Comfort Reads – TBR Challenge 2017

My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway

March’s prompt for the TBR challenge is “comfort read”, which is defined as a book that uses a favourite trope or setting, or is by a favourite author.  I’ve chosen something from my TBR that everyone seems to have read except me – Connie Brockway’s My Dearest Enemy, which combines two of my favourite things, an enemies-to-lovers romance and a story in which letters play an important part (I do love an epistolary novel!).  It’s a gloriously romantic, character-driven story set at the end of the 19th century, in which our hero – a famous explorer – and heroine – an advocate of women’s suffrage – butt heads over the home they both love, sniping and pushing each other’s buttons as the attraction between them deepens.

Avery Thorne finds himself all but disinherited upon the death of his uncle Horatio, who, believing Avery to be a […]

TBR Challenge 2017: New-to-Me Authors

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The combination of cheap and “sounds intriguing” has lured me into buying many a book. And since I’m fairly dangerous in used bookstores, I have a massive TBR pile. So, when prompted to pick out a book by a new-to-me author, my dilemma was something along the lines of which new-to-me author to liberate from the stack. I’ve heard good things about Jennifer Donnelly’s books over the years.  I wasn’t quite in the mood to tackle a giant doorstopper of a book this month, so I skipped over The Tea Rose and picked up her 2003 young adult novel, A Northern Light, instead.

From the cover blurb, I was uncertain whether to expect YA romance or historical fiction. I think this haunting coming-of-age novel is more properly classified as historical fiction and while I did find it hard reading at times, I loved the story. Set […]

By | February 15th, 2017|Categories: Caz AAR, Lynn AAR, Romance reading, TBR Challenge|Tags: , , |4 Comments

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….


Keira:

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 […]

An Interview with Erica Monroe

In my review of Erica Monroe’s latest book, Stealing the Rogue’s Heart, I pointed out that there are very few historical romances around that draw their heroes and heroines from the lower social classes.  Yet most fans of historical romance that I interact with, whether here at All About Romance, or on Goodreads or other sites and blogs all say that we want more such stories; books about people other than dukes and debutantes, or rakes and bluestockings.  It’s not uncommon for a heroine to be poor, and there are a reasonable number of cross-class romances out there (which are very difficult to pull off properly), but to find stories using working class protagonists, set amid the terrible housing and harsh conditions in which such people had to live is unusual.  In many ways that’s understandable.  Life is tough and a bit of escapist glamour never hurt anyone.  But those aren’t the only stories that deserve to be told, so I asked Erica […]

By | February 6th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Caz AAR, Historicals, Interviews, Romance, Romance reading|4 Comments

TBR Challenge 2017: A Quick Read

It’s the 3rd of week of January (already!), and that means it’s time for romance bloggers to start shrinking their TBR piles in unison.  Or, if you’re like me, you read everyone else’s blog entries and start bingeing on books.  This month of the TBR Challenge starts off nice and light, with short reads such as novellas, category romance, etc…  Caz and I both had fun.


That Despicable Rogue by Virginia Heath

Virginia Heath registered on my radar when her début novel came out in the Spring of 2016, but I didn’t manage to get around to reading it.  I did, however, pick up her next book, Her Enemy at the Altar, and enjoyed it very much – on the strength of that one book, I decided I had a new author to follow by virtue of the fact that Ms. Heath’s writing is accomplished, her characterisation is strong […]

By | January 18th, 2017|Categories: Caz AAR, Historicals, Lynn AAR, Romance reading, TBR Challenge|Tags: , |8 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

December TBR Challenge – Holiday Reads

his-christmas-countess-us

The multi-blog TBR Challenge tends to end with holiday romances in December(or at least it has during all the years we’ve participated), and those tend to be fun comfort reads for us. Both of us tend toward historical holiday reads, and this year is no different.  Caz picked a European historical, while Lynn went with a Western anthology. […]

By | December 21st, 2016|Categories: Caz AAR, Lynn AAR, TBR Challenge|Tags: , , , , |5 Comments

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

Nov TBR Challenge

countessshshameless When I started reading romance, I stuck almost entirely to historicals and romantic suspense. When I saw this month’s TBR Challenge prompt, I knew I had no shortage of historical reading in my closet o’TBR. I decided to go with a new-to-me author and picked up Liana LeFey’s 2012 debut, Countess So Shameless. This Georgian historical, set in France and England during the reign of George II, has enough intelligence and unique characterization to keep me reading but also enough eyeroll-inducing plot twists to make it difficult for me to recommend.

The novel opens at Versailles where the teenaged Melisande Compton has come to court with her French mother and English father. We learn very quickly that this isn’t entirely a pleasure visit and while in France, Melisande learns a dangerous and devastating family secret. Overcome with emotion, she runs headlong into Lord Alessandro Orsini, a rakish diplomat for the Papal States. Though warned early and often by her mother of […]

Meet… Emily Larkin

A few years back I randomly picked up a book called The Spinster’s Secret, by a new-to-me author named Emily Larkin, purely because the premise sounded interesting; a spinster living in a cold, bleak, grey home who writes erotic novels in order to earn enough money to be able to move out and set up on her own, meets a scarred war hero – sent to unmask her – with whom she falls in love. (This was a few years ago, so the spinster/erotic novelist trope wasn’t something I’d come across often, whereas at the moment, that character seems to be in one in every three books I pick up!)

I was captivated by the story and the quality of the writing and eagerly sought out the-spinsters-secretmore books by Ms. Larkin, only to be disappointed to discover there weren’t any 🙁 Fortunately, […]

By | November 4th, 2016|Categories: Authors, Caz AAR, giveaways, Historicals, Interviews, Romance, Romance reading|8 Comments