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 | April 6th, 2017|Categories: Dabney AAR, DIK, DIKlassic|35 Comments

A DIKlassic: Sabrina Jeffries’ The Pirate Lord

Grade: A

Sensuality Rating: Hot

Pub Date: April 1998

What woman wouldn’t want to be rescued from a fate worse than death? What woman wouldn’t be grateful for the chance at a new start, even if it does mean marriage to a pirate? After all, isn’t marriage preferable to a life of servitude in New South Wales? Sabrina Jeffries’ wonderful book, The Pirate Lord, seeks to answer these questions.


By | June 19th, 2016|Categories: DIK, DIKlassic|3 Comments

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen: A DIK Review

AAR grade: A

Sensuality: Warm

Sarina Bowen’s first story in her True North series (known colloquially among bloggers as her ‘Grumpy Farmers’ series) is a lovely and lush romance set in the countryside of Vermont. Griff is a farmer. When his father passed away unexpectedly three years earlier while Griff was at college, his dreams for the future died, to be replaced by the day to day operations of his family’s farm. They have cattle, chickens, but most importantly, apples. 53 varieties of apple trees dot his lands, and are the farm’s main source of income. With a chemistry degree under his belt, Griff is making the most of his circumstances by using his expertise to create new original cider concoctions, hoping it’s the way to keep the family business afloat. […]

By | June 12th, 2016|Categories: DIK, Maria Rose|Tags: |2 Comments

DIKlassic: Song of Seduction by Carrie Lofty

Grade: A-

Sensuality: Hot

Publication date: June 2010

European historicals set outside Great Britain are rare, and those set in countries other than France, Italy, and Greece are close to extinct. Carrie Lofty’s Song of Seduction is set in 1804 Salzburg, and merely reading about it got me salivating. It proved a rich meal: Tightly written, well-researched, and as moving and romantic as I could have wished. […]

By | June 9th, 2016|Categories: DIK, DIKlassic, Rike AAR|Tags: |4 Comments

DIKlassic: The Knight and The Rose by Isolde Martyn

Title: The Knight and the Rose

Author: Isolde Martyn

Grade: A

Setting: Medieval Romance (1320s England)

Sensuality: Warm

Readers who loved Isolde Martyn’s The Maiden and the Unicorn (Our DIK review is here.) have been waiting (patiently or not) for the stateside publication of her next book. Here it is, and it takes the reader for an exciting ride as it follows the story of a forced, falst marriage and how the two parties involved eventually make it a true union.

Lady Johanna Fitzhenry is looking to escape from her husband Fulk de Enderby, who beats her constantly and has not gotten the heir he demands. She manages a bit of freedom when she is summoned to her parents’ home at Conisthorpe, although Fulk has sent along his odious sister Edyth to keep an eye on Johanna. Once at Conisthorpe, Johanna’s mother, Lady Constance, decides to help her daughter and enlists Geraint, a rebel fleeing from the Battle of Boroughbridge who is passing himself off as a scholar named Gervase de Laval. […]

By | May 22nd, 2016|Categories: DIK, DIKlassic|Tags: , |Comments Off on DIKlassic: The Knight and The Rose by Isolde Martyn

Midweek Minis

Here’s another in our occasional series of mini-reviews.  We’ve got five DIKs here along with three B reads!  Here’s what Caroline, Caz, Maria, Heather, Shannon and E.B. have to say about some of their recent reads:

Caroline’s Read:

I just finished The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. It’s a fantasy/dystopia novel about Paige Mahoney, who can spirit-walk in a world in which paranormal talents are illegal, and whose life using her abilities for an underground syndicate is disrupted by her arrest. She finds out that the entire structure of her world isn’t what she thinks, and she’s placed into the custody of the mysterious and powerful Warden. I have a guilty love of prisoner-captive books, and this is an interesting one, with solid sexual tension and a couple that plausibly has to work through some trust issues. I liked that the heroine already had abilities, so we ddn’t have to go through the standard “Gosh, could it be me?” reveal. The author is British and her UK setting shines, especially a fantastical version of Oxford, which she actually attended (it’s been done, but it’s hard to blame people – that place is pretty amazing.) Plus, it’s a dystopia/fantasy of the old school: some deaths, some darkness, but not a bloodbath contrived for the sake of GUYS THIS IS SERIOUS FICTION. I’m definitely excited to start the sequel The Mime Order right away.

Grade: A              Sensuality: Kisses

DIKlassic: Never Love a Cowboy by Lorraine Heath

Reviewed on April 20, 2000

Grade: A

Setting: Post-Civil War Texas

Sensuality: Warm

Never Love a Cowboy is the kind of book that makes me wonder why I’m not more familiar with Lorraine Heath’s name. Why is everyone buying that latest glossy big-name hardback when they could be reading this little jewel? Between these inexpensive green paper covers is a book with more emotional depth than anything I’ve read in a long time.

Harrison Bainbridge is one of a trio of exiled British noblemen who find themselves in the dusty little frontier town of Fortune, Texas. He is a charming clothes-horse with a gift for poker, but beneath his well-groomed exterior lies a man who believes that he is incapable of love. He was gravely abused by his mother, and always felt that his father, an earl, had no interest in him except as a spare heir. He feels he has nothing to offer a woman but sex.

Jessye Kane is a nice girl, but she was raised in her widowed father’s saloon and has no reputation to speak of. In her foolish youth, she was led astray by a sweet-talking man, an affair that led to a shatteringly painful experience, one that still haunts her with regret. She longs for love but wants never to find herself in a man’s power again. She intends to raise a little money and be entirely independent, and hopes that her need to be loved will go away on its own. […]

By | May 11th, 2016|Categories: DIK, DIKlassic|Tags: |1 Comment

Deadly Peril: An Audio DIK

Narrated by Alex Wyndham

We first meet Alec Halsey in Lucinda Brant’s Deadly Engagement, where he investigates the death of a friend, and then again in Deadly Affair, with another murder and a mystery. Now, Alec is dealing with something completely different – his diplomatic past and the imprisonment and torture of his good friend Sir Cosmo Mahon and the young Emily St. Neots. Picking up basically right where the previous book left off, the reader follows Alec into Midanich, a small Germanic principality at civil war and ruled by madness, both in its populace and its Margrave.

Alec packs up immediately and, along with his love, Selina, uncle, aunt and assorted servants, heads out to the one place he wanted to never to see again. His past has definitely come back to haunt him, and now not only does he have to face it, he has to tell Selina about it as well. And, considering exactly what that past entails, it isn’t surprising that it’s basically his biggest secret that’s barging its way back into his life. […]

By | May 3rd, 2016|Categories: audio books, DIK, Melanie AAR|Tags: , |Comments Off on Deadly Peril: An Audio DIK

And the most reviewed authors at AAR are….

One of the features I love most about AAR is the extensive, easily searchable review database. There are literally thousands of romance reviews at my fingertips and anytime I need a book recommendation, that’s where I turn.

bookIf you’re new here (Hi!!), you’ll see we frequently use the term DIK or Desert Isle Keeper. These are our books receiving A grades, the ones we would want with us on a desert island where resources may be scarce and space limited. With a few clicks, you can access solid recommendations in a variety of subgenres.

The AAR staffers started wondering, “Who are our most reviewed authors? And how do their grades stack up?” A lively discussion followed as we tried to guess which authors would have a number of reviews and recommendations. Of course we felt there would be those who would be near the top based on how prolific and popular they are, as well as those who are known favorites around here. AAR has been online since 1996 and seen a number of changes as the publishing industry has evolved. In the early days the pool of books to review and number of authors producing those books was far smaller than it is today. Hence our results skew somewhat toward those authors writing during the late ’90s/2000s. […]

By | May 1st, 2016|Categories: Authors, DIK, Heather AAR|21 Comments

The Weekend DIK: The Earl Takes All

I’ve been desperate to read The Earl Takes All since I finished Falling into Bed With a Duke, the first book in Lorraine Heath’s Hellions of Havisham Hall series. Even though at that point no synopsis had been published, I had an inkling of where this story might be going – which says a lot for Ms Heath’s ability to bury hints and subtext in whichever story she happens to be telling at the time – and I have been really, REALLY curious as to how she was going to pull off such a difficult premise. […]

By | April 29th, 2016|Categories: Caz AAR, DIK|Tags: , , , , |7 Comments