The Best of 2016: Alex’s (belated!) List

If I had to sum up 2016 in a sentence, I’d say it was the year I overestimated myself. It wasn’t a bad year, but as my life got busier, I kept thinking I could still juggle work, reading, and writing as easily as I used to. When I started to get this list together, my thoughts for every entry went something like, “This book! Oh, it was so good! I loved it when I read it back in… back in… huh. I don’t even remember when I read it.” Usually I can tell you exactly when I read my favorite books for the first time, but this year was too crazy for me to keep track of. Between a new job to preparing for graduate school, it’s a wonder I had time to read at all! But I did, and here’s what I loved:


The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I haven’t […]

By | February 20th, 2017|Categories: Alexandra AAR, Best of 2016, Best of List|6 Comments

The Best of 2016: Dabney’s List

2016 was the year I wrote more and read less. I’d have thought reading fewer books would make me easier to please but the opposite proved true. Not many books knocked my socks off in 2016. The ten on this list did.


The Trespasser by Tana French

I’ve been a devotee of Ms. French’s complex, character-driven mysteries since I read her first, In the Woods, almost ten years ago. While my favorite is still Faithful Place, The Trespasser is next on that list. […]

The Best of 2016: Keira’s List

Every time I sit down to write one of these lists, I have to pull up my detailed book spreadsheet that’s my pride and joy, search for my reviews on AAR, and open up my blog where I comment on every book and poem I’ve read. Thus, with all this data on hand, putting this Best Books list together was fun, and I got to look back into exactly why I loved the books that I did.


Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

I delighted in the gossipy tone of Belgravia by Julian Fellowes. Set in early Victorian times, the book is written with the soaring arc of a saga and the delicacy of shifting emotions. At its core are two intense love stories spanning two generations and class boundaries, and the women in this story, through their love for their men, shake up the 19th century aristocracy. The various story threads allowed […]

By | January 20th, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Best of List, Keira Soleore|10 Comments

The Best of 2016: Lisa’s List

I’m closing out my first full year as a reviewer at AAR with a list of my top ten favorite books of 2016!


Twenty Five Mystery Science Theater 3000 Films That Changed My Life In No Way Whatsoever by Frank Conniff

I’m a long-time MiSTie  who has devoured Kevin Murphy and Mike Nelson’s books, and Conniff – a natural storyteller – surpasses both of his colleagues with this tome.  Conniff’s contribution to the MST3K canon is a stroll through the ten movie he screened (It was one of Conniff’s main jobs during the Sci Fi era run to screen potential movies for the show to tear apart) while working for MST3K.  A delight.

A/BN/iB/K


The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

You can never go wrong with Carrie Fisher’s autobiographical work, whether […]

By | January 16th, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Best of List, Lisa F|9 Comments

The Best of 2016: Lynn’s List

2016 has been a heck of a year. I have to say that reading has been a bright spot, though. I think I’ve had more DIK and B+ reads this year than I have for a while. In trying to narrow it down to a top 10, I’ve had all kinds of fun looking back over my books – and I think I’ll have to reread some.



The Hating Game
by Sally Thorne

Definitely my favorite read of the year. I forget which of my friends at AAR first started pushing this book (our review is here) but I’m thrilled that this one popped up on my radar. It’s a smart, funny and refreshing read. I’ve never worked in publishing, but I’ve worked in highly competitive offices so I could relate to the heroine’s adventures as she tries to secure her promotion and fend off her rival. If you’re in the […]

By | January 12th, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Best of List, Lynn AAR|15 Comments

The Best of 2016: Maria Rose’s List

I had big plans for 2016. I was going to equal or better my number of books read in 2015, my goal for which was 500 books (which I surpassed). As it turns out, I just made it to 400 books read this year. I was going to get back to my first love – historical romances – and read a ton of them. That didn’t happen, as I’ll be lucky to get to fifteen of them by the end of the December. I joined a reviewer challenge in January, committing to reading at least one book in different romance genres than my norm, specifically Urban Fantasy, Young Adult and Steampunk. As of mid December I’ve yet to read any in those genres.  What kept me from these goals? Well, I joined AAR as a reviewer, which is a decision with which I’m very happy but requires more time spent to write thoughtful and comprehensive reviews. And, in a nutshell, the offerings provided in the genres I love were just too […]

By | January 10th, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Best of List, Maria Rose|12 Comments

The Best of 2016: B.J.’s List

I hope my favourite books of 2016 show that queer novels don’t just mean contemporary m/m romance. My list includes historical, humour, paranormal, alpha males, older main characters; characters of colour, European, American; bisexual, gay, trans and genderqueer characters. No matter who is involved, love is love and everyone deserves romance. […]

By | January 8th, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Best of List, BJ Jansen, Queer romance|23 Comments

The Best of 2016: Haley’s List

2016 felt like a year in which I didn’t do a lot of reading. I hit my Goodreads goal of 80 books, and passed it by some, but that pales in comparison to the 150 books I read in 2013, for example. I was also a total slacker in the reviewing game, so you may not have seen my name around a lot. As it turns out, working full time and trying to finish my second Master’s Degree ate up all of the time that I used to spend on leisure and review reading. However, I like to think that having to be choosier with my reading time meant that I made stronger choices in 2016, although I think it limited my variety. I could have filled this list with far more than ten books, especially if I had included titles that were published outside of this year. However, I managed to prune it down to to the best of the best. Here in (almost) no particular order, are my top ten.


By | January 7th, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Best of List, Haley AAR|5 Comments

The Best of 2016: Caz’s List

Another year, another Top Ten, and I’ve been lucky – again – to have had a pretty good year of reading.  I gave out six straight A grades (four to print books, two to audiobooks), more than a dozen A-s and a good handful of B+s and Bs at AAR, so I think I’ve done pretty well on the whole.  One thing I’ve been really pleased about this year is the discovery of a few new authors of historical romance who are, I hope, going to be around for a long time and will go from strength to strength.  And related to that, I’m chuffed that my “best of” list this year includes no less than TWO début novels to which I awarded DIK status; Cat Sebastian’s The Soldier’s Scoundrel, and K.C. Bateman’s To Steal a Heart. I’ve already chosen Lorraine Heath’s The Earl Takes All as my favourite read of 2016, so here, without further ado – and in no particular order – are my favourite books of the year.


the-earl-takes-allAny “best book” I pick today will almost certainly be a different one tomorrow, but today I’m going to plump for The Earl Takes All. Lorraine Heath took a really tricky premise – the widow falling for her dead husband’s twin brother – and made it work brilliantly.  The chemistry between the central couple leaps off the page and the romance is very well developed, showing both of them growing together and as individuals.  I loved the flawed, complex central characters and their struggles felt very realistic; complicated and messy but beautifully handled. […]

By | December 28th, 2016|Categories: Best of 2016, Best of List, Caz AAR|19 Comments

A Roundtable Discussion on Lost Among the Living

Today, AAR Reviewers Maggie, Caz, Mary, Linniegayl and Melanie have AAR’s first ever Round Table Discussion. The book chosen is Simone St. James Lost Among the Living. Ms. St. James is a popular author with AAR staff having made several Top Ten lists in 2015 as well as having two DIK reviews on our site. Lost Among the Living is her most recent release and one that has been eagerly anticipated by many. […]