Coming Soon… in June

It’s time to look ahead to see what books we’re most excited about reading in June. As usual, we’ve a wide variety of choices, although it seems there’s a bit of a consensus about our most looked-forward-to new releases, K.J. Charles’ An Unnatural Vice and Sarah MacLean’s The Day of the Duchess. What are YOU looking forward to reading next month?


An Unnatural Vice by K.J. Charles (June 6)

As a big fan of both K.J. Charles and the Victorian Sensation Fiction which has inspired this series, I can’t wait to read this story of the battle of wits between a former-lawyer-turned-journalist and the man he suspects of being a sham spiritualist. The author’s ability to imbue her stories with a strong sense of time and space is superb, and I do love a good enemies-to-lovers romance. – Caz

I loved An Unseen Attraction (book one​ in the Sins of the Cities series) and ​I ​was intrigued by the characters​ […]

Is Hot the new Warm?

One of the things readers consistently tell us they like are our sensuality ratings. They’ve been a part of AAR since its inception and we think they help readers find books they love. We’ve not revised them, however, in quite some time and, with the trend towards more sex and more graphic sex in romance, we feel we may need to.

Here are our current definitions:

Kisses: Kisses only. Many of these books are quite simply “sweet.”

Subtle: No explicit sensuality. Kissing and touching, but physical romance is described in general terms or implied. The emphasis is on how lovemaking made the characters feel emotionally, and not on graphic description.

Warm: Moderately explicit sensuality. Physical details are described, but are not graphically depicted. Much is left to the reader’s imagination.

Hot: More explicit sensuality. Sex is described in more graphic terms. Hot books typically have more sex scenes and are more likely to depict acts beyond intercourse.<

Burning: Extremely explicit sensuality – these books are often erotic romances or flatout erotica.

We’ve thought about […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:29:59+00:00 May 18th, 2017|Categories: Dabney AAR|39 Comments

Rereading Elizabeth Essex’s Dartmouth Brides

In 2011, I read the first of Elizabeth Essex’s Dartmouth Brides books, The Pursuit of Pleasure. This is Ms. Essex’s debut novel and, especially for a first book, quite good. In my B review I wrote:

I liked James and Lizzie but had a hard time understanding why they made the choices they did. James, in the name of his work, allows Lizzie to suffer tremendously while claiming to love her. Lizzie, bedazzled by sex with James and still hell-bent on being independent, behaves in ways that are at times unsympathetic and flat-out self-destructive. And for all the thinking they do about each other — and Ms. Essex spends a good deal of time relating her characters’ thoughts — neither really sees the other very clearly until, perhaps, the end of the novel. This lack of unambiguous relationship development combined with too little information about their pasts left me feeling unsatisfied. I wanted more […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:00+00:00 April 8th, 2017|Categories: Dabney AAR, Re-reading|Tags: , , |1 Comment

A DIKlassic Bookclub: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

As part of our site reboot, we’ve been publishing DIKLassic reviews. These are books that, in the past (at least five years), were DIKs–this means they got an A-, an A, or an A+. I typically pick books that are on sale–I shoot for 3.99 or less for an ebook.

These reviews have been popular and AAR readers often comment on them that they loved being reminded of books they’d forgotten about.

I thought it might be fun to start a bimonthly (every two months) DIKlassic bookclub. We’d suggest a book and then, two months later, chat about it in the comments.

What do you think? And, if you think it’s a good idea, what would you like to read?

 

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:00+00:00 April 6th, 2017|Categories: Dabney AAR, DIK, DIKlassic|35 Comments

Megan Crane talks about the Edge series. And there’s a giveaway!

From the moment I read the opening lines of Edge of Obsession, the first book in Megan Crane’s Edge series, I was hooked.

A hundred years ago, or so the stories went, the great Storms came over the course of a few tumultuous decades and kicked the world’s ass. Cities fell. Seas rose. People died.

A lot of people.

I’ve read all four books in the series including the soon to be released Edge of Power (Wulf’s story!) and relished them all. These books are deceptively addicting, the sort of stories you tear through and keep thinking about when you’re done. The world-building is satisfyingly rich and pulls no punches. I asked Megan if I could ask her some questions and she, thankfully, said yes.


Dabney: Hi Megan, thanks for talking with me.

I’ve so enjoyed your Edge series. I picked the first book in the series, Edge of Obsession, as […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:00+00:00 February 24th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Dabney AAR, giveaways, Interviews|Tags: , , , , |20 Comments

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….


Caroline:

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 […]

Rachel Grant talks Tinderbox and Djibouti. And there’s a giveaway!

Readers and reviewers often mention the amount of research that goes into my books, and how they enjoy the history and prehistory woven into the story. This is satisfying because I spend a lot of time researching the setting, archaeology, and suspense elements for each book. But I also have a shortcut when it comes to researching archaeology and setting: my husband. 

Dave has a master’s degree in nautical archaeology and is an archaeologist for the US Navy. Prior to that he worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers, and before that he worked for the Underwater Archaeology Branch of Naval History and Heritage Command. If UAB and NHHC sounds familiar to you, it’s because several of my heroines in the Evidence Series work at NHHC. In fact, the storyline for Covert Evidence was inspired by a file cabinet he came across when he worked at […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:01+00:00 February 10th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Dabney AAR, giveaways, Guest Posts|Tags: , , |7 Comments

Midweek Minis

AAR staffers are avid readers – Caroline, Dabney, Emily, LinnieGayl, Maria Rose and Sara are here to share their thoughts on some of their recent reads.

Caroline’s Read:

Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex

Sally Kent’s brother Richard lets the family tradition down when instead of joining the Navy, he escapes to the clergy. So it’s Sally, who’s got the family saltwater blood, who dons midshipman’s blues and sets sail on the Audacious just before Trafalgar. She finds herself under the supervision of Lieutenant David Colyear, an outstanding officer and old friend of her brothers.

I adore competent, intelligent heroines, Sally’s natural bent for the sea is developed in a way that is completely convincing without seeming over the top. From her love of the wind and water to her ability to manage onboard rivalries, she’s a sailor to the tips of her fingers. I believed completely that if she’d been born today, she’d be […]

Yes We Can! Our favorite Activist Heroines

Women have a long history of standing up for their beliefs, and there are great romance novels starring heroines doing just that. American and British suffragettes (or suffragists), Civil Rights activists, lawyers, writers, organizers, and military rebels – you’ll find all of them here, and more. Let these ladies inspire you to fight for your beliefs, whatever they happen to be.


Caroline Russomanno:

Erica Johnson – Unfinished Business by Karyn Langhorne

Erica, a teacher, is tired of seeing funding diverted away from the neediest and most vulnerable. She protests at the hero’s (a Southern Republican senator’s) press conference and is dragged out by police. This book is set during the W. Bush administration and Erica is a strong reminder that black activists have been working continuously, even when out of the media spotlight. Our review of the book is here.

A/BN/iB/K

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. […]