All We Want for Christmas Is….

OK, OK, It’s not just you we love. (Although we do love you.) But AAR staffers have other things on their holiday list and we thought we’d share them! (This would also be a great time to remind our readers that we are able to stay online by the money we make on our affiliate links and we are beyond grateful when you use them!) Happy holidays!


Dabney: I’m not a big nonfiction reader but I am dying to read Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. This book was released less than a month ago and it’s gotten tons of buzz from NPR, the NYT, and more. In many ways, the Wilder books defined pioneer America for generations. Laura, Mary, Pa, Ma, Silver Lake, Alonzo–almost 50 years after first immersing myself in the Little House books, I […]

By | 2017-12-17T10:15:15+00:00 December 17th, 2017|Categories: All About Romance, Christmas, gifts|2 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Em’s List

It’s hard to believe 2017 is coming to a close. As I review, I make a diligent effort to shelve books I think are ‘best’ compared to other books I’ve read, and this year – much like last year – historical romance dominates.  I also think it’s important to note that while I generally prefer to ‘read’ my books, three audiobooks top my Best of 2017 list.  The books are terrific, the audio versions are transcendent.  Without further ado, my favorite romance novels of 2017 are:


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, narrated by Christian Coulson

I loved TGGTVAV when I read it and awarded it a DIK in my review.  I didn’t think the audio version could improve on the text… but boy was I wrong.  Christian Coulson (you know him as the […]

By | 2017-12-15T16:46:05+00:00 December 16th, 2017|Categories: Best of List, EmAAR, Romance, Romance reading|Tags: |12 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Mandy’s List

I didn’t get to do a great deal of reading in 2017, but here’s a quick run-down of my favorites from the books I did manage to read this year!


White Hot and Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

If I had to describe the Hidden Legacy series in one go, it would go something like this: crackling chemistry between leads, and super-crafted suspense plot. This is how Urban Fantasy should be written, no questions about it. The husband and wife team writing these books also know how to write some great secondary characters and give them enough backstory to turn them into real three dimensional characters, not just sidekicks. I waited a really long while for White Hot and Wildfire after Burn for Me – nearly three years. Both books came out in 2017 back-to-back, so that […]

By | 2017-12-13T20:55:18+00:00 December 14th, 2017|Categories: Best of List, Mandy AAR, Romance reading|Tags: |8 Comments

Give Me Your Hands If We Be Friends: An Alexis Hall guest post (and giveaway!)

So let’s talk about handjobs.

By which I mean, let’s ramble discursively about the problematically different weights that our culture attaches to different forms of sexual activity and how it relates some of the choices made in the structure of How to Blow It with a Billionaire.

I will confess, one of the many things I felt slightly apprehensive about when I turned in the manuscript for Blow was that its emotional climax takes place in a scene where the only sexual contact is a handjob. The thing about writing is that it’s very much an exercise in navigating expectations, and I’m pretty sure one of the usual expectations is that your payoff is going to involve a bit more than a guy touching another guy’s dick for a bit. But stay with me. I think I knew what I was doing. I mean, I hope I did. Oh dear.

Romance, at its core, […]

By | 2017-12-12T09:29:11+00:00 December 12th, 2017|Categories: giveaways, Guest Posts|Tags: , |15 Comments

Not Quite Woke

Society is becoming woke to the decades, centuries – millennia – that women have endured as silent victims of a predatory culture. This is a good thing.

But such birth does not come without pain and blood. As the pendulum swings in a corrective direction, the risk that it will swing too far is real. Indeed, some have questioned if it is not already too late.

What is the danger of extremism in our reactions?

Innocent men who find their reputations destroyed, their careers damaged or erased, their lives upended beyond repair based on the word of another given absolute, priority value. Accusations equal to physical evidence or objective corroboration. Guilt presumed over innocence. An abandonment of any sense of due process. The failure to allow the accused to face his accuser.

A witch-hunt mentality that heightens skepticism regarding any and all claims of abuse. The potential of coming full circle as suspicion of motives and fear of accusation-used-as-weapon causes people to cast victims as villains. Uncertainty […]

By | 2017-12-11T08:00:00+00:00 December 11th, 2017|Categories: AAR Jenna, Real Life|55 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Keira’s List

And it’s that time of the year again, when I have to agonize over which books to remove from a list that started out as long as my arm.

It’s a good problem to have, meaning I read wonderful books this year. Other than romance, I read nonfiction, general fiction, literary fiction, and children’s picture books. However, for the list here for AAR, I have included only romance and general fiction with a romantic subplot.

So in no particular order, my Best of 2017…


Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne

Bourne is currently my favorite historical romance writer. Her writing, so delicately nuanced like a finely-honed, well-balanced blade, has captured my imagination like no other romance writer ever has. How does she envisage such intricacy of emotion and personality for her characters, such complexity of plot, and above all, such precision in […]

By | 2017-12-08T17:11:21+00:00 December 9th, 2017|Categories: Best of List, Keira Soleore, Romance reading|Tags: |31 Comments

What the World Needs is a Queer Nora Ephron by Lilah Suzanne

A kiss can lead to so many unexpected things…especially one that takes place under the mistletoe. Join authors Killian B. Brewer, Pene Henson, Erin Finnegan, Lilah Suzanne, and Lynn Charles as they explore the most tantalizing literary kisses and their lasting impact in books in this new series, Standing Under the Mistletoe with Interlude Press. Every day from December 4th to December 8th, HEA USA Today, The Book Smugglers, LGBTQ Reads, All About Romance, and The Mary Sue will feature a new article from each author of the LGBTQ+ holiday themed collection, If the Fates Allow (out now from Interlude Press).

This is the one for All About Romance. Woo hoo!


I’m cheating.

I know, I know. There is an unbreakable rule in romance novels and that rule is: No cheating. That and, of course, the all-important happily ever after rule. I have to admit that I have always had a tendency to […]

By | 2017-12-06T21:25:33+00:00 December 7th, 2017|Categories: Guest Posts, Queer romance|3 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Lisa’s List

2017 has brought a lot of wonderful romance and a lot of wonderful literature into my life.  Here’s a list of my favorite reads of the year!


Falling For Trouble by Sarah Title

Have I mentioned that I love Sarah Title and think she writes the best light hearted humorous small town romances I’ve ever seen in my life?  This one’s the story of a failed rock star and a small town librarian, and it’s amazing.

Buy Now: A/BN/iB/K

Beauty Like The Night by Joanna Bourne

Bourne’s spy romances have become breathtaking treats and this sixth installment in her Spymasters series absolutely doesn’t slow down for a second.  Severine is a […]

By | 2017-12-08T17:09:16+00:00 December 5th, 2017|Categories: Best of List, Lisa F, Romance reading|Tags: |12 Comments

Romancing it Royally – Some of our favourite Royal Romances

With the recent engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, royal romance is on our minds. Here are some of AAR’s favorite royal stories, real and fictional, for anybody else in the mood.


Caz: One of the things that made the books that make up Lilah Pace’s His Royal Secret/His Royal Favorite duology such great reads is that the author chose to set her story in a Britain I was able to easily recognise as the one in which I live while at the same time creating a very believable ‘alternate’ Royal Family. (There’s none of that carving off bits of Scotland and giving them names that sound like supermarket chains or making the Isle of Man into a separate country!) In Ms. Pace’s version of Britain, the House of Hanover […]

The Best of 2017 – Maggie’s List

2017 has not been a good reading year for me. So far, I have read only 110 books, while I typically average about 150.  The majority of the books I read that were published in 2017 were Women’s Fiction and mystery titles; romances comprised probably a quarter of what I perused. Adding to my woes is the fact that several of my go-to authors published downright lackluster fare this year. But there is some light at the end of this tunnel. Easily the most impressive, scintillating and addictive of the novels I read was Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner. If you haven’t read it yet, rush out and buy it. It’s absolutely fabulous. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a drop of romance. Not one teensy-tiny little bit.  Fortunately, I can recommend a few other books which are romantic, if not always romance, and which are well worth reading.

By | 2017-12-08T17:09:33+00:00 December 1st, 2017|Categories: Best of List, Maggie AAR, Romance reading|Tags: |16 Comments