Do you know what you’re signing up for?

Haley Kral and Anne Marble share their experiences of signing up for online newsletters and free books and stories.  While in some cases, FREE really IS free, in many others, there’s a hidden cost that might not immediately be apparent.

Romance is a big market and authors have to keep working at keeping their name and new releases, fresh in reader’s minds. There are different approaches to this but the most obvious seems to be sending out a newsletter to fans. In fact, what’s old is new again, and author newsletters seem to be the hot new promotional tool; in fact, some authors are lavishing more attention on their newsletters than on blogging and social media. Nothing gives a writer a guaranteed audience like a popular newsletter! However, some authors are trying new ways of reaching readers, such as online promotion sites – and as is the case with the trusty newsletter, there are authors using them well, and others who aren’t.

We have our opinions on these promotions, and we’d love […]

By | 2018-01-18T09:32:10+00:00 January 18th, 2018|Categories: Anne Marble, Authors, Haley AAR, Marketing|Tags: |9 Comments

The Best of 2017 – Haley’s List

I think last year I started my Best of 2016 list by saying I felt that I hadn’t read as much that year and so I had fewer great books to choose. Well, if I thought 2016 was a tough reading year, I did not have a clue what 2017 would be like. The amount of time I’ve spent each day keeping up with the news cycle is seriously eating away at my casual reading time. I also read more children’s books and graphic novels (for my job), as well as some excellent older titles. That said, I do have a handful of books I loved in 2017 to share (in no particular order).

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

This one snuck in just under the wire. Meaning, I only finished it less than two weeks before the end of […]

By | 2018-01-08T12:14:29+00:00 January 8th, 2018|Categories: Best of List, Haley AAR, Romance reading|Tags: |5 Comments

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 […]

The Best of 2016: Haley’s List

2016 felt like a year in which I didn’t do a lot of reading. I hit my Goodreads goal of 80 books, and passed it by some, but that pales in comparison to the 150 books I read in 2013, for example. I was also a total slacker in the reviewing game, so you may not have seen my name around a lot. As it turns out, working full time and trying to finish my second Master’s Degree ate up all of the time that I used to spend on leisure and review reading. However, I like to think that having to be choosier with my reading time meant that I made stronger choices in 2016, although I think it limited my variety. I could have filled this list with far more than ten books, especially if I had included titles that were published outside of this year. However, I managed to prune it down to to the best of the best. Here in (almost) no particular order, are my top ten.

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:02+00:00 January 7th, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Best of List, Haley AAR|5 Comments

An interview with Cara McKenna

ddHaley: Firstly, thank you again for taking the time out to do an interview. I read Downtown Devil and I wanted to let you know I loved it. I’ve read quite a few ménage books over the years and I think this is the first time I have seen one where there is passion between the two men, rather than it being two men essentially competing for the woman. What made you decide to have that intimacy between Mica and Vaughn?

Cara: Purely because I wanted to write full-on, no-holds-barred male/male sex again, in the context of a m/m/f ménage. It’s been a while. You get a little taste of m/m in Crosstown Crush, but you’re right, in that one there’s a definite streak of competition tempering the men’s contact…and an essential one, in that story, as competition feeds directly into the […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:08+00:00 June 29th, 2016|Categories: Authors, Haley AAR, Interviews|Tags: , , |10 Comments

Alex Markov: Dreamboat or Douchebag?

In another of our occasional series in which we discuss the merits – or lack thereof – of fictional heroes and heroines, AAR staffers turn their attention to Alex Markov of Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

The book taps into the classic “arranged marriage” trope. The two protagonists, Daisy and Alex, are blackmailed into marriage by a third party: Daisy’s dad. Daisy agrees in order to avert legal trouble and avoid prison. For Alex Markov, this was his year for paying off big debts, first with his deathbed promise to Owen Quest to take the circus out for its last season under the Quest name, and then by agreeing to marry Max’s daughter. In all these years Max had never asked one thing of him as repayment for having saved Alex’s life, but when he’d finally gotten around to it, he’d asked for a doozy. […]

A sneak peak at Katee Robert's The Wedding Pact

Our reviewer Haley enjoyed the first book in Katee Robert’s O’Malleys series, The Marriage Contract (her review is here). The second one, The Wedding Pact, comes out next week.  Ms. Robert’s kind publicist gave us this sneak peak excerpt.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:


Carrigan O’Malley has always known her arranged marriage would be more about power and prestige than passion. But after one taste of the hard-bodied, whiskey-voiced James Halloran, she’s ruined for anyone else. Too bad James and his family are enemy number 1. 

Hallorans vs. O’Malleys-that’s how it’s always been. James should be thinking more about how to expand his family’s empire instead of how silky Carrigan’s skin is against his and how he can next get her into his bed. Those are dangerous thoughts. But […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:11+00:00 April 21st, 2016|Categories: Haley AAR|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on A sneak peak at Katee Robert's The Wedding Pact

Love Poems We Love

In honor of April being National Poetry Month, I asked some of the AAR staffers to share their favorite romantic poetry. As it turns out, our staff shares a love of poems, both classic and contemporary. There were so many excellent suggestions that I can’t include them all, so there are links to even more. If you would like to celebrate National Poetry Month with a bit of romance, here are some of their picks.



By | 2017-05-24T17:11:21+00:00 April 11th, 2016|Categories: Haley AAR|Tags: , |4 Comments

Very Short Love Stories: #5WordRomanceNovel

Earlier this week, the Twitter hashtag #5WordRomanceNovel was trending. People took to the social media platform to try their hand at micro storytelling. The results were both sweet, funny, dirty, or downright self-promotion as many companies used the trend to push their brand. Such an abbreviated formatted let me see how different Twitter users viewed romance. There were famous quotes from literature, plenty of talk about men doing housework, and an overwhelming love of pizza. I collected just a handful of tweets from this trend that I enjoyed.

Let’s get the pizza love out of the way first.


By | 2017-05-24T17:11:17+00:00 April 8th, 2016|Categories: Contests, Haley AAR|Tags: , |3 Comments

From Books to Burton

Two books are making their way from page to screen via Tim Burton productions in the coming months. On May 27 Alice Through the Looking Glass brings viewers a sequel to the 2010 Alice in Wonderland and what appears to be a very loose, really barely related, version of Lewis Carroll’s classic Through the Looking-Glass.  Burton is not directing Looking Glass but, from the previews (which can be seen here), it appears that the film continues his dark and fantastical style. […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:11+00:00 April 6th, 2016|Categories: Haley AAR, Maggie AAR, Movies|Tags: , , |3 Comments