April TBR Challenge


Under the Lights by Shannon Stacey

Do you like small town romances set in towns that feel like they actually could exist?  If so, you should try reading Shannon Stacey if you haven’t discovered her already. For this month’s multiblog TBR Challenge, I decided to read her 2015 novel, Under the Lights, first in the Boys of Fall series.

When I talk about small towns that feel real, the setup of this book hints at it.  Stewart Mills is not an idyllic little town with financially secure residents shopping in cute, trendy businesses who seemingly do not need to worry about money or deal with commuting to larger cities. In fact, we learn right away that this small New England town has fallen on hard times and may need to cut one of its social staples, the high school football team, if enough money cannot be raised.

Local police officer Kelly McDonnell, the […]

Blame your family! A guest post and a giveaway by Caroline Warfield

Family—can’t live with them, can’t kill them. It seems to me that family is the cradle of our profoundest emotions: love, tenderness, jealousy, anger, envy, and, yes, hate. No one can make us feel as cherished as family. No one can hurt us as badly as family.

Because of that, writers mine family for motivation and internal conflict continually. What is the source of your alpha hero’s angst? Dig into his childhood. Blame his father…or his brother. Why does your heroine believe she is unlovable or incapable? Check out her family of origin. What makes the villain tick? I’m willing to bet it is family or the lack thereof. Heroes and heroines each come from a different family culture. In the end whether it is happily-ever-after or happy-for-now, they are creating a new one. We cheer them on and hope for the best possible future.

After five published novels, […]

By | April 14th, 2017|Categories: Authors, giveaways, Guest Posts|16 Comments

Midweek Minis

Here’s another in our occasional series of mini-reviews.  This time round, Kristen, Lisa and Maria Rose share their thoughts – good and bad – on some of their recent reads.


Kristen:

Playing By Her Rules by Amy Andrews

Y’all, I love me some Amy Andrews books. I especially love her books that involve rugby. This one, the first in her Sydney Smoke series, is about Matilda and Tanner. Once high school sweethearts, the two suffered a traumatic break up when it was time for Matilda to head off to college. Now both back in Australia, Matilda’s been assigned to do a profile on Tanner for her magazine. She’d basically rather perform her own appendectomy with a rusty swiss army knife, but duty calls.

Tanner is a rising star on the Smoke and is a bit of a lad about town. The order to participate in the feature comes from the club’s ownership, and he begrudgingly agrees until […]

By | April 12th, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|5 Comments

Rereading Elizabeth Essex’s Dartmouth Brides

In 2011, I read the first of Elizabeth Essex’s Dartmouth Brides books, The Pursuit of Pleasure. This is Ms. Essex’s debut novel and, especially for a first book, quite good. In my B review I wrote:

I liked James and Lizzie but had a hard time understanding why they made the choices they did. James, in the name of his work, allows Lizzie to suffer tremendously while claiming to love her. Lizzie, bedazzled by sex with James and still hell-bent on being independent, behaves in ways that are at times unsympathetic and flat-out self-destructive. And for all the thinking they do about each other — and Ms. Essex spends a good deal of time relating her characters’ thoughts — neither really sees the other very clearly until, perhaps, the end of the novel. This lack of unambiguous relationship development combined with too little information about their pasts left me feeling unsatisfied. I wanted more […]

By | April 8th, 2017|Categories: Dabney AAR, Re-reading|Tags: , , |1 Comment

A DIKlassic Bookclub: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

As part of our site reboot, we’ve been publishing DIKLassic reviews. These are books that, in the past (at least five years), were DIKs–this means they got an A-, an A, or an A+. I typically pick books that are on sale–I shoot for 3.99 or less for an ebook.

These reviews have been popular and AAR readers often comment on them that they loved being reminded of books they’d forgotten about.

I thought it might be fun to start a bimonthly (every two months) DIKlassic bookclub. We’d suggest a book and then, two months later, chat about it in the comments.

What do you think? And, if you think it’s a good idea, what would you like to read?

 

By | April 6th, 2017|Categories: Dabney AAR, DIK, DIKlassic|35 Comments

The AAR Seventeen in 17 Reading Challenge – April Update

Another month flown by and here’s hoping you’ve packed in some great reads! Here’s the chance to keep track of your reading for the  Seventeen in 17 Reading Challenge and share your thoughts on the books you read throughout April.

It’s not too late to sign up – just head on over to the main Challenge page to have a look at the fabulously varied range of prompts that are sure to provide food for thought for everyone, and get stuck in to your TBR pile!

Now it’s over to you Challengers.  How many books are you going to knock off the TBR pile this month?

By | April 3rd, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|6 Comments

Tale as Old as Time… Our Favourite Beauty and the Beast Stories

When I heard that there was going to be a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson I was incredibly excited. Disney’s cartoon version was a childhood favorite of mine and, even though I was disappointed with the live-action take on Cinderella, I hoped that the the choice to keep the film a musical would help retain some of the original magic.

I saw Beauty and the Beast on opening weekend and I have to say, I loved it. Watson was perfectly cast as the modern Belle, who is just a beautiful as the original, but more strong-willed and inventive. Hearing new takes on the familiar songs brought out the child in me, but I also enjoyed some of the new numbers, particularly the Beast’s heart wrenching song “Evermore”.

Leaving the theater, my first thought (after wanting to download “Evermore” to listen to again) was that I wanted to read something Beauty and the Beast! There are so many fantastic adaptations out there that I knew I could either go […]

Coming Soon… in April and May

The question “What books are you looking forward to reading over the next couple of months?” is the sort of thing we love here at AAR.  We’re always on the lookout for our next great read, so here are a few of the upcoming releases we’re keen to read in April and May.


Anne

The Girl With The Make-Believe Husband: A Bridgertons Prequel by Julia Quinn (30 May)

First, it’s Julia Quinn, and it’s a Bridgertons prequel. Second, the plot sounds really fun — an amnesia twist and a heroine traveling to the Colonies.  A/BN/iB/K


Caz

A Warriner to Protect Her by Virginia Heath (18 Apr)

I was pleased to discover a really good new author of […]

Midweek Minis

Here’s another in our occasional series of mini reviews in which AAR staffers talk about what they’ve read lately.  Not all these books are romances (although most of them are), and some were obviously more well-received than others. Here’s what Kristen, Lisa, Maggie, Maria Rose, Melanie have to say about their recent reads.


Kristen:

We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk

This one is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella – the humor and cultural settings are very similar. Liv and Adam’s Mexican holiday is sure to end in an engagement, or so Liv thinks. They’ve been dating for an age and surely, SURELY, he wouldn’t take her from England to Mexico without a real purpose, right? Well, imagine her shock when instead of giving her a ring, he asks for a pause. Dejected, confused, and heartbroken, they head back to the UK and to their separated lives.

One of this book’s strength […]

By | March 22nd, 2017|Categories: Kristen D, Maggie AAR, Maria Rose, Melanie AAR, Mini reviews, Reading, Romance reading|Tags: |5 Comments

Paige Tyler on unique characters. Plus, a giveaway!

In Her True Match, the feline-shifter heroine Dreya has always felt like a “freak.” She’s surprised—and relieved—when she learns that there are others just like her. There are lots of stories about characters who don’t feel like they fit in with everyone else, but learn to embrace what makes them unique. Here are some of my favorites!


  1. Monster High Series. For anyone who hasn’t read the books or watched the animated series (seriously, are you living under a rock?), it’s about a school for monster kids. Whether it’s Frankie Stein’s stitched-on hands always falling off, or Draculaura’s vegetarian lifestyle getting in the way of her relationship with Clawd, son of the werewolf, the stories are all about people dealing with the things that make them different and unique. But by embracing their freaky flaws, these teens find out it’s what’s inside that matters […]
By | March 20th, 2017|Categories: Authors, giveaways|Tags: , , , |10 Comments