July TBR Challenge – Catch Up on a Series (or Not)

For this month’s challenge, we were called upon to pick a book from a series we’re behind on. One of us followed instructions and the other? Well, we at least tried to stay in the spirit of things.

Again My Lord by Katharine Ashe

I had a bit of a struggle to find a book to suit this month’s prompt to read a book in a series I’m behind on, because I’m pretty much caught up with all the ones I’m currently following.  There are some I haven’t started yet, but I wanted to try to stick to the prompt and finally, I came up with Again, My Lord, the second book in Katharine Ashe’s Twist series.  In the two books in the series so far, she’s taken a couple of well-known movie plots as her starting points and adapted them into historical romances which, while certainly out of the […]

The Book Blind Taste Test – Pick a book… any book…

I have always loved libraries, but I admit I had fallen out of the habit of using my local one recently. One of my dear friends is a middle school librarian and she (appropriately) shamed me a bit for it, telling me the best way to make sure libraries stay around and keep their funding is to use them. So, a few months back, I started building weekly trips to my local temple of knowledge into my schedule and added a particular challenge to myself. I would walk directly to the New Releases section and pick up the first book by an author I didn’t recognize.

This has led to some real gems (Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinsborough was one) and some duds (which I will leave out for politeness). I told the AAR Staff about my new project and several of them jumped on board, saying it sounded like a great challenge. So many other staffers joined me, in fact, that we’ve decided to make it a regular blog.

The […]

Avon Gale and Roan Parrish on Heart of the Steal (and a giveaway!)

The authors are giving away a copy of this ebook to two lucky AAR readers. Make a comment below to be entered in our drawing!

Step 1. Brainstorming

Roan: Heart of the Steal was born in a moving truck, on a hot as hell August day in the South. Well, that’s not entirely true—it had existed before, IN AVON’S TWISTED BRAIN.

Avon: Yes! And it was very convoluted and involved a side plot with a serial killer. Which is just what you want in your opposites-attract romance novel, right? I was having a lot of problems with the story and wanted to talk it out with Roan, and what I was really in love with about the story was the characters far more than my plot. When I was talking it out with her, she immediately started giving me such great ideas, especially for Vaughn, and I just knew that she had to write […]

A guest post by Aussie Author Louise Cusack

Hello, everyone! I’m thrilled to have the chance to guest blog for AAR and to share my Husband Series with you.

This four-book series of sexy romance novels is about four girlfriends who are indispensable in each others’ lives (the same way my own girlfriends are vital to my happiness). My characters: Jill, Angela, Louella and Fritha drive each other crazy, but they’re there for each other, no matter what, delivering hugs or tough-love as the situation requires! The series is set in Australia, where I live, so I’ve showcased our great landscape, from the glitzy glamor of Sydney and Surfers Paradise to the dry, dusty outback and the lush beauty of Byron Bay and Belandera. Then there are the men who fall in love with my girls… Anyone who’s ever drooled over a Hemsworth will understand what there is to like about Aussie men, and I’ve thrown in a Brit bad […]

By | 2017-07-10T07:43:04+00:00 July 10th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Guest Posts|4 Comments

Mourning dress in Jane Austen’s time: A guest post by Candice Hern

This month marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. With that in mind, I thought I’d tell you a bit about mourning customs of that time, specifically in terms of fashion. The prints shown are from my own collection.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, when a family member died, it was important to honor that person with a public display of mourning. Black clothing was a public show of respect. We do that today by wearing black or dark clothing to funerals, though even that is no longer considered important. But the Georgians, and especially the Victorians, wore mourning clothes for much longer than one day. Sometimes, for widows in particular, mourning clothes may have been worn for a year or more. Queen Victoria wore black mourning dresses for 40 years after the death of her husband, Prince Albert.

Figure 1: Ackermann’s Repository of […]

By | 2017-07-06T10:47:53+00:00 July 6th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Fashion, Guest Posts|Tags: , |10 Comments

Exploding the Cold Shower Myth

The cold shower is the romance novel male equivalent of the internal hymen: you see it in books so frequently that you probably don’t notice it anymore, but when you stop to think about it, something’s off. In fact, everything is off. The cold shower, it seems, is just as grounded in reality as the mythical internal hymen.

What is the cold shower? Here are just a few of the many, many examples:

After ogling the heroine Jennifer, the hero Cletus reflects:

A cold shower was in order. And yoga. And then another cold shower. – Beard Science by Penny Reid

After ogling the heroine Lucy, the hero Zack reflects:

He needed a shower. A cold one. – Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie

After ogling the heroine Emma, the hero Connor reflects that if he couldn’t

take a cold shower, he’d have to settle for cold drinks. And maybe he should just pour the next one one in his lap, where it would do the […]

By | 2017-07-03T18:28:01+00:00 July 4th, 2017|Categories: Caroline AAR, Real Life, Romancelandia|2 Comments

The AAR Seventeen in 17 Reading Challenge – July Update

Blimey – where has the first half of the year gone?!  Heading into the back half, here’s the place to share your thoughts about the good – and not so good – books you’ve been ticking off your TBR courtesy of AAR’s  Seventeen in 17 Reading Challenge.  Now that the message boards are up and running again, we’ve decided to move this back over there, so CLICK HERE to share your progress and thoughts on the books you’ve read from July and the rest of 2017.

It’s still 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 | 2017-07-02T21:50:00+00:00 July 3rd, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|1 Comment

Avon Gale on queer representation in sports romance.

Hi! I’m Avon Gale, and I’m here today to talk a little about queer representation in sports romance. As a queer person, and a writer of sports romance, this is obviously a subject near and dear to my heart. My series, Scoring Chances, is set amidst the lives of queer minor league hockey players and coaches in the southern United States. While the ECHL is a professional hockey league, it’s a completely different world from the majors and it brings its own set of challenges for my characters – everything from a hectic schedule, sub-par facilities and (because it’s the south) low-attendance that constantly threatens the security of a team.

Of course I want my characters to have their HEA with their love interest (even if I have to put them through the wringer to get there!) But I need to make sure my characters – who are playing in the lowest […]

By | 2017-06-28T11:07:38+00:00 June 29th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Guest Posts, Queer romance|Tags: , , |11 Comments

All About Romance Celebrates PRIDE 2017


LGBTQ+ PRIDE is celebrated in June in many countries around the world. In the UK we celebrate PRIDE across June / July / August with London Pride Parade being held on 8th July this year. However, there is a good reason why PRIDE events and parades start being commemorated in June – so here’s a little history…

As the gay community blossomed in New York City in the 1960s, they had few places to gather publicly. At the time, it was still illegal to serve gay patrons alcohol, to display homosexuality in public or for two gay people to dance together. Under the guise of New York State’s liquor laws that barred ‘disorderly’ premises, the New York Police Department regularly raided bars that catered to gay patrons and arrested them.

In the early hours of the 28th June 1969, The Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan, NYC was raided by police. One of the few places left for LGBTQ patrons, the tavern was full of […]

By | 2017-06-27T19:06:40+00:00 June 27th, 2017|Categories: BJ Jansen|14 Comments