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 […]

Coming Soon… in April and May

The question “What books are you looking forward to reading over the next couple of months?” is the sort of thing we love here at AAR.  We’re always on the lookout for our next great read, so here are a few of the upcoming releases we’re keen to read in April and May.


Anne

The Girl With The Make-Believe Husband: A Bridgertons Prequel by Julia Quinn (30 May)

First, it’s Julia Quinn, and it’s a Bridgertons prequel. Second, the plot sounds really fun — an amnesia twist and a heroine traveling to the Colonies.  A/BN/iB/K


Caz

A Warriner to Protect Her by Virginia Heath (18 Apr)

I was pleased to discover a really good new author of […]

Best of 2016: Anne’s List

My reading year in 2016 was more of a blast to the past than most years, but that wasn’t for a lack of trying. Still, I read some 2016 books. I finally started reading Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series, and domestic thrillers. I also found that even the strangest dimensions can hide epic love stories.

empty-netGuided by the reviews on AAR, I bought lots of historicals. But it was the contemporaries that won me over this time. Thanks to Emily Wittmann’s review of Empty Net by Avon Gale, I started reading my first hockey m/m romance Really, my first hockey romance, period. Then I realized I’d like it a lot more if I read the previous book in the series, so I went back and bought Power Play. I’ll have to get back to Empty Net later!

And if it hadn’t been for LinnieGayl’s review, I never would have thought to read The Girl from Summer Hill […]

By | December 26th, 2016|Categories: Anne AAR, Best of 2016|8 Comments

Alex Markov: Dreamboat or Douchebag?

In another of our occasional series in which we discuss the merits – or lack thereof – of fictional heroes and heroines, AAR staffers turn their attention to Alex Markov of Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

The book taps into the classic “arranged marriage” trope. The two protagonists, Daisy and Alex, are blackmailed into marriage by a third party: Daisy’s dad. Daisy agrees in order to avert legal trouble and avoid prison. For Alex Markov, this was his year for paying off big debts, first with his deathbed promise to Owen Quest to take the circus out for its last season under the Quest name, and then by agreeing to marry Max’s daughter. In all these years Max had never asked one thing of him as repayment for having saved Alex’s life, but when he’d finally gotten around to it, he’d asked for a doozy. […]

It’s a VERY big sale at Harlequin!

Like many other romance fans, I’d heard about the big Harlequin sale that started on November 10. Harlequin has been selling eBook editions for 10 years. They’re celebrating by having a big sale. Really big. 10,000 titles will be available for $1.99, until November 17. You can buy directly from Harlequin, or from other retailers — including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. To make it easier for you book addicts, Harlequin has a page where you can search for your favorite authors (and titles) to find out if those books are included. Hint: They probably are.

At first, I was reluctant to click any of the links. (“Books, Anne. Booooks,” they said.) I told myself that I still had Harlequin eBooks (and print books) to read. I shouldn’t be buying more. I used to buy eBooks from Harlequin’s site all the time, but that was back in my eBookwise days. These days, I keep my eBook shopping between Amazon and B&N, and […]

By | November 13th, 2015|Categories: Anne AAR, Book news, Books, Romance reading|Tags: |9 Comments

A Tale of Two Evanoviches

evanovich These days, the shelves are full of children (and sometimes nieces and nephews) of famous writers carrying on the torches for their famous parents. It’s not a new phenomenon, but it’s booming. Dick Francis’ son Felix started collaborating with his father on novels, and after his father died in 2010, Felix carried on — he is now listed as the sole author rather than the co-author on more recent books. Clive Cussler’s son Dirk Cussler is now the co-author on the more recent Dirk Pitt novels. Fans who avoid books with a “Dreaded Co-author” seem more likely to pick up books co-authored by a relative. My father is a big Clive Cussler fan, but he isn’t crazy with the series written with less well-known co-authors. However, he has no problem with the Dirk Pitt novels co-written by Dirk Cussler. I’m sure many other fans feel the same way when the co-author has the same last name.

Like Dirk Cussler, Todd McCaffrey has also carried on the family torch. He collaborated with his mother, Anne McCaffrey, on Pern books, starting from about 2003, and he has been listed as both sole author and co-author on Pern books since, with the latest collaboration coming out in 2012. Before this, Todd published SF on his own, as both Todd Johnson and Todd McCaffrey. Like Todd, Brian Herbert was writing before the death of his famous father, Frank Herbert, in 1986. Now, Brian is best known for co-authoring Dune sequels and prequels with Kevin J. Anderson. And in October of this year, Anne Hillerman (Tony Hillerman’s daughter) will be coming out with a new Leaphorn and Chee novel. […]

By | July 15th, 2013|Categories: Anne AAR, Authors, Books|Tags: , , , |17 Comments

Sometimes It's Hard to be a Fan of Romance AND Sci-Fi

A_wanderer_dancing_the_dance_of_stars_and_space The romance community certainly has its kerfuffles, and some of it – such as the pointing of fingers at reviewers and calling them bullies – can get frustrating. Yet in the past few weeks, I’ve been grateful for romance. That’s because the science fiction and fantasy field has started to look really screwed up recently.

It all started when the SFWA Bulletin, the official publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), came out with a Red Sonja cover — complete with warrior woman in illogical armor and, of all things, high heels. (You can see it in this post. Who in their right mind would wear that armor in a snowy environment?) There were other problems as well, and when writers complained, they were shot down, accused of being fascists, “anonymous” complainers, and so forth. All this resulted in a rebuttal column that created huge firestorm resulting in the president of SFWA posting an apology and too much backlash to go over in a paragraph. The whole picture is complicated, and you can read more here. The long and short of it is that some SF/fantasy writers revealed themselves to be jerks (not really a shock in some cases). The only thing that kept it from being a complete cesspool was that so many writers fought against the misogyny and racists. Yet the jerks still left a smudge all over SF and fantasy. […]

AAR Staff Top 10 Favorites – Anne's Picks

defynottheheart My first thought when I heard about this was “Eek! Only ten?” These picks are in no particular order, and some make no sense when I look at them. But these were the books I often think of when I try to pick favorites — often because they influenced me so much. Sadly, some of the romances I loved the most have titles like “That old Silhouette where the hero helped the heroine recover from an abusive childhood. Or something. I think it was blue.”

If I left your book off the list, don’t feel bad. It might be one of dozens of runner-ups. Or maybe it was one of those books I’ve been trying to remember for years. Was your book blue?

1) Defy Not the Heart by Johanna Lindsey

This book broke rules and yet still managed to be classic Lindsey, without being classic Lindsey that involved Viking slave collars and the like. Even the sex was mediocre at first, until the hero found out how to make it better for the heroine. That was a great touch. But I’ll always remember this book for the gay lady’s maid Theo. An unexpected find in a Medieval. Sure, the hero and heroine fought a lot. This is a Lindsey, right? Was it PC? Come on! This is a Lindsey! […]

Random Penguins, Part Deux

penguin-random-house Last November, I blogged about the possible Random House and Penguin Books merger. Or rather, the merger between German conglomerate Bertelsmann (the owner of Random House) and the parent company of Penguin (the British company Pearson). At the time, the merger had not yet been approved by the regulatory agencies. As controversial as the merger was for some, most experts thought it would be approved and that the newly named Penguin Random House would become reality.

Sure enough, it seems they might be right. One major step has made this huge merger possible. As reported by the New York Times and Publishers Weekly, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the upcoming merger. […]

By | February 21st, 2013|Categories: Anne AAR, Publishing|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Cheap EBooks: Bane, Boon, or Bust for Readers?

If you follow eBook news, you know it’s often all about pricing. From complaints about high prices and allegations of collusion on prices to concerns about cheap eBooks, customers are always keeping their eye on the price. It’s annoying to find that the new eBook you want is $14.99, while the hardback often costs less (including shipping).

To avoid paying too much for eBooks, I check out bargains on the MobileRead Deals, Freebies, and Resources forum every day. The eBook Bargains thread is also hugely popular on AAR’s own Potpourri board. It’s great to find free and bargain eBooks from authors I love, or from authors I’ve been wanting to read. Not long ago, I got nostalgic and gladly bought some Newberry Award winners for $1.99 each because the books reminded me of those great trips to the school library. Of course, I also wound up buying some higher priced titles because I just had to get a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond again. […]

By | November 14th, 2012|Categories: Anne AAR, E-books, Publishing|Tags: , , |15 Comments