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.
The American Earl by Joan Wolf
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. […]
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 […]
I 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? […]
Before 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. […]
With this week’s episode, The Locomotive Manipulation, The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler officially became one of my favorite couples ever.
I’ve been a fan of The Big Bang Theory from episode one, appreciating the quirky characters and silly humor supplied by producer Chuck Lorre, the amazing writing staff, and the hugely talented cast of actors. But it was the introduction of Mayim Bialik’s Amy Farrah Fowler as a romantic foil for the seemingly asexual Sheldon Cooper (played by the exquisite Jim Parsons) that really kicked the show up a notch, if you ask my opinion. The evolving relationship between these two characters has proven an absolute delight, and I would say it is one of the best examples ever of the will-they-or-won’t-they tease ever depicted on a TV program. […]
Tessa Dare, a perennial favorite here at AAR, releases her latest novel, Romancing the Duke, today. […]