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.

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The Best of 2016: Kristen’s List

2016 was a weird reading year for me. I read an absolute deluge of books (479 at this morning’s count), as I spent a lot of it on work projects which required a lot of reading. In addition, I found myself on quite a few planes and reading is my favorite way to fly the friendly skies. I tried to read widely, venturing into genres I hadn’t explored before (hello, food memoir, nice to meet you!) and significantly upped my audiobook intake. I also binged on a few author back catalogues (Sherry Thomas and Sarah Mayberry in particular) and participated in Book Riot’s “Read Harder” challenge.

You can imagine, therefore, how hard a “Top Ten” list is for me this year. I could do Top Ten social science reads, or memoirs, or books written by non-authors (chefs, actresses, etc.). When asked to throw together my list for AAR, I had a choice to make. I decided to list the new releases that surprised me the most this year; the characters who have stayed with me, or the author voices which were the most refreshing. […]

By | January 1st, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Kristen D, Romance reading|25 Comments

Midweek minis

AAR staffers Kristen, LinnieGayl, Maria Rose, Dabney, and Sara have been hard at work reading and reviewing even more books! Here are their thoughts on some of their most recent reads in another of our occasional series of mini reviews.

Kristen’s Reads:

Semi-Scripted by Amanda Heger

Marisol Gutierrez travels to the U.S. to pitch their nonprofit at a grant conference. The competition is stiff, Marisol is not usually the organization’s spokesperson, and she is especially nervous to do it all in her second language of English, but has stepped in at the last minute and is determined to do well. The future of the organisation depends on getting this grant and the pressure overwhelms Marisol, stealing her of her usual joy and plunging her into a permanent state of panic.

Since she’s in L.A. a few days before she has to begin the conference, she decides to try to attend a taping of her […]

By | November 9th, 2016|Categories: Dabney AAR, Kristen D, LinnieGayl AAR, Maria Rose, Mini reviews, Romance, Romance reading, Sara AAR|5 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

Midweek Minis

Our team of avid readers continues to work tirelessly to point you towards the good, the bad and the… indifferent… when it comes to romance!  Here’s another group of mini reviews from Alex, Caroline, Emily, Janet, Kristen, Maria Rose and Ulysses to give you some ideas as to what you might want to read next!


Alex’s Read:

Night Study by Maria Snyder
I discovered Maria Snyder’s Study series about a year ago, and was instantly hooked. The mix of magic, political intrigue, and adventure found in these books was enticing enough that I read the first three back-to-back —an entire week of my life was abruptly taken over by Ms. Snyder’s work. When I found out there was going to be a second trilogy to follow the first Study books, I naturally jumped on them.

Night Study is the second book of this new trilogy, and it picks up right where Shadow Study left […]

By | October 4th, 2016|Categories: Alexandra AAR, Caroline AAR, EmAAR, Janet AAR, Kristen D, Maria Rose, Mini reviews|Tags: , |Comments Off on Midweek Minis

Midweek minis

Here is another round of our occasional series of mini reviews.  This time Emily, Kristen, Maria Rose and Rike share their thoughts on some recent reads.


Emily’s Reads:

The Fixer by Jenny Holiday
Jenny Fields is on a crusade – she’s trying to save an historic art building on her college campus, convinced saving it will get her into Columbia for graduate school. At a staff meeting one of her colleagues on the college newspaper suggests they try to get a famous artist alumni on-board to promote the cause. The gossip columnist suggests Emmanuel Curry, who recently had a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  To date, he’s been unwilling to be interviewed for the Examiner, but Jenny has an idea on a different way to approach him.

Matthew Townsend is a senior art prodigy, with a moody and solitary reputation.  More importantly to Jenny, he’s required to have a mentor advise him on […]

By | September 14th, 2016|Categories: Dabney AAR, Kristen D, Maria Rose, Mini reviews, Rike AAR|19 Comments

Debbie Macomber and Me

One of the many things I love about “romance” as a genre is how varied the definition of it is. For some readers who identify as “romance readers”, it’s all about billionaires, or motorcycle clubs, or Regency ballrooms, or small towns in Colorado. For some it’s a mixture of all, for some it’s an exclusive relationship. It’s so much fun for me to imagine readers in all corners of the world, interacting with the same characters I do or ones I will never know. I tend to interact with fellow romance readers exclusively online, with the exception of a few friends and my mother.

My mother is who gave me the gift of reading, the gift of knowing other people through words. She introduced me to Charlotte’s Web, teaching me about friendship and grief, to Anne of Green Gables, teaching me about dreams and community, and eventually to Nora Roberts’ vast backlist, teaching me […]

By | August 19th, 2016|Categories: Kristen D|Tags: |10 Comments