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 […]

Books on Sale – December 2016

We’re still experimenting with formats for our regular On Sale lists, and plan to launch our New Look early in 2017.  Until then, here’s a look at what’s new for December. Where possible, titles are linked to Amazon. […]

By | December 11th, 2016|Categories: Books, Caz AAR, E-books, Romance|2 Comments

Inspirational Romance: A Roundtable Discussion

Welcome to the AAR Roundtable Discussion on Inspirational Romance novels!

According to RWA these books make up 17% of print sales and 14% of e-book sales of all romance novels sold annually. Reviewers Maggie Boyd, Kristen Donnelly, Lynn Spencer and Caz Owens talk about their first experiences reading Inspirationals–often called Inspys– what draws them to this particular type of book, and how they see the stories overall.


Maggie: When I needed to find a sub-genre I typically didn’t read for a reading challenge back in 2009 I determined to suck it up and read three Inspirational books to complete the challenge. I’d had some bad experiences with a few Inspy novels before so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy them much. I was stunned. Deeanne Gist, Cathy Marie Hake and Lynn Austin penned books I completely loved. I began to expand into more authors and found that the Inspirational market of the last few decades was actually rich with fantastic authors, beautiful stories, and fabulous settings. About a third of the books I read are Inspirationals […]

By | October 29th, 2016|Categories: Books, Caz AAR, Kristen D, Lynn Spencer, Maggie AAR, Roundtable|Tags: |11 Comments

The New Age of the Series – A Reader Rant

Am I crazy but does it feel like every romance novel published today is a part of a series? Almost every new book I pick up has a number after its title.

Is the standalone, single novel becoming extinct? I wonder if a book without a series will one day be a relic of the past similar to what happened to the landline telephone.

The death of the non-series novel might not feel like a big deal to everyone, but the series is starting to wreak havoc with my reading enjoyment. Am I whining? Probably. But I also think I have some valid grievances to address with authors and their publishers.

You (author and publisher) didn’t warn me there is a cliffhanger!

I did my due diligence. I read the book description and even downloaded a sample before buying it. There was no obvious hint that the story would not be resolved by page 289. Instead of an epilogue, I am given a teaser to the story to be continued in the book #X to […]

By | August 10th, 2016|Categories: Books, Reading, Romance reading, Uncategorized|31 Comments

Amanda Bouchet’s A Promise of Fire: A Roundtable Discussion

a promise of fire

Catalia “Cat” Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

available at Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble

 

AAR staffers Melanie, Mary and Shannon read – and enjoyed – this new fantasy romance from début author Amanda Bouchet.


First […]

By | August 5th, 2016|Categories: Books, Books with Buzz, Mary AAR, Melanie AAR, Romance reading, Roundtable, Shannon AAR|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Amanda Bouchet’s A Promise of Fire: A Roundtable Discussion

Eagerly Awaited August 2016 Books

scotdarkSome months are more filled with enticing books than others.  As we get to the end of summer (it’s flown by way too fast!), the August 2016 lists are out already. Some months, individual reviewers may only have a book or two to look forward to. However, this time around, my inbox lit up like a Christmas tree!  From historicals to suspense to contemporary to category romance, we are all eagerly looking forward to reading something new this August!



A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

I’ll admit that I was late to the party on discovering this author. However, I picked up one of her books after meeting her at RWA several years ago and being impressed by what she had to say(and also having lots of fun chatting!) Not every book has worked, but enough of them have been fabulous for her to be an autobuy for me. – Lynn

She’s hit-or-miss for me, but I loved her Never Judge a Lady by her Cover so much that I always hope lightning will strike again. This continues the series which began with The Rogue Not Taken, which got a B+ here (I agree with that review’s B+) – Caroline

Sarah MacLean has earned my trust as a one-click author. This is a book that will disrupt all others as soon as it hits my Kindle. – Kristen

Ms MacLean is pretty much an auto-buy author for me these days and I like the way she is paralleling our celebrity-obsessed culture with the scandals of the early 19th Century. – Caz


Sheikh’s Mail-Order Bride by Marguerite Kaye

Darkly handsome princes in exotic locations… I loved the previous book in this series (The Widow and the Sheikh) and am a big fan of this author. Her research is always impeccable and she writes wonderfully sensual romances with complex characters whose dilemmas and feel realistic.  – Caz

SHIPWRECKS AND SHEIKHS OMG YES. – Caroline

For me, Marguerite Kaye’s historical romances are a cut above the usual, both in terms of how she uses her settings and how she crafts her characters.  She’s definitely one of the bright spots in the Harlequin Historicals lineup. – Lynn […]

Steals and Deals

This week has great steals and deals. Click on the book covers to go to Amazon.

Thanks and happy reading.


Caroline Linden’s I Love the Earl is just 1.99. We haven’t reviewed this one but we’ve given many of her other works high marks. Here’s the description from Amazon. Many other books are currently 4.99 which is still a good deal!

Margaret de Lacey has accepted her unmarried state with dignity, if not delight. She had no suitors when she was young and starry-eyed, though regrettably poor, and it’s unlikely any man will court her now that she’s older, wiser, and still just as penniless. Until, that is, her brother unexpectedly inherits the dukedom of Durham and settles an enormous dowry on her, making her the most eligible heiress in town. No gentleman in London is more in need of a wealthy bride than Rhys Corwen, Earl of Dowling. He contrives an introduction to Margaret because of her dowry, but she swiftly sets him right: no fortune hunter will win her heart or her hand. Far from put off, Rhys is intrigued. Interested. Entranced. And soon the only thing he needs more than Margaret’s fortune . . . is her love.

[…]

Amanda Bouchet’s A PROMISE OF FIRE – a Roundtable Discussion

a promise of fireAAR staffers Melanie, Shannon and Mary recently read Amanda Bouchet’s A Promise of Fire. They share their thoughts on what they’ve agree is a very strong début novel.

Catalia “Cat” Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.


What did you think of the book overall?   Is it […]

By | April 4th, 2016|Categories: AAR Shannon, Books, Mary AAR, Melanie AAR, Romance, Roundtable|Comments Off on Amanda Bouchet’s A PROMISE OF FIRE – a Roundtable Discussion

Whyborne & Griffin by Jordan L. Hawk – A Series Overview

Sci-fi as written by Anthony Trollope? The Palliser novels as imagined by Ray Bradbury? Well, the only easy generalization about Jordan L. Hawk’s remarkable Whyborne & Griffin series is that Widdershins holds onto its own.

widdershinsFor her epic paranormal romance novels Ms. Hawk has created a fictional seaport city north of Boston called Widdershins. Founded in the 17th century by a group of men fleeing the witch trials in Salem, Widdershins is outwardly a typical thriving industrial city at the turn of the 20th century. But everyone outside of Widdershins knows that something is strange about the city. People who grow up there may leave, but they always come back. Something about the town won’t let them go. At the series’ center are the two characters of Griffin Flaherty and Percival Endicott Whyborne. Griffin is an ex-Pinkerton detective, cut loose after a mental breakdown, who comes to Widdershins in the eponymous first book, seeking to set up as a private detective. There […]

By | February 28th, 2016|Categories: Books, Buried Treasures, Romance, Settings|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Life and Death: It’s No Twilight

The tenth anniversary edition of Twilight arrived on the shelves several months ago containing the bonus feature of Life and Death, a gender swap retelling of Twilight.

The tales are identical aside from the gender swap and an expedited ending.  It’s odd to have such divergent feelings after reading essentially the same book but those are the feelings I had after finishing them.  The story works when it is Edward and Bella and falls apart somehow when it is Edythe and Beau. Amazon reviews show the same response from many other readers.

For those who don’t know the basic story line, here it is: Bella/Beau Swan moves from Phoenix, AZ where he/she lives with her/his mom (Renee) to Forks, WA to live with her/his dad (Charlie). The move is not necessary but a charitable act done by Bella/Beau so that Renee can follow her husband, a minor league baseball […]

By | December 11th, 2015|Categories: Book news, Books, Maggie AAR, Romance reading|22 Comments