of troubles. Love triangles.  Lots of cringing that comes with artificial situations that only happen on TV. Exhausting and phony.

You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, because CEG does all of that. Except it’s not exhausting or phony. It takes every one of those situations and turns them on their heads. It approaches all characters with nuance and honesty, maintains a crackerjack sense of humour, has the most authentically diverse cast on television, depicts mental illness with sincerity and kindness, and punches you right in the gut.

Oh, and it’s a musical.

Rachel Bloom plays Rebecca Bunch, the  crazy ex-girlfriend: […]

By | November 12th, 2016|Categories: Jean AAR, Music, Pop Culture, Television|Tags: , , , |9 Comments

Midweek minis

AAR staffers Kristen, LinnieGayl, Maria Rose, Dabney, and Sara have been hard at work reading and reviewing even more books! Here are their thoughts on some of their most recent reads in another of our occasional series of mini reviews.

Kristen’s Reads:

Semi-Scripted by Amanda Heger

Marisol Gutierrez travels to the U.S. to pitch their nonprofit at a grant conference. The competition is stiff, Marisol is not usually the organization’s spokesperson, and she is especially nervous to do it all in her second language of English, but has stepped in at the last minute and is determined to do well. The future of the organisation depends on getting this grant and the pressure overwhelms Marisol, stealing her of her usual joy and plunging her into a permanent state of panic.

Since she’s in L.A. a few days before she has to begin the conference, she decides to try to attend a taping of her favorite show, a Price is Right-esque competition show. For a whole lot of reasons and plot contrivances, she ends up at the taping and as a guest on a late night chat show instead. […]

By | November 9th, 2016|Categories: Dabney AAR, Kristen D, LinnieGayl AAR, Maria Rose, Mini reviews, Romance, Romance reading, Sara AAR|5 Comments

Meet… Emily Larkin

A few years back I randomly picked up a book called The Spinster’s Secret, by a new-to-me author named Emily Larkin, purely because the premise sounded interesting; a spinster living in a cold, bleak, grey home who writes erotic novels in order to earn enough money to be able to move out and set up on her own, meets a scarred war hero – sent to unmask her – with whom she falls in love. (This was a few years ago, so the spinster/erotic novelist trope wasn’t something I’d come across often, whereas at the moment, that character seems to be in one in every three books I pick up!)

I was captivated by the story and the quality of the writing and eagerly sought out the-spinsters-secretmore books by Ms. Larkin, only to be disappointed to discover there weren’t any 🙁 Fortunately, however, I found she’d written some other historical romances under a pseudonym (books she is soon planning to republish under her own name), and now she’s back with a series of books under the […]

By | November 4th, 2016|Categories: Authors, Caz AAR, giveaways, Historicals, Interviews, Romance, Romance reading|8 Comments

Inspirational Romance: A Roundtable Discussion

Welcome to the AAR Roundtable Discussion on Inspirational Romance novels!

According to RWA these books make up 17% of print sales and 14% of e-book sales of all romance novels sold annually. Reviewers Maggie Boyd, Kristen Donnelly, Lynn Spencer and Caz Owens talk about their first experiences reading Inspirationals–often called Inspys– what draws them to this particular type of book, and how they see the stories overall.

Maggie: When I needed to find a sub-genre I typically didn’t read for a reading challenge back in 2009 I determined to suck it up and read three Inspirational books to complete the challenge. I’d had some bad experiences with a few Inspy novels before so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy them much. I was stunned. Deeanne Gist, Cathy Marie Hake and Lynn Austin penned books I completely loved. I began to expand into more authors and found that the Inspirational market of the last few decades was actually rich with fantastic authors, beautiful stories, and fabulous settings. About a third of the books I read are Inspirationals now.

What is your history with the Inspirational Market? What were the first books or authors you fell in love with?
Caz: The first time I read an Inspirational romance, I didn’t even know it existed as […]

By | October 29th, 2016|Categories: Books, Caz AAR, Kristen D, Lynn Spencer, Maggie AAR, Roundtable|Tags: |11 Comments

Getting the Story: Reporters in Fiction

brenda-starr-3506e6fb9591b9a3When I was growing up there was no way my family could financially afford my reading habit. Honestly, I think a drug addiction might have been cheaper. I was the kind of voracious reader that could on any given school night finish her homework and chores and still have time to finish an entire novel before bedtime. While other kids devoted their Saturday mornings to cartoon watching or playing outside, I was propped up in bed reading whatever I hadn’t finished the night before or starting something new. Sundays I would take the book to church with me so I could read on the drive there and back. The local library was seriously out of date but my mom was desperate and once or twice a week we would walk the streets of our sleepy downtown area and get me my “fix”.  It was through that lovely institution that I was introduced to the intrepid girl reporter via such novels as Dear Lovey Heart, I Am Desperate by Ellen Conford and Promises in the Attic by Elisabeth Hamilton Friermood.

By | October 25th, 2016|Categories: giveaways, Maggie AAR, Mysteries, Reading, Romance reading|16 Comments

Eagerly Awaited November Books

someonetolove In looking over the list of November releases (already?!), one thing stands out – HISTORICALS.  Seriously, this looks like a big historical release month.  Favorites such as Mary Balogh, Elizabeth Hoyt, Sabrina Jeffries and Meredith Duran all have new releases. There are still plenty of contemporaries and other subgenres to go around, but if you’re looking to curl up and go on a trip through time this Thanksgiving, you’ve got options.

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

A new book from this perennially popular author is always an event worthy of a note in my diary, and I’m intrigued by the prospect of a hero who is a bit of a departure from the norm – Caz

The brilliant Ms. Balogh has a new book out in a new series! That’s all I need to know about it before I pick it up. – Keira

This is being described as ‘typical Balogh’ and I can only imagine that’s a good thing! Anna Snow learns she’s not simply a teacher but actually a Lady on the death of her father – and soon must try to navigate romance and society at the same time. – Lisa

I am looking forward to […]

By | October 23rd, 2016|Categories: All About Romance, Eagerly Awaiting, Lynn AAR, Lynn Spencer|15 Comments

Books on Sale – November 2016

You asked for us to let you know what’s on sale next month…. so here you go! We’re working on the format for this, so, feel free to give us suggestions in the comments!

Where possible, titles are linked to Amazon. […]

By | October 21st, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|2 Comments

What should we buy at the huge Harlequin sale?


Harlequin is having their biggest sale ever.From October 18-25, all Harlequin category romance eBooks will be on-sale for just $1.99 each! There are over 18,000+ titles on sale.

That’s a lot of books and it’s hard to choose. So, we’re asking for recommendations. Tell us what are your favorite Harlequin category romances?



By | October 20th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|48 Comments