Scenes that make us swoon…. (Part Two)

I asked the AAR staff to share the scenes from novels they found the most romantic. And, boy, did they come up with some exquisite scenes. Be prepared to swoon….


In Again, by Kathleen Gilles Seidel, the heroine Jenny Cotton, showrunner of a Regency-set soap opera, has been with her boyfriend Brian (an actor on the soap) for over a decade when Brian commits a terrible betrayal. Meanwhile, Alec Cameron, another actor, has fallen in love with Jenny, and his Grand Romantic Gesture is of the most delightfully practical and empathetic type.
Everyone in the production goes into hysterics over Brian’s misdeed, which doesn’t help Jenny in the slightest. An actress doesn’t want to work with Brian, but Jenny’s show will be ruined if the actors don’t act. A producer offers to fire anybody to help Jenny, but Jenny’s professional reputation will be in trouble if she’s seen as having someone fired […]

Scenes that make us swoon…. (Part One)

I asked the AAR staff to share the scenes from novels they found the most romantic. And, boy, did they come up with some exquisite scenes. Be prepared to swoon….


This scene is from the novella Paris for One from Jojo Moyes’ Paris for One. Nell and Fabien sit on the ledge. A half-drunk bottle of wine sits beside them. He is reading to her, his voice halting as he translates into English. Her head rests on his shoulder.

Because she knew already that this would be the thing that would end them. And that in the deepest part of her, she had known it from the beginning, like someone stubbornly ignoring a weed growing until it blocked out the light.’”

“You can’t stop,” says Nell when he does.

“The other pages are missing. Anyway — like I said, it’s no good.”

“But you can’t stop. You have […]

The Best of 2016: LinnieGayl’s List

When 2016 started I was in the midst of a nearly three-year long reading slump, and close to quitting as a reviewer here. For the first time this lifelong reader struggled to start any books, let alone finish them.  Instead of eagerly looking forward to squeezing in reading whenever possible, I could go days on end without reading anything. Fortunately, I’ve broken out of the slump and have so far read 114 books this year, including a number of DIKs. I primarily broke out of the slump by reading a variety of genres in both fiction and non-fiction, always simultaneously working on at least three books. But while some of the non-fiction proved interesting, none broke into my Top Ten of the year. My best reads of 2016 are primarily contemporary romances, and are dominated by Sarah Morgan; and also includes a couple of historical mysteries, and a steampunk. My favorites, in no particular order, are:

By | 2017-05-24T17:33:33+00:00 January 4th, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Best of Romance, LinnieGayl AAR|12 Comments

The Weekend DIK: The Glittering Court

Fans of Kiera Cass’ Selection series won’t want to miss The Glittering Court, book one in Richelle Mead’s trilogy of the same title. It’s a captivating story of forbidden love set against the backdrop of a world not so different from Great Britain and America. […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:10+00:00 April 23rd, 2016|Categories: AAR Shannon, Best of Romance, DIK|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on The Weekend DIK: The Glittering Court

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. […]

And the winners of the AAR Annual Reader Poll 2016 are….

This year’s Annual Poll results are finally here. We thank the many many readers who responded to our survey. The format of taking nominees and then creating a ballot with the top vote getters was a success. Our hard working pollsters–thanks LinneGayl and Lee–tabulated thousands of votes. We plan to run our poll similarly next year.

We will make a few changes, however. It’s clear that allowing books to nominated in multiple categories can create a situation where one author and/or book wins big time. Which is what happened this year. (This will make you happy if you love Nalini Singh which, clearly, many many of our readers do.)

Here, then, are the winners of the 2016 Annual Reader Poll.

NOTE: Honorable mentions have traditionally been given when a book receives at least 80% of the votes of the winner.

Best Romance

Winner: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

A Lambda Awards Roundup

The 28th Annual Lambda Literary Awards–or the “Lammys,” as they are affectionately known–kick off another record-breaking year with this week’s announcement of the finalists. They were chosen from a record 933 submissions (up from 818 last year) from 321 publishers. Submissions came from major mainstream publishers and from independent presses, from both long-established and new LGBTQ publishers, as well as from emerging publish-on-demand technologies.

Nearly 100 literary professionals, including booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, authors, academics and previous Lammy winners and finalists volunteered countless hours of reading, critical thinking, and invigorating discussion to select the finalists in 25 categories, including the inaugural year for Transgender Poetry.

“Being nominated for a Lammy is an outstanding achievement among such a crowded field of submissions and within an LGBTQ writing community rich with talent,” said Lambda Literary Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela.

Here are all the nominations in the 25 categories: Lambda Nominations

A few of the romances that have been nominated


Blueberry Boys, Vanessa North, Riptide Publishing

Connor Graham is […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:12+00:00 March 10th, 2016|Categories: Best of Romance, BJ Jansen|Tags: |10 Comments

And the Nominees Are….

Best2015-bigSeveral readers asked for a list of the nominees in this year’s Annual Reader Poll. Here you go!

And if you’ve not yet voted, please do. Here’s the link.

Best Romance

Radiance by Grace Draven
Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh
Mistress Firebrand by Donna Thorland
Rise by Karina Bliss
Seduction Game by Pamela Clare
Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh
A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles
The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long
It Started With a Scandal by Julie Anne Long

Favorite Funny Romance

My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis
Suddenly One Summer by Julie James
When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan
Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
Rock Hard by Nalini Singh
Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase
Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Favorite Tear-Jerker Romance

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh
The Duke and the Lady in Red by Lorraine Heath
The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne
Only […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:12+00:00 February 26th, 2016|Categories: Annual Reader Poll, Best of 2015, Best of List, Best of Romance, Polls|4 Comments

The Best of 2015: LinnieGayl’s List

I’m finally coming out of a nearly two-year reading slump, but to do it I had to read a lot of old favorites (Julie James, Lauren Willig, Karen Templeton, Sarah Mayberry to name just a few) and also a good many mysteries and non-fiction works. This means that the number of romances first published in 2015 that I read was somewhat limited, but amongst those, my favorites are as follows:

Rise by Karina Bliss: I’ve raved about this book both in a Pandora’s Box and a DIK review. It’s my favorite romance of 2015 and also my favorite contemporary romance. In this follow-up to What the Librarian Did, Ms. Bliss manages to turn Zander Freedman from a despicable man into a thoroughly engaging, and intriguing hero. In the intelligent Elizabeth Winston, she produced the perfect heroine for Zander; together, the two stimulate each other’s […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:12+00:00 February 15th, 2016|Categories: Best of 2015, Best of List, Best of Romance, LinnieGayl AAR|19 Comments

The Best of 2015: Heather’s List

Some years are stellar reading years, while others are just meh. Fortunately for me, I’ve had the joy of reading several exceptional books this year. So without further ado, in no particular order, here is my Top 10 list of 2015, with one bonus book since I’m a rebellious kind of girl.

The Companion Contract by Solace Ames. I adored this utterly unique story of an adult film star who accepts a job as a paid companion to a rockstar in recovery and then falls for his bandmate. The characters are richly drawn and I felt like we were old friends by the conclusion. Now I need Miles’s story asap.

Rock Hard by Nalini Singh. What happens when you throw a timid, though not really, woman together with a powerful CEO known for being difficult? They challenge one another, make you laugh out loud, and fall gloriously in love.

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:12+00:00 February 7th, 2016|Categories: Best of 2015, Best of List, Best of Romance, Heather AAR|9 Comments