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|61 Comments

Good Laird! What’s in a name?

So, I’m reading a book that’s pretty decent (my review is either forthcoming or already posted, depending on when this blog post goes live), but there is simply one aspect that I cannot get past.

The hero’s name is Laird.


When my eye catches it, I want to read “Lard” but then I think harder, and still all I can come up with is that Laird is the title used when referring to Scottish lords in historical romances. Except the story I’m reading is a new adult set in modern USA. Aye, it’s verra strange, dinna ye think, lassie?

What is with authors and the way that they name characters these days, especially the guys? I once reviewed a book where the hero’s name was Rome, and he was a member of a pack […]

By | 2017-09-29T17:03:51+00:00 September 30th, 2017|Categories: AAR Jenna, Books, Characters, Heroes, Reading, Romance, Romance reading|18 Comments

Heroes in Real Time

I admit that I love to read romance novels for pretty much one reason – the swoon-worthy heroes. Be they Navy SEALs, roguish pirates, Scottish warriors or powerful tycoons, their confidence and swagger and charm all draw me in and allow me to escape to a fantasy world where the good guy will always save the day.

Given all of the recent turmoil in our world, what with hurricanes and political tempests galore, it’s tempting to escape into those fantasies as much as possible. But every once in a while, I’m reminded that real heroes walk among us. These are the guys and gals who put their lives on the line every day to help a stranger. They go in when others are rushing out. They serve as real-life examples to our sons and daughters of the best that humanity has to offer.

Below are photos of these super folks in action. We tip our hats and thank them profusely for their selfless heroism. And, if they don’t mind, we may do a […]

By | 2017-09-15T16:23:03+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Categories: AAR Jenna, All About Romance, Heroes, Heroines, Real Life|3 Comments

The Book Blind Taste Test #2

Welcome again to our new semi-regular feature wherein a group of AAR staffers challenge themselves to pick up a book by an author they’ve never read before, either one they’ve never heard of or one they’ve been meaning to get to, and give it at least fifty pages. For AAR, our additional rule is that the book involves women; written by one or has one as a protagonist.This time round Kristen, Melanie, and Jenna give their choices a go, with mixed results.


Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
Sci Fi/Urban Fantasy

Summary: The world is particularly fascinating – running on souls, our heroine, Kai, builds gods to order for worshipers to follow, but when one of those creations is dying, Kai risks her own life to try and save it. The book jumps between Kai’s story and that of Izza, a 15-year-old responsible for what appears to be a gang of street kids, who acts as priestess/storyteller, and the winged woman, Cat, she finds on the street, […]

By | 2017-08-17T18:50:00+00:00 August 19th, 2017|Categories: AAR Jenna, Kristen D, Melanie AAR, Reading, Romance reading|2 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 […]

AAR Picks the Best of 2014

(This column will not be the only piece we run on the best books of 2014. We will still run a separate Buried Treasures piece and several staff members will be sharing their lists of the best books they read this year.)

Each year, we ask the AAR staff to pick one book as the best romance published this year. Here are our picks for 2014:

MiMaggieMambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok was my number one read of 2014. I loved the Cinderella nature of the tale, the unique look into Chinese-American culture, the heroine Charlie and her irrepressible spirit and generosity and the gentle, hopeful nature of the love story. So few books do a good job of capturing what it’s like to be a first generation American but this novel, reviewed here,  captured it perfectly.

LeaWILaYWhat I Love About You by Rachel Gibson. These days I tend to […]

Mr. Darcy: Douchebag or Dreamboat? (a new series at AAR)

Welcome to the AAR Douchebag or Dreamboat series, in which AAR staffers take famous literary heroes to trial for perceived slights, misdemeanors and otherwise unsavorybehaviours. Are they a victim of their circumstances, time and/or personality, or are they just plain douchey?

Mr. Darcy:  Imperious Misanthrope or Just a Shy Guy






By | 2017-06-23T08:30:28+00:00 July 14th, 2014|Categories: AAR Jenna|Tags: , |20 Comments

Summer Resolutions

reading-vintageNew Years Eve is the traditional time for most people to make resolutions; plans they have to improve their lives, old habits they’d like to break, more healthful habits they’d like to adopt. Some people make bucket lists of things they’d like to accomplish or experience over the course of the coming year. This is all well and good, but I’ve never found myself compelled to jump on the New Year resolution bandwagon. Part of this could be my overall feeling that New Years is an overhyped holiday, and after a solid month of holiday merry-making, I really want nothing to do with any of it. […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:28+00:00 June 23rd, 2014|Categories: AAR Jenna|Tags: , |8 Comments

It Has a Name: The Comma Splice

Comma Police“Among the signs that more particularly betray the uneducated writer is inability to see when a comma is not a sufficient stop. Unfortunately little more can be done than to warn beginners that any serious slip here is much worse than they will probably suppose, and recommend them to observe the practice of good writers.”

 – H.W. Fowler, The King’s English, 2nd ed.  1908.

It’s been over three decades since I was an elementary school student, so I admit that things could have changed in the years since I learned the basics of proper English punctuation. I also sort-of agree with my husband’s philosophy that, as long as a person is able to clearly get across the message he or she intends to communicate, over-focusing on details such as correct spelling and recognizable sentence structure might make one a fussy, pedantic priss.

That said, I find myself scratching my head at what appears to be complete anarchy when it comes to comma usage by […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:29+00:00 May 9th, 2014|Categories: AAR Jenna|Tags: , |61 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. […]