Anthologies, Anyone?

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to read a full-length book, yet you can’t face the prospect of not reading SOMETHING!  An anthology of short stories or novellas can be just the thing to fill that gap; you can dip in and out whenever you feel like it and they can also be a useful way of introducing you to new authors.  We asked AAR staffers to recommend some of their favourites.

Caz:  I’m not the greatest fan of anthologies as in my experience, there tends to be a huge difference in quality and you end up buying a book of three or four stories for just one good one.  Thankfully, with the advent of digital publishing, lots of authors who contribute to anthologies are later able to release their contributions singly, so it’s possible to just snap up the ones you wanted in the first place!

At the Duke’s Wedding by Maya Rodale, Miranda Neville, Caroline Linden and Katharine Ashe is worth buying for the […]

By | September 11th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|3 Comments

A Guest Post and Giveaway from Elizabeth Michels

And they lived happily ever after…

It’s a phrase we all know, an ideal we strive for in our own lives, and one we enjoy reading about again and again.

The promise of a happily ever after is what drew me into romance years ago, first as a reader, then as an author.  The idea that obstacles can be overcome and happiness can be found gave me hope, not only for the characters I was reading about, but also hope for my own life. It still does today.

When I started reading romance novels, my husband had just taken a job back in my hometown, my life was uprooted from what I had known for the past few years, and we were staying with my parents until we could find our own home.  This was when my mom, a librarian and life-long book lover, went blind and needed me more than ever before.  In that straining time, books were there for me, giving me hope.

We all have struggles, but within the pages of a book we can watch struggle come to a tidy end […]

By | September 8th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|5 Comments

Sneak peek at Last Kiss of Summer by Marina Adair

We liked Marina Adair’s new contemporary Last Kiss of Summer. (Here’s our review.) Her publicist sent us an excerpt which, yes!, we are sharing with you.

You can buy the book at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo..

Kennedy rested her elbows on the counter and leaned forward. “You cook, clean, and make house calls? Be still, my heart.”

“I aim to please.” He dried off his hands and brought two steaming mugs of coffee to the counter. “Which is why I was trying to be quiet, so you could get another few minutes of sleep, before I surprised you in bed.” He grinned. It was a wicked grin. “Again.”

Luke had done more than surprise her last night; he’d spoiled her for other men. Sure, he was an incredible lover, but it was the tender moments in between that made her nervous.

This thing between them couldn’t last. She knew that. She also understood that if he was looking for something more permanent, she wouldn’t be the kind of woman to inspire that kind of commitment. […]

By | August 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Midweek Minis – Late Summer edition

In another of our series of mini-reviews, AAR staffers Keira, Maria Rose, Rike and Sara share their thoughts about some of their recent reads.  If you’ve read any of them, what did you think?  And please feel free to share your recommendations with us.

Keira’s Read:

The American Earl by Joan Wolf

Julia Marshall is the daughter of the Earl of Althorpe. Following her father’s rather gruesome death, she now has the burden of the house and the impoverished estate of Stoverton on her young shoulders as well as the future of her younger sister to worry about.

While Julia is struggling to make ends meet at Stoverton, the new earl has been informed of his fortune.  He is an American from Salem and is enormously wealthy, but his wealth comes from a vast shipping business. To him, the earldom is a burden he doesn’t want, and he is reluctant to leave his business to travel all the way to England. Likewise, Julia can’t believe an American will be able to appreciate the responsibilities and duties that go with an earldom.

Joan Wolf does people so well. It is what I enjoy most about her stories. I love how […]

By | August 24th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

TBR Challenge 2016 – Kickin’ It Old School

tangled August’s TBR Challenge prompt is “Kickin’ it old-school” and it’s a prompt I always enjoy as it gives me the opportunity to pick something from the TBR Pile of Doom, which still looms large next to the bed. I went for Tangled by Mary Balogh, a standalone title originally published in 1991 which features a somewhat unusual premise; one I haven’t read before although I’m sure this isn’t the only book to have made use of it. I see that the book has engendered very mixed reactions over the years, and although I can understand why, I enjoyed it, principally because Mary Balogh is so skilled at portraying the emotional lives of her characters in a way that makes them feel very real to the reader.

The book opens as Lady Rebecca Cardwell is saying a fond farewell to her husband, Julian, before he departs with his regiment for Malta, and then the Crimea. He is accompanied by his foster brother, David, Viscount Tavistock, whom she dislikes and blames for Julian’s joining the army. Julian is eagerly reassuring his anxious wife that he will be in no danger, and it’s clear that he is keen to be on his way and sees the whole thing as an adventure. […]

The New Age of the Series – A Reader Rant

Am I crazy but does it feel like every romance novel published today is a part of a series? Almost every new book I pick up has a number after its title.

Is the standalone, single novel becoming extinct? I wonder if a book without a series will one day be a relic of the past similar to what happened to the landline telephone.

The death of the non-series novel might not feel like a big deal to everyone, but the series is starting to wreak havoc with my reading enjoyment. Am I whining? Probably. But I also think I have some valid grievances to address with authors and their publishers.

You (author and publisher) didn’t warn me there is a cliffhanger!

I did my due diligence. I read the book description and even downloaded a sample before buying it. There was no obvious hint that the story would not be resolved by page 289. Instead of an epilogue, I am given a teaser to the story to be continued in the book #X to be released in 18 months.

Please warn me what I getting into, so I can make the informed decision if I want to commit myself to this […]

By | August 10th, 2016|Categories: Books, Reading, Romance reading, Uncategorized|30 Comments

He’s the Ugly Duckling: A Guest Post and a Givewaway from Kathryn Lively

It’s somewhat serendipitous that my romance with Totally Bound, Finish What You Started, has come out around the same time as the print version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. My story, while neither a fantasy nor the final installment of a bestselling franchise, has fandoms like Harry Potter to thank. When we first meet Dash and Gabby, two actors who grew up on TV, they’ve wrapped up a series created to capitalize on the fantasy fandom boom…one about a school quite similar to Hogwarts. After a Vegas elopement, they celebrate their love and independence with plans to build on their respective careers.

Now, this is all in the first chapter, so naturally it doesn’t happen right away. There wouldn’t be a story if they didn’t have obstacles to overcome.

For Dash Gregory, though, a lost love isn’t the only problem in his life. Often we hear stories about the hard times certain former child performers have faced. For every Jodie Foster and Ron Howard who managed to successfully transition to stardom as an adult, there are many others who either leave the business, […]

By | August 3rd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|10 Comments

Chatting with Virginia Kantra about her Dare Island series

CBCarolina Blues, the fourth book in Virginia Kantra’s appealing Dare Island series comes out next month. Today, Virginia talks with AAR about heroes, sex scenes, and happy endings. Virginia is offering the Dare Island novel of his or her choice to three lucky AAR readers. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment.

By | September 12th, 2014|Categories: Authors, Dabney AAR, Interviews, Uncategorized|Tags: , |27 Comments

When Strong is a Stereotype

THE OUTLAW  Poster for 1943 film with Jane Russell directed by Howard HughesI recently came across this wonderful piece by Sophia McDougall called “I hate Strong Female Characters.” McDougall is not referring to female characters with physical and emotional strength (for instance, she likes Buffy and Jane Eyre). Rather, she means the archetypal Strong Female Character, who establishes her “tough” cred through arbitrary rudeness, punching, slapping, kung fu, gunshots, etc. (McDougall calls it “behaviour that, in a male character, would rightly be seen as abusive (or outright murderous)”). Men are more powerful in Hollywood, on which McDougall focuses, but the female-centric world of romance has its share of SFCs, most famously in Lord of Scoundrels but also in some of my recent review books, such as Jo Beverley’s Seduction in Silk and Lilith Saintcrow’s The Red Plague Affair. But what about our heroes? Do we do the same token oversimplification of the other gender that male writers do? Are they strong, or are they Strong? […]

By | March 10th, 2014|Categories: Caroline AAR, Characters, Heroes, Heroines, Uncategorized|38 Comments

Roses are red, violets are blue. Like love poems? Here a few.

love lineBefore romance novels there were love poems. Sometimes sweet, sometimes tender, sometimes raunchy but always intimate and direct. Most love poems are from the author to a specific lover, a genuine communication that wasn’t necessarily intended for commercial  consumption.  That authentic, sincere emotional communication can often capture the essence of love in far fewer lines than a romance novel. And it does so in such a way that it lingers on the mind and tongue in a way that a book often doesn’t. […]